Contrasting where Fort Hays State University was when he first came here 20 years ago with where it is now, FHSU President Edward H. Hammond said today it is time to "Dare to Dream" and introduced the phrase as the theme of the 2007-2008 academic year.
Hammond spoke this morning at the General Meeting for Faculty and Administration in Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center in Sheridan Hall. His tradition is to announce the theme for the coming year in his State of the University address at the annual fall meeting.
"Dare to Dream" was set against the backdrop of a project team to "review and rethink" the organization of the university, an initiative he began in April. The team spent the summer gathering input from across the campus and will issue a set of recommendations by Aug. 31.
"We will spend the first few months of the fall, you and I, reviewing those recommendations," he told about 300 assembled faculty members.
He contrasted 1988, when FHSU had a little more than 4,800 students, a budget of $31 million, and issued less than 1,000 degrees at Commencement, to the present, with almost 10,000 students, a budget that has more than doubled, to $78 million, and 2,200 degrees awarded this year.
"By 2020," he said, "I believe that we can be an institution of 15,000 students, 7,500 on campus and 7,500 in the Virtual College."
During the faculty meeting this morning, Hammond also named Dr. Norman Caulfield, professor of history, as this year's President's Distinguished Scholar, which has come to be regarded as the university's highest honor for faculty.
Dr. Larry Gould, provost, the university's chief academic officer, introduced Dr. Greg Farley, associate professor of biological sciences, as the Faculty Member of the Year. Dr. Helen Miles, assistant professor of health and human performance, was named the Edmund Shearer Faculty Advisor of the Year.
Gould and Dr. Daniel Kulmala, assistant professor of English and president of the Faculty Senate, also spoke.
"We need to think about what we want the university to be in 2020," said Hammond, "and we can't wait to start thinking about it in 2015."
Pointing out that the best demographic predictions are that the population of FHSU's traditional and institutional geographic base, Western Kansas, is expected to decline by 20 percent by 2020, he said, "We need to look at new markets, new programs and new strategies."
He said that, in reaching for the goal of 15,000 students, the coming reorganization will play a vital role. "We'll have to downsize some areas in order to make investments in others," he said.
Hammond spent most of the first part of his address contrasting FHSU as it is now with where it was when he came here, in terms of numbers of budgets, students and numbers of graduates and also in its organizational structure of departments and colleges. He thanked the faculty for all their work in the last 20 years to modernize, expand and improve the university.
"We can be very proud of what we've done together, and our students are a good example of that," he said.
"We have created a very strong foundation on which to build a bigger, better, more influential university," he said.