New FHSU instructional resource center goes beyond the box

11/16/12 jgm

HAYS, Kan. -- Instructional delivery that's "beyond the box" is the focus of the Kansas Center for Innovative Education at Fort Hays State University.

KCIE, housed in the FHSU College of Education and Technology, is a resource center that supports the delivery of instruction for school districts, school staff, individuals or business and industry. The workshops, seminars and graduate courses are offered at the client's location, in Hays or virtually.

The idea stemmed from Dr. Robert Scott, dean of the College of Education and Technology, through discussion with Provost Larry Gould. In response to FHSU's Red Balloon initiatives, Scott said he wanted to create an avenue where the varied and tremendous talents of the COET faculty could be shared with the local and broader community.

"The Red Balloon Project inspired a strategy of looking at new ways of doing old things," said Scott. "I see this model as placing the College of Education and Technology at the forefront of new-age thinking by embracing this unit-specific model of professional development and growth."

Asked to bring the idea to reality, Dr. Lorie Cook-Benjamin, assistant professor of teacher education and KCIE director, created a KCIE Advisory Board to assist as a sounding board to develop the mission, goals and offerings.

"KCIE offerings build upon faculty members' unique research and educational expertise," said Cook-Benjamin. "By doing this, duplication of current educational offerings are avoided and faculty talents are emphasized."

KCIE assists educators by offering graduate credit courses for teacher recertification, school and district workshops, seminars, educational consulting, grant facilitation, and the most up-to-date instructional delivery methods.

Business and industry are also part of the KCIE mission. "People outside the education field have content expertise but may not understand the pedagogy needed to collaborate with or train employees," said Cook-Benjamin. "KCIE offers short-term or long-term customized assistance that can help businesses enhance their instructional methods."

KCIE registration costs include $50.00 for a half day and $90.00 for a full day. The registration fee includes all materials and morning refreshments. Lunch is provided for day-long sessions. Offerings, for one hour of graduate credit, require an additional fee and acceptance to the FHSU Graduate School.

"To test the waters, this summer a graduate-level workshop was offered," said Cook-Benjamin. "Attendees came from Hays and nearby communities including Great Bend and Junction City."

In this workshop, Dr. Beth Walizer, associate professor of teacher education, and Dr. Joyce Ellis, assistant professor of health and human performance, instructed the participants on how to prepare the brain and body to learn by providing opportunities for movement.

"One participant, a teacher, commented that the workshop 'exceeded her expectations' and she was 'thrilled to take home valuable ideas and tools to use,'" said Cook-Benjamin.

This workshop and other KCIE offerings build upon faculty members' unique research and educational expertise. By doing this, duplication of current educational offerings are avoided and faculty talents are emphasized.

"The idea that the COET faculty will work together as a unit will produce more and better results than when faculty acted as unconnected individuals," said Scott. "Opportunities for professional growth will flourish as the faculty of COET embrace this approach."

For complete listing of offerings, dates and registration information, visit the KCIE website at or contact Cook-Benjamin at 785-628-5847 or by email at

Back to top