Goal 4 Strategic Map

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Many challenging problems that confront society — such as sustaining economic vitality and a healthy environment, improving human health and well-being, resolving generations of conflict, and exploiting information without falling prey to it — are inherently cross-disciplinary, requiring deep and synergistic advances from several disciplines. Modern-day researchers who are experts in their individual disciplines will need to work together, inspire one another, and build synergies in order to most effectively address today's grand challenges.

On the other hand, our basic academic structures — schools and departments — are oriented around specialized and narrower fields of study. Over the last century that specialization helped bring forth an explosion of deep and fundamental discoveries in the disciplines, creating a truly golden age of learning. The fields driving our national economy today —such as IT, nanotechnology, and genome science — can each trace their roots to fundamental disciplinary discoveries.

Therefore, it is important to embrace a dual philosophy of excellence — excellence in multidisciplinary collaborations as well as in core disciplines. These two goals are quite synergistic. The most successful multidisciplinary collaborations often occur among researchers with deep but distinct areas of expertise who, in the course of their joint work, make state-of-the-art contributions to their respective core disciplines. Indeed, the feedback and insights gained from cross-cutting collaborations and conversations can inspire exciting new directions in the core disciplines and contribute to their renewed vitality. The first two strategies focus on proactive ways to enhance both disciplinary and multidisciplinary research excellence — to remove hurdles and facilitate important research conversations and collaborations. The four strategic initiatives described on pages 00–00 contain big, bold ideas in which KU researchers can collectively make major contributions to society.

For purposes of convenience in this strategic plan, we shall use the term “research” to refer to the totality of a faculty member's creative activities — encompassing not just what is published in scholarly books and journals but also all scholarly forms of community engagement, performance, and art. Most KU faculty members actively participate in research, yet there are many who do not. It is important for KU as a public international research university to encourage, support, and recognize faculty innovation of all kinds. We need to measure and monitor our level of research activity and provide the proper environment and mentoring for faculty.

Bold Aspirations

Bold Aspirations is the strategic plan for KU, comprising individual plans for the following:

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Curiosity sparks KU paleontologist Chris Beard’s quest for man’s ancient cousins When he’s not scrutinizing ancient primate fossils in his KU lab, world-renowned paleontologist Chris Beard (http://bit.ly/1w3TQSj) is out stalking human evolutionary ancestors in remote corners of Libya, Turkey, China, Myanmar, Kazakhstan, Cambodia, Egypt, Tunisia, or Kenya. Beard, who came to KU as a Foundation Distinguished Professor, has a passion for being out in the middle of nowhere and making a discovery — “There’s nothing better than that. It’s fabulous.”


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Why KU
  • One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
  • 26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
  • Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
  • 46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
    —U.S. News & World Report
  • Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
    —ALA
  • 23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times