New collaboration takes flight: Kansas State Polytechnic and Kansas Wesleyan University jointly offer unmanned aircraft systems, emergency management minors to students

By Julee Cobb and John Elmore

Kansas State University's Polytechnic Campus and Kansas Wesleyan University sign an agreement July 11 to enable unmanned aircraft systems students at Kansas State Polytechnic and emergency management students at KWU to cross-register and earn a minor in the other institution's program. Front row, from left are: Verna Fitzsimmons, dean and CEO of Kansas State Polytechnic, and Matt Thompson, president of Kansas Wesleyan University. Back row, from left are: Bernie Botson, deputy director of emergency management for Saline County; Kendy Edmonds, junior in Kansas State Polytechnic's UAS program; Lonnie Booker, Jr., director of Kansas Wesleyan University's emergency management program; Kurt Carraway, executive director of Kansas State Polytechnic's UAS program; Bill Backlin, Kansas Wesleyan University's interim provost; and Alysia Starkey, associate dean of undergraduate studies at Kansas State Polytechnic.

Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus and Kansas Wesleyan University sign an agreement July 11 to enable unmanned aircraft systems students at Kansas State Polytechnic and emergency management students at KWU to cross-register and earn a minor in the other institution’s program. Front row, from left are: Verna Fitzsimmons, dean and CEO of Kansas State Polytechnic, and Matt Thompson, president of Kansas Wesleyan University. Back row, from left are: Bernie Botson, deputy director of emergency management for Saline County; Kendy Edmonds, junior in Kansas State Polytechnic’s UAS program; Lonnie Booker, Jr., director of Kansas Wesleyan University’s emergency management program; Kurt Carraway, executive director of Kansas State Polytechnic’s UAS program; Bill Backlin, Kansas Wesleyan University’s interim provost; and Alysia Starkey, associate dean of undergraduate studies at Kansas State Polytechnic.

It’s a disaster with casualties. An emergency management team and an unmanned aircraft systems support team both arrive on scene — but how do they speak each other’s language and work together?

Two of Salina’s leading higher education institutions are joining forces to tackle that issue in a collaboration that will prepare future emergency managers how to best utilize unmanned aircraft when deploying resources and to understand and analyze the data they collect. In turn, this new collaboration will teach future UAS pilots how to efficiently operate unmanned aircraft, often known as drones, within disaster sites and support the efforts of emergency response teams in crisis situations.
The collaboration was made official at a signing event July 11 at Kansas State Polytechnic. Through this agreement, Kansas Wesleyan University emergency management majors are able to cross-register and earn a minor in unmanned aircraft systems at Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus, while unmanned aircraft systems students at Kansas State Polytechnic now can cross-register and earn a minor in emergency management at Kansas Wesleyan University, or KWU.

“This is the first collaboration of its kind between state and private universities for such programs,” said Matt Thompson, president and CEO of Kansas Wesleyan University. “The graduates of these nationally recognized programs will have cross-over training and knowledge that makes them more prepared and therefore, in higher demand in their career fields.”

“The origin of Kansas State Polytechnic’s UAS program was influenced by the devastating effects of the EF5 tornado in Greensburg in 2007 and the need to support first responders and emergency managers with relevant technology that locates survivors and evaluates damage,” said Verna Fitzsimmons, dean and CEO of Kansas State Polytechnic. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to reconnect with those roots through this collaboration and provide our students with another applicable avenue in the ever-expanding field of UAS.”

Dean Verna Fitzsimmons speaks during the agreement signing with Kansas Wesleyan University.

Dean Verna Fitzsimmons speaks during the agreement signing with Kansas Wesleyan University.

Students enrolled in Kansas State Polytechnic’s Bachelor of Science program in aeronautical technology with an emphasis in unmanned aircraft systems, which requires a private pilot certificate with instrument rating, will be able to add a minor in emergency management with 18 credit hours in emergency management courses taught at KWU. These hours consist of four required emergency management courses plus two emergency management electives. Required courses are Introduction to Emergency Management, Hazard Mitigation and Preparedness, Disaster Response and Recovery, and National Incident Management Systems. Emergency management elective courses include Damage Assessment, Cyberwarfare, Criminal Law, Sociology of Disaster, and Victimology.

“Many of our UAS students have ambitions of applying their operations skills in a way that is socially beneficial, and offering the emergency management minor allows them to further their career aspirations while making a contribution to those in need,” said Michael Most, Kansas State Polytechnic associate professor and unmanned aircraft systems program lead. “We also are proud to be able to share the multifaceted uses of UAS technology with KWU students to supplement and diversify their field of study by adding another tool to the emergency manager’s toolbox.”

Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in emergency management major at KWU will be able to add a minor in unmanned aircraft systems with 15 credit hours in UAS courses taught at Kansas State Polytechnic. These hours consist of three required UAS courses and two additional courses tailored for either licensed pilots or non-aviators. Required UAS courses include Introduction to Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Processing Techniques for Low Altitude Remotely Sensed (LARS) Data, and Acquisition and Advanced Processing of LARS Data. The LARS courses are designed for environmental and agricultural sensing applications but will be tailored to the needs of KWU emergency management students for the purposes of damage assessment and remote site investigation following a disaster incident. The final two courses in the minor, UAS Design and UAS Mission Planning and Operations, will allow students to build their own unmanned aircraft capable of being remotely piloted. There is an additional cost for the aircraft materials.

“We are excited about the opportunities this new agreement presents,” said Lonnie Booker Jr., KWU assistant professor and director of emergency management. “It will take both fields of study to a whole new level of knowledge and expertise and enhance two programs that produce well-trained graduates for an emerging field.”

Guests of the signing event could view various technologies that are essential to UAS and emergency management.

Guests of the signing event could view various technologies that are essential to UAS and emergency management.

The emergency management major at Kansas Wesleyan University is the only four-year emergency management degree available in Kansas. Students gain the theoretical knowledge, practical skills and sense of duty to step in to save lives and protect property. Program tracks within the emergency management major include homeland security, business continuity and nongovernmental organizations. The major offers courses that can be taken online or on campus. KWU’s expertise in this field is gaining national attention, with Emergency Management Degree Program Guide naming the university among the “20 Top Emergency Management Bachelor’s Degree Programs Under $23,000 Average Net 2014.” Of those 20 top schools named, KWU’s degree was rated No. 8 for its quality, ahead of Arizona State University, Arkansas State University and the University of North Texas.

Booker was invited to be a panelist for the 17th annual Emergency Management Higher Education Symposium in 2015, hosted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Management Institute. His panel discussed emergency management program development and growth at colleges and universities.

Kansas Wesleyan University is located near Crisis City, operated by the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, an unrivaled world-class, multidiscipline, multiagency training environment developed to enhance the state’s capability to defend against terrorism threats and respond to disasters and emergencies. The university enjoys strong partnerships with local, regional and national emergency management experts and organizations.

Kansas State Polytechnic was the second university in the nation to offer a bachelor’s degree in unmanned aircraft systems, launched in 2009. Since that time, the program has nearly doubled its enrollment every year and to meet the demand, added a second bachelor’s degree in UAS design and integration as well as the UAS minor.

The program recently was named No. 2 on Drone Training HQ’s list of the “Top 20 Unmanned Aerial Systems Colleges in the United States” and was chosen as one of the Top 16 “Best Drone Universities” in the country by Dronethusiast.com.

The national recognition is a product of Kansas State Polytechnic’s exclusive accomplishments within the unmanned aircraft systems industry. In February 2015, Kansas State Polytechnic became the first entity in the United States to receive an FAA Certificate of Authorization for statewide access during flight operations. Recently, the program was awarded a nationwide certificate for public research operations.

In May 2015, Kansas State Polytechnic was among 20 universities across the nation, including the University of Kansas and Wichita State University, named by the U.S. Department of Transportation to an elite new group, the Federal Aviation Administration Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems. This alliance, called ASSURE, puts Kansas State Polytechnic at the cutting edge of UAS research in federally funded projects.

In November 2015, Kansas State Polytechnic became the first entity in the United States to receive approval from the FAA to provide UAS commercial flight training to both students and outside companies. The authorization, which is referred to as a Section 333 exemption, allowed Kansas State Polytechnic to create and conduct an extensive flight training program for unmanned aircraft operations.

And in May, it was announced that the Kansas Department of Transportation created a new position to direct UAS industry development in the state, with one of the post’s offices being located at Kansas State Polytechnic.

Kansas State Polytechnic is leading a variety of UAS research projects with outside partners, including the FAA and Westar Energy. The program has the most varied UAS fleet in U.S. academia, with a mix of more than 30 fixed-wing and rotary wing unmanned aircraft, or drones. Kansas State Polytechnic also boasts one of the largest enclosed flight facilities in the nation, allowing students to pilot their unmanned aircraft within steps of the classroom and UAS lab.

