FHSU president commits university to theme of 'engagement'

HAYS, KS -- "Engagement" is President Edward H. Hammond's theme for the 2005-2006 academic year for Fort Hays State University.
"I define engagement as a 'process that promises or pledges to employ one's efforts to achieve an agreed-to end,' " said Hammond, speaking this morning at the General Meeting for Faculty and Administration in Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center in Sheridan Hall.
"Our promise remains Affordable Success, and we see it as an obligation to our students, on campus and off," said Hammond.
Hammond's tradition is to announce the theme for the coming year in his State of the University address at the annual fall general faculty meeting.
The annual fall general faculty meeting is also the occasion when faculty members are honored with the three top awards given by FHSU.
Hammond named Dr. Jerry Choate, professor of biological sciences and director of the university's Sternberg Museum of Natural History, as the winner of the 2005 President's Distinguished Scholar Award, the university's highest honor.
University Provost Larry Gould introduced Dr. Paul Adams, the endowed Anschutz Professor of Education and professor of physics, as the 2005 Faculty Member of the Year and Dr. Fred Britten, professor of communication disorders, as the Edmund Shearer Faculty Advisor of the Year.
The meeting also featured remarks by Gould and by the president of the Faculty Senate, Dr. Win Jordan, assistant professor of accounting and information systems.
Citing the book "Built to Last" by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras, a study of 18 high-performing companies, Hammond said the two qualities all 18 companies had in common was being very clear about the mission and aligning everyone in the company to support the outcome.
"Those are both characteristics of FHSU," said Hammond, "and they explain why we have been successful. For our success to continue, we must be totally engaged in the five goals that make up our performance agreement with the Kansas Board of Regents."
Those goals are improving student engagement in learning; developing a quality mobile computing, teaching and learning environment; meeting the needs of Kansans for virtual education; increasing Hispanic student participation; and participating meaningfully in the American Democracy Project.
Hammond reminded the audience that he predicted in this forum five years ago that FHSU would reach record enrollments of 5,000 students on campus and 5,000 students in the Virtual College by the year 2005.
"Based on early indicators," he said, "it appears my prediction will come true and Fort Hays State University will serve 10,000 students during the 2005-2006 academic year."

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