Missouri Western State University has a new vice provost on campus, and her name is Dr. Elise Hepworth.
Hepworth is a graduate of Northwest Missouri State University (B.S.Ed.), The University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music (M.M.E.), The University of Mississippi (D.A.), and the New Zealand School of Music (G.Dip.). Additionally, she is nationally certified in the pedagogies of Orff Schulwerk and Zoltan Kodaly.
Hepworth is excited to transition into this new position.
“This is something I know I can make a change at,” Hepworth said. “Be a voice for the students and the faculty at Missouri Western.”
With her multitude of years at the college and being a resident of Saint Joseph, Hepworth wants to be a voice for the students. Hepworth was recently awarded the Foundation for Teaching Excellence by Missouri Western State University, the Mayor’s Award for Arts Educator of the Year and the Shine On Award for the community of Saint Joseph, and the MCDA Northwest District Outstanding Director for the year 2016.
This wasn’t an easy decision for her though, as she knew that her class-load would have to go away because of her duties as vice provost.
“I got to talk to my husband, and my family, and they really helped me through this decision,” Hepworth said. “In the end, this is something that I’ve wanted to do, and with all the support I’ve gotten after the fact shows that I made the right decision.
She also is bringing fresh ideas to the position, with a multitude of projects she has planned.
This is no surprise as her work taking her choir to multiple countries has been a high point of the choral program over the last couple of years.
“This is a big step for me personally,” Hepworth said. “But this is also something that I've wanted to do professionally. I am and was very proud of my work with the choir and all the lovely people I met there, and their support means the world to me.”
One thing that Hepworth asked for, when accepting the position, was that she didn’t want to lose all of her classes.
“I knew my workload would shift more towards this new job,” Hepworth said. “But I told them that I wanted to at least keep my concert chorale. The chamber singers need someone who can focus on them more than I can, but I didn’t want to lose both choirs.”
With her getting used to the new position, Hepworth had a message for all Missouri Western students.
“I will fight for you and the things that you care about,” Hepworth said. “Whether that be policies, places we can make better, anything. I am listening.”