For more information on Kansas State Polytechnic’s academic UAS program, including enrollment, class options and the new emergency management minor, contact Most at 785-826-2681 or mtmost@k-state.edu. To inquire about UAS commercial flight training and research collaborations, contact Kurt Carraway, executive director of the UAS program, at 785-826-2624 or kcarraway@k-state.edu. Learn about Kansas Wesleyan University’s emergency management program by contacting Booker at lonnie.booker@kwu.edu or 785-833-4360.

Kansas’ first-ever UAS director to have part-time residency at Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus

By Julee Cobb

The first-ever director of unmanned aircraft systems for the state of Kansas, officially introduced July 5, will be located part time on the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus. From left are: Rep. J.R. Claeys, Kansas House of Representatives; Bob Brock, Kansas Department of Transportation UAS director; Mike King, Kansas transportation secretary; Verna Fitzsimmons, dean and CEO of Kansas State University's Polytechnic Campus; Kurt Barnhart, associate dean of research on the Polytechnic Campus and executive director of the school's Applied Aviation Research Center; and Merrill Atwater, Kansas Department of Transportation aviation director.

The first-ever director of unmanned aircraft systems for the state of Kansas, officially introduced July 5, will be located part time on the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus. From left are: Rep. J.R. Claeys, Kansas House of Representatives; Bob Brock, Kansas Department of Transportation UAS director; Mike King, Kansas transportation secretary; Verna Fitzsimmons, dean and CEO of Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus; Kurt Barnhart, associate dean of research on the Polytechnic Campus and executive director of the school’s Applied Aviation Research Center; and Merrill Atwater, Kansas Department of Transportation aviation director.

Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus is a part of another pioneering move in the unmanned aircraft systems industry with its contributions to a newly created UAS position for the state.

Kansas State Polytechnic will be a part-time home to Bob Brock, Kansas’ first-ever director of unmanned aircraft. Announced during an event July 5, Brock will maintain offices on the campus as well as at Kansas Department of Transportation headquarters in Topeka.

“It is an honor to host the new UAS director on our campus because it means we are viewed as one of the primary and most influential centers for the advancement of this technology in the state,” said Kurt Barnhart, associate dean of research at Kansas State Polytechnic and executive director of the campus’s Applied Aviation Research Center. “We have been working for many years to bring awareness to the exciting potential and power of unmanned aircraft, and this position validates a commitment to the growth of UAS from a state level.”

Brock, a Pittsburg native who is a 22-year veteran of the Air Force, will oversee the establishment of policy and procedures for the operation of UAS in Kansas. Among his priorities are protecting the privacy and public safety of the state’s residents. The Kansas Department of Transportation also is exploring how to best incorporate the technology into their principle services.

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Kansas State Polytechnic celebrates students’ achievements, campus contributions in 30th annual end-of-the-year awards banquet

By Julee Cobb

Four Kansas State Polytechnic students were awarded the prestigious Wildcat Pride awards at the annual end-of-the-year banquet.

Four Kansas State Polytechnic students are the recipients of the prestigious Wildcat Pride awards given out at the campus’s annual Awards and Recognition Banquet. Pictured, from top left clockwise: Zackary Dahl, Wildcat Pride award for community; Abbas Tayi, Wildcat Pride award for determination; Austin Bally, Wildcat Pride award for dedication; and Joél Mills, Wildcat Pride award for most inspirational.

 

What goes into a college campus running successfully? Though financial contributions might be the first presumption, the majority of a school’s ability to prosper is through its people. At Kansas State Polytechnic, students spend countless hours studying and collaborating on class projects; however, they also engage in student clubs, volunteer at events, work campus jobs and help tutor other students. Likewise, faculty and staff members go beyond the call of duty to ensure the campus runs smoothly and the students have a valuable experience.

Kansas State Polytechnic highlights that energy, effort and loyalty during its annual Awards and Recognition Banquet. Celebrating its 30th year, the banquet, held on April 21, brought together more than 150 students, faculty and staff to be honored for their accomplishments throughout the 2015-2016 school year.

“Each person at K-State Polytechnic touches the campus in a unique way,” said Amy Sellers, student life coordinator and organizer of the event. “This banquet gives the campus an opportunity to shine a light on the magnificent work performed and the dedication that is given day in and day out. Most importantly, it is a night of pride for the amazing students, staff and faculty that keep K-State Polytechnic buzzing with new ideas, innovations and inspirations.”

Close to 30 different accolades were handed out in three categories: Outstanding Academic Student awards, Outstanding Campus awards and Wildcat Pride awards. Within each of those areas, students, faculty and staff were recognized for a variety of reasons, including their program of study or instruction, sportsmanship, involvement on campus, advising and student club performance. Award nominations were open to anyone on campus and then were voted on by an established committee.

