The mission of Kansas State University (KSU) as a comprehensive, research, land-grant institution is to foster excellent teaching, research, and service that develop a highly skilled and educated citizenry necessary to the well-being of Kansas, the nation, and the international community. Since its founding in 1863, the University has evolved into a modern institution of higher education, committed to quality programs, and responsive to a rapidly changing world and the aspirations of an increasingly diverse society. These responsibilities are addressed through an array of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, research and creative activities, and outreach and public service programs. In addition, its land-grant mandate, based on federal and state legislation, establishes a focus for its instructional, research, and extension activities, which is unique among the Regents’ institutions.
Review of the selected degree programs each year facilitates the attainment of future goals and the development of relevant curricula to meet the needs of students, faculty, and the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR). For the 2011 cycle, KSU reviewed a total of 39 degree programs in 23 disciplinary areas. The following disciplines were included:
The summary for each program is attached. Where possible, the summary reports for all degree programs within a given department were combined into a single page. The following provides a short review of significant highlights, assessment of student learning, and recommendations for the departments and their related degree programs.
Of the 39 degree programs reviewed, eight are doctorates, 16 are masters, and 15 are bachelors. On the whole, all of the degree programs are in strong and viable academic disciplines. Overall, each department and its academic programs provide options and opportunities for the advancement of education, research, and service for the state of Kansas, the nation, and the world. All the College of Education programs have been approved by the Kansas State Department of Education and National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). All the programs in College of Human Ecology have been re-accredited by their respective accrediting agencies. Currently the Masters of Public Health program is seeking professional accreditation through the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).
The quality of the undergraduate programs (Agri-business and Agricultural Economics) is intimately tied to the rigor of the research and extension programs conducted by faculty in the department. Employment demand for B.S. graduates from the Department of Agricultural Economics is very good. Graduate students in Agricultural Economics gain expertise in economic analysis contributing to expanding management choices and decision making vital to strengthening a sustainable system of food production both in Kansas and, increasingly, around the world. Graduates of the M.S. program have found employment with agribusinesses, banks, commodity firms, government agencies and other organizations. Some students also go into business for themselves. Placement of Ph.D. graduates in recent years has been excellent. For doctoral graduates in 2011, the Department has found placements at several prestigious Land Grant Universities such as Purdue University and Iowa State University. Other Ph.D. graduates have been hired at various agencies and research institutes.
The Masters in Agri-business (MAB) is a unique educational program improving the managerial decision making skills of professionals actively employed in agribusiness. The MAB program is only one of a small number of similar programs offered anywhere in the world. The Master of Agribusiness program requires that students have a minimum of two years of professional work experience prior to joining the MAB program. The MAB program operates somewhat autonomously from the other graduate programs in the Department of Agricultural Economics. The program largely depends upon student tuition and industry donations. No state appropriated funds are used in the direct operation of the program.
Industry seeks Agricultural Communications and Journalism bachelor’s degree students because of the combination of agricultural, natural resources, and environmental knowledge and mass communications skills. Placement of KSU students is near 100 percent. Graduates are employed in print media, public relations, advertising, marketing, strategic communications, electronic broadcasting, photography, and internet communications related to the food and fiber industries and natural resources and environmental sciences.
The Department of Curriculum and Instruction prepares students at the undergraduate level in elementary and secondary education. As the largest teacher preparation program in the state, the department provides a supply of new teachers to fill teaching vacancies across Kansas and many additional states. In addition, the Department offers graduate courses and programs to meet the ongoing professional development needs of educators in K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities across Kansas and the nation. The M.S. and doctoral programs are unique in their flexibility as well as their emphasis on issues of educational diversity and equity and ensuring that students develop areas of expertise specific to their interests and/or teaching assignment. KSU students score higher than state and national averages on content and pedagogical tests required for licensure.
The Department of Educational Leadership offers the M.S. and Ed.D degrees in educational leadership, along with state-approved professional licensure for persons wanting to pursue careers as public school administrators/leaders. The doctoral degree (Ed.D) in educational leadership at KSU is unique by its emphasis on practitioner preparation on behalf of the State of Kansas. The masters (M.S.) degree in educational leadership is unique as well through its innovative and nationally recognized leadership academy model of field-based learning. Historic pass rates of licensure exam-takers earning M.S. or Ed.D degrees at KSU is consistently at the 100% mark. Historic placement data indicates nearly 100% of graduates find new enhanced employment.
