OVERLAND PARK – The University of Kansas is adding a Bachelor of Applied Science in Biotechnology at its Edwards Campus in Overland Park to increase career opportunities in biotechnology areas that directly serve local, state, national and global communities.
Kansas City is home to 200 life-science companies, including 90 contract research organizations that encompass a wide range of research and development services. In the Monthly Labor Review report, jobs in life, physical and social science occupations are expected to grow to 190,000 nationally, projecting a 15 percent increase by 2020.
“BioKansas applauds KU for fostering a pathway to develop in-demand competencies within one of the fastest-growing and highest-paying industries in Kansas," said BioKansas president Angela Kreps. “BioKansas connects higher education with industry for the purpose of training tomorrow’s scientific workforce based on clearly defined industry needs, such as management and communication skills alongside laboratory knowledge and experience.”
The new biotechnology program bridges the gap between biology, biochemistry and clinical laboratory sciences, preparing graduates for the ever-evolving life-sciences field.
“Given the close vicinity of KU Edwards to major life-science corporations, students have access to organizations to gain first-hand experience to lead and advance in a career where employment is rising,” said David Cook, vice chancellor for the KU Edwards Campus.
Offered through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the biotechnology program is KU’s first bachelor of applied science degree.
“What is exciting about this program is students will acquire a unique combination of science and workforce skills,” said Greg Burg, director of KU’s undergraduate biology program. “Extensive hands-on laboratory experience will provide a solid foundation in biotechnology, while courses in management, finance and communications will help students build a professional skill set.”
The Edwards Campus is also the ideal location for the program given its proximity to the community colleges for transfer students coming from Johnson County Community College, Metropolitan Community College and Kansas City Kansas Community College.
In November 2008, Johnson County voters approved the Johnson County Education Research Triangle, a one-eighth cent sales tax to support higher education focused on bioscience and technology. It was the first time in the nation voters approved a local sales tax, which has made programs such as the Bachelor of Applied Science in Biotechnology possible.
“KU Edwards Campus is student-focused, offering flexible evening classes for working students and professionals who want to pursue higher education. We believe and understand the need to grow and change, and by adding the biotechnology program we continue to be a strong partner in serving the workforce,” Cook said.
Students can begin pursuing the biotechnology program in the spring semester with courses commencing Jan. 20.
The KU Edwards Campus at 127th Street and Quivira Road in Overland Park brings high-quality academic programs, research and public-service benefits of the University of Kansas to the greater Kansas City community in order to serve the workforce, economic and community development needs of region.