Last week our Board of Governors met on the West Plains campus.
Approval of the FY 2018 budget
The board approved our fiscal year 2018 operating budget. The budget includes $8 million less in state appropriations than last year’s budget. To balance the budget, it also includes the cuts that we discussed throughout the spring and additional revenue generated through enrollment growth and an inflationary tuition and fee increase.
The budget does not include an across the board pay raise or funding for discretionary raises based on merit. While it was necessary to forego raises this year due to the state funding reduction, the board indicated that this was not a sustainable strategy long term. The university must find ways to increase compensation to avoid losing its most talented employees.
Making MSU an even better place to work
While the budget does not include an across the board raise or a pool for merit raises, it does include several items that affect compensation:
- A $2 million increase in the university’s contribution under the MOSERS pension system
- $190,000 for faculty promotions on the Springfield campus and $34,000 on the West Plains campus
- $34,000 for the full professor salary incentive program
- $270,000 for salary and fringe increases provided to more than 60 employees under the university’s FLSA compliance plan
- $46,000 for salary and fringe increases provided to 89 staff members due to inflationary adjustments to the job classification system
The board also approved changes to the faculty and staff handbooks. The faculty handbook now provides for sick leave accrual by faculty and clarifies the situations in which faculty are eligible for paid FMLA leave.
The staff handbook now gives the university additional flexibility to move an employee into an open position when the employee’s current position is eliminated. It also updated telecommuting and compensation provisions to make them consistent with current practices. The staff handbook also modified appeal and grievance provisions to streamline these processes.
Identifying needs in health, technology fields
The board approved the Master of Athletic Training program. The university will now begin to transition its Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training program to a professional level Master of Athletic Training program. In addition to meeting accreditation requirements, this new graduate program will align with the university’s mission and strategic initiatives and meet a critical workforce need throughout the state of Missouri.
The board also discussed the Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Technology (GOCAT) on the West Plains campus and approved a memorandum of understanding with the city of West Plains and the West Plains R-7 School District to establish the GOCAT. This GOCAT is the result of a joint effort by stakeholders in West Plains to bring advanced technical training and degree and certificate programs to area residents through a combination of seated, blended, online and laboratory courses. I encourage you to visit the GOCAT webpage to learn more.
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