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Dr. John Bardo's Presidential Update: January

Dear Shockers:

Ask yourself: What am I looking forward to this semester?

That was an easy question for me to answer when I was a young professor here.

I cherished time with my colleagues, teaching and talking with undergraduates, mentoring grad students, pursuing my research agenda, rooting on the Shockers and watching the campus change from ice and snow to the colors of spring.

Those are still some of my favorite things, but being president adds layers of complexity and takes me off campus more frequently.

So here are some of the things I’m looking forward to from now until June:

  • Engaging with folks across campus on the meaning of innovation. It’s not just a business, science or engineering concept. No one is excused. Higher education will continue to be successful to the degree that innovation becomes part of the mindset in all teaching, research, student service and business practices.
  • While we work on the innovation mindset, we’ll begin to see progress this spring on the east side of campus, where we will begin building the physical infrastructure and announcing partnerships to bring the Innovation Campus to life. County government’s decision last fall to continue mill levy funding for 40 years allowed us to sell bonds to insure construction of the Experiential Engineering building.
  • We’re going to be working with business and government leaders from the 10-county area to identify and enhance innovation clusters to propel the regional economy. We initiated this process, called Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth, to ensure we’re properly identifying industries and job categories that can benefit most from the Innovation Campus. That’s the Learn-Work side of the Innovation Campus equation.
  • We also have a lot of activity on the Live-Play side of the equation. We’re seriously studying the possibility of building different types of housing, including apartments that might be occupied by faculty and staff, on the new campus. Also, we asked everyone in November what types of businesses they’d like to see on campus or nearby. We received more than 4,300 responses, including 1,253 from faculty and staff. Bar, dinner theater and comedy club were among the top vote getters. Prof. Charlie Burdsal and his colleagues at the Social Science Research Laboratory will be analyzing the results. It will give us a lot to talk about with businesses interested in serving the WSU audience.
  • We just learned that WSU will be honored in April with the Spirit of Wichita award from the Chamber. It recognizes long-standing local institutions that have displayed employment stability, leadership, innovation and community involvement over two decades or more.

Thank you for all you do to make this a special place. I hope you take your own inventory of what you’re looking forward to this semester. If you want to share your answers, please send them to: president@wichita.edu.

*View President's January Newsletter

* You can navigate the President's newsletter by using the table of contents on the right of the web page.