Missouri State University
Presidential Updates

Clif’s Notes Vol. 3, No. 11

Clif's Notes

In this issue of Clif’s Notes, I provide an update on the legislative session, report on our plan for resurfacing parking lots this summer with environmentally-friendly material and review some recent events.

Legislative update

The 2014 session of the Missouri General Assembly is progressing. The budget must be completed by May 9, which is one week before the last day of the session (May 16). Much remains to be finalized, but I wanted to report on the three major items we are tracking.

Carrington HallCurrent year (fiscal year 2014)

For this year, lottery revenues, which help fund the higher education operating budget, are below what had been budgeted. In fact, the shortfall was about $44 million. The legislature approved $22 million in a supplemental appropriation to help cover half of the shortfall.

On April 10, Governor Jay Nixon announced the holdbacks necessary to cover the remaining $22 million. That included $3.2 million for the public four-year universities. For Missouri State, that means $353,017 will be withheld from the remaining monthly payments from the state. We plan to cover this one-time shortfall with central reserve funds so that no cost center budget will be impacted by this withholding.

Ellis HallFor next year (fiscal year 2015)

On the operating budget, the House recommended a 3 percent increase, and the Senate Appropriations Committee has recommended a 5 percent increase. Provided the full Senate supports the committee recommendation, those will be the positions when the two chambers go into the conference committee. As you recall, we held undergraduate in-state tuition flat based on the assumption that the increase would be 5 percent or higher.

On capital, a revenue bonding initiative is moving forward. It involves a statutory bill that enables the bonding, plus a bonding bill with specific renovation, maintenance and repair projects to be funded. Included for Missouri State are projects totaling more than $20 million:

  • $7,581,818 — Ellis Hall
  • $11,016,237 — Hill Hall
  • $220,000 — sprinkler system and fire alarm panel repairs and maintenance on the West Plains campus
  • $1,547,890 — Post Office Building at the West Plains campus.

Finally, a variety of tax reduction bills are in various stages of passage. They have the potential to impact the revenue increases previously referenced, so we continue to engage our legislators on this subject as well.

Again, much remains to be completed, and I will continue to provide updates for you.

Parking lotParking lot project

Every summer we repair, reseal and re-stripe parking lots. Like most others in Springfield, we have always used a coal tar-based asphalt sealer in the resealing process as no other comparable products were available. This has caused concerns within our campus community and our city because of the potential negative environmental effects of coal tar.

This summer, we will spend approximately $180,000 to repair/seal/re-stripe more than a dozen parking lots around campus. To accomplish this, we will be trying a different product — an asphalt emulsion sealer — rather than the coal tar based asphalt sealer we have used in the past.

We have been and will continue to evaluate the performance of asphalt emulsion based sealers to see if they are a viable substitute for the coal tar sealants. If this new sealant performs well, it will replace the coal tar sealants going forward. I will keep you apprised of our results on this and other projects as we continue to advance our sustainability agenda.

Review of recent events

We have had a number of high-profile events lately, so I want to provide updates on those.

Public Affairs ConferencePublic Affairs Conference

Approximately 3,425 people attended the 2014 Public Affairs Conference, with its theme Global Perspective: Why It Matters. Once again, the conference offered informative, inspirational and thought-provoking sessions for the University and local communities. I want to thank Dr. Kevin Evans, 2014 provost fellow for public affairs, for his outstanding leadership in planning the 10th annual conference.

Three plenary speakers drew large audiences and offered diverse viewpoints on global perspective.

  • Dr. Spencer Wells, National Geographic Society explorer-in-residence and director of the Genographic project, offered insight into the commonalities shared by all humans and supported the concept of “citizen science,” public participation and funding in scientific studies.
  • Best-selling author George Saunders provided humorous and poignant insights into the human condition, noting that Americans often view other cultures as strange, but he contended that American culture is just as strange.
  • Gonzalo Vargas, director of finance for Groupon Latin America and MSU alumnus, noted that awareness and adaptability are key factors to developing cultural understanding, and that cultural competence is essential for successful multicultural organizations.