One of the most anticipated moments of the night is when the Wildcat Pride awards were announced. These student-only honors contain appreciation in the areas of community service, determination, dedication and most inspirational.

Zackary Dahl, a graduating senior in airport management, Hoyt, Kansas, was announced as the winner of the Wildcat Pride award for community service. According to its nomination description, the award recognizes a student who understands the civic responsibility of serving the community. The student sees the bigger picture and is aware of the community’s needs. Dahl was selected because of his heart for service. He spends time weekly volunteering at the Smoky Valley Nursing Home’s Alzheimer’s unit and at the Marine Corps recruiting station in Salina. Additionally, Dahl has given of his time to Big Brother Big Sisters and the Salina Animal Shelter. According to the nominator, Dahl’s “unselfish acts have touched the lives of this community and those around him.”

Abbas Tayi, a senior in professional pilot, Baghdad, Iraq, was the recipient of the Wildcat Pride award for determination, which suggests its winner shows a quality of firmness in beliefs and actions, doesn’t quit until an answer or decision is reached and pursues life by focusing on achieving a goal with passion. Tayi was selected for his diligent work ethic and integrity, including working toward a goal of graduating early. According to the nominator, Tayi isn’t afraid of any obstacle in front of him and has a “never quit” mentality.

Joél Mills, a senior in technology management, Snellville, Georgia, received the honor of the Wildcat Pride award for most inspirational student. This award recognizes someone who inspires others to achieve the highest level at which they are capable, and epitomizes the qualities of determination, dedication and service. This student must also maintain a GPA of 2.5 or above. Mills was selected because of her influence on the campus through her character and involvement. Mills has been a part of Programming Board, is a member of Women in Aviation, and has worked in the Student Life Center and admissions office, regularly giving tours to children in the StarBase program. According to the nominator, Mills is a loyal Wildcat and her blood runs purple. She is not only inspiring as a student, but also simply as the person she is.

Austin Bally, a senior in professional pilot, Wichita, Kansas, was the recipient of the Wildcat Pride Award for dedication, which states its winner goes above and beyond normal duties and is committed to a particular course of thought or action. Bally was selected because his initiative and leadership has helped launch a new summer aviation program for high school students. He also is committed to assisting his fellow undergraduate professional pilot students through involvement in the flight team. According to the nominator, Bally has gone above and beyond to make certain campus programs run smoothly, and his energy and enthusiasm contribute to the campus’s success.

Below is a list of other winners from K-State Polytechnic’s 30th annual Awards and Recognition Banquet:

Outstanding Academic Student Awards

Outstanding Student Life Graduating Senior – Nick Koch

Phi Kappa Phi – Natasha Gawith

Expository Writing – Mary Ewers, Jacob Rose and Mehnaz Afrin

Unmanned Aircraft Systems – Trevor Witt

Aviation Maintenance – Rachael Luna

Airport Management – Garett Ludlum

Professional Pilot – Chris Messing

Family Studies and Human Services – Lien Hecker

Social Work – Rubi Torres

Personal Financial Planning – Sevda Tasci

Computer Systems Technology – Tyler Kongs

Chemistry – Colton Maxwell

Electronic and Computer Engineering Technology – John Baumfalk-Lee

Mechanical Engineering Technology – Jason Hager

Technology Management – Pamela Barrett

 

Outstanding Campus Awards

Student Employee – Trevor Witt

Larry Caldwell Sportsmanship Award – Cooper Potts

Club Advisor of the Year – Lindsey Dreiling

Academic Advisor/Faculty Mentor of the Year – Alyssha Munt and Jess Simpson

Staff Member of the Year – Kyle Chamberlin

Faculty Member of the Year – Charles Van Gundy

Student Organization of the Year – Social Work Wildcats

Kansas State Polytechnic expands unmanned commercial flight training program with North Dakota’s SkySkopes as first national client

By Julee Cobb

Two UAV pilots from SkySkopes, Grand Forks, North Dakota, learn to fly multirotor unmanned aircraft with a Kansas State Polytechnic flight instructor.

Two UAV pilots from Grand Forks, North Dakota company, SkySkopes, learn to fly a multirotor unmanned aircraft with their Kansas State Polytechnic UAS flight instructor.

After debuting its inaugural flight training course to unmanned aircraft systems students in January, the UAS program on Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus is expanding that offering to now include its first national professional client.

