Missouri State University
Presidential Updates

Clif’s Notes Vol. 4, No. 3

Clif's Notes

In this issue of Clif’s Notes, I summarize the legislature’s actions during veto session, recognize this year’s recipients of the Professor Salary Incentive Program, provide information about the newly created Center for Community Engagement, discuss the Bill R. Foster and Family Recreation Center’s award of LEED silver certification, provide information about Family Weekend activities and encourage the University community to attend the Bears’ first home football game and pre-game tailgate.

Missouri CapitolVeto session

As you know, Governor Nixon restricted a number of appropriations pending the fate of his vetoes of ten sales tax exemption bills and general revenue collections. Three of the restricted appropriations, totaling approximately $7.8 million ($5.5 million in operating funds and $2.3 million in capital), directly benefited Missouri State.

The legislature finished its veto session early yesterday morning. Two of the ten sales tax exemption bills became law as a result of legislative overrides, but these two bills are anticipated to have only a modest fiscal impact. Additionally, the legislature overrode Governor Nixon’s line item veto of the Missouri Scholars and Fine Arts Academies, restoring funding used by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to support the Missouri Fine Arts Academy at Missouri State.

Yesterday afternoon, Governor Nixon announced that he will immediately release the higher education performance funding appropriation.  Missouri State’s portion of that appropriation totals approximately $4.2 million (less the ordinary 3% holdback).  Whether Missouri State will receive the other restricted appropriations will depend on general revenue collections in the coming months.

This is very good news for Missouri State and vindicates our decision to move forward with the budget approved by the Board of Governors, which I summarized in a prior issue of Clif’s Notes.

Our team interacted extensively with Governor Nixon’s office and the legislature on the sales tax exemption bills and the restricted appropriations. We will continue to engage with our elected officials on the remaining restricted appropriations and remain hopeful that we will ultimately receive some or all of those appropriations before the end of the fiscal year.

Chris Barnhart with studenrProfessor Salary Incentive Program

Last year the University established the Professor Salary Incentive Program (PSIP) to recognize continued excellence by Missouri State’s professors.

A committee of faculty and administrators developed guidelines for the program and selection criteria. Committees evaluated applicants throughout the spring semester.

In May, the following faculty were named as 2014 PSIP recipients:

Congratulations to the 2014 PSIP recipients. Applications for the 2014–15 cycle are due Dec. 12, 2014. Materials to assist faculty members as they prepare their applications will be posted during the fall semester. Please feel free to contact Dr. Chris Craig or Dr. Julie Masterson in the provost’s office should you have questions about PSIP.

StudentsCenter for Community Engagement

The Board recently created the Center for Community Engagement (CCE). The CCE’s mission is to advance Missouri State’s public affairs mission by increasing the University’s involvement in local, regional and statewide efforts at community engagement. The CCE will work to increase the visibility and effectiveness of the University’s community engagement efforts by these tactics:

  • Community-based research and grant writing
  • Coordinating and facilitating University participation in community development initiatives by providing student volunteers and service-learning students with opportunities to strengthen their civic skills
  • Streamlining community engagement activities by working with the leadership of existing campus organizations
  • Tracking and maximizing the university’s civic footprint by collecting and analyzing data, providing an annual report, and making yearly recommendations on strategic priorities based on report findings
  • Establishing connections and securing partnerships with local, regional, state and national community engagement organizations

The CCE will be located in PSU 131.

Rec CenterGreen building leadership certification

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) has awarded the Bill R. Foster and Family Recreation Center a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification. LEED is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. Achieving this certification was a big undertaking, and I want to thank our office of planning, design and construction for leading this effort.

Football BearsFamily Weekend and first home football game

Family Weekend is this Friday through Sunday, and we expect hundreds of Bears on campus. Weekend highlights include a Student Showcase and BBQ at 7 p.m. on Friday on the North Mall, a Family Weekend Welcome Breakfast Buffet at 9 a.m. on Saturday in Plaster Student Union and a Legacy Family Ice Cream Social at 1 p.m. on Saturday in the Duane G. Meyer Library. A number of University offices and student organizations will sponsor activities throughout the weekend. See the complete list of Family Weekend activities.

Our first home football game is at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13. I encourage the entire Missouri State community to come out and support the Bears as we play the University of North Dakota in the newly renovated Plaster Stadium. Students get into the game free by showing their BearPass card at the gate. Students may also purchase $5 bleacher tickets for their families and friends in person or on the phone by asking for the Family Day discount. Faculty and staff may purchase an unlimited number of tickets at half price ($10 for chairback, $8 for bleacherback and $5 for bleacher) by showing their BearPass card when they purchase tickets at any box office.

