New director of student engagement

Alison Overcash, Reporter

This January, Mya Lawrence became Park University’s new director of student engagement after Ben Zibers took on a new position at the Gilbert, Arizona, campus.

The director of student engagement is responsible for supervising Park University student organizations, Park Student Activities Board, multicultural student affairs and many other components of student engagement. The position had been vacant since September 2019, when Zibers became the senior director for enrollment and student services position at Park University’s Gilbert campus.

Lawrence has worked in a variety of positions in higher education for 15 years, including associate director of financial aid at William Jewell College.

“I’ve done a lot of different pieces and having that variety in my career has been beneficial to me,” said Lawrence, “I generally know all aspects of the issues that they have, so I’m able to fix things.”

Most recently, she held the position of Campus Center Director at Park University’s Lenexa campus. However, this non-traditional campus didn’t allow for much direct student interaction.

“I miss being with students all the time,” said Lawrence.

Park’s home campus allows her to get that interaction and build those trusting relationships that are necessary for students to succeed.

Lawrence emphasized how important it is for students to express their wants and needs to her.

“Things change all the time, so I want to make sure that I actually know what you all need,” said Lawrence, “You don’t want to set out programming that you think will work if it’s not something the students will engage in.”

While Lawrence’s arrival brings a new face and perspective to the Parkville campus, Park has also lost a familiar face. Zibers, who had worked at the Parkville campus since 2011, seized the opportunity to make sure the students at the brand-new Gilbert campus will be served as effectively as students have been in Parkville.

“It’s kind of a combination of things I was doing at Park University as the director of student engagement, but it also adds some of the enrollment element,” said Zibers. “It really focuses on building the next stage of Park University.”

At its campus centers and home campus, Park University’s mission remains the same: “Park University transforms lives through accessible, student-centered, quality higher education.”

Staff members work hard to bring this mission to life, according to Zibers.

“That idea of transforming lives is something that I live and breathe every day,” said Zibers, “I want to make sure that students are able to get the resources they need to be successful and happy here.”