Under the Section 333 exemption received from the Federal Aviation Administration in fall 2015, Kansas State Polytechnic’s UAS program is providing SkySkopes, located in Grand Forks, North Dakota, with multirotor flight training to help develop their pilots’ skills and ensure safe operations. SkySkopes, a leader in the upper Red River Valley for unmanned flight services specializing in aerial cinematography, industrial inspection and agriculture, is sending 10 UAV pilots to Kansas State Polytechnic throughout the summer to take the intensive, five-day course based on the school’s undergraduate curriculum, with some customization for SkySkopes’ needs.

“We are thrilled to assist an impressive company like SkySkopes with taking its operational goals and technology to the next level,” said Kurt Carraway, executive director of Kansas State Polytechnic’s UAS program. “Broadening our reach beyond the state of Kansas to instruct UAS professionals establishes another milestone in our program and demonstrates our reputation in the industry as an innovative leader.”

Matt Dunlevy, who started SkySkopes about two years ago, contacted Kansas State Polytechnic’s UAS program after learning about its approval from the FAA to provide UAS commercial flight training. Along with building upon his employees’ UAS education, Dunlevy wants to put safety at the forefront of their services.

“We want to brand ourselves as a company with a serious culture of flight safety, and one of the best ways to do that is to get as much safety training and actual hands-on flight instruction as possible,” said Dunlevy, who also serves as president and CEO of SkySkopes. “With the program having a large flight pavilion and receiving the first 333 exemption in the country for commercial flight training, that made Kansas State Polytechnic who we wanted to work with.”

Two unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, pilots with North Dakota company SkySkopes receive their multirotor certificate after completing Kansas State Polytechnic's professional flight training course, offered under one of the program's Section 333 exemptions. From left: Spencer Schrader, junior in unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, at Kansas State Polytechnic and flight instructor; Cory Vinger, UAV pilot with SkySkopes; Kurt Carraway, executive director of Kansas State Polytechnic's UAS program; Andrew Schill, lead instructor pilot with SkySkopes; and Travis Balthazor, senior UAS flight instructor at Kansas State Polytechnic.

Two UAV pilots with SkySkopes receive their multirotor certificate after completing Kansas State Polytechnic’s professional flight training course, offered under one of the program’s Section 333 exemptions. From left: Spencer Schrader, junior in unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, at Kansas State Polytechnic and flight instructor; Cory Vinger, UAV pilot with SkySkopes; Kurt Carraway, executive director of Kansas State Polytechnic’s UAS program; Andrew Schill, lead instructor pilot with SkySkopes; and Travis Balthazor, senior UAS flight instructor at Kansas State Polytechnic.

Two of SkySkopes’ pilots have already completed the multirotor training course. Before traveling to Salina, they began with an open book exam over a variety of written materials, such as the Kansas State University UAS standard operating procedures, a flight operations manual and the FAA-issued 333 exemption. Once on campus, the students engaged in a two-hour classroom session and visual observer training.

The interactive flight instruction is delivered inside Kansas State Polytechnic’s 300-feet-long by 200-feet-wide and 50-feet-tall netted flying pavilion as well as out in the field. SkySkopes’ pilots worked on advanced maneuvers as an external pilots, also known as stick and rudder skills; practiced employment of the system using the S-1000’s autopilot; built flight plans using the ground control station; and improved upon their communication techniques. Throughout the course, the two pilots were given a series of “stage checks” at different phases of the training and were given a final check ride, similar to the rigor of manned pilot training programs. After completion, the SkySkopes pilots were awarded a Kansas State Polytechnic UAS multirotor certificate.

The multirotor training course for industry partners is derived from the flight training curriculum developed for Kansas State Polytechnic’s UAS students, which began in the 2016 spring semester as a special topics course. The full flight training program will start in fall 2016 and is modeled after the campus’s manned professional pilot program. Students progress through multirotor training and multirotor instructor to fixed-wing operations and finally fixed-wing instructor. Just as professional pilot students can become certified flight instructors teaching their peers to fly, once a UAS student reaches a certain rating, he or she can act as an instructor in the entry-level flight courses.

“Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus has a deep-rooted history in aviation, and our 333 exemption has allowed the UAS program to leverage the training experience on the manned side to create and implement flight courses for unmanned students and now outside companies,” Carraway said. “In a climate where we don’t yet have FAA regulations on airmen certification, we are able to contribute to the industry by providing and promoting safe operations and relevant education.”

“The UAS industry is strongly supported in North Dakota and we see the training between SkySkopes and Kansas State Polytechnic as a way to bridge the two states and even enhance the relationship between K-State and the University of North Dakota, who have the two most dominant UAS programs in the United States,” Dunlevy said.

