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Newman proud to be in western Kansas

Recent articles in various outlets have highlighted possible four-year higher education options coming to western Kansas. It seems a good time, actually, to reintroduce the region to Newman University, your undergraduate and graduate school option.

Newman University has offered courses for the region through our Western Kansas Center in Dodge City since 1992, when Newman responded to the higher education void created with the closing of St. Mary of the Plains College. Since its inception, Newman's Western Kansas Center has continued to grow and offers programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

Newman offers students in western Kansas undergraduate degree programs in criminal justice, elementary education, pastoral ministry, nursing (online), business studies (online or face-to-face), and early childhood unified education. We also offer master's degrees in theology (online) and social work (occasional cohorts). Our ESOL endorsement program has provided five course certificates to hundreds of teachers in western Kansas to teach English to speakers of other languages. Many of these teachers stay on to complete their master of science in education degrees.

One of our most popular programs is the Teacher Education Program, which allows students to earn a teaching degree without having to travel to another part of the state. The program features evening classes for greater convenience and can be completed in just 16 months. A partnership with several area community colleges (Dodge City and Garden City included), allows community college associate degree graduates to enter Newman's TEP to pursue a bachelor's degree in elementary or secondary education. In addition, $3,000 scholarships are available to TEP students who complete their community college associate degree.

Since 1992, more than 800 students have graduated from the TEP in western Kansas without having to move from the area. For those students pursuing other degrees, articulation agreements with area community colleges provide a seamless and affordable transition, and, upon completion of their associate degree, a $1,500 renewable scholarship to Newman University.

In partnership with the Diocese of Dodge City, we established an Interactive Television Network in 1997 to bring higher education to several remote communities in western and central Kansas, including Liberal, Ulysses, Great Bend, Garden City, Goodland, Hutchinson, Syracuse, Sharon, Pratt and others. This system has proven so effective Newman and the diocese recently invested $200,000 for HDTV upgrades.

Newman has proven itself to be a quality four-year degree provider, and our alumni from the area are proof. Our graduates are respected in the business community by employers who need well-trained workers. In addition, many of the region's school children benefit from Newman-trained teachers and administrators. And speaking of teachers, a recent study shows 75 percent of Newman's teacher education graduates still are teaching in the classrooms five years after graduation -- well above the state and national average of 50 percent.

With our well-established presence in the community at 236 San Jose, Dodge City, we are front and center to offer students direct help on course work, access to computers and a personal approach to learning that only Newman provides. We value our western Kansas alums and are proud of our longtime partnership with the region. When considering your higher-education options in western Kansas, remember a longtime partner with solid roots in the area and a solid reputation for quality, private education.

Noreen M. Carrocci is president of Newman University, based in Wichita.