The start of the academic year is a time of renewal. As we welcome new students, faculty and staff to the University of Kansas, we’re also welcoming new ideas, energy and perspectives to our community of scholars.
I encourage you to take time to welcome our new Jayhawks. Our university can be a big place, especially for new students, and the Office of First-Year Experience has a range of programs to help students successfully make the transition to college. But a kind word or help finding a building can go a long way toward ensuring the newest members of our community feel at home.
The start of the year is also the beginning of the KU Core Curriculum. For the first time, all KU undergraduates will achieve the same learning outcomes alongside studies for their degrees and in their majors. They will all have the opportunity to tailor their education to their interests and life goals, and will all be encouraged to take part in experiences that build upon what they learn in the classroom.
The KU Core is launching on schedule thanks to tremendous work by individuals across the university, and will prepare our students for success in their fields of study and in their lives after graduation. Thank you to everyone who helped make this aspiration a reality.
This fall we are also continuing the multidisciplinary scholarship that is at the heart of Bold Aspirations’ efforts to enhance research at KU. Workshops building on the four strategic initiative themes identified by the university community are being developed, with the first workshop focusing on an increasingly precious resource: water.
These workshops, as well as resources such as the grants offered for scholarship related to the strategic initiative themes, will help us better fulfill our mission as a research university.
Finally, I want to touch on the ongoing debate regarding the role and value of public higher education, and the discussions regarding the university’s state funding in the wake of the budget cuts passed in June.
As those discussions continue, including during visits to the university by legislators later this fall, it is important we stay focused on our mission as the state’s flagship university. Our ability to achieve that mission—to educate leaders, build healthy communities and make discoveries that change the world—is the best demonstration of our value to the students and state we serve.
Whether you have been part of our university for days or decades, I want to thank you for choosing to join our community, and wish you a successful start to the new academic year.