MANHATTAN, KAN. — The distance education program offered in partnership by the Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS) and Kansas State University (KSU) is coming to an end after 15 years. KSU said it will discontinue the program on Jan. 1, 2021, citing “COVID-related budget strains, a continuing decline in participant numbers and GEAPS leadership changes.”

Introduced in 2005, the GEAPS/K-State Distance Education Program has provided education and training opportunities for grain industry professionals. The partnership provided an educational resource for those interested in progressing professionally and introduced KSU students to the grain storage industry. Meanwhile, members of the GEAPS organization have served on the Grain Science and Industry’s Advisory Board and continue to do so.

KSU said the highest enrollment in the program occurred in 2015 with nearly 800 participants served. It was also during 2015 that the distance education program received the 2015 Celebration of Excellence Award for Innovative Noncredit Program.

But since that time, enrollment has been on the decline, KSU said. Individual participants continued learning with more than 40 GEAPS/KSU credentials issued in 2019, according to KSU. Overall, more than 6,000 registrants from 30 different nations have taken a GEAPS/KSU course since its inception.

KSU said its Department of Grain Science and Industry and the IGP Institute will continue to offer education and training opportunities that serve the grain storage and processing industries.

“The new calendar year of 2021 will be an adventure in distance education, virtual attendance and on-site courses,” KSU said. “IGP will continue with the mission to provide technical, research-based training benefiting industry professionals globally and enhancing the market preference for US grains and oilseeds. To meet this mission, course offerings are led by KSU faculty and industry professionals in the areas of flour milling and grain processing, grain marketing and risk management, and feed manufacturing and grain quality management. Along with on-campus training, our faculty lead customized on-location workshops as well as distance education courses.”

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