A compromise mission statement for the state university system drafted Monday should resolve concerns among faculty that the Kansas Board of Regents is trying to centralize control of universities, a regents' official said today.
The mission statement prepared by a committee appointed by regents, if approved by the board, will guide decision-making at Kansas University and five other state universities in the 1990s.
"We've moved away from the centralization issue," said Stanley Koplik, regents executive director.
The compromise statement doesn't include a proposal that would have allowed regents to one day distribute all state funding to universities. Currently, the Legislature decides how much goes to each state university.
University faculty had expressed alarm about the funding proposal and other elements of a draft mission statement prepared by regents' staff, claiming it amounted to a power grab by the board.
Del Brinkman, vice chancellor for academic affairs at Kansas University and a member of the committee formed by the regents, said he supports the compromise statement.
"We came up with a document that I think everybody pretty much agrees, under the circumstances, is an acceptable one," he said.
Brinkman was KU's representative on the committee, which met in Salina.
The statement addresses administration, academic programs, faculty achievement, the student experience, tuition, and facilities and equipment.
Regents, students and university officials have debated revisions of the mission statement for months. At several regents' meetings, the debate turned confrontational.
"This was probably the most positive meeting that has occured during all this," Brinkman said.
"I think we're building a strong strategic plan for the regents' system that will serve us well," Koplik said.
Committee members had been instructed by regents to present a compromise to the board this month. But regents agreed to delay a vote on the compromise until January.
Brinkman said that will allow the document to circulate among student and faculty governance groups before a final decision by regents.
The committee, which includes faculty, students, regents and university presidents, was formed last month to break a deadlock over contents of the statement.
At odds were a version drafted by regents' staff and an alternative composed by university officials on the Council of Presidents and the Council of Chief Academic Officers.
The COP/COCOA document was used as a starting point during Monday's meeting. Regents on the committee offered several dozen amendments, Brinkman said.
He said key issues discussed at the meeting were academic program review and the idea of basing budget decisions on academic performance.
It was decided the existing program review process shouldn't be changed until after university programs are reviewed next year, Brinkman said.
He said the regents' plan to base budget allocations on a wide range of performance indicators student retention, for example was dropped.
"We agreed not to do that. But there will be a committee formed by regents to study performance-based funding," he said.
After a systemwide mission statement is adopted by regents, mission statements for each university will be rewritten. Existing statements were adopted in 1986.