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K-State Today

April 1, 2013

K-State Salina technology management program goes the distance for community college students

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Students from every community college in the state have the opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree in technology management now that Kansas State University Salina has signed 2+2 agreements with all 19 community colleges in Kansas and with three technical colleges.

Under the 2+2 agreements, students can complete their associate degree through their local community college and then complete an entirely distance-based bachelor's degree in technology management through K-State Salina. Technical colleges also participating in the 2+2 program are Manhattan Area Technical College, North Central Kansas Technical College and Northwest Kansas Technical College.

"Students across the state can apply their two-year degree to getting a four-year bachelor's degree from Kansas State University," said Don Von Bergen, head of K-State Salina's department of arts, sciences and business, which oversees the technology management degree. "Many of the community college and technical college Associate of Applied Science degrees would otherwise be terminal, and if a student wished to get a four-year degree, they would have to essentially start over."

K-State Salina currently has technology management 2+2 agreements in place for 54 programs with the state's 19 community colleges, and another six agreements with Manhattan Area Technical College, North Central Kansas Technical College and Northwest Kansas Technical College.

"The agreements make it easier for students to reach their goals," said Verna Fitzsimmons, CEO and dean of K-State Salina. "They are able to earn a bachelor's degree without a commute and without worrying about whether course credits will transfer into their degree program."

"The technology management degree captures a huge market and allows just about every technical degree offered at all of the state's two-year institutions to have an opportunity to use their two-year degree to get a four-year degree without starting over, which is unique," Von Bergen said.

Community college graduates who received their degrees before the agreements with their schools were signed are still able to take advantage of them, as are students whose associate degree is in a program that does not have a formal agreement.

"There doesn't need to be a formal articulation in place for a student to take advantage of the 2+2 program," Von Bergen said. "For example, we may have an agreement with Colby Community College in veterinary technology but not one in computer technology. We would still the accept course work and let a student start working on the technology management degree using the computer technology courses as the area of concentration."

The 2+2 agreements with the community and technical colleges have been developed and signed through the efforts of Von Bergen; Jennifer Pfortmiller, affiliate site manager in Kansas State University's Division of Continuing Education; and staff at the division.

Six years ago, only two schools -- Colby Community College and Barton Community College -- had articulation agreements in technology management. Now students are using their associate degrees in programs such as fire science, food chain security, hospitality management, law enforcement and wind energy technology to begin work on a bachelor's degree.

"One of the great things about these programs is that students earn a bachelor's degree from a highly respected university," Von Bergen said. "In the case of the technology management degree, the students can complete the K-State course work entirely online, which means they can stay at their current place of employment and their families aren't disrupted."