1. Meet Your Professor

    Dr. Sue Williams, associate professor of criminology, has been working in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work at Kansas State University since 1997.  Williams, who teaches Introduction to Sociology, Criminology, Death Penalty, Serial Murder, Mass Murder, Constructing the Criminal Mind, Crime/Media/Culture and Women and Crime, has won multiple awards for her research and expertise in the field of criminology.

    Q: Talk a little bit about yourself.

    A:  I grew up on a small family farm in West Texas.  I went to college later in life, as a non-traditional student.  I was always the nerd that sat in the front row and stayed after class.  I earned my B.A. and M.A. in sociology from Texas Tech University and then went to LSU (Louisiana State University) to start my Ph.D.  Les bon temp roulet!  I loved my life in Baton Rouge.  But opportunity knocked (again!), and I went to the University of Connecticut to work on my Ph.D. studies, and that turned out to be a superb experience (go Huskies!).  I came to K-State in 1997, recruited to help build the criminology program.  And build it we have!!  We have one of the largest sub-specialties in the university, and our students almost always have a job when they finish.  I’ve taught 27 different courses to more than 9,000 students, accruing approximately 6,000 credit hours in the classroom.  I’ve been given several teaching awards, including national distinction as Distance Educator of the Year; I’ve published and presented all over the country; I’ve been awarded more than $1 million in research grants.  Currently, I am conducting primary, ethnographic research in several prisons, including both men and women prisoners, death row inmates and some who have been in solitary confinement for many, many years — absolutely fascinating!  And important.  Simply stated, I’m honored to find a life that I love, and that, occasionally, I get paid to do it.

    Q:  What do you like about teaching online?

    A:  I’ve been teaching online for approximately 13 years.  I love online courses, the production element and distance students.  I can be as creative as I want, constantly experiment with the next best thing, and interact with students who, for the most part, really, really want to be there and learn.  I love the diversity of online students—from the freshman who is taking her first online course to the 65-year-old retiree to the soldier in Afghanistan.  I feel I get to know my distance students even better than in a face-to-face class because everyone gets an opportunity to interact.  It’s not just “that” person in the front row who doesn’t realize they are just taking up too much air time.  You know the one!  In the distance class, I design message boards, assignments and activities so that not only do I get to know who the students really are, but also they get to know one another.  I even have them do little “30-second commercials” about themselves; this certainly conveys strengths, goals and dreams…but also gets folks in touch with their own self.  Hello Self!  As one small example, in the Serial Murder class, I often hear students relate, at the end of the class, “Gee…I learned as much about myself as the killers we studied.”  Wonderful endorsement!

    Q:  What do you love about the subject you teach and why did you decide to become a professor?

    A:  I teach sociology—so, it’s all about us; and criminology—fascinating topic, intriguing people, always fresh and new!  I fell in “love” with my professors, my school, my colleagues, my textbooks…everything about it.  I was a non-traditional student and also wanted to set a good example for my children.  Go after what you want, and with gusto!

    Q:  What tips can you give students who are earning their degree online?

    A:  Treat it like a job.  Go online every single day.  Do some work every single day.  Communicate with your instructor (as well as others in the class) until they think you are stalking them.  You can’t communicate too much.

    Q:  What are some strategies you use to cater to distance students through your teaching?

    A:  I use phone, Skype or Zoom to hold individual sessions.  I’m available almost 24/7 (though I understand most instructors may not be).  I try to respond almost immediately.  I ask them what they need or think or what I can do to help.  Basically, I treat them like family.  I also ask a lot in return; my courses and assignments are very demanding.  I believe you reap what you sow.

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  2. Visiting Manhattan

    Whenever friends visit me from out of town, there are a few places I always take them to give them a feel for what Manhattan is all about. Here are some of my recommendations of quintessential Manhattan activities when you’re visiting for graduation, or whatever brings you to the Little Apple.

    First of all, the K-State campus has some great attractions that are definitely worth a visit! The Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art has traveling exhibits and hosts regular events. The Kansas State University Gardens on Denison Avenue are always worth taking a walk through and enjoying, especially in the spring.

    As a student, Aggieville has everything I need: coffee, books, food and, of course, night life! There are two locally-owned coffee shops in Aggieville, Bluestem Bistro and Radina’s. Bluestem has a bustling and fun atmosphere and a large variety of food and beverages. Radina’s is where I like to go to study, but it’s also great for meeting socially. They have lunch options as well as great coffee, and there is always some sort of local artwork on the walls.

    Aggieville is home to Varney’s, which provides students with textbooks, art supplies and K-State apparel and gifts. The Dusty Bookshelf is a used bookstore with tons of variety and at least two friendly cats who can be found napping in the window ledges.

