This week I would like to borrow from Discovery Channel and engage in a little myth busting, or more appropriately, rumor busting. Then I have a little promotion at the end.
Let’s start with budgets. The University of Missouri-Columbia has been a main feature in Missouri news over the last few months, more recently from a budget perspective — specifically, how they plan to adjust operations in light of state budget cuts and a decrease in enrollment.
A recent news article discussed eliminating janitorial and grounds positions and the impact on the campus and other employees.
Certainly this is an unfortunate situation, but I would like to assure you that we will not be experiencing that at Missouri State, nor would those be the first steps we would take were we facing a similar situation.
For 2016-2017, the legislature passed and the governor signed a budget that includes a 4 percent appropriation increase for public universities. Because we have met other state requirements associated with graduation rates and student success, the Springfield campus will actually receive an approximate 4.5 percent increase in our core operating budget, which is wonderful news.
With this information, the executive budget committee met last week to finalize its recommendations to the Board of Governors. These recommendations include:
- a 2 percent across-the-board pay increase
- investment in the third year of the Professor Salary Incentive Program
- $250,000 for cost center heads to provide staff with merit and equity pay increases
- $900,000 for new tenure track faculty lines
We have faced many budget challenges before and since the recent recession. Laying off campus employees has never been one of our solutions and, we hope, never will be.
Closer to home, there has been recent discussion of building a new indoor training facility for Missouri State football and other University student-athletes.
Certainly, we have a vision for improving athletics facilities and creating an atmosphere that attracts talented student-athletes.
But our first priority is educating students and creating an academic and campus life experience that encourages and supports access and success for all of our students.
Should it be decided to build a training facility sometime in the future, it would be built using private funding only — no state funds, no University funds.
There are currently no plans to construct such a facility in the next five years.
Finally, I would like to give a shout-out to our award-winning Missouri State Ad Team.
If you recall, last year the team created the “One95” campaign that is now being employed by the United Nations and other agencies across the world to help fight violent extremism.
This year the Ad Team has launched a new campaign. “Meet LEO” is focusing on building stronger relationships between the community and law enforcement.
Through extensive research using interviews, focus groups and surveys, it’s been found that law enforcement officers (LEOs) want people to meet them and understand they are humans who are trying to do the best job they can. Hence the name, “Meet LEO.”
The team is encouraging everyone to go out into their communities and meet a LEO. Have a conversation, learn something new, and create a relationship. Like the Meet LEO page on Facebook and follow on Instagram @ _meetLEO.
Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!