Credit/No Credit grading option now available to students
These past few weeks have been a period of great transition for our university and several changes have already been announced as we navigate our response to COVID-19.
Today I am announcing an option for students to adjust grades, on a per class basis, from the assigned letter grade to a credit/non-credit option for undergraduate students and satisfactory/unsatisfactory option for graduate students.
These options for undergraduate and graduate students will provide a grading option that will not impact GPA calculation.
Students will be able to opt-in to this grade adjustment at the end of this semester after reviewing the grades awarded for their classes. Frequently asked questions about this topics can be found at COVID-19 FAQ website in the Guidance for Students (academics) section.
Today (Friday, April 17), is the last date for withdrawing from a course with a W, so it is important for students to know that this option will be available. The Faculty Senate has endorsed this option in recognition of the unique challenges of moving quickly to remote and online formats.
I appreciate the support of faculty and hope that this option will provide an additional measure of support to our students. Students are encouraged to consult with advisors before choosing this option to discuss any issues or cautions that may apply.
I know the last few weeks have posed many challenges for students and faculty, and I appreciate the efforts of students, faculty and staff to find ways to maintain excellence and promote success. I encourage you to take care of yourself and continue to be well.
Provost Rick Muma
Several big projects moved forward by Kansas Board of Regents
As part of the April Kansas Board of Regents meeting, several key projects for Wichita State were moved forward.
While Wichita State University, alongside the rest of the higher education community, continues to grapple with the immediate and lasting impacts of this pandemic, we believe these strategic initiatives will not only help position WSU as an institution for the future by providing additional educational and research opportunities for students, faculty and staff but also will help fulfill our mission and vision to be an educational and economic driver for our city and region.
Convergence Sciences and Digital Transformation Center
WSU requested permission to construct the Convergence Sciences and Digital Transformation Center on the Innovation Campus. This Center will house the National Institute of Digital Transformation, which will be modeled on WSU’s National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) but focused on developing technology that can transform other industries, including aviation, to drive economic development and support new ventures in Kansas.
The Regents approved the capital improvement plan amendment as well as any required subsequent approvals needed for creating the institute and any related academic programs. There is also currently a request to the Legislature to enhance this initiative with a $5 million appropriation that can be reviewed should the Legislature return for session in late April or May.
The building will be approximately 56,000 gross square feet (49,000 square feet of finished program space and 7,000 square feet of shelled space for future program expansion) and has an estimated total cost of $22.2 million. It will be funded with revenue bonds paid for with a combination of restricted use funds that are generated by private industry from training, testing and certification, federal grants and local tax dollars. Planning, design and construction are expected to take about 25 months. The cost of future maintenance and operations will be funded with university restricted funds.
Digital transformation and convergence sciences research will provide Wichita State students with an opportunity to conduct research in various disciplines supporting multiple industry sectors. The knowledge and competencies acquired by students will be vital to Kansas industry as the students transition to employment.
WSU is committed to this initiative and believes investment in this area is key to diversifying our economy for the benefit of our community, industry partners and region.
The Regents also approved WSU’s request for permission to take down Cessna Stadium.
The stadium, built in 1946 and renovated in 1969, is currently home to WSU’s Track and Field Team and hosts several events, including the annual Kansas State High School Track and Field Championship throughout the year. However, the structure has outlasted the typical lifespan of exposed steel structures.
The estimated cost of razing the structure is approximately $1.4 million ($625,000 for the east stands and $775,000 for the west stands). Any demolition would be done in phases and would be scheduled to accommodate the Track and Field season, both for WSU and the state championship.
The Regents’ permission is the first of many steps in this project. There is currently no planned start date, as the university continues to explore funding sources as well as plans for future facilities.
The Flats and Suites
The Regents approved the next step in the process of allowing Wichita State to purchase The Flats and The Suites at WSU.
In addition to significant financial savings to both the university and our students, WSU’s purchase of these buildings will allow for exclusive control over occupancy, control over housing rates for students and the ability to conduct renovations or expansion as needed or desired.
