In this issue, I focus on progress on our legislative goals.
Outlook promising for legislative goals
Released funds and proposed legislation allow the University to make headway toward goals.
Governor releases funds for occupational therapy program
I have some very exciting news—we have made significant progress on our second legislative priority for this year. The governor has released $620,000 of the $1.325 million withheld for our occupational therapy program in Springfield and health programs in West Plains. This allows us to move forward with these programs as planned.
Thank you to Governor Nixon and our other elected leaders for making this possible. It is an important first step. We will continue to work with the governor’s office and our legislators to obtain additional funds and be sure this appropriation is included in next year’s budget.
Proposed legislation could provide funds for capital projects
Another of our legislative priorities this year is to obtain a capital appropriation for four maintenance and repair projects. The Senate has passed SCR 9, one of the legislative vehicles that will get us closer to receiving this appropriation. The resolution will now move to the House of Representatives. We are in active discussions with our legislators to see that the House passes SCR 9.
Last week I testified to the House Appropriations in Higher Education Committee and Select Committee on Budget. I focused on education as the engine for economic development in Missouri. I also focused on Missouri’s low funding of higher education by comparison to neighboring states. I encouraged our lawmakers to take action and increase investment in higher education through Missouri’s performance and equity funding models.
We will continue to advocate for Missouri State in Jefferson City. As you interact with lawmakers, I would encourage you to do so as well.
More than 90 percent of Missouri’s counties lack adequate access to health care professionals. At the same time, Missouri ranks among the top 20 states with citizens over the age of 65 who will require more medical care, and the number of elderly people with multiple chronic diseases is expected to double by 2030.
The need for physicians and other health care professionals is a startling — and growing — reality nationwide. Here in Missouri, that need is especially intense and immediate.
Thankfully, we have come a long way already toward addressing these realities. Health care organizations CoxHealth and Mercy Health have come together with the state’s two largest higher education institutions in unique partnerships designed to help alleviate this workforce shortage statewide.
Last year, the state legislature approved a combined $11.3 million to keep these projects moving, but unfortunately, we still await the delivery of that funding.
We understand that there are many pressing needs competing for these dollars, leaving our public officials with many difficult decisions to make. But we strongly believe that this is a wise use of taxpayer dollars that will have a tremendous impact on the state economy. In fact, this is exactly the type of priority that should rise to the top of the list. It will help us meet the urgent health care needs of thousands of Missourians, growing the economy with new capital investment and Missouri job creation along the way.
We look forward to when these pivotal funds from the state of Missouri are released to allow for the immediate implementation of these vital programs.
Written and submitted by:
Clifton M. Smart III, President, Missouri State University
Timothy M. Wolfe, President, University of Missouri System
Steven D. Edwards, President, CoxHealth
Jay Guffey, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Mercy Hospital Springfield
Matt McCormick, President, Columbia Chamber of Commerce
Matt Morrow, President, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce
Welcome back to campus. I hope you’re as excited as I am about the start of a new semester.
Priorities for upcoming legislative session
For me the start of the second semester always involves leading our teams as we advocate for University interests in Jefferson City. The 2015 legislative session has started. Our goals for this session include:
A capital appropriation for high-priority maintenance and repair projects.
An increase in our ongoing operating appropriation.
Releasing the $1,325,000 operating appropriation for fiscal year 2015 health program initiatives and protecting it from being withheld in future years.
Last Wednesday I met with a number of legislators and government officials at the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast in Jefferson City. I am confident that many of our elected leaders appreciate the great things we are doing at Missouri State and will work with us to achieve our legislative goals this session.
Listen to State of the State address
The Governor will give his State of the State address at 7 p.m. Jan. 21. You can live stream the address at www.mo.gov. At that time we will know more about his recommended appropriations for fiscal year 2016.
We have already scheduled our first executive budget committee meeting for this year, and we will be prepared to respond to the Governor’s appropriation recommendations and begin preparation of our budget.
Stay tuned for more information about state appropriations and our progress in achieving our legislative goals.
In this issue of Clif’s Notes, I give an update on the visioning project, provide information about the University’s educational programs related to the Ferguson situation, provide an update on the head football coach search and summarize the University’s priorities for the 2015 legislative session.
