The top official of the Kansas Board of Regents says public universities are learning about the corporate way of management.
The Kansas Board of Regents is taking a page from the corporate playbook in an effort to improve the state's six public universities.
Stephen Jordan, executive director of the board, said Monday in a speech to the Lawrence Rotary Club that regents were following the corporate activist trend toward greater involvement in the nitty-gritty of managing Kansas University and the other regents' schools.
"They are involving themselves in aspects of the institutions' activities previously beyond their reach," he told about 100 people at the Lawrence Holidome.
Jordan said regents had recently set new standards for evaluating university faculty for promotion and pay raises. Regents also are working to reduce administrative costs on the campuses, he said.
The board is committed to enhancing the undergraduate student learning environment, he said. It also wants to prove to the state's residents that universities contribute to the Kansas economy, he said.
"This new corporate activism and emphasis on board accountability certainly applies to the Kansas Board of Regents," Jordan said.
The board is the policy-making body for KU and the state's five other public universities with responsibility for management of budgets, facilities, academic affairs, student programs and legal affairs. There are nine regents, including Dr. John Hiebert of Lawrence.
Jordan said the universities made significant contributions to the state through academic degree programs, outreach projects and cultural activities.
"There are ominous signs, however," he said, "that the ensemble of higher education institutions in Kansas faces serious challenges in their ability to meet the emerging needs of the state."
He said obstacles included the prospect of zero or modest state budget increases, public doubt about the quality of undergraduate instruction and rising demand for sophisticated learning technologies.