A Critical Tool

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Excellence funds provide vital flexibility

For our college deans and department heads, the responsibilities of directing their schools and units involve careful planning and consideration of budgets and resources. However, even the best laid plans cannot completely anticipate every emerging need and opportunity, especially those that develop outside of the classroom. Excellence funds exist to address these needs and can be used at the leader’s discretion, providing much needed flexibility. This flexibility in private, discretionary funds is often not available to our campus leaders, as most philanthropic dollars are designated for a specific purpose.

Excellence funds can allow university leaders to enrich the student experience, fund much needed facilities projects, provide community outreach, and support faculty. Contributing to excellence funds is a great way to make a considerable impact on the lives of students and faculty alike. A few K-State leaders share with us how excellence funds have made a difference for their programs.

“Excellence funds play an invaluable role in the college’s ability to invest in our future teachers’ experiences and activities, access that will pay dividends when they are in their own classrooms. One of the most recent examples of how we used excellence funds was to provide our K-State students with scholarships to pay their tuition and provide support to help them purchase instructional resources for the Summer STEM Institute, a four-week program for USD 383’s middle school students that focuses on science, technology, engineering and math. Excellence funding provides the college with the flexibility to support K-State students in every way possible, ensuring their success in the profession.”

Debbie Mercer, Dean, College of Education

Support the College of Education Dean’s Excellence Fund or contact Matt LaGree at 785-775-2083 or mattl@ksufoundation.org.

“The Graduate School used excellence funds to initiate additional professional development opportunities to enhance graduate student’s communication skills. The graduate students who participated were very positive about their experience in the Dissertation Writing Workshop. The majority indicated they had made significant progress in writing sections of their dissertation and had enhanced their understanding of how to better organize their materials and express their ideas. Budget cuts from state general-use funds makes it imperative to obtain funding from our alumni and friends in order to enhance the graduate student experience, such as the Dissertation Writing Workshop, an initiative of the 2025 plan.”

Carol Shanklin, Dean, College of Graduate Studies

Support the Graduate School Excellence Fund or contact Heather Strafuss at 785-775-2146 or heathers@ksufoundation.org.

“Excellence funds provide my department heads and myself with financial resources to support the most critical and impactful aspects of our programs. One of our most significant excellence funds is the Founders Guild, which is comprised of individuals, firms, foundations and corporations, who invested in the vision to remodel and add on to the Seaton Hall and Regnier Hall complex. Without these commitments, we would not have been able to carry out the intense programming and conceptual study for our project. The new building will also allow us to capitalize on the interdisciplinary nature of our college in preparing our students for design and planning leadership. I do not think it gets much more impactful than that.”

Tim de Noble, Dean, College of Architecture, Planning & Design

Support the APDdesign Dean’s Excellence Fund or contact Damon Fairchild at 785-775-2086 or damonf@ksufoundation.org.

“Excellence funds provide flexibility to meet emerging needs and allow for student learning experiences outside the classroom, faculty development, and community engagement; opportunities that often develop outside of our planned and budgeted activities. For example, the Staley School of Leadership Studies used excellence funds to help a community partner, the American Association of University Women, bring Noorjahan Akbar, an internationally acclaimed gender equality and human rights activist, to campus for International Women’s Day to share her unique experiences and perspective with our university and Manhattan community. Ms. Akbar shared her story, and those of so many we might not otherwise learn about, and called us to action — to give voice, to write, to make our concerns known, to exercise leadership. Students were able to broaden their understanding of leadership across cultures and contexts, and the Staley School strengthened an important campus and community partnership.”

Mary Tolar, Director, Staley School of Leadership Studies

To support the Staley School of Leadership Studies Excellence Fund or contact Heather Strafuss at 785-775-2146 or heathers@ksufoundation.org.

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