Higinbotham Gate at the corner of Anderson and Manhattan Avenue.

Higinbotham Gate at the corner of Anderson and Manhattan Avenue.

The Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday approved K-State officials’ request to begin offering a doctorate in community college leadership.

The degree, which will be offered starting this fall, will be under the purview of the John E. Roueche Center for Community College Leadership, which the Regents voted to create in September. A similar program previously was offered at the University of Texas at Austin, and K-State officials sought to revive the program locally.

More than 50% of the doctorate’s classes will be online, and the rest will be offered at sites around the country. The program will require students to complete 90 graduate level credit hours, although 30 of those hours may be transferred from a previous master’s degree. K-State officials expect 50 students to pursue the degree and anticipate the program growing to more than 100 students.

Fall enrollment

On potential fall enrollment, President Richard Myers told the Regents that K-State is preparing three scenarios on how the pandemic might affect students as they decide on attending the university. Myers said the best-case scenario projects enrollment decreasing by only a few percentage points, while the worst case scenario would likely be around a 10% decrease. K-State officials previously said they would look to release more detailed plans for the fall semester in early June.

“We get conflicting signals from students, and I think part of it is just trying to figure out more definitively what we’re going to do and how we’re going to open up — what’s going to be the format,” Myers said. “I don’t know, I think all universities will be some hybrid between online and in person. You almost have to do that, but I think people are waiting for that, so it may be late commits.”

Myers said enrollment at K-State Polytechnic, though, is doing relatively well. Because of this, the Regents approved K-State’s request to enter a one-year lease agreement for additional student housing at the Polytechnic campus in the fall.

University officials expect strong demand for student housing, and ahead of a possible requirement limiting occupancy to one student per room, K-State Polytechnic officials anticipate needing additional space.

The officials are looking to lease Jack Vanier Hall, a 64-room dormitory that was a part of the former St. John’s Military School, which closed at the end of 2018-19 school year. A shuttle would take students between campus and the dining halls.

Program reviews

The Regents also reviewed several degree programs from all of its universities. To be offered at Kansas universities, degree programs must meet certain requirements, including minimum numbers of majors and graduates over a five-year average. K-State submitted 29 degree programs from the College of Agriculture and the College of Arts and Sciences for Regents review.

Of those 29 programs, six did not meet at least one of the graduate or enrollment criteria: bachelor’s program in philosophy; master’s programs in biochemistry, fine arts, horticulture and natural resources, and theater; and doctoral programs in leadership communications and microbiology. However, the Regents recommended additional review for only the master’s programs in horticulture and natural resources and theater, as the other programs either had justifications for coming up short (such as being new programs) or nearly met the program requirements.

K-State officials and the Regents will continue to monitor those two programs to identify ways to bring them into compliance or to possibly eliminate them.