PULLMAN – Since his arrival in November 1993, Milton Lang has held various positions at WSU. What hasn’t changed in those 18 years is his passion to help students.
As senior associate vice president of student affairs and enrollment, he reaches out to first generation and low income students and works to improve student retention.
Milton Lang also is a faculty member in the College of Education. Working there gives him the chance to teach students about the importance of leadership, he said.
His wife, Janel Lang, is director of the Carson Center for professional development in WSU’s College of Business.
Lang earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from California State University Chico, a master’s in education and a doctorate in higher education administration from WSU.
“My job is to enhance the student experience and work for the students. I’m also responsible for creating relevant programs to empower students to go on and be leaders at WSU and after college,” Lang said.
Recruitment and retention
His office sends out recruiters and outreach counselors to high schools around the state to bring in students from diverse backgrounds.
“Recruiting a diverse student body is one of our top priorities at WSU,” Lang said. “We have a very talented staff at WSU who work really hard at recruiting and retaining our students.”
The retention rate for Pullman first-time, full-time freshmen is 82 percent – 81 percent for students of color. The graduation rate for a freshman cohort is 69 percent – 63 percent for students of color. Female students have had a higher graduation rate than males for 16 years – 1989-2005.
Lang said his work philosophy is to always be improving and to stay relevant.
Even in this down economy, WSU’s enrollment and retention have risen, he said. The number of full-time, first-time freshmen in 2007 was 3,184 and in 2008 it rose to 3,391. Enrollment in the 2008-09 school year was 17,583 (Pullman) and 24,396 (all university). It increased to 18,234 (Pullman) and 26,101 (all university) for 2009-10.
“I’m not surprised,” Lang said. “When the economy goes south people go back to school or work harder to stay in school with the decrease in employment opportunities.
A rewarding job
“It is the best feeling in the world to help a student graduate and hear back from them years later thanking you and telling you how they are helping out the world,” Lang said.
“This is exactly where I want to be in life and I have loved every second of my time at WSU.”