Hello, Shockers. As we begin a new academic year, it’s my pleasure to welcome you home to Wichita State University. Everyone in our Shocker family is dedicated to your success, so don’t hesitate to reach out to faculty or staff. We’re all here for you.

Wichita State University faculty and staff are invited to the annual Fall Address at 2:30 p.m. today, Wednesday, Aug. 17, at Woolsey Hall. The event will also be available via a YouTube livestream.

President Rick Muma, with the assistance of several university representatives, will outline key focus areas for the coming year:

  • Access and affordability
  • Talent pipeline
  • Economic prosperity

Free Shocker car magnets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Light refreshments will be served following the address.

Please note that parking by Woolsey Hall is limited. Refer to the faculty/staff parking map for nearby lots.

On behalf of all of Shocker Nation, I would like to thank Gov. Kelly and the Kansas Legislature for their support of the vision and mission of Wichita State University. 

With our strategic plan as a guidepost, we’ve been tirelessly working to ensure Kansas families have access to affordable higher education, fueling the talent pipeline for Kansas businesses, and promoting the economic prosperity of our state. The recent investment by the State will help WSU accelerate efforts that drive these goals. 

Making education affordable and accessible for our students is our highest priority, and it goes to the core of all we do. With the addition of $19 million in state funding for need-based aid, Gov. Kelly and the Legislature have made it clear that they also see the importance of helping to ease the financial burden so Kansans can receive the value and benefits of a Wichita State education that will allow for a greater flow of talent to our industries and help grow the Kansas economy.

The Legislature also supported our efforts to boost the Kansas economy with $35 million for our Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul program, which is teeming with opportunities for Kansans — including applied learning for our students and full-time employment for Wichita professionals. Additionally, the MRO promotes sustainability and extends the life of aging aircraft. 

An additional $10 million in aid will support Wichita State’s efforts in digital transformation, including the National Institute for Research and Digital Transformation, which is focused on working with our region’s key industries and niche sectors to implement growth strategies that are targeted, collaborative and data driven.

Wichita State’s partnership with University of Kansas School of Medicine to establish the WSU/KU Health Sciences Educational Center also received a $25 million investment from the Legislature. The HSEC, which is expected to be completed in 2026, will be a 400,000-square-foot facility to house shared spaces for advanced laboratories, clinical research and technology. The high-tech facility will draw students, educators and researchers from around the country — attracting talent and resources to the area and boosting the economic success of Kansas.

The State is also strategically investing in technical and community college workforce development programs including WSU Tech, which is receiving $6 million annually to help meet the labor demands in our state. An additional $1.8 million will fund WSU Tech’s programs for SMART Manufacturing, Industry Training 4.0, and associated degree nursing programs.

I couldn’t be more pleased with the decision of our state leaders to join Wichita State in our commitment to building a better and brighter Kansas, and I want to extend my sincerest appreciation for your trust in our potential. 

Go Shockers! 

Check out this video presentation of President Rick Muma congratulating the more than 2,400 Shockers graduating at the spring 2022 commencement ceremony. This is the 124th spring commencement ceremony at Wichita State.

Dear colleagues,

As I shared with you on Wednesday, Wichita State University has parted ways with Director of Athletics Darron Boatright, and we are grateful to Senior Associate Athletic Director Sarah Adams for stepping into the interim role.  

I noted in my previous message that WSU Athletics has a bright future and so much to offer. We will work expediently but diligently to identify a new leader of our athletics program and to get that person on board as quickly as possible.  

This is an important hire for our university, and while we will engage an experienced search firm to assist us in the process, I have asked six members of the Wichita State community to advise me throughout the search. These individuals all have a great passion for Wichita State, share our vision for leadership, and have the insight to assist me as I make a determination of what is next for Shocker Athletics.

I am extremely grateful to the following members of the Search Advisory Group:     

  • Angela Buckner, former WSU Women’s Basketball student-athlete and recreation director for Woodard Recreation Center, Fairmount Community Center and Atwater Neighborhood Resource Center
  • Lynn Nichols, chair-elect, WSU Foundation Board and CEO of Yingling Aviation   
  • Nate Robertson, former WSU Men’s Baseball student-athlete, retired professional baseball player, Maize High School assistant baseball coach, and partner at the Candle Club and LaVela
  • John Rolfe, WSU alumnus and president and CEO, Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce 
  • Dr. Clay Stoldt, faculty athletic representative and interim dean of the College of Applied Studies 
  • Evan Wessel, former WSU Men’s Basketball student-athlete and financial advisor, Stoutheart Financial Group    

I appreciate the patience and support of all of Shocker Nation as we look forward to the future.     
 

Sincerely,   

President Rick Muma  

Dr. Shirley Lefever

Dear colleagues,  

Following our national search and extensive interviews with three finalist candidates for the position of Wichita State’s new executive vice president and provost, I’m very pleased to appoint Dr. Shirley Lefever to the permanent position, effective immediately.  

