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Progress: Year 3 of Bold Aspirations

October 20, 2014

Faculty, Staff, and Students:

I am pleased to present to you the Lawrence and Edwards Campus Year 3 Annual Report for KU’s strategic plan, Bold Aspirations.


It’s a feature that has served the world’s universities well. Governments and national boundaries change, but universities have endured — many trace their origins back several centuries.

This stability is the bedrock of academic freedom and expression but also may lead a university community to disregard looming challenges and the urgent need for significant change.

At the University of Kansas — old KU, as our Alma Mater says — almost every aspect of our university is going through sweeping change. These changes are happening not through top-down directives, but thanks to the engaged efforts of the full university community.

Bold Aspirations, the strategic plan for the University of Kansas, is the template for this transformation. The plan itself was a result of engaged, comprehensive campus dialogue that continues to flourish during our third year of implementation.

We have enhanced our interactions with undergraduate and graduate students, funded innovative multidisciplinary projects poised to create major innovations, transformed our operations, reimagined our historic campus, and worked together to establish regular faculty reviews.

Our Year 3 Annual Report reviews these accomplishments through stories of faculty and staff and illustrates how the 150-year history of our flagship university — the stability of our past — has laid the foundation for an even brighter future.

Changing for Excellence

Within the report you will see the progress we have made on key goals. I would like to specifically draw your attention to pages 18–21 that highlight the innovation and hard work of many on this campus — Changing for Excellence.

Changing for Excellence will be a major continuing effort because of the crucial contributions it makes to funding university priorities. As two examples, it has created 22 net new faculty positions that add to our cluster hires, and it will help launch four new buildings on Innovation Way in our Campus Master Plan, including the Earth, Energy, and Environment Center North and South that we're breaking ground on next month. We will discuss these and other important ongoing investments in the next issue of Provost eNews. 

Going Forward

With the help of the deans and the implementation steering committee, six priorities for Year 4 of Bold Aspirations were identified and can be found on page 27. I look forward to sharing with you future progress on these and other action steps. They include engaged scholarship, enhancing research, course redesign, a comprehensive progression to graduation plan, a proactive HR strategy, and highlighting accomplishments.

Bits and Bytes

  • Upcoming Bold Aspirations Visitor and Lecture Series events:
    • Kevin K. Droegemeier, President for Research, University of Oklahoma and two-time presidential appointee to the National Science Board, will present “The Open Access Revolution:  Expected and Unexpected Changes to the Research Landscape” on October 20 at 10:00 a.m. at the Commons in Spooner Hall.
    • Cecilia Menjivar, the Cowden Distinguished Professor in the T. Denny School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University, will present “The Reconfiguration of Immigrant Latino Families in Light of the Contemporary Immigration Regime” on October 21 at 3:30 p.m. at the Commons in Spooner Hall.
    • Louise Shelley, professor in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University, will present “Dirty Entanglements: Human Trafficking, Corruption and Terrorism” on October 28 at 3:30 p.m. at the Commons, Spooner Hall.
    • Ayesha Hardison, Langston Hughes Visiting Professor, Ohio University, will present “Of Maids and Ladies:  The Ethics of Living Jane Crow” on October 30 at 3:30 p.m. in the Kansas Room of the Kansas Union.
  • KU Common Book
    • An Evening with Laura Moriarty, author of the 2014-15 KU Common Book The Center of Everything, will present a keynote on October 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lied Center.
    • Coffee and Conversation featuring Laura Moriarty on October 24 at 9:00 a.m. in the Natural History Museum. Light refreshments and Q & A featuring the author.
  • The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) Board of Directors has selected the University of Kansas as a participating university in the ASF astronaut scholarship award program. This decision was based upon the University's STEM program graduates exemplary academic performances, high percentage of STEM graduates and the strong research capabilities and opportunities for undergraduate students. Admission into the scholarship program is highly competitive and only the top research universities in the country are chosen to participate. 
Provost's Message Signature: 

Rock Chalk!
  -- Jeff

Jeffrey S. Vitter

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor

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