July 11, 2014

Leadership changes at Wichita State announced

Some top leaders at Wichita State University are realigning, the university said in a prepared statement Friday.

Some top leaders at Wichita State University are realigning, the university said in a prepared statement Friday.

President John Bardo said it’s happening in part because of suggestions from those WSU serves.

"For the past two years I have been listening to faculty, staff and students regarding their experiences in the university," Bardo said in the statement. "I have been observing where and how we could more effectively achieve the goals that are set forth in the Kansas Board of Regents' strategic plan and the university's strategic plan.

None of the changes involve a reduction in the number of positions, Bardo said.

According to the WSU statement:

• Tony Vizzini, academic vice president, is promoted to provost and senior vice president, with responsibilities for student life, recruiting, admissions, financial aid and career services, along with existing responsibilities for teaching, faculty hiring and promotion and all academic activities.
• Wade Robinson, vice president for Campus Life and University Relations, becomes vice president for student engagement, and will be asked to improve out-of-classroom learning, and increase student retention.
• Gina Crabtree, registrar, will become registrar and director of enrollment services. She will add responsibility for admissions and financial aid.
• Connie Dietz becomes executive director of career development, a change that will help bring together departments that help students and alumni connect with employers. Dietz is currently director of cooperative education and work-based learning.

Robinson, Crabtree, Dietz and their staffs will all be part of the new provost and senior vice president's office.

• Lou Heldman, a former publisher of The Wichita Eagle, takes over a newly created position: vice president of strategic communications, responsible for university communications and marketing. He has worked at WSU for several years, and previous to this latest role led the Center for Entrepreneurship, and before that the Elliott School of Communication.

Bardo had said last month, as he contemplated the changes, that they will help bring about the larger structural transformations he envisions for WSU. Those changes include creation of a new “innovation campus” within the larger university campus. The innovation project is designed to bring about much more innovation, not only by WSU researchers but among businesses and entrepreneurs in the south-central Kansas area and beyond, Bardo said. The main purpose, he said: job creation and economic boost to the area.

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