This past year, we have been on a journey as a University to determine Our Path Forward.
Our Path Forward is an initiative revolving around the idea that, together, we can provide the resources we need to meet our mission of service to our students and to our Commonwealth as the University for Kentucky.
In short, we are thoughtfully developing plans to identify sources for $200 million over the next five years to fund our efforts in education, research, service and care.
That’s the amount of money we estimate we need to ensure we keep a UK education accessible and affordable, that we competitively compensate faculty and staff who make this special community work, and that we continue to invest in our students, programs and people so that they can reach their potentials.
To accomplish this goal, teams of faculty, students and staff have been examining issues such as enrollment growth, expanding online and summer education programs, and continuing to increase retention rates, among others.
One program that has particular promise for generating additional savings and revenues is what we call Procure-to-Pay or P2P. I’ve written to you before about these developments, which will allow us to create processes for more efficiently for handling procurement, purchasing and payment activities across the campus.
One of our first efforts in this area has revolved around changes to travel reimbursement and procurement card processes.
Over the next several weeks, we will be discussing with college and unit business officers some of the procedures we will need to implement to put in place initiatives that can generate millions of dollars in savings each year. I’d like to thank Susan Krauss, Mary Fister-Tucker, Barry Swanson, Brian Nichols, and their teams for their work on behalf of this initiative.
There will be some new steps and new processes that will take time to manage, but the results will yield benefits for years to come. In advance, I want to thank the staff – business and budget officers across the campus – who will be charged with the on-the-ground work to implement these new procedures.
The savings we generate can – and will – be invested and reinvested in how we educate our students and how we serve our state through research and care.
Consider one example of why these kinds of initiatives can be so important:
Last week, we announced plans to provide more than 5,000 first-year students with iPad Air devices. The iPads will be pre-loaded with apps that are customized to help these students transition to the rigors of college life. Over the next few years, every first-year student will receive this technology. And we will start a pilot project with faculty, designed to maximize the use of this technology in classrooms and online.
The truth is that technology plays a pivotal, if not foundational, role in our world. The capacity to use technology is increasingly essential to getting and creating jobs. And preparing our students with those skills is essential to our responsibility to educate students and prepare them to lead lives of meaning and purpose.
Implementation of Procure to Pay is critical to the goal we have of determining our own fate and forging our path forward to be the University for Kentucky that we are expected to be.
Have a great week as we reflect on the accomplishments of our faculty, staff, and the more than 5,300 graduates that celebrated commencement this past weekend.
Eric N. Monday