Strategic Initiative #1: Summit Feedback

Art & Science CorrespondenceTop

From: Val Smith
Date: November 19, 2011 7:51:08 PM CST
To: Steve Goddard, Associate Director/Senior Curator, Prints & Drawings Spencer Museum of Art
Subject: art and science

Dear Steve:

It was great to meet you yesterday at the Sustainability Summit. As I mentioned in our conversation, Art was an integral feature of the international Sustainable Phosphorus Summit hosted by Arizona State University, in which I participated earlier this year. Each and every aspect of this summit was absolutely outstanding! This Sustainable P Summit is described at

and also at

The impressive and very diverse artwork which was invited by (and which was then explicitly incorporated into) the Sustainable P Summit is available at I believe that one or more examples of this artwork will be included in our book on Sustainable P, which will be completely finished by 1 December, and has been accepted for publication next year by the Oxford University Press. I am the primary author of Chapter 4 on phosphorus in food and energy.

In addition to the artwork at the link above, a brief kinetic art "Phosphorus Happening" in which we formed the letter P was made into a really neat video with the participation of all summit participants. It can be viewed in the Promotional Videos window at Additional videos can be found further down on this same web page, but please be sure to see the very bottom-most video entitled Passionate about P and Art: An interview with Sue Norton-Scott, which is an interview with one of the artists during the outstanding post-summit reception.

I hope very much that this will be of interest to you and to the Summit organizers, as Art explicitly and seamlessly becomes folded into this and other future KU initiatives.

Best wishes,

Val H. Smith
Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS 66045 USA

Faculty Club & The Shape of Things to Come ConferenceTop

From: James E Gunn, Professor Emeritus of English
Date: Thursday, December 01, 2011 1:15 PM CST
To: Jeffrey Vitter, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Subject: summit

Dear Provost,

A couple of thoughts about the first summit. Someone mentioned the value of a faculty club, something I was prepared to suggest myself. I was probably the only person in the room who remembered the earlier faculty club that was housed in the old University High School building and ran into financial problems for a combination of reasons that culminated in Chancellor Wescoe withdrawing the University’s subsidy in 1967 or 1968. But, as administrative assistant to the Chancellor for University Relations at that time, I can attest to the club’s value in making me acquainted with faculty and administrators throughout the University and to interdisciplinary developments that could have happened in no other way. And such a club has social and faculty morale value as well, which could contribute to the hiring and retention of faculty.

Second, as someone who was centrally involved in the University’s notable centennial celebration, particularly the Inter-Century Seminar, let me suggest the desirability of a dramatic goal or a dramatic event to attract attention and resources. The goals, as outlined, might be more broadly acclaimed and understood if they found expression in something specific. So that leaves the possibility of a Grand Event to dramatize the University’s commitment and bold initiatives. For many years I worked on a proposal for a four-day conference bringing together scientists and science-fiction writers to discuss the ways in which they interact and together help shape the future. I got lots of interest but no offers of funding until Dean Steinmetz adopted the idea and found $70,000 to put it on, to which we were able to add another $10,000 or so from other university sources. Once we began to solicit scientist participants, however, we discovered that their $20,000-$30,000 honorariums were beyond our reach; a similarly ambitious conference mounted at Arizona State University had a budget of $350,000. With the recession and Dean Steinmetz’s departure, we had to cancel our plans. Nevertheless, such a conference as I proposed has even more relevance in today’s environment, as the ultimate inter-disciplinary gathering that would dramatize the University’s initiatives and get international attention. I attach a copy of the proposal.

James Gunn
Let’s save the world through science fiction

Office of the Provost
Feedback/Let Us Know

Do you have a concern, or would you like to offer your thoughts on a proposal put forward by this office?

The Provost Office offers an anonymous form so you can raise issues important to you or respond to issues and activities on campus. 

Let Us Know.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Several initiatives are furthering efforts to ensure KU offers a welcoming and supportive environment for all to learn, live, work, and discover.

RT @Beak _Healthy: Heads Up! Watkins Pharmacy has hand sanitizer and thermometers in stock! Plus a variety of over-the-counter products for…

Policy Library Search

Visit the Policy Office for more information.

Green Office

Why KU
  • One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
  • 44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
    —U.S. News & World Report
  • Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
  • 5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times