K-State Olathe Announces Strategic Plan, New Initiatives
October 24, 2023
Dear partners and stakeholders:
We are excited to share how Kansas State University Olathe is moving forward and helping to achieve the university’s Next-Gen Strategic Plan that includes a focus on this region. On Oct. 24, we launched our campus-level plan, which we developed alongside the university's planning process to ensure alignment and with the mission of Johnson County Education Research Triangle as a key tenet. We were intentional about listening to internal and external stakeholders input and embedding engagement to ensure our plan’s foundation is solid.
We are taking bold actions to improve the lives of the people in Johnson County, Kansas and around the world through teaching, research and service. To reach our ambitious goals, I am excited to share two new campus initiatives.
First, we are kicking off an initiative to build a strong education and research program to meet the needs of the advanced manufacturing and supply chain industries in the Greater Kansas City area, the State of Kansas and throughout the nation. We recognize that to meet these training and educational needs we will need to think differently how we deliver content and knowledge and meet learners where they are.
We will do this by breaking the traditional mold. This means operating as a 12-month campus, offering 8-week course schedules, rolling admissions and hands-on learning with flexible delivery to fit into students’ work and family life. Newly designed advanced manufacturing bachelor completion degrees will be developed to accept up to 75 credit hours and have a seamless transition from community colleges. By Spring 2025, in partnership with K-State Salina, we also will be offering bachelor’s degree completion programs in engineering technology with an emphasis in robotics and automation, electrical and computer, and mechanical.
Plans are already underway to renovate 7,500 square feet of unfinished space on our campus to build state-of-the-art teaching laboratories for students in our engineering technology and advanced manufacturing degree programs, as well as to support research efforts. Part of the unfinished space design will include a raw materials handling research center, which will provide applied research and industry-sponsored projects to help solve manufacturing and raw material problems for companies. This center will be used for research and development, and for teaching degree-seeking students and upskilling current employees.
Our second initiative is to elevate existing research activities and partner with university and regional researchers to become a leader in Food as Medicine and Community Health. We also know the impact food — from access, affordability and nutrition — has on health, which is why we are excited to announce this effort.
The Olathe campus is uniquely positioned to tackle grand societal challenges by focusing on community health and wellbeing, sustainability, global food security and enabling technologies. It’s no secret that our campus, supported by the Johnson County Education Research Triangle, has a long-standing, strong research program in urban food systems, food safety, 1Data and consumer and sensory research. JCERT also provides K-State Olathe with the opportunity to collaborate with partners, University of Kansas Medical Center and KU Edwards campus, and building on each organization’s strengths.
To support these new initiatives, I am excited to announce an investment of $3.5 million to support the Advanced Manufacturing and Supply Chain initiative, and we are committing an investment of $4 million to establish a hub for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research focused on Food as Medicine and Community Health.
For more information about K-State Olathe’s campus plan, including key metrics, visit our website. We are proud to be taking bold actions to improve the lives of the people in Kansas and around the world through teaching, research and service.
Ben Wolfe, Ph.D.
Dean and CEO