Missouri State University
Presidential Updates

Clif’s Notes for March 31, 2015

Clif's Notes

I want to update you on two task forces that I recently created to address important issues for our University.

Carrington HallTask forces address family leave, graduate tracking

The first is the President’s Task Force on Family Leave and Support. In February 2015, Faculty Senate approved a report from the Faculty Senate Ad Hoc Family Leave and Support Committee titled “Family Leave and Support Committee Proposal.” Staff Senate and other campus groups have evaluated similar fringe benefit issues and made other proposals.

The President’s Task Force on Family Leave and Support is charged with reviewing the Family Leave and Support Committee Proposal and other relevant proposals, collecting and analyzing any information necessary to evaluate such proposals, and developing and prioritizing task force recommendations to be evaluated by the Executive Budget Committee for the FY 2017 budget. I have asked this task force to submit a report to me by Dec. 3.

The second is the President’s Task Force on Graduate Tracking and Outcomes. The Board of Governors and senior administrators have indicated that graduate tracking is a priority for the University. Additionally, state law now requires all four-year universities in Missouri to report on graduate outcomes as part of the state’s performance funding model. This means that in the near future the amount of state appropriations Missouri State University receives will be partially dependent on our graduate outcomes.

The President’s Task Force on Graduate Tracking and Outcomes is charged with creating protocols for graduate outcome information collected by colleges, departments and other University units to be reported centrally. This task force is also charged with developing recommendations for process improvements at Missouri State University regarding graduate tracking. I have asked this task force to meet three times before the end of the spring semester to ensure that we are prepared to centrally track outcomes for our spring 2015 graduates.

Please contact my office if you have information or ideas that the task forces should consider as they analyze these important issues.

Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!

 

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Clif’s Notes for March 24, 2015

Clif's Notes

In this issue, I review the results of the climate study that were released last week.

Students walking on campusClimate study results show progress, areas for improvement

Last week we completed and released the report from the campus climate study. The full report is available on the diversity and inclusion website.

Missouri State University has focused on creating a healthy campus climate for many years because students learn better when they have a diverse student body and faculty, and their environment is free from negativity and discrimination. A healthy, supportive work environment is an important part of professional development for employees. Employees who have been targets of discrimination tend to suffer decreased health and well being, and they are less engaged and less productive.

Prior diversity study

In 2008, Dr. Paula Caplan, an associate at Harvard University’s DuBois Institute, conducted a research project titled “The Voices of Diversity”. Missouri State was one of four universities that participated in the project. Dr. Caplan found that, at Missouri State:

  • About half of the students participating in the study felt they connected to the college and off-campus community and felt as though they fit in on campus;
  • Approximately one-fifth indicated that they have experienced discriminatory practices on campus; and
  • Only two-fifths of participants believed there was little or no racial discrimination on the campus.

Missouri State took this feedback to heart and took a number of actions to improve the campus climate for diverse students. You can see a list of Missouri State’s actions and the actions of others in the Springfield community in the University’s press release.

Climate study gauges University’s progress

In 2013, we decided it was time to conduct a climate study to see what impact these efforts have had on our campus climate and to see where we should focus our efforts going forward. The results of this study make two points clear: first, we have made progress; and second, we still have work to do.

The vast majority of respondents in the climate study indicated that they had not experienced discrimination, sexual harassment, a hostile work environment or retaliation. This is a very positive finding. Additionally students of color and white students responded similarly when asked whether they believe they are treated fairly at the University.

Despite these positive findings, our work is not done. The climate study’s findings about micro-aggressions indicate that we have room for improvement. Findings about feelings of inclusiveness and belonging also indicate that we have room to improve.

DiversityWorks, the consultant who performed the climate study, has informed me that the findings in Missouri State’s climate study are very similar to findings at other universities. What this means is that Missouri State University, like other universities, needs to keep diversity and inclusion as a priority and make conscious decisions to continue moving forward.

Plans for action

To do this, we have put a series of actions in place:

  • We have selected The Other Wes Moore as our common reader for the fall, and Wes Moore will provide our Public Affairs Convocation Lecture in October. Through the common reader and convocation, students will engage in a campus-wide dialogue about diversity issues.
  • We have retained Drs. Ed and Myra Hubbard, consultants specializing in diversity analytics, to provide a public presentation on campus in the fall and to conduct two days of diversity training with University administrators and community leadership.
  • We have retained Dr. Pat Ashton and Wayne Williams to conduct a diversity training seminar with all of our academic deans and department heads this semester as well as a large number of student affairs professionals.
  • We have retained Giving Voice, a student-based theatre organization that provides workshops and presentations to address oppression, micro-aggression, and discrimination, to perform a series of reenactments on campus in conjunction with our Criminology and Criminal Justice Conference in April.
  • We are in the process of putting together a committee to recommend additional responses to the climate study. These recommendations will be addressed as part of our long-range planning process starting in the fall.

We will continue to focus on diversity because it is critical to our students’ academic experience and future success. I look forward to seeing what additional progress we can make in the years ahead. If you have any suggestions about actions the University should take in response to the climate study, please submit them.

Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!

 

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Clif’s Notes for March 17, 2015

Clif's Notes

In this issue, I discuss actions the Board of Governors took at their March 12 meeting.

Board approves tuition, authorizes refinancing of JQH Arena bonds

The Board of Governors met on Thursday, March 12. I want to highlight two important actions the board took at this meeting.

First, the board approved the 2015-2016 fee resolution. This resolution includes an inflationary tuition increase for in-state students. This increase means that tuition will go up only $1, from $204 to $205 per credit hour. No new differential fees were included in this year’s resolution. However, online course tuition will be increased by $10.

Missouri State 2015-16 tuition and fees total $7,060.
See complete tuition and fees for 2014-15.

Missouri State prides itself on being the value option for higher education in Missouri. When we consider the tuition and fees charged by our competitors, these tuition adjustments will not have a significant impact on the University’s affordability. At the same time, modest tuition and fees adjustments are necessary to continue the University on a path toward accomplishing its goals. The increases for 2015-2016 are a critical part of creating the revenue necessary to fund compensation increases and expand quality programs.

Refinancing JQH Arena bonds will save University $2 million

Second, the board authorized the University to refund (i.e., refinance) the JQH Arena bonds. Through this refunding, the University will pay less interest on its obligations. The refinancing will save the University more than $2 million over the life of the bonds. This will allow us to spend more resources on the students, employees, and programs that make up the University. I am proud to work with a team of board members and senior administrators that are always mindful of our obligation to be responsible financial stewards.

Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!

 

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