Truman, Danforth and SuggsMissouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame

More than 200 people attended the inaugural induction of the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame. We honored President Harry Truman (represented by his grandson Clifton Truman Daniel), Senator John Danforth and Dr. Donald Suggs. It was an inspiring evening. By telling the stories of these three individuals, we were able to illustrate the meaning of the public affairs mission for the entire state of Missouri. Review a recap of the event.

This was an excellent start to a new annual tradition, and I want to thank the selection committee and the work group that made the event a success, as well as Strong-Garner-Bauer for sponsoring the event.

Remember, the deadline for nominations for the 2015 Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame is July 1, 2014. I hope you will consider submitting a nomination.

StudentsStudent open forum

I was pleased to speak at the student open forum April 8. More than 100 students attended the event, which was hosted by the Student Government Association. Students had the opportunity to submit questions in advance through Facebook and other social media outlets, and questions were also taken from the audience.

Students were interested in learning more about my leadership style, issues I see facing higher education and plans for Missouri State. Additionally, they wanted to learn more about me as a person. Questions at the forum ranged from “Where do you see higher education in the state of Missouri in the next 5-10 years, and how does MSU fit into that vision?” to “What was your favorite tradition back when you were a student?”

It was a lively discussion and a great opportunity for me to interact with our students, which is, by the way, one of my favorite parts of the job.

StudentsHLC Town Hall meeting

We appreciate the good turnout we had for the HLC Town Hall meeting on April 4.

Our first goal was education on criteria, process and timeline. We are preparing for a comprehensive site visit in fall of 2015 — the specific date will be set this fall. A complete first draft of the assurance argument that clearly states how Missouri State University meets the HLC criteria and core components will be completed by early October. This argument is limited to 35,000 words and must be backed with evidence, i.e. data, policies, procedures, meeting minutes and reports. Drafts of the assurance argument will be posted for campus review in the coming year.

To those who were unable to attend, the draft reports and summary PowerPoint presentation are posted online. We received questions and comments on the following topics: transparency of process; assessment of students, faculty and administrators; advising and diversity. Should you have further feedback, please email the chair of the steering committee, Dr. Tammy Jahnke, dean of the College of Natural and Applied Sciences.


We are in the home stretch for the spring semester and the 2013-14 year. As usual, we end with a flurry of events and activities, many of which I hope you will attend. I hope all of you will make plans to attend one or more of the three commencements on Friday, May 16, as we honor this year’s spring graduates. The honorary doctorate recipients named by the Faculty Senate will give the addresses at two of the commencement ceremonies: James Tatum at 10 a.m. and John Rush at 5 p.m. Educator and former state representative Sara Lampe will give the 1:30 p.m. ceremony address.

Thank you for all you do for Missouri State University.

Telling the Missouri State story

Connecting students with industry professionals is a key component of helping students and graduates establish their career paths.

In the hospitality and restaurant administration department, that means bringing in top caliber speakers from hospitality companies across the nation to share their passion for the industry and engage students. One way the department does this is through its Hospitality Industry Week held each spring and fall. This spring’s event included the 7th Annual HRA Board of Advisors Speaker Series, the Hospitality Recruiters’ Fair (which the department has hosted since 1992) and the Hospitality Interview Day.

Joyce speaksJoyce keynote began the events

The kick-off event for the week was a presentation by Steve Joyce, president and CEO of Choice Hotels. Joyce shared his insight on developing a successful career and highlighted a number of important industry trends. A packed crowd of more than 300 students, faculty and professionals attended the event.

“We were truly honored to have Steve Joyce on our campus,” said Dr. Stephanie Hein, hospitality and restaurant administration department head. “It was an exceptional opportunity for our students to learn from an industry leader who is at the top of his game.”

Joyce was accompanied by four members of his executive team: C.A. Anderson, Steve Stoycos, Jim Tierney and Michael Murphy. All four participated on a panel discussion for hospitality seniors. Students guided the discussion by asking questions pertaining to leadership, career growth and challenges within the industry.

