Wichita State University Profile
WSU’s location in the largest city in Kansas enhances the traditional classroom experience by providing students extensive applied learning and career opportunities. WSU students, faculty, staff and facilities are resources for businesses, nonprofits and local government.
Both traditional and nontraditional students enjoy a wide selection of day, evening and summer courses in more than 200 areas of study at the main campus and other locations throughout the metro area and online. Of approximately 15,000 students, 78 percent are from Kansas, representing 112 counties in the state, and the remainder are from every state in the U.S. and 111 other countries. The average age of First-Time-In-College-Students at Wichita State is 18; the average age of all undergraduate students is 23.
Nearly 72 percent of the students attend full time, while the remainder attend part time and take advantage of gaining professional experience at leading local employers including Airbus, Bombardier Aerospace, Spirit AeroSystems, Textron Aviation (including Beechcraft and Cessna), Wichita Public Schools, Via Christi Regional Medical Center, Wesley Medical Center, Allen Gibbs & Houlik, BKD, Cargill, Westar Energy and Koch Industries. Students in every field of study find opportunities in Wichita as varied as financial accounting, performing in the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and creating social media content for Division I athletic teams. Many students take advantage of WSU’s work-based learning program, which has partnerships with 500 employers throughout the United States.
Wichita State, which is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a doctoral granting, high research institution, offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs culminating in 60 bachelor’s degree programs, an associate’s degree, 12 doctoral degrees, 48 master’s degrees, a Specialist in Education degree and 62 credit bearing certificates in seven colleges and one institute: Dorothy and Bill Cohen Honors College of Applied Studies, W. Frank Barton School of Business, College of Applied Studies, College of Engineering, College of Fine Arts, College of Health Professions, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Institute for Interdisciplinary Innovation.
The Higher Learning Commission and 21 program-specific accrediting agencies accredit WSU. A listing of WSU programs and degrees is located in both the graduate and undergraduate catalogs.
Wichita State has 556 full-time faculty, with 86 percent of the faculty having earned the highest degree in their field. Academic programs also draw on the professional expertise of adjuncts from Wichita-based businesses and organizations. Instructors and guest lecturers include those actively practicing their professions in venues from boardrooms to newsrooms to courtrooms to operating rooms to the world’s great opera stages.
In the past four years, WSU’s main campus in northeast Wichita has been expanded by 120 acres with the conversion of a golf course to a new, interconnected community of academic and partnership buildings, laboratories and mixed-use areas.
A building housing advanced manufacturing engineering laboratories and community maker space is already open. Three partnership buildings are open, including one that’s home to 300 Airbus engineering employees and another that trains law enforcement officers for the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County, alongside WSU criminal justice students.
High-quality student housing, a food truck plaza and a freestanding Starbucks are open. A YMCA/Student Wellness Center, Hyatt Place Hotel and new retail and restaurant spaces are planned, along with a new home for the Barton School of Business and a Crash Dynamics Lab for the National Institute for Aviation Research.
WSU has added relationships with more than 4,000 students and associated instructional staff and facilities through the creation of the Wichita State Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology, also known as WSU Tech. The new affiliate, formerly known as Wichita Area Technical College, is already the state’s largest technical college. It offers more than 100 programs of study in areas including aviation, health care, manufacturing, design and business.
WSU and WSU Tech are already sharing recent or renovated facilities housing the National Center for Aviation Training, health care education programs and state-of-the-art media production facilities.
WSU is enhancing curriculum, programs and facilities to meet student, community and industry needs. Four recent examples:
- In 2017 the university began offering a Bachelor of Applied Arts degree in four areas of media arts – animation, audio production, filmmaking and game design. Some of the courses in the program are offered at Shocker Studios, a 35,000-square foot, state-of-the-art production facility.
- The Physician Assistant (PA) and Physical Therapy (PT) programs at Wichita State are housed alongside WSU Tech health professions programs in a renovated building in the vibrant Old Town section of downtown Wichita. The state-of-the-art facility features large classrooms, modern work spaces, a simulation hospital with a general emergency room, labor and delivery and exam rooms, a surgical lab with cutting-edge simulators, a SynDaver (synthetic human) lab and a student lounge area.
- The university established the Institute for Interdisciplinary Innovation (III) to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration. Located in the IIC is the Master in Innovation Design (MID) degree that merges arts, science and technology curricula, creating opportunities for students and faculty to collaborate across WSU’s colleges. The MID program is individualized for each student and focuses on developing students’ design thinking skills. These include the capabilities to: develop creative solutions; effectively communicate; practice entrepreneurship; and develop prototypes.
- WSU’s badge program makes workforce training and continuing education accessible and affordable. Each badge is designed with the practicing professional in mind so coursework can be completed online and at the student’s own pace. A badge is worth 0.5 credit hours and equates to about 22.5 hours of combined online instruction and study time. This makes workloads more manageable for someone who is already busy with a full-time job and family.
All of these efforts are in service of Wichita State University’s vision to be a world leader in applied learning and its mission as an essential educational, cultural and economic driver for Kansas and the greater public good.
