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More students, new programs and other news from K-State’s Nine Colleges

By Joe Atmonavage

Here’s what’s new this year in every college at K-State:


College of Agriculture


The College of Agriculture is one of the fastest-growing colleges at Kansas State.

John Floros, the dean and director of the college, said it has 50 percent more students then it had six years ago, and the 2014-15 academic year marked the 12th straight year the college saw an increase in students.

He believes the college’s high standing has played a role in the expansion.

“I guess because our college is ranked very highly and a lot of kids who want to study the food system, agriculture, the environment and natural resources, find our programs and our majors very interesting,” Floros said.

U.S. News & World Report ranked K-State’s agriculture program the 57th best in the world and a study by National Research Council ranked it as having the No.-1 plant pathology doctoral program and the No.-4 agriculture economics doctoral program.

Floros said he thinks the school’s high ranking has allowed it to win four major grants from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The college has four new innovation labs that deal with wheat and wheat genomics, sorghum and millet, post harvest loss reduction and sustainable intensification.

“The reason we got those four labs, and they are worth more than $100 million of support, and received those grants is because we are really good in all four of those areas,” Floros said. “It’s really a recognition for our faculty and program.”



College of Architecture, Planning and Design


K-State’s College of Architecture will soon have its own identity.

The college is currently going through a transition with the $75 million update of Seaton Hall.

Dean Tim de Noble said the space will provide the college with a lot more capacity for architectural activities while also working with the other colleges.

“The College of Architecture will finally have its own identity,” he said. “It will have collaborative interior and exterior spaces. In many ways we hope to be the new social academic heart of the campus.”

De Noble said the update will be finished by the fall 2017 semester.

In the meantime, second- to fifth-year students will be taking a “significant proportion” of their classes away from campus, de Noble said. Freshmen will still take classes at Seaton Hall.

Students will be provided buses to go take their classes at a former call center building near Manhattan Regional Airport. De Noble said there is no official name for the building, but dubbed it AP Design West, located at 5970 Executive Ct. in Manhattan.

De Noble said it could provide for a unique experience.

“Obviously, they will be a little remote from campus, but they are all going to be in one contiguous space so it will be a pretty interesting cross-pollination between all the different disciplines that are found within our college,” he said said. “I think it will be a very positive experience.”



College of Arts and Sciences


With 24 departments, 69 majors and more than 6,000 undergraduate students, the College of Arts and Sciences is the university’s biggest.

While the college itself is big, Dean Peter Dorhut said staff members also are trying to offer a wide range of courses to prepare students for a lifetime of employment.

“One of the themes that we are trying to promote in the college is a very broad curriculum,” he said. “It is the education you don’t often see at a public university. We ask students to really develop a complete mind.”

To fund such a large college and be able to support the general classroom experience and undergraduate research, all students in the college are required to pay an $8 fee.

One of the programs that Dorhut said helps students achieve a well-rounded education is the primary text certificate program, which encourages and allows students to read first-hand documents.

“Rather than learning from textbooks about things that have been distilled and refined, in this program you get to actually go to the archives and engage with the original manuscript,” Dorhut said.

He sees this a chance to encourage students to get out and experience the world.

“We want students to have a broad arts and sciences background that enables you to go out and communicate with people, think critically, engage with people about the world around,” Dorhut said.



College of Business Administration


Come fall 2016, K-State’s College of Business Administration will have a much different look.

The new College of Business Administration building will be ready by fall 2016, said Kevin Gwinner, the college’s interim dean.

The college is currently located at Calvin Hall, a 50,000-square-foot building with nine classrooms. The new building will be 160,757 square feet with a 250-seat lecture hall, 13 additional classrooms and around 40 student study rooms.

“I think is really going to transform our ability to deliver our programs,” Gwinner said.

Three of those programs are career-oriented and get students ready for life after college.

The professional advantage program helps with resumes and skills students don’t get in the classroom. The executive mentor program pairs students with executives with eight or more years of work experience and help guide the students.

And finally, the career-coaching program helps students match their skills and interests with the right careers.

“We are at a really exciting time in the College of Business Administration as we have the intersection of these really unique programs and facility,” Gwinner said.

He said a search for a permanent dean will begin in the fall and will take over in the summer of 2016 before the new building opens.



