With a focus on national expansion, meeting the demands of the aerospace industry and a recognition of the niche mission of the campus, Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus is rebranding to be Kansas State University Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus.
“This change establishes the first aerospace and technology campus in Kansas and shows our Salina campus is ready to take on the accelerating needs of the aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries,” said Richard Myers, K-State president. “The Aerospace and Technology Campus will be a national leader in advanced aviation and aerospace training, education and engineering through research, innovation and instruction.”
Since joining the Kansas State University system in 1991, the campus has housed the university’s aviation and engineering technology programs. These are niche programs, separate from any programs offered on the other K-State campuses. The historical lineage of the campus — a two-year technical institution that merged with a public university — uniquely positions it to serve all career-entry points into the aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries.
The Aerospace and Technology Campus will retain the College of Technology and Aviation, which includes three academic departments: aviation, integrated studies and unmanned aircraft systems. The campus offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as credit and non-credit technical and graduate-level certificates. It is also home to in-demand programs that assist employers with upskilling their current workforces.
Alysia Starkey, CEO and dean of the campus, says the new name better represents what the campus offers for prospective students, donors and community and industry partners, and is a better representation of the education received by alumni.
“We are very excited to influence the future of aerospace and technology,” Starkey said. “We already offer world-renowned programs in the operational segment of aviation and look forward to expanding our offerings. Equally exciting is that the program expansions required to achieve this vision support the same business, engineering and technology workforce needs of the recent expansions in the advanced manufacturing sector in central Kansas.”
“Since the closure of Schilling Air Force Base in 1967, the mission of the Kansas State University campus in Salina has been to maintain excellence in aviation and engineering,” said state Sen. J.R. Claeys, Salina. “This rebranding enhances the campus’s ability to support the growth of the Kansas economy. Some of the top employers in Kansas require highly skilled, educated professionals in the technologies that will drive innovation in aerospace and advanced manufacturing. The median annual wage for these industry sectors is $104,312, benefiting economic development in Salina and across the state.”
Aligning the campus brand and name has been a goal since 2017 when the campus, with help from community partners in Salina, launched its Global Aeronautics Initiative with the vision to establish an aerospace and technology campus.
Starkey said that the campus’s focus on a hands-on and real-world approach to preparing students to be career-ready will remain the same.
“Our commitment to student success, personalized education and world-ready learning experiences is embedded in our institutional DNA,” Starkey said. “Our students, alumni and industry partners have come to expect the quality experiences that the polytechnic teaching philosophy provides. This approach is at the heart of everything we do.”
For more information, visit the Aerospace and Technology Campus website, salina.k-state.edu.