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From the president: strategic plan

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

American flags displayed on library lawn


Cowboy family,


I was honored and humbled by the outpouring of support for Oklahoma State University during the centennial Homecoming festivities. In true Cowboy fashion, the pride that was on display rivals that of any university in the nation. Now as we look ahead to the end of the semester and the upcoming holidays, I wanted to provide a few updates on key priorities. 


Creating a strategy for the OSU system

My formal process for creating a strategy for the Oklahoma State University system will launch later this year as we draft a far-reaching and deliberate plan for OSU’s future.


Over the next nine months, we will engage in a structured, system-wide process of listening, not only to students, faculty and staff on our Stillwater campus, but also at our partner campuses and across the Cowboy family — including alumni, Extension, donors and friends.


This process will feature deep, guided discussion with partners from industry. As part of our land-grant mission, we believe it is vital that we hear from companies and other employers within our state and across our region about what is important to them. We want to equip our graduates with a thoughtful set of competencies that prepare them to deal with real-world challenges and to apply their technical training within a context that understands the “why” behind their discipline.


Strategic thinking requires making a clear set of choices, and I look forward to working with you to determine the commitments that will guide us in the years to come. We want to hear from all of our audiences to form the broadest, most accurate view of the future for Oklahoma State University. We are currently forming the committees that will help us drive this process, and we anticipate launching our process as soon as we come back from the winter holidays.


Cowboys for veterans

As the proud daughter of a Vietnam veteran, I’m uplifted by OSU’s commitment to support and honor veterans. I’m excited to announce we are making intentional efforts to increase their support and resources.


Join us at the Student Union on the first-floor landing overlooking the Formal Gardens at 11 a.m., Nov. 12 for the grand re-opening of the Student Veteran Success Center. The center has reopened in 061 Student Union, which is in the basement. It was previously located on the edge of campus. The new location in the Student Union is better equipped to meet the needs of our student veterans in a centrally-located space.  


We’re also joining a locally established philanthropy project to collect 800 holiday gift bags for veterans in veterans centers and hospice care across the state. A kick-off for the project, Cowboys for Veterans, will be announced at the same event.


I hope you also will support veterans and Cowboy football at 7 p.m. Saturday during the Military Appreciation Game against TCU. We’ve joined with Folds of Honor, a nonprofit that provides scholarships for the spouses and children of America's fallen, disabled service-members and those currently serving who have been awarded the Purple Heart. Oklahoma State is honoring America’s veterans with limited edition merchandise, and 100 percent of the proceeds benefit the scholarship recipients currently attending OSU. 


I hope you’ve all had a chance to see the flags on Library Lawn. Each one of the more than 7,000 names represents a service member who died during the Global War on Terror, which began in 2001. Please take time to remember and acknowledge their sacrifice, reflecting for a few moments as you stop and read some dog tags on your way across campus. 


NCAA basketball ruling

I also want to take a moment to address the NCAA ruling that was handed down last week regarding Cowboy basketball. I am very disappointed by the decision of the NCAA Division 1 Infractions Appeals Committee to uphold a one-year ban on postseason competition for our men’s basketball team. The ban was out of line with the facts when the original determination was made. We cooperated with the NCAA. Then we appealed, still believing we would see a ruling consistent with the facts. We received the opposite. 


Our team, Coach Mike Boynton and his staff — all of whom had nothing to do with the actions of one rogue coach several years ago — are understandably devastated. I could not be more proud of our team or of the coaching staff leading them today. Coach Boynton leads with passion and integrity. 


I’m confident the Cowboy family will rally around our coaches and players this season. It’s what we do best. I encourage everyone to attend games, cheer loudly, wear orange and be there to support the team. We are more than what happens to us. Our reaction to what happens is even more important, and Coach Boynton, his staff and the team are setting an example for all of us to follow. 


Record month for research grants

I am also excited to share the news that OSU was awarded more than $10M in new research grant funding during the month of September. This is a record-setting achievement, and congratulations are in order for the entire campus. Special recognition goes to Dean Paul Tikalsky and his team in the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology for their own record month of $7.8M in grant funding. These awards are critical to pursuing our work as a modern land-grant institution, and I encourage our faculty and staff to keep up this mission-critical effort. 


DoD STEM grant awarded

On Monday, the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology announced it has been awarded the largest university grant in the National Defense Education Program from the Department of Defense. Through this $6M grant, which will be administered over four years, OSU will have an opportunity to change the lives of students in Oklahoma City, Millwood and Mid-Del public school districts. The grant will give us avenues to educate the next generation of STEM professionals and change the trajectory of the lives of young people with summer camps, after-school programs and teacher training programs. It also will help OSU cultivate more industry partnerships and is a perfect fit with our land-grant mission and the crucial elements of teaching, research and service. 


Thank you for all you are doing to advance the mission of Oklahoma State University. As I look ahead to the opportunities before us, I am energized by the ongoing support of our campus community, alumni and loyal donors. 


Go Pokes!


Dr. Kayse Shrum



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