The University of Kansas An Official Employee Publication From the Office of University Relations
 

 

   

Sept. 17, 2004
Vol. 29, No. 3

KU to add soldier’s name to campanile
• Hemenway address: ‘We cannot be silent’
KU ranks among ‘IQ Campuses’
Dance duo
KU announces four Higuchi Awards
Reaccreditation process reveals university strengths, challenges
Family fun
Black writing project brings author to campus
Shulenburger scheduled for UPSA event

Senator saluted
Bluegrass to beats
Sale to benefit Audio-Reader
Employees of the month
KU card
Godzilla takes KU on birthday

NIH, NSF officials to discuss KU research
Brazilian conference is vacation, education
Big Brothers and Big Sisters finds support in KU family, United Way

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Reaccreditation process reveals university strengths, challenges

 

 

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor David Shulenburger discusses challenges facing the university during his address at the Faculty/Staff Convocation Sept. 9. Focus groups meeting in preparation for KU’s 10-year reaccreditation identified a handful of common themes that make KU distinctive.

 

 

R. Steve Dick/University Relations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Provost said common themes arose during accreditation preparation


Focus groups meeting in preparation for KU’s 10-year reaccreditation identified a handful of common themes that make KU distinctive, but Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor David Shulenburger said KU could face challenges in maintaining those qualities.


Shulenburger shared the focus-group findings during convocation Sept. 9 in Budig Hall. The concerns came to light during the university’s self-study process in preparation for accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.


The first challenge, Shulenburger said, relates to KU’s identity.


“KU is the flagship in a state that does not particularly want a flagship,”

Shulenburger said. “Many believe that the University of Kansas has a better reputation nationally than within the state. In telling the KU story to Kansans and their elected representatives, we encounter the sort of populism that is at some level suspicious of excellence and aspirations to excellence.”


KU also faces a more general, nationwide proclivity toward anti-intellectualism.


“It is ironic — indeed, it is tragic — that as the academy continues to make advances to better the health of the planet and its inhabitants, as we gain the knowledge that can enable us to deal more sensitively with the problems confronting us all, political and culture wars impede the application of that knowledge,” Shulenburger said.


Focus groups also identified KU’s international community as an important component of its distinctive culture, as well as hurdles facing KU students from outside the United States and programs that send KU students abroad.


Internally, the university also faces challenges, including an apprehension that KU’s goal of reaching the top 25 among public research universities will damage the sense of community valued by students and faculty.


“Some fear a loss of collegiality and increased competition between KU’s strong focus on undergraduate education and the robust research efforts necessary to advance nationally,” Shulenburger said. “I believe such fear is misplaced.”


Shulenburger also detailed the university’s efforts to fund improvements in infrastructure and to pay for future growth. But, he said, the university had to balance material needs with its responsibility to serve as a model for intelligent planning and green growth.


“Our responsibility is not to advance as an institution for selfish goals but to better our students and our society,” Shulenburger said. “The focus groups showed that we are a community and that we have broad basic agreement about how to tackle the problems in our path while preserving the essence that is the University of Kansas.”

 

   
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