KU's Core: Its People
Updated: Sep 10, 2021
We are, once again, starting a school year mired in uncertainty, concerned for the health and safety of ourselves, our students, and our families - and navigating it all with an administration that prefers to scold rather than guide us.
In the midst of this, we offer a reminder of what a special place a university can be, what a special place the University of Kansas is. Our classrooms, laboratories, galleries, and meeting spaces - whether online or in person - offer students the vital skills and understanding needed to move us through this pandemic and beyond:
We give our students the critical thinking tools they need to evaluate a steady stream of claims, evidence, and arguments. We help them develop the quantitative literacy needed to contextualize the now-ubiquitous covid charts and graphs.
Making our way to the end of this pandemic requires advocacy for evidence-based practices, while combating misinformation. It requires dialogue and effective communication - online, in person, and in print.
Understanding our current moment requires a broad base of knowledge: familiarity with basic biology, international relations, the psychology of decision-making, market forces, and historical parallels.
The pandemic has exposed pre-existing disparities in health and wealth, and highlighted a range of cultural value systems across the diverse communities of our nation and the world. Our relations to public health and our access to public goods are varied - and our solutions and outreach must be as well.
We find ourselves caught in a struggle between individual freedoms and public good. We guide our students through competing ethical frameworks and help them identify and act on their social responsibilities to their communities.
Finally, we provide students with the integrative skills needed to see new ways forward in the midst of the current chaos.
Yes, it’s the KU Core. Sure, it’s full of educational jargon, but it nonetheless captures something essential about the quality and importance of what we do. Our administration has lost touch with the true core of KU. With decisions backed by weak arguments, limited evidence, and opaque communication, KU’s leadership fails to exemplify its own curricular goals. Meanwhile, the University’s work continues. As we like to say, a university is its people.You are the core of KU. The significance of your research, teaching, and service - all undertaken with the utmost care and concern for students, staff, and the broader community - is what we celebrate on this first week of classes.