Friday, July 31, 2015



Olathe and Salina: The ‘other’ K-State campuses



Manhattan brings many benefits to students living away from their homes for the first time. The city has a small town feel, but also has a strong college town atmosphere.

It offers many things that appeal to young people, from new shops and restaurants, to the nightlife in Aggieville, to a close-knit campus, where everything is in walking distance. Manhattan seems to have what a lot of kids in college are looking for in their college experience.

However, there are those who may not want the large college experience, who may just want to be at a school with 700 people, rather than that of 24,000. There are also those who have had the undergraduate college experience, but now it’s time to buckle down and finish that masters.

Kansas State offers those options to students with its K-State Salina and K-State Olathe campuses.

In April 2011, Kansas State opened its doors to a new campus outside of the Manhattan city limits. It was Kansas State University in Olathe, joining K-State Salina as a remote branch of the university.

K-State Olathe gives Kansas State a footprint in an area that from which students had been recruited for a long time, and which has grown to be home to many students.

“The greater Kansas City metro area is by far the largest population center for quite a ways around,” said Kansas State President, Kirk Schulz, “it gives us a permanent physical presence right there in that Kansas City metro area, and in Johnson County, where we get more students than we get from any other place in Kansas.”

Another reason for opening the branch in the Kansas City metro is that many corporations have based their company homes in Kansas City. With the new campus, which will focus a lot on postgraduate studies, those students have access to companies they hope to work for.

“(K-State Olathe) is going to bring a research objective, as a major research institution, more fully to the corporations and companies that are located in that Kansas City area,” said Schulz.

K-State Olathe CEO Dan Richardson said the campus really wanted to put an emphasis on the studies of animal health and food safety, which are both accounted for well with the corporations in Kansas City.

“Our first building is the International Animal Health and Food Safety Institute, so we’re focused on interactions with the industries in animal health and in food. These are core strengths of K-State, that we’re trying to take advantage of the strong industry presence in Johnson County and the Kansas City region,” Richardson said.

K-State Olathe specializes its studies in education of animal health and food safety as well. As part of the agreement with Johnson County, K-State Olathe offers a K-12 program, which allows student’s career opportunities to work with the Johnson County school districts.

“We will reach out and work with the schools districts in the community to help the kids get exposure to career opportunities,” said Richardson.

This program does not only reach out to the Olathe schools, but to all the schools in Johnson County.

“We have strong programs with all of the Johnson County school districts, not just Olathe and have reached out beyond that across the state and even across the border in Missouri,” Richardson said, “to expose kids to career opportunities in animal health, food systems and food safety.”

K-State also offers a type of schooling where you get your K-State education, but with smaller classes and more emphasis on the individual student. That occurs at K-State Salina.

“K-State Salina represents a great opportunity for that student who wants a much smaller, intimate campus environment, that will feel a little bit lost in a 20,000 student kind of campus, that wants more intimate involvement where there’s 800 students at a public university price,” Schulz

This would be similar to students who go to small, liberal-arts colleges like Baker or Mid America Nazarene University.

K-State Salina specializes in the fields of aviation, engineering and social work. It’s Schulz’s goal to make Salina an all-around college campus, which will offer students a good second option to that of K-State in Manhattan.

“I want that to be a comprehensive campus that really just gives another option for people who want the K-State degree, the K-State brand, but want a little something different than what they’re going to get out of Manhattan,” Schulz said.

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