We also know that success of our residence halls ties in directly with the success of our students, as GPAs and rates of on-time graduation improve when students have the opportunity to live on campus and be more actively engaged in campus activities.
Starting this fall, students living in those halls will have a fixed rate – meaning they won’t be charged more during their time living there.
Wichita State planning further student financial assistance; considering budget reductions related to pandemic
With online and/or remote instruction up and running and the university settling into a routine of managing and continuing operations while practicing social distancing, our thoughts and planning activities have turned toward the future and the potential long-term impact that COVID-19 will have on our campus community. The university continues to evaluate and explore all options and no decisions have been made on a path forward. But, we want to share with you a few topics of current conversation.
Student emergency funds
At every level of the university, we are striving to remain in close touch with our students, knowing that staying close as a community, and caring for each other, is the best way to work through the many difficulties of the pandemic. We are thrilled to share that we have already begun providing financial support for students with the greatest needs and expect to be able to continue to do so over the next several months.
The WSU Foundation and its donors have established the COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund to provide qualifying students with short-term financial assistance of up to $500. More than $67,000 has been raised thus far, including contributions from faculty and staff. These dollars have helped more than 70 students and additional applications continue to be received and reviewed on a daily basis. For more information and to download an application, please visit www.wichita.edu/finaidcovid19.
On March 25, 2020, Congress approved the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This Act, through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, allocated funding to colleges and universities to help institutions and students deal with the unprecedented financial struggles of COVID-19. Half of the funds received by WSU, approximately $4.4 million, must be used to provide emergency financial aid to students who have unanticipated expenses associated with the disruption of learning on campus due to Coronavirus. This emergency aid is intended to cover eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care.
The Department of Education issued its first guidance on CARES Act funding on April 9, 2020, encouraging institutions to prioritize its students with the greatest need. We expect additional guidance from the Department of Education and other sources regarding distribution of these funds in the coming days and weeks. We are now working through details of getting and distributing these funds and are working diligently on a plan that will allow us to provide the maximum benefit to our students in need based on the guidance provided.
We will provide our campus community with updates through the Shocker Blast newsletter and other channels.
Faculty, staff and operations
WSU is dealing with the same issues that universities across the nation and world are addressing at the same time. We know the human and financial damage from the pandemic will be large, but it may be many months, even years, until we understand the full impact.
The university receives financial support from four primary revenue streams: student tuition and fees, state aid, funded research, and philanthropy. All of these streams are currently strained due to COVID-19 and we have no idea when or if they will return to normal.
Additionally, the uncertainty around things like enrollment for summer and fall, receipt of federal and state aid, and the ability to return to in-person instruction limits our ability to accurately assess what changes will be required, both operationally and financially, of our institution.
As Provost Rick Muma shared with the Faculty Senate Monday:
- WSU has a projected $6.5 million shortfall in tuition revenue and no clear indication of how state funding may change.
- It is possible that these declines may be partially offset by funds received by WSU under the CARES Act or other legislation, but we have not yet received any guidance from either the federal or state government.
- The university has already implemented several cost-saving measures (i.e., hiring freeze, restrictions on discretionary spending) and understands that others may be needed (i.e., employee furlough, temporary salary reduction, etc.) as we strive to remain fiscally responsible.
- After having no tuition increase for the current year, the university may ask the Kansas Board of Regents for an increase next year.
There are also key drivers of the university’s success that aren’t part of the main university budget but are important to the excellence of the university and the student experience. These include WSU Tech and all of the high schools and community colleges that prepare students for the university; Wichita State Athletics; the Rhatigan Student Center and Shocker Stores; the WSU Foundation; and the Alumni Association.
We will continue to work with and seek the advice of the campus-wide Budget Advisory Committee to consider different scenarios, based on the length of the pandemic and its financial impact.
We do not tell you these things to alarm you, but rather to provide context around some of the conversations you may be hearing. Nothing is for certain at this point, and no plans have been made. We will continue to communicate with our campus community as we navigate this difficult road.
