In this issue of Clif’s Notes, I want to update you on the budget for both fiscal year 2012 and fiscal year 2013, review major outcomes of the Board of Governors retreat, designate additional leave days for staff and highlight recent private investments in Missouri State University.
First, for the fiscal year 2013 budget, not much has changed since the last issue of Clif’s Notes. The Missouri General Assembly is on spring break until March 19 at which time the full House will discuss the budget.
There have been some amendments made to fully restore the higher education budget to this year’s level. It is unclear how likely those amendments are to prevail. For now, we need to continue to plan for the 7.78 percent reduction discussed in the Feb. 14 issue of Clif’s Notes.
For the current year (fiscal year 2012), you have heard that Governor Nixon has released about $2.3 million to higher education. For Missouri State, that means $200,000. I want to explain how we intend to allocate those one-time funds.
Of the total, $150,000 will be for academic-related projects and $50,000 will be for non-academic projects. Our intent is to make these dollars available through a grant process, with the money available to spend through June 30, 2013.
Soon, Provost Frank Einhellig will distribute more detailed instructions and a timeline for the academic proposal process, and I will do the same for non-academic. I can tell you this much:
- Academic — Frank has agreed to match the $150,000 with $150,000 from his reserve for a total pool of $300,000; the priority for proposals will be for initiatives that continue to enhance enrollment; proposals for summer school 2012 may be included.
- Non-Academic — I will match the $50,000 with $50,000 from the president’s reserve for a total of $100,000; this will account for two-thirds of any proposal; the unit making the proposal must commit to funding the other third (i.e., if a proposal is $30,000, the grant will cover $20,000, and the unit will be expected to cover the other $10,000). The deadline for submitting non-academic proposals is March 30.
We look forward to seeing the proposals that come forward during this process.
Board of Governors mid-year retreat
The Board of Governors met for its mid-year retreat March 1-2 in St. Louis in conjunction with the men’s Missouri Valley Conference Basketball Tournament, which has become a tradition in recent years.
The primary purpose of the retreat was to update the Board on our progress in implementing the long-range plan, Our Promise. This was especially helpful to our new Board members. The Board also touched on several other items.
One of the main outcomes of the retreat was the Board’s decision to move forward with the presidential search. This was described to you in some detail in an email last week from Board Chair Gordon Elliott. In the near future, there will be a presidential search website that will contain all of the pertinent information as the process moves forward.
As you probably know, I will be a candidate for the position, so I will maintain some distance from the process, which I started by excusing myself at the retreat during that discussion.
Another outcome of the retreat will be a campus open forum sometime later this spring. The purpose of the forum will be to gain campus input on recommendations to revise or eliminate several targets originally identified in the long-range plan. Prior to the forum, I will circulate the recommendations and the rationale for the changes. We will seek campus input both in writing and at the forum before finalizing and making the changes.
Finally, the Administrative Council and I will be working on preparing our scorecard to measure our progress on goals in the long-range plan. We will keep the main scorecard to 10 to 12 key indicators, with individual units continuing to measure a broader array of goals specific to their work.
The importance of private gifts
On many occasions, I have spoken and written about the increased importance of private contributions given the budget challenges we are facing. Private support is critical to our ability to advance the University in many areas. That is why it was so gratifying to recently announce two significant gifts.
What started as a friendship with the staff in the Garnett Library at Missouri State University-West Plains ultimately led to a $4 million gift to support students with financial need who attend that campus. It is the largest single gift for student scholarships in the University’s history, and we very much appreciate the generosity of Lorene Thompson Brooks.
When JQH Arena was built, the budget did not allow for the completion of the Bears and Lady Bears office and locker room complex. A conscious decision was made to create “shell space” under the south lower bowl which could be completed when private gifts were available. That has now occurred, thanks to the generosity of Mr. Jim D. Morris. His leadership gift will be coupled with a gift from the McQueary Family and other donors to make that project a reality.
Speaking of the McQuearys, on April 20, we will officially open the new wing of the McQueary Family Health Sciences Hall. This new wing is a major asset for the health programs at Missouri State.
Private gifts also have assisted us in moving forward with the Gohn Hall project in West Plains, the Science Scholars’ Laboratory addition at Greenwood Laboratory School and the Robert W. Plaster Center for Free Enterprise and Business Development, the first phase of which will be completed in late fall of this year.
Two points: First, I want to offer my public congratulations and thanks to all who have made these gifts possible. In some cases, these commitments were the result of relationships built over many years. Second, please know that we continue to work with potential donors on other buildings and initiatives in support of our academic programs and our co-curricular programs. Every investment by a donor moves the University forward.
Additional leave days
As you know the president has the discretion to provide up to four additional days of leave for staff. For these two days, the University will close as it would for any holiday leave. The two additional leave days are as follows:
- Friday, May 25, 2012 — this is the Friday before the Memorial Day holiday, thus providing a four-day weekend
- Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 — this is the day prior to the two-day Thanksgiving holiday, thus expanding this to a three-day holiday for staff
Closer to the end of the calendar year, we will address the possibility of granting additional leave days during the December/January mid-year holiday break.
I continue to be honored to serve as your interim president. I appreciate all you do to help Missouri State University succeed.