Muma named Wichita State University provost

Richard Muma has been selected as Wichita State University's provost and chief academic officer, with responsibility for all of the university’s teaching activities and about two-thirds of its budget and personnel.

Muma has been serving as interim provost since January. All of the university’s deans report to the provost, along with all enrollment and academic support functions.

In announcing Muma’s appointment, President John Bardo said today (Tuesday, May 8):

“Rick Muma’s 22 years at WSU have been filled with accomplishment as a teacher, researcher and manager. He has earned the trust and respect of his university colleagues and the many health-care professionals with whom he’s worked. His leadership of the university’s strategic enrollment efforts, academic reaccreditation and affiliation with Wichita Area Technical College have all demonstrated his ability to work on complex tasks with large groups to achieve great results.”

Bardo said he has asked Muma to work with faculty and staff on the following priorities in his first year:

  • Academic excellence and support systems leading to increased student recruitment, retention and more rapid degree completion.
  • Curriculum and programs that assure every student receives both a broad liberal arts education and an applied learning or research experience, with the combination leading to improved quality of life and career success.
  • Innovation in academic offerings for working adults and others looking for alternatives to traditional semester-long courses and years-long degree programs.
  • Fostering a university culture that is open, supportive and inclusive, making WSU an even better place to work or go to school.

Muma said: “I’m honored and humbled to accept this responsibility at such a turning point in the history of Wichita State and higher education. With its vision, mission, core values and dedicated faculty and staff, WSU is positioned to further expand its positive impact on the lives of its students and the industries, communities and state we serve.”

Muma was born in Wichita and always had strong ties to Wichita State, even while growing up in Texas. His grandmother was a secretary in the Philosophy Department and his grandfather was university purchasing director. He spent parts of childhood summers in Wichita and has vivid memories of exploring the campus.

He received his bachelor’s degree at University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston (physician assistant); his master’s degree at University of Texas Health Science Center Houston (public health) and his doctorate at University of Missouri St. Louis (education).

He taught at UT Galveston, St. Louis University and WSU. At Wichita State, he has chaired the Physician Assistant and Public Health departments and served in the division of academic affairs as an associate vice president, senior associate vice president and interim provost.

Bardo said he was grateful to the provost search committee, whose members included faculty, staff and students.

“I greatly appreciate the members who spent countless hours reviewing applications and meeting with candidates.

“From an initial group of more than 40 qualified applicants, members of the search committee spent a long weekend meeting seven candidates at Eisenhower Airport.” Bardo said. “Then three of those candidates were invited for extensive interviews on campus. Rick Muma emerged from that competitive process as the best of a highly qualified group to move the university forward.”

Muma’s appointment is effective immediately.