Letter from president, provost, dean on American ethnic studies

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To the Students, Faculty and Staff of Kansas State University:

Last spring we had considerable dialogue on campus regarding the status and future of American ethnic studies. Since then we’ve made significant progress to strengthen this program. The Kansas Board of Regents gave verbal approval for full department status. We anticipate formal written notification soon.

An electronic petition has been circulating that demands additional changes for American ethnic studies and a more inclusive environment for all. We strive to build a community on campus that listens to concerns and develops thoughtful policies and processes for change.

We hear your concerns about having a critical mass of tenure-track faculty for the program. This year, we welcomed two new faculty members, including a new director, Yolanda Broyles-González, a university distinguished professor. Following significant state budget cuts in May, an additional search is on hold.

We hear your concerns about space for American ethnic studies in Leasure Hall. The department head is working with the college to develop a plan to renovate and double the total space.

We hear your concerns about the Arts and Sciences Diversity Committee, which will be canvassing the college’s students and faculty for input on its activities and engagement this semester. Several members are involved in the national search for an assistant dean for diversity, recruiting and retention.

We hear your concerns about the retention and promotion of faculty and staff of color. The university conducted an extensive review of human capital and hiring processes and is restructuring this area, including new leadership. National searches for a human capital officer and a director for equity and access will be launched in the spring.

We hear your concerns for an expanded multicultural student center and have been working with different student groups to discuss options and plans.

A K-State 2025 university diversity strategic plan is being developed by the chief diversity officer and the President’s Commission on Multicultural Affairs. This plan will be released for public comment in late January. We want to be thoughtful and inclusive so that every K-State member feels ownership of the plan.

We hear your concerns and believe that we are all working to get to the same place, and in an environment of limited resources and space, it will take time to get there.

Sincerely,

Kirk Schulz, president


April Mason, senior vice president and provost


Peter Dorhout, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

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