Dr. Lefever has served as our interim executive vice president and provost since fall 2020. Prior to that, she was dean of the College of Education, which in 2018 she transitioned to the College of Applied Studies. During her tenure as dean, enrollment in the college grew more than 60%, and several new programs were added, including the Teacher Apprentice Program, which remains one of the largest enrolled programs at the university.  

As interim EVP and provost, Dr. Lefever has continued to support our enrollment efforts, which have led to record growth while guiding the university through the immense challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her work is focused directly on Wichita State’s priorities of access to higher education, talent development and economic prosperity.   

As she moves forward in this role, some immediate priorities will include growing need-based aid; increasing student retention; implementing our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan; expanding the talent pipeline through applied learning; and growing faculty research.  

All of these goals are driven each day by our three priorities, which Dr. Lefever will uphold in her position as Wichita State’s academic leader:  

  • Driving educational access and affordability  
  • Meeting the talent pipeline for businesses  
  • Increasing economic prosperity for our community  

Dr. Lefever will work to determine the long-term future of the leadership of the College of Applied Studies. Further communication will come when that is available. 

Thank you to those of you who took part in candidate forums and provided your thoughts through the online surveys.  

Finally, having worked closely with Dr. Lefever for 17 years, I can say firsthand how committed she is to our success as a university and the people who make up our Shocker community. I look forward to our continued work together. 

Go Shockers!  
President Rick Muma 

Graphic featuring President Rick Muma and text 'A Message from the President.'

Late last year, Wichita State University announced that all students, faculty and staff would be required to complete mandatory training on preventing harassment and discrimination.  

This prevention training, which is led through WSU’s Office of Institutional Compliance, is not only important in making our campus a welcoming and equitable environment, but it’s also important for Title IX compliance. If you have completed your training, I want to express my very sincere appreciation for helping us make real progress in making our campus safe, inclusive and equitable.  

If you have not completed the training, it is very important that you do so no later than today, March 18. The “Preventing Harassment and Discrimination” training is accessible on the Faculty/Staff tab on the myWSU page under “Employee Required Training.” Student employees can access the training on the myFinances tab under “Student Required Training.”  

University supervisors should follow up with their employees to ensure that they are completing the training by the March 18 deadline. Supervisors are expected to work with employees needing accommodations or extensions as necessary. 

Sincerely,

Rick Muma, WSU president

graphic with President Muma on yellow background and text in black "A message from President Muma."

Today marks two years since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic; but more than that, it’s two years since the true mettle of Shocker Nation was tested.

While we mourn the loss of far too many lives to this virus, it’s my hope that everyone will find some comfort in the closeness and support of our Shocker family. To some, it might feel like the past two years were stolen from us and lost in a sea of quarantines, COVID testing and uncertainty. But I think it’s important to reflect upon our collective achievements as one community:

  • When the world shut down, we found a way to stay open; and our students, faculty and staff flipped on a dime to become fully remote in a matter of days.
  • When our health care workers were in desperate need of PPE, we led an alliance of businesses to create, collect, and distribute masks, gloves and face shields.
  • When our community and state leaders told us we needed to be able to quickly diagnose, quarantine and treat those infected, we erected the Molecular Diagnostics Lab.
  • Although COVID has been a constantly changing and evolving situation, we’ve worked diligently to communicate health and safety changes throughout our campus.
  • Workers at our Student Health Center has worked tirelessly to get vaccines into the arms of our students, faculty, staff and innovation partners.

We, as an entire planet, have endured so much in that time. Here in Shocker Nation, it’s something we have endured together.

While the pandemic isn’t over, we are starting to feel a palpable sense of hope and optimism that some normalcy — or at least a new normalcy — will return.

To all of you — my colleagues, our amazing Shocker students, and the families and communities who support Wichita State — thank you. Thank you for your understanding, grace and willingness to change the way you teach and learn and communicate.

Thank you for being the best part of Shocker Nation.

President Rick Muma

Image of Morrison Hall with picture of Rick Muma superimposed over it and text 'Forward Together podcast with President Rick Muma. Wichita State University.'

For the February episode of “Forward Together,” President Rick Muma, Shocker head basketball coach Isaac Brown, and Chamber of Wichita chief executive officer John Rolfe as they discuss making higher education more accessible.

Muma hosts “Forward Together” each month during the fall and spring semesters.

The “Forward Together” podcast celebrates the vision and mission of Wichita State University. In each episode, President Muma will talk with guests from throughout Shocker Nation to highlight the people and priorities that guide WSU on its road to becoming an essential educational, cultural and economic driver for Kansas and the greater good. 

Dear Shockers,

I’m so happy to have you back on campus for the spring semester. I’m so proud of your hard work, dedication and flexibility through these trying times. Please know you always have my support. I’m excited to see what you accomplish this semester.

Go Shockers,

President Rick Muma