    Since Aggieville is adjacent to campus, it’s no surprise what food options you’ll find there: Chipotle, Jimmy John’s and Pita Pit, which obviously are great options; but there are also several unique and local restaurants. Rock-A-Belly Deli has great sandwiches and a fun atmosphere, and So Long Saloon has some of the best burgers in town. Varsity Donuts is a must-visit if you’re a fan of donuts, board games and biking (I promise, they make it work).

    Last but not least, Aggieville is known for having a TON of bars and nightlife. Each bar has a different atmosphere. The best part is, they are all right next to each other so it isn’t hard to visit them all until you find your favorite! Several of the bars offer live music every weekend as well.

    There are a few other places I think a visitor to Manhattan cannot pass up.

    Number one is the Konza Prairie, especially if you don’t live near the Flint Hills. Konza is where I take friends to prove to them that Kansas is not completely flat! About a 20-minute drive out of town, Konza offers several different trail options. I love to bring a snack and have a picnic once I get to the highest point of the trail. It’s a breathtaking view that’s definitely worth the hike.

    If you have kids, or even if you don’t, the Sunset Zoo is definitely worth a visit, as well as the Flint Hills Discovery Center: a new multimedia, interactive museum where people of all ages can learn about and explore the unique ecology and culture of the Flint Hills.

    Poyntz Avenue is also an area you may want to check out. It’s the main drag of Manhattan, and at the end of the street is Manhattan Town Center, the mall. Along Poyntz is the Strecker-Nelson Art Gallery, which displays local art, as well as tons of great shopping! There are women’s clothing boutiques, jewelry stores, outdoor equipment shops and interior décor shops. There are also some upscale dining opportunities, like Four Olives or Harry’s, as well as The Chef, a breakfast restaurant on Fourth Street.

    As far as lodging, Manhattan offers many hotel options downtown. Most visitors to campus stay at the Holiday Inn on Anderson Avenue, right across the street from the Student Union. Other lodging options are available at the Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau.

    Have fun and enjoy your time in the Little Apple!

    No comments | Posted In: Campus

  3. Keeping Your Computer Secure

    HeartbleedAt Kansas State University, we are lucky to have a very talented staff protecting us from viruses and malicious software. We keep a close eye on our systems to protect our students near and far. You might remember CryptoLocker malware spreading around the world in fall 2013. (If not, check out our IT News article on the CryptoLocker.) Now we are hearing about the Heartbleed Vulnerability.

    We want you to know we are keeping up with the newest information on every security threat, and we have resources that can also help our students. (Users wanting to know if other sites are at risk for Heartbleed can check on CNET’s list of sites that have patched the Heartbleed bug.

    Information Technology Services is a great location for up-to-date information and resources. If you ever have an issue connecting to Webmail, K-State Online or other campus technologies, check out the information on the Status of ITS Resources page.  Our IT News is also a great resource for learning what hot topics are affecting our campus. The articles are written by experts, and they often link to resources for more information. We also recommend the Antivirus page. Did you know you can download Trend Micro for free?

    We invite you to learn more about security threats and stay up to date with IT news.

    No comments | Posted In: Technology

  4. Kansas State University Unveils the Global Campus

    Kansas State University has been educating adult learners through distance education for more than four decades through the Division of Continuing Education. To more accurately reflect the university’s international ties and global reach, the Division of Continuing Education has been renamed Kansas State University Global Campus.

    The change was approved in a meeting of the Kansas Board of Regents in March.

    “At Kansas State University Global Campus, students can learn online, grow professionally and connect internationally,” said Sue Maes, dean of K-State Global Campus. “With students from countries all over the world connecting to K-State through the online classroom, this name captures the breadth of K-State throughout the world.”

    K-State offers online bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, certificate and stand-alone minor programs to students across the nation and around the world. Last fiscal year, more than 7,200 students took online courses at K-State, and of those, more than 5,000 studied completely at a distance. Those distance students represented all 50 states and 17 countries. K-State also provides adult learners across the U.S. and internationally with access to conferences, workshops and other professional development opportunities.

    Moreover, the university helps learners of any age connect to one another internationally. The university has study abroad programs in more than 80 countries, and in fall 2013 alone, approximately 2,100 students from more than 100 countries came to K-State.

    “International is one of our themes for K-State 2025 — our plan to make Kansas State a Top 50 public research university,” said Kirk Schulz, president. “We want to make it easy to connect with all of the ways we reach beyond our Kansas campuses. A Global Campus is the most fitting description.”

    More information about Kansas State University Global Campus programs and services is available on our website.

    No comments | Posted In: Campus,Program News

  5. Get to Know Your Professor Part 2

    Dr. Brian Lindshield, assistant professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, has been teaching online courses at Kansas State University since 2009. Lindshield, who teaches Human Nutrition (HN 400) says he took the course on campus when he was a student at K-State and developed the curriculum for his own class through his experience, one of the many ways he works to provide a quality education to distance students.

