Topeka, Kan. – Washburn has named Scott Smathers as the next dean of Washburn Institute of Technology (Washburn Tech). Smathers currently serves as Vice President of Workforce Development for the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) and provides executive leadership for the Kansas Postsecondary Technical Education Authority. He will begin his new role Dec. 1. 

    “Scott is a strong leader whose knowledge of technical education and approach to innovative collaboration make him the perfect fit for Washburn Tech,” said Dr. JuliAnn Mazachek, president, Washburn University. “He brings vast experience in both the academic and economic development fields, plus he has created valuable connections and relationships in our community. This is a win for Washburn, Topeka and Shawnee County.”

    In his current role at KBOR, Smathers is the state leader for issues involving postsecondary education and training systems in developing an educated workforce and meeting the needs of the Kansas economy. His responsibilities include creating a policy agenda for postsecondary technical education, curriculum and program evaluation as well as system funding.

    “I am honored to serve as the new dean of Washburn Tech,” Smathers said. “Technical education opens the doors of opportunity and transforms lives. I look forward to working with the talented team at Washburn Tech and Washburn University as well as our educational and business partners to meet the needs of students and the workforce in our local community and surrounding region.”

    Smathers earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Texas A&M University and a master’s of business administration from Oklahoma City University. Prior to his work at KBOR, Smathers worked as an economic developer and as a retail consultant, helping companies with their location and operational decisions around the world.

    Washburn Tech, which offers career programs to both high school and postsecondary students, is recognized nationally for its excellence and innovation in technical education. It offers pathways that lead to advanced degrees at Washburn University. Washburn Tech also provides adult education, continuing education courses as well as custom training and apprenticeships for local business and industry workers.

    “Technical education is crucial to the health of our county, region and state. Scott’s vision, passion and leadership skills will assist Washburn Tech in continuing to provide the highly skilled workforce our economy requires to thrive,” said Mazachek.

    A public reception for Smathers is planned for December.


For further information, contact:
Lori Hutchinson
Exec. Dir. of Strategic Communications & Marketing
Office: 785-670-1711
Cell: 785-224-6212
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