There’s one more week left in the semester and one final flurry of activity before the university becomes a much quieter place for a few weeks.
Of course, this week is one of the most stressful of the semester for our students. Please don’t forget to give that extra bit of encouragement to those who are taking finals this week, as well as to colleagues who will be striving to grade those finals in time to turn in grades.
The fact that we’re ending the semester with a rush of activity is fitting, given how busy the entire university has been these past several months.
KU’s most academically talented and diverse incoming class arrived on campus in August, and as part of that class, we welcomed a record number of international students. We also welcomed a new provost and two new deans, and this semester started searches for new leaders for two other schools.
Meanwhile, our pharmacy students began studying in a state-of-the-art building across the street from the new bioscience and technology incubator that will help share KU discoveries with the world. The School of Medicine announced it was expanding its Wichita program and adding a new program in Salina, while the Medical Center takes its proposal for a new School of Public Health to the Board of Regents this week.
This semester also saw our researchers and scholars earn awards and grants in a wide range of areas, including grants to educate foreign language and international area specialists and funding for the School of Social Welfare to help reunite families. And the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation received the largest grant in KU history, earning $22 million to develop a new assessment system for special education students in 11 states.
As a university, we should all be proud of these and the many other achievements too numerous to list here. But we also all have high aspirations for KU’s future and the work done during this semester is setting the stage for us to foster excellence across the university.
The strategic planning and implementation process is well under way, and I appreciate the input and involvement of the university community in an effort that is vital to our future success. Similarly, planning for our next capital campaign is moving forward at a brisk pace and that campaign will help provide the margin of excellence KU needs to achieve its goals.
This time of the year is known as a season of giving; one reason I am proud to be chancellor of this university is that you give of your time and talents throughout the year. Through your work at KU, each of you gives to our students, our state and nation, and to the world as a whole.
I hope you and your families have a joyous holiday season and I look forward to working with you to build on KU’s momentum in the coming year.