In this issue of Clif’s Notes, I summarize our proposed budget amendment now that fall enrollment data is complete, and update you on two exciting projects we have entered into with Drury University, Evangel University, Southwest Baptist University, and Ozarks Technical Community College that advance the cultural competence and community engagement pillars of our public affairs mission.
Record on Springfield campus highlights fall enrollment
For the first time in our history, there are more than 21,000 students enrolled on the Springfield campus of Missouri State University. The official number is 21,059, which is 257 more than last year and 110 more than were here in 2010, which was our previous record.
Overall, the System’s unduplicated enrollment is 23,071, which is an increase over the 22,866 in 2011, but just short of the record of 23,092 in fall 2010.
The Springfield campus is up in graduate students, international students, dual credit students, and students from under-represented groups. Four of our six colleges increased in size, led by the College of Health and Human Services. The School of Agriculture, the biology department and the psychology department all had significant growth as well.
We have now accomplished our number one goal from last year. Well done and thanks to everyone who made this possible. Our work is not done, however. New freshmen continued to decline, and we must put a stake in the ground to turn this trend around. We must also improve our relationships with community colleges as recruiting transfer students will become ever more important if we are to achieve our goal of moderate enrollment growth. The enrollment management committee has these goals as high priorities this year, but everyone will need to help.
West Plains enrollment
West Plains’ enrollment remains over 2,100 students. While this was down slightly for the second year in a row, the West Plains campus was up 5.6 percent in new freshmen. In addition, 103 former students from Missouri State-West Plains are now taking classes for the first time through the main campus. This is the largest number of transfer students between campuses for a fall semester in Missouri State-West Plains’ history and contributed to the record number of students on the Springfield campus.
Why enrollment growth is important
As I said in the State of the University address, enrollment growth is important for several reasons:
- We want more students to have a college degree, since new jobs increasingly will require this credential.
- Education improves the quality of all our lives, so the more people that graduate from college, the better our society becomes.
- New funding from the state will likely be based in part on performance funding which factors in graduation rates and retention rates in determining how much new revenue will be allocated to institutions.
- Increasing enrollment growth is the only sure way to increase revenue and pay for raises, benefits, programs and new faculty and staff lines.
Budget amendment as a result of enrollment growth
Because we achieved our goal of increasing enrollment and because the state withholding was less than anticipated, we have about $4,700,000 to add into this year’s budget.
The Executive Budget Committee met this week and recommended that approximately about half of that money be allocated to a mid-year compensation package (raise and benefits). As a result, we will be working with human resources and financial services to craft a compensation plan to be presented to the Board of Governors at its October meeting.
Additional money will also be allocated to programs that are growing and to fund new development activities.
Two collaborative projects with area universities and colleges
On Monday, the presidents/chancellors of five area colleges and universities announced two collaborations that will benefit students and community.
Foreign Languages Institute
First, the five colleges and universities — Missouri State, Drury, Evangel, OTC and Southwest Baptist — signed an agreement establishing a Foreign Languages Institute to offer classes in the evenings at the Morris Center beginning in the fall of 2013. Missouri State University will teach all the classes. Students regularly attending one of the partner universities will pay tuition to their host university which will in turn pay Missouri State for teaching the classes.
Our partner universities will survey their students to see what languages they are interested in taking; however, we anticipate offering at least Italian and Portuguese as well as additional sections of Arabic and Chinese in the first year.
This venture will create opportunities for our students to take languages courses not currently being offered, serve as a recruiting tool for OTC students, and bring in additional revenue. The administrators and faculty in the modern and classical languages department have been involved in the discussions from the beginning and are supportive of this program.
Second, all five institutions (plus College of the Ozarks) are combining efforts on a service project this fall. We hope this will be the first of many collaborative service projects to come as we grow the student community engagement portion of our public affairs mission.
This year, on the weekend of Nov. 9-11, the institutions will partner with Friends Against Hunger, a local not-for-profit agency, to package and deliver more than 1 million meals that will be delivered to impoverished people locally and around the world. The project is known as Meals a Million.
We need 4,500 volunteers to accomplish this goal. Gail and I plan to volunteer, and I hope you will, too, as we join students from all universities in working on this worthwhile project.
This is Family Weekend, so we will have many visitors on campus. Please go out of your way to make them feel at home.
Gail and I will be attending the sports medicine ice cream social; the conference home opening football game against Southern Illinois, which begins at 1 p.m.; hosting Founders Club members at the Foster Family Recreation Center afterward; and then attending the volleyball game against Evansville. I will have the honor of directing the band during the playing of the national anthem at the football game.
It should be a beautiful day, and we hope to see you at these events as we support our student-athletes and our University.