With three distinctive institutions of higher education located within a seven-mile radius of downtown‚ academic opportunities abound in Wichita.
For students at Wichita State University‚ the path to employment is a bit smoother thanks to the school’s varied academic programs and renowned courses of study‚ including the Cooperative Learning and Work-Based Education program‚ the largest of its kind in the state of Kansas. More than 1‚200 of the university’s 14‚000 students participate in the program each year‚ taking advantage of the opportunity to gain practical work experience for academic credit.
“What we provide is the link between academics and the workforce‚ giving our students professional work experience in the real world‚” says Connie Dietz‚ director of the program‚ noting that students have been placed in positions at more than 400 companies worldwide‚ including NASA and the Walt Disney Co. The school also features a Small Business Development Center and the Center for Entrepreneurship. In fact‚ famous entrepreneurs Dan and Frank Carney started Pizza Hut while they were still students at WSU‚ and the original Pizza Hut building was moved to the school’s campus as a reminder of WSU’s support for its entrepreneurial students.
In an effort to meet both student and workforce demands‚ the school is under going several expansion projects‚ including the broadening of its undergraduate nursing class in the College of Health Professions and the construction of a new $5.7 million Engineering Research Laboratory Building.
In addition‚ WSU’s Barton School of Business is ranked in the top one-third of the nation’s most outstanding business schools for a graduate business degree‚ according to the Princeton Review. Nearby at Newman University‚ a coeducational Catholic liberal arts institution‚ more than 2‚000 students from 19 states and 31 countries have chosen to attend the school for its career-oriented disciplines. Newman‚ which is located on 61 acres in the southwest portion of town‚ offers associate‚ baccalaureate and graduate degrees. At Friends University‚ a nondenominational Christian-based liberal arts college founded in 1889‚ enrollment is on the rise‚ with student numbers doubling over the past decade.
“There is something for everyone in Wichita in the way of higher education‚” says Barth Hague‚ associate vice president for marketing and communications at WSU. “We don’t see the three colleges as being competitive at all; we see them as being very distinctive and complementary to each other‚ providing options for a quality education.”