Ride of a lifetime: Kansas State University Salina pilots provide flights to children in Wichita aviation program

By Julee Cobb

Though much of the program is geared toward educating students over the age of eighteen, Kansas State University Salina’s aviation department is always looking for opportunities to inspire a younger generation.

Five K-State Salina certified flight instructors participated in the Flying Challenge, giving airplane rides to Wichita middle school children.

Five K-State Salina certified flight instructors participated in the Flying Challenge, giving airplane rides to Wichita middle school children.

For the third year in a row, K-State Salina exhibited its passion for educating youth on aviation when it joined United Way of the Plains and Airbus Corporate Foundation for their Flying Challenge – a mentoring program for middle school children in Wichita that is rooted in aviation, math, science, engineering and technology. On May 11, the university flew five airplanes to the National Center for Aviation Training in Wichita where K-State Salina certified flight instructors gave thrilling rides to more than 50 students from Hadley Middle School.

At the beginning of the school year, Hadley students were matched with advisors from Airbus and Wichita Area Technical College to see how professionals apply science and math every day during weekly mentoring visits, field trips and hands-on experiences. The Flying Challenge is the last event of the year and is designed, not only as a final educational component, but also as a reward for the students’ hard work in the program.

The Flying Challenge also gave students an opportunity to learn about the emerging aviation field of unmanned aircraft systems as well as participate in a virtual paint lab and design and composites labs.

The program first launched in the hometown of Airbus – Toulouse, France – in 2011 in connection with a local United Way, and then branched out to Wichita in 2012.

Kansas universities awarded new FAA Center of Excellence designation

Three Kansas universities are members of the new Federal Aviation Administration Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, which was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C., recently.

Wichita State University, Kansas State University and the University of Kansas are members of the new center known as the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence, or ASSURE, which will play a key role in helping the FAA develop rules regulating commercial unmanned aerial systems. ASSURE, which will be led by Mississippi State University, will provide the FAA and industry with research to maximize the potential of commercial unmanned systems with minimal changes to the current system regulating manned aircraft.

Congress appropriated $5 million for the five-year agreement with the center, which will be matched one-for-one by the team members. The FAA expects the center will be able to begin research by September and be fully operational and engaged in a robust research agenda by January 2016.

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Kansas State University and community partners set purple ribbon-cutting for Bulk Solids Innovation Center grand opening

By Julee Cobb

After breaking ground on the project less than a year ago, the Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center will celebrate its grand opening with a purple ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 14, in the 600 block of North Front Street in Salina. The public is welcome to attend.

The two-story, 13,000-square-foot facility is the only one of its kind in North America and will be used to study the science and understanding of bulk solids materials handling — loose, dry commodities like sugar, minerals, pigments and recycled plastics that account for more than 80 percent of items transported around the world. The innovation center houses six laboratories for university and industry-sponsored research; training and education, conference and lecture rooms; a material properties test lab; and a full-scale bulk solids test bay. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, all of these features will be available for viewing during walking tours of the space.

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Kansas State University Salina adding UAS cybersecurity concentration to master’s degree program, first online class begins June 8

By Julee Cobb

In today’s technological era, protecting information has become paramount. And with processing, storing and transporting communication an extensive component of unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, Kansas State University Salina is expanding its curriculum offerings to provide solutions for this type of security.

K-State Salina is adding an unmanned aircraft systems cybersecurity concentration to its Professional Master of Technology and is currently enrolling students for the inaugural class beginning Monday, June 8. This new academic emphasis is online-based and gives interested students the flexibility of either working toward a master’s degree or taking individual courses to help advance their knowledge and specialize in a niche within the unmanned aircraft systems industry.

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Kansas State University Salina joins Air Associates for professional pilot program recruitment at Cessna Demo Day

By Julee Cobb

Aviation enthusiasts interested in pursuing a flying career in the Kansas City metropolitan area will have the opportunity to learn more about becoming a pilot when Kansas State University Salina presents its program at the annual Air Associates of Kansas Cessna Demo Day. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 2, at 12901 W. 151st St., Olathe.

