KU News Release

Dec. 14, 2011
Contact: Jack Martin, Office of Public Affairs, 785-864-7100

Chancellor outlines KU's Bold Aspirations

TOPEKA – The University of Kansas has bold aspirations for its future and how the university will benefit students, Kansans and the world, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little told the Board of Regents today.

Gray-Little presented the university’s strategic plan, Bold Aspirations, to the Regents, detailing the goals KU has set for the next decade in areas ranging from ensuring more students graduate on time to conducting more world-changing research.

“As the state’s flagship university, our mission is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that will change the world,” Gray-Little said. “Our aspirations will enable us to excel in that mission, which will have benefits for students and Kansans.”

“Achieving these aspirations will also ensure KU is recognized as a top-tier public international research university, which will be a point of pride for our state,” she said.

KU’s three areas of emphasis:

Educating Leaders: Enhancing the recruitment and education of students so that they graduate on time and go on to contribute to the economy and well-being of Kansas. This includes the creation of a new curriculum involving experiences like undergraduate research and study abroad. It also includes meeting the needs of Kansas businesses and communities, such as through the expansions of KU programs in pharmacy, medicine and engineering.

Building Healthy Communities: Contributing to the health and prosperity of the state in areas ranging from access to new treatments to efforts to create sustainable prosperity. Initiatives like the KU Cancer Center, a new project to create biochemicals from plant matter, expanding access to the arts and humanities, and the continued growth of the state’s largest business incubator network are all examples of how KU works for Kansas.

Making Discoveries That Will Change the World: Raising the scholarly productivity of faculty and focusing KU’s research efforts on four strategic themes: promoting sustainable prosperity, improving health, harnessing information technology and expanding community opportunities. KU is seeking support from policymakers for the recruitment of foundation professors across disciplines who will lead these efforts that will have benefits for Kansans and the world.

Gray-Little’s presentation set out specific aspirations that the university will strive to achieve, such as improvements in student retention and graduation rates, advances in entrepreneurship and commercialization, and growth in faculty research and awards.

She also said that KU’s efforts will be strengthened by Changing for Excellence, an ongoing project to improve the university’s operational efficiency and redirect resources from administrative functions to teaching and research.

They’ll also be supported by Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, which is a comprehensive fundraising campaign that will have its public launch in April 2012.

More information about Bold Aspirations, including slides from Gray-Little’s presentation, can be found here.


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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