Archive for Thursday, June 24, 2004

Regents approve university performance agreements

June 24, 2004


— For the first time, state higher education institutions have specific guidelines they must follow to receive all of their state funding.

The Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday approved "performance agreements" with each of the state's universities, community colleges and technical schools and colleges that institutions must comply with to receive any new money appropriated for the next fiscal year.

"This is a way to demonstrate how accountable we are," Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway said. "You won't have to take us on faith that we'll meet our goals."

Each of the pacts involves goals in three of four areas:

  • Increasing system efficiency, effectiveness and seamlessness.
  • Improving learner outcomes.
  • Improving work force development.
  • Increasing targeted participation and access.

The agreements submitted in February and approved Wednesday cover the period July 1 to Dec. 31.

Regents will review the goals and outcomes in the spring to determine whether goals were met.

If institutions don't comply with the agreements, they may receive none or part of any statewide increase in higher education funding.

The agreements were mandated in the Higher Education Act of 2002, commonly referred to as Senate Bill 647.

Universities, colleges and schools will submit another set of proposed agreements by July 15, which will cover the entire 2005 year. Those agreements are expected be nearly identical to the set OK'd Wednesday.

Among KU's goals:

  • Cutting information technology costs by 5 percent.
  • Increasing participation in thematic learning communities, which are groups of 20 freshmen to enroll in several courses together, by 250 students.
  • Increasing the number of undergraduate students participating in research.
  • Seeing a half-percent increase in the number of degrees awarded.
  • Increasing the percentage of science and engineering research funding at a rate faster than the national average.

Regent Deryl Wynn, of Kansas City, Kan., singled out KU's goals as one of four agreements that "just knocked our socks off." He especially praised the thematic-learning community goal.

"The way it was articulated, it was a tremendously great goal," he said. "The committee was impressed."

KU Provost David Shulenburger said most of the goals included in the performance agreements already were KU goals.

"A lot of it is continuing," he said. "They wanted us to keep continuing what we're doing."

The Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday approved a statement warning parents and university students of the dangers of bacterial meningitis.The action came after four state university students contracted the disease during the 2003-2004 year -- one died at Wichita State University, two were hospitalized at Pittsburg State University and Andy Marso, a Kansas University senior, remains hospitalized.The statement calls meningitis a "public health threat" and says 14 deaths have been attributed to meningitis in Kansas since 1989.Kathryn Nemeth Tuttle, associate vice provost for student success, said KU had begun sending letters to students who were signing university housing contracts, warning them of meningitis symptoms and recommending they be vaccinated.The letter is in addition to presentations already made at new student orientation sessions.

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