Opportunities develop well-prepared professionals

“We are pleased to provide high-profile learning and networking opportunities for our students,” said Hein. “The speaker series and recruiters’ fair are just a couple examples of how we work to develop well-prepared, professional graduates. We are receiving feedback from leading recruiters that our efforts are paying off and students are ultimately realizing the reward of multiple job offers.”

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Clif’s Notes Vol. 3, No. 10

Clif's Notes

In this issue of Clif’s Notes, I review the Board of Governors Mid-Year Retreat, draw attention to the upcoming Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Open Forum, invite you to attend the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame dinner and induction, and provide updates on several other topics.

Carrington HallBoard of Governors Mid-Year Retreat

The Board of Governors’ Mid-Year Retreat occurred in St. Louis on March 6-7. This event has become a tradition and is scheduled in conjunction with the Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball tournament. The major purpose of the retreat is to provide an update on the University’s goals for the year, as well as progress on the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for both the Springfield and West Plains campuses.

This year, there are eight major goals for the University. The Board was very pleased with the progress we have made on the goals thus far, and they look forward to a final report at the August Board Retreat.

Also at the Retreat, the Board gave final approval to the fees for 2014-15. The new fee structure allows us to maintain our value – an outstanding education for a reasonable, affordable price.

The new fee plan calls for the in-state undergraduate tuition rate to remain the same as 2013-14. Tuition for graduate students and out-of-state students increase by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 1.5 percent or less. And, the differential fees will be implemented for some of the graduate health programs. For all of the details of the fees, see the 2014-15 Fee Schedule.  

Flowers blooming on campusHLC Town Hall meeting scheduled for April 4

Provost Frank Einhellig and I have scheduled a Town Hall meeting for Friday, April 4, to review the work of the HLC Steering Committee. The meeting will begin at 2 p.m. in the Plaster Student Union Theater. I hope you will consider attending.

The purpose of the Town Hall meeting is to seek broad feedback on our initial work from the campus community. Specifically, we want your feedback on three questions:

  • Are there strengths or concerns missing from the list?
  • Is there evidence (documents, reports) missing from the report that should be included?
  • Are there concerns from the 2005 report that we have neglected?

Missouri State University received initial accreditation from the HLC in 1915 and has successfully earned reaffirmation of this accreditation in every cycle since that time.

Our report to the HLC (due in 2015) in preparation for a 2015-16 site visit must provide evidence of how we meet the criteria and core components. It must also include an assessment of what we do well (strengths) and what we hope to do better in the future (challenges/concerns). Those draft reports can be found at the Higher Learning Commission website.

The Town Hall meeting will begin with a brief summary of why this accreditation is important to Missouri State University and review of the criteria and core components. A brief review of the concerns from our 2005 report also will be reported, along with actions that we have taken to address the concerns. This will be followed by a listing of Missouri State University strengths and concerns based on the criteria and core components.

Again, I hope you will consider attending and participating in this discussion.

Missouri State BookstoreCollections audit released

As a follow-up to the Bookstore fraud case and subsequent conviction, the office of internal audit reviewed the collections processed by the provost and academic departments. The goal was to ensure we were handling transactions in the most appropriate manner.

That audit is complete and I invite you to review it for yourself. I think you will find that, for the most part, we were doing well with our collections. We have been able to make some improvements to ensure we process cash transactions as well as we should.

I want to thank new Director of Internal Audit Donna Christian and her staff for their good work, and for the faculty and staff who cooperated with the audit.

Citizen Scholar statueMissouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame

Last December, we announced the first three inductees into the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame: President Harry S. Truman, John C. “Jack” Danforth and Dr. Donald S. Suggs.

The induction dinner and ceremony will be from 5-8 p.m. Friday, April 11. I hope you will consider purchasing a ticket and attending the inaugural ceremony.

Plaster Sports ComplexConstruction Web Cam

If you are like me and want to keep track of the construction projects, you might enjoy this website. You can watch the progress of Plaster Sports Complex and the Betty and Bobby Allison South Stadium (Soccer and Track).


I hope our faculty and students have a restful and enjoyable spring break. I look forward to having everyone back on campus next week as we begin our home stretch of the 2013-14 year.

