Archive for Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Heard on the Hill: Chancellor outlines specific goals in State of the University video; new political website geared toward students; KU-Mizzou game this week inciting some nastiness

January 31, 2012


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• As I foretold, KU released its 2012 State of the University video featuring Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little on Monday.

I listened to the speech with likely a different ear than most — I was looking for tidbits that were new to me or reflected upcoming changes in policies.

The chancellor discussed many upcoming policy changes, but most of those I’d heard of (and reported on) before — including changes to the general education requirements, new scholarships, an early intervention program, along with other stuff, too.

One thing I did notice: This was far and away the most prominently KU displayed its goals as part of its strategic planning. Namely, a first-year retention rate of 90 percent, a six-year graduation rate of 70 percent and increasing current research funding by 40 percent.

So just how bold are these aspirations? Gray-Little didn’t mention where things stand today, but I will.

In fall 2011, KU’s first-year retention rate was 79.9 percent. Going back to 1994, that rate has never been higher than 82.7 percent.

And in 2011, we can count back six years to the freshman class of 2005 to see how many have graduated in six years. It turns out that rate is 60.7 percent. And going back to the freshman class of 1994, that’s near the top of KU’s six-year graduation rates. It’s never been higher than 61.1 percent.

So it’ll be interesting to see whether all this stuff actually works. I’ll be watching, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.


State of the University

• KU is preparing to launch a new website, Political Fiber.

Pam Fine, Knight Chair in news, leadership and community, will lead the site, according to a KU statement.

Fine has used funds from the Knight Chair endowment to hire several recent KU graduates and current students to work on the site, including an editor, Brianne Pfannenstiel, and two full-time reporters, a part-time marketing director, a part-time web editor and a humorist.

The site will aim to provide younger students with political coverage geared toward their needs.

“We say it’s politics for people who hate politics,” Pfannenstiel said in the statement. “Young people care very deeply about important issues but are completely disillusioned with politicians and political bickering. Our site tries to go beyond the day-to-day politics and address students in a way that is meaningful to them.”

The site is scheduled to launch on Wednesday.

• It’s the week where KU plays Missouri in basketball on Saturday, so there’s quite a bit of vitriol being spewed about.

I think it’s even reached a higher pitch than normal, what with Missouri leaving the conference and all.

Missouri’s alumni association even went so far as to feature a drawing for two free tickets to the game if you submit a form that lists “Three Reasons Why I’m Not a Jayhawk.”

And, of course, I’ve heard more than a little friendly (not-so-friendly) sniping at this strange video performed by people who I can only presume actually attend that fine institution of higher learning in Columbia, Mo. At least they know how to use Auto-Tune.


We Are Mizzou

• That’s all the Heard on the Hill you’re going to get for January, but there’s plenty more where that came from, so keep sending those tips to


cabella 6 years, 3 months ago

"• It’s the week where KU plays Missouri in basketball on Sunday, so there’s quite a bit of vitriol being spewed about."

Its played on Saturday.

agrabass 6 years, 3 months ago

White boys attempting to rap...I am embaressed for them.

pizzapete 6 years, 3 months ago

If they would only add a baby, baby, baby, I love you baby, the song would get played every 20 minutes on the lazer.

FlintlockRifle 6 years, 3 months ago

Where is the state of missouri located, must be one of the New 52 states obama visted.

Mark Elzea 6 years, 3 months ago

Andy, looks like you're missing part of a sentence:

"• KU is preparing to launch a new website, Political Fiber, designed to provide students" has no ending (that I can see, anyway).

ahyland 6 years, 3 months ago

Fixed it! Thanks! (I said what I was going to say later on). I'll make it a point to always finish my sentences from now on, because it's very

Donna Kirk-Swaffar 6 years, 3 months ago

Tolerable until they got to that lame cheer. Rock chalk. Word. ;0P

onceinawhile 6 years, 3 months ago

I think KU fans should enter Mizzou's contest for free tickets. Would be hilarious if they won.

Lawrence Morgan 6 years, 3 months ago

Although this video does not address many of the problems KU has (and I am a KU graduate), it is what should have been done years ago. Chancellor Gray-Little presented herself and the University in a very positive light, but some problems were addressed as well.

This video, and comments, should have been afforded a separate article completely on the front page of the Web Site of the Lawrence Journal-World.

Andy Hyland did a great job with this article, but it was mixed in with too many other things, and did not receive the attention it deserves. Please-a separate article and the accompanying video by itself, perhaps with interviews of some of the faculty!

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