Even Better to Be Home
My year as interim provost at UK was similar to international travel: always interesting but no time to get comfortable, many new opportunities but difficult to finish important tasks, fun and fascinating to be there but even better to be home.
Being part of the team that developed President Lee Todd's Top 20 Business Plan was certainly among the most significant of my learning experiences in Main Building. Public acceptance of this plan, its endorsement by the Kentucky Legislature, and the subsequent budgetary investment could mark 2006 as an important year in the University's history.
The business plan projects the costs of overtaking the Top 20 public universities and lays out a plan for obtaining and investing the needed resources. The first of its kind in higher education, it substantially changed—for the better—our conversation with state leaders as well as the way we plan and make decisions on campus.
The Top 20 plan measures research and instruction but does not yet account for the third element of our land grant mission, service. President Todd understands and strongly endorses the importance of contributing to the quality of life in the Commonwealth. However, it is much more complicated to measure such impacts than it is to count graduates or research grants.
My experience as provost taught me to appreciate more than ever the commitment of this College to land grant values. Outreach is part of everything we do, in research and instruction, and of course, in extension. The College has been, and will always be, a major contributor to the University's Top 20 academic goals, but we will lead the way in service to Kentucky and the nation.
I am deeply grateful to those, including the associate deans and several others, who accepted additional responsibilities over the last year and handled them so well.
M. Scott Smith
Dean and Director,
College of Agriculture