University announces leadership changes 

Several key leadership changes have been announced by Pittsburg State University this summer, including the following: 


Bicknell Family Center for the Arts 

Shawna Witherspoon (BA ‘19) has been appointed interim director of the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts. As an art student, she joined the center’s staff as gallery assistant in 2018 with a focus on curating exhibits. After earning her degree, she was named client services coordinator and facilitated special events, worked with national tours and locally produced performances, and directed student staff members. 


College of Technology 

Judy Smetana, associate professor and graduate program coordinator of Human Resources Development, has been named interim dean of the College of Technology after the retirement of Bob Frisbee in June. Smetana joined the faculty at Pitt State in 2016. Her teaching expertise has focused on leadership, career, and personal development, organizational development, and organizational culture. Prior to coming to Pitt State she was a leadership coach, taught at the University of Colorado Denver, and directed human resources at the YMCA of the Rockies. 


Facility Operations 

Tim Senecaut (BSET ‘89) has been appointed as director of Facility Operations with responsibility for custodial, general services, building trades, and all aspects of facility operations and the physical plant. He joined the Pitt State staff in 2015 after 29 years of managing military staff. He first served the university as director of Physical Plant Services & Grounds, then director of Custodial and General Services. Senecaut now will lead the team that operates and maintains all campus buildings and infrastructure. 


Honors College 

Brian Moots, an associate professor in English & Modern Languages, has been chosen as the new director of the Honors College. He joined the faculty in August 2015 and has received numerous awards and fellowships, including a Boursier d’été from the University of Geneva, the Springer Fellowship, and the Mahieu and Cornell Scholarship for archival research in London and France. Moots replaces Professor Craig Fuchs, who retired earlier this year. 



Maria Thompson, previously the executive associate for University Advancement and the assistant director for Residence Life, has been chosen as the interim director of University Housing, providing leadership to staff and operations. Thompson has served in University Housing/Residence Life positions at other universities, including Youngstown State, the University of Arkansas, Missouri State University, and Wichita State University. Her experience at Pitt State also includes serving as the assistant director for the Office of Inclusion & Belonging.  


Planning, Design, & Construction 

Tom Amershek (AAS ‘84, BST ‘85) has joined the Planning, Design and Construction team. Amershek was hired at Pitt State in 1993 and previously served as director of Building Trades/Physical Plant. In recent years, the state and donors have provided additional funding to assist in updating and maintaining the range of facilities on campus. This growth has increased demands on the team and on the firms that help the university complete these projects. Amershek will manage the increased project workload and the growing effort of managing facility usage and condition data. 


President’s Office 

Tatum Ahring (BS ‘23) has been appointed assistant director of University Affairs in the President’s Office. As a student, she was named and Outstanding Senior finalist and worked as a President’s Fellow, was an Advancement Ambassador, and served on the committee for Students for Violence Prevention. She also worked in the Office of Career Development and was vice president of Lambda Pi Eta Nu. 


School of Construction 

Don Colegrove will assume the role of director of the School of Construction in August, replacing longtime director Professor Jim Otter, who will continue to teach. Colegrove is an assistant professor at the University of Louisiana, Monroe, where he has taught in the School of Construction Management and the College of Business and Social Sciences since 2017. He has construction industry experience, having been the owner and licensed contractor of a design and building company for many years, and has been active in numerous industry organizations including the American Council for Construction Education Associated General Contractors of America, the National Association of Home Builders, and the Construction Management Student Association. 


University Advancement 

Becky McDaniel (MA ‘98) was appointed associate vice president for University Advancement. She previously served as the executive director of University Development for six years. Prior to that, she worked at the university as director of Donor Relations and as assistant director of Public Relations. Her career also includes having worked as marketing director for the Joplin Family YMCA and as an account executive for Fox 14 News. 


Other changes 

The university also recently announced Danielle Driskill as the new director of Alumni & Constituent Relations, and Jon Bartlow as the new interim associate vice president and dean of students.