Missouri State Vision: Our Passion for Excellence
As you know, we are working on a visioning project titled Missouri State Vision: Our Passion for Excellence. The visioning steering committee has met three times to set the parameters for the project and establish task forces. The steering committee has broken down the project into the following six topical areas:
Envisioning the long-term financial vitality of the University and positioning the University to deal with changes and challenges that might be anticipated in the next 10-12 years
Envisioning alignment of the University’s array of academic programs, strategic partnerships and research emphasis to help ensure the next generation of students/learners succeeds
Envisioning a campus infrastructure – facilities, technology, environmental sustainability – that supports academic programs and research initiatives and contributes to the University’s overall operational efficiency
Envisioning a campus community that embraces diversity in all aspects of campus learning/life
Envisioning integration of globalization in all University endeavors in order for the campus community to compete, function and succeed in the worldwide environment/economy
Envisioning a rich, memorable and distinctive educational experience that helps ensure success for students
The committee established task forces for each topical area and selected external and internal members for each task force. All task force members have been instructed to reach out to the members of our University community as they move forward, so there will be many opportunities to participate in the visioning project for those who were not selected for task force membership. You can find more information online about Missouri State Vision: Our Passion for Excellence, including complete task force rosters. Please send us your comments.
Before the Grand Jury reached its decision regarding the Michael Brown shooting, the University established a series of educational programs intended to allow students and the public to engage in facilitated dialogue about the Ferguson situation. A number of these programs have already taken place, and more events are scheduled.
The University has decided not to renew its contract with head football coach Terry Allen. Coach Allen’s contract will expire at the end of January 2015, which means that no buyout is required. We have created a search committee to vet potential candidates for our new head football coach. The committee is chaired by Kyle Moats, director of athletics, and includes the following members:
Ryan DeBoef, chief of staff
Fred Harle, community member
Casey Hunt, senior associate director of athletics
Dr. James Hutter, associate professor, school of agriculture
Tom Strong, community member
The committee has already begun its work. I have asked the search committee to pare down the list of applicants. Kyle Moats and I will then make the final decision on which applicant to hire. You can find more information about the University’s decision not to renew Coach Allen’s contract and the ongoing search for our next head coach in the University’s press release.
I am excited about the future of Bears football. I firmly believe that this hiring opportunity will allow us to build on the momentum of our renovated facilities and reinvented game day experience to put the football program on a path toward success. I want to publicly thank Coach Allen again for the good work he has done during the past nine years and for his commitment to our community, the University and his players.
The Missouri General Assembly’s 2015 legislative session will begin in January. Missouri State has established the following legislative priorities for the upcoming session:
Obtain a capital appropriation for maintenance and repair projects including Ellis Hall (($7,581,818) and Hill Hall ($9,575,669) on the Springfield campus, Missouri Hall on the West Plains campus ($1,547,890) and life safety equipment throughout the West Plains campus ($220,000).
Combine the $1,325,000 operating appropriation for particular health programs (including the occupational therapy program on the Springfield campus and allied health programs on the West Plains campus) with Missouri State’s ongoing core appropriation.
Obtain an increase in Missouri State’s ongoing operating appropriation.
I hope each of you had a good Thanksgiving break and are ready for the sprint to the finish line over the next two weeks. Plan to come by my holiday open house at 2 p.m. Dec. 9 in the JQH Arena Prime Overtime Club. Thanks for all you do for Missouri State University.
Department of communication receives national recognition
The department of communication has received the distinction of “Strong Program” by the National Communication Association (NCA) President’s Task Force for the Advocacy of Communication in the Academy. The mission of the NCA Task Force “…is to identify information and resources that will prove useful to communication programs of all types as they advocate for their interests on campus.”
There were several factors that contributed to this recognition, including department affiliation with the professional discipline, faculty teaching and research profiles, presence of a solid general education course (COM 115: Public Speaking) and disciplinary leadership. For many years, the department has made significant contributions to basic communication course innovation, teaching assistant training, peer-reviewed research, national leadership in the communication discipline and civic engagement.
It is an honor to be recognized by this task force, and I hope you join me in congratulating the department on a job well done!