College of Education


The College of Education will celebrate its 50th year as a college at K-State this academic year.

One thing that has changed significantly during that period is technology — something Dean Debbie Mercer said the college has emphasized recently.

“One initiative that is very important to me, and we have put a great deal of emphasis on it the last two or three years, is technology,” she said. “Technology is changing classrooms faster than it ever has.”

All students receive an iPad for the semester to prepare them for the world of teaching with the technology that exists today.

“Our goal is to prepare students to step into any technological classroom,” Mercer said. “Technology is another learning and teaching strategy. It is about how technology enhances teaching and learning.”

The college also gives students opportunities to go use the various teaching strategies early on as part of their Professional Development Schools Partnership, which involves three local school districts and allows students to be in classrooms getting hands-on experience with schools the university has a relationship with.



College of Engineering


As part of the Engineering Initiative Act, the K-State College of Engineering will grow the number of undergraduates in the college from 2,900 to 3,800 by 2021.

Phase IV, which will create about 108,000 square feet of space on the engineering campus, will be complete well before that. Dean Darren Dawson said the building is right on schedule to open in October.

The $45 million project will provide more room to enhance the undergraduate experience, Dawson said.

“The biggest thing it is going to do for us is provide space of our undergraduate programs,” he said. “It is going to give us space for new classrooms, new undergraduate laboratories and a new design team studio.”

The college also plans to hire 35 new faculty members, most of whom will be concentrating on research focus on areas such as energy, health, and infrastructure and information technology.

Dawson said the college is “fundraising mode” to add more scholarships to the program.



College of Human Ecology


The College of Human Ecology’s motto is, “In a world focused on things, we focus first on people,” and Jane Marshall, the college’s communications director.

She said she been seeing students and faculty go study abroad more and more every year to learn about people on six different continents.

“As the world continues to be globalized, our students need that experience,” she said.

The college offers more than $600,000 worth of scholarships, and those often help fund studying abroad trips, whether it be for a semester or quick trip.

Marshall said she has heard nothing but positive reports about the various trips students and faculty have taken abroad to study or research.

“I have talked to lots of students and faculty, and I have never heard anybody say anything except that it changed their life.”

The college also will be putting in new labs in Justin Hall, including a nutrition lab and a kinesiology lab, focusing on exercise physiology and cancer.



College of Technology and Aviation


While K-State Salina’s aviation program is not located on the Manhattan campus, the aviation program boasts more master certified flight instructors than any other college or university in the country.

Students will get to learn from those instructors in the Kansas City area in the fall of 2015 as K-State Salina has teamed up with the Air Associates of Kansas and Johnson County Community College for the curriculum, said Heather Wagner, the director of marketing for K-State Salina

The campus was recently one of only four universities in the nation to be a part of Textron Aviation’s inaugural Top Hawk program, which gives K-State Salina full use of a Cessna Skyhawk 172 aircraft for the rest of 2015 for flight training and other uses, Wagner said.

While those are newer programs, K-State Salina will continue to offer a bachelor’s degree in unarmed aircraft systems (UAS), and the program will now have an inside look at the operations of the FAA.

“In February, K-State Salina’s UAS program became the first entity in the United States to be given statewide access by the FAA during flight operations,” Wagner said.

Wagner also said the campus will now offer a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical technology and engineering technology with an unarmed aircraft systems option as well as a UAS minor added in 2015.



College of Veterinary Medicine


Ninety-six percent of students of the Class of 2014 in the College of Veterinary medicine had employment upon graduation, according to the college.

The college is one of only 30 veterinary schools in the nation and is the sixth-oldest in the country.  Ronnie Elmore, the associate dean for academic programs, admissions and diversity for the college, credits the high employment rate to the school’s reputation over the years.

“I think employers realize that we have been in business for a long, long time producing competent veterinarians,” he said. “Our veterinarians are known for their practical hands-on clinical approach to things upon graduation.”

Students are expected to learn about everything throughout their four years in the program, not just a particular niche or species.

“We require students to learn about all domestic species,” Elmore said. “Some schools allow tracking, which means they can select if they only wanted to do horses, cattle or small animals. We require students to learn about everything.”

With collaborations with Sunset Zoo, the local zoo in Manhattan, and the shelter medicine program that just launched, students graduate with the clinical skills the college has been known for since 1905, when the program started.


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