Launching in fall 2015, K-State Salina has partnered with Air Associates and Johnson County Community College to offer a professional pilot degree in the Kansas City area. Students enrolling in the program will receive flight training from Air Associates while taking their core degree courses online from K-State Salina and general education credits from Johnson County Community College. Once they graduate, students will receive a Bachelor of Science in aeronautical technology-professional pilot from Kansas State University.

During Cessna Demo Day, K-State Salina and Air Associates will feature their fleet, including a Cessna TTX, Cessna Skyhawk 172 and Beechcraft Bonanza G36. K-State Salina faculty will give program presentations at 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., and attendees can enter scholarship drawings and the opportunity to win a free first flight lesson. Chris Cakes also will be serving a free pancake breakfast.
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Kansas State University Salina selected by Textron Aviation as partner in Top Hawk program

By Julee Cobb

Kansas State University Salina will add to its piloting amenities after being chosen by Textron Aviation as a partner school in its inaugural Top Hawk program. K-State Salina is one of only four universities in the nation to be selected for participation.

K-State Salina professional pilot senior Ian Barnhart will represent the university in Textron Aviation's' Top Hawk program.

K-State Salina professional pilot senior Ian Barnhart will represent the university in Textron Aviation’s’ Top Hawk program.

Through the Top Hawk program, K-State Salina is given full use of a Cessna Skyhawk 172 aircraft, branded with the university’s Powercat, for the remainder of 2015. This aircraft is considered the world standard for pilot training. K-State Salina students will be able to take advantage of its modern features, including the G1000 avionics system.

In addition, one student from each of the four chosen universities is given the opportunity to intern with Textron Aviation this summer, gaining exposure to business operations, leading ground school classes and continuing to build flight hours through flying lessons and discovery flights. At the end of the summer, those interns will compete against one another in a flying challenge, through which one aviator will be named Top Hawk.

“It’s such an honor to be able to represent K-State Salina in the program,” said Ian Barnhart, senior in professional pilot, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. “The Top Hawk experience will provide me with valuable learning and networking opportunities that will help build my career as well as benefit other K-State Salina students who will train in the amazing Cessna Skyhawk 172.”

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K-State Salina names aviation workforce development veteran as airport management program lead

By Julee Cobb

With more than 30 years of experience as a pilot, business owner, consultant, researcher and professor, Tara Harl is the new airport management program lead at Kansas State University Salina. Harl is the first full-time faculty member hired specifically for the program since it was established in 2011.

Tara Harl has joined Kansas State University Salina has the new airport management program lead.

Tara Harl has joined Kansas State University Salina as the new airport management program lead.

“Aviation is in our blood — we are well known for our professional pilot and aviation maintenance programs, and we’re ready to take airport management to the next level,” said Verna Fitzsimmons, dean and CEO of K-State Salina. “With Tara’s versatile expertise in aviation, specifically workforce development, she brings many new ideas, and her industry connections will provide a substantial benefit to the program and our students. We are excited to have her join our community.”

Harl arrived at K-State Salina in February and in the few short months since she has been on campus, she is already working to grow the program. Harl says she would like to expand airport management to also include the areas of general aviation and airline management.

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From cadet to college student: Kansas State University, St. John’s Military School sign institutional partnership agreement

By Julee Cobb

Kansas State University will enhance its support of St. John’s Military School after signing a partnership agreement with the institution on April 14 to assist the school’s students in preparing for higher education.

Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz, left, and St. John's Military School President Andrew England sign an institutional partnership agreement that will serve the collegiate needs of St. John's students.

Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz, left, and St. John’s Military School President Andrew England sign an institutional partnership agreement that will serve the collegiate needs of St. John’s students.

At a ceremony on the St. John’s campus, Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz and St. John’s Military School President Andrew England sealed the collaboration with their signatures in front of community members, St. John’s alumni, staff from both institutions and the school’s cadets.

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K-State Salina’s Civic Luncheon Lecture to examine big data and its use in business decisions

By: Julee Cobb

In today’s technological era, data is everywhere: in every digital process, social media exchange and mobile device transmit. Kansas State University Salina’s latest Civic Luncheon Lecture will explore how all this information is effectively being gathered and incorporated into business operations and client experience.

