New UAFS Chief Touts Better Branding, ‘First Choice’ Goal and Transparency

FORT SMITH, Ark. (TB&P) — She describes her first few weeks on the job as a “time of discovery.” Part of that discovery, said University of Arkansas at Fort Smith Chancellor Dr. Terisa Riley, includes the belief that more people need to discover all the university has to offer.

University of Arkansas at Fort Smith Chancellor Dr. Terisa Riley visits with UAFS students. (photo courtesy of UAFS)

Riley, who begin the job on July 1 to lead the institution with around 5,840 students and 914 faculty, is the first female leader of the university and its preceding institutions. She has an annual salary of $290,000. Before UAFS, she was the senior vice president for student affairs and university administration at Texas A&M University at Kingsville.

An expected UAFS sales pitch is part of her recent interview with Talk Business & Politics. The university is a solid choice for students, she says, with low tuition and small class sizes. The community offers many places for internships, and the number of student groups means students have numerous leadership opportunities, she explains.

“I don’t know why anyone would go anywhere but here,” Riley said after reciting a long list of what she believes UAFS has to offer.

But she follows that assessment by noting the different needs and wants of students. Her four children reacted in various ways to university visits but said they almost always knew immediately if a school was a good fit. Andrew, 21, is a recent graduate of the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. Sarah, 21, just graduated from the University of Texas and is off to grad school at Harvard. (Yes, Andrew and Sarah are twins.) Katherine, 20, is at New York University studying film and television direction and production, and Benjamin, 19, is at the University of Missouri studying sports journalism.

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