Missouri State University
Presidential Updates

Clif’s Notes for Feb. 21, 2017

Clif's Notes

Last week the Board of Governors’ Executive Committee had its regularly scheduled meeting. I wanted to update you on several actions the board took which make sense in a reduced-budget environment and which we believe will help grow revenue.

Encouraging growthUniversity seal at sunrise in front of Carrington Hall

First, the board approved a new master of science in computer science program. This is an important program for the university as it will fill a need in our state by producing more computer science graduates, and it will produce more revenue than it will cost to operate by year two since many of the students will be international.

Second, the board awarded a contract for the renovation of Hass-Darr Hall on the West Plains campus. This project will drive enrollment on the West Plains campus, and is being funded through a combination of state bond proceeds, private contributions and university reserves. No ongoing money is necessary for this project to be completed; thus the West Plains budget is not impacted by this project.

Finally, the board instructed us to move forward with plans to construct a new residence hall. For the first time in our history, we are exploring a public-private partnership in order to reduce the construction cost. Through this arrangement, the new residence hall will have positive cash flow. Our current residence halls have reached their capacity, and this new residence hall will allow Missouri State to continue to grow its incoming freshman classes for years to come.

One of our guiding principles for managing the university’s budget in the coming year is that the university must continue to invest in programs, facilities and technology that will grow enrollment and increase revenue while continuing to align with accreditation requirements. I am pleased to report that our board took significant action last week to do just that by making investments to grow enrollment and revenue.

Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!

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Clif’s Notes for Feb. 14, 2017

Clif's Notes

We started the academic year with our first annual Action Plan under the 2016-2021 Long-Range Plan. We identified two focus areas—increasing the number of graduates while maintaining academic rigor and quality and enhancing campus diversity and inclusion. We also established measurable goals to hold the university accountable.

Staying focused despite challenges

As we work on the budget for next year, it is important that we remain committed to our focus areas. This is consistent with the guiding principles I highlighted in last week’s note. One of those principles says:

  • Protecting the core mission of the university—academic achievement, scholarship and student success—is paramount. Budgetary decisions should be consistent with the mission and strategic plan of the university, with a primary focus on preserving strong academic programs, increasing the number of graduates at all levels, and enhancing diversity and inclusion.

Our work to increase the number of graduates while maintaining academic rigor and quality and enhancing campus diversity and inclusion must continue despite funding challenges.

Leaders identified to advance effortsCarrington Hall

In addition to college and department level groups that are working on retention and graduation initiatives, several university-wide groups are working to ensure that we continue to move forward on our focus areas. Frank Einhellig and I have assigned administrators to lead particular efforts:

  • Wes Pratt is leading our efforts with regard to improving the transition for underrepresented, first-generation and Pell-eligible incoming and new students.
  • Rachelle Darabi is leading our efforts with regard to enhanced advising for such students.
  • Steve Foucart is leading our efforts with regard to financial incentives designed to encourage retention.
  • Kelly Wood is leading our efforts with regard to first-year experiences.
  • Dee Siscoe is leading our efforts with regard to living-learning communities.
  • Kathy Davis is leading our efforts with regard to retaining and guiding students who have not declared a major.
  • John Catau is leading our efforts with regard to structured schedules.

I met with each of these administrators last week to encourage them to press on with their work. Earlier this week I met with our senior administrative and academic leadership teams to track our progress on the items set forth in the Action Plan.

I want to thank all of our faculty and staff for their work on the focus areas. Together we will continue to move the university forward.

Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!

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How students can get a Clif Smart bobblehead

Missouri State and Ozarks Coca-Cola are giving away Clif Smart bobbleheads to MSU students at Bears and Lady Bears basketball games Feb. 12 at JQH Arena. The men’s game against Northern Iowa starts at 3 p.m. and the Lady Bears tip off against Evansville at 7:05 p.m. Doors open one hour before tipoff for each game.

The detailsClif Smart bobblehead

  • Bobbleheads will be given away at both the Bears and Lady Bears games.
  • Students who present their BearPass cards will receive one coupon redeemable for one bobblehead.
  • Coupons will be handed out on a first-come, first-serve basis (while supplies last) at the east student entrance at JQH Arena.
  • Students will redeem their coupons at the student section (west) concourse at the end of each game.
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