- Is the realignment a result of decreases in state appropriations?
- Why are you eliminating positions?
- If UK is making so much progress, why is there a need for the realignment?
- How does the realignment fit into the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan for the University?
- What are some of the major changes that people are going to really notice?
- Students don't differentiate between the experiences inside and outside the classroom in their college careers. Is this initiative more closely aligning those parts of the college experience?
- What is the imperative regarding the graduation rate?
No. We have been planning the realignment for months, long before any budget reductions were contemplated. These changes are guided by the Strategic Plan, which was adopted by the Board of Trustees in October 2015, and focuses on improving student success.
As part of our planning process, we review our priorities and expenditures on an annual basis. Each year, when and where appropriate, we make adjustments to further invest in what is most important to a flagship university: student success, research and discovery, community engagement, and quality health care.
However, decreases in state appropriations mean that some of the dollars we wanted to invest directly in student success and our Strategic Plan have to be used to fill a larger gap between resources and critical investments.
Workforce reductions are not a numbers game; these are people who are part of our family, and we approach any decision of this magnitude with consideration and compassion. The realignment occurring across campus may affect up to 75 positions.
We are working to align resources with our priority to improve student success and build a culture of academic excellence. The realignment will push more resources from administration to frontline staff working with and directly supporting our students on a regular basis.
Our actions will include position eliminations, as well as the reclassification of existing positions and creation of new positions.
The Office of the Provost is realigning our resources to reach higher levels student success by pushing more of our resources away from administration, to frontline student services that support success.
We have built incredible momentum in the last several years. We are educating more students, treating more patients, and providing more service than at any time in our 150-year history.
But we can, must, and will do more. Our goals include retention rates of about 90 percent, graduation rates of 70 percent, and significant closure of the gap in retention and graduation rates that exist for underrepresented student populations.
We need a dedicated stream of coordinated resources, faculty, and staff to achieve the progress we desire.
The Strategic Plan sets ambitious targets for improving retention and graduation rates for our students. It also calls us to close the achievement gap for underrepresented minority students and low-income students.
Our research tells us that student success is built on four pillars: academic success, financial stability, belonging and engagement, and wellness. The realignment is designed to meet these four pillars by directing more resources to frontline student support services and staff in a more coordinated, collaborative, and consolidated way.
For more information on our Strategic Plan goals for student success, please visit: http://www.uky.edu/sotu/2015-2020-strategic-plan
Change related to the realignment is already evident in some parts of our campus. We know, for example, that there is student demand for greater access to our Counseling Center. Part of the realignment includes significantly expanding the staff in this important student resource.
In addition, UK recently started a financial wellness program to help students manage financial issues - not just related to college, but related to various stages of life.
Over the next several months, more will be done to enhance the four areas of student success: academic success, financial stability, belonging and engagement, and wellness. The other change that will take shape throughout the realignment is an increasingly higher profile of the academic colleges in the life of the student.
Students don't differentiate between the experiences inside and outside the classroom in their college careers. Is this initiative more closely aligning those parts of the college experience?
Yes. We know that learning occurs both inside and beyond the classroom. Our curricular programs - formal courses and classroom experiences - must be more aligned with co-curricular programs like the Common Reading Experience, student engagement, undergraduate research, education abroad, and service-learning opportunities, to name a few. The realignment will bring those related components of a college experience closer together.
When we admit a student, we are making a commitment that the student will graduate from UK with a quality degree. Our students – and their families – have an expectation that they will finish in four years, prepared to enter the workforce.
To fulfill this commitment, we have to provide curriculum in those early critical years so that, should the students change majors, we can keep them on path to a timely graduation. To succeed, we have to offer a personalized level of support and know the unique academic and non-academic needs of the students.
You can't divorce that imperative from the financial imperative of earning a degree in four years. Students and families invest significant resources in pursuit of a college degree, and they should have a reasonable expectation that they will receive the resources necessary to earn that degree.
The realignment - built on this holistic approach to student success - will further position UK to meet these parallel imperatives.