The degree-granting history at the M.S. and Ph.D/Ed.D levels in adult and continuing education at KSU is exemplary in productivity and applicability to students’ career goals. Kansas State University is one of only three Big 12 universities having graduate programs in adult education. KSU has uniquely responded to all these needs through creation and delivery of an adult basic education academy via partnership with the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) to impact 31 adult learning centers statewide; through creation and delivery of an online masters degree in adult education serving the state and nation; and through creation and operation of a very large Fort Leavenworth-based program at the Command and General Staff College.
The Department of Special Education, Counseling, and Student Affairs (SECSA) is comprised of four components: special education, counseling, student affairs and academic advising. SECSA offers undergraduate courses that support education and student development along with graduate courses that serve students in other programs in the College of Education. SECSA offers one of only two master’s programs in school counseling and the only doctoral program in Kansas in counselor education and supervision accredited by CACREP. The graduate program in academic advising is unique and was developed in collaboration with the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). The special education doctoral program has the reputation of being more “practitioner oriented.” KSU’s program focuses on Adaptive Special Education and has been a state, regional, and national leader in the areas of consultation/collaboration, and transition from school to adult life. All programs in SECSA are high quality programs that are innovative, informed by current research and professional practice, are collaborative endeavors, and maintain a position of excellence in the field.
The Department of Apparel, Textiles, and Interior Design is the only academic unit in the State of Kansas with the degree programs, scholarship focus, service, and outreach expectations. The Apparel and Textiles (AT) program prepares students to excel in a wide range of jobs in the apparel, textile and retail industries. Compared to a business curriculum, the AT curriculum provides students with knowledge about textile and apparel product that is necessary for success in this multibillion-dollar industry. The Interior Design program at Kansas State University has been consistently recognized as one of the best interior design programs in the nation. The Interior Design program is highly regarded for preparing graduates well for entry-level professional positions in the multi-disciplinary building design industry. The department offers a resident M.S. degree in Apparel and Textiles and a distance M.S. degree in Apparel and Textile-Merchandising. Resident graduate program emphases are in design, product development, and marketing of apparel and textiles. The distance M.S. degree specialization in Merchandising is offered through the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GPIDEA), an online multi-institution degree program. This innovative program provides professionals in the industry with the theoretical background in merchandising often providing for diversification or career advancements.
The School of Family Studies and Human Services (FSHS) is responsible for three bachelor programs and one M.S. degree program involving seven specializations – early childhood education, communication sciences and disorders, life span human development, marriage and family therapy, family studies and human services and two Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GPIDEA) M.S. specializations, in Family Financial Planning, and Youth Development.
The Fall 2010 American Speech-Language Hearing Association accreditation site visit team reported that the Communication Sciences and Disorders program is a “national gem”. For the past eight years the KSU graduates have successfully passed the examination 100% of the time on their first attempt. This percentage is well above the national average of 84%. The Early Childhood Education (ECE) program was reaccredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) in 2009. This program includes a distance education degree program that received the Region VII Exceptional Program Award from the Association of Continuing Higher Education. Demand for ECE graduates is high, and has been fortified by the 2008 redesign of the curriculum for early childhood unified inclusive (early childhood special education) birth through kindergarten teacher licensing. The FSHS undergraduate degree program offers two undergraduate majors/emphases - Family Studies and Human Services (FSHS) and Personal Financial Planning (PFP). The FSHS program has maintained continuous Approved Program status for the Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) certification process since 1993 and is one of the top three universities from which new CFLEs obtain this prestigious credential. The quality of students in the PFP program is demonstrated by their success in academic scholarship and outreach. Undergraduate students have received graduate fellowships and presented research at the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education conference. Undergraduate students provide peer financial counseling through the PowerCat Financial Counseling center.
