When the university set into motion its 2025 Refresh Visionary Plan, a pandemic was not a foreseen obstacle.
However, Kansas State’s goal of becoming a premier, student-centered, public research university serving communities at home and across the globe through the land-grant mission is still intact.
“We believe that the COVID-19 pandemic and the transition to online learning reaffirms this goal,” Lynn Carlin, special assistant to the provost, said via email. “We want to provide the best, most accessible education we can for students, meeting them wherever they are. This pandemic only strengthens our commitment to broadening the educational opportunities we offer students.”
By being a cyber land-grant university, K-State can mobilize and develop technologies to better serve students.
“We will innovate in the academic programs offered and delivery modes in which we offer them,” Carlin said. “This includes on-campus, online and mixed modalities.”
Karen Pedersen, dean of the K-State Global Campus, said the university employs over 700 faculty members that at one point in their teaching careers have taught courses completely online.
Pedersen believes K-State is taking the necessary steps as a university into the future and cited a line from the 2025 Refresh Visionary Statement that reads, “We harness the power of innovative learning, discovery and engagement to transform talented people into true champions.”
“I think the situation that we find ourselves in today where we need to move classes to remote learning and remote teaching exemplifies this line from the visionary statement,” Pedersen said. “We are living it as we find ourselves today.”
This experience will provide lessons which will benefit the Global Campus and students in the future, Pedersen said.
“I think that this is the value that we are going to see,” Pedersen said. “When we are pushed to do something different, in this case it wasn’t by choice for faculty or for students, but it does sort of prompt us to think differently about how we might approach our teaching in the future — how we might look differently about how we position ourselves for success as students.”
Hannah Heatherman, senior in finance and organizational management and speaker of student senate, previously sat on the Academic Continuity Working Group led by Provost Charles Taber. The group focused on how to best educate students during unprecedented times.
Throughout her time in SGA, Heatherman said this is the most impressive work she has seen from K-State’s faculty, staff and administrators.
“It’s just been incredible to see everybody come to the table so quickly and diligently,” Heatherman said. “That’s just the K-State way and it’s really cool to see us be a leader during this time.”