Welcome back for the spring semester, Shockers! I hope your break was restorative and that you’re ready to start the new year off strong. There are amazing things happening here in Shocker Nation, and each of you are what make Wichita State so great.

As a way to celebrate you and kick off the semester with a bit of fun, I’d like to invite you to the second annual Winter Welcome, from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19 at the President’s Residence, behind Wilner Auditorium. Enjoy ice skating, an inflatable snow globe, a life-size Lite Brite, free snacks and drinks — and a chance to spend time with your friends and colleagues.

Wishing you a successful and fulfilling semester, and I look forward to seeing you all on campus later this week.

Dr. Shirley Lefever, provost and executive vice president

Provost Lefever standing in her office

Welcome to Wichita State, Shockers! Or if it’s not your first time here – welcome back!

I love this time of year. It’s always so fun to meet new students and their families and to be part of the excitement of new beginnings!

I hope these first few weeks of campus life are a great experience for you. You may find yourself with a multitude of questions, from “Where is Jabara Hall?” to “Who’s my advisor?” If so, please know that’s OK! Everyone has questions. There is nothing wrong with that. You are not supposed to know everything. But, if you DO have questions, please ask them! 

Go to OneStop, reach out to your instructors, your success coach or anyone really, and ask your question. We are all here to help.

In my role as provost of WSU, I am privileged to lead the academic experiences that shape your educational journey. My goal is to support every single one of you in academics and your growth as thoughtful, engaged and successful individuals.

From our offices in 107 Morrison Hall — please feel free come by and see me — my team and I are committed to enhancing your overall university experience in several ways.

For example: 

  • Academic excellence: Our team in Academic Affairs works with each college and student support offices to ensure that the academic experiences you are engaged in are intellectually stimulating and aligned with the demands of our evolving world.
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion: As the most diverse campus in the state, I firmly believe that the vibrant mix of cultures and backgrounds that characterize Wichita State University is our most valuable asset. We strive to create a space where everyone flourishes.
  • Supporting you holistically: Your emotional and physical well-being are crucial to your success. Our team collaborates with departments and offices across WSU to ensure that support systems are in place to address your holistic needs. That includes services such as counseling, health and wellness, tutoring, paid internships and co-ops, our Shocker Support Locker and many others… the list is extensive.
  • Research and innovation: Wichita State is a hub for innovation and discovery, and we’ve built a solid reputation around solving problems for our community and our state. One way we do that is through the applied research happening across campus. Whether you’re a first-year undergrad or earning your Ph.D., there are tons of chances to participate in incredibly interesting and useful research.
  • Applied learning: This term may be new to you. Basically, because of our location in Kansas’ largest city – and through the many partnerships we have with businesses all over the state and right here on our Innovation Campus — students have more opportunities than you’ll ever find in the typical college town to apply their learning in real-world settings through internships, co-ops, student employment and applied research positions. Last year, WSU students earned more than $30 million through nearly 9,000 of these applied learning experiences.

I’m honored to be a leader at Wichita State, and everyone in my office and across campus is dedicated to ensuring that your educational experience is transformative, inspiring and empowering.

I’m privileged to work alongside our talented faculty and staff to make this journey exceptional for each student. Our doors are always open, and your voices are heard.

If you have any questions about what you read here today, check out our website, ask me on my social media (@wsuprovost on Instagram; @WSU_Provost on X) or send an email here.

Have a great year.

Go Shockers!
Provost Shirley Lefever

Dear colleagues,

You may have heard this week that the Kansas Board of Regents approved our request to raise fall tuition by 5.9%. I know that number feels big, and raising tuition is something we wish we could avoid.

However, each year, we must consider all the costs of doing business so we can provide the best quality education and continue to support Kansas families, businesses and the economy.

An important note is that three of the past four years, Wichita State has avoided raising tuition. And with this increase, that averages a 1.7% increase over five years — still keeps WSU as one of the most competitively priced universities in our state.

But the realities of growing inflation costs have made it harder for all Regents universities to maintain current tuition.

With that background, I wanted to provide more detail about what WSU is doing with that increased tuition.

The 5.9% increase to fall 2023 tuition will help fund the following:

  • student success and recruitment
  • graduate teaching assistants
  • scholarships
  • retaining talented faculty and staff to support students
  • facilities operation
  • capital assessment

As always, growing need-based aid and scholarships for students is a huge priority for us.

A great recent example is the $4.2 million in additional funds recently allocated to WSU so we can continue to provide need-based aid for those who struggle most to pay for college.

We remain proud of and committed to our efforts to provide an accessible and affordable education and will continue to work hard to help all students succeed at Wichita State.

