In this issue of Clif’s Notes, I provide an update on the legislative session, announce the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame, share information on the Higher Learning Commission and provide information about a new pricing structure for Lady Bear tickets.
Update from Jefferson City
There is about a month left in the 2013 session of the Missouri General Assembly. I wanted to give you an update on the status of the operating budget and other issues in Jefferson City.
As you recall, for fiscal year 2014, the Governor recommended $34 million in additional funding for higher education allocated based on success in achieving the five performance measures. For Missouri State, that amounted to an increase of about 4.3 percent or $3,335,974, for a total state appropriation of $81,885,437.
In the House version of the budget, the increase was reduced to $20 million and it was allocated “across-the-board” at slightly more than 2 percent for an increase of $1,795,498 for Missouri State and a total state appropriation of $80,344,961.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has adopted the Governor’s recommendation on the operating budget. That version should go to the Senate floor in the near future.
As is the case every year, there will be a conference committee to discuss the differences and come to a final recommendation for both the House and Senate to finally approve. If there is an increase in our appropriations, our commitment is to use most of the additional money to improve the compensation for our faculty and staff.
The Senate Appropriations Committee added in two additional funding pieces that affect Missouri State.
First, $1,325,000 in on-going funding was added to support the new Occupational Therapy program on the Springfield campus ($825,000), as well as expansion and improvement of various health programs on the West Plains campus ($500,000).
Second, $150,000 was added for Missouri State-West Plains and Three Rivers Community College to provide an “education training center” in Willow Springs. The two institutions are working with the City of Willow Springs and the Missouri Department of Higher Education to develop a plan to provide both general education (West Plains) and technical programs (Three Rivers) to that community.
Again, both of these items would go to the conference committee since they are only in the Senate version of the budget.
Bonding for capital projects
It has been more than a dozen years since there was a statewide capital funding appropriation for higher education. Because of that, along with the current low interest rates and other factors, there has been significant discussion about bonding capital projects. That discussion continues, but there is not agreement on the total amount, the process or if it should focus on new construction or maintenance and repair. We continue to be involved in these discussions, and we are hopeful there will be some funding support for capital projects.
We are tracking a number of other pieces of legislation, from the higher education funding formula, to allowing weapons on campus, to additional benefits for military veterans and more. We also are monitoring tax credit reform, income tax reductions and the discussion on Medicaid expansion since all of these could impact the general revenue of the State and ultimately impact higher education.
The 2013 session of the Missouri General Assembly concludes on Friday, May 17. I will continue to update you on significant developments.
Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame
The ninth annual Public Affairs Conference was another great success. I congratulate Dr. Gilbert Brown, conference chair, and his team for highlighting Inclusive Excellence as the theme. I hope you were able to attend several of the events.
At the Conference, we announced that Missouri State has created the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame. This will be a signature event and yet another step in both the maturing of the statewide mission and expanding the understanding of the mission statewide. I invite you to learn more about the award and consider nominating a deserving individual. The deadline for nominations is Aug. 31, with the inaugural class to be inducted in the spring of 2014.
Finally, the Distinction in Public Affairs Student Presentations this year were outstanding. We have featured some of those below in the Telling our Story section.
Higher Learning Commission update
We continue to prepare for the Higher Learning Commission accreditation, with our report due in the spring of 2015 and the site team visit to campus in the fall of 2015.
Toward that end, several of us attended the annual meeting of the Higher Learning Commission in Chicago April 5-9. Those attending from Missouri State University included Frank Einhellig, Steve Foucart, Joye Norris, Don Simpson, Lynn Cline, Keri Franklin, Tammy Jahnke and me. It was a great opportunity for everyone to learn more about the newly adopted criteria for accreditation along with the new open pathway.
Frank and Tammy made the presentation “Program Review: Policy, Review Cycle and Assessment of the Process – Lessons Learned,” which covered the Missouri State academic program review process from 2000 to the present. Review the information in the presentation.
The first criteria for accreditation is: “The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations.” Our mission is clearly documented in all publications including catalogs and on our website, and I continue to be impressed by the number of students, faculty and staff who can recite most or all of it. It is:
Missouri State University is a public, comprehensive metropolitan system with a statewide mission in public affairs, whose purpose is to develop educated persons. The University’s identity is distinguished by its public affairs mission, which entails a campus-wide commitment to foster expertise and responsibility in ethical leadership, cultural competence and community engagement.
Sometimes, I shorten the mission statement to this:
Our goal is to develop educated persons. Our mission is public affairs.
Regardless of which you use, it is important for lots of reasons, including the HLC accreditation, that the mission is widely known and understood. It also will be important that we show that it guides our operations.
Missouri State’s Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Steering Committee has accomplished three specific tasks during this past academic year. It has started to identify evidence that shows that Missouri State meets the HLC assumed practices, the HLC criteria and the concerns noted in the 2006 team report from HLC. Drafts of each of these works in progress are posted on the committee’s website.
As the Steering Committee has been working on this, the Assessment Council and assessment director have been working on Missouri State University’s Quality Improvement Project (QIP). This project will be collecting evidence of student learning as it relates to our public affairs mission. The results of this evaluation along with an assessment of the process will be available early in fall of 2013. Starting in fall of 2013, the Steering Committee will be completing the list of evidence.
New leader for Lady Bears
On April 10, we announced that Kellie Harper would be the new Lady Bears basketball coach. Kellie comes with great credentials, both on and off the court as you can see from the news release. We expect great things from her and her team in the coming years. I hope you soon will have a chance to meet and welcome Kellie and her husband, Jon.
In conjunction, we are reinventing the ticket pricing for Lady Bears games. There will be plenty of publicity on this in the coming weeks, but I wanted you to know that we have drastically reduced the price of season tickets in the lower bowl of JQH Arena. The vast majority of the lower level season seats will be $120 without a seat assessment. With the half-price faculty and staff discount, that means you can see 18 home Lady Bears games next year for $60. If you want to sit in the end zone, your price will be $40 (half of $80).
I ask that you take a serious look at purchasing a season ticket. Athletics can be another rallying point for our campus as we have seen during the March Madness at all levels in both men’s and women’s tournaments. It is another piece of making Missouri State the kind of institution we want it to be. Given that, I would ask that you support the student-athletes who compete for the Lady Bears and all of our teams. They deserve our support. Thanks for your consideration.
The clock is ticking on this semester. We have about a month to go and lots to accomplish in those four weeks. As always, I hope all of us can finish strong so we feel good about our accomplishments for 2012-13. Thanks for all you do.
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