HAYS, KS -- A Fort Hays State University academic program that was recognized last summer as the best in the nation is about to take another major step forward.
Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, announced at a news conference today on campus that the process is under way to offer a bachelor's degree to students in the academic discipline of leadership studies. At present, classes in the Leadership Studies Program are taken as an area of emphasis in other degree programs and majors. With approval from the Kansas Board of Regents, FHSU's College of Business and Leadership will begin offering a major in leadership studies by next year if all goes as planned.
Fort Hays State launched the Leadership Studies Program in 1993. It prepares students for leadership and supervisory roles in business, industry and public service by providing them with the knowledge and skills necessary to be effective in a variety of organizational settings. Because of its growing popularity, the Leadership Studies Program became part of the College of Business on July 1, 1998, and the Kansas Board of Regents approved a name change to the College of Business and Leadership in early 2000 to reflect its expanded mission. At about the same time, "The Templeton Guide: Colleges that Encourage Character Development" included FHSU's Leadership Studies Program among the 405 programs throughout the United States that it profiled as reinforcing "the positive values instilled by parents, such as honesty, compassion, self-discipline and respect … and inspiring students to lead ethical and civic-minded lives."
Then last summer, the Association of Leadership Educators, meeting in Toronto, Canada, gave its Outstanding Leadership Program award to the FHSU program.
"Because of its continuing growth in popularity among our students, coupled with the supreme recognition for quality that it received from other leadership educators, the time clearly had arrived to elevate the Leadership Studies Program to degree status," the president announced.
Dr. Curt Brungardt, who worked on the committee that developed the program in 1992 and now serves as director, thanked President Hammond, the administration and especially the FHSU faculty for their support in making the program a success. "Fort Hays State University has demonstrated at all levels a commitment to leadership education," he said. "Our program equips students to deal with new demands in the workplace such as teamwork skills, self-empowerment and the ability to deal with change." Brungardt introduced Dr. Larry Gould, the FHSU provost, who encouraged the application for inclusion in the Templeton Guide, and he introduced the other two members of the leadership studies faculty, Dr. Chris Crawford and Dr. Micol Maughan.
One of the hallmarks of the Leadership Studies Program is that students form teams and work on projects that address actual community needs. One of the students, Hoxie senior Sabrina William, spoke during the news conference about her positive experiences in the program. William is part of a team that currently is working to improve playground equipment at Wooster Place, the university's housing complex for married students.