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Flight losses leave professors feeling isolated

5/20/2014

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

mkenwright@dailynews.net

The lack of commercial air service at Hays Regional Airport has frustrated Fort Hays State University administrators' efforts to hire faculty.

Candidates vying for four positions drove to Hays from the airports in Denver, Kansas City and Wichita, said Mark Bannister, dean of the college of business and entrepreneurship. One applicant was "uneasy" with no option for air travel, he said.

One potential hire did not arrive in Hays until 2 a.m. from Wichita because of flight delays, and the interview was at 7 a.m. the same day.  The applicants were assured fights to Denver would resume in August with SkyWest Airlines.

"If we didn't have a solution in sight, I think it would be a real concern to a number of people that might consider moving to Hays because of a perception of isolation from family and professional opportunities," he said.

Jeff Briggs, dean of the college of health and life sciences, said many candidates were within driving distance, but a few people had to fly into Wichita and Kansas City. No air service also has affected faculty's travel plans for professional development and meetings.

Despite the scheduling obstacles, the search was not significantly disrupted.

"It did not have a measurable impact on the quality of our candidates or the number of our candidates, it just ended up being more of a convenience issue in most instances," Briggs said.