We are living through an unprecedented time in history, but we will find our way through this together.
We appreciate your courage, your kindness, your grace and your caring for each other as we move forward.
President Jay Golden and Provost Rick Muma
Town Hall recap
Wichita State University president Jay Golden joined Student Body president Kitrina Miller and others for a Virtual Town Hall on Thursday.
Provost Rick Muma, vice president for student affairs Teri Hall and Carolyn Speer, manager of the Instructional Design and Access department, also answered questions submitted during the town hall.
Virtual Town Halls are scheduled for 2 p.m. April 30 and May 14.
- Golden updated viewers on Wichita State news from the Kansas Board of Regents meeting on Wednesday
Wichita State received permission to demolish Cessna Stadium’s stands. Golden said Wichita State is not pursuing funding the demolition or building a new stadium now.
“Other priorities come first,” he said.
Wichita State received permission to bond and purchase the Suites and Flats residence halls, which are currently leased. Golden said the 25-year bond will save the school an estimated $30 million over the life of the bond. Owning the buildings will allow Wichita State to lock in rates and ensure WSU students will live in the buildings.
“As many studies show, students living on campus perform better from a GPA standpoint,” he said. “It’s a greater student experience.”
- Wichita State will receive nearly $8.8 million for the newly passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Half of the funds – nearly $4.4 million – will be allocated as emergency financial aid grants to students.
“We are working diligently under this to make sure that we’re providing the best opportunities for those funds to make the biggest impact for students over the next year,” Golden said.
Muma said the university is still figuring out the process for dispersing those funds, likely with need taken into consideration.
Golden said many questions about the fall semester can’t be answered yet. For example, the university is waiting on clarification for how remaining CARES Act funds can be spent within the institution.
“We are currently estimating about a $6.5-million shortfall,” Golden said. “Compared to many institutions, that’s lower, so that’s a good thing.”
Golden said it is too early to determine how the financial shortfall will change budgets and assistance to students. He emphasized that decisions will be made with the students in mind.
“The student experience is the top priority,” he said.
- Golden said the university is optimistic that classes will start in the fall on campus. Those classes may be modified, depending on the situation with COVID-19.
Muma said three things need to happen before people can congregate in the manner they did before the pandemic. A vaccine may be 18 months or more away. A treatment, Muma said, may arrive more quickly. Universal testing for the virus is also needed.
He said he is advising faculty to plan classes that may be online and in-person hybrids and prepare for in-person restrictions that may return in some form. For example, a class with 25 students may move to a larger classroom to allow for social distancing.
“We’re going to have to kind of co-exist with the virus and think about doing things a little bit differently,” he said. “I do think the university will open up, probably sometime this summer, in a limited fashion.”
- This week, Wichita State announced an option for students to adjust grades, on a per class basis, from the assigned letter grade to a credit/non-credit option for undergraduate students and satisfactory/unsatisfactory option for graduate students.
Muma emphasized that Friday, April 17 is the last date for withdrawing from a course with a W, so it is important for students to know that this option will be available.
First-Generation Student Organization virtual Zoom meeting today
The First-Generation Student Organization (FGSO) seeks to raise awareness within Wichita State University’s student and professional community through activities and programs designed to foster the education of first-generation students.
We will be having our virtual meeting at 11 a.m. today (Friday, April 17) via Zoom.
Plus, we have the pleasure of hosting Courtney Lockhart financial aids Assistant Director of Student Services and Outreach. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in conversation at this time also.
We are looking forward to making long-standing connections and doing great things with and for the first-generation college students here at Wichita State University, while having fun in the process. Please join us.
Join us today for the live TikTok Talent Show!
All WSU students, faculty, staff, and alumni join us for the live showing of the TikTok Talent Show at 2 p.m. today (Friday, April 17). Students have created videos in various categories to show off their talent. Come watch and support all of the talented Shockers in the live premier show and vote for your favorite videos. Each category winner will receive a prize.
For more information, visit wichita.edu/virtualevents.
