Alumni Profile: Wilma Moore-Black

Alumni Profile: Wilma Moore-Black

Kansas Newman College (1973-1998)

Wilma Moore-Black

Wilma Black has been more than busy since graduating from Newman. Most people have heard the phrase that says we should all strive to be “lifelong learners.” Wilma's life demonstrates that she has truly taken this phrase to heart. Her passion for learning and teaching her children how to continually grow has guided her throughout her career and life thus far.

She was a first-generation student, and attended Kansas State University after graduating from high school. She has always had a passion for writing, and her childhood was to get a job at the Washington Post. In line with this aspiration, she earned a degree in journalism, and eventually did get an interview with the Post. While Wilma did not ever work for the Post, other doors were opened, and her passions led her back to Kansas, where she subsequently heard about Newman University through a radio contest-advertisement.

Wilma jumped at the opportunity to get a teaching degree through Newman’s degree-completion program, during which she was working full-time. Her love of learning, coupled with her love of writing, seemed to be a great fit at Newman, where she remembers spending many nights studying in the library. While the course-work was demanding, she recalls that the “small class sizes” along with the “bright, trustworthy teachers” aided in her development throughout the program.

Wilma notes that you must be able to meet deadlines and manage your time well if you are to enter into the degree completion program. And while it was very demanding, she recalls that she has always loved being busy, and her dedication helped to spur on her work.

Upon graduation from Newman, Wilma found herself back at Kansas State University for post-graduate study, before becoming an instructor at the Wichita Area Technical College in 1996.

In 2001, Wima started her own independent writing company, WMB’s Creative Productions, where she is currently an independent writer, and helps with editing, resume work, and publishing. Wilma does love to travel, and therefore does a lot of travel pieces. Her writing has won state awards for the past two years, in addition to several other consumer awards.

Wilma currently serves on the Kansas Professional Communicators, the National Federation of Press Women, the Real Men, Real Heroes board, and was the 2009 President of the Wichita Professional Communicators.

Most of her time is presently spent at Wichita State University, where she is the Assistant Director and the Curriculum Coordinator for the TRIO Communication Upward Bound program. Wichita State’s program is the sole communication branch of the Upward Bound network, and looks to serve Wichita-area youth by providing a program by which they can develop their communication skills, while also learning valuable life-lessons.

“With Upward Bound, we are federally funded, and we offer them after-school tutoring during the week … anything to help them value study skills, time management and other avenues to improve their grades. We’re that extra link in addition to public schools.”

Once a month, Wilma puts on a “Saturday Enrichment Workshop” which consists of speakers that talk about everything from how to dress for success to the importance of using social media effectively.

Furthermore, the students are offered a four-week residential program in the summer months. This capstone program takes place at WSU, where Wilma is in charge of hiring teachers, and planning curriculums – which include everything from class-work to cultural studies and trips to the museums.

“We try to give them as much first-hand exposure to what it’s really like to be a college student, and the knowledge that it is a reachable goal if they start now.”

Wilma gladly takes the role of a second mom to the kids, because of the amount of time and energy that is spent with them during the program. Individualized treatment is key to the development of the kids. She makes contact and serves the students every day, going into the schools to follow up with their studies. Furthermore, she has a lot of phone work, meeting with parents, and getting back to the basics of the foundations of education and work ethics.

The opportunity to give back is what really got her interested in TRIO.

“I don’t see this job as short term reward. It’s about two or three years later, when a student comes back … they can come back and they’ve made some better choices in life – decisions – and they in turn will share that and encourage someone else to improve their quality of life. And that all starts with an education.”

In addition to patience, Wilma brings a continuous, positive attitude, human concern, a drive for motivation, experience, and the ability to keep everything in perspective to the program. She believes all are crucial for success.

She uses what she learned at Newman daily in knowing how to relate with the students. She also recalls the ethics and education classes as helpful in knowing how to interact with them by knowing when to confront a student and when to stay quiet, when to push them and when to give them more space.

“It’s worth it because you know there’s going to be a long term benefit. To teach is to touch a life forever … You gotta connect and get to where they are.”

Her favorite thing is working with kids in the tutor center. She likes the individualized treatment, and jumps at any opportunity to help a student that needs it. For example, Wilma played the flute for nine years, and when she had a student that was struggling with flute, she spent extra time working with her, encouraging her, and instilled work ethic, parental support and goal setting in that time.

She would say to kids, her most important piece of advice, “It is so important for everyone to have a dream, and to reach that dream you’ve got to set goals, believe in yourself and be brave enough to follow through, and find happiness in life … The dream is what you owe yourself.”   Written by Ellen Traylor, Newman student and recipient of a scholarship awarded by the Wichita Professional Communicators to a student in the field.