Relationship to the University’s Historic Mission
The University of Kentucky grew out of the Morrill Act, passed by the Congress of the United States and signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln in July 1862. Perhaps no other act relating to higher education in history has had such a profound impact on the educational attainment of the masses or the economic well being of a nation. Marcus Brown recounts the creation in 1865 of the University in his paper, “The Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862 and Foundations of the University of Kentucky”.
Today, engineering remains at the core of the University’s responsibilities to the Commonwealth and the Nation, just as it did at the University’s birth in 1865. College faculty, together with staff in the College’s research and technology transfer units, provide the Commonwealth with technical expertise and vital resources in support of technological and economic development.
The College serves the state through a wide array of degree and pre-college programs. In Lexington, programs are offered leading to undergraduate and graduate degrees in computer science and biosystems, chemical, civil, electrical, materials, mechanical, and mining engineering. An undergraduate degree is also available in computer engineering, as are graduate degrees in biomedical engineering and manufacturing systems. Undergraduate degrees in chemical engineering and mechanical engineering are provided cooperatively with Murray State University and West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah. Civil engineering and mechanical engineering undergraduate degrees are offered jointly with Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. The College is responsible for Project Lead the Way, a national program designed to stimulate interest in science and engineering careers. More than 80 public schools are now involved throughout Kentucky.
The College is devoted to assessment and continuous improvement of all of its functions in the pursuit of excellence in education, research and public service. Its national and international reputation as a leading College of Engineering is based upon the accomplishments of its faculty, who are supported by a highly qualified and dedicated staff, and to the attainments of more than 22,000 alumni who have contributed to the technical leadership of the nation, and to the advancement of its business, educational, medical, and legal professions.
Relationship to the University’s Strategic Plan
The University of Kentucky was challenged by the Governor and the General Assembly in 1997 to attain a stature among the Top Twenty Public Research Universities in the United States by 2020. In response to that ambitious target, the University of Kentucky has drafted a Strategic Plan based on five principal goals:
Goal 1: Prepare Students for Leading Roles in an Innovation-driven Economy and Global Society;
Goal 2: Promote Research and Creative Work to Increase the Intellectual, Social, and Economic Capital of Kentucky and the World Beyond its Borders;
Goal 3: Develop the Human and Physical Resources of the University to Achieve the Institution’s Top 20 Goals;
Goal 4: Promote Diversity and Inclusion;
Goal 5: Improve the Quality of Life of Kentuckians through Engagement, Outreach, and Public Service.
The College of Engineering Strategic Plan, which is detailed in the following chart, has been crafted to respond to and be supportive of the goals listed above. The College plan seeks to meet these requirements by investing its staff and faculty efforts as well as institutional and self-generated funds in programs that :
- Increase the number of high quality students, support their educational success, and produce substantially larger numbers of engineering and computer science graduates at both the undergraduate and advanced levels;
- Increase the research and scholarly productivity of the College faculty and staff by expanding and updating the physical infrastructure;
- Increase the number and success of faculty and staff through support programs, development and/or modification of policies that reward and celebrate achievement in all areas of endeavor;
- Increase the number of faculty, professional staff, and students from groups that have been historically under represented in engineering and computer science and provide an environment in which all members of the College family can gain an awareness of the richness that gender, ethnic, and racial inclusion can bring to the creative enterprise; and
- Increase the impact that the College has on the broader community, state, and nation through engagement, outreach, and service.
The plan is ambitious. While a great deal of the plan requires nothing more than the creativity and dedication of the faculty and staff, substantial parts will require additional investment by the University and by the College’s alumni, corporate and individual supporters. A plausible Tuition Reinvestment Plan accompanies the Strategic Plan and lays the groundwork on why the institutional investment is justified, how it might be accomplished, and the priorities to which the funds would be directed. A listing of University Strategic Plan Goals, Objectives, and Strategies that are directly supported by the College Plan is included as well.
The nation and state are confronting many challenges, both economically and technically. At such times in the past, the nation has turned to its Land-Grant Colleges and their engineering programs to surmount difficulties and to create a better future for its citizens. This Strategic Plan is an affirmation of the desire of the College of Engineering to play a key role in the University of Kentucky’s response to those challenges.