Graduates of the M.S. emphasis in Communication Sciences and Disorders have a 100% employment record. One-half of the students are employed in medical settings and one-half are employed in a school setting. The M.S. specialization in Early Childhood Education is offered primarily with distance education. The demand for the M.S. degree focused on Family Financial Planning (FFP) with GPIDEA continues to be strong. Graduates in the FFP emphasis are actively recruited for positions in the financial counseling and planning profession. Many Family Studies students are active with research presentations at the National Council of Family Relations, and most take a practicum course that provides strong professional experience in teaching, research, or human service program development. Lifespan Human Development students have presented their research nationally and internationally. FS and LHD graduates who do not continue their education in doctoral programs are readily employed by Kansas and regional human service agencies. In 2007 the M.S. program with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) was revised to add clinical training on domestic violence, substance abuse, and evidence-based practice. During the past three years, 100% of the MFT M.S. graduates who took the national marriage and family therapy exam in Kansas passed. Since 2007 there have been 70 students admitted to the Youth Development GPIDEA degree program and 35 have completed the program. A substantial majority of Youth Development professionals were and continue to be employed as youth workers for local, state, and federal agencies.
Graduates of the undergraduate didactic program in dietetics compete for a dietetic internship after graduation and thus continue with their education and training. Graduates are working in both in-patient and out-patient hospital settings, in long-term care, as school nutrition program directors, in WIC, and other public health initiatives. The online Master of Science in Dietetics, which provides a program with considerable choice in electives to match the diversity of dietetics practice, is meeting the need for Registered Dietitians for master’s level education. The MS in Dietetics is offered in concert with seven other universities through the GPIDEA consortium.
The Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM) program is the only full baccalaureate degree program in hospitality in the state, combining foodservice, lodging, and convention/meeting management in one degree program. It is also the only accredited program in the state. Employment data for these graduates shows an average of over 90% of graduates finding a job within 3 months of graduation. Many of the graduates of the Master of Science degree in Foodservice, Hospitality and Dietetics Administration move directly into the HRM PhD program. Others are actively employed in the hospitality industry in college and university foodservice, long-term care, restaurants, and hotels.
The only unit of its kind in Kansas, the Department of Human Nutrition offers B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. programs in nutrition. In 2003, the Athletic Training program was approved as a B.S. degree program. The department’s greatest strength is that it represents the full spectrum of human nutrition: the molecular and gene level, human metabolism and performance, nutrition education, consumer behavior, sensory analysis, public health nutrition, and clinical nutrition. The Department participates in interdisciplinary programs such as the graduate program in food science, the undergraduate program in nutrition and exercise with kinesiology, and the interdepartmental Masters of Public Health. The Department has a world renowned Sensory Analysis Center and has an accredited animal care facility which is one of the few in the nation in human nutrition programs. The Department includes the largest nutrition and kinesiology undergraduate program in the nation and offers an accredited B.S. degree program in Athletic Training which is one of the largest in the nation. Finally, the Department provides one of the few undergraduate curricula in public health nutrition in the nation.
Graduates of the B.S. in Human Ecology are prepared to address human needs from multiple and synergistic perspectives. Recent graduates are engaged in masters and doctoral programs, in business management, in human services, and in communications and education careers. Students in the B.S. in Human Ecology can qualify to meet family and consumer sciences teacher licensure standards for Kansas. The program is one of two approved family and consumer sciences teacher licensure programs in the state. Employment demand is especially strong for general human ecology graduates who complete teacher licensure requirements. The Ph.D. program in Human Ecology is a multidisciplinary, interdepartmental program consisting of six areas of specialization. The caliber of the program is evidenced by high rankings from external sources, the national and international reputations of the graduate faculty, and the courses that support the program and each specialization.
At the undergraduate level KSU has the only Gerontology secondary major in the U.S. The secondary major lends more credibility than a minor and can be paired with any major. Gerontology students are finding that this enhancement helps them to find jobs and placement in graduate and medical programs. The secondary major is unique in that it builds on our reputation as leaders in quality of life for residents in long-term care and with our partnership with Meadowlark Hills which is seen as a leader in caregiving practices. The masters degree in Gerontology is part of the Great Plains IDEA program. This applied degree program trains students to work in service delivery, policy, program evaluation, and other important areas of need for aging populations.
The Master of Public Health Program (MPH) degree has four emphasis areas that are aligned with the strengths of the University: (1) food safety and biosecurity; (2) infectious diseases and zoonoses; (3) public health nutrition; and (4) public health physical activity. For AY 2008-2010, 100% of the graduates of the Kansas State University MPH Program seeking employment have found job placement within 12 months of graduation. Their jobs have been in a broad range of occupations, to include local, state, and federal governmental agencies, private veterinary practice, non-governmental agencies, and other health-related organizations.
