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Wildcat Weekly | October 9, 2018

Marketing innovations drive growth in freshmen enrollment at Polytechnic Campus


A new strategy for growing enrollment at Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus is showing strong results and has produced the largest class of new freshmen in five years. Full-time equivalency and headcount at Kansas State Polytechnic are similar to fall 2017, as the campus had a large graduating class in May.

"Growing enrollment has always been a focal point, but last year we re-examined our strategy and made some significant changes, which have had a positive influence in a very short period of time," said Alysia Starkey, interim CEO and dean at Kansas State Polytechnic.

New student enrollment in Kansas State Polytechnic's College of Technology and Aviation is up by 34 students from fall 2017, which represents a nearly 50 percent growth in new freshmen. The growth in inaugural Wildcats has positively affected 12 out of the 16 undergraduate degree options. Most notably, the professional pilot program has seen a 118 percent increase in new students from last year, with the flight school portion of the degree at full capacity. Also, on-campus living grew by 32 percent from 2017 and the female and minority populations expanded by 45 and 33 percent respectively.

Starkey said the increases are due to the hard work of faculty and staff and Kansas State Polytechnic's enrollment management and marketing team, led by executive director Christopher Smith, who was hired in October 2017.

Shortly after Smith's hire, Kansas State Polytechnic began implementing an enhanced recruiting strategy centered on three areas: rebuild, grow and transform. Considering the average time it takes to start connecting with prospective students, Smith said he wasn't expecting to see results from the grow portion of his plan until 2019 and believes what the campus has achieved in less than a year of recruiting is remarkable.

"Traditionally in higher education, you need at least 15 months to initiate, develop and nurture a relationship with a potential student, so we fully anticipated seeing the kind of success we're having now in 2019," Smith said. "I am inspired by what this campus has accomplished together in such a short period of time and am excited to watch the continued growth at Kansas State Polytechnic as more and more people learn about the value of what we have to offer."

The revised recruitment approach embraces the polytechnic philosophy of a personalized, hands-on experience from initial inquiry to graduation. The admissions representatives on campus work closely with faculty as well as advisors, financial aid, student support services and career services to provide a lock-step experience throughout the enrollment process. 

Another way Kansas State Polytechnic has adjusted its recruiting style is in its communication strategy. Digital marketing is consistently being examined and fine-tuned to connect with students who will find success within the programs offered and the polytechnic learning style. 

This fall, Kansas State Polytechnic launched two new undergraduate degree options and one graduate certificate program. Smith said these are examples of how the campus is being adaptive to influence enrollment.

"It's crucial that we are able to respond to what the market is telling us so that we continue to generate more opportunities to grow, and we can do that through program creation," Smith said. "Our faculty have worked hard during the past year to add bachelor's degrees in technology education — to contribute to the demand for more workers in STEM — and robotics and automation because of the direction in which technology is moving. We've also leaned on our expertise in unmanned aircraft systems and initiated a graduate certificate in UAS cybersecurity that will support the expansion of the drone industry."

Pat Bosco, vice president for student life and dean of students at Kansas State University, said Kansas State Polytechnic's enrollment management strategy is one that shows promise for the university as a whole.

"Because of Kansas State Polytechnic's smaller size, it can be nimbler and more innovative in its approaches to stabilizing and growing enrollment," Bosco said. "These are approaches we will look to apply across the entire university."

To learn more about enrolling at the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus, including taking a campus tour and exploring degree options, contact the admissions office at 785-826-2640 or polytechnic@k-state.edu

Addiction counseling focus added to social work curriculum at Kansas State Polytechnic

The Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus is giving students in the social work program an opportunity to explore substance use disorders more thoroughly through a new offering beginning this spring.

A focus area in addiction counseling is being added to the social work curriculum to help students gain a better understanding of how to serve persons struggling with substance use disorders and those in early recovery. Four courses make up the focus area and cover such topics as the fundamentals of substance use disorders, pharmacology, therapy approaches and case management. The first course begins in spring 2019 and is open to all social work students, including those on the Manhattan campus, as well as students pursuing other majors.

"We're excited to be able to offer social work students this new focus area because it creates an additional career pathway and could have a positive effect on earning potential," said Cheryl Calhoun, social work instructor at Kansas State Polytechnic. "The curriculum strengthens students' knowledge, skills and experiences with substance use disorders and directly supports the requirements of becoming a licensed addiction counselor."

Case Management and Holistic Recovery — new topics course SOCWK 310 — is being offered in the spring and introduces students to the concept of case management as well as the role case managers play in helping individuals with substance use disorders obtain and maintain recovery. This course spotlights the polytechnic learning style, giving students the opportunity to gain practical experience in the field by observing and assisting a professional case manager at various agencies. The course also provides a platform for students to complete Person Centered Case Management, or PCCM, training, which makes it possible to be employed as a case manager at a substance use disorder treatment facility prior to graduating.

In summer 2019, the second and third courses in the addiction counseling focus will be offered. Understanding Substance Use Disorders — SOCWK340 — examines addiction at the micro, mezzo and macro level. The Nature and Effects of Addictive Substances — SOCWK 640 — explores the chemical nature of psychoactive drugs of abuse and dependence as well as symptoms of intoxication, withdrawal and the toxicity of substances. Next fall, Assessment and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders — new topics course SOCWK 610 — is offered as the final course in the focus area and provides students with a comprehensive examination of the treatment models for addiction, recovery and relapse.

Social work students who complete SOCWK 340 and 640, along with a practicum at a substance use disorder treatment facility, will be eligible to become dual licensed as Licensed Baccalaureate Social Workers, or LBSW, and Licensed Addictions Counselors, or LAC, upon graduation, adding to their professional potential.

For more information on the new focus area in social work, including how students on the Manhattan campus should enroll, contact Calhoun at 785-826-2944 or cherylcalhoun@k-state.edu.

Contribute to K-State Polytechnic's campaign for Salina Area United Way, be entered in drawing for several prizes

Have you heard of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, the Ashby House, Circles of the Heartland, or Salina Family YMCA - just to name a few? All of these programs are right here in the Salina-area community and have support from the Salina Area United Way. People like you donating help the United Way make a local impact.

K-State Polytechnic supports United Way and our employees who donate. Anyone who donates, no matter the amount, will be entered into a drawing and could win one of the following:

  • Eight hours off with pay from K-State Polytechnic
  • A K-State Café punch card worth 10 free lunches from Aladdin
  • An office lunch party of up to 20 individuals from Aladdin
  • A coupon to the campus bookstore for 50% off one gift or accessory from Follett.

Campus Goal: $2,500

DONATE from October 8-19 to be included in the drawing! All contributions help!

The drawing will be on Thursday, October 25.

Easy ways to donate:

Text KSUPOLY to 41444
Pledge forms
Payroll deduct - If using HRIS, log in > go to self-service > Payroll and compensation > KSU United Way > Choose Salina Area United Way.
Paper Form - Please turn forms into Heather Wagoner, 101 Welcome Center.
If you have questions, please contact K-State Polytechnic's Salina Area United Way Coordinator, Heather Wagoner, hwagoner@k-state.edu.