Since our beginnings in 1895, the success of Wichita State University has been inextricably linked to its ability to respond to the people and challenges of the communities we serve.
As another academic year begins and we celebrate the accomplishments and growth of our university over the past 126 years, we cannot do so without sharing the honors with all of Shocker Nation.
It all starts with conversations. We listen to people in our community to understand their challenges and constraints. Then we do what a public urban research university should do: we innovate solutions.
When our community was hit by COVID-19, there was no quick and accessible way to test, quarantine and treat patients. Wichita State saw this as an opportunity for innovation and we created the Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory to help keep our state open for business during the worst days of the pandemic. The MDL continues to be a facility that can process thousands of COVID-19 tests per day with results in less than 24 hours.
As our country seeks solutions to crime and justice issues, the Wichita State School of Criminal Justice and our National Institute for Research and Digital Transformation have provided support to address this concern, partnering with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to create the National Firearms Intelligence Center of Excellence on WSU’s Innovation Campus.
The ATF recognized WSU’s leadership in digital transformation and was eager to partner with us.
The Center of Excellence will be a model for using firearms intelligence in support of law enforcement agencies across the United States. It will serve as the headquarters of the National Crime Gun Intelligence Board of Directors.
Businesses in our community have told us they need to innovate, digitize and optimize processes and systems.
Through WSU’s NIRDT, we’ve fostered partnerships that will disrupt, transform, and create efficiencies for entire industries. NetApp and Deloitte’s Smart Factory @ Wichita – both of which have homes on the Innovation Campus – are fueling advances in manufacturing and digital efficiency; and NIRDT is working on research to drive these efforts.
As the Wichita State Innovation Campus becomes the gateway to advanced manufacturing and digitalization, local industries and businesses will reap the benefits of this proximity.
And with a nod to WSU’s emerging dominance in these areas, the U.S. Department of Economic Development recently awarded the university more than $51 million to aid in the rapid development and adoption of manufacturing technologies. emerging smarts for southern Kansas.
We are also responding to employers’ calls for an agile, future-ready workforce that is digitally savvy and prepared for the factories and offices of tomorrow.
Our students receive training in a relevant curriculum that will make them essential to the growth and prosperity of Kansas businesses.
That’s what we do at Wichita State. We are an urban public research institution that puts its resources and research at the service of solving real problems. Our roots are firmly anchored in Wichita, and it is a privilege to be part of the synergy that fuels the growth of our community.
I encourage everyone to learn more about what Wichita State is doing for people in our communities. Visit our website at www.wichita.edu.
Better yet, visit our campus: stroll through the Innovation Campus, dine in Braeburn Square, visit the Ulrich Museum of Art and attend a sporting or artistic event.
We are all, proudly, Shocker Nation.
Come on Shockers.
Rick Muma is president of Wichita State University.
This story was originally published September 14, 2022 1:39 p.m.