“This is an exciting day for education in Wichita and the state of Kansas. A strong partnership between WATC and WSU has existed for many years through collaborative efforts like the National Center for Aviation Training, the Shocker Pathway associate of arts degree, and WSU Old Town. Now with a formalized affiliation, this will push our two institutions to collaborate more as we redefine what education looks like and drive toward developing the next generation of trained workers.”
Wichita, KAN – After 30 months of working toward the next step in their partnership, Wichita Area Technical College (WATC) and Wichita State University (WSU) have received the final approval needed to form an affiliation. Earlier this week WATC received a formal Change of Governance letter from The Higher Learning Commission approving the affiliation and for WATC to become the WSU Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology. The change will officially take place July 1, 2018.
“This is an exciting day for education in Wichita and the state of Kansas,” said WATC President Sheree Utash. “A strong partnership between WATC and WSU has existed for many years through collaborative efforts like the National Center for Aviation Training, the Shocker Pathway associate of arts degree, and WSU Old Town. Now with a formalized affiliation, this will push our two institutions to collaborate more as we redefine what education looks like and drive toward developing the next generation of trained workers.”
When the affiliation goes into effect, three changes will occur. First, WATC will have a name change to WSU Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology. Second, operational governance will shift to the Kansas Board of Regents and WSU. Lastly, WATC President Sheree Utash will become the campus president of the new college and vice president of Workforce Development for WSU.
The formal affiliation will bring about many beneficial changes for students, the institutions, and the Kansas economy while keeping many things the same. The new Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology will keep WATC’s open admission policy for students, tuition rates and all programs and scheduling. The new campus will maintain WATC’s mission of preparing its students for gainful employment while supporting economic development and responsibility. It will also continue to provide technical programs, adult basic education, technical certificates and degrees, Shocker Pathway, and customized training to assist industry.
For WSU and WATC, the affiliation will help both institutions better fulfill their missions by increasing the availability and quality of opportunities for students, while directly meeting the core workforce needs of the state. It will consolidate all levels of postsecondary education from GED to Ph.D. and encourage the kind of faculty collaboration that leads to innovative methods of teaching and applied learning. In addition, students of the WSU Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology will be able to enjoy an opportunity to purchase access to WSU’s support services and student life not found in the traditional technical college setting.
“The economic success of this state is at the very heart of what Wichita State does and informs every decision that we make,” said WSU President John Bardo. “This is a natural partnership that ensures the state of Kansas remains competitive with its neighbors and attractive to companies looking to explore new approaches to innovation, creativity and research.”
For the community, the affiliation will provide area industry with a better-trained workforce. It will attract new industry through partnerships along with regional and national marketing and recruiting for the new college which together will serve as an economic driver for south central Kansas.
“This is a pivotal moment in WATC’s 52-year history,” said President Utash. “Over the next few months, you will see name changes at our campuses, a transition from blue and green to black and yellow and the enrollment of new Shockers for the 2018 fall semester.”