Dear Missouri Western family members:

Thank you to everyone who attended our “town hall” events last week. Although we face a host of challenges, we are also uniquely positioned to take steps that can make us even stronger. Personally, I have been fortunate to observe that the passion to serve students here at Missouri Western is ever-present and the dedication to success is undeniable. Please know that your passion and dedication are appreciated. As we move forward, I want to update you on admissions and recruitment while extending several invitations.

Student Recruitment and Retention
As mentioned at the town hall meetings, enrollment is down compared to last year.

Among other things, we need an even stronger presence in all local high schools including regular recruiting visits each month to help us overcome our sudden enrollment drop and shrinking traditional student pools. We are planning more visits by our recruitment team, and I am also regularly visiting high schools and engaging with high school principals and guidance counselors. Additionally, we would also like to plug more of our faculty into the high schools (see below for more details). Moving forward, I hope that we can quickly have discussions about additional ways to attract more non-traditional students, improve student retention and enhance diversity as well. My apologies for the length of this email, but I think that it is important to provide this information to the campus community.

Reorganization of Admissions
In an effort to bolster incoming classes, we are taking measures to strengthen our recruitment and admissions team immediately. This includes the following:

  • Kim Sigrist will be shifting from the Office of the President into the newly created role of Executive Director of Enrollment Management. She will help oversee our admissions efforts, work on strategic recruitment projects and coordinate university-wide enrollment management efforts, under Associate VP for Enrollment Management & Global Center, JP Yates. In addition, Betsy Wright has graciously agreed to shift into Kim’s role in the Office of the President.
  • Hannah Herrera will be transferring from her current position in the School of Fine Arts to assist with domestic and international recruitment as an Admissions Counselor.
  • We are currently interviewing candidates for one additional Admissions Counselor position and hope to quickly fill this additional slot.
  • Peggy Payne will be focusing on managing and working with our expanded recruitment efforts as the Recruitment Manager. She will supervise the recruiters and work with our territory reassignments.
  • Of additional note, Marissa Steimel’s title will shift to Director of New Student Initiatives to better reflect her duties and impact on the University.

Reorganization of our International Center
In an effort to attract more international students as well as globally-minded students from Missouri and around the region, we plan on rolling out a “Global Center” within the next month or so. The Global Center will be an expanded version of the current International Center, with an emphasis on global experiences as well as recruiting and retention. It will be housed in Eder Hall 101 and will be staffed as follows:

  • Fumi Cheever will serve as Director of International Student Services.
  • John Hewitt has been named Director of Global Engagement and will work with all aspects of our Study Abroad and Exchange programs, among other things, serving both students and faculty with interests in going global.
  • A new Director of International Recruitment will join our team in January.
  • Tina Washburn will serve as International Admissions Coordinator, along with an International Admissions Counselor to be hired next summer.

In addition to these staffing moves, we are excited to pull together and build upon the immense global expertise and experience on our campus. We have much to offer to students seeking an international experience.

Public outreach
To grow and thrive as a university, it is imperative that everyone help with student recruitment and retention through personal outreach and other creative means. Spread positive messages on social media and among your friends. Find ways to represent the university positively by wearing black and gold. Anything that you can do to positively promote the university can make a difference.

Presidential Speakers Team
In an effort to engage directly with high school students, I would like to solicit volunteers to be part of a Presidential Speakers Team. I envision providing high schools with a list of faculty and professionals at Missouri Western who would be willing to guest lecture in a specific class or even give an all-school assembly on a topic of interest. As we have already seen in several of our programs, significant inroads can be made into the high schools when faculty have the opportunity to engage with high school students and teachers on a personal level. Student interest in Missouri Western rises as faculty and administrators share their interests, passions and research. If you are interested in participating in this important initiative, please send an email along with a list of possible topics/presentation titles to president@missouriwestern.edu. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Closing Thoughts
I am encouraged about our future and our ability to build upon the University’s mission and storied legacy. At the same time, as I detailed in the town hall meetings last week, I anticipate that extra effort and collective sacrifice will be needed across campus given the challenges in our immediate path. At times, we will likely have to forego some things for the greater good as we work to increase revenue and decrease expenses. Together, I am confident that we can make great strides.

Please know that it is an honor for me to serve you and our students. Our students have much to offer including inspiring energy, a passion for learning, dreams of excellence, and innovative ideas. At the same time, they truly need us to provide them with knowledge, training, unique opportunities and dedicated assistance. Thank you again for joining me as we redouble our efforts to provide excellent teaching, quality services and personal outreach. Your efforts and impact are appreciated.

Sincerely,

wilson signature

Matt Wilson, President
Missouri Western State University