What's new in Wichita's higher education?


Summer is half over and Splurge! has already started thinking about back to school. We wanted to know what new developments were happening in higher education around the city, so we talked with four area schools to learn what college looks like in Wichita for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Earn your general education credits at Wichita Area Technical College

Wichita Area Technical College is the fastest-growing college in Kansas - that may be partially due to the fact that its general education courses are available to everyone. Any high school or college student needing general education classes can enroll in them through WATC, and the credits transfer to four-year universities.

Kiera Brown earned general education credit by enrolling at WATC in a psychology course, which seamlessly transferred to Kansas State University. “WATC is a very inexpensive college that also provides a great education,” Brown said.

WATC is a Kansas Board of Regents institution that is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It was established in 1965 and has three campuses. Some WATC classes are offered online as well as in a traditional classroom. The school is enrolling for fall now.

Josie Ingram, a WATC student who is working toward a doctorate in physical therapy, will transfer his general education credits to a four-year university. “It is very nice and easy to apply,” Ingram said. “They actually care about your future.”

Andy McFayden, WATC Director of Marketing & Recruiting, said the courses are as high quality as the courses offered at other accredited colleges. “Just like a community college, required general education courses like Psychology, Algebra, Public Speaking and Composition can be completed at WATC for a lesser cost and either applied to an associate degree at WATC or transferred to a four-year college,” he said.

For information about what general education courses WATC offers, visit their website here.

Butler Community College heats up with new developments in fire science and culinary programs

Butler Community College turned up the heat in its Career and Technical Education (CTE) division during the past year with new developments in the Fire Science and the Hospitality Management programs. The Butler in-house residency program for training firefighters moved into a new, 20,000-square-foot El Dorado facility, which is a partnership with the Butler County Fire Department. There, students receive the hands-on training and experience of working shifts alongside real professionals with real equipment and real fires. “This program provides students with the opportunity to experience the life of a firefighter,” said Roberto Rodriguez, Dean of Career and Technical Education.

Another CTE department, Butler’s Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts program, opened the doors to its new Wichita facility at Boston Rec Center, 6655 E. Zimmerly. Butler instructors finally have a permanent learning space that caters to the needs of students. “Butler’s program aims to deliver classically trained culinarians who can excel at a variety of chef and restaurant employment opportunities, including entrepreneurial ventures,” Rodriguez said.

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