In this issue of Clif’s Notes, I provide details of my contract extension, provide an update regarding construction projects on campus, discuss the status of this year’s eight major goals, provide information about MOOCs offered through Missouri State Outreach, announce a newly launched staff mentoring program, remind faculty to register for this year’s Showcase on Teaching and Learning and provide information about an opportunity to hear the ambassador of Kazakhstan speak on campus.
Last week, the Board of Governors extended my contract through June 30, 2022. I am grateful to the Board and to the University community for giving me this opportunity.
I love this job, and I look forward to working with all of you for at least the next eight years. Together we have taken steps toward achieving the University’s mission of developing educated persons, but our work is far from done.
The Board of Governors also took an important step toward meeting facility needs on campus by authorizing up to $30 million in bond financing for certain construction projects:
- Construction of a new Occupational Therapy and Health Sciences Building
- Acquisition of and improvements to Brick City Building 4
- Renovations to the fifth floor of the Jim D. Morris Building
- Construction of a new Student Admissions and Success Center (Welcome Center)
The University carefully handpicked these projects for the bonding proposal. None of the bond proceeds will be used for athletic or recreational facilities. Each of the bonded projects has an independent funding source to cover the payments. The College of Health and Human Services new differential fee will contribute to the payments for the Occupational Therapy and Health Sciences Building payments. Additionally, the state has appropriated money that the University will use for the Occupational Therapy and Health Sciences Building payments. Rent payments in Brick City exceed the bond obligation for Building 4. Revenues from the English Language Institute will cover the bond obligation for the Morris Building. The University anticipates receiving private support to pay the Student Admissions and Success Center bond obligation.
I understand that these projects may disrupt certain campus activities and the routines of various members of our campus community. We will make every attempt to minimize the disruption. If you experience construction-related parking problems, I recommend that you take advantage of the parking available in Bear Park North and utilize the University’s shuttle service.
Eight major goals
The Board also discussed the University’s eight major goals for 2014-15. The process for developing these goals started in the Administrative Council retreat this summer. Deans and other academic leaders joined the retreat, and the group took collective inventory of each of the objectives in the 2011-16 Long-Range Plan.
I had the goals drafted based on that discussion, and the same group submitted proposed edits and revisions. We then submitted the revised goals to the Board for discussion at last week’s retreat. We are in the process of finalizing the goals based on the input we received from the Board, and we will present the goals to the University community in the near future.
Missouri State is offering two Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs):
- Laura Ingalls Wilder: Exploring Her Work and Writing Life — The Early Years
- Ozarks History: Examining an American Culture
These MOOCs have generated a huge demand. As of this morning, 4,558 students were enrolled in the Wilder course and 641 were enrolled in the Ozarks History course. I want to thank Ms. Pamela Smith Hill and Dr. Brooks Blevins for their efforts in creating these courses. I also want to thank the efforts of the Missouri State Outreach staff in promoting and administering the courses.
These online, noncredit courses are free and open to the public. If you or someone you know would like to enroll in one or both of these classes, visit the University’s MOOC website.
Staff mentoring program
We are pleased to announce that we have launched a new staff mentoring program: Bear Connection. The mission of Bear Connection is to welcome staff, acclimate them to the University community and provide a unique personalized onboarding experience for our newest employees. New staff members will be paired with a mentor from the University Staff Ambassadors Alumni Association for their first six to nine months of employment. We hope you find our new mentoring program a valuable tool in helping to orient our new employees.
Showcase on Teaching and Learning
I want to encourage all faculty to register to attend the 2014 Showcase on Teaching and Learning. The theme for this year’s conference is “Facilitating Student Engagement and Deep Learning.” As part of this year’s Showcase on Teaching and Learning, there will be a presentation on the pilot program we have launched on credit by assessment. This program is a follow up to one recommendation from the Presidential Task Force on Online Education and Alternative Credit.
An evening with the ambassador of Kazakhstan
Mr. Kairat Umarov, the ambassador of Kazakhstan, is visiting southwest Missouri to learn about our region and explore opportunities for collaboration. Ambassador Umarov will make a presentation at 7 p.m. Aug. 21, in Strong Hall 003. The presentation is free and open to the public.
If you have been away from campus for the summer, welcome back. The new academic year will be here soon, and I look forward to another great year working with you.
Thanks for all you do for Missouri State University.