Boyack switches jobs, Smith named interim director

Brian Dulle / Washburn Review

Some changes have taken place for the spring 2012 semester in the admissions office at Washburn University. Last semester, Morgan Boyack moved into another position within the office of academic outreach.

Richard Liedtke, director of enrollment managment for Washburn, said Boyack chose to move to a different position. This created an opportunity for Liedtke and his team to go into a search for someone to take the position of director of admissions on an interim basis.

“What we are doing is bringing in an interim director so that we can do a national search, and I need someone in the director of admissions position while we do that search,” said Liedtke.

That search led to Susan Smith becoming the interim director of admissions at Washburn University.

“Smith has a wonderful background and experience in admissions to take us through this next semester while we search nationally for a new director of admissions,” said Liedtke.

Smith earned her undergraduate degree at Northwest Missouri State University, receiving her bachelors degree in Psychology/Sociology. She doesn’t have a masters but is working toward a masters in public administrations.

Smith started working at the University of St. Mary in Leavenworth, Kan., in 1984 as an admissions counselor, and worked there until 1986, when she moved to Park University in Parkville, Mo.

“At Park University, I started as an admissions counselor,” said Smith. “I did just about everything, from being the event planner for student orientations, registrations and scholarships. At one point I was the admissions counselor for the international students, and then I was in charge of communications, handling outgoing letters and newsletters.”

Smith said at one point she was responsible for all of the work-study students in the admissions offices at Park University.

“At one time, I had 19 students reporting to me and it was like herding cats, but it was one of the most fun experiences that I had while I was a supervisor for those students,” said Smith.

Liedtke said that Smith has strong business-analysis skills, and she will help him and his team review their processes and their systems so that they can become more streamlined and serve students in a quicker and better fashion.

“If we are taking 20 steps to do one thing and we can reduce it to 10, and that reduces my time sitting on a file so that I can work on another file, it just helps us process that much more,” said Liedtke.

Liedtke said applications are up for the fall 2012 enrollment. Overall applications are up 15.7 percent, while freshmen applications are up 17.6 percent and transfers are up 12.7 percent.

“Our goal is to continue enrollment growth on a positive track,” said Liedtke. “We are currently experiencing great success from year-to-date, but we always have to be careful because we have to finish. We’ve introduced people to the Washburn Experience and now we have to maintain those relationships throughout the process, so when it comes time and those students are comparing us to other institutions, we are at the front of their thoughts.”

Smith worked at Park University long enough to retire. Her other profession since August 2010, is selling real estate with her husband, Ken Smith, as well as consultant work for Ottawa University with their admissions and advancement office.

“I’m excited to be here at Washburn, and I am still learning and asking a lot of questions so that I can give feedback,” said Smith. “Something I hope I can do is give a different perspective on the process of things.”

Smith said her favorite part of working with admissions is the opportunity to do something different everyday.

“Just seeing the students coming in and hearing what their hopes are for the future makes it a fun environment,” said Smith.