Spring semester at the K-State Polytechnic Campus in Salina is looking bright. Enrollment is trending higher again for the fourth year in a row, with spring 2021 enrollment up 5% and student credit hours up 9% over spring 2020, an impressive feat during the pandemic.
“It’s important during challenging times to focus on what we can control,” said Christopher Smith, executive director of enrollment management, marketing and financial aid. “I am proud of our team for never losing sight of the mission and keeping students at the center of everything we do.”
Advancing Research and Training
K-State Polytechnic increased sponsored research dollars by $1.7 million from fall 2019, providing research opportunities for students and faculty, and advancing areas like unmanned aircraft systems and bulk solids. Specialized trainings remain paramount at K-State Polytechnic, adding a UAS course for fire and HAZMAT responders and an online Bulk Solids Academy. Experts at K-State Polytechnic conducted more than 130 workforce trainings, increasing knowledge and skills of more than 1,000 people. K-State Polytechnic’s unmanned aircraft systems program was selected to join the Federal Aviation Administration’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems-Collegiate Training Initiative. This initiative recognizes institutions that prepare students for careers in unmanned aircraft systems. Programs must provide curriculum covering various aspects of UAS training, including hands-on flight practice, maintenance, uses, privacy concerns, safety and federal policies concerning UAS.
Enhancing Campus Life
The Polytechnic Campus is continuing to prove it stands behind the motto of “Experience Matters.” A new chemistry lab was recently completed, providing students a brand-new, updated space for hands-on education and experiments. The flight ramp was also replaced, and upgrades were completed in residence halls.
“A truly personalized educational and campus life experience is paramount at K-State Polytechnic,” said Kyle Chamberlin, director of student life. “Over the last year, many changes came about in the area of student life.”
Chamberlin was promoted to Director of Student Life and immediately made a positive impact on students. Already beloved by students, Chamberlin provided a trusted voice and presence for students when dealing with the uncertainties and changes the pandemic forced on the university. Joshua Doak was added to the student life team in October 2020 as student activities coordinator. Doak works closely with students to facilitate student programming and enhance the overall student experience. Virtual student events, as well as COVID-friendly campus activities, have flourished under his leadership.
Julie Rowe, diversity, inclusion and access coordinator, is a champion for students. Rowe provides support to Cats’ Corner, a food pantry and clothing closet available on campus; assists students with accessibility and accommodations on campus; supports student programming in diversity and inclusion, and is a resource for international students. “For students, college is their time,” said Rowe. “It’s my privilege, and the privilege of everyone on this campus, to walk beside our students during their experience and provide resources to ensure they’re
Preparing Career-Ready Graduates
Ensuring students are career-ready upon graduation is a pillar of K-State Polytechnic’s mission. Sarah Werner, director of career services and financial stability, focuses her efforts on assisting students with all aspects of their job hunt – from a part-time job on campus to preparing resumes and cover letters, searching for a full-time job, and supporting students through the interview process. Werner also actively provides resources for students to increase financial literacy, working to ensure students are successfully prepared to manage finances.
The aviation program at K-State Polytechnic is tirelessly working to prepare experienced, capable graduates to meet upcoming industry demands. Currently, the professional pilot program has more than 250 active flight students who receive hands-on education on more than 30 aircraft and five simulators. To date, 2021 has shown a 60% increase in flight training hours compared to previous years.
“At K-State Polytechnic, the student experience matters,” said Alysia Starkey, CEO and dean of the campus. “Arming students with the best education, skills and hands-on experiences upon graduation – and enjoying the campus experience throughout the process – is a core mission.”
K-State Polytechnic offers 14 degree options, minors and certificates. To learn more about available programs and set up a personalized experience, visit polytechnic.k-state.edu. Contact the Office of Admissions at 785-826-2640 or [email protected] with questions.