HAYS, KS -- Students at Fort Hays State University can now major in leadership studies following a vote of approval this week by the Kansas Board of Regents.
At present, classes in the Leadership Studies Program are taken as an area of emphasis in other degree programs and majors. With the approval from the Kansas Board of Regents, FHSU's College of Business and Leadership can begin offering a major in leadership studies as early as next year.
The program was recognized last summer as the best in the nation.
"This is an exciting opportunity for FHSU and the state of Kansas," said Dr. Curt Brungardt, who worked on the committee that developed the program in 1992 and now serves as director.
"We will have the first and only bachelor's of leadership in the state of Kansas and one of fewer than a dozen in the country," said Brungardt. "We are truly pioneers."
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."
Last summer, the Association of Leadership Educators, meeting in Toronto, Canada, gave its Outstanding Leadership Program award to the FHSU program.
Brungardt said the program has grown continually over the last eight years. It began with 47 students in 1993. Last year, he said, more than 600 were enrolled.