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K-State Salina

Office of the Dean

August 2015


Dear K-State Salina family,

Welcome to a brand new school year filled with fresh energy and new possibilities. This is one of my favorite times of the year because it's exciting to imagine what the rest of 2015 and the start of 2016 will bring. I think about the kind of milestones our programs will set; the interesting and creative ideas our faculty will have; and the impact our students will make on their peers, in clubs and within the community.

At the start of a new school year, I also like to take time and reflect on the past one. As a campus, we have been very busy. We have worked toward the goals of our 2025 plan. We have looked at other universities and then looked at ourselves. We recommended a different way to organize ourselves and to elevate what is important. We have stopped leaning on the idea of "that's how Manhattan does it" and started questioning what is right for the Salina campus, our students and K-State.

With that in mind, classrooms and labs have been updated and some consolidated, all to better serve our campus. Some of us even pulled weeds and trimmed trees to help make the best impression on perspective students and families. New programs and degrees have been designed and implemented to engage more students. I know many of us felt like there was too much to do and not enough time or support, myself included; however, we all got through it and the campus is much improved because of our concerted effort. 

With last year's diligent work comes transformation for the start of this new school year. One of the biggest changes we will see this fall is the Comprehensive Experience. It just began with the arrival of students on campus, giving first-timers a new style of orientation called uBelong. This set the academic tone for the year and introduced them to things like library services, the writing center and tutoring; students were taught the university honor code and how to create work-school balance; and they participated in discussions on the value of internships, clubs and organizations, and leadership opportunities.

Students will follow this up with uExperience, an eight-week course during the fall semester. In these classes, they will work on mastering academic intelligence and will gain cultural awareness as well as learn more about themselves and how to manage such things as a budget, stress and studying. The Comprehensive Experience doesn't just stop with a student's first year – there is uResearch for their sophomore year; uEngage during their junior year; and in a student's last year, they will serve as a peer mentor and work on a senior project.

I want to take a moment to thank the campus and everyone involved with developing the Comprehensive Experience and making it a reality. This program is the outcome of the hard work performed by so many of you last year. We believe that the experience will have an impact on student success and persistence. We also believe that we will learn from this first-time offering and find ways to improve it for next year.

We have a few new faculty members on campus this year. Megan Fraley and Jessica Spare are full-time math instructors in the Arts, Sciences and Business Department. Spare comes to us from Meade High School in Meade, Kansas, where she has taught math for the past six years. Fraley joins K-State Salina after working as an assistant professor of mathematics at Sterling College since 2011. Please take the time to get to know these instructors as well as the new staff members I introduced this summer. Help them learn the rich history of this campus and why we take such pride in what we do here.

Not long after the start of classes, we will resume our 50th anniversary celebration with three signature events to close out the festivities. Make sure to mark your calendar so you can join us in honoring our storied history.

  • September 9 – Faculty and Professional Staff Showcase at 5:30 p.m. in the College Center Conference Room
  • September 10 – Civic Lecture Series on higher education in Salina at 7:00 p.m. in the College Center Conference Room
  • September 11 – Art of the Science Wine Walk at 6:30 p.m. in the Salina Aviation Center

Between the new programs, new students and faculty, campus improvements and engaging events, this year is shaping up to be full of promise. As you can see, your support is a vital contribution to the success of this campus and I appreciate that you've chosen to invest in the K-State Salina family.

Best regards,


Verna M. Fitzsimmons, Ph.D.
CEO, Kansas State University Salina
Dean, College of Technology and Aviation

Signature Events