Dr. Marysz Rames: taking up the gauntlet


Derek Pufahl, Staff Writer

The search for Wayne State College’s 13th president is over.

Dr. Marysz (pronounced Maudish) Rames was formally approved by the Nebraska State College System Board of Trustees to take the position on June 18, and in mid-July she made the move from Brookings, S.D. to Wayne America.

“The transition has gone really well,” Rames said. “Madison [S.D.] and Wayne are similar sized communities. I loved the connection between Dakota State University and Madison, and the comradery and support they had for one another. I really felt that here in Wayne as well. And I really like that, so it’s great to be here and be part of the community.”

Rames said a colleague of hers from out of the Omaha area let her know back in February that the position in Wayne would be opening, and she worked through the consulting firm, Storbeck/Pimentel, as the search for president progressed.

Rames held the position of interim president at Dakota State University in Madison during this past school year, while at the same time, continuing her job as vice president for student affairs at South Dakota State University (SDSU) in Brookings, S. D.

She has been vice president of student affairs in Brookings since 2000. Prior to that, Rames held a number of positions at SDSU: assistant professor of education, interim associate vice president of student affairs and interim director for diversity enhancement. Earlier, she worked at Aims Community College in Greeley, Colo. and the University of Wyoming in Laramie.

“I think it helps to have different kinds of higher education experiences as you move into leadership positions, because you pull from all of them,” Rames said.

Rames is excited to be a part of the Wildcat family and eager to start meeting with faculty, alumni, administrators, staff and members of the Wayne community.

Rames said she is a big soccer fan. Her children both play soccer, and she had a great opportunity to meet with WSC’s women’s soccer team.

“I told them [the WSC soccer team] that I really wanted them to have a great season,” Rames said. “And that I need them to beat Northwest Missouri, because that’s where my son goes to school, and they need to beat Winona State, which is where my daughter goes to school. They laughed.”

Her favorite sports are soccer and football. She said she knows that rugby is big deal at WSC, but unfortunately she doesn’t yet know much about the sport.

She had a tour of the fields, talked to rugby coach Darren Barner and is excited to learn more.

“The faculty senate is very pleased with the selection of Rames as president, and is looking forward to working with her,” faculty senate president Mark Leeper said, “We like what she is saying, and she seems to be a really good fit for the time.”

Rames said she is still in the process of conducting “listening sessions” with groups of 12-15 people at a time, to get to know people better.

“She’s rearticulated themes that she said at the opening meeting—themes of communication and collegiality,” Leeper said. “Which is central to what the faculty senate has been concernedabout: transparency, information understanding what policies are being considered before they’re passed, being a voice for us (faculty senate) with the system office and issues like that.”
Faculty senate has had concerns about the communication and the relationship between the NSCS and the WSC faculty members in the past, and Rames addressed this.

“Communication is really important, and I think part of my job as president is to bridge that gap on what’s happening with the system and make sure that there is a connector between what’s occurring on the system level and how that affects Wayne,” Rames said.

“I always tell folks that we don’t know what it’s like to work out of a system office,” Rames said. “We don’t fully understand what they do every day, and they’re not on a college campus, so they don’t necessarily always understand us, but we need each other to move forward.”

Specifically, Rames said she wants to send out a bulleted list of her at least every other week.

“We have so many board meetings a year, those board meetings are posted, there’s minutes come off those meetings. So I think we need to be better as a leadership team here at Wayne, letting folks know when a meeting is coming up and that the agenda is posted, then when we get back, share what happened at the board meeting and why.”

Undergraduate tuition rates were raised nine percent for this school year after the end of a three-year rate freeze, set in place through a partnership engineered by former governor Dave Heineman. Rates being hiked up even further is a concern for many.

Rames said that the affordability of Wayne State College is one of the reasons she likes being here—because there is that access for students. She said she has a lot of respect for the system and is very mindful of the fact that we need to keep ourselves as affordable as possible.

“I think the way to mitigate some of those costs is to continue to leverage as much financial aid as we can to support students who can’t still afford that,” Rames said, “and continue to work with the foundation here at Wayne that has been so generous and so supportive by working with our donors to continue to provide scholarships and support for students.”

Rames said she was very happy to see activity on campus, like students playing sand volleyball and hanging out in the Willow Bowl. To all incoming students Rames wanted to say: “Welcome to the Wildcat family!”