Along with helping SkySkopes, Kansas State Polytechnic’s UAS program has conducted a half-day flight training course for hobbyists and has been collaborating with Kansas electric utility company, Westar Energy, on commercial flight training as well as research projects.

Companies interested in UAS commercial flight training, program development or research can see all of the services available through Kansas State Polytechnic at http://polytechnic.k-state.edu/profed/uas or by contacting Carraway at 785-826-2624 or kcarraway@k-state.edu.

Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center hosts Wolfson Centre senior researcher Richard Farnish for site visit and presentation

With an aim to continue advancing the education and research of bulk solids handling, the Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center welcomed industry expert Richard Farnish to the facility last month for a site visit and special presentation.

Farnish, who is a senior research fellow, consultant, engineer and professor with the Wolfson Centre at the University of Greenwich, in Chatham, North Kent, England, spoke with employees of the innovation center as well as Kansas State University professors in the engineering technology field on May 9 about particulate handling. During his lecture, he provided insight into where and why challenges occur with the process and also offered solutions to preventing these obstacles, saving both time and money.

Richard Farnish, a senior research fellow with the Wolfson Centre at the University of Greenwich, shares his expertise in diagnosing and solving bulk solids handling problems during a presentation at the Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center May 9.

Richard Farnish, a senior research fellow with the Wolfson Centre at the University of Greenwich, shares his expertise in diagnosing and solving bulk solids handling problems during a presentation at the Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center May 9.

“Richard has more than 20 years of experience in the bulk solids industry, so to have him visit our facility and offer up his expertise is quite an honor,” said Kurt Barnhart, associate dean of research at Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus, also located in Salina, Kansas. “The key point of his message is that more bulk solids education is needed – companies should develop their knowledge of handling systems before purchasing one by performing research and an informed, thoughtful analysis, and this is a process our innovation center is aiming to help with.”

While at the Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center, Farnish also took a tour of the property and made recommendations on additional equipment that would assist with the efficiency and accuracy of research.

The 13,000-square-foot facility – celebrating its one-year anniversary in May – was created to promote bulk solids materials handling within undergraduate education, professional development and industry research. Two local companies, Coperion K-Tron Salina and Vortex Valves, serve as anchor occupants in the building. The vast amenities and offerings of the Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center make it the only one of its kind in North America.

For information regarding upcoming short courses, or inquiries about the center and its capabilities, contact John Lawrence, the facility’s research director, at jlawren@k-state.edu or 785-829-1110.

Polytechnic campus collects nearly 3,000 pounds of spaghetti for Salina community group

By Julee Cobb

Kansas State Polytechnic collected almost 3,000 pounds of spaghetti for Project Salina.

Kansas State Polytechnic collected almost 3,000 pounds of spaghetti for Project Salina.

Faculty, staff and students at Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus are hoping to make an impact on the local hunger problem after collecting almost 3,000 pounds of spaghetti for the Salina community.

Kansas State Polytechnic teamed up with Project Salina, an organization that gathers food for distribution to Salina residents who cannot afford to buy meals for themselves, and set a goal of accumulating 2,500 pounds of spaghetti. Within a four-week time period, members of the polytechnic campus not only answered the call for help, they donated in droves. At the end of the Project Salina campaign, faculty, staff members and students had given 2,950 pounds of noodles largely outweighing what was expected.

Les Kinsler, a professor in the computer systems technology program who retired in May, spearheaded the event and also previously has organized blood drives on campus. He enjoys leading philanthropy opportunities because it brings people together and brings about an awareness of meaningful issues.

“I think it is very important that the university and our campus be involved with local groups and organizations,” said Kinsler. “We live in a little social unit of students, faculty and staff, and it’s easy to loose track of the needs and happenings of the larger community.”

Project Salina was established in 1990 to assist various food agencies in the city with keeping their shelves full year round, not just during the holiday season. Entities, like Kansas State Polytechnic, that initiate a food drive are assigned one non-perishable item, such as spaghetti, and a contribution goal so that Project Salina can accurately plan their amount of stock. According to Feeding America, more than 8,000 residents in Saline County, where Salina is located, needed help putting food on the table in 2014.

Along with assisting Project Salina and the American Red Cross, Kansas State Polytechnic clubs and organizations require their student members to perform community service. Examples of their philanthropy include volunteering at local retirement communities, within various Salina events like Parade of Lights, and at the VFW, Lions Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Kansas State Polytechnic named number two college in the nation for unmanned aircraft systems

By Julee Cobb

The unmanned aircraft systems program on Kansas State University's polytechnic campus has been named one of the top UAS colleges in the country by Drone Training HQ, ranked number two out of 20 universities in the poll.

