BCC to offer drones program in fall

New program is possible with a partnership with Kansas State Polytechnic in Salina.Starting in the fall of 2018, students at Butler Community College can learn to fly a drone thanks to a partnership between the college and Kansas State Polytechnic in Salina.

According to Amy Kjel­lin, director of the Flint Hills sites, BCC and K-State have an articulation agreement which creates a smooth transition from the community college to the four-year institution.

“Because many of the classes are part of the agreement between Butler and K-State Polytechnic,” she said, “students can receive dual credit saving thousands of dollars on the cost of the university degree.”

Kjellin said BCC’s desire is to lead in innovative opportunities for students to excel.

“This, and other 2+2 articulation agreements Butler has with area universities, provide a clear and cost effective path towards some of the strongest degrees in the region,” Kjellin added.

Local high school students. a BCC spokesperson said, can take classes offered by Butler’s Early College Aviation Academy, and when they have an associate’s degree, can enter the workforce or transfer into the K-State program.

Eventually, the goal for BCC is in bringing all four years closer to students in the area.

Students in their junior year could also take high school classes and college curriculum simultaneously with one-half day at their home high school and one-half day at Butler’s Rose Hill campus.

“They could graduate with their high school diploma and an associate degree at the same time,” a BCC spokesperson said.

The agreement was signed by both institutions on Dec. 19.

“Joint partnerships such as this are increasingly important in today’s higher education environment,” according to a spokesperson in BCC’s communications department.

Moran praises program

Even U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran is on the bandwagon for this new educational opportunity between BCC and K-State Polytechnic.

“I look forward to working on legislation to unlock the economic benefits of UAS technology while maintaining the world’s highest aviation safety standards,” he said.

Moran also spoke about how K-State Polytechnic is leading the way in UAS research and development.

“K-State Polytechnic was the first entity in the country to receive approval from the FAA to conduct academic and commercial flight training,” Moran said.


Lori Winningham, BCC vice president of academics, said these unmanned aircraft systems are a growing industry, could lead to careers in law enforcement, real estate, agriculture and more.

As an example, in agricultural and energy fields, drones can be used to gather aerial photographs from soil management to power line inspections.

It’s one of the first, and still one of the few universities in the country, to offer a bachelor’s degree in this area, Winningham explained.

For more information , call Kjellin at 620-382-2183 or email her at: akellin@butlercc.edu.

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