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Archive for Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Canceled tour

Kansas University’s Wheat State Whirlwind Tour was more than a vacation for faculty members.

February 18, 2009

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It’s unfortunate that economic conditions have caused Kansas University officials to cancel the annual Wheat State Whirlwind Tour, which gives 40 to 50 KU faculty members a first-hand look at various parts of the state.

The tour was started in 1997 and has been a great success.

Far too many faculty members have little knowledge about the state and where their students come from. This also is true of too many administrators who, along with the teachers, tend to believe there really isn’t much to the state west of Topeka.

Most KU teachers are not native Kansans, and they don’t know much about Kansas.

The Wheat State tour let some fortunate faculty members board a luxury bus and spend the better part of a week traveling about 1,000 miles throughout the state. They got a first-hand introduction to feedlots, livestock operations and aircraft manufacturing facilities. They saw the Hutchinson salt mines, the Eisenhower museum and Kansas oilfields and visited with ranchers, farmers and small business owners. Some even have been treated to delicious homemade pecan pies baked by a loyal KU alumna. They saw many of the state’s assets, as well as some of its needs.

University officials apparently think saving $10,000 of state money is more important than taking the tour, at least in current conditions. Another $17,000 was provided by the KU Endowment Association, and Endowment officials evidently also decided they did not want to increase their funding to make up for the loss of state money.

Whatever the case, it is too bad the tour was canceled. More KU faculty members need to know more about the state and more Kansans scattered throughout the state need to meet and visit with more KU teachers and administrators. There is far too much about Kansas and its people that KU faculty members and administrators don’t know, understand and appreciate.

Hopefully, the people who call the shots at KU will recognize the importance of the tour and figure out a way to get the bus back on the road next year.

Comments

Phillbert 5 years, 10 months ago

During a time when every institution in the economy is trying to be more efficient, I suppose one has to admire the LJW for efficiently fitting so many gratuitous attacks on KU employees into one editorial.

If keeping the tour going is so important, one would think the wealthy owners of the World Company media empire would be able to foot the bill for what they claim is a minor cost.

Bob_Keeshan 5 years, 10 months ago

I can see it now - The KU Wheat State Tour, presented by Dolph.

That's the best idea you'll see on this site all year.

Jandana 5 years, 10 months ago

Excellent program. There are many alternatives. Why don't the people who go on the tour pay for the tour, or at least part of it? Or create an exchange program where faculty live in different parts of the state for a couple of weeks. Alumnae would provide housing and the faculty would pay for "board," food, etc. The faculty could share their experience in a report (w/ AV) at an event in an auditorium-style program. It's in the best interest of the faculty to know their students.

Tammy Copp-Barta 5 years, 10 months ago

While I think it is a neat trek, most of these faculty make pretty good money. They can always buy a copy of "Roadside Kansas" and jump in their own car at their own expense and travel Kansas. Course it's not the high dollar "luxury liner" they may be used to ..

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