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Hannah Lemon
KU Edwards Campus
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First KU School of Professional Studies class starts this fall, pursuing workforce-oriented education

Thu, 09/10/2020

OVERLAND PARK — The back-to-school season looks a little different this year, and some University of Kansas students are not only starting a new semester but also make up the first class in the new KU School of Professional Studies.

KU created the KU School of Professional Studies in December 2019 as it continues to focus on innovation and serving adult learners with timely, relevant, workforce-oriented education. The new school is based at the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park.

For nearly 30 years, the Edwards Campus has been a KU presence in Kansas City, offering in-demand programs to meet the talent needs of employers in the metropolitan area, across the country and around the world. The new school facilitates social mobility and equity by providing high-quality academic programs, research activities and engaged learning initiatives.

The KU School of Professional Studies offers in-person, hybrid and online programs in a wide variety of disciplines – from biotechnology, engineering and information technology to American Sign Language and deaf studies, public health and workplace communication. It also provides tailored undergraduate- and graduate-level services to meet the needs of diverse students who may work full-time, have considerable commitments outside of the classroom, have prior college-level education or otherwise need a different approach to earning academic credentials.

The latest online programs launched from the School of Professional Studies include a minor and certificate in nutrition, a minor and certificate in public and population health, as well as a certificate in advanced professional skills.

“The School of Professional Studies is an important advancement for the evolving workforce needs of the Kansas City region and is in direct alignment with the Edwards Campus’ mission to serve these diverse needs as well as those of the local economy and community,” said Stuart Day, dean of the KU Edwards Campus and School of Professional Studies.

For more than a year, a taskforce of KU leadership, faculty and staff – along with representatives from KC Rising and the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) – gathered information on Kansas City’s workforce needs and available educational programs and interviewed leaders from other schools of professional studies at top-tier universities across the country. Armed with this research, the KU School of Professional Studies already houses nearly 25 programs with more on the way. 

“This school allows us to directly serve adult learners and transfer students with programs that help them to advance their career while equipping employers with highly skilled talent,” Day said. “We continue to build this school with our commitment to inclusion, professionalism, collaboration and innovation.”



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