Top 20 Plan in question

After serving as UK’s president for 10 years, President Lee Todd is retiring. With his retirement comes questions about the future of UK’s Top 20 Business Plan.

The Top 20 plan aims to make UK one of the top 20 of the 88 public research institutions in the nation. The plan came out of the Top 20 compact with UK and the state of Kentucky in 1997.

Todd said UK has seen improvements under his administration.

“The faculty, the staff, the students, the administrators, the donors have changed the slope of accomplishment for this university in this 10-year period,” Todd said.

The Top 20 plan has brought new faculty and staff to UK, because they knew the university had a plan, Todd said.

“The Top 20 Business Plan gave the university hope,” he said.

Todd listed his administration’s achievements, but some think achieving the Top 20 plan will be difficult.

“I think he took on an impossible job,” said Joe Peek, a faculty member on the Board of Trustees.

“We’re a low- income state. I don’t think achieving a top-20 status is possible in this environment. Give me a list of the Top 20 and tell me who we are going to replace.

Can we get better? Absolutely.”

The Top 20 plan was mandated by the state legislature, but Peek said the legislature has not funded it.

“(Todd) has done a good job in terms of working hard with the legislature,” Peek said. “Unfortunately they didn’t provide more money.”

Todd said he wants to help raise money UK.

“We have to have money for operations,” he said.

“I want to spend time talking to legislators and elected leaders,” Todd said. “I think I can say things when I’m not in this position that I can’t say when I’m in this position.”

Jo Hern Curris, BOT member, said Todd brought the university into the 21st century.

Curris said she presumed the Top 20 plan would move forward even after Todd leaves next June.

In an e-mail, Provost Kumble Subbaswamy said Todd was the first president to take the Top 20 plan from the state legislature seriously.

Todd said many leaders at UK would remain committed to the Top 20 plan, and that a funding plan is being developed for it.

“I think it’s up to the next president to [decide] what they do with it,” Todd said.