The College of Agriculture successfully demonstrates the quality of learning associated with each program reviewed. Student achievement data from the undergraduate programs in Agricultural Economics, Agribusiness, and Agricultural Communications and Journalism demonstrate sufficient preparation for employment in related positions or to continue in advanced study. Identified weaknesses exposed through assessments are addressed in curricular revision and course refinement. The graduate programs in Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business have demonstrated successful achievement in student learning through rigorous assessment of thesis and dissertation projects and peer-reviewed scholarship.
The College of Education administers thorough and rigorous processes of student learning assessment in all degree programs. All assessment data are collected and analyzed by the Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation (OEIE). The programs in the College have been acknowledged for the quality of student learning assessment by the respective accreditation agencies. In the Elementary Education and Secondary Education programs, students demonstrate achievement levels that are far above the national average in all areas. The graduate level demonstrates consistent program improvement resulting from effective use of student learning assessment data. The graduate programs in Education Administration and Leadership and Special Education implement a consistent assessment process that provides evidence of extensive knowledge of the field and high levels of student achievement. Although student learning assessments in the graduate programs in Counseling and Student Development, School Counseling, Counselor Education and Supervision, Student Affairs in Higher Education, Academic Advising, and Adult and Continuing Education confirmed student achievement of learning outcomes, curricular refinements and clearly defined learning outcomes were implemented to augment student learning in the future.
The programs in the College of Human Ecology implement a thorough process of assessing student learning outcomes based on the core competency areas fulfilling the expectations of respective accreditation agencies. Student learning outcomes are clearly defined and student achievement documented. The college as a whole exemplified successful ongoing assessment processes with a structured mechanism of faculty involvement. Undergraduate and graduate programs in Apparel and Textiles and Apparel and Textiles Merchandising, Interior Design, Family Studies, Personal Financial Planning, Youth Development, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Early Childhood Education, Hotel and Restaurant Management, Human Nutrition, Gerontology, General Human Ecology, Foodservice, Hospitality Management and Dietetics Administration, and Athletic Training implement thoughtful and rigorous assessment processes focusing on continuous improvement. They all provide evidence that students achieve the expected outcomes and in many cases exceed the proficiency standards. Although the assessment findings demonstrate successful student learning, continual program improvement goals resulted in curricular refinements and course enhancements in the undergraduate program for Human Nutrition, and Dietetics. After a recognition that formerly implemented assessment processes were too cumbersome to manage and did not provide discriminating data, the M.S. specializations in Family Life Education and Consultation, Life Span Human Development, and Marriage and Family Therapy underwent substantial changes by refining outcomes and assessment criteria focusing on student knowledge, applied understandings, and demonstration of skills. Implementation of revised assessment processes will address concerns of student achievement in these areas.
The interdisciplinary program in Public Health implement thoughtful and rigorous assessment processes focusing on continuous improvement. Evidence was provided that students achieve the expected outcomes and in many cases exceed the proficiency standards.
This review indicated that five master’s programs with low enrollments and/or few degrees conferred, one doctorate program with low enrollment and number of degrees conferred, and three programs did not meet the minimum for the number of instructional faculty with terminal degrees. Rationales for continuing six programs are summarized below.
The five-year average for the number of students enrolled and the number of degrees conferred in the Special Education doctorate program fell slightly below the KBOR criteria of five and two respectively (an average of four students enrolled and one degree conferred). With respect to the doctoral degree in Special Education, there is a need for university faculty and for directors of special education. As a result of this need, it is important to retain the program and to increase recruitment and marketing efforts to respond to this need. We recommend retaining the doctorate program, but it should be reviewed again in three years.
The faculty has recommended that the Ed.D in Counseling and Student Development be discontinued. Over the last 10 years three students have completed the program and one has recently completed preliminary exams. Discontinuation of the program will not negatively impact faculty, and students still will have the option of pursuing the Ph.D in Counseling and Student Development (Counselor Education and Supervision).
