All Associate of Applied Science graduates of Wichita Area Technical College now have a fully articulated Bachelor of Science in Technology Leadership program available from Fort Hays State University.

WATC became the newest partner in FHSU’s Technology Leadership Program when WATC President Sheree Utash and FHSU President Mirta M. Martin signed a transfer agreement today in a ceremony at the Gateway Administration Center of WATC's National Center for Aviation Training Campus in Wichita.

The agreement is effective immediately, with time available for financial assistance for the fall 2016 semester. The program is available entirely online or on campus and is also available to WATC alumni. A major feature is that credits from technical courses will transfer to FHSU. It is a 121-hour, interdisciplinary program built on the Associate of Applied Science degree that a student earns from WATC.

“WATC is pleased to partner with Fort Hays State on this new opportunity for our students to continue an educational career pathway that will provide relevant workforce education and leadership,” said WATC President Utash. “The ability for students to have transferable credits from their applied technology programs with WATC is key to providing a qualified and skilled workforce for the future.”

“Being a destination of choice is not just a geographic decision,” said FHSU President Martin. “It is also a decision about one’s place in the world. With this agreement, another way forward is opened up for WATC graduates and alumni. If they choose to take the next step in advancing their careers, they can do it through our Virtual College from wherever in the world they are working, or they can do it as full-time students on our campus in Hays.”

“The WATC partnership is a great way for students to build on stackable credentials,” said Kim Stewart, chair of FHSU’s Department of Applied Technology. “It’s an educational pathway to move from certificates to an AAS degree and on to a bachelor’s degree.”

“Fort Hays State is fortunate to be able to partner with such an important and vibrant provider of career and technical education in the state of Kansas,” said Joe Chretien, program coordinator for the Bachelor of Science in Technology Leadership. “Programs of both institutions will benefit greatly.”

Chretien explained that a major benefit for WATC graduates is in the “fully articulated” language of the agreement. This means that credit for 40 hours of a student’s technical classes are fully transferable to Fort Hays State.

“Those don’t usually transfer to universities,” he said. “Here, they will.” He used the example of an automotive program to illustrate. Universities typically do not offer instruction in automotive technology. So, because they don’t have an automotive program, they don’t transfer automotive credits.

“Those credits don’t transfer even though they should because the technical education has its own body of academic rigor and technical knowledge,” said Chretien. “With this program, with us, those hours will transfer.”

That is what “stackable credentials” means, he said. They already have the skill set from the applied technology education and from their work, “and now they are going to add to that skill set and become management material.”

“That's why they take the Bachelor of Science in Technology Leadership,” he said. “They add credentials in leadership and management and safety.”

Under the agreement, up to 60 hours of credit will transfer to FHSU toward the Bachelor of Science in Technology Leadership. The transferred credits can include up to 40 hours of applied technology credits among the required general education credits.

At FHSU, students will complete a minimum 60 hours, which includes 45 hours of upper division courses. Of those, 33 are core degree requirements.

“The Technology Leadership Program puts people in position to be leaders, to be supervisors and foremen,” said Dennis King, assistant vice president for student affairs and chief enrollment and retention officer at FHSU.

“Earning the leadership degree and combining it with their work experiences sets people up for successful, high-paying positions in industry leadership,” he said.