Student Ambassador Society to award scholarship to current Wichita State student
The Student Ambassador Society will award the Amie Montgomery Scholarship of $500 to one current Wichita State student. Amie had a tremendous impact on the lives of other students who knew her during her time as a student at Wichita State University and as a student ambassador.
To find additional requirements and apply for the scholarship, go to www.Wichita.edu/SASscholarship.
The deadline for the 2020-21 school year is 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 13.
Need to spruce up your resume? Attend this Virtual Resume Workshop with the Career Development Center
A resume is a document that presents your education, experience and qualifications in a clear, concise and compelling way, customized for the position to you are applying for.
Find out from how to organize your experiences, talents and skills together – and most importantly – what employers are looking for in a resume, in this virtual session with the Career Development Center from 1-2 p.m. today (Friday, April 17). You never have a second chance to make a first impression. Let us help you make sure you are putting your best foot forward!
Learn how to use BeoShock, The High-Performance Computing Cluster at Wichita State
Beoshock new user training with expert Kyle Hutson, BeoShock System Administrator, will be available at 3 p.m. Friday, April 24 via Zoom.
Agenda: The first hour will be an introduction to Linux and HPC in general. It will be mostly show-and-tell, discussing overarching concepts. This will be particularly useful for people coming to Beoshock from a Windows or Mac background.
The second hour will be more hands-on. We will discuss Beoshock in particular, how to submit a job, request specific resources, etc. Have your computer ready to log in. We won't get into the complexities of writing multi-node code, but we will talk about using some of them.
Background: The HPC cluster is available to all WSU constituents, and also those outside of WSU who are KBOR constituents. It is jointly administered between WSU, KanREN (Kansas Research and Education Network), and Kansas State.
In order to obtain an account on BeoShock, new users (students, faculty, and WSU partners) can request access at New BeoShock User.
The system is “bring your own software,” although we do have a few typical software packages already installed. Contact the BeoShock Team at email@example.com for more information.
Want to contribute to the cluster and obtain priority access? Obtain a budgetary estimate.
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JoVE Science Library streaming free for WSU students and faculty
Find innovative instructional streaming collections at JoVE Science Library! Through University Libraries, WSU faculty and students have free access to JoVE through June 15. This online resource has videos on a variety of STEM subjects. More information is available at libraries.wichita.edu/electronicresources/current_trials.
WSU student learns leadership skills during operations internship at Airbus
Editor's note: This story was reported and written before the March 16 move by Wichita State University to remote learning and subsequent "Stay at Home" order by the state of Kansas brought on by the pandemic.
- Wichita State senior Angelique Banh used the Professional Edge program to help land an internship at Airbus.
- Bill West, Head of Engineering Operations at Airbus, said Wichita State students bring new ideas and enthusiasm to the work place.
- Banh uses her Wichita State connections to help Airbus employees take advantage of campus activities and resources.
Wichita State Athletics Director Darron Boatright
Wichita State University asked the Kansas Board of Regents yesterday (Wednesday, April 15) for permission to demolish Cessna Stadium’s stands, and the request was approved 9-0. The track will remain.
Permission of KBOR is always a first step that must be taken in major changes to university facilities. There is no current start date for this project.
The stadium has outlasted the typical lifespan of exposed steel structures. It continues to be exposed to the elements and deterioration of the steel structure will require extensive repairs and is a continuing public safety concern. Additionally, the facility is not ADA compliant and past studies have indicated that significant demolition and rework are needed to bring the facility into compliance.
“Seeking permission from the Kansas Board of Regents is the first step in any process as a state institution,” Boatright said. “We believe demolition is the best course of action when and if funding sources are identified. We look forward to continuing our relationship with KSHAA and hosting the state track meet as well as track and field meets for our program.”
The 30,000-seat stadium was constructed in 1946 (with a significant renovation in 1969) as a football and track facility. It is the home of Wichita State track and field and the annual Kansas State High School Track and Field Championship.
