Today is Election Day. I encourage each of you to put the public affairs mission into practice by voting at the Welcome Center or your regular polling location. I am in China this week meeting with government officials and representatives of our partner universities, but I voted absentee before I left.
In last week’s Clif’s Notes, I summarized some of the issues on the ballot and told you how I voted on Proposition D (the transportation funding proposal). If you missed that note, you can find it here.
Setting new goals
When we developed the 2016-21 long-range plan, we also established measurable goals to track our progress under the plan.
I am pleased to report that the university has met two of these goals.
We set a goal of awarding 4,900 degrees and credentials annually. Last year we awarded 4,723 degrees and 461 certificates for a total of 5,184.
We also set a goal of having 14 percent of our faculty and staff be international or members of historically underrepresented groups. In fall 2018, 14.5 percent of our faculty and staff were international or members of historically underrepresented groups, a nearly 4 percent increase over the past 5 years.
The board discussed this progress, and the university established new goals.
The board recognized the flat trend in numbers of high school graduates in Missouri. The board also recognized that our future enrollment growth will be more focused on targeted areas of high workforce demand. Accordingly, we have established a goal of awarding 5,200 degrees and credentials annually by 2021.
The board and the administration agreed that it was important that we continue to press forward on our work to diversify the university’s workforce. Accordingly, we have established a goal of having 16 percent of our faculty and staff be international or members of historically underrepresented groups by 2021.
Room to improve
We have not yet reached our goals with regard to retention and graduation rates.
We have a goal of achieving an overall six-year graduation rate of 57 percent and a first-to-second year retention rate of 82 percent. Our 2018 rates were 54.5 percent and 78 percent respectively.
We also have a goal of increasing our retention and graduation rates for underrepresented, Pell-eligible and first-generation students to 79 percent and 50 percent respectively. Our retention rates for these groups of students range from 64 to 76 percent, and our graduation rates range from 38 to 57 percent.
We are doing a lot to achieve our retention and graduation goals. We continue to expand our designated GEP 101 sections. We are in the process of implementing the Center for Academic Success and Transition (CAST), creating an academic care team for students in academic trouble, encouraging more students to create and utilize four-year plans, providing training on proactive advising and undertaking numerous other initiatives designed to support student academic needs.
In December, the board will discuss the retention and graduation data and the initiatives currently underway.
I am proud of the work we have done, and I look forward to the work that lies ahead to achieve each of these important goals.
Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!