While the five-year average for degrees conferred in the M.S. Apparel and Textiles program was slightly below the KBOR criteria of five degrees conferred (average of four degrees from FY 2006-FY 2010), the program currently exceeds the criteria with an average of six degrees (FY 2007-FY 2011). Thus, this program should be retained.
The five-year average number of students enrolled and number of degrees conferred in the Human Nutrition M.S. program fails to meet the KBOR criteria of 20 students enrolled and five degrees conferred (four and three respectively). To enhance the number of M.S. graduates enrolled in Human Nutrition, the department recently approved a combined B.S. and M.S. 5-year program. This should increase M.S. degree numbers in Human Nutrition by at least 1-2 per year. Another item being considered is offering a distance M.S. degree in Human Nutrition, primarily with a non-thesis option. The M.S. program also is considered a “feeder” program into the Ph.D. degree, which has seen tremendous growth since the last review. Essentially, the courses required for this program are also required for the Ph.D. degree and thus, eliminating the M.S. program would not save dollars. Therefore, the masters program in Human Nutrition should be retained as a graduate feeder program.
The online M.S. program in Dietetics started only three years ago. The five-year average number of students enrolled and number of degrees conferred falls considerably below KBOR criteria of 20 and five respectively. Nonetheless the program has not had time to develop and thus, should be retained as a new program.
The Master of Science degree in Foodservice, Hospitality Management and Dietetics Administration has faced challenges in maintaining enrollment to meet the KBOR requirements of a five-year average of 20 students enrolled and five degrees conferred (currently, five students enrolled and two degrees conferred). The reasons for low-enrollment in this program are multi-faceted. Individuals in the hospitality and dietetics industries rapidly enter the workforce after completing their undergraduate education. The job market is strong in both areas. Once working, we find that individuals are reluctant to give up their jobs to move back to campus to work on an advanced degree. However, having the advanced degree can mean an accelerated career track and higher pay in many instances and makes the individual more marketable and valuable. The newly approved BS/MS degree option for the Hotel and Restaurant Management program should increase the number of highly qualified students coming from our own undergraduate program into the M.S. program. We recommend the masters program be retained, but reviewed in three years.
The Gerontology M.S. program shows an average of 18 students, which falls slightly below the KBOR criteria of a five year average enrollment of 20 students. This is the number of students enrolling in KSU courses and does not take into consideration that some of our students may be enrolled at another university within the Great Plains IDEA system. Our records show 35 students currently enrolled with another six or seven accepted. We have capped the enrollment and are not accepting new students until the Fall 2012. We could easily have 50 students if we had the resources to support them. Thus, the masters program in Gerontology should be retained.
The majority of faculty in the departments of Agricultural Economics and Human Nutrition had funded appointments in the Agricultural Experiment Station and/or other extramural funding, and for many the teaching portion of their appointment is the minority component of their funded position. Thus, these departments did not meet the KBOR minimum criterion for the number of tenure/tenure track faculty having a 50% or more instructional appointment in the department. However, these are full-time faculty working with the undergraduate and/or graduate programs on a daily basis, and the total number of faculty exceeds the KBOR program minimums. Given that these faculty members are contributing to the instruction of both undergraduate and graduate students with limited instructional costs, we request that the minimum criterion for faculty be waived for these two departments. In addition, the department of Hospitality Management and Dietetics reported five tenure/tenure track faculty having a 50% or more instructional appointment in the department which falls slightly below the KBOR criteria of six faculty. With the recent budget crisis and hiring freeze, the department has not had the opportunity to increase its faculty size. Currently, the Department has a position announcement for an Assistant Professor. Therefore, we request the minimum criteria for faculty be waived for this department.
All programs reviewed in this year are funded to the extent necessary to maintain their quality as well as support the degrees awarded in their present structure. Some of the programs are part of interdisciplinary degrees where multiple departments contribute courses to the degree, creating efficiencies in the use of teaching resources. Others are part of a consortial arrangement (GPIDEA) where multiple universities share teaching resources. We monitor all programs relative to Board minimum expectations for graduates in order to determine the financial impact of continuation or elimination. At the present time, we see no reason to enter into any discussions concerning elimination for those programs reviewed this year. We will revisit those that are close to, or do not meet, the minima in the coming years. We feel that there is reason to believe that they will increase their enrollments in the coming years.