The unmanned aircraft systems program on Kansas State University’s polytechnic campus has been named one of the top UAS colleges in the country by Drone Training HQ, ranked number two out of 20 universities in the poll.

The unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, program on Kansas State University’s polytechnic campus continues to add to its national presence with a new top academic ranking.

Kansas State Polytechnic has been named number two in the “Top 20 Unmanned Aerial Systems Colleges in the United States.” The list was compiled by Drone Training HQ, an online resource for unmanned pilots, engineers and technicians, and was based upon a variety of criteria, including reputation, hands-on instruction, accreditation, courses and programs offered, student feedback and job placement.

“This ranking rewards nearly 10 years of persistent hard work on multiple levels, ranging from locally to internationally,” said Kurt Barnhart, associate dean of research on the polytechnic campus and executive director of the school’s Applied Aviation Research Center. “At the outset of 2007, there were relatively few who dared to dream about what UAS could become in Salina, but here we are. We are grateful to those who have supported our endeavors and have helped us make the program a success. These achievements, however, are only the beginning.”

The program’s second place ranking comes against universities, such as Indiana State University, University of North Dakota, Oklahoma State University, and Kent State University. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University landed the list’s number one spot.

Kansas State Polytechnic’s UAS program was launched in response to the devastating EF5 tornado that destroyed 95 percent of Greensburg, Kansas in 2007. The storm prompted state legislators to provide first responders and emergency managers with the necessary tools to effectively locate survivors and assess damage. As part of their plan, they allocated funds to Kansas State University to start an unmanned aircraft systems program that would work to improve disaster response and public safety using that technology.

A few classes related to unmanned aircraft were offered on the polytechnic campus beginning in 2009 and then a UAS certificate was established in 2010. The next year, Kansas State Polytechnic implemented a bachelor’s degree ­– only the second in the nation at that time – and then in 2015, a second bachelor’s degree was added in UAS design and integration, along with a UAS minor. Also, the program’s enrollment has doubled almost every year since its inauguration.

To learn more about Kansas State Polytechnic’s unmanned aircraft systems program, including enrollment, degree options and research, contact Kurt Carraway, acting executive director of UAS, at 785-826-2624 or kcarraway@k-state.edu.

Polytechnic’s Ackerman serving as university Coffman Chair, strives to increase academic discourse about critical thinking

Kansas State University’s 2016-17 Coffman Chair for Distinguished Teaching Scholars, Patricia Ackerman, professor of language arts at K-State Polytechnic, is determined to increase academic discourse about critical thinking at the university.

Ackerman’s goal as Coffman Chair is to facilitate a university-wide discussion about critical thinking, one of the five undergraduate student learning outcomes that the faculty senate adopted in 2004. The other outcomes published in K-State’s undergraduate student handbook include knowledge, communication, diversity awareness, and academic and professional integrity.

Patricia Ackerman, associate professor of language arts at K-State Polytechnic, is determined to increase academic discourse about critical thinking as Kansas State University’s 2016-17 Coffman Chair for Distinguished Teaching Scholars.

Patricia Ackerman, professor of language arts at K-State Polytechnic, is determined to increase academic discourse about critical thinking as Kansas State University’s 2016-17 Coffman Chair for Distinguished Teaching Scholars.

Ackerman will spend the next year meeting with academic leaders in all colleges of the university and in the Office of Planning and Assessment to examine how critical thinking is woven into various degree programs.

“I am interested in exploring how we currently define, teach and assess critical thinking at Kansas State University,” Ackerman said.

She is working with the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning and the Faculty Exchange for Teaching Excellence to invite a nationally recognized scholar in the field of critical thinking to Kansas State University campus for the annual university teaching retreat in spring 2017.

The Coffman Chair for Distinguished Teaching Scholars was created in 1995 to highlight Kansas State University’s commitment to excellence in undergraduate teaching and learning. A faculty member acknowledged as a leading teaching scholar is appointed to the chair for one academic year. During that time, the chair conducts research or develops programs to improve educational methods. All who are selected for the honor retain the title of University Distinguished Teaching Scholar throughout their careers.

“Receiving the Coffman Chair for University Distinguished Teaching Professors is a tremendous honor,” Ackerman said. “I look forward to engaging in meaningful dialogue with colleagues across the university during the coming year. It is humbling to be included as a member of the notable K-State scholars who form the University Distinguished Teaching Professors alumni.”

