Michael Smalley

Michael Smalley
Vice President of Student Life
Phone 620-327-8236
Office Erb Hall

Affiliated Departments or Programs


  • A.A., Hesston College
  • B.S.W., Wichita (Kan.) State University
  • M.S.W., Wichita State University

In Addition …

My background
I grew up in Cheney, Kansas, and went to Cheney High School, a classic good ole Kansas small town high school.

Why I chose Hesston
Hesston wasn't originally where I decided to go. When Hesston came up on my radar, I had already decided to go to Wichita State (WSU). Basketball was a very large part of my decision. However, I remember my campus visit still and the overwhelming feeling of comfort, of support and just knowing that this would be a place that I would “fit” well into.

My favorite Hesston College memory
My mod (dorm living groups) my sophomore year created a lot of fond memories for me. I was a resident assistant of a group of guys who really couldn't be anymore different from each other, yet we all found a way to buy into living with each other and creating memories together. Whether we decided to go play a round of golf (and we were ALL awful), play video games until unmentionable times at night, eat a tray of cheese fries at Newell’s (a frequent stop for HC students) or just hang out and talk, we continually found ways to connect. That feel for community was why I chose Hesston and it is why I keep finding myself gravitating back to work here!

After Hesston
I decided to go to WSU ultimately, but with a different major than I would have originally gone there with (pre-med to social work). There I received my bachelor’s in social work (B.S.W.) and my master’s in social work (M.S.W.). During the last semester of my M.S.W., I got married to my wife Jen (also an HC alum)! After graduating from WSU, there was a resident director (RD) position open here at Hesston. I remember the RDs being such a big part of creating the amazing community, plus I felt my education and intern opportunities had prepared me well for a position like this. I loved those three years. They were great, and I really enjoyed connecting with students on many different levels. However, sometimes life has different plans for you. My wife and I found out we were having a child at the beginning of my second year as a RD, and our son, Holden, was born in the summer. I worked one more year as an RD, but having a one-year old child in a dorm full of guys wasn’t quite the fit my family needed. For the next year I worked at a community mental health center in Andover, Kan., before the opportunity to return to Hesston as an admissions counselor opened up. I am so excited to get this new opportunity started, and I look forward to connecting with students throughout their college decision making process.

How Hesston is the same as when I attended
The sense of community that happens at Hesston is something that I’m not sure will ever change. Each year the students continue to buy into the idea of being there for each other, which is amazing to watch develop.

How Hesston is better
Hesston has a commitment to student learning and intellectual growth, along with a commitment to a supportive community. That commitment means that Hesston continues to consistently re-evaluate everything that is a part of the experience, be it in the classroom, the dorms, the gym, you name it. The world is consistently changing, and therefore, we as a college need to continue to find appropriate ways to grow what we offer, and I think the faculty and staff at Hesston have worked very hard and effectively to do this.

Avoid a life of boxes! When I was a senior in high school I knew I didn’t want a two-year college (that’s where dummies go), or a Christian college (that’s where I'll go if I want to be judged or forced to think things I don’t believe), BUT I COULDN’T HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG! In the state of Kansas specifically, it is very easy to dismiss Hesston (and other colleges for that matter) because we are not the big name, we are not the flashy choice. However, if you take away the boxes for just a split second, you may find the greatest place for you to be at this time in your life!

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