KU begins work on strategic plan

Ten years ago, when Kansas University created a strategic plan for the turn of the century, the results were as mundane as easier phone dialing across campuses and as philosophical as emphasizing the recruitment of faculty and students of color.

This time around, at a kickoff meeting Tuesday night, Chancellor Robert Hemenway asked administrators, faculty, staff and students to offer a handful of recommendations that could touch on admissions standards, work force development and research.

“This is a very important thing for the university to do because it’s how we prepare for the future,” Hemenway said.

Hemenway created three task forces, composed of members of all four major KU campuses, including vice provost Steve Warren, associate vice provost Lori Reesor, arts and sciences dean Joe Steinmetz, assistant professor of pharmaceutical chemistry Jennifer Laurence, director of telemedicine Gary Doolittle and others, to study how KU serves Kansas, how KU conducts research, and how KU approaches its “fundamental role” of teaching and education.

The task forces will be expected to meet four to five times between now and early April to pull together recommendations to Hemenway and executive vice chancellors Richard Lariviere and Barbara Atkinson. The goal is to be able to implement recommendations by this summer.

Lariviere said this was an urgent time for universities to conduct strategic planning because of the climate that has developed.

“Never in my lifetime have universities like the University of Kansas been subjected to such intense scrutiny, not all of it benevolent,” he said.

Atkinson urged committee members to look at the other planning documents that have been created at KU recently and build from them in formulating a vision for the entire university.

“Look at the broader areas, particularly where you have your own scholarly research,” she said.

In addition to the previously mentioned questions, other possible questions up for consideration include how KU should partner with Kansas communities and what curricular or cocurricular activities could be added at KU that could help students receive the best possible education.