Friends University Partners with SKT to Launch Cisco Academy

News Date: 
Tue. 08/25/2009

Friends University and SKT Business Communication Solutions have partnered to launch a Cisco Networking Academy, offering a fast-track program for students preparing for information technology (IT) certifications. Friends University’s program is unique in that it is a stand-alone program unlike other universities in Kansas which offer certification in combination with a required bachelor’s degree.

Fall enrollment is open for this six-month, non-credit program. Students will attend classes two nights each week from 6 to 10 p.m. and will be eligible to take the certification exam after successful completion of the program. SKT now offers Friends University students a local testing facility for certification.

“SKT has chosen to partner with Friends University due to its reputation as a leader in adult education services,” said Justin Mitchell, SKT consultant. “Being a partner in the Cisco Networking Academy allows SKT to contribute to the education and skills development of future network professionals by providing a variety of individuals with real world experience who work on large enterprise networks every day.

“The combination of the dedicated Cisco Networking Academy class structure and working, professional Cisco-certified instructors will create an environment for the students that will allow them to be better prepared for entering the networking profession than if they had only taken a class and studied the material themselves. SKT wants to see these students ready to grow and succeed in their new career as network professionals.”

“Because SKT is a reputable Cisco partner, they have the connection to make this a strong program,” said Andrea Gegen, executive director of Corporate and Community Relations at Friends University. “It speaks highly of the program that SKT is putting their name behind us.”

The Cisco Networking Academy prepares students for networking and IT-related careers in public and private sectors, as well as for higher education in engineering, computer science and related fields. After students complete the program and are certified, the University plans to utilize their partnership with local businesses seeking IT professionals.

The Web-based Cisco curriculum was developed by educators for simultaneous delivery to all Academy sites through a Global Learning Network. The program will be taught by highly-qualified, Cisco-certified instructors, some of which are SKT employees. The certified instructors provide face-to-face support in a specially equipped Academy lab to reinforce learning and ensure student progress. Internet-based assessment provides immediate feedback to students and teachers. In addition to networking and IT skills, the program curriculum also reinforces 21st century skills, IT literacy, problem-solving and communication.

“Offering professional certifications is an enhancement to the degrees already offered by Friends University and we believe makes our students even more marketable,” Gegen said. “Being able to offer the certification outside of a degree program provides those who already have a degree an opportunity to continue with their professional development.”

For more information, please contact Jeanne Patton at 316-295-5600 or For more information about the Cisco Networking Academy, please visit or

The Cisco Networking Academy has provided more than 2 million students in more than 160 countries with hands-on IT and networking skills in the latest technology, which have become essential for success in the global economy. Since 1997 in the United States alone, more than 460,000 Networking Academy students have successfully completed a course and been equipped with the Internet technology skills required to help ensure U.S. competitiveness and innovation.

SKT Business Communication Solutions has provided the finest in communications solutions for more than 60 years. SKT is a national leader in integrating voice, video, messaging and collaboration solutions to meet the ever-increasing demands of business and industry. SKT’s dedicated, expert consultants work closely with clients to plan and execute their unified communications and collaboration initiatives. SKT is experienced in finding the appropriate solution, design and implementation for a client’s unique business needs.

Friends University is a non-denominational Christian university founded in 1898 in Wichita and serves approximately 3,000 students through locations in Topeka, Wichita, Lenexa and other communities around Kansas.

For more information
Communications Office