Former 25th District State Rep. Vicky Riback Wilson launched a new phase of her career on Monday.
Wilson’s new job as a “specialist” at MU gives her part-time duties in both the Service Learning and Provost’s offices that will pay her $50,000 a year.
Details of her new responsibilities were hard to come by.
“There are a lot of aspects to the job,” said the four-term state representative from Columbia whose legislative career was ended by term limits. “It’s kind of hard to encapsulate it. … My first goal is going to be getting settled in. I think there is a lot more to do than one can possibly achieve.”
According to its Web site, the Office of Service Learning establishes partnerships between community agencies and MU, helping to place students in community service organizations for academic credit.
Lori Franz, interim provost, said Wilson’s new job was “a position we have had a need for someone to fill for a long time.”
Anne-Marie Foley, director of the Office of Service Learning, which reports to the Provost’s office, said Wilson’s responsibilities had not yet been fleshed out.
“Over the next few weeks I think we are going to discover the different resources she brings to the office and the different resources we can bring to her and support her in her interests,” Foley said. “I’m excited about sitting down with a person of her stature and her qualifications and talking about ideas and ways we want to develop the position.”
Foley said she and Wilson approached each other last April at the state Capitol about collaborating after Wilson taught a class as a volunteer for the Service Learning Program.
“It just came to be a wonderful sort of match made in heaven between her interests and the different needs and initiatives we have here on campus for promoting service learning and leadership programming,” Foley said.
She said the new position wasn’t created for Wilson. Rather, she was simply the most qualified to fill a need at the office.
Foley added: “I feel very lucky that I was able to work with the university to provide a position for her.” Foley and Wilson worked together during Wilson’s tenure as a legislator when MU placed student interns in Wilson’s office through the Service Learning program. But Wilson’s experience with the program predates her legislative years; she gained some experience with it when she worked for MU and oversaw two national grants. Wilson “worked for more than 10 years at the University of Missouri as an administrator and a leadership educator for youth and adults throughout the state,” according to her legislative biography.
Foley said she included a proposal for funding for the position in her office when she submitted a budget in May. In June she was told the funds would be available. She offered Wilson the job in August.
Foley said the position wasn’t advertised because it’s part time. Three to four graduate students were also considered, but no formal interviews were conducted, she said.
Neither Foley nor Wilson would disclose Wilson’s salary, though the salaries of MU employees are a matter of public record.
Christian Basi of the MU News Bureau said that Wilson’s job, which he said bears the title of Specialist for the Honors College, carries a salary of $50,000.
Wilson said she hopes to “make students’ academic learning more meaningful by linking it to the outside world and developing both citizenship and leadership opportunities for students.”
She also said that her priorities include making sure the university is helping students develop their leadership abilities, become better citizens and become more competitive for post-graduate opportunities such as grants, fellowships and employment.
More than 2,000 students participate in the Service Learning Program.
Wilson was elected to her first term in the Missouri House of Representatives in 1996. She served on various commissions, including the Children’s Services Commission; the Child Abuse, Custody and Neglect Commission; the Children’s Trust Fund; and the Board of Trustees of the Missouri Investment Trust.
Wilson also has received numerous awards from groups such as the Missouri Bar Association, the National Alliance for Mental Illness, the MU Alumni Association, the Missouri Women’s Council and the American Cancer Society.
Wilson worked for MU for more than 10 years before being elected to the House of Representatives.