Missouri State University
Presidential Updates

Clif’s Notes for June 27, 2017

Clif's Notes

Last week our Board of Governors met on the West Plains campus.

Approval of the FY 2018 budget Budget town hall

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.

Staff at USA graduationMaking 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 fieldsAthletic training student wraps ankle

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.

Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!

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Clif’s Notes for June 20, 2017

Clif's Notes

Two weeks ago I traveled to Maryville and attended a meeting of the Council on Public Higher Education in Missouri (COPHE), the coalition of Missouri’s public four-year universities. It has been my privilege to chair COPHE for the past two years, and this was my final meeting as the chair.

Update from Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher EducationSeal by Carrington

Throughout the past two years, the group has focused on important legislative and policy issues that impact higher education, and I believe we have appropriately handled those issues. I am confident that the new chair — Dr. Ambrose, president at University of Central Missouri — will continue the good work of COPHE for the next two years.

Following the COPHE meeting, I attended the regular meeting of the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education. Highlights from that meeting include:

  • The Coordinating Board approved our new MS in computer science and MSED in early childhood special education degree programs. These programs will play an important role in our efforts to increase the number of career-ready graduates.
  • We received a presentation on best practices for student career readiness and graduate tracking. This will be a focus for Missouri State University and others in the coming year.
  • We discussed the 2017 legislative session and fiscal year 2018 budget, including the reductions in appropriations for community colleges, public universities and other higher education projects and priorities.
  • We discussed the work of two groups established by the Missouri Department of Higher Education. The first is an Administrative Cost Work Group that will focus on identifying and developing collaborative opportunities and other tools to reduce administrative costs throughout the public higher education sector. Steve Foucart will be working closely with the members of this work group. The second is a Performance Funding Task Force that will focus on reviewing the state’s current performance funding framework and recommend changes designed to improve the framework and address concerns raised by legislators and others. I will be serving on this task force and will advocate our interests to the Coordinating Board as work goes underway to modify the state’s performance funding model.

New approval process for adding academic programsOutside library

The Coordinating Board also approved the framework for a new approval process for academic programs. This decision resulted from the Higher Education System Review Task Force that I participated in over the past year.

The new process is a three-tiered framework. The first tier is staff review. This tier applies to minor program changes such as:

  • deleting a program,
  • changing the program’s title or Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code,
  • or adding an option to an existing program.

For all such requests received by the first of each month, staff will process, review and report back to the requesting institution by the end of that same month.

The second tier is routine review. This tier applies to proposed programs that:

  • are within an institution’s CBHE-approved mission and service region,
  • do not unnecessarily duplicate an existing program in geographic area or other relevant distinction,
  • will be offered at the institution’s main campus or at a CBHE-approved off-site location,
  • will build on existing programs and faculty expertise,
  • and can be launched with minimal expense within an institution’s current operating budget.

Proposals that fit within these parameters will be approved provisionally for a five-year period on an expedited basis.

The final tier is comprehensive review. This tier applies to proposals that constitute more significant changes and that do not meet the requirements for routine review. To qualify for approval under a comprehensive review, the institution must:

  • demonstrate that it made a good faith effort to explore the feasibility of collaborating with another institution to offer the program,
  • demonstrate that the program will meet a workforce need,
  • and meet other threshold requirements.

These programs will be approved on an annual basis.

The next step is for the Missouri Department of Higher Education to start a rule-making process to revise the Code of State Regulations. Once rule-making is complete, the new program approval process will become law. These regulations, however, cannot overrule Missouri State’s statutory degree restrictions, so it remains as important as ever that we continue to advocate that the General Assembly pass legislation that would modify those restrictions.

Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!

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Clif’s Notes for June 13, 2017

Clif's Notes

Our baseball team had a very successful year, with an 18 – 1 conference record and winning the NCAA regional championship. These kind of athletic successes, much like the Ad Team’s first-place finishes in national competitions and the Chorale’s performance at the Presidential Inauguration, raise the profile of Missouri State.

Success on and off the fieldOutfielder catching ball

The importance of our athletics programs cannot be quantified in wins and losses. The athletics infrastructure at Missouri State changes the lives of student athletes by putting them on a path toward academic success.

The 2016-17 academic year was record breaking for our student athletes’ academic performance. The university exceed a 930 APR score in all sports and had a 985.81 average APR score. The average student athlete GPA for the year was 3.16, which set a new record. Volleyball had a 3.73 average GPA, which set a record for any of Missouri State’s large sports (women’s golf and women’s cross-country are the only sports to have had higher average GPAs). Seven Missouri State teams had average GPAs above 3.50, and football, baseball, softball, men’s soccer, women’s swimming and women’s tennis had record setting average GPAs.

Meanwhile, Missouri State won conference championships in baseball, women’s swimming, volleyball and women’s golf, and finished fifth in the Missouri Valley Conference All-Sport Standings.

Athletics also demonstrated their commitment to responsibly partner with the other divisions of the university by reducing their anticipated expenditures for fiscal year 2018 by more than $1 million. Leadership in athletics and for the university recognize that winning athletic programs are important, but academic excellence and responsible financial planning are critical to the mission of the university.

This has been a good year for Missouri State athletics. Our student athletes performed admirably on the field, but more importantly, they knocked it out of the park in the classroom. I want to thank all of our coaches, athletics administrators, and faculty and staff throughout the university for helping to put our athletes on a trajectory for success.

Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!

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