MSU President: One Week In

It's been one week since the new president at Midwestern State University stepped on the grounds.

"I've just been around meeting people," Dr. Suzanne Shipley said.

As the first female president of the institution, it might seem the pressure is on, but she explained it's something she is used to.  She said she has pretty much been the first female in every role she has taken on.

"In some ways you have to work hard for the people who are having a hard time connecting this person in a skirt and heels and makeup with a role they've seen men in," Dr. Shipley.

Others give her a huge benefit of the doubt.  Either way, she expressed how much of a privilege it is to be a role model for women.  Plus, she gets to break the boundaries that have never been broken before.

Dr. Shipley said the biggest fear as a new president is walking in and everything is in shambles.  However, that has not been the case.  She said the Rogers family has made everything a smooth transition.

"We just feel so at home here, so a big shout out to the Rogers," she said.

While it has been a smooth ride so far, she knows she has her work cut out for her.  Right now the focus is getting to know everyone and listening to what their views are about the university.

"The first thing people have to know is can they trust me, and who am I and how do I operate," Dr. Shipley explained.

As she said, universities are collaborative institutions, so making decisions together is important to its success.  One way she is working to accomplish this is by conducting a survey with faculty and staff.  Since it is a confidential survey, they have the opportunity to express their concerns.  The other way is much simpler, getting out in the community and mingling.

"There are 200 things we could do, but what five to 10 will make us a stronger institution," she said.

Of course, narrowing it down won't be an easy task, but it can be done.  From there Dr. Shipley said she will decide on what processes will be used to turn them into plans and then into action.

"You really just have to keep things in an organized fashion of moving from, get to know people, gather their input, evaluate their input, make it a plan, talk about the plan, make the plan happen, talk about making the plan happen," she explained, "It's that simple."

While Dr. Shipley doesn't have any children of her own, she feels all of the students on campus are her kids.  Making their future that much more important to her.

Alexandra McClung, Newschannel 6