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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Two new degrees could come to Wichita State

Mia Hennen
Faculty Senate on Aug. 28.

Two new degrees may be offered to Wichita State students soon: an Associate of Science degree and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Hospitality.

Both of these degree plans got their first read in front of the Faculty Senate at the group’s  Oct. 9 meeting.

Associate of Science Degree

Brien Bolin, associate dean of the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS), and Patricia Phillips, director of the LAS Advising Center, presented the plan for the Associate of Science (AS). 

“It’s not just a degree for our college, but it’s a degree that will help with other colleges as well,” Bolin said.

Pittsburg State University began auto awarding associate degrees to students last year.

The university currently has an Associate of Arts (AA) that graduates an average of 25 students per semester. In another proposal that has already gone through the Faculty Senate, auto awarding will begin for both AA and AS degrees.

Auto awarding means that students who meet the requirements for an associate’s degree will be awarded the degree without need for application.

Bolin said that this is a student retention measure, with the logic behind the decision being that students who can’t complete a four-year degree for any reason can still walk away from Wichita State with a degree that makes them more employable. 

“Those students can get a job working in the industry and actually come back to the university and pay for their education if that was one of the reasons that they left,” Bolin said.

Angie Storrer, a senator from nursing, said she wondered how this degree may impact enrollment at WSU Tech and local community colleges. Storrer also expressed concern about students potentially picking WSU’s more expensive associate’s program because WSU offers a degree with less credit hours.

“I don’t know if that’s the right service to the student populations,” Storrer said.

Phillips said that community colleges and WSU Tech do not offer AA or AS degrees. The idea is that a student trying to get an AS degree would only have to complete their last 15 hours at Wichita State if they wanted to get their degree from this university.

The full proposal can be read here.

Associate of Science breakdown

  • 60 credit hours
  • 48 of the 60 hours come from LAS
  • If approved, it will begin in the fall of 2024
  • It will not apply backwards. Students who are not in their first year when this begins will have to apply to receive either an AA or AS degree if they wish to obtain either degree.

BBA in Hospitality

Gery Markova, chair of the Management Department, and Gerald Graham, interim director of the Center for Management Development, presented a new degree in hospitality that would be housed in the Department of Management in the Barton School of Business.

There are three hospitality programs in the region: Oklahoma State University, Kansas State University and Fort Hays State University.

Markova said that their degree plan was built from looking at other hospitality programs around the country and talking to business partners in the area. She further explained that they already have plans for certificates and minors.

During the presentation, Graham said that there were close to 1300 job openings in the hospitality industry in Wichita on Indeed. Chase Billingham, at-large senator, pointed out that most of these jobs do not require a college degree, like barback, server and line cook.

The full proposal can be seen here.

In other Faculty Senate News

Bayram Yildirim, the president of the Presidents Innovation Advisory Council (PIAC), came to present to the Faculty Senate to inform them about what PIAC does.

The Council’s main purpose is to promote and advance “cross campus collaboration and communication.” 

Yildrim said, as a former Faculty Senate president, it was also a personal goal to bridge communication between the Faculty Senate and the President’s Office for better collaboration between all the faculty.

The next Faculty Senate meeting will take place on Oct. 23. The WSU-WSU Tech mixed Faculty Senate meeting is still being decided on.

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About the Contributors
Trinity Ramm
Trinity Ramm, Managing Editor
Trinity Ramm is the managing editor and former sports editor for The Sunflower. This is her second year on staff. Ramm is a senior English Lit major and a sociology minor with a certificate in film studies. In her limited spare time, she can be found at the movie theater, browsing some obscure film database or crocheting. Ramm uses she/her pronouns.
Mia Hennen
Mia Hennen, Editor in Chief
Mia Hennen is the current editor in chief for The Sunflower. Before becoming editor, Hennen was the news/managing editor. They are a junior at Wichita State majoring in English and minoring in communications and Spanish, hoping to pursue any career involving writing or editing.

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