Presidential Search

August 19, 2022

To the Washburn Community:

            The Board of Regents met yesterday and I wanted to tell you about the actions we took.

Interim President

            We reviewed and approved the agreement naming Marshall Meek as interim president.  As you may remember, at our last meeting, the board authorized me to negotiate with a candidate.  At yesterday’s meeting, we reviewed the agreement in an executive session and then voted unanimously to approve it when we resumed the public meeting.

            We are grateful to have such a capable leader willing to step into this key role as we continue the search for the next president.   We have full faith that Marshall and the entire university team will keep the campus moving forward until the permanent president arrives.   Marshall will begin his interim president duties when Dr. Farley transitions to his new role as president emeritus on October 1.

Search Committee

     We also named three additional members to the search committee.  After we reviewed the membership as a board, we realized that the addition of these individuals would help the committee better represent all of the constituencies on campus.  The new members are:

  • Bobbe Mansfield, associate dean for the School of Nursing
  • Angela Valdivia, career services specialist in the Career Services Office
  • Allison Sadler, student in the School of Law

     This brings the total membership of the committee to 29.  While this is a large group, it is important to the Board to be inclusive and have members that represent all aspects of the campus, as well as the Topeka community.  All of the members understand the very important role they play and have generously agreed to dedicate the time needed to fulfill their duties faithfully and efficiently.

WittKieffer Presentation

     Finally, we welcomed two of the lead representatives from WittKieffer – the search firm hired to help us navigate this process.  Zach Smith, one of the managing partners, and Sandra Chu, a senior associate, explained the search process and the timeline.  They plan to begin advertising and recruiting candidates the week after Labor Day.  They expect their firm to reach out to 2,000 to 3,000 individuals in their database while also advertising the position in appropriate venues.  They expect up to sixty formal applications but emphasized their focus is on delivering a high-quality pool of applicants and not any specific number of candidates.  Finalist interviews will be early December with the search wrapped up before winter holidays.  The start date will depend on when the finalist is able to appropriately transition from his or her current position. 

     WittKieffer facilitated a listening session with the board for the regents to give input about the key qualities and areas of focus expected of the new president.  Each board member made comments and agreed that these are priorities for the next president:

  • Focus on enrollment and any initiatives needed to grow the student body
  • Make innovation in both course offerings and delivery a priority
  • Maintain open lines of communication with everyone at Washburn – particularly faculty
  • Understand and embrace the culture of Washburn University and Washburn Tech
  • Recognize and strengthen the relationship between Washburn and the City of Topeka

Campus input

     There is an upcoming open forum listening session on August 23 at 4 p.m. via Zoom.  All members of the Washburn community are invited to attend and express their views about the values and priorities for the new president.  This is designed to be a very open and frank discussion and we hope everyone will take this opportunity to share their thoughts.

     If you are not able to attend or thoughts arise later, please send an email to:  This goes directly to WittKieffer and they will use this input in developing the presidential profile.

Our next regularly scheduled board meeting is September 15.  We don’t anticipate any other board meetings prior to that date.

                                                          Go Ichabods!

                                                          Shelly Buhler, Chair

                                                          Washburn University Board of Regents



Provide Comments or Information for the Search Committee

If you would like to provide your views to the Search Committee or to the Board of Regents regarding this search, please use the following email address:  

The search for the next president of Washburn University

Information About Washburn

Washburn University is a public institution with nearly 7,000 students and 1,000 faculty and staff involved in more than 200 programs. Our programs lead to certification, associate, bachelor, master’s, doctor of nursing practice and juris doctor degrees.

Since its founding in 1865, Washburn has been providing students of all walks of life a place to realize their dreams. Today, our legacy of affordable, quality education for all continues.

All of our academic programs are offered through the College of Arts and Sciences and the schools of Applied Studies, Business, Law, and Nursing on a 160-acre traditional residential campus in the heart of Topeka, Kan.

