We started the academic year with our first annual Action Plan under the 2016-2021 Long-Range Plan. We identified two focus areas—increasing the number of graduates while maintaining academic rigor and quality and enhancing campus diversity and inclusion. We also established measurable goals to hold the university accountable.
Staying focused despite challenges
As we work on the budget for next year, it is important that we remain committed to our focus areas. This is consistent with the guiding principles I highlighted in last week’s note. One of those principles says:
- Protecting the core mission of the university—academic achievement, scholarship and student success—is paramount. Budgetary decisions should be consistent with the mission and strategic plan of the university, with a primary focus on preserving strong academic programs, increasing the number of graduates at all levels, and enhancing diversity and inclusion.
Our work to increase the number of graduates while maintaining academic rigor and quality and enhancing campus diversity and inclusion must continue despite funding challenges.
Leaders identified to advance efforts
In addition to college and department level groups that are working on retention and graduation initiatives, several university-wide groups are working to ensure that we continue to move forward on our focus areas. Frank Einhellig and I have assigned administrators to lead particular efforts:
- Wes Pratt is leading our efforts with regard to improving the transition for underrepresented, first-generation and Pell-eligible incoming and new students.
- Rachelle Darabi is leading our efforts with regard to enhanced advising for such students.
- Steve Foucart is leading our efforts with regard to financial incentives designed to encourage retention.
- Kelly Wood is leading our efforts with regard to first-year experiences.
- Dee Siscoe is leading our efforts with regard to living-learning communities.
- Kathy Davis is leading our efforts with regard to retaining and guiding students who have not declared a major.
- John Catau is leading our efforts with regard to structured schedules.
I met with each of these administrators last week to encourage them to press on with their work. Earlier this week I met with our senior administrative and academic leadership teams to track our progress on the items set forth in the Action Plan.
I want to thank all of our faculty and staff for their work on the focus areas. Together we will continue to move the university forward.
Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!