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Bardo compares Innovation Campus to LeBron James

President John Bardo speaks at Startup Grind ICT at The Lux.

President John Bardo speaks at Startup Grind ICT at The Lux.

Selena Favela

Selena Favela

President John Bardo speaks at Startup Grind ICT at The Lux.


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President John Bardo spoke at Startup Grind ICT, a monthly event that connects local entrepreneurs, on Thursday.

Bardo addressed the university’s progress and acknowledged controversies and scrutiny the university has faced recently.

Here are some highlights from his talk.

‘Controversy and misperception’

Christina Long, a presenter at Startup Grind, said that Bardo’s plans for the university have, at times, been met with opposition.

She referred to the Grace Memorial Chapel controversy, backlash from downtown Wichita businesses who saw WSU as competition for resources, “and even with The Sunflower reporting this week that the university and its resources being used for an investigation for a student,” Long said.

“How do you push forward through that controversy and misperception?” Long said to Bardo.

Bardo said there would always be critics.

“There will always be naysayers,” he said.

“Tell me anything worthwhile that has ever happened in the history of the world that hasn’t been controversial,” Bardo said.

“There’s always gonna be people that want to find fault. That’s easy — finding faults,” He said.

“We’re gonna keep going because it’s the right thing to do.”

He said it was critical that people don’t judge the Innovation Campus too quickly.

“Give us a chance to achieve what we are trying to achieve,” Bardo said.

“It drives me crazy when I see a news item that says, ‘Well, they only had 22 people doing this, it’s a failure.’

“That’s like saying to LeBron James, ‘You were a failure as a one-year-old, you didn’t make it into the NBA,’” Bardo said. “We’re just experimenting and starting.”

“One of the things you can do as a city and community in Wichita is help people understand that we’ll get there.

“Help people understand this is moving at light speed compared to what most of people in the country have ever really thought about.”

Badge courses

Bardo described badge courses as a “new form of education” implemented at WSU this fall.

Badge courses are “self-directed” courses for non-degree-seeking students.

The courses award a half-credit hour to high school students in AP classes, non-degree-seeking students in self-directed online courses, and senior citizens in courses offered at local retirement centers and churches that meet four times a semester.

Students in badge courses are not required to pay student fees. There are no grades in the courses. They are taken for completion credit.

There are 843 students enrolled in badge courses this year, compared to 55 last year.

Thursday, Bardo downplayed the fact that badge course enrollment in the two weeks leading up to the official headcount accounted for WSU’s increased enrollment this fall.

“It’s not about — oh, we did it to get the numbers up,” Bardo said.

“Who cares? The bottom line at the end of the day is, can we get you what you need in a timely manner, where you are, in a way that is transcript-able so that you know that it’s there and you can prove you did the work?”

I-35 corridor strategy

Bardo referred to a recruitment strategy announced in 2016 that allows residents of certain parts of Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas to attend Wichita State and pay reduced, in-state tuition.

He stressed the economic importance of recruitment from along Interstate 35, known as the I-35 corridor.

If you look at shipments out of Wichita, of goods, they tend to go along the I-35 corridor,” Bardo said.

“For Wichita State’s purposes, there are now 10 million Kansans.”

Latinx cluster hire

Bardo spoke about the proposed Latinx cluster hire that was brought before the Faculty Senate last week.

The cluster hire — faculty hired as a group — would affect several departments on campus, including psychology, English, and social work.

Wilson Baldridge, professor of French, who presented the proposal to the faculty senate last Monday, said the cluster hire would not necessarily bring in revenue for the university.

The payoff, he said, would be recruitment.

“What we are hoping for is a return in terms of recruitment,” Baldridge said. “Through outreach, through what’s in Kansas and along the I-35 corridor.”

Bardo called the move “innovation in the arts and sciences.”

“We’re gonna try to hire people where we don’t specify what disciplines they have to be in, they just have to be in Latinx studies,” Bardo said.

“Very different. But that came from the faculty.”

Joining the American Athletic Conference

Bardo said the decision to move Wichita State from the Missouri Valley Conference to the American Athletic Conference had nothing to do with basketball.

“I don’t care about basketball,” Bardo said. “That’s not why we did it. Think about the other schools in the athletic conference.

“We’re like Houston. We’re not like Evansville,” He said. “It’s part of this message of, who are we?”




  • Things that make you go hhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    I believe the “badge” course may be a very innovative concept-I do.
    However my question is if the badge course is aimed at the busy working adult how come so many of those enrolled in these courses were either high school students or those in retirement? I perceive, and please correct me if I am wrong, the target audience for these courses are not the one’s who were registered for free for these courses. Anyone care to clarify so I may better understand the approach? Thank you


  • Gonna

    Not a fan of bardo. If you want credibility, you should know that gonna is not a word. Even if it is, even Bardo would not use it in a sentence.


  • Bardo and PR

    Do you notice that John Bardo only answers to PR gigs and puts up an iron curtain to everyone else? This is just upsetting.

