When a group of state lawmakers visited campus on Oct. 24, PSU President Steve Scott worked hard to reassure them that the university has been a good steward of the state tax dollars sent to PSU and that those dollars are a solid investment in the future.
He had another message, as well: The cuts are harmful. He noted the university is falling behind in its efforts to compete for top flight faculty in addition to the challenges by the failure to provide overall cost of living raises for classified staff since 2009. President Scott made a compelling case for investing state funding in Pittsburg State University, and he asked the legislators to steer clear of decisions and rhetoric that serve to devalue the contributions of the 900-plus employees who make Pittsburg State such a special place.
The event was just one stop on a tour by a group of House and Senate lawmakers to every university in the state. Prior to their visit, the legislators submitted scores of questions on a wide variety of academic and budget topics. The university’s response ran to 36 pages.
The visit began with a presentation about the university from Scott, who touched on seven themes. Those included the university’s mission as a regional, comprehensive institution with international reach and impact; it’s hands-on approach to learning; the strong partnerships the university has with educational, municipal and industrial partners; its alignment with the needs of industry through advisory councils; the university’s stewardship in managing resources and leveraging private dollars; its commitment to excellence as is demonstrated by external accreditation and the fact that employers seek out PSU graduates; and the university’s strategic and managed growth.
The presentation also included comments from Pittsburg Mayor Michael Gray, who talked about the strong working relationship between the city and the university; and Ivan Crossland Jr., who talked about the importance of PSU graduates to the growth of his company and the ways that Crossland Construction partners with PSU to ensure a stream of well-qualified graduates for the future.
Following the presentation, Scott, Provost Lynette Olson, and vice presidents John Patterson and Brett Hodson answered questions from the legislators.
The legislators toured the Kansas Technology Center and made a stop at the Kansas Polymer Research Center before leaving.
PSU administrators said they were generally very pleased with the visit by state legislators on Oct. 24 and hoped the lawmakers left with a positive impression of the university.
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