Fort Hays State University president Edward H. Hammond took off on a statewide trek Monday to promote the university.
The trip, Hammond’s annual media tour, features media events in 15 Kansas cities and lasts through Friday. The annual tour is intended to raise the profile of Fort Hays, which sometimes is not known outside western Kansas.
“It’s very obvious this year that Fort Hays State is very well known,” Hammond said. “I can think back to the first press tour and we would go to certain parts of the state where Fort Hays wasn’t well known at all.”
On the tour, Hammond said he will highlight Fort Hays’ successes, including more than doubling enrollment over the last decade, growing Virtual College and creating a formal alignment with the North Central Kansas Technical College, which has campuses in Beloit and Hays.
Hammond also said growing the Virtual College is crucial to the future wellbeing of the state of Kansas because it allows people to continue their education while also continuing their careers.
It’s very important right now, probably more important than ever before,” Hammond said, “that the state of Kansas has a high quality distance education provider because the old educational model is obsolete.
“Whole careers are being created every day and old professions are disappearing. The world is changing very fast and right now the educational model that we need to have is one that supports the Kansas citizens coming back into the educational environment three or four times.”
Hammond said that while Kansans can get a quality education at schools around the state, they are going to need just as good of an education more than once
“It’s estimated right now that by 2018, Kansas will rank 13th in the nation in terms of states that need an educated workforce,” Hammond said. “In 2018, sixty-four percent of all the jobs will require postsecondary educational experience … Where the model is being challenged is, can we deliver a high quality education to Kansans that second or third or fourth time around they need that experience?”
Hammond highlighted that the cost of Virtual College compares favorably with other institutions.
“Why should Kansas citizens have to pay $300 to $500 per credit hour in tuition and fees to attend these for-profit, private, independent institutions when they can get a quality education from our Virtual College for $170?”
Hammond will also report on how Fort Hays is aligning with the Foresight 2020 plan proposed by the Kansas Board of Regents, which includes the NCKTC alignment.
“This will not be a merger,” Hammond said referring to the alignmentin a press release. “Both institutions will remain distinct entities, but some functions, such as business and student-affairs functions, may be combined.”
Hammond will also hit on Fort Hays’ efficiency in producing credit hours, cost of tuition, student retention and the increase in the number of degrees granted.