    I can’t stand it how Christina set up her first question, it was phrased to discount the $33,000 in this investigation that IS controversial because it IS wrong. It is IS NOT a misconception. This is bullshit Ms. Long. This shows just how corruption bleeds beyond WSU campus, it’s in the WSU business culture, it in the Wichita $$$moneymakers$$$. Wichita State University is NOT a University, people. It is a business. Get in the way and you will get run over.


  • Fact Checking BS

    Misperceptions? Nice job, Christina. Bardo says they will keep going because it is the right thing to do. For Regent Chair Murfin, Weigand, Crossland, and Barrett is what he forgot to add. Oh, and Ty Masterson who is making $144,000 as a 1.0 FTE as Director of GoCreate even thought he is a state senator. Still not sure how a WSU employee can be gone several months at the legislative session and still be a full time employee and make $144,000 AND have no conflicts of TIME or INTEREST. Forgot to mention Ty also has another personal business he has listed as well. None of that is like owning a GNC which must be so much more of a conflict.

    Innovation Campus
    Just starting and yet moving at warp speed. What speed is next. 22 students at Airbus would be a 100% increase over the 11 they actually have. People bring up numbers because Bardo used them to justify the wheelin and dealin with Regent Chair Murfin and MWCB. Nice pull of Lebron James. Must only make sense to Bardo.

    Badge Classes
    Bardo says it was an initiative started this Fall. Rick Muma said Faculty Senate approved it February 9, 2015. Which is it? I think Bardo meant they gave away credits in earnest starting this Fall. Past efforts at giving free credit to Senior Citizens and high school students were just playing around. Bardo says “who cares if we did it to get the enrollment up.” At least he admits that was the reason. What work for badges? They are self paced and not graded according to Bardo. This makes no sense. The transcript shows someone enrolled but nothing is graded. These are non credit continuing education courses anywhere else in the world. Neither Bardo nor Muma will say why credits were free the two weeks before census. Call it the enrollment fire sale it is. Maybe Christina can ask about these misperceptions.

    I35 Corridor
    There at 10 million Kansans. Oh God.

    Bardo says, “I don’t care about basketball.” Oh God again. Basketball is all he cares about. Men’s basketball, that is. I don’t think he even knows there is a women’s basketball program other than it costs more money every time Gregg Marshall gets a raise because of Title IX requirements. Bardo ONLY cares about men’s basketball. He said in many meetings that men’s basketball drives the bus and funds the rest of the Athletic Department. He said that he had to focus completely on men’s basketball because of its importance. Wichita is like Houston? Wow.


  • Still talking but never answering the questions…

    What a joke! He’s the king of lies and deflection. He’s narcissistic, corrupt, unethical, and clearly only interested in himself. Wake up Wichita! There’s a blog being shared entitled “Fire Bardo” from 2006. What an interesting read. Western Carolina barely survived and now he’s repeating the same behavior here. We need to do something before we are in the same boat.


  • Real Issues

    Isn’t it time for a discussion of the real issues at WSU? Christina Long does a real disservice by throwing out some softballs about her idea of controversies and misperception.

    Christina could have asked Bardo why David Wright is still employed and making over $171,000 this year after the University settled a lawsuit with Jim Pulliam where Jim alleged sex and race discrimination against David Wright.

    Christina could have asked about the way Bardo and WSU handled the rape allegations in 2013 involving the men’s basketball player.

    If Christina knew she could have asked Bardo about what the Human Resources staff allegedly investigated related to sexual misconduct by someone in the Athletic Department this past Spring semester.

    If Christina knew she could have asked Bardo what was reported to staff in Human Resources and Title IX at WSU as well as the KBOR CEO and General Counsel this past Spring semester as well.

    I hope that with all the discussion around the Harvey Weinstein issues that there will finally be a full and factual discussion about all the incidents at WSU and how Bardo is directly involved. The public deserves to know what has been happening and not just about badge classes, basketball, football helmets, and the other things that are just distractions from some really serious issues that impact people’s lives.


    Fake Pres. Bardo Reply:

    I am a university president! This is a research university like huston! I am external, I dont make decisions. You need to take your issues through the proper channels.

    For the record, students are able to borrow all the money they need to live on campus.

    We are transparent as ever, we are enrollment pioneers, and we are mens basketball fans.

    Go shockers!

    As always,
    Fake Pres. Bardo


  • Steve

    Bardo is nothing more than a bullshit artist and conman. He is a literal Wizard of Oz – lots of smoke, noise and theatrics but absolutely nothing of substance behind the curtain. He almost ruined the finances of the last university he worked for and he is in the process of destroying WSU. When he is done working his magic, WSU will have fewer students, tuition and fees will have risen dramatically and large chunks of public property will have been given away to private businesses so that Bardo and members of his executive team could cash in and enjoy spending the kickbacks and payoffs from their politically connected business partners.


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