Talks to media about Affordable Success at Fort Hays State;
visits with superintendents about K-12 educational needs
HAYS -- Since assuming the presidency at Fort Hays State University in 1987, Dr. Edward H. Hammond has set aside a week each fall to travel around Kansas meeting with community leaders and the media. The annual tour allows him to talk about the university's services and successes, while also learning first-hand about educational needs in the local communities.
When he makes his journey across Kansas this year, President Hammond will reach out to an additional group -- the superintendents of the state's school districts.
Because he has temporarily assumed the post of acting dean of FHSU's College of Education and Technology, Dr. Hammond decided to make education the focus of this year's tour, and he will be meeting with superintendents, high school principals and high school counselors across the state as well as visiting newspapers and radio and television studios.
Dr. Hammond will address several topics that are of pressing importance to K-12 education, including the federal government's No Child Left Behind program, the Teachers for Tomorrow program, and the recently issued national report card by the Midwestern Higher Education Commission. In addition, President Hammond will use the tour as a means for gathering information about how FHSU can better serve the needs of the school districts.
The tour will begin Friday, Oct. 17, with a morning news conference in Hays and visits to Salina and Clay Center. The following week, the tour will move to the Topeka-Kansas City area, Lawrence, Wichita, Hutchinson, Great Bend, Pratt, Dodge City, Garden City, Liberal and Goodland. President Hammond will meet individually with superintendents at many of the stops, and he will meet with them in groups at Hays, Hutchinson and Goodland. The Goodland visit on Friday, October 24, will be highlighted by a news conference at 11 a.m. (Mountain Time) announcing a new partnership between FHSU and the Northwest Kansas Technical College.
As always, the annual tour will include visits with the media to talk about activities and accomplishments at Fort Hays State University, which the president attributes to its promise of Affordable Success.
By keeping its tuition the lowest in the state, FHSU had far and away the largest increase in enrollment of any Kansas Board of Regents university for the second year in a row. FHSU's increase for the 20th day in the fall 2002 semester was 13.6 percent, compared to the next highest increase of 4.6 percent at Wichita State University. Then again for the 20th day of the fall 2003 semester, FHSU had an increase 15.3 percent, compared to the next highest increase of 4.5 percent at Emporia State University.
The system-wide increase for fall 2003 was 1,307 students. Of that number, 981 were at FHSU!
Students are attracted to FHSU not only by its affordability but also for its record of success. Its graduates have enjoyed a job placement rate that has averaged 98 percent over the past decade, and its students continue to win national academic titles, beating schools such as K.U., K-State, Texas Tech, Stanford, Northwestern and MIT.
FHSU's Financial Planning students won the national American Express Financial Planning Invitational in 2001 and 2002 and finished third in 2003. The debate team won the Cross-Examination Debate Association National Championship in 2002. The cross-country team has had the highest collective grade point average in NCAA Division II for the past two years and three of the past six years, and the wrestling team boasted 16 Academic All-Americans for the 2001-2002 season. FHSU's Graphic Design students swept the top four awards at the regional American Institute of Graphic Artists competition in 2003 after taking six of the eight awards in 2002. The Technology Education Collegiate Association students won two national championships during the 2003 International Technology Education Competition.
President Hammond expects the nation's economic downturn to span three years, so Fort Hays State will continue to promote its Affordable Success theme with a goal of growing at least 10 percent again next year.