Kansas State showed itself to be a university on the rise in 2012.
Records set during the year include 24,378 students enrolled this fall, $121 million in donations in fiscal year 2012, $25.8 million in athletic support and the participation of 91,975 alumni in various ways.
With the growth in students comes the need for more living space. K-State president Kirk Schulz told the Mercury in May that he expects to open the first new student dormitory on campus in a half century within the next two to three years.
In the meantime, the university developed new spaces for its students to live such as the Living Community at Claflin, which is exclusive to students who have already lived in a K-State residence hall and have elected to return for the academic year.
The university entered into a minimum two-year lease agreement with Elsey Partners LLC on the 104-bedroom property for the community. There are also three new apartment buildings at Jardine Apartments, the university’s apartment complex.
The university continues to develop K-State 2025, the goal set by Schulz for K-State to become a top-50 public research institution by 2025.
Launched in February 2010, the plan has been developed and refined through focus groups including various campus leaders. After developing a university-wide plan during fall 2011 and spring 2012 semesters, each college and unit will spend this academic year developing their own plans on how they’ll meet K-State 2025 goals.
Officials are using eight metrics to determine whether the university is meeting its goal of advancing from its current spot between 80 and 90 among public research universities:
* Total research and development expenditures
* Total endowment
* Number of national academy members
* Number of defined faculty awards
* Number of doctorates granted annually
* Freshman-to-sophomore retention rate
* Six-year graduation rate
* Percent of undergraduate students involved in research
As the university moves towards this goal, it has received some love for various rankings.
K-State’s student population, including its international students, helped Manhattan rank number 14 on the American Institute for Economic Research College Destinations Index among college towns under 250,000 residents. The index considered academic environment, quality of life and professional opportunities.
The Princeton Review’s Best 377 Colleges list features the university, ranking it highly in various categories, including second for campus/community relations, fourth for quality of life, eighth for happiest students, 12th for best-run colleges, 13th for student love for their college, 14th for jock schools and 16th for most religious students.
Earlier this year, Kansas State was named a top-75 public university in terms of best value for education in the Princeton Review’s book, “The Best Value Colleges: 2012 Edition.”
The university also made Forbes’ 2012 America’s Top Colleges list, which includes 650 colleges, and the U.S. News and World Reportís best colleges list as a top 70 public university and 139 overall, up four spots from last year. The U.S. News and World Report list also ranked the College of Engineering 75th in undergraduate engineering programs.
The university has continued to grow in other ways as well.
K-State set up its third international recruitment office this spring in Vietnam, which comes after China in 2006 and India in 2008. K-State is using the services of Capstone Vietnam, a company that offers recruiting and networking help to other higher education institutions.
The College of Human Ecology is utilizing the 16,000-square-foot addition to Justin Hall. The new space, which was completed in time for the fall semester, has classrooms, conference rooms and a student services center area.
The College of Arts and Science gained a new school in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance, which started this fall. The new combination that forms the school has approximately 500 majors/minors.
Gary Mortenson, the director of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance, said putting the three departments together for a school can increase the status of the university’s arts and the chances of donations.
Schulz has said it’s clear that future of funding will involve getting more private donations and additional state money for specific initiatives rather than across-the-board increases.
Last year, the initiatives funded by the state included $5 million for K-State veterinary medicine to increase the number of faculty and research staff support staff, research equipment and graduate student enhancement.
Gov. Sam Brownback told the Kansas Board of Regents in November that the Legislature doesn’t like increasing funding broadly but will provide targeted funds for initiatives.
Earlier in the fall, a group of professional alumni and student photographers participated in “We Are K-State,” a project documenting a week at K-State.
It was inspired by the 1986 book “A Week at K-State: Photographs of College Life,” which showcased photos taken by professional alumni and student photographers over the course of seven days.
Progress of the project can be followed at wearekstate.com, where the final project will be posted. The plan is to utilize an interactive website with images and video, book and mobile phone application to showcase the photos.
The project will be a part of the university’s 150th anniversary festivities in 2013. K-State is preparing for a nine-month sesquicentennial celebration with various events Feb. 14-17.t like increasing funding broadly but will provide targeted funds for initiatives.
Earlier in the fall, a group of professional alumni and student photographers participated in