The Kansas Board of Regents has scheduled a three-day retreat this week, mapping out goals with higher education chief executives and Gov. Sam Brownback.
“We’ll be starting early and staying late,” said Regent Chairman Ed McKechnie of Arcadia.
The retreat will start today and end Wednesday with meetings in Arcadia and Pittsburg.
Brownback has been outspoken in calling for improvements in the higher education system, linking the performance of the state’s post-secondary institutions to the health of the Kansas economy.
“Our institutions of higher education are major drivers of economic growth in our state,” Brownback said. “The regents are a key part of our long-term strategy to create good jobs in Kansas.”
Recently, he appointed three new regents members: Fred Logan Jr. of Leawood, Robba Addison Moran of Hays and Kenny Wilk of Lansing.
For those three, the retreat will be their first regents meeting.
The nine-member board is the governing board of the state’s six public universities, including Kansas University, and the coordinating board for the state’s 32 public higher education institutions.
This comprises seven public universities, 19 community colleges and six technical colleges.
Brownback will meet with the regents Wednesday during a discussion of board goals for the year.
On Tuesday, the board will meet with officials from the regents universities, including Kansas University, and discuss its strategy for dealing with the Legislature.
Today, the board will go over long-term goals, performance agreements with schools and other governance issues.
During these tight budget times, McKechnie said he believes the schools are going to have to ensure they are operating as efficiently as possible and focusing on areas that will help the economy.
He said that personally, he would like to move toward getting pay raises for faculty because some have not seen a raise for two years.
And, he said, the higher education system as a whole needs to do a better job telling its story.
“There are good things happening every day, and there are improvements that are needed. Everyone loves their university, but everyone has questions about where higher education is going,” he said.