Ackerman joined the K-State faculty in 2000. Her leadership roles at the university have included chairing the Course and Curriculum Committee, co-chairing the Faculty Senate Academic Affairs Committee, founding and directing an interdisciplinary writing center, and advising K-State Polytechnic’s student publication “On the Record.” She also served on the executive board of directors of the Midwest Writing Center Association and was the graduate program director for the professional master of technology degree. In 2014, she established and became the first coordinator of K-State Polytechnic’s Faculty Resource Center. She also served as coordinator of the campus’ first Interdisciplinary Faculty Teaching Exchange.

She currently serves on the board of directors for the Kansas Humanities Council, Faculty Senate Executive Committee, K-State Faculty Exchange for Teaching Excellence and the K-State Commission on the Status of Women. Her book, “Marymount College of Kansas: A History,” was published in 2014 and was a 2015 WILLA Literary Award finalist for scholarly nonfiction.

“Research for my 2014 book ‘Marymount College of Kansas: A History’ increased my awareness of cyclical patterns that recur in academia,” Ackerman said. “Many of the pedagogical issues faced by the Sisters of St. Joseph nearly a century ago remain at the forefront of challenges facing contemporary colleges and universities. Student learning outcomes are critical to defining what it means to be a ‘college-educated’ citizen. Revisiting student learning outcomes, individually and collectively, should be part of ongoing, dynamic discourse across the university.”

Ackerman has received numerous awards during her time at K-State, including a Marchbanks Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence, Big XII Faculty Fellowship Award, Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Professor of the Year Award, and two Rex McArthur Family Faculty Fellow Awards. She has been nominated twice for the Iman Award. Ackerman is a fellow of the National Writing Project, the Wakonse Conference on College Teaching and the International Writing Center Association.

Ready for takeoff: Kansas State Polytechnic launches new flight academy for high school students

By Julee Cobb

For more than 50 years, aviation technology has been an educational cornerstone of the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus, and now that tradition is being offered to a new generation of students.

Students enrolled in Fly K-State Academy will complete four missions and earn three and a half hours of flight time while staying overnight on campus and participating in group activities and outings around the city.

Students enrolled in Fly K-State Academy will complete four missions and earn three and a half hours of flight time while staying overnight on campus and participating in group activities and outings around the city.

Kansas State Polytechnic is introducing Fly K-State Academy — a three-day piloting program, June 27-29, for high school students entering their freshman through senior year who dream about a future in aviation. In this immersive experience, students will complete four missions and earn three and a half hours of flight time while staying overnight on campus and participating in group activities and outings around the city.

The Kansas State Polytechnic Flight Team — which won the prestigious Loening Trophy in 2014 — will host Fly K-State Academy. The team developed the idea after assisting with other aviation programs on campus that only were offered to youth in elementary and middle school. Team members believe a flight program for high school students is essential to their growth as aviators and is a valuable opportunity to experience a college atmosphere.

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Nanotechnology is explored in April edition of Civic Luncheon Lecture Series

By Julee Cobb

Sometimes big things really do come in small packages.

A microscopic innovation that has the promise of significantly impacting a variety of industries is the subject of Kansas State Polytechnic’s latest Civic Luncheon Lecture of the spring semester.

Dr. Ramazan Asmatulu, from Wichita State University's nanotechnology laboratory in the Center for Innovation and Enterprise Development, will present at this month's Civic Luncheon Lecture Series.

Dr. Ramazan Asmatulu will present at this month’s Civic Luncheon Lecture Series.

Our Nanotechnology Future: Healthcare, Electronics and Manufacturing” will be presented at noon Friday, April 22 in the College Center conference room on campus. Nanotechnology is a process of manufacturing with atoms to produce new structures, materials and devices. This scientific advancement has the ability to be incorporated into sectors such as medicine, consumer products, energy, materials and manufacturing.

The lecture will feature Ramazan Asmatulu from Wichita State University’s nanotechnology laboratory in the Center for Innovation and Enterprise Development. K-State Polytechnic’s Kurt Barnhart, associate dean of research, and Saeed Kahn, associate professor of electronic and computer engineering technology, will act as moderators.

The Civic Luncheon Lecture Series is free and the public is invited. Guests may bring their lunch or buy a lunch from the cafeteria to enjoy while listening to the discussion.

The lecture series was established by Greg Stephens, associate professor of arts, sciences and business at Kansas State Polytechnic, to provide the campus and the community with an opportunity to learn about and participate in various current events impacting local issues. For more information, contact Stephens at 785-819-6887 or gregs@k-state.edu, or visit http://polytechnic.k-state.edu/civicluncheon/.