Kansas Wesleyan University has announced a pair of student support hires, with the goal of effectively meeting the academic and personal needs of all students, particularly those from historically underrepresented groups.
The Rev. Dr. Allen Smith becomes KWU’s first director of diversity and student support. Smith, who had previously served as a student support advisor at the school, is also the pastor of St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church in Salina. His leadership resume includes co-chairing the Governor’s Task Force on Racial Profiling in Kansas; receiving the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award for the state of Kansas; serving as the national coordinator against human trafficking for the National Baptist Convention USA; and acting as the executive director for Camp Ascension of the Missionary Baptist State Convention. At KWU, Dr. Smith will lead and support a number of initiatives intended to enhance equality, in addition to teaching and providing student support.
Brandon Cheeks ’05 joins KWU as a student support advisor. Cheeks has most recently served as a public school administrator in Newton, as well as leading as a youth and young adult pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Wichita. Prior to this, he taught at Lakewood Middle School in Salina, where he earned accolades for his teaching excellence. Cheeks serves on numerous boards, including that of the Greater Salina Community Foundation.
“We are thrilled to welcome these two individuals to our student support program,” said Dr. Damon Kraft, KWU Provost. “Fulfilling the academic and personal needs of students of all backgrounds, including Black students, is a critical part of the higher education experience. These two individuals are well-connected in the community and region, have varied backgrounds that encompass a wide range of diverse experiences and will help enhance the educational experience for all KWU students.”