WSU’s first commitment is to excellence in instruction, but it also has strong commitments to excellence in research and public service as integral parts of its educational mission. The National Institute for Aviation Research consistently receives funding from such agencies as the FAA and NASA to continue important research in such areas as composites and aging aircraft. According to the National Science Foundation, WSU is one of the top research universities for aerospace research in the country. WSU’s Regional Community Policing Training Institute is helping train law enforcement and other officials in the region on such relevant topics as counterterrorism.
Businesses, local government, industry and nonprofits benefit from such WSU resources as the Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center, Small Business Development Center, Center for Management Development, Center for Entrepreneurship, Community Engagement Institute and Hugo Wall School of Public Affairs.
WSU offers numerous recreational and cultural opportunities through the many concerts, recitals, theater, dance and other productions performed in its fine arts facilities. The Ulrich Museum of Art specializes in contemporary art. More than 75 pieces of sculpture by internationally known artists adorn the campus as part of the Martin H. Bush Outdoor Sculpture Collection. The university’s premier cultural collection of Asmat art, one of the largest such collections in the United States, is on display in its Lowell D. Holmes Museum of Anthropology.
As an NCAA Division I institution, WSU fields teams in tennis, cross country, basketball, track, golf, baseball, volleyball and softball. The men's basketball team has reached the NCAA tournament for six years in a row, including the Final Four in 2013. In 2017, the university accepted the invitation to join the American Athletic Conference.
In club and competitive sports, Wichita State men’s and women’s bowling teams have won 20 national championships. Men’s and women’s rowing teams compete in state, regional and national championships. E-sports is an up and coming feature of student life.
More than 200 social and special interest clubs provide opportunities for students to meet and work with others who share their interests. Twenty-two national sororities and fraternities are active on campus.
The 330-acre traditional campus is modern and accessible and at the same time retains the flavor of the university’s heritage, combining distinctive Georgian-style architecture with more modern buildings of stone and brick that are accentuated by attractive landscaping. Internationally, the most-recognized building on the WSU campus is the Corbin Education Center. It was one of the last buildings designed by one of America's best-known architects, Frank Lloyd Wright.
To find out more about WSU, go to http://wichita.edu.
The mission of Wichita State University is to be an essential educational, cultural and economic driver for Kansas and the greater public good.
Wichita State University is internationally recognized as the model for applied learning and research.
2019 – 2020 University and Academic Officers
Andy Tompkins, interim president
Richard Muma, provost and chief academic officer
Werner Golling, vice president for administration and finance
John Tomblin, vice president for research and technology transfer
Sheree Utash, president of WSU Tech and vice president of Workforce Development for WSU
Lou Heldman, vice president for strategic communications
Teri Hall, vice president for student affairs
Marche Fleming-Randle, vice president for diversity and community engagement
David Moses, general counsel
Andrew Schlapp, executive director of operations, government relations
Darron Boatright, director of athletics
Kerry Wilkes, interim dean of the Graduate School
Jeremy Patterson, dean of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Innovation
Kimberly Engber, dean of the Dorothy and Bill Cohen Honors College
Anand Desai, dean of the W. Frank Barton School of Business
Shirley Lefever, dean of the College of Applied Studies
Dennis Livesay, dean of the College of Engineering
Rodney E. Miller, dean of the College of Fine Arts
Sandra C. Bibb, dean of the College of Health Professions
Andrew Hippisley, dean of Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Kathy Downes, dean of university libraries
Kansas Board of Regents
Blake Flanders, president and CEO
Shane Bangerter, Dodge City, vice chair
Ann Brandau-Murguia, Kansas City
Bill Feuerborn, Garnett
Mark Hutton, Andover
Dennis A. Mullin, Manhattan, chair
Dave Murfin, Wichita
Allen Schmidt, Hays
Daniel J. Thomas, Mission Hills
Helen Van Etten, Topeka
Note: As of February 1, 2019
The Higher Learning Commission approved an official affiliation between Wichita State and Wichita Area Technical College (WATC), effective January 1, 2018. WATC became the WSU Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology, known as WSU Tech, enhancing the already strong partnership between the two institutions. The affiliation allows both institutions to better fulfill their missions by increasing the availability and quality of opportunities for students, while directly meeting the core workforce needs of the state. Coursework taken at one institution will continue to be reflected as transfer work on the record of the other institution.
Wichita State University began as Fairmount College, a Congregational institution, in 1895. In 1926, by a vote of the citizens of Wichita, the college became the Municipal University of Wichita, the first municipal university west of the Mississippi River. After 38 years as a municipal university, WSU again changed its status July 1, 1964, when it entered the state system of higher education. The citizens of Wichita had voted to move the university into the state system and when the measure passed the Kansas Legislature, Wichita endowed WSU with a 1.5 mill levy, a tax that was later adopted by Sedgwick County. The WSU Board of Trustees administers these funds and other local assets of the university.
During its history, the university has had 13 presidents:
Nathan J. Morrison, 1895–1907;
Henry E. Thayer, 1907–1914;
Walter H. Rollins, 1914–1921;
John Duncan Finlayson, 1922–1927;
Harold W. Foght, 1927–1933;
William M. Jardine, 1934–1949;
Harry F. Corbin, 1949–1963;
Emory Lindquist, 1963–1968;
Clark D. Ahlberg, 1968–1983;
Warren B. Armstrong, 1983–1993;
Eugene M. Hughes, 1993–1998;
Donald L. Beggs, 1999–2012; and
John W. Bardo, 2012–2019.