Thank you for all you do for Missouri State University.

Telling the Missouri State story

In early February, a group of 12 entertainment management majors got the experience of a lifetime when they worked with NFL On Location and M Group Scenic Studios doing pre-game and post-game events for the 2014 Super Bowl.

On the day of the game, students worked as directional/hospitality hosts for Pepsi Co., the main sponsor for the Super Bowl. Students experienced first-hand the ins and outs of planning a large event. The Entertainment Management Association (EMA) members had opportunities to actually work in the industry and interact directly with professionals, allowing them to network with potential future employers.

Traveling to the Super Bowl has been an annual event for the EMA for several years. This year, the students worked with M Group Scenic Studios, a large-scale national and international events organization, prior to and during the event. M Group Scenic staff members met with students once they arrived at the Izod Center for a training session and helped them prepare for their game day responsibilities.

Before volunteering at the game, students spent a day in New York City sightseeing and visiting another large venue, Madison Square Garden, where they were given a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility and learned some of the intricacies of large-scale venues and event management.

“Seeing such a prestigious arena in such a unique and personal setting was a rewarding experience I will not soon forget,” said EMA member Jacob Seidel.

This is yet another example of the terrific opportunities available to students at Missouri State. 

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Clif’s Notes Vol. 3, No. 9

Clif's Notes

In this issue of Clif’s Notes, I review actions from the Board of Governors meeting and provide updates on other topics.

Board membersBoard of Governors approves bonds, discusses HLC accreditation

The Board of Governors had its February meeting on the West Plains campus, which is the normal practice. Chancellor Drew Bennett, the West Plains faculty, staff and students, and the West Plains community were very gracious hosts.

There were some organizational matters covered at the meeting:

  • The next meeting of the Board will be a retreat March 6-7 in St. Louis.
  • For a variety of reasons, the June Board meeting in Kansas City has been moved from June 27 to June 20.
  • Governor Virginia Fry has been confirmed, but due to some procedural issues, Kendall Seal has not yet been confirmed. We are confident that will occur soon. To his credit, Kendall attended the West Plains meeting as an observer in order to stay informed

At the meeting, the Board had two major topics.

SunvillaAuxiliary bond package approved

The Board approved issuing up to $42 million in auxiliary enterprise system revenue bonds. This was the final step in a process that began several months ago. The projects included in this bond package were described in the January issue of Clif’s Notes. The projects are non-academic ones: residence hall renovations and improvements in the recreation and athletic facilities. The designated B.E.A.R. Fee students approved for the recreational and athletic facilities, along with revenue from residence life, will be the source of the bond payments.

Next on the list is the Board’s consideration and anticipated approval of an academic bond package. We anticipate that occurring in late summer 2014.

West Plains studentsHLC accreditation discussed

The Board’s discussion topic was the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation for both the West Plains and Springfield campuses. The West Plains visit is coming in late March and early April 2014. The Springfield visit is not yet set, but it will mostly likely be during the fall of 2015.

This was a good chance for Provost Frank Einhellig to provide background about the importance of accreditations generally and HLC specifically. He also explained the process and cost.

Dr. Tammy Jahnke gave an update on the Springfield HLC process, and Chancellor Bennett and Dennis Lancaster provided a detailed report on the eminent visit to the West Plains campus.

HLC accreditation is important — we are taking the process very seriously. I invite you to review the background documents we provided for the Board discussion and also visit the websites listed for more information. Please note that we have scheduled a town hall meeting for April 4 to discuss the draft report and evidences developed by the Springfield campus HLC Steering Committee.

Drew Bennett accepts Business of the Year award for West Plains campus“Business of the Year” award

At the Board meeting, Chancellor Bennett was able to inform us all about a recent award for the West Plains campus.

The West Plains Chamber of Commerce recently awarded the “Business of the Year” to Missouri State University-West Plains. The nomination, read by Chamber President Dr. Josh Cotter, detailed the significance and impact that Missouri State-West Plains has had on the region. Chancellor Bennett is shown here with West Plains Mayor Jack Pahlmann.