    Q: What do you like about teaching online?

    A: I like interacting with online students. My online students are often non-traditional, so they bring more personal experience to the course. Also, lots of times they have had another career and have decided that they have a passion for nutrition that they would like to pursue. As a result, I often get more general nutrition interest questions that bring life to the course.

    Q: What do you love about the subject you teach, and why did you decide to become a professor?

    A: There are multiple influences that combined to lead to my love of nutrition. I was overweight as a child, and it wasn’t until I changed how I ate that I lost weight and reached a more appropriate body weight. Cancer runs in my family and I thought about working on developing cancer drugs, but I don’t like taking pills myself so this didn’t seem like a good fit. In the newspaper there used to be stories about recent results of nutrition on different chronic diseases including cancer. So I thought I might be able to research how to prevent chronic diseases through nutrition rather than treat them with pharmaceuticals. My mom was a family and consumer sciences teacher who taught nutrition and food classes, so she influenced me as well. Teaching kind of ran in my family, so being a professor allowed me to combine teaching with my research interest.

    Q: What tips can you give students who are earning their degree online?

    A: Set a schedule that works for you to devote to your studies and stick to it. Engage with your instructor and classmates; you’ll get so much more from the course than you would otherwise. Be realistic about the number of courses you can take a semester along with your other responsibilities.

    Q: What are some strategies you use to cater to distance students through your teaching?

    A: I try to make the distance and campus versions of the course as similar as I possibly can. By this I mean I want it to be a similar experience whether you take the course on campus or at a distance. In both courses I try to provide multiple ways for students to learn the material (text, hear, watch, etc.). For online students, I post class videos that some have indicated they like because it feels like they’re in class. Others have indicated they don’t watch the videos. They prefer to use the flexbook that I created to go along with the course. That’s fine as long as they’re learning the material. I also give distance students ranges of time that they can take their exam in, so that they have more flexibility on when they take their exams. I use Google Docs to make a collaborative study guide that I review twice to provide feedback on how the content meets my expectations in both the campus and distance courses. That way students have a better idea on what I’m expecting them to know. I focus on asynchronous communication in distance courses, so that it doesn’t put students who are in a much different time zone at a disadvantage because they’re missing chats, office hours, etc.

    No comments | Posted In: Faculty

  6. Visit the Virtual Open House

    Can’t attend the All-University Open House on campus in Manhattan?

    Visit our Virtual Open House any time to learn about programs and services for distance students and explore the Kansas State University campus—no matter where you are.

    New features at the Virtual Open House include:

    • Scheduled video chats with student services staff
    • Distance student guessing game for a chance to win prizes
    • Giveaway website for free downloadable K-State distance items

    Virtual Open House Map Game

    You can also take a photo tour of the Manhattan campus, view videos of instructors who teach at a distance and more. Enjoy exploring K-State!

    No comments | Posted In: Events

  7. Get to Know Your Professor Part 1

    Dr. James Bloodgood, professor of management, teaches classes on campus as well as online through the Division of Continuing Education. Students who take Management Concepts (MANGT 420) or Business Strategy (GENBA 880) may know him as a professor, but this Q&A session with Bloodgood gives insight to his teaching strategies and life outside the classroom.

    Q:  Talk a little bit about yourself.

    A:  I grew up in Indiana and got married at 19. I have now been married for 31 years. I have two kids and three grandchildren. It is true that grandchildren are actually much more fun. I was an accountant for General Motors for eight years after college and worked for a distributor for a couple of years. I found both organizations to be run in very different ways. They made good moves, and some bad moves. I liked analyzing their effectiveness quite a bit and decided I would like to learn more about how companies should be run to perform better. So I decided to become a professor. My kids were very young at the time, so it was very challenging.

    Young children are my favorite thing in the world, so I spend most of my free time with them. Fortunately, I have three grandkids (aged 3, 4 and 5) that are a complete blast to be with. I try not to spoil them too much, but their smiles make me melt.

    My first Assistant Professor position was at Mississippi State University. I got my Ph.D. at the University of South Carolina. The seven years I spent in the South were very interesting, but I was very glad to get back to the Midwest.

    Q: What do you like about teaching online?

    A:  I have students write short papers about management topics they have personally experienced, and this always provides me with interesting and unique perspectives from students. It is interesting learning about their lives and goals. There is a lot more variance in the types of students that take online courses than those that primarily take on-campus courses. I also enjoy making their lives a little more informed and a little easier.

    Q: What do you love about the subject you teach, and why did you decide to become a professor?

    A:  I decided to become a professor after I worked for General Motors as an accountant and for a medium-sized distributor of consumer goods. These were very different companies, and the distinctive way they were run fascinated me. I liked to see how various plans were created and carried out, and to see how effective they were. Watching management in action from a third-person perspective, as well as being directly involved in it, was fun and challenging. There are just so many different paradoxes facing managers that it makes it difficult to manage well. I wanted to share my experiences with others and to engage in research on management topics so I could learn more. Becoming a professor enabled me to do both. Getting a Ph.D. was extremely challenging professionally and personally, but well worth it for me. I absolutely love teaching.

