The following is a September 18th news release posted on the MWSU website by Kent Heier:
“I have long admired the knowledge, imagination and energy of Dr.
Smith, and I’m thrilled to have her on our team,” said Dr. Robert
Vartabedian, Missouri Western’s president.
“Dr. Smith is the ideal person to link our Back to Western
initiative, our $1,000,000 innovation campus grant and our online degree
completion programs,” said Dr. Gordon Mapley, dean and executive
director of the Western Institute.
Dr. Smith concurs that this new position is a great fit. “I started
college after being in the work world for a while,” she said.
“Completing my bachelor’s degree as an adult was the springboard to my
career as a teacher and to my later graduate work and eventual role as a
superintendent. I personally know the challenges of working on a degree
as an adult and the greatly enhanced opportunities that can result from
completing a degree. I am excited to return to the University from
which I earned my first college degree and to be able to help other
adults to achieve a degree that will help them and their families.”
While the Back to Western initiative was created to recruit former
Missouri Western students, it is open to any adult who has prior college
credits, regardless of where those credits were earned.
The $1,000,0000 Buchanan County Degree Attainment Initiative (BCDAI)
provides scholarship support primarily to citizens working for Missouri
“high impact” industries, helping these citizens complete bachelor’s
degrees that will foster economic growth for the industries and the
region, while preparing the employees for more advanced positions with
their employer. Most adults using the Back to Western program and
participating in the BCDAI will rely heavily on online courses, and many
will use degree completion programs such as the Bachelor of Science in
Technology or the Bachelor of General Studies.
“The BCDAI can assist at least 126 citizens with up to $7500 in
tuition support,” Dr. Mapley said. “We have nine participants at present
and I am eager to have Dr. Smith help us get the word out to regional
companies whose employees may be eligible for the remaining 117 or more
Mapley noted that he has asked Dr. Smith to meet with regional CEOs
and human resources professionals to make them aware of the BCDAI and
Back to Western. Dr. Smith will also visit regional service clubs and
work with the Western Institute to help adults learn about the options
available to complete degrees.
Dr. Smith was superintendent of schools for the St. Joseph School
District from 2006 to 2013. She was responsible for this district of 23
schools, two early learning centers, a technical center and two
alternative education sites, with more than 1,600 employees and 11,000
Dr. Smith worked for the St. Joseph School District for 25 years,
previously serving as director of secondary education, instructional
principal, assistant principal at Benton High School, coordinator of
language arts, and a teacher and program developer with the St. Joseph
School District. Dr. Smith continues to be very active in the community,
serving on a number of boards and engaging in consulting through Patron
Insight, for which she is a partner.
Dr. Smith earned her Bachelor of Science in English from Missouri
Western, a Master’s in Education and a Specialist in Education from
Northwest Missouri State University, and a Doctor of Education from the
University of Missouri-Columbia.