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KSU Salina To Become K-State Polytechnic

KSAL Staff - September 16, 2015 4:13 pm

School officials plan to change the name of K-State Salina. The school, which this year celebrated its 50th anniversary in Salina, will change its name from K-State Salina to K-State Polytechnic.

K-State President Kirk Schulz made the announcement via social media Wednesday afternoon. Schulz tweeted “We have initiated the process with the KS Regents to change the name from K-State Salina to K-State Polytechnic – more details to follow!”

According to the school, a name change requires approval by the Kansas Board of Regents and possibly legislative action.

“We are positioning our campus for national growth,” said Verna Fitzsimmons, CEO and dean of Kansas State University Salina. “Our campus will continue to focus on career-based programs and experiential learning. We are taking a look at expanding what we offer to meet the needs of tomorrow’s careers.”

The K-State Salina campus was originally established as Schilling Institute on April 26, 1965, on the property previously known as Schilling Air Force Base. Two faculty members from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Henry Neely and Thomas Creech, were tasked with designing the engineering technology degree program. Once the base was officially vacated in summer 1966, Neely, who was appointed the first president, Creech, who was the first director of academic affairs, and the other hired faculty and staff moved onto the campus and acted as carpenters, electricians, plumbers and painters to make the buildings suitable for students.

Schilling Institute offered two-year degree programs in electronic engineering technology, detail design technology, civil engineering technology, aeronautical technology and computer science technology — the first degree of its kind in the state of Kansas. In 1968, the college graduated its first 10 students.

The campus was renamed Kansas Technical Institute in 1969 and added seven more academic programs. In 1988, it went through another name change to Kansas College of Technology, and then three years later merged with Kansas State University. Since becoming part of the university system, the campus has transformed most of its certificate programs and associate degrees into bachelor’s degrees and one Professional Master of Technology. K-State Salina also has added two residence halls, the College Center and the Student Life Center, and continues to modernize the former base buildings with renovations in the Welcome Center and currently in the unmanned aircraft systems building and the professional education and outreach facility.


Terry Clark

September 17, 2015 at 12:32 am

There is power in words. Whatever claim KSU-Salina had to being a bona-fide college is being eliminated. Now it will be seen as just another podunk junior college or trade school, which will limit the career prospects of its graduates.

Nathan Gorrell

September 19, 2015 at 10:36 am

I suppose it comes down to what you think the future of the campus should be.

I feel like I looked to the future for years; striving to ensure that Kansas State University at Salina would eventually be viewed as a true equal college of the university.

I spent so many hours (as an ambassador and admission’s rep) trying to convince others that Salina is only an extension of Kansas State University.

To me, this name change seems to negate that sentiment and concept and work to re-alienate the campus from the university; which are major steps backwards.

By name, it wouldn’t be Kansas State University; it would be K-State Polytechnic; which I view as a devaluation of my college.

If virtually nothing else is changing besides the name, why change it?

Not a fan.

Drop Salina, and call it what it’s been for nearly the last 25 years: Kansas State University’s College of Technology and Aviation; or leave it alone.

Nathan Gorrell

September 19, 2015 at 10:37 am

It’s obvious that I’ve been very vocal regarding the topic, but I’m inclined to clarify that while I oppose the name change to ‘Polytechnic’, I do not question the quality of the the education that will be offered there or the success the students will have.

As I’ve stated, it has always been my view and desire that the Salina campus be an unquestionable, and transparent extension of the University.

I don’t feel as though this name change will move in that direction, but will have the exact opposite effect.

I wonder if the fact that the Salina campus isn’t driven by as much research as the rest of the university, therefore not fitting the K-State 2025 vision, that they feel the name change needs to reflect, or even emphasize, that idea.

Supposedly, at least for right now, they claim that nothing else at the college is changing. If so, why radically change the name?

The more I look at it, the more it appears like a cheap marketing change. An e-mail I received seemed to point to the idea that they expect the name change to attract new students; namely those from outside the state of Kansas.

I assume they are trying to fill (or create) a new market space in Kansas, by calling it a Polytechnic school. I tend to agree with others that have said that’Polytechnic’ feels very ‘east and west coast’, but because of the global economy we now live (and learn) in they want to try and break down that barrier.

To me, applying the name ‘Polytechnic’ to the campus that will ‘still award diplomas and degrees from Kansas State University’, simply downgrades the image of the college. As my wife pointed out, it makes it sound like a K-State Junior College of sorts; which makes it sound inferior to Kansas State University: my alma mater.

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