Throughout the spring, we have shared with the campus details of an important conversation underway at UK to ensure a bright financial future for our university community.
We are calling it “Our Path Forward.”
At the direction of President Capilouto, Executive Vice President Monday and I are leading several teams of faculty, staff, administrators, and students tasked with generating ideas around core concepts, as part of our efforts to plan a long-term financial path for the University of Kentucky.
This process began with an open dialogue with the Deans Council last fall, when we asked them to identify future funding needs. The exercise was not guided by minimum financial needs, but, rather, what it would take to achieve new levels of excellence and our strategic plan goals. As we moved forward, five collaborative teams identified 34 concepts to generate recurring revenue, net savings, and/or new opportunities.
We identified a nearly $200 million gap over the next five years that represents the divide between anticipated resources and the cost of continuing our work toward achieving the goals outlined in our Strategic Plan. We undertake these efforts against the backdrop of reductions in state funding.
Substantial increases in tuition is not the answer. You see that reflected in our proposed budget—which includes the lowest tuition increase in decades—and which the Board of Trustees approved last week. Access to an affordable, high-quality college credential is fundamental to our strategic plan and our mission as a flagship and land grant research university.
Rather, we’ve asked ourselves:
- Can we grow enrollment strategically over the next five years to educate more students and generate new resources for reinvestment in our campus and our academic enterprise, while maintaining quality?
- What other initiatives – whether through innovations in online learning; broader and more diverse options for accessing necessary coursework; new graduate programs that meet specific workforce needs; or helping more students who are close to a degree complete their work – can we implement to increase student success and generate new resources?
- Where can we generate more savings in our operations? We have been innovators in creating more energy-efficient buildings and managing revenues more effectively. Are there other sources of savings we can find by working even smarter?
- Is there important administrative work that can be shared or support that can be provided in ways that make us more productive? Are there new opportunities for central services that can support the innovative work happening in our colleges?
- How do these new initiatives align with our Strategic Plan?
To support Our Path Forward and other initiatives in the Office of the Provost, I am pleased to announce that two members of the University community will assume new leadership roles beginning July 1, 2018.
First, Kathi Kern has been selected as the Associate Provost for Teaching, Learning, and Innovation. An outstanding historian, teacher, and administrator, Kathi has led pedagogical innovation on our campus since 2010 as the Director of the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching. In 2016 her responsibilities expanded to include the Academic Preparation and Placement Program, various peer tutoring programs, and academic coaching. Throughout the spring, Kathi provided invaluable effort and vision as part of our long-term financial planning process—the “Our Path Forward” initiative.
For Our Path Forward to progress, we require visionary leadership in teaching, learning, and innovation—with a focus on expanding UK’s online programs, innovative professional master’s programs, and supporting development of “completer degrees,” which enable former students with substantial credit from UK to finish a degree. Kathi brings the expertise to support these innovations.
In addition to continuing to support initiatives under Our Path Forward, Kathi will lead initiatives focused on dynamic pedagogical change, effective teaching by faculty and graduate students, curricular redesign to promote student-centered learning, innovative program design, and creative approaches to assessing the effectiveness of teaching and learning strategies. She also will focus on creating new pathways for Kentucky citizens to access the resources of the University. This will provide avenues for deeper collaboration between the University and industry partners, aligning educational pathways with workforce needs of the future. Her work will align with the University’s long-term enrollment strategies.
I am also pleased to announce that Larry Holloway has been selected as UK’s Vice Provost. Larry has an outstanding record of research, teaching, and public service as a faculty member in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Larry also has demonstrated exceptional leadership and administrative ability in his roles as Interim Dean of the College of Engineering, Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Director of the Power and Energy Institute of Kentucky.
As Vice Provost, he will serve as the primary liaison between the Office of the Provost and the academic units. In the liaison role, he will analyze and prioritize requests from academic units and, in consultation with the Associate Provost for Finance and Operations, he will make decision recommendations to me for final consideration. In addition, he will be authorized to make a myriad of routine decisions from the colleges on my behalf and will be on the front line of addressing complex issues that arise. He will also lead or support selected university-level and provost-level initiatives.
Larry has been instrumental in facilitating the discussion, analysis, and synthesis of feedback received by our academic leadership throughout the Our Path Forward process. With his insight, we successfully identified and prioritized plans for new academic programs and expansion. In that context, he has proven himself to be exceptionally skilled at building business plans in support of growth or new programs. Thus, he will also continue to provide this support to Our Path Forward and will work with Kathi and others in the Office of the Provost and the Office of the EVPFA to build and support the “entrepreneurial ecosystem” we require to meet the ambitious goals of the five-year financial plan.
Join me in welcoming Dr. Holloway and Dr. Kern to their new positions.