Answering the two most common back-to-school questions
From my earliest age, I remember starting each school year hearing the same two questions, "Are you glad to be back?" and "How was your summer?" In my early years, I think my responses were along the lines of "sure" and "too short," respectively.
As the KU Edwards Campus starts the 2017-2018 academic year, my replies are "we are thrilled to be back" and "we had a fantastic summer." Here's why.
'Thrilled to be back'
We welcome back to campus our continuing students and warmly greet our new students, of whom there are many more!
Combined fall 2017 enrollment in the KU Edwards Campus degree and certificate programs offered in Overland Park, in Leavenworth and online increased by 6.1 percent compared to fall 2016. The KU Leavenworth Campus started its second year, growing from offering one master's program to four. Likewise, the number of students in Leavenworth working toward a KU degree grew substantially. KU, as a whole, grew in enrollment for the fourth straight year.
'A fantastic summer'
This summer marked the culmination of many projects and the kickoff of a few more. The first group of several dozen students started in the KU Coding Boot Camp at the Edwards Campus. With new cohorts starting quarterly, the Coding Boot Camp is on pace to prepare more than 200 students per year to help fill Kansas City's need for technology talent.
The University of Kansas announced new leaders this summer. Three of them spoke to some of Kansas City's leaders at the Edwards Campus in early September. Chancellor Doug Girod, Dean L. Paige Fields of the School of Business and Dean Michelle Carney of the School of Social Welfare spoke about their new roles and reiterated the importance of the Kansas City metro area to KU.
Last month's issue of HigherEd listed the new programs offered by the Edwards Campus, several of which launched this summer. The campus was also busy with summer courses, Professional & Continuing Education programming and outside groups using our event and conference space. Edwards Campus faculty and instructors provided complimentary, action-oriented and timely talks at many local businesses and organizations through the Knowledge Now program during the summer months.
If you recently visited the Edwards Campus, you likely saw the construction underway in the courtyard. Resulting from a generous gift, a new piece of artwork will beautify our campus and function as an outdoor meeting space with modern amenities. Watch for photos of the artwork when it is complete.
Less visible to visitors is the construction occurring for our Biotechnology Lab and additional faculty offices. This summer we broke ground (reached by sawing through a lot of concrete) to start construction of the new, state-of-the-art science facility in our Regents Center building. It should be open to students for the spring semester. The lab and the educational programming it supports enhance the Edwards Campus contribution to growing the life sciences workforce in Kansas City.
With the school year now in full swing, we are in high gear pursuing our most important work – improving careers, lives, local organizations and communities through education.
David J. Cook, Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor, KU Edwards Campus