Drew told that the Board, “It was an honor and a very humbling experience to walk on stage to receive the plaque in front of hundreds of community members who were standing and applauding. When I got to the microphone I said: ‘I have a wonderful and very rewarding job – which in reality contributed very little to this award. It is the faculty and staff of our campus who do the real work and deserve the credit for this achievement. It is on their behalf that I accept this award.’”

I know you join me in congratulating the West Plains campus on this award.

Special recognitions

I want to draw your attention to two special recognitions.

Student employeeNational Student Employment Week

Led by the student employment office, Missouri State will celebrate National Student Employment Week April 7-11. Part of the celebration will be recognition of one outstanding student worker who will receive the Student Employee of the Year STAR Award and will have the opportunity to win recognition and cash prizes at the state, regional and national level. Nominees and nominators will also be invited to participate in a separate Student Employee of the Year event. So, if you have an amazing student worker you would like to nominate or you would like to participate in our other activities for the week, visit the student employment office website. Applications for the Student Employee of the Year Award are due by Feb. 17.

Social work professorSocial Work Month

March is Professional Social Work Month, which celebrates the many good works of that profession and of our social work graduates. Since its inception, social work has been instrumental in achieving civil rights and human rights advances; has enhanced human well-being and helping meet the basic needs of all people, especially the most vulnerable; and has had a positive impact on adolescent and youth development, aging and family caregiving, child protection and family services. The students and faculty in our School of Social Work, the College of Health and Human Services appreciate your support for this special month.

Students on campusSpring enrollment sets system record

The fourth week census date was earlier this week, so I wanted to report on enrollment:

  • The Springfield campus has set another spring enrollment record, with 20,473 students, a 2.8 percent increase over spring 2013. The increase was driven in large part by students returning from our record fall enrollment. We also enrolled 671 new transfer students, a 4.5 percent increase over spring 2013.
  • Following a one percent increase in fall 2013, spring 2014 enrollment on the West Plains campus is down slightly. This year’s total is 1,667, compared to 1,768 last spring.  Still, it is encouraging to note that spring enrollment at Missouri State-West Plains has increased 10 percent in the last five years. 

See full news release. Enrollment continues to be important, for achieving both our state and national goals of educating more students and also to keep our revenue strong.


We are heading into a peak time of the year with many events and activities, from major speakers and conferences, to championship athletic events. I hope to see you often as we help our students take full advantage of the Missouri State experience.

Thank you for all you do for Missouri State University.

Telling the Missouri State story

Dr. Anson ElliotDr. Anson Elliott, head of the William H. Darr School of Agriculture, received high honors during the 44th Missouri Governor’s Conference on Agriculture, hosted by Gov. Jay Nixon and the Missouri Department of Agriculture. During the awards banquet, Gov. Nixon and Missouri’s Director of Agriculture Richard Fordyce recognized Elliott with Missouri’s Agricultural Educator of the Year award in front of hundreds of Missouri producers and agribusiness leaders.

He is the second recipient of this award.

A leading force for 20+ years

Elliott has led Missouri State’s agriculture programs since 1980, balancing his responsibilities as a member of the teaching faculty and overseer of off-campus facilities with those of his administrative role. He also advises undergraduate and graduate students, as well as student organizations within the Darr School of Agriculture.

He is committed to growing opportunities for Missouri agriculture students as well as producers. In 2012, he traveled to Russia with the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service and Missouri agriculture leaders in an effort to develop and grow partnerships among educators and employers. He also continues to be involved in partnerships to grow Missouri State’s research farms and facilities, as well as to strengthen the already outstanding genetics within the University’s livestock.

Helping secure the future of Missouri agriculture

“The men and women educating the next generation of Missouri agriculture are essential to the continued success of our state and our nation,” said Fordyce. “It is key that we recognize those who serve as a strong voice for the future of Missouri agriculture, especially those whose deep commitment, spanning nearly four decades, reaches throughout our industry.”

Elliot is a member of Missouri’s Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow (ALOT) organization, and was honored with the group’s Missouri Agriculture Leader of the Year award in 2006.

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