At the June Board of Governors meeting, I presented our 2021-22 Report on Action Plan to the board. You can find the report and slides from my presentation online.
We had an amazing year. Our successes this year are impressive on their own merits.
However, when you account for the fact that we accomplished so much during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, you realize how truly remarkable our successes are.
Three major achievements headlined our year:
We had enormous success in advocacy at the federal, state and local levels.
Thanks to Sen. Roy Blunt, we received $56 million in federal funds (along with another $28 million for projects with our partners at JVIC) —$50 million of which will fund the Temple Hall project.
Thanks to Gov. Mike Parson, Sen. Lincoln Hough, Sen. Karla Eslinger and other supportive legislators, we received a 5.4% operating appropriation increase from the state along with $40 million in one-time funds to support critical university projects — $30 million of which will fund the remainder of the Temple Hall project.
We are in the final stages of securing ARPA allocations from Greene County, the City of Springfield and Howell County that will also fund mission-critical university projects. I will cover that work in a separate note in the near future.
We received a mission change from the Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE).
We received statutory authority to offer professional doctorates several years ago. However, before this year, our CBHE-approved mission did not include professional doctorates.
This meant we had to go through an arduous process that took months — sometimes years — when we sought state approval for new professional doctorate programs.
We requested that the CBHE change our mission to alleviate this burden. Our request was controversial and received significant pushback.
In the end, we were successful at advocating for the change, and the CBHE unanimously approved our request.
Now the state will use the same process to review our requests for new professional doctoral programs that it uses for our other academic programs.
We received a naming gift for Great Southern Bank Arena.
John Q. Hammons committed to pay off 48% of the bonds for the arena. Through the contributions made over the years by Mr. Hammons, payments we received from J.D. Holdings (Mr. Hammons’ successor on the obligation), and the generous contribution made by Great Southern Bank, we were able to pay down 48% of the bonds for the arena.
We have successfully managed this unfortunate situation to put MSU in the place it would have been had Mr. Hammons fulfilled his entire gift commitment.
Many other pride points for MSU
Other successes this year include:
- We received state approval for two new doctoral programs — one in occupational therapy and the other in psychology.
- We were successfully awarded a contract to provide the programming for the 2023 Smithsonian Folklife Festival that will feature the Ozarks.
- We partnered to launch the Springfield Daily Citizen and housed its operations on our campus.
- We increased our focus on employer partnerships. We will build on this work to increase our partnerships with employers in the coming year.
- We expanded the Bear Bridge mentoring program to enhance our efforts to retain faculty of color.
- We provided faculty and staff with a 4% across-the-board raise, a $15 minimum wage, a $1,000 one-time retention payment, regular faculty promotions and staff equity adjustments.
- We completed work on the Darr Ag Academy and the MRC, and we are near completion on the Goodman Amphitheatre, Kampeter Hall renovations, and the JVIC expansion.
- We had what some have described as the best year in athletics since we moved to Division 1 in the 1980s. Six of our teams played in NCAA post-season tournaments.
- We launched the ASCEND program to support students with autism in West Plains.
- We began a multi-year process of leadership transition by hiring Zora Mulligan and John Jasinski and by promoting Brad Bodenhausen.
I hope you will take a moment to reflect on these successes. We truly had an incredible year.
Significant challenges lie ahead. Indicators for the fall predict an enrollment decline, inflation looms large, and many analysts predict a recession in the near term.
I have tasked Zora to lead our efforts to develop and implement strategies that reinvigorate our recruitment and retention work with a goal of bending our enrollment curve.
I have tasked Dr. Jasinski to lead our efforts to restructure many of our units and operations to meet modern demands and enrollment trends.
When I think about our successes in 2021-22, I am confident that together we can meet the challenges that lie ahead, make necessary changes and continue to move MSU forward.
Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!