Regents appoint enrollment task force

By Dylan Lysen

K-State’s Pat Bosco and Manhattan Area Technical College’s Jim Genandt are charged with finding ways to attract more first-generation students to the state’s higher education system.

The Kansas Board of Regents appointed at its Wednesday meeting Bosco, K-State’s vice president for student life, and Genandt, MATC’s president, to an eight-member panel.

Regents members Shane Bangerter, Ann Brandau-Murguia and Blake Flanders will oversee the task force as it discusses ways to attract, enroll and retain first-generation college students.

The task force will recommend to the Regents ways to better serve first-generation students from diverse backgrounds, including rural and urban, native and immigrant. It is also tasked with identifying what barriers and supports exist for students, finding out factors that contribute to their success and discovering areas where additional efforts may be needed.

Regent chair Zoe Newton created the task force during the regents’ February meeting.

“I’ve been hearing since I’ve been on this board that we don’t have enough people who are enrolling,” Newton said. “There are pockets of opportunity that we just aren’t getting.” She said the system should do more to attract first-generation students, non-native students and students from poor households.

“We need to go to these communities and find out what will work for them,” she said.

Bosco and Genandt are joined on the task force by Marche Fleming- Randle, senior assistant dean for the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Wichita State University; Allison Garrett, president of Emporia State University; Baudilio Hernandez, an academic adviser for Central Kansas Upward Bound and sponsors Barton Community College’s Hispanic American Leadership Organization; Ken Trzaska, president of Seward County Community College; and Cherilee Walker, interim vice president for academic services at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

In other business, regents approved K-State’s request to begin a “contractual market-based education” program, which allows the university to enter agreements with employers to provide courses to workers for job skill enhancement.

Cindy Bontrager, K-State’s vice president for administration and finance, said K-State’s program is based on a pilot program at Wichita State, which began in 2015. Regents gave WSU full approval of the program in Oct. 2016.

Bontrager said an example of how the program could be used it to provide courses and workshops for K-12 teachers through the university’s college of education. University officials could add the courses to academic plans for degree- seeking students as well, Bontrager said.

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