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K-State Today

May 17, 2024

Academic Innovation Fund awards announced

Submitted by Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President

Last fall, the Office of the Provost launched a new Academic Innovation Fund to invest up to $1 million in new academic programs and microcredentials to meet future regional, national or international learner needs, drive curricular innovation and academic excellence, differentiate our university, and support K-State's long-term financial viability. Proposals submitted for consideration included new degree programs at all levels for existing or new audiences, focusing on positioning K-State as the first choice for education and business partners in Kansas. 

The inaugural awards support eight innovative and novel opportunities for K-State, totaling $939,096 of one-time funds. The selected proposals are: 

  • Growth marketing graduate program
    This College of Business Administration degree program will utilize noncredit or credit-bearing microcredentials that are stackable toward a master's degree. The program combines marketing, technology and analytics to give learners exposure and involvement in applied, experiential learning opportunities.  

  • Associate of Applied Science in food and feed manufacturing
    This 61-credit-hour program in the College of Agriculture will prepare students with the knowledge and skills for a successful career in the grain, food and feed industries. Students will earn stackable credentials in the program and gain access to a pathway to earn a bachelor's degree. 

  • Undergraduate certificate in computer science education
    This interdisciplinary 13-credit-hour undergraduate certificate will meet the needs of computer science teachers in P-12 schools in Kansas. This certificate will be the first of its kind in the state. 

  • Bachelor of Arts in applied interdisciplinary studies
    This flexible degree will be offered at K-State Olathe to serve students who want a customizable degree to fit their career goals. Common elements include career readiness, leadership and working across disciplines. 

  • Master of Educational Leadership, competency-based
    Offered online, this self-paced master's program is built on national standards of competence required of a building-level school administrator. Leading to a Kansas license, this program will require documentation and assessment of the national and state standards and is a subscription-based tuition program.  

  • Writing with AI
    Offered for undergraduate credit or noncredit, this microcredential is composed of three stackable units potentially equaling one credit hour each. Offering a guided, hands-on experience with generative AI, it focuses on applications in writing, research and workflow. 

  • AI in business
    This microcredential centers on the purpose of artificial intelligence in business by enhancing the knowledge and capabilities of learners in machine and computer-based applications that perform like human intelligence. This microcredential will be offered for undergraduate and graduate education, or for noncredit. 

  • Online open access in sorghum school
    This noncredit, self-paced, open-access opportunity includes five courses sharing knowledge through video, digital and presentation media, text and access to additional resource materials. An audience of global learners will be able to choose from a suite of modules that educate sorghum's unique benefits as it relates to climate change, resilient cereal crops, adaptations, its multiple uses and nutritional benefits as food, feed and fuel and its vital role in food security.  

These programs will proceed through standard approval processes for microcredentials and new programs, including shared governance, the Provost Office and Kansas Board of Regents approval where applicable. 

In addition to funding the selected proposals, $50,000 will be provided to the Office of the Registrar to establish a system for these innovative approaches, including competency-based programming.  

These inaugural awards are just the beginning of K-State's investments in academic innovation. The next investment cycle to advance our Next-Gen K-State curricular goals is in 2024-2025.