On the heels of setting an all-time enrollment record in the fall 2003 semester, Fort Hays State University will add 10 new positions that represent an annual payroll of about $500,000, with fringe benefits.
Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, announced the new positions during a news conference Monday morning in the Memorial Union.
With an "Affordable Success" marketing campaign based on the university's high-tech, high-touch learning environment, FHSU has set all-time records for enrollment in each of the last two years.
"We finished the fall 2003 semester with 8,037 students," President Hammond said, adding that the 20th-day spring enrollment figures will continue the growth trend when they are released next week. "This growth creates the need for new faculty because we are committed to keeping our student-faculty ratio at 17:1."
He said that nine of the new positions are faculty -- four tenure-track positions and five positions to support Virtual College growth. The 10th new position will be created by expanding part-time secretarial positions to full-time positions in the academic departments of Geosciences and Physics.
FHSU has held its tuition increases to single digits in recent years while universities elsewhere in Kansas and across the nation have been imposing stiff increases. As a result, FHSU's enrollment climbed from 5,812 at the end of the fall 2001 semester, to 6,549 at the end of the fall 2002 semester, and to 8,037 at the end of the 2003 fall semester.
"We also added seven new faculty positions last year to support our growth," the president said. "The continuing growth made it necessary to add even more positions this year."
He noted that the university's economic impact on the city of Hays and Ellis County is about $170 million. With the 1.8 multiplier, which represents business activity that will ultimately be generated, the full impact of the new jobs will be about $900,000.
The Hays community recently received an economic one-two punch when first the Sun Mart grocery store and then Sykes Enterprises announced that they were shutting down their local operations.
Mike Michaelis, who just took over the reins as executive director of the Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development in January, joined President Hammond at the news conference.
"As we work to emerge from a national recession, communities such as Hays need to look for innovative ways to encourage growth," Michaelis said. "But as we seek new business opportunities, we also need to recognize the successes of our existing businesses and institutions. We would announce with great fanfare the start-up of a new business with an annual payroll of half-a-million dollars, so we should also celebrate this increase in faculty positions at our university."
The four new tenure-track faculty positions will be in Justice Studies, Modern Languages, History and Leadership Studies. The other new faculty positions will be in Philosophy, Sociology, Information Networking and Telecommunications, Communication Disorders, and Management and Marketing. President Hammond said the departments would immediately begin search processes to fill the new positions.
"Other universities are moving away from full-time faculty toward part-timers and graduate teaching assistants," he said. "Hopefully, that means we can expect to find a pool of outstanding candidates for our new positions."