Western’s Institute Dean and Executive Director, Dr. Gordon Mapley, has given Western time to prepare for its next transition in leadership as he plans to fully retire as Dean and Executive Director at the end of this calendar year, Dec. 31.
Dean Mapley has been a student, a faculty member and an administrator for over 23 years before coming to Western and has spent over 10 years here at Western as he has helped develop the growth in online courses and put his passion in helping adults get degrees.
“Military friendly, completion degrees and online courses are all things that I wanted to move Missouri Western forward on to help the community and in terms of helping individuals be able to get degrees to get better jobs, support their families and support their communities. That’s kind of my priority,” said Mapley.
Interim Assistant Dean, Dr. Melody Smith, has known and worked with Mapley since 2008 when he joined the Board of the Innovation Stockyard here in St. Joseph.
“The heartfelt energy and planning that he goes into to make a student’s experience productive for the next step in their life, Dr. Mapley operates from a frame of what will happen to students once they get that degree knowing that all of us who have degrees realize that having a degree opens doors that can not be opened without them. He not only speaks that, but he lives that and also tailors programs to make sure that those doors will open for students,” said Smith.
Mapley has instilled a spirit of innovation and motivation in thousands of students, especially in supporting veterans, active-duty military and their spouses and dependents to be eligible for in-state tuition at Missouri Western, regardless of their residency. His vision and leadership have helped grow Western and create new opportunities for students. Students recognize his hard work, and sophomore Mary Mccann shares why Dean Mapley has become an inspiration at Western.
“I think what he has done is truly amazing as he has given so many students opportunities to get the education they’re striving for. Whether they’re in the army or have a tight schedule, he makes a way for everyone, and I think that’s something that should be praised,” said Mccann.
Mapley was also the Western’s Playhouse Executive Producer, and he has helped produce nine shows with the success of five seasons. Founded in 2012, Western Playhouse was set to complement the St. Joseph arts scene with professional-quality summer productions. It provided many Missouri Western students with their first professional theatre opportunities.
“He’s going to leave a huge gap in terms of his energy. He’s a man of mission and sets his sights on something and anyone you speak to about Dr.Mapley is going to say he has the tenacity of a cat, he will not let go of it,” said Smith. “He just pushes through to do what’s right for students.”
Additionally, Mapley helped received a million dollar grant to help fund the Biobus, a mobile biotechnology lab. The lab visits schools in Buchanan, Andrew, Platte, Clay, Jackson, DeKalb and Clinton counties. It also visits state and county fairs, and national, state and regional science events.
“I really enjoyed working with my colleagues in the Western Institute and Instructional Media Center. It’s a phenomenal team and work together really well. I think the team has done a really great job of helping our students and community in helping the university to be a better university that serves those that are called to serve,” said Mapley.