As you know, classes started yesterday. I am happy to report that our opening day enrollment shows an increase of 773 students over last year’s opening day enrollment number. This represents an increase of 3.8 percent.
What enrollment growth means to you
Enrollment growth indicates the health of our university. More students want to attend Missouri State because of the hard work that each of you do to make the university better. This growth also helps pay for compensation increases and the hiring of new faculty and staff.
The official census count is made after the fourth week of class, and I will update you again on the status of our enrollment at that time.
Making space for our students
The executive committee of the Board of Governors met last week. I wanted to report on two highlights from the meeting.
First, the board approved a management agreement with the owner of the Shoe Factory Lofts in West Plains. Under this agreement, Missouri State will manage the Shoe Factory Lofts for an 18-month trial period. This arrangement will provide the university with the capacity to grow its West Plains campus, apply university policies to the Shoe Factory Lofts and its residents and streamline students’ use of financial aid to pay for housing in West Plains.
Second, the board approved a construction contract to relocate the Veterans Student Center to Meyer Library. This will provide additional space for the Veterans lounge and will place the lounge near the Veterans Student Services office. It will also free up space in Carrington Hall to accommodate the Title IX office.
Understanding the Employee Handbook changes
Finally, I wanted to update you on the board’s actions last month on paid leave options for employees. On the administration’s recommendation, the board approved modifications to the Employee Handbook that:
- Provide sick leave for 9-month faculty (sections 7.2 – 7.5)
- Establish policies for long-term paid sick leave for faculty and clarify the situations in which such leave is available and the protocol for requesting it (section 7.20)
- Expand the Staff Shared Leave Pool (section 7.19) to
- allow employees to utilize the pool for additional qualifying events such as certain family care situations (e.g., maternity, paternity, elder care, etc.) and bone marrow or organ donation
- reduce the amount of earned vacation time that must be donated to participate
- increase the number of leave hours that may be granted from 320 to 480
These actions expand paid leave options for both faculty and staff. I am pleased at our board’s commitment to continue to make Missouri State University a desirable place to work.
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