The KU Core: Let the Celebrations Commence

April 29, 2013

Spring at KU is an uplifting time of celebration and rebirth, perhaps exemplified best of all by university commencement.  At this year’s commencement, we will be celebrating a new beginning for more than 6,800 graduates who will earn their KU degrees and embark upon life’s next steps.

As I consider the power of new beginnings this spring, I keep coming back to our major transformation of undergraduate education — the KU Core.  Beginning June 10, thousands of incoming freshmen will attend orientation and enroll in the KU Core.  

The creation of the KU Core is truly an indelible, signature achievement made possible through the collective ideas and years of thoughtful contribution by the KU community.  I’d like to acknowledge several of the recent efforts that will be so important for a successful kick-off in the fall:

  • The development of the KU Core provided the academic units the opportunity to examine their own degree-specific curricula with fresh eyes.  Robert Hurst, associate professor of film and media studies and chair of the committee on undergraduate studies and advising (CUSA) in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, worked diligently with CUSA, college leadership, and departments to lead the college through the biggest curricular change in 50 years.

    Several faculty leaders worked to map KU Core requirements onto existing professional curricula and accreditation outcomes, including Brian Barnes, associate dean of pharmacy; Barbara Barnett, associate dean of journalism; William Beedles, professor of business; Martin Bergee, associate dean of music; Kyle Camarda, associate dean of engineering; Andrea Herstowski, interim chair of design; Nils Gore, interim chair of architecture; Sally Roberts, associate dean of education; and Alice Lieberman, professor of social welfare.

  • The Office of First-Year Experience has developed new orientation materials for first-year students and transfer students that explain the KU Core.  They and the Experiential Learning Collaborative have also spearheaded the development of new first-year experiences and experiential learning opportunities that can be used to satisfy outcomes in the KU Core.
  • Advisors across campus have worked together to explore paths to degrees within the KU Core and to begin discussions with students.  The continued preparation of all those discussing the KU Core with our incoming students is critical to a successful and positive launch in August.
  • Staff in Student Information Systems have worked overtime this semester to program the Degree Progress Report advising tool with all the new KU Core and degree requirements so that students, advisors, and faculty can work together to track requirements and degree completion.  They even programmed “what if?” scenarios to help current frosh decide whether to opt into the KU Core.
  • KU’s Transfer and Articulation Policy Council and the University Core Curriculum Committee have worked on new policies to facilitate transfer of credit into KU and the KU Core in a more seamless fashion.

The thoughtful contributions of many individuals — too many to list here —  have positioned the KU Core as a vibrant learning framework that will prepare our students better than ever for a constantly changing, global world.  Those important efforts continue as we ready for the start of the next academic year.  

Bits and Bytes

  • Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and I were honored to host Governor Brownback at the Bioscience and Technology Business Center last Tuesday as part of his statewide tour in support of higher education.  Gov. Brownback is leading the effort, along with the Regents, to oppose legislative budgets that would cut as much as $20 million in state funding for KU and the Medical Center combined. We at KU are continuing to advocate strongly for the Governor’s budget for higher education, which recognizes the crucial role KU plays in building a vibrant future.
  • The final installment of our Bold Aspirations Visitor and Lecture Series for the 2012–2013 academic year is Tuesday, April 30 at 4 p.m. in the Kansas Room in the Kansas Union.  Liang-Shih Fan, Distinguished University Professor and C. John Easton Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The Ohio State University, will talk about the chemistry of clean coal technologies. This visit is a homecoming of sorts for Professor Fan, who earned an MS in Statistics in 1978 from Kansas State University.
  • Also on Tuesday, April 30 is the first  KU Center for Technology Commercialization Innovation Fair. The fair is from 4–6 p.m. with an awards program at 5 p.m. It is a great opportunity to learn about KU technology, discover opportunities for entrepreneurial collaboration, and network with faculty, students, and company representatives and will be an annual event.
  • Susan Twombly, professor of higher education, will serve as chair of the steering committee that will guide KU’s extensive self-study to prepare for a university-wide re-accreditation review by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association.  KU received the full 10-year accreditation after the most recent review in 2005. The next review will occur in February 2015.
Strong Ties Signature: 

Rock Chalk!
  -- Jeff

--
Jeffrey S. Vitter

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor

This issue of Provost eNews as well as past ones can be found on the Provost eNews web page.

Updated on April 30 to include information on KUCTC Innovation Fair.

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