When a finely tuned machine works beautifully, it is easy to take it for granted. We have seen an example of something working beautifully this fall on Mount Oread. The Kansas Board of Regents have released the official counts for the year:
¢ a record total enrollment of 30,102;
¢ a record freshman class of 4,483;
¢ a record ACT score of 24.8 for that freshman class; and
¢ a record number of minorities enrolled in this biggest, smartest class yet.
There are lots of explanations for this dramatic growth: the tuition compact that holds tuition steady for four years for each freshman class; better, more aggressive recruiting by the admissions office; KU's superb reputation nationally among high school counselors; and the growing awareness of the remarkable quality of the education offered by a fine faculty.
Absorbing record numbers of smart students is a challenge. The residence halls are full - completely. Still, the university housing staff managed to eliminate the waiting lists before the beginning of class. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the university advising staff found classes for students, classrooms for teachers, and did so with efficiency, good humor and effectiveness. Faculty adjusted schedules, class sizes, teaching loads, and added sections and labs as needed with speed, skill and dedication to high-quality instruction. The KU Card Center processed 600 students a day and did so without creating long waiting lines.
At every turn, KU showed how to meet the challenges of sudden increases in enrollment.
I have extensive experience elsewhere with record numbers of students, but I have never seen a better display of effective hard work and sheer competence than the KU faculty and staff showed in preparing for this record enrollment. The people of the state of Kansas deserve this kind of competence, but they also deserve to know that the staff and faculty of KU are delivering it for them.
In addition to being very proud of the affirmation of the quality of KU that lies in the record numbers of great students who have come to KU, in addition to the athletic championships, the debate championships, and the research distinction of KU, it is only right that we celebrate the champions of the KU staff who make KU work like a finely tuned machine.