Michael D. Shonrock, Ph.D.
Became President of Emporia State University on Jan. 3, 2012.
When Dr. Michael D. Shonrock became the 16th president of Emporia State University on Jan. 3, 2012, he brought a leadership style influenced by another 16th president — Abraham Lincoln.
“Get out of the office and circulate among the troops” is one tenet of Lincoln’s leadership. Dr. Shonrock is always ready to give and receive high fives and fist bumps with students, faculty and staff alike when he walks across campus.
Lincoln also believed in building strong alliances. For Dr. Shonrock, this means building relationships with faculty, staff and students on campus; alumni and current and future donors; as well as members of the Emporia community, Kansas Board of Regents, Kansas legislators and other academic institutions in the state.
Since March, Dr. Shonrock has been traveling the state of Kansas, meeting with community college partners, media outlets and the public at alumni events. On campus, Dr. Shonrock is a strong advocate for shared governance and works closely with representatives of the Faculty Senate, Classified Assembly and Associated Student Government as well as a new Unclassified Staff Senate.
Partnering with the Emporia community is key to strengthening both the town and university, according to Dr. Shonrock. A Hornet Telethon held in April and organized by the Admissions office was a significant event from this partnership. During the telethon, community leaders worked telephones to contact newly admitted students and welcome them to campus. Other campus and community members spent the same time writing postcards to the new students.
With the enrollment management team, Dr. Shonrock is looking beyond student recruitment to student retention, a key component to increasing enrollment. One goal involves research opportunities for students.
Emporia State has a good reputation for undergraduate research, and Dr. Shonrock has recommended the experience be expanded so that all undergraduate students have the opportunity to participate in research and creative activities. Other goals include enhancing the honors program experience and extending a leadership studies minor. During the Fall 2012 semester, Dr. Shonrock plans to teach an introductory leadership course.
Under Dr. Shonrock’s leadership, Emporia State is embarking on a much-needed housing project — upgrading and renovating Singular and Trusler residence halls. Already on a long-term plan, the project was moved up by allocating on-campus resources to complete the work. Work also is under way to expand the wireless network to cover the entire campus.
A self-described futurist, Dr. Shonrock is focusing on Emporia State’s heritage — the regional institution celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2013 — to determine how to strengthen its future and reinforce the belief that Emporia State provides a private college experience at a public university price.
An upcoming “President’s Report on Innovations and Aspirations for Emporia State University” will show how the institution can become what Dr. Shonrock refers to as a “Division 2-plus.”
Dr. Shonrock earned a bachelor’s degree in geography with a chemistry minor and a master’s degree in college student personnel from Western Illinois University, an education specialist degree from Pittsburg State University in Kansas and his Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Kansas.
He has worked in higher education senior administration for more than 20 years. With his wife, Karen, Dr. Shonrock has a history of community involvement, what he calls paying “civic rent,” or giving back.
In Emporia, the Shonrocks attend First United Methodist Church. Dr. Shonrock will soon serve on the board of the United Way of the Flint Hills. He attends meetings of the Regional Development Association of East-Central Kansas, the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce board and the Chamber’s Joint Economic Development Activity Committee and looks forward to joining the RDA and Chamber as a board member in the future.