Kansas University's Edwards Campus offers programs for working adults.
Most 6-year-olds are barely started along their educational path.
But for the Kansas University Edwards Campus, the sixth year marks the march into a new doctorate program in pharmacy and plans for expansion.
"For people with a bachelor's degree this offers an opportunity to upgrade their skills in a convenient way," said Robert Clark, dean of KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park.
The new doctoral program in pharmacy is unique because it is Web-based, meaning that students do not attend class in a traditional classroom setting. Instead, they tune in via the Internet.
"We were really trying to serve western Kansas," Clark said. "But we have students in the program from a variety of states."
While students benefit by not having to drive to Kansas City, the program also has allowed KU-Edwards to reach students who otherwise might never have completed post-graduate work.
"It's a great experience for us to have," Clark said. "We assessed the need in our region, and this is how we could serve it best."
The Edwards campus serves about 5,300 students each year.
The average student is 31, married, with a full-time job. Because KU-Edwards students already have a strong educational background, the school offers only graduate degrees. Currently students can choose from one of 17 degrees. Education draws the highest enrollment, followed by social work, business and engineering.
The school was designed for students who need to work classes around an already-busy schedule, Clark said.
"The demand for workforce development, especially in a growing economy like Kansas City, develops new skills," he said.
"An adult who is taking a class while juggling everything else can take something of value back to the employer the next day."
The campus and its programs are slated for expansion, Clark said.
"We're hoping to expand by about three new programs a year,to serve development and software development to Johnson County Community College, in working with adults," he said. "Partnerships with community colleges are becoming more common. Johnson County Community College is just down the road."
Students who attend classes at KU-Edwards find high-quality programs taught by full-time KU staff, Clark said.
"The biggest asset this campus offers is the academic aspects from Lawrence, with lots of strengths of programs from there," he said. "KU professors are very generous in offering their time. They drive here to teach classes."
In July, Clark revealed the KU-Edwards Campus Master Plan. The school sits on 36 acres, and until now no plan was in place for long-term development.
"We have a description of a second building we hope to have built within 36 months," Clark said.
The new building will be used for undergraduate completion programs and graduate programs.
"It's KU's intent to be here a long time," Clark said.
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