“Big Data: Implications and Applications” will be presented at noon Thursday, April 9, at K-State Salina’s College Center conference room. Kissan Joseph, University of Kansas professor and co-director of the Center for Integrated Customer Experience, will lead the discussion. Les Kinsler, professor in K-State Salina’s computer systems technology program, will act as the moderator.

Big data, the term used to refer to the large volume of generated information, has meaningful value to industries because they can analyze trends and patterns from it that are related to human behavior. Businesses then integrate those findings into their practices and decision-making to enhance the customer experience. Joseph will highlight the varying potential of big data for businesses and beyond.

The Civic Luncheon Lecture Series is free and the public is invited. Attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch or purchase their lunch at the K-State Café and then bring their tray into the conference room.

Greg Stephens, associate professor of arts, sciences and business, created K-State Salina’s Civic Luncheon Lecture Series 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 on the series, contact Stephens at 785-819-6887 or gregs@k-state.edu, or visit http://www.salina.k-state.edu/civicluncheon/.

Good as gold: K-State Salina’s journey of 50 revolutionary years

By: Julee Cobb

The year was 1965. “The Sound of Music” was released in theaters and shows like “Green Acres” and “I Dream of Jeannie” ruled on television. The average price of gas was 13 cents a gallon and a new car cost around $2,600. Martin Luther King, Jr. made his famous march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama – a demonstration that later led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

In Salina, change was afoot on the Schilling Air Force Base on Centennial Road. It was announced the previous year that 150 military installations would close across the country. At the same time, Henry Neely and Thomas Creech, both faculty members at Kansas State University, had been tasked with designing a degree program for a potential engineering technology college. With Schilling Air Force Base shutting down, Neely and Creech met with base commander Col. Mike Scanlan about using some of their facilities and equipment.

K-State Salina is celebrating the 50th anniversary of their campus in 2015.

K-State Salina is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its campus in 2015.

Much to Neely and Creech’s surprise, the Kansas Legislature approved of their plans and officially established Schilling Institute on the base property on April 26, 1965 after the passage of House Bill 1101. The college would offer two-year degree programs in electronic engineering technology, detail design technology, civil engineering technology and aeronautical technology. Neely was appointed the president of Schilling Institute and Creech was named director of academic affairs.

Once the base was officially vacated in the summer of 1966, Neely and Creech, along with the other hired faculty and staff, moved onto the campus and started making the buildings and barracks suitable for students. They acted as carpenters, electricians, plumbers and painters as there was no extra money available to hire any tradesmen to complete the necessary work. Students arrived for classes in the fall and an additional program, computer science technology, was created – the first of its kind in the state. In 1968, Schilling Institute graduated its first 10 students.

The next year, the college was placed under the control of the State Board of Education and changed its name to Kansas Technical Institute, or KTI. Creech was selected as the campus’s third president in 1976 and during KTI’s reign, seven more degree programs were added. Students even picked the peacock as an unofficial mascot for the school, frequently appearing in the campus newspaper and yearbook.

In 1988, the property on Centennial Road would see another name change, to Kansas College of Technology. By this time, there were around 800 students enrolled and 11 programs led to an Associate of Technology degree. Kansas College of Technology, or KCT, also offered an Associate of Applied Science and an aviation maintenance certificate program.

In a full circle moment – as two K-State faculty were instrumental in founding the first institution on the grounds – KCT merged with Kansas State University in 1991 and became its ninth college, the College of Technology and Aviation. K-State Salina upgraded many of the previous two-year degrees to bachelor’s degrees. Most recently, it has added an unmanned aircraft systems program as well as family studies and human services, personal financial planning and social work. The landscape of the campus has also evolved, with the building of two residence halls, the College Center, the Student Life Center and a renovated Welcome Center.

Now the year is 2015, and popular comedic series aren’t just watched on television anymore. There are cell phones that are really smart phones, allowing access to the Internet and streaming music and social media. Movies are seen in theaters with 3D glasses and the price of gas continues to fluctuate between $2 and $3. Agreeably, times have dramatically changed since that day in 1965 when Schilling Institute was born. The students on campus now bleed purple, but K-State Salina wouldn’t be what it is today without the three colleges that came before.

K-State Salina is honoring the 50 years of those four educational institutions with a golden anniversary. If you would like to participate in the celebration, click here for the listed signature events that run April through September.