The demolition would be done in phases to allow for both Wichita State track and field and the Kansas State High School Track and Field Championship to continue at the facility.
Plans entail the demolition of the east stands in Phase 1 and demolition of the west stands and press box in Phase 2. A new, smaller multi-purpose stadium would be built on the site serving both men’s and women’s athletics and the regional community and economy.
The cost of razing the building is estimated at approximately $1.4 million ($625,000 for the east stands and $775,000 for the west stands), which will be funded from private funds and restricted fee funds.
CAPS is online @ShockersCAPS
Get support for your mental health and connect to your community with Counseling and Prevention Services online. Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with @ShockersCAPS or with #WSUWeSupportU, and join us for our Facebook Live streams, Keep Calm & Breathe On,at 4 p.m. Mondays and 1 p.m. Wednesdays, and The Day of the Week at 11 a.m. Fridays.
Call for artists
Gallery selections are approaching, but there’s still time. We would like to ask you to encourage your students and your department to apply for the chance to become a Cadman Art Gallery exhibitor. Benefits include increased exposure, as well as experience in designing and installing their own shows.
Applications to exhibit in the Cadman Art Gallery are available through Tuesday, April 21, on the Cadman website at wichita.edu/cadmangallery.
Tuesday Talks with Sandy and Student Health Services
Sit down with contraception specialist Sandy Hill, APRN, and Nurse Heather for a Q&A about contraception and your body! Tune in to Student Health's Facebook Live at 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, and ask your questions about contraceptive methods, updates, and more.
Check out Student Health Services' YouTube Channel
Tune in each day to Student Health Services' NEW YouTube Channel! We'll be posting tips and tricks to staying healthy while being stuck inside during the coronavirus, as well as our new staff interview series featuring Faux L'Beau!
The Online Writing Center (OWL) is available for assistance
While the onsite Writing Center is closed for the semester, the online writing lab (OWL) is fully operational and available for tutoring assistance! Please visit the Writing Center's home page for instructions on how to upload your papers. Please note: tutors have two business days to respond. Questions? Email Kerry Jones, Writing Center Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Live chat offers direct connection with university librarians
University Libraries live chat is available from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. at http://libraries.wichita.edu. Find what you need through our friendly librarians manning the virtual reference desk.
Butler, WSU add two majors to articulation agreement
Leaders of Wichita State University and Butler Community College have signed an agreement that adds two majors to a list of degrees that students can start with two years of study at Butler and complete at WSU – aerospace engineering and applied computing.
Known as 2+2 agreements, the arrangement allows Butler students earning an associate of science degree in pre-engineering with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 to be guaranteed admission to WSU upon completion of the appropriate application requirements.
Butler pre-engineering graduates will enter WSU with junior status, as they transfer 64 credit hours from Butler to WSU. Students would then need to complete another 62-64 hours of coursework to receive a bachelor’s degree from Wichita State College of Engineering.
WSU graduate helps Reno County deal with COVID-19 data and respond
Working in politics appealed to D.J. Gering. He saw himself crunching numbers for a campaign or researching policy and turning those experiences into a career with a think tank.
“When I graduated from WSU, I told myself the one thing I really didn’t want to do was health,” he said.
Three years later, Gering is helping his community deal with a pandemic as a public health analyst for the Reno County Health Department.
Shocker nurse stands on frontlines of the East Coast COVID-19 crisis
When Wichita State University alumna Krista Giggy leans over a COVID-19 patient to insert an intubation tube, she believes destiny led her there.
“It’s been a fortuitous track that brought me here, but I have no regrets,” said Krista, a certified registered nurse anesthetist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.
As with most health care workers, there have been dramatic changes in Giggy’s professional world.
“I’m a nurse anesthetist, and I typically work in the operating room,” she said. “But I joined the airway team at my hospital. It’s an all-volunteer emergency team for when a patient needs a breathing tube or to be resuscitated.”
Giggy, a 2004 Wichita State University graduate, is one of a few professionals on the team who go into the room to insert a breathing tube, IV lines or monitoring lines.