MSUM welcomes a new director of admissions, Rance Larsen. Larsen was previously the manager of enrollment development at Missouri State University of Science and Technology.
Experience is Larsen’s strong point, having spent almost 30 years in several types of institutions, but it wasn’t necessarily where Larsen pictured himself ending up while attending college.
“My initial interest back when I was in college would have been broadcasting and journalism and public relations,” Larsen said.
But while attending college he ended up working for DeVry Institute of Technology, which led to his first job after graduation. After a couple years Larsen was ready to move from the “dark side” of proprietary education to public education. “I just wasn’t comfortable with my salary being tied to my creating a need to persuade someone to make this choice,” he said.
Larsen views his position as “an ambassador for an institution you can believe in.” Just as prospective students want to find a school that’s a right fit for their education, Larsen wanted to be sure the school was a right fit for his career.
He knew he would be told certain things about the college by the people trying to hire him, so he decided to conduct some research of his own. The night before the interview, he walked around campus to see what students had to say.
The last question he had for a student was, “Could you tell me one word that would describe MSUM to you?” When the student thought a moment and answered with “kind,” Larsen was impressed.
This single word was just what Larsen was hoping to hear.
Larsen is ready to look at the institution’s strategic plan and put his specific set of skills to use. He also knows the importance of a first impression and hopes to give the admissions office a bit of a facelift from its “doctor’s office” vibe.
“Our job is to articulate what this institution is and what the characteristics of the institution are to prospective students,” he said.
BY ALISON SMITH