Promoting Well-Being, Finding Cures focus of second KU strategic initiative summit

Thursday, December 01, 2011

LAWRENCE — The second all-day strategic initiative summit, Promoting Well-Being, Finding Cures, will bring the KU community together Friday, Dec. 2. The summit is hosted by the Office of the Provost and will begin at 8:30 a.m. at The Commons in Spooner Hall.

The attendance and participation of individuals from across the KU community is imperative to the success of the summits. If you have not already registered, you may fill out a form online or email Paul Klute. For those unable to participate in person, a live video stream will be available on the Provost’s strategic initiative page. Visitors will be able to watch the morning and lunch sessions online, but will not be able to participate in the summit.

“Our second summit will explore the different ways we can meet the goal to promote health and improve the quality of life both globally and locally,” says Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Jeff Vitter. “We will explore wellness in all its forms and discuss the ways we can both attend to the needs of Kansans and create economic and employment growth opportunities through new discoveries.”

Bold Aspirations, the strategic plan for the University of Kansas, sets a course for the next five years. Along with six strategic goals, the plan includes four strategic initiative themes to build on KU’s strengths and meet the challenges of the 21st century. Each theme will be the focus of an all-day summit.

The second theme, Promoting Well-Being, Finding Cures, challenges the university to face the collective challenge of building a healthy society both by translating basic research into effective therapies and by promoting individual well-being that spans a lifetime.

The morning session will feature KU faculty presentations, while the afternoon session will feature breakout sessions so summit participants can work on generating a final report. The breakout sessions will focus on questions related to two topics:

• Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to KU’s standing among research universities, as related to the theme of finding cures and promoting well-being; and

• Institutional supports necessary for KU to succeed in finding cures and promoting well-being

There will also be a luncheon panel featuring the deans of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and from the schools of Education, Engineering, Journalism, Pharmacy, Social Welfare and Architecture, Design & Planning.

“Strategic initiatives are meant to build upon KU's intellectual strengths, magnify the impact of the investments we make and help spread the story of KU excellence to our many stakeholders,” Provost Vitter says. “For KU to remain forward-looking and relevant, we must effectively and wisely invest in our most promising opportunities for recognition and resources.”

The faculty speakers for Promoting Well-Being, Finding Cures:

• Berl Oakley, Irving Johnson Distinguished Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology
• Ronald Borchardt, Solon E. Summerfield Distinguished Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry
• Lisa Friis, associate professor of mechanical engineering
• Mabel Rice, Merrill Distinguished Professor of Advanced Studies, Speech-Language-Hearing
• David Ekerdt, professor of sociology and director, Gerontology Center
• John Colombo, professor of psychology and director, Life Span Institute
• Yo Jackson, associate professor of psychology and applied behavioral sciences
• Mugur Geana, assistant professor of strategic communication, journalism