Since 2008, the Washburn University Institute of Technology has been a key part of the Washburn family. Washburn Tech is a nationally recognized innovator in career and technical education. The unique affiliation with Washburn University gives students the opportunity to start with technical courses and continue to advanced degrees while preparing for today’s careers.

Dedicated faculty and staff serve adult and high school students as well as business and industry participants with career-specific training

This is the profile created by WittKieffer outlining the position and indicating the qualities expected in the next leader of Washburn University.

Click here for the full profile in pdf form

The link below will take you to the job listing on the WittKieffer site.  At that site, you will find links to inquire about the job, apply or nominate someone for the position. 

Job Description on WittKieffer website

Greg Greenwood, recently retired EVP and Chief Strategy Office for Evergy, will serve as the chair of the presidential search committee. Greenwood is a Washburn University alumnus and upcoming chair of the Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation Board of Trustees.

Presidential Search Committee Members

Washburn University Board of Regents

  • Shelly Buhler, Chair, gubernatorial appointee; President of Hayden Catholic High School
  • Terry Beck, Washburn University alumnus with both undergraduate and law degrees; County commission appointee; Practices law and manages Beck & Gunn Law Office

Washburn University Alumni/Topeka Community Members

  • Mark Heitz, Washburn University alumnus with both undergraduate and law degrees; Served on the Washburn Board of Regents as well as the law school's board of governors and is currently a trustee of the Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation; Creative One Marketing
  • Greg Greenwood, Washburn University alumnus and chair of the Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation Board of Trustees (effective Aug. 1, 2022); retired from Evergy
  • Sunee Mickle, Washburn University School of Law alumna, Law School Board of Governors and Trustee, and chair-elect of the Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation Board of Trustees (effective Aug. 1, 2022); VP of Government and Community Relations for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
  • Cody Foster, Washburn University alumnus; Advisors Excel Co-founder
  • Tara Dimick, Washburn University alumna; Owner and publisher of TK Business Magazine and Chief Business Development Officer for Envista Credit Union
  • Michelle Cuevas-Stubblefield, Senior VP of Strategy for the Greater Topeka Partnership
  • Molly Howey, Washburn University alumna; Senior VP of Economic Development for Greater Topeka Partnership and President of GOTopeka
  • Patrick Woods, Manager of Regulatory Affairs and Strategy for ITC Great Plains

Washburn University Students

  • Shayden Hanes, President of the Washburn Student Government Association; Business Major
  • Amari McGlory, President of the Black Student Union (BSU) and a Student Orientation Counselor (SOC); Social Work Major
  • Mason Engelken, Track and Field Athlete; Kinesiology Major
  • Angela Valdivia, career services specialist in the Career Services Office
  • Allison Sadler, student in the School of Law

Washburn University Faculty

  • Mike Strohschein, Dean of the Washburn University Institute of Technology
  • Kelly Erby, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of history
  • Jennifer Ball, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and professor of economics
  • Shaun Schmidt, professor and chair of chemistry, Washburn University Faculty Senate President
  • Melanie Burdick, professor and chair of English
  • Becky Dodge, master of health science coordinator and assistant professor for Allied Health in the School of Applies Studies
  • Norma Juma, professor of business management in the School of Business
  • Amy Westbrook, law professor in the School of Law
  • Bobbe Mansfield, associate dean for the School of Nursing

Washburn University Staff

  • Loren Ferre, Director of Athletics
  • Christa Smith, Director of Strategic Analysis, Research and Reporting
  • Eric Moss, Associate Director of Facilities Services
  • Tiffany McManis, Director of Health Services
  • Mark Noble, Electrician and Washburn University Union representative
  • Angela Valdivia, career services specialist in the Career Services Office


• Integrity: acting in an honest, fair, and ethical manner, creating a culture of trust evident in all University activities and decision making.

• Excellence: serving our scholarly community by delivering consistently high-quality programs, teaching, service, and scholarship.

