Vignettes about Events & People


Southside Education CenterOn Oct. 23 1995, the Southside Center opened at 4501 E. 47th St. South in Wichita.

On Oct. 23, 1995, Cowley embarked on a new journey that had the Board of Trustees and administration both excited and apprehensive. That is the day the Southside Education Center opened at 4501 E. 47th St. South in Wichita.


It was a unique partnership in that it was the first time in Kansas that a community college, technical college, and a university had ever teamed up to offer higher education courses to the area.


On Feb. 28, 1996, the center was dedicated in the presence of about 250 people. Cowley President Dr. Patrick J. McAtee, then-Wichita State University President Dr. Eugene Hughes, and then-Wichita Area Technical College President Dr. Rosemary Kirby each spoke about the partnership that had been forged between the schools. "What a wonderful day this is," McAtee said. "This is one we’ve been dreaming about for a long, long time. We are really going to pool our services for south-central Kansans."


The center is a unique educational partnership in the region, combining educational offerings of Cowley, WSU and WATC under one roof. The Southside Education Center, a 23,000-square-foot facility, is a full service operation for all three institutions, where students can be advised, enroll and pay fees, in addition to taking classes.


On June 26, 1997, Cowley received a $96,000 grant from Philip Morris Companies Inc. to launch a partnership with WSU designed to increase the diversity and performance of future teachers. The three-year grant was used to develop cooperative curriculum and course delivery at Southside.


On Oct. 11, 2001, the Southside Education Center celebrated Boeing’s move into the building with a ribbon cutting and open house. About 100 people, including representatives of the Southside partnership, Boeing, and other organizations, were on hand as the Southside Education Center Boeing Education, Training, and College Partnership officially opened. "Boeing’s very pleased to have the opportunity to strengthen our educational partnership and serve the needs of our employees with WSU, WATC and CCCC under one roof," said Jeff Turner, Boeing Wichita’s vice president-general manager. "Having these resources nearby to help our employees further their education is vital to our future success as a company."


WSU President Dr. Don Beggs, McAtee, and WATC President Camille Kluge also spoke during the afternoon. Twenty new larger classrooms have been added to the facility and are used for classes by partners in the consortium.


With the recent expansion, Southside now occupies the second floor of the building, and provides classes for about 3,500 students enrolled there. Approximately 20 percent of the students at Southside are Boeing employees. About 1,000 employees have graduated with an advanced two-year or four-year degree since on-site college partnership education services were implemented in 1995.


In 2000, nearly 200 employees graduated with a degree. Some of the services Southside offers include a bookstore, academic advising, financial aid, admissions, math and computer tutoring, a business office, computers for student use, door-side parking, classes through interactive television, and an Academic Success Center, which offers computerized training and instruction in reading, English, math, and computers, study skills training, placement testing for core math and english courses, and a quiet makeup testing environment.


Fall 2002 enrollment at Southside for Cowley was nearly 1,200 full-time students, a 35-percent increase from fall 2001.

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