Clif’s Notes Vol. 2, No. 11

Clif's Notes

In this issue of Clif’s Notes, I review highlights from the May Board of Governors meeting, as well as the spring commencements.

Board of Governors meeting review

The budget for fiscal year 2014, the marketing discussion and a presentation from the Presidential Task Force on Online Education and Alternative Credit highlighted the Board of Governors meetings on Thursday, May 16.

IncreasedCompensation-IMG_0795Increased compensation

I am pleased to report that the Board of Governors unanimously and enthusiastically accepted our proposal for increasing compensation in the fiscal year 2014 budget recommendation. We will present the complete fiscal year 2014 budget to the Board for approval at the June 21 meeting in Kansas City. The budget goes into effect July 1.

You will remember that the compensation package calls for a 2 percent across-the-board raise for all full-time faculty and staff employed before April 1 for Springfield and West Plains operating funds; a 2 percent increase for graduate assistants; an adjustment to the pay ranges for staff; a required contribution increase from the University to MOSERS (state retirement system); and faculty promotions. Specific details may be found in the Clif’s Notes from May 15.

FullProfessorIncentive-IMG_9434Full Professor Incentive Program (Professor Plus)

The Board also expressed its support for the Full Professor Incentive Program, which would provide additional pay for those at the rank of professor who have continued to perform at a high level by conducting great research, being great teachers and mentoring students. While this is a selective program, the goal is to provide the monetary increase to up to 100 professors who would be phased in over time. To be eligible to apply, a faculty member would have to be in the full professor rank for at least five years at Missouri State.

Therefore, this summer and fall, Provost Frank Einhellig will work with a committee to develop the criteria and application process. Applications will be accepted and reviewed in the spring of 2014. The first group of recipients would be funded for fiscal year 2015, beginning July 1, 2014. Our intent is to award at least 20 in the first year, with more possible depending on the budget.

 Online task force

At its Programs and Planning Committee meeting, the Board heard a report from the Presidential Task Force on Online Education and Alternative Credit

I urge you take some time to review the report and its recommendations. I think it is thoughtful and measured in its suggestions. In accordance with one recommendation, Frank and I will appoint a standing committee to monitor developments in online education and alternative credit so that Missouri State keeps pace with its competitors. More information on this topic will be forthcoming in the next two months.

 Marketing discussion

The Board had a very productive 90-minute discussion on marketing Missouri State. I invite you to review the research presentation documents, if you haven’t already.

Three of the key findings shared by Amy Crosby, senior director with the research firm of Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), were:

  • Missouri State has a good reputation and gets high ratings from all audiences and, therefore, is operating from a position of strength.
  • Missouri State’s value (i.e., benefit for cost) is very important to our students and their families.
  • The two areas consistently identified for Missouri State to improve were in traditions and school spirit.

We must and will take a long-term view when it comes to improving our marketing. This presentation on the overall research was the first step. The next steps include the following:

  • PSB has also conducted research on each of the academic colleges. That research will be presented to the deans and others in June. During those sessions, additional information will be collected to assist in developing the marketing plan proposals.
  • Also this summer, PSB will complete its targeted research on underrepresented students, which will be presented to the campus.
  • Then in the fall, the marketing plans will be presented by Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods (CJRW), PSB’s partner on this project. Our intent is to review those plans and implement any elements with existing staff.

Marketing will be a discussion topic again at the Board of Governors retreat on Aug. 1. And, I will keep you posted on this important project as it develops.

  Spring commencement 2013

On Friday, May 17, 2,404 students graduated in three Springfield campus ceremonies in JQH Arena, with attendance averaging around 8,000 for each. On Saturday, May 18, the West Plains campus awarded another 277 degrees in a packed Civic Center. Those ceremonies are special for the graduates as well as the families and friends.

As we think about enhancing our traditions, I hope more faculty and staff will seriously consider attending the commencement ceremonies. It is important to the graduates and it sends a very positive message to all in attendance. Plus, it is just one of those signature events that remind us of why we work in higher education.

The next two opportunities are coming up. The first is the summer commencement on Friday, Aug. 2. The second is the New Student Convocation Sunday, Aug. 18, where we will welcome new students and their families, and award the Honorary Doctorate Degree to Missouri State alumnus and actor John Goodman. I hope you will put both events on your calendar.


I commend you for another very good year at Missouri State. I hope you have a chance to get a break this summer. I know I will see many of you when summer school begins June 10. Please watch for additional issues of Clif’s Notes as we keep you posted on developments this summer. Thank you.

Telling the Missouri State story

Saturday at its commencement ceremony, Missouri State University-West Plains presented an Honorary Associate of Arts degree to a very special woman and mother: Couch resident Edith Williams, who devoted a dozen years of her life helping her daughter achieve a college education.

“Edith Williams’ unselfish dedication to her daughter’s education shows the value she places on higher education,” said Missouri State-West Plains Chancellor Drew Bennett. “Her dedication enabled her daughter to become the first in her family to receive a college education. She is truly an exemplary role model for other parents and students. Because of her extraordinary commitment to higher education, we are honored to confer this degree upon her.”

Ms. Williams, a 1964 graduate of Ellsinore High School, never had the opportunity to go to college herself. But, she made sure her daughter, Jennifer, did, despite the debilitating injuries Jennifer suffered in a 1997 automobile accident that left her wheelchair bound.

When Jennifer decided in fall 2001 that she wanted to go to college, Ms. Williams was by her side, driving her daughter the 100 miles round trip from their home to West Plains several times a week so Jennifer could attend classes. While Jennifer was in class, Ms. Williams spent her time reading, visiting with faculty and other students, and helping other students any way she could.

By taking just a few classes each semester, Jennifer, with the support of her mother, completed her Associate of Arts in General Studies degree in 2006.

She then enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in General Business degree program offered through Missouri State University’s Outreach Program on the West Plains campus.

Because of her mother valuing higher education – and with her mother’s constant support and assistance – Jennifer was able to accomplish her goal of completing a bachelor’s degree, which she received during Saturday’s commencement ceremony.

What an incredibly inspiring story of a mother’s love for and devotion to her daughter.

(For more information, see Steve Pokin’s story in the May 19 issue of the Springfield News-Leader.)

Clif Smart

About Clif Smart

Clifton "Clif" M. Smart III has served as the 11th president of Missouri State University since June 27, 2011. Smart is known throughout campus and the state of Missouri for his collaborative leadership and strong relationships with students, faculty and staff. During his tenure, the university has continually set new enrollment records, added degree programs and constructed or extensively renovated more than a dozen major campus facilities. Before his presidency, Smart served as the Missouri State University’s general counsel.
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