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July 25, 2012

Cowley College revamps Manufacturing Technology (Mechatronics) program


Realigning the courses with Business and Industry and redesigning the set up of the classroom, new Manufacturing Technology (Mechatronics) instructor Daniel Higdon has high hopes for the program.


Manufacturing Technology (Mechatronics) programHigdon, who was a student in what was then known as the Mechatronics program, took over as instructor after the sudden passing of former teacher Dennis Rogosch in March. Higdon has taught Fluid Power, Instrumentation and Control Systems, Manufacturing Processes and Systems, Microprocessor Instrumentation, Pneumatics, Quality Control and Cost Management, and Robotics courses at Cowley.

Higdon received a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Fort Hays State University in 2010 and was a graduate student at the school prior to coming to Cowley. He has served as an adjunct instructor for Cowley’s Mulvane Center, teaching a Microbiology course this summer.

Higdon is looking forward to leading the Manufacturing Technology (Mechatronics) program and is excited about the changes being made to the program.

“I have always enjoyed teaching and after Dennis passed away I was forced to create what I wanted the classes to be,” Higdon said. “A lot of the equipment in the classroom was not being utilized or in a place that was easy to get to, so we have rearranged it to make it easier to use the equipment.”

Manufacturing Technology addresses the demand for specialized technicians. This program of study teaches students the design, building, and maintaining of equipment that combines electronics, mechanics, pneumatics, hydraulics, and computer controls to become skilled technicians.

“It’s taking all different fields of science and combining them together,” Higdon said.

Over the past six months, Higdon and other representatives from Cowley College, including vice president of academic affairs, Slade Griffiths, have met with local Business and Industry leaders to see how the Manufacturing Technology (Mechatronics) program could better meet their needs.

“We wanted to identify different aspects that would help local industry and students of Cowley College,” Griffiths said.

Griffiths said Cowley has been in discussion with area superintendents on developing a plan to start educating students on the program in high school, on through Cowley, and then on to a Bachelor’s degree if they so choose.

“Industry support has been great,” Griffiths said. “I appreciate their expertise on further developing the coursework for the program. Cowley First has also been instrumental in helping guide this process.”

Technicians are well paid to maintain robots, automated manufacturing equipment, cars, gas pumps, security systems, ATMs, heating and cooling systems, treatment plant equipment, and medical monitors among other things.

“I like being able to tell the students what something is and how to operate it,” Higdon said. “These skills are missing in America and by taking part in the (Manufacturing Technology) program these students can get good, honest paying jobs.”

To learn more about the Manufacturing Technology (Mechatronics) program go to  or call 620-441-6335.