A professor at Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus for more than 20 years, Troy Harding is stepping into a new role as interim department head of the integrated studies department.
With the appointment of former director Terri Gaeddert as associate dean of academics and student success, Harding has been selected as her replacement for the 2020-2021 school year. Harding is a computer systems technology faculty member and has previously served as coordinator for that degree option as well as a university faculty senator, college assessment coordinator, club advisor, summer camps supervisor and member of a variety of campus committees. He begins his new position this summer.
“Troy has been a member of the K-State family for two decades and the heart he has for this campus, its students and higher education is indisputable,” said Alysia Starkey, CEO of K-State Polytechnic and dean of the College of Technology and Aviation. “He was instrumental in the restructuring of the computer systems technology and digital media programs and is always looking for ways to improve the student experience, including encouraging collaboration between disciplines. Troy’s enthusiasm and creative thinking are well-respected among his peers and we’re excited to see him bring his talents and passion to this role.”
The Integrated Studies Department is comprised of engineering technology, business, math, science, social science, communication and humanities. As interim department head, Harding will focus on mentoring faculty and generating synergy among their classes: creating pathways for interdisciplinary learning so students will receive additional skills and knowledge applicable to their majors. He also will maintain and continue developing relationships with industry partners to benefit students by providing access to lab equipment, portfolio-building with real-world projects, and connections to internships and job opportunities. In addition, Harding will teach at least one course per semester.
“Every day I’m inspired by my colleagues’ commitment to excellence and I’m excited to be able to work with them in a new way,” Harding said. “With a focus on the core mission of the campus, my guiding principle will be what is best for student learning and the overall student experience.”
One area Harding wants to put emphasis on is tighter integration between arts, sciences, business and technology. He believes it will be a competitive advantage for students.
“Science and math provide students with the foundational concepts and basic problem-solving skills that technology is built on,” Harding said. “Science also teaches a non-biased, honest approach to analyzing data. The arts infuse culture and creativity, and business is the engine that delivers technology to society and generates value.
“However, as the economy and life in general become more reliant on technology, faculty members also have a responsibility to students to emphasize what makes us human. Technology is worthless if students are not able to think critically, reason, collaborate, reflect, appreciate, empathize and communicate.”
The son of two educators, Harding grew up in Abilene and became interested in technology when he helped his high school with programming their computers. Before joining K-State Polytechnic in 1999, he worked in database programming and as an information systems director.
Harding consistently receives high teaching evaluations from students. He is the recipient of the 2014 Marchbanks Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence and 2017 Rex