By 2015, Kansas University would like all incoming students to have high-quality academic backgrounds, be active in extracurriculars and have a focus on community service.
The university would like all graduates to meet certain benchmarks, such as having an interest and capacity for research, being aware of global issues and diversity, and exhibiting strong communication and interpersonal skills.
As part of an effort to develop a new strategic plan for KU, three task forces developed those recommendations and 15 others to improve KU over the next seven years. The recommendations were released Tuesday by KU so all faculty, staff and students can make comments. The community will be invited to offer similar comments later this summer.
"It's still very much a work in progress," KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway said. "The three task forces met and made these recommendations. Now we've asked people within the university community to respond."
The plan, called Initiative 2015, is the first universitywide strategic planning exercise since Initiative 2001 was created shortly after Hemenway arrived at KU in the mid 1990s, said KU spokesman Kevin Boatright.
Hemenway said he was pleased with recommendations in the report, which centers on three main themes: Teaching and Learning, Discovering and Innovating, and Working for Kansas.
"I think there's a lot of good recommendations from the task forces, but there's no question there will be tweaks and changes," he said.
Hemenway said he would like campus members to have completed reviewing the document by July 1, at which point it could be brought out to the Kansas community at large.
In addition to sketching out the desired qualities for incoming students, it sets out two possible methods for admitting students with those qualities: telling educators that's what KU wants, and convincing the Legislature to adjust admission standards.
"Some of the proposals dealing with admissions may take longer to achieve because we need to work with the Board of Regents and the Legislature," Boatright said.
But other proposals in the strategic plan could be implemented soon. Among those are identifying the skills that every graduate should have.
Learner outcomes, as this is sometimes known, has been a major issue nationally and is a focus of the Kansas Board of Regents.
"There's no reason why we too shouldn't have a focus on that," Hemenway said.
Initiative 2015 is designed to coincide with the next accreditation of the university. When the university was accredited in 2005, some issues identified included those addressed in the report.
Boatright said, however, 2015 shouldn't be seen as a deadline but as a target.