HAYS — There are many unknowns for Fort Hays State University this year, so president Edward Hammond has deemed the 2010-11 academic year as "The Year of the Unthinkable."
And with that, the university will face a number of "unthinkable" challenges related to state funding, which has dropped 15 percent in recent years.
"We're not going to get any of that back this year," Hammond said during his state of the university address this week on campus.
Growth has provided some opportunities other state institutions haven't been able to experience, Hammond said, including Fort Hays' addition of up to 10 faculty members this academic year.
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However, without increased funding from the state, the university is going to have to come up with a way to fund salary increases, Hammond said.
"We've had two years where we haven't given raises for faculty and staff," Hammond said. "I don't think we can do a third year."
Other challenges include out-of-state recruiting, which has proven successful in some areas such as Colorado, but is still challenging in others such as Texas and Arizona.
New and updated classes will be on the horizon at Fort Hays as well as incorporating sustainability concepts into classes.
"This year, we have to be a little more flexible than we've been in the past because of the uncertainty that goes along with the concept of the age of the unthinkable," Hammond said.
He said other challenges include leadership changes in the Kansas Board of Regents and the governor's office next year. While Hammond said he knows the new leadership, he can't predict what they will do.
"We will have, I think, more unknowns to deal with this year than in any other year in my 24 years as president," Hammond said.