    Q: What tips can you give students who are earning their degree online?

    A: Contact your instructor whenever something is unclear. We are here to help. Try to make the course material come alive in your own way so that you will understand it better and be able to apply it more effectively. I try to provide interesting stories to help with this, but it also helps for students to take an active role in doing this.

    Q: What are some strategies you use to cater to distance students through your teaching?

    A: I try to explain as much as possible up front so all students can have a better idea of what is expected of them and what they can expect of me. I also know what it is like to take distance classes, since I did during my undergraduate (Accounting) and graduate (Master’s in Manufacturing Management and Doctorate in Strategic Management) programs. I like to respond very quickly to students’ questions and grade assignments within one day so they can get quick feedback.

    No comments | Posted In: Faculty

  8. Scholarship Deadline Approaching

    If you’re a distance student who has been admitted to a distance degree program, you are eligible for scholarships offered through the Division of Continuing Education (DCE). The application deadline for Summer 2014 and Fall 2014 scholarships is April 1, 2014.

    New scholarships have been added for distance students enrolled in the College of Agriculture, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business Administration, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and the College of Technology and Aviation. In addition, a new scholarship is also available for students enrolled in Human Nutrition.

    Scholarships range in value from $600 to $1,500. Visit our Financial Assistance and Scholarships website to learn more about the scholarships that are available, eligibility, how to apply and additional financial assistance opportunities.

    No comments | Posted In: Student Services

  9. Distance Student Conducts Research in Financial Planning Field

    Where there’s money, there are often disagreements.

    Sarah Asebedo

    Sarah Asebedo

    Sarah Asebedo, Edina, Minn., a student in Kansas State University’s online personal financial planning Ph.D. program, wanted to examine the role of conflict resolution techniques in the financial planning field.

    As a financial planner with Accredited Investors, Inc. for nearly a decade, Asebedo advises clients through all aspects of their financial life, including career changes and retirement transitions. Major life transitions and money decisions typically cause disagreements between couples to surface throughout the financial planning process. Asebedo has found that she can utilize conflict resolution techniques as a third party to help couples see eye to eye and move forward.

    “Financial planning draws on elements of various disciplines and skills such as conflict resolution, communication, therapy, finance, psychology, economics, sociology and counseling,” Asebedo said. “The various disciplines need to be more fully integrated into practice, research and theory development to optimize financial planning recommendations and consumer decision making.”

    Asebedo’s doctoral program is the first of its kind in the nation to be offered primarily online. She says K-State faculty provide ongoing support and guidance to doctoral students throughout their research and publication process.

    “Conducting research while at a distance from Kansas State University is seamless with the technology and access to academic journals available through the university,” Asebedo said.

    In her latest research, Asebedo participated in a study with Jaime Blue and Dr. Sonya Britt. They found a preliminary link between an individual’s excessive work habits and reduced physical and mental well-being. The study, titled “Workaholism and Well-Being,” was published in Financial Planning Review.

    K-State also offers an online master’s degree and graduate certificate in personal financial planning. Learn more about personal financial planning programs.

    No comments | Posted In: Student Stories

  10. Two of K-State’s Online Programs Move Up the Rankings

    U.S. News & World Report recognizes Kansas State University as a great place to earn an online graduate degree in education and engineering, moving both programs up in its rankings released Jan. 8.

    Kansas State University ranks No. 72 for best online graduate education programs, up 57 places from No. 129 in last year’s survey. The university ranks No. 27 in best online graduate engineering programs, up 10 places from No. 37 in the previous survey.

    The university offers online engineering master’s degrees in software engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, nuclear engineering, engineering management, and operations research. Online education master’s degrees include academic advising, adult and continuing education, and curriculum and instruction.

    “We have experienced growth in our online programs because a high-quality education is in high demand,” said Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education. “People have many online degree choices today, but the integrity of our program is rooted in a faculty who is committed to their students and advancing scholarship.”

    Bluemont Bell

    The Bluemont Bell that resides outside of the College of Education building.

    “U.S. News & World Report consistently recognizes Kansas State University as a great institution for engineering education,” said Gary Clark, interim dean of the College of Engineering. “It is rewarding to see this recognition applied to our student experience whether studying in person or online.”

    College of Engineering Interior Rendering

    Rendering of the new College of Engineering building.

    Such online programs are administered through the university’s Division of Continuing Education.

    “Kansas State University works hard to extend our quality programs to adults who are not able to be part of our on-campus community,” said Sue Maes, dean of Continuing Education.

    No comments | Posted In: Program News