Shirley Lefever,

In our ongoing focus on strategic enrollment management and our continued emphasis on prioritizing student success and persistence, the provost’s office has been re-organized to align all Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) offices under Dr. Ashlie Jack, as senior associate vice president for Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Enrollment Management.

This alignment will enable a more coordinated effort among the offices responsible for recruitment and retention focusing on student success throughout their academic journey. 

“Supporting our students’ experience from recruitment to graduation is vital in ensuring every student is successful in accomplishing their academic and career goals,” says Provost Shirley Lefever. “This revised structure will optimize our ability to respond to student needs in a more coordinated fashion.” 

SEM offices reporting to Jack include the following:

  • Brett Bruner, assistant vice president of Student Success and Persistence (Retention Initiatives)
  • Gina Crabtree, university registrar and director of Enrollment Services
  • Sara Mata, HSI executive director
  • Vince Altum, executive director of International Education
  • Kim Moore, executive director of Workforce, Professional and Community Education
  • Bobby Gandu, assistant vice president of Strategic Enrollment Management and director of Admissions
  • Sheelu Surender, executive director of Financial Aid and Scholarships
  • Aaron Hamilton, program director, One-Stop Student Services
Dr. Jennifer Friend, incoming dean of the College of Applied Studies

I’m pleased to announce that Dr. Jennifer Friend will be joining Wichita State starting Jan. 9, 2023, as dean of the College of Applied Studies.

Dr. Friend comes to us from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, where she has spent five years, most recently as the associate provost for Academic Affairs and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

She also spent 12 years at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and 13 years as a teacher and principal in the Shawnee Mission School District.

Dr. Friend’s focus supports culturally responsive learning, research opportunities and community engagement — with an emphasis on diversity, integrity, collaboration, discovery and leadership.

Those goals, along with her 30 years of experience working in education, make her the perfect fit for Wichita State.

I want to extend my gratitude to the dean’s search committee and to Interim Dean Clay Stoldt, who contributed so much as he served in the interim role for two years.

I can’t wait for Dr. Friend to come on board and begin meeting and working with our campus community.


Shirley Lefever, executive vice president and provost

Hello, Shocker family, and welcome home to Wichita State University. The beginning of a new academic year is always bursting with new energy, ideas, and new faces; and I’m eager to see what exciting innovations, research and discoveries grow from that enthusiasm.

As you prepare for classes be sure to take advantage of the support services available to our faculty and staff. I look forward to seeing you around campus and engaging with you to help Shocker Nation achieve our goals.

Image of Vivian.

Following a national search for the Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art creative and executive director, Vivian Zavataro has been selected for the position, effective Oct. 16.

Zavataro is the director and chief curator of the John and Geraldine Lilley Museum of Art of the University located in Reno, Nevada. In that role, Zavataro successfully led the museum through a transition from a gallery to a university-based museum. She also brings extensive international experience after working for museums and galleries worldwide and has earned a master’s in museum and heritage studies from the University of Amsterdam.

As the creative and executive director, Zavataro’s immediate priorities will include providing strategic leadership in collaboration with faculty, staff, students and other key internal and external stakeholders.

“Vivian has a passion for diversity, equity and inclusion and an eye toward innovation that makes her a perfect fit for Wichita State University,” said Shirley Lefever, WSU executive vice president and provost. “She also brings a dedication to strong community engagement that will contribute to the future success of the museum.”

Following an internal search and interviews with four finalist candidates for the position of associate vice president (AVP) for institutional effectiveness (IE), Dr. Ashlie Jack has been selected for the position, effective July 26. Jack recently served as the interim associate dean and accreditation officer for the College of Applied Studies. Before this, she served as assistant dean and accreditation officer for the college, beginning in 2015.

During her tenure as assistant dean and accreditation officer, Dr. Jack successfully led the educator preparation programs through the national accreditation process, resulting in full accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Education Providers (CAEP) as well as full state-level accreditation from the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE). In addition to this, she has served as a national reviewer for CAEP.

In her role as accreditation officer, she also supported the specialized professional association accreditation process for the School Psychology, Counseling and Athletic Training programs and led the college-wide assessment and governance efforts.

As Dr. Jack assumes her new role as AVP for IE, her immediate priorities will include providing strategic direction and leadership in the coordinating, planning, development, execution and management of the university-wide regional and specialty assessment and accreditation activities within the division. Dr. Jack will also collaborate with others to align academic assessments with the co-curriculum. This work will include leading the Higher Learning Commission accreditation process and the Kansas Board of Regents program review processes.