Fall 2006


Gleanings illustration

Memorial ’70

Visitors to WSU’s Charles Koch Arena will notice a new display case in memory of the 31 Shocker football players, administrators and supporters who died 36 years ago when one of two planes en route to a game with Utah State University in Logan, Utah, crashed near Silver Plume, Colo., on Oct. 2.

The display is an intimate counterpart to Memorial ’70, the sculpture commemorating the tragedy, located at the Alumni Drive entrance to campus near 18th and Hillside. The display features photographs of the lost, a rubbing of the Memorial ’70 engraving and the certificate marking the induction of the 31 into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

The memorial will be permanently located on the Koch Arena concourse.

Shocker Safe Ride

College students have something of a reputation — deserved or not — as vigorous consumers of beer and other alcoholic beverages. Thanks to a new program, Wichita State students who have had one too many can now get a free ride home, avoiding arrest, embarrassment — even a fatal accident.

The Shocker Safe Ride program, established last spring, allows students to get a ride — and even have their own car driven — home after a night on the town. Though some have criticized the service, claiming it encourages reckless drinking, defenders point out that the program effectively removes any excuse a student might have for drinking and driving.

In the program's first week, 16 students received free rides. The cost of $12 per ride, paid to local company Safe Riders Inc., is covered by the university; the money comes from student fees. Research is under way to find grants to cover the costs in the future.

Intensive Careers

Wichita State strives to be ahead of the curve, anticipating social trends in order to produce students equipped to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world. In this spirit, the university’s College of Health Professions established in 1996 an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program — and 10 years later, WSU remains the only school in Kansas offering such a program.

Elaine Steinke ’79/82, a key professor in the program, explains, “The Acute Care Nurse Practitioner is an advanced practice nurse who provides care for acute and chronically ill patients in a variety of settings.”

Entry requirements are steep: Hopefuls must be accepted to the WSU Graduate School and have both two years of post-RN clinical practice and at least one year of intensive care nursing practice under their belts.

Qualified ACNPs are increasingly in demand in Kansas and nationwide, especially as the Baby Boomer generation ages into retirement.

The Global Marketplace

On Sept. 15, WSU Vice President for Academic Affairs and Research Gary Miller announced the establishment of the nation’s first Market-Based Management Center to be housed in the W. Frank Barton School of Business. The MBM Center is a joint project of WSU and the MBM Institute, a nonprofit research organization founded by Charles Koch and Koch Industries Inc.

Market Based Management is the management philosophy of Koch Industries that focuses on market principles in making management decisions to promote innovation and entrepreneurship within the organization. This philosophy has been successful at Koch Industries, which has grown to become the largest privately held corporation in the world.

“We are excited about the center, which will provide faculty an opportunity to expand their horizons with the research tools of experimental economics,” Miller relates. “We expect the center to increase our access to scholars around the world who are interested in this approach to management.”

The MBM Center will engage in classroom teaching that will include the use of an experimental economics laboratory. Lab exercises will include the simulation of markets in which participants make economic choices based on incentives and disincentives.

Through this experience, participants can explore and better understand how individual decision-making drives market behavior. The lab will also be used for academic research in economics. “This center will provide new avenues for research, teaching and outreach for the benefit of the Wichita community and the state of Kansas,” said John Beehler, dean of the Barton School.

The MBM Center will be the hub and leading resource on MBM principles and further development of these principles through traditional scholarship and experimental economics. WSU President Don Beggs noted, “We see this relationship with the MBM Institute as a significant advancement in our continuing efforts to fulfill the dream of Frank Barton that the Barton School of Business will be a world leader in research and teaching for the global entrepreneurial marketplace.”

— Amy Geiszler-Jones

“Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match”

Denny Senseney ’69/74 is thrilled about his role as matchmaker between Yamaha and Wichita State’s school of music. The result: the loan of a nine-foot professional concert grand piano, which will be housed in Miller Concert Hall this year.

The $150,000 instrument is one of 300 that Yamaha places in music stores around the country for the use of touring pianists. It would normally be stored at Wichita’s Senseney Music.

“It’s a recognition of a need on one hand and a resource on the other —and we were kind of the matchmaker,” Senseney says. “It’s one of those win-win-win synergies.”

Rodney Miller, dean of fine arts, agrees. “Pianos really need to be played in order to stay in shape and maintain their quality,” Miller says. “And any time you have a $150,000 instrument for students to practice and perform on, it’s a win-win situation.”

Miller adds that, although the music school owns other high-quality instruments, none are located in Miller Hall, which is a popular location for student and faculty recitals and performances of the Wichita State Orchestra.

Senseney has supported the music program for more than a decade now by loaning WSU several pianos on an annual basis, primarily for use in faculty studios. Senseney estimates that the store places $250,000 worth of equipment in the music school every year.

“We have had a long relationship with Denny Senseney and Senseney Music,” Miller says. “We appreciate his continuing generosity and support.”

— Emily Christensen

Urban Affairs

Wichita State’s urban setting is what WSU needs to focus on, the university’s new vice president for academic affairs and research Gary L. Miller said in his first address to faculty since coming to WSU this summer. “I suggest to you that we are first and foremost an urban-serving university,” he said, noting that WSU has an obligation “to meet the higher education demands of a population having a vast array of ages, backgrounds, career motivations and economic resources that represent the great character of our city and the immediate region.”

As he talked about WSU’s urban setting, Miller reported that “these characteristics not only make us unique in Kansas; these features of Wichita State University and its environment also put us in the center of a growing movement in American higher education. This movement is focused on how urban institutions of higher education will partner to build human capital, nurture and sustain communities in the urban environment and develop a more constructive approach to human health — all major elements of our mission.”

Miller also discussed nine “challenges and opportunities” that he’ll be focusing on. The most immediate is WSU’s accreditation process, which culminates with an on-site visit by a Higher Learning Commission reaccreditation team next spring.

The other eight issues are continuing faculty and graduate student support for research and defining WSU’s role in the state’s bioscience initiative, diversity, economic development, collaboration with other education systems, increasing enrollment, university priorities and funding, faculty support and student engagement.

The Stones Roll In — And On

It took five days for workers to set up the elaborate 92-foot-high, 170-ton steel stage set for the Rolling Stones concert Oct. 1. Some 70 semis rolled into Wichita and onto campus carrying the production equipment, including lighting and sound systems and 36 miles of cable.

As concert-goers in Wichita were cheering and singing along to favorite songs, work on another steel stage had begun in Missoula, Mont., for the Oct. 4 show there. And a third stage was on its way to Canada from Louisville, Ky., where the Stones were Oct. 5.

Big Sister Wins Big Honor

WSU freshman Desirae Sheffler has been awarded the first WSU Nick Mork Big Brothers Big Sisters Endowed Scholarship worth $1,500.

Sheffler, who’s majoring in social work, is a Big Sister in Reno County and has been involved in community service in the Hutchinson area.


Food, Fun, Drink & Shockers

The annual Rockin'the Roundhouse event always promises a good time, with proceeds going to help Shockers!


The Rolling Stones transform Cessna Stadium.

The Simple Life

Retired ad man B. Vaughn Sink '61/61 is a plainspoken fellow who writes like he talks — in clear, complete declarative sentences.


These Gleanings entries survey the current university scene and feature original illustrations by Scott Dawson ’86.