• Accountability: ensuring academic, programmatic, and fiscal integrity and value through prudent management of resources entrusted to the University.

• Respect: embracing diversity and treating others collegially with civility, openness, and professionalism in all interactions, activities, and decision making.

• Collaboration: working toward common goals with others in the University and the community while valuing teamwork, participation, and diversity of ideas and perspectives.

• Innovation: encouraging, considering, and supporting development of ideas by fostering individual ingenuity and creativity and creating an environment with opportunities for growth and change.

• Inclusion: cultivating an inclusive learning, living, and working community, facility the success of all people, and supporting all individuals.

Enrollment: 6,987 (fall 2020) including the students at Washburn Tech.

Classes: 60 percent of undergraduate classes have fewer than 20 students.
Undergraduate student/faculty ratio: 22:1

Faculty: 71 percent of full-time faculty hold doctorates or the highest degree in their disciplines

Graduates: Nearly 1,500 degrees and certificates are awarded annually.

Financial aid: More than $55 million in financial aid is available to students annually with more than $10 million in scholarships awarded from university resources.

Endowment funding: The Washburn University Foundation, with assets of nearly $200 million as of June 30, 2020, made more than $15 million available to the university this past fiscal year for scholarships, faculty and program support, and campus improvements.

Internships: Each year, approximately 1,000 students participate in internship opportunities at more than 125 sites in northeast Kansas.

Athletics: Sixteen athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division II level in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) Conference. WU sports are baseball, basketball (men and women), cross country (men and women), football, golf, soccer (women), softball, tennis (men and women), indoor and outdoor track & field (men and women), and volleyball.

Alumni: The University boasts more than 45,000 alumni. WU alumni are found in every county in Kansas and in every state.

Funding: Washburn is a publicly funded, independently governed, state coordinated university. The school was established in 1865 as Lincoln College by a charter issued by the State of Kansas and the General Association of Congregational Ministers and Churches of Kansas. In 1941, the citizens of Topeka endorsed Washburn by voting to establish a municipal university, supported in part by the city and governed by a local board of regents. In 1999, the university’s primary funding was moved from city property tax to county sales tax sources, with the school retaining status as a municipal subdivision of the state. In addition to local financial support, Washburn has received state funds since 1961, which have been coordinated by the Kansas Board of Regents since 1991. Washburn is governed by its own nine-member Board of Regents.

University funding sources: The university is funded by local sales tax, a state operating grant and student tuition.

Mascot: Mr. Ichabod. Washburn’s mascot honors the school’s early benefactor, Ichabod Washburn, a 19th century Massachusetts industrialist. The original design of the studious-looking, tuxedo-clad figure was created in 1938 by Bradbury Thompson (ba ‘34), who became an internationally acclaimed graphic artist.

On campus: Enhancements to campus in the past decade include the construction of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation Forensic Science building, the construction of Lincoln Hall – a 350 bed residence hall with attached dining facility, the addition of an indoor practice facility which includes the only banked indoor track in Division II, the renovation of Stoffer Science Hall and Whiting Field House, and the construction of a Student Recreation & Wellness Center, an art building and Washburn Village, a 192-bed apartment-style housing complex. In addition, a new building for the Law School is currently under construction on the Southeast corner of the campus.

The Mulvane Art Museum is the oldest accredited art museum west of the Mississippi River. The museum’s permanent collection, though international in scope, emphasizes the work of artists of Kansas and the Midwest.
Washburn is home to KTWU, the first public television station in Kansas.
Washburn’s influence in the community extends beyond the classroom. Hundreds of children come to campus each summer as participants in sports camps, while others explore their creativity at the ArtLab and other programs offered by the Mulvane Art Museum.

The campus is a center for cultural, sporting and educational activities. Annual events include the Sunflower Music Festival, the Mulvane Mountain/Plains Art Festival, the Silent Film Festival and events at the Andrew J. and Georgia Neese Gray Theatre.

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