Legislator bus tour stops at Emporia State
Members of the Kansas House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means committees visited the Emporia State University campus on Oct. 22, 2013 as part of a bus tour that included all Regents institution campuses.
Emporia State faculty and staff, as well as community leaders joined the legislators for a luncheon in the Skyline Room of the Memorial Union. President Michael Shonrock took questions from the audience and then the legislators were offered a chance to tour the campus.
District 16 Senator and chair of the Ways and Means Committee, Ty Masterson expressed concern about the increasing cost of the credit hour that came about after the legislature cut 3 percent from high education funding.
When asked if he was prepared for more cuts during the 2014 legislative session, Shonrock said he thinks about alternatives in case the budget shrinks again.
“Remember, I’m an incurable optimist. I think you’re going to find a pot of gold that I don’t know about. If that doesn’t happen, and we think there’s going to be other cuts, I’d rather know now so that we can prepare for that future.”
Legislators also asked about the value of some bachelor’s degrees in the job market of today.
Senator Steve Abrams, District 32, shared his concern about higher education in Kansas being able to train students to meet the current job market, mentioning high tech and nursing fields as having far more openings than candidates.
While legislators applauded Emporia State’s increase in enrollment, Shonrock clarified that student retention is just as vital as recruiting new students.
“Growth is not just adding more students,” he said, “it’s about retaining the students we already have.”