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Developing a Corridor of Discovery

September 28, 2015

Updated Oct. 1, 2015

Faculty, staff, and students:

The shrubbery removal along Naismith Drive as it nears Crescent Road has left a blank canvas from which will rise a striking addition to the University of Kansas: the new Earth, Energy & Environment Center and the start of KU Innovation Way.

In the last Provost eNews, I referred to the liberal arts as the heart and soul of our institution. KU has even more to help complete our portrait of human potential. The sciences and engineering provide mass to KU’s brawn.  And Innovation Way will be the sinew that connects it all.

The EEEC — composed of Ritchie and Slawson Halls — will bring together crucial expertise in disciplines that have the ability to shape our energy-hungry future. Sitting next to Lindley Hall, the project is the embodiment of our Bold Aspirations strategic research theme Sustaining the Planet, Powering the World. Faculty, students, and researchers in geology, engineering, and environmental studies will tackle ongoing and emerging issues in oil and gas exploration, water quality and availability, geothermal energy, and more. The EEEC’s Beren Petroleum Center will serve as a crossroads for public and industry engagement with KU students and faculty. Organizations headquartered at KU — Kansas Geological Survey, the Tertiary Oil Recovery Program, KU Innovation and Collaboration — will be able to showcase some of the best people and ideas KU has to offer.

Respect for tradition, Dedication to excel

The ceremonial groundbreaking in November 2014 recognized the substantial generosity from the Ritchie and Slawson families and others for this $78.5 million structure. Bonding authority from the state has helped this goal jump off the drawing board and join our landscape.

The EEEC will bring additional modernized facilities to campus to help advance several of our strengths and honor KU’s long tradition of exploration and discovery. New laboratories and classrooms will build upon the seven decades of impact at Lindley Hall. The center also increases KU’s active-learning, research, and meeting and conference space by roughly 130,000 square feet, and it will house collaborative space with our industry partners.

Construction of the EEEC also marks the rise of KU Innovation Way. Outlined in the 2014–2024 Campus Master Plan, Innovation Way is the corridor of discovery that connects our people with our possibilities. Natural and life sciences and engineering in the North and Central districts of the Lawrence campus will unite with the School of Pharmacy, the Multidisciplinary Research Building, the Bioscience and Technology Business Center, and others on the West District. Our new Integrated Science Buildings planned for the Central District redevelopment will put KU’s breakthroughs in materials science and life science on display for all — and more importantly, for students. A new student union as well as additional student living communities nearby will enable inquiry and inspire undergraduate research and cross-disciplinary creativity.

KU Innovation Way represents the vision of what KU will be in the decades to come: Inspired, inventive, inclusive, and resourceful. It will boldly transport KU into the future.

Bits and Bytes

  • Last week, KU Endowment announced another great year of support for the University of Kansas. During the 2015 fiscal year, donors and friends of KU contributed more than $250 million in support of our people, programs and places. We can all be thankful for the amazing work KU Endowment has done in support of KU. To date, the Far Above campaign, which will conclude in June 2016, has raised more than $1.45 billion, surpassing the original $1.2 billion goal.
  • First-Year Experience has put out the call for proposals to develop new First-Year Seminar courses. The seminars — which place emphasis on active-learning, interaction, and experiential opportunities — are very popular with incoming students and improve student retention rates. The deadline to submit a proposal for a new seminar is October 15. Interested faculty can also learn more at a First-Year Seminar workshop at noon today, in 135 Budig Hall.
  • Colleagues at the School of Law have put together an important symposium on October 23 to explore legal and regulatory issues surrounding sexual assault on college campuses. Registration for the free Kansas Law Review Symposium is underway.
  • Congratulations to the Staff Fellows announced on September 18. They are undertaking an important task with Human Resource Management that will further KU’s efforts to provide customizable professional development for all staff members.
  • Kudos to the six faculty members awarded grants for service learning courses through the Center for Civic and Social Responsibility. The selected proposals support faculty members who incorporate service-learning projects into their courses. Through the projects, members of the public will experience the caliber of students at KU that we see every day. 
  • Campus Sustainability Week is underway! The Center for Sustainability has several activities on the Lawrence campus to help you make a difference.
  • Upcoming lectures in the Bold Aspirations and Visitor Lecture Series:
    • Chris Beard, Foundation Distinguished Professor at KU, will present “Biogeography and Primate Evolution: Scientific Constraints on Improbably Events” on Tuesday, September 29 at 5:30 p.m. in the Big 12 Room of the Kansas Union.
    • Omar Gudino, University of Denver, will present the Langston Hughes Visiting Professor Lecture titled “Understanding and Eliminating Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Youth Mental Health Service Use” on Wednesday, October 14 at 3:30 p.m. in The Commons of Spooner Hall.
    • Alcides Velasquez, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogota, Colombia, will present the Langston Hughes Visiting Professor Lecture titled “Follow Us: Understanding Social Media Individual and Collective Political Participation and Activism” on Wednesday, October 28 at 3:30 p.m. in The Commons of Spooner Hall.
Provost's Message Signature: 

Rock Chalk!

  -- Jeff

Jeffrey S. Vitter

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor

Follow me on Twitter at @KUProvost

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