Meet Teresa Haney, the new Director of Admissions
Tell us about yourself. Where are you from, family, education, and what was your career path to being the Director of Admissions at Missouri State. I grew up the youngest of 5 kids in Perryville, a small town on the east side of the state. My dad is a Navy vet and neither of my parents were able to finish college, so it was very important their kids had that opportunity. I fell in love with the college experience the day I moved on campus as a freshman, so having a career in higher education is a natural fit. I spent over 8 years as an admission counselor and assistant director of recruitment and spent a few years recruiting for a financial services firm in the private sector as well. My family moved to Springfield four years ago for my husband to take a new position with his bank. We had our third child last year and now is the perfect time for me to come back to higher education. I love the energy, care of people and diversity on a college campus. I’m thrilled to be bringing my experience to an already strong admissions team. I’m excited to be a Bear!
What issues do you think the incoming class of high school seniors will be facing at they transition into college? These are challenging times for everyone and especially our incoming freshman class. They will have the normal challenges of transitioning to college; living away from their family, making new friends, adjusting to college courses, etc. In addition, many will have health and safety concerns and likely some feelings of uncertainty. We’ve learned this spring how quickly things can change! I’ve watched Missouri State guide students through the pandemic over the last eight weeks and I know we will all do our best to help students through this time. We want to make sure all students are safe and in good physical and mental health and will provide as many resources as we can to help them have a good transition.
What are your goals for the office of admissions? How has the age of technology changed the work that Admissions does? Is the personal touch still as important as it was say 10 years ago? My goal is to have a team that is successful in helping Missouri State grow and meet it’s enrollment goals. More than that, I want a team that works hard, works together, helps each other, takes ownership and has fun along the way. Admissions is an interesting department – we have a very important role for the university and for families as we guide them through a very important decision and what we get do on a day to day basis is FUN. We are helping students create a path for their future and we do it by getting to tell the Missouri State story everyday.
Technology has definitely changed the way everyone does their work, admissions included. It’s allowed us to reach students all over the country and world using less resources than in the past. It’s also created efficiencies in a variety of operations and recruitment processes. The personal touch is still very important as we help students make such a big decision. It’s important to find ways to use technology to enhance, not replace, the personal touch. For instance, the information we have available about students now (because of technology) allows us to have more meaningful interactions when it’s time to reach out. We likely already know their intended major, if they’ve been on campus, their test scores and more so when we make that phone call, send a text or email we are able to have a conversation very personalized to their interests and needs. Students today are digital natives and how they like to be communicated with is different than when I was going through the college selection process. For them a text or email can actually be personal if the information is personalized and relevant to their situation.
Share a fun fact. It can be about you, your family, your work, anything you want. I am one of five children and there are 14 grand kids. The 26 of us (my parents, siblings, spouses and kids!) still take a weekly vacation together every year. Some places we’ve all been together include Charleston, Colorado, Myrtle Beach, Branson, Destin, Wisconsin, Isle of Palms, Hot Springs, Nashville and Lake of the Ozarks. We’re all crossing our fingers we still get to go to Gulf Shores together in July!
What advice do you have for family members as they send their student off to college? My parents blessed me by giving me deep roots and big wings. Remind them you are there no matter what and there is no problem or situation they can’t tell you. At the same time, give them the independence to explore new ideas, try out different clubs or activities and truly make a home away from home. I promise the first semester will fly by and they’ll be home for the holidays before you know it!