Rick Muma named Wichita State’s interim president


Selena Favela

Provost Rick Muma answers questions about the proposed infrastructure student fees during the SGA meeting Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018.

Current University Provost Rick Muma was named interim president during Wednesday’s Kansas Board of Regents meeting.

Muma has a long history at Wichita State. 

He began at the university in 1994 as a PA program professor. In 2011, he was selected to serve as associate vice president for academic affairs. In 2016 he was promoted to senior associate vice president for strategic enrollment management.

Muma became provost in 2018 and soon filled the role as acting president when former President John Bardo fell ill, but did not serve as interim president. 

He took on the acting position once again when Jay Golden resigned unexpectedly in September. 

“Dr. Muma possesses a wealth of experience and a deep knowledge of Wichita State,” said Chair Bill Feuerborn in a KBOR statement. “His leadership as acting president on two separate occasions has been invaluable to the university. The Regents are grateful he is willing to continue to serve as interim president.”

Many faculty members and students have been pushing for him to be interim president due to concerns of appointing someone that doesn’t understand the university. 

“Getting a person who is not accountable because they have not been here and won’t be here afterwards enables them to make decisions that are not necessarily in our long term best interest,” Director of the Elliott School of Communication Jeff Jarman said during the Sept. 28 faculty senate meeting

The Student Government Association, Faculty Senate, Unclassified Professional Senate, and University Support Staff Senate wrote a letter to KBOR earlier this week requesting the board to promote Muma to the position. The letter echoed the same sentiment as many that appointing an interim president with no history at WSU could have a negative impact on the university.

“With the numerous challenges facing Wichita State (a pandemic, budgetary crisis, equity and inclusion), we are concerned an interim president, with little knowledge of our campus and its community, will struggle with the critical decisions that will need to be made over the next year,” the letter states. 

“We strongly believe it is in the best interest of our community to have Dr. Muma in this role to lead our university and make decisions to impact and affect our future.”

In the Sept. 28 faculty senate meeting, Muma said that he is not a candidate for permanent presidency. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was edited to add a statement by KBOR.