I also encourage all of you to join me in tailgating before the game in the new Hiland Dairy BearFest Village. We have changed the gameday experience this year by relocating BearFest Village. The new Bearfest Village will be located just north of Plaster Stadium (between the stadium and McDonald arena), and it will include games, music, spirit squads and more.


I look forward to continuing to work with you to accomplish great things at Missouri State this semester. Thanks for all you do for our University.

Telling the Missouri State story

Umarov, Smart and LongEarly this semester, Missouri State welcomed His Excellency Kairat Umarov, the ambassador of Kazakhstan to campus. Congressman Billy Long was instrumental in arranging the visit. Our political science department also deserves recognition for helping host the event.

Ambassador Umarov was visiting southwest Missouri to learn about our region and meet with Springfield businesses to explore opportunities for collaboration in the areas of manufacturing, agriculture, education and new technologies.

It was also a terrific opportunity for the Missouri State campus to learn more about Kazakhstan and global affairs. At the event, the ambassador gave a brief presentation and a held a question and answer session. Given his diverse background and experiences, his presentation was well received by those who attended.

About Kazakhstan and Ambassador Umarov

For those who may not know, the central Asian nation of Kazakhstan is the largest of the former soviet republics that gained independence during the dissolution of the old Soviet Union. Ambassador Umarov is now serving his third stint as the nation’s ambassador in Washington, D.C.

Ambassador Umarov earned his undergraduate degree at the Almaty Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages in 1985, teaching there as well from 1987-88. He later received a Ph.D. in history at the Kazakh University of History, Archeology and Ethnography in 1989. He was chief editor of the Writers’ Union of Kazakhstan from 1989-91.

One of the many benefits of life on a university campus is learning from the experiences of people like Ambassador Umarov. I look forward to other opportunities as the semester moves forward.

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MOOCs help connect University to community

One of the three tenets of Missouri State University’s public affairs mission is community engagement. (The others are ethical leadership and cultural competence.) Typically, people think about community engagement in terms of volunteer hours or involvement in civic projects. To be sure, volunteerism is alive and well at Missouri State, where last year alone, students, faculty and staff contributed more than 420,000 hours of community service.

But there are many ways to reach out and serve the community. For example, this fall, MSU will offer two Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs):

Ozarks History: Examining an American Culture Laura Ingalls Wilder: Exploring Her Work & Writing Life

These MOOCs have generated an impressive demand so far. As of this writing, 4,899 students were enrolled in the Wilder course and 908 were enrolled in the Ozarks history course.

By way of background, most MOOCs are designed for unlimited participation and open access via the Web. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings and problem sets, MOOCs may provide interactive user forums that help build a community for students and teachers.

Now, if you follow trends in higher education, I know what you’re thinking: MOOCs are so 2012. While it’s true that the fervor that drove many universities to hastily offer MOOCs has waned, Missouri State sees its courses as a way to increase access to higher education (online and open to the public) and connect with a wide community by offering quality courses that anyone can afford (free).

While many have tried (and failed) to offer MOOCs on a variety of topics, Missouri State blazed a different path by developing courses that celebrate our state’s heritage and contributions. These courses highlight two of Missouri’s unique points of pride (Laura Ingalls Wilder and Ozarks history) to a worldwide audience. The early enrollment numbers suggest enthusiastic support for this approach.

My wife, Gail, and I are both signed up for a course. The great thing about a MOOC is you can enroll at any point. The Ozarks history course begins September 8 and runs for 10 weeks; it will be open for two additional weeks afterward so participants can finish up any remaining content. The Laura Ingalls Wilder course begins September 22 and will run for eight weeks; it will also be available for two additional weeks. Even if the courses have already begun, feel free to jump in at any point.

If you or someone you know would like to enroll in one or both of these classes, visit the Missouri State University MOOC website.

This editorial was originally published in the Springfield News-Leader.

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What’s new at MSU? Expanding facilities and a growing student body

Whether visiting with alums, potential donors or parents of students, I like to share updates about all the great things happening at Missouri State University. Our researchers are pushing the boundaries of their fields. Our students are living, learning and serving in communities across the globe. Our campus is booming with new faces and new facilities.

But, it’s even better when students can share about the great things happening on campus. In the newest edition of What’s New at MSU, a recent grad and an MBA student take you on a trip across campus, highlighting some of the best and newest things happening at MSU.

A special thanks to university communications and Ozarks Public Television for their assistance in producing this great piece.

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