Barton Community College has been on a steady growth streak for six years now. The institution as a whole drew 17,819 students in 2012-13, which is an increase of about 4,000 students since the growth trend began in 2007-08, according to the unduplicated headcount data gathered at the close of the spring semester.
This is a 29 percent increase over six years, and an average growth rate of 5.32 percent per year. The increase over last year was 6.59 percent. Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said the increases are the natural outcome of a job well done by Barton’s personnel.
“College faculty and staff have been diligent over the past several years in assessing enrollment opportunities that are in keeping with the institutional mission and when addressing industry needs,” Heilman said. “This has included the continued expansion of online learning program development, the recent agreement with Fort Leavenworth to provide on site education service and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s designation as a regional safety training provider. These factors in conjunction with other well-established services have built a solid foundation for anticipated future enrollment growth.”
As has been the trend in recent years, BARTonline, Barton’s online learning component, was responsible for more than 1,300 of these new students. BARTonline has seen a 168 percent increase over its total of 2,300 from six years ago. It now serves more than 6,100 students across the state and beyond.
Dean of Distance Learning Ange Sullivan said the consistent leaps in enrollment increases are a result of the fundamental elements of BARTonline’s mission statement – convenience, quality and affordability.
“Our enrollment processes are streamlined and can be done completely online, which opens the doors to military, non-traditional students, and a diverse population,” she said. “BARTonline courses are extremely economical and transfer to most colleges.”
Barton County Campus
The main campus showed a slight increase in head count of about 2 percent, which is the first increase in head count main campus has seen in some time. However, the total credit hour production on campus showed a decrease of 5 percent.
The drop in students physically attending classes on campus fits the trend of Barton’s own traditional students taking their regular coursework online.
Barton’s 25 career and technical programs are also growing. Among the most well-recognized are nursing, early childhood education, medical assistant and business administrative technology.
The Workforce Training and Community Education division recently added two new agriculture programs, in beef cattle production and crop protection.
Fort Riley and
Barton has offered classes to servicemen and women and their families through its Fort Riley campus for 29 years and is the prominent higher education provider of the six-member consortium of higher education entities serving the post.
The Fort Riley campus has historically been one of Barton’s fastest-growing entities, showing a 5 percent increase in enrollment compared to six years ago. This year, the campus showed a slight decrease in head count.
Dean of Fort Riley Learning Services Gene Kingslien said the drop is due to deployment, availability of classrooms and unit training cycles on the fort, and is part of the ebb and flow of the military’s activities.
The Fort Leavenworth campus is a new addition to the institution. It began in the fall semester of 2012 with more than 100 students. It has since exploded with growth, adding more than 300 students during the current school year, bringing the final tally to 459 students in 2012-13.
Barton’s Grandview Plaza campus, located near Junction City, showed an 11 percent growth in head count. The Grandview Plaza location should see future increases in enrollment as the site has expanded its Occupational Safety & Health Administration training options and earned the designation as an official OSHA Training Institute Education Center.
Dean of Technical Education Bill Nash said the new designation has opened a world of opportunities for the satellite campus to serve all of Kansas and beyond.
The Hazardous Materials and Emergency Services training options at Grandview Plaza are made available across the state and are utilized by dozens of municipalities and state government organizations for training employees on emergency management and handling waste safely.
These services are also offered to the military at almost a dozen forts across the country, from Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley here in Kansas to Fort Knox, Ky. and other major military installations.