Being from Central Mass, I have watched Worcester State University (WSU) evolve, and most impressively, in the last 6 or so years. Unsurprisingly, that coincides with Barry Maloney’s Presidency. Graduation rate, full-time faculty ratio and student engagement are just the beginning of WSU’s improvements. I was happy to sit with Barry and communications specialist Renae Lias Claffey, to learn more about his leadership style and what drives his vision for one of our region’s best state schools.
The first thing that jumps out about President Maloney is his balanced approach to leadership. His practical side is focused on ensuring that students are leaving in the “straightest line possible” by constantly evaluating both their academic and financial journey. The visionary aspect of his leadership is more of an aspirational element, driven to help students connect with the greater world. “Many WSU students have never been outside of Worcester,” Barry explained, so the University is finding ways for students to experience the shrinking globe through study abroad programs and activities that take them around the United States. Barry’s vision is to create solid citizens who are connected to have an awareness of the greater world.
This leads directly into Barry’s number one motivation and the driving factor of WSU across the board: student experience. Whether staff or faculty, at every level, the people of WSU are unified around their commitment to serve the students and give them the best possible experience. While tough decisions and different views on execution may arise from time to time, student experience is always the ultimate goal.
An important approach to working through tough decisions is through campus governance. “I think chances of success are far greater if you give the campus community a chance to weigh in” Barry believes, “then [if] you also give them a role in how that project is going to be sustainable, you're able to get not only a sustainable outcome, but a higher-quality outcome.” In addition, to help open the lines of communications, WSU is about to launch open-campus meetings where Barry will update anyone who is interested on the recent happenings, especially celebrating successes concerning the campus.
As we ended our conversation, I asked Barry which brand most resonates with him. He didn’t have one particular brand, but mentioned admiring early counter-culture brands such as Apple and Sam Adams who broke through the norms of their industries and continued to adapt over time. So, it makes perfect sense that someone who is driven to offer a particular experience and willing to adapt to today’s world couldn’t pick just one brand. Barry Maloney, truly is his own brand.
Read the full interview here.