In this first issue of Clif’s Notes for 2012-13, I want to provide a summary of actions from last Friday’s Board of Governors meeting, preview the fall semester, and draw your attention to changes we have made in the scholarship program beginning for fall 2013.
Board of Governors meeting
There were several actions worth noting from last Friday’s Board of Governors meeting.
The Board approved our four decisions items for the fiscal year 2014 operating budget. We are required to submit these each August to the Missouri Department of Higher Education and the Coordinating Board for Higher Education. Here are summaries of the four:
- A funding adjustment for equitable funding — a grand total of about $17.2 million (about $16 million for the Springfield campus and about $1.2 million for the West Plains campus) spread over three equal payments of $5,742,107
- Funding to cover inflation — 1.7 percent for a total of $1,335,341
- Funding for a new occupational therapy program— ongoing funding of $825,000 per year, with the first two years being used for start-up costs and subsequent years to provide on-going support for the program
- A Missouri State University task force has reported the strong need for an OT program here. While this program proposal has not yet gone through the curricular process, that process will start this fall and it is timely that we simultaneously seek funding at this critical time.
- This program will help meet the growing need for trained therapists. Local hospitals have expressed a strong interest in having an OT program that will provide educated professionals for the needs they must meet. Offering this degree aligns with Missouri State’s long-range plan that calls for providing additional health-care education programs, and it fits the State of Missouri’s goal to increase the number of degrees granted in critical disciplines of workforce need.
- Funding to help us address maintenance and repair — about $8 million
Given the state’s budget situation, it is unlikely all of these requests will be funded. We did believe, however, that it was important to identify the needs and officially request the support.
The Board approved about $1.4 million to improve the wireless coverage of campus, to provide greater capacity and to increase the speed of the network. Achieving campus-wide wireless coverage was a significant goal of the long-range plan and we are going to achieve it several years ahead of schedule.
No doubt you have seen the new entrance to the campus is taking shape at National Avenue and Monroe Street. The City of Springfield has completed its work of expanding the entrance, adding turn lanes and installing the traffic light. The next step is the addition of signage, the funding for which the Board approved Friday. I am including two artist’s renderings of the entrance so you know the vision.
Creating this entrance addresses a long-time issue Missouri State, like many urban universities, has had. For many years, we have struggled with exactly how to direct visitors to come to campus. This new entrance will address this need. The long-term goal is to add a welcome center near the entrance, which would accommodate visiting students and families as well as be a resource for other visitors.
College of Business
The Board approved changing the name of the College of Business Administration to the College of Business. This name is more commonly used across the country and by our peer institutions. The change is effective immediately but will take some time to fully implement.
The Board agreed with our new policy for considering differential fees by program. As you recall, the Board approved the first such undergraduate fee for the College of Business to be implemented this fall.
We have a great University and we do much to market it to prospective students. But we want to do better. That begins with good market research. On Friday, the Board approved a contract for us to conduct comprehensive research focused on enrollment. I wanted you to be aware of this project.
The work will begin soon and continue through early spring 2013. The research will be extensive enough that we can evaluate it by geographic location (southwest Missouri, Kansas City, St. Louis, etc.); type of student (undergraduate, graduate, adult, current, prospective, alumni, etc.); and by unit (not only university-wide, but by academic college and the School of Agriculture). Also included in the project is research on our recruitment of under-represented student populations.
From the research, the company will develop marketing plans for the University, the six academic colleges, the School of Agriculture and for diverse populations. Our intent is to implement the plans with our own talented staff.
Marketing has been a priority for the Board of Governors and the administration for several years. It has been a decade since we conducted comprehensive research on students, so it is long overdue.
As part of the research, several faculty and staff will be interviewed and/or surveyed. If you are contacted for your input, I hope you will participate.
The fall semester 2012 is fast approaching. Fall classes begin Monday, Aug. 20.
Likewise, there is a full slate of activities for new and returning students. Those activities are listed on the Welcome Weekend website.
As always, I encourage you to consult the University’s master calendar for all events.
I would ask two things as we prepare for the fall semester to begin:
- Please help us greet, welcome and help our new students as they come to campus. Making the transition to college, especially coming from a smaller community to a large university like Missouri State, can be intimidating, as well as exciting, for even the brightest students. We can help make that transition a little easier for them with a smile and an offer of assistance.
- I encourage all employees and their families to attend the New Student Convocation at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19. Faculty are invited to march in the ceremony. It is a great event for our students and a great way to remind us all why we are here.
Scholarship revisions for fall 2013
Even as we anticipate the beginning of the fall semester 2012, we have already begun recruiting for fall 2013. In conjunction with that, we have revised several of our scholarship programs.
I want to draw your attention to three significant changes:
- We have expanded our multicultural scholarships and added the Diversity in Education Scholarship. We expect that these financial aid opportunities will help us address our goals of becoming more diverse University-wide, and especially in our College of Education.
- We have added the A+ Recognition Scholarship for students who qualify for the A+ Scholarship. For students who qualify for the Pell Grant, the A+ Recognition Scholarship will cover the difference between the cost of tuition and fees and the Pell Grant.
- We have added a study away component to our top academic scholarships to make them more competitive and to encourage our students to participate in life-changing study abroad experiences.
As you visit with prospective students for fall 2013, I hope you will keep these scholarships in mind.
Let me add three other quick notes here:
- Tobacco-free campus
Remember, as of Aug. 15, Missouri State will be a tobacco-free campus. This has been in the works for two years and we officially make the change Aug. 15.
- Foster Family Recreation Center
This new center is spectacular and officially opens this month with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. Monday, Aug. 20. The students are to be congratulated for helping design the facility and voting a dedicated fee on themselves for the construction and on-going funding of the facility. They can be very proud of what they have created using only the dedicated fee and some significant private gifts.
- Health Risk Assessment
Again this year we will be conducting the Health Risk Assessment as part of our wellness initiative and our effort to keep our health costs under control. A separate email with details and deadlines will be coming soon.
Thanks to your good work, Missouri State University had a terrific year in 2011-12. I appreciate your efforts very much.
I am excited and optimistic as we prepare to begin a new year. I look forward to working with you again to provide the best education possible to our students and to serve the State of Missouri in the best way possible.
We will officially outline the goals for the year at the State of the University address. Provost Frank Einhellig and I will present that address at noon on Thursday, Aug. 30, in the Plaster Student Union Theater, on the Springfield campus. I will give a similar address on the West Plains Campus at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11.
My promise to you is to continue to keep you informed about major issues and important decisions affecting Missouri State. Together we can have another great year. Thank you.