In this issue of “Clif’s Notes,” I review the actions taken at the Oct. 18 Board of Governors meeting, update you on the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation and provide the results of the B.E.A.R. Fee vote.
Board of Governors actions
I want to summarize some of the actions taken last Friday, Oct. 18, at the Board of Governors meeting.
New Board members and officers
We have two new Board members who were at the meeting Friday. Virginia Fry is from the 7th Congressional District and replaces Gordon Elliott. Kendall Seal is from the 6th Congressional District and replaces Cathy Smith. Governors Fry and Seal are both Missouri State alumni, and both are accomplished attorneys. I think they will make excellent Board members, and we look forward to working with them.
I also want to again publicly thank Governors Elliott and Smith for their conscientious work, time commitment and passion for Missouri State. The University is a better place because they served on the Board.
At the end of Friday’s meeting, the Board elected officers for 2014. They are Beverly Miller, Lebanon, as chair, and Steve Hoven, St. Louis, as vice chair. Again, we look forward to working closely with Governors Miller and Hoven in 2014.
The Board approved a number of changes that will be incorporated into the employee handbook. Included were several editorial changes and a couple of changes that brought the handbook into compliance with new state law.
The Board also unanimously approved a Sponsored Adult Dependent Program. This action means that sponsored dependents will be eligible for all benefits currently available to “spouses” to the extent allowed by law.
The Sponsored Adult Dependent Program is effective Jan. 1, 2014, but the enrollment period is coming soon. Employees will have between Nov. 1 and Dec. 1, 2013, to enroll for benefits.
Bronze Bear Award
The Board approved former Missouri State President Arthur Mallory as the 2013 recipient of the Bronze Bear Award. You can read more about Dr. Mallory and the award in this issue’s “Telling the Missouri State Story” below.
In keeping with its practice of the past year, the Board of Governors spent the last 90 minutes of the meeting focusing on a single topic. For October, the topic was diversity, specifically the domestic diversity of our students. I invite you to review the background materials that were sent to the Board. As you will see, we have made significant progress in the past several years, but there is more to be done.
Diversity and inclusion continue to be important goals for the University and for the Board, and all of us share the responsibility to achieve these goals. The Board will continue and expand this discussion at the December meeting when the focus will be on recruitment, retention and services for first generation students.
Dr. Tammy Jahnke and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Steering Committee continue to make preparations for the upcoming accreditation visit to the Springfield campus.
The Criteria for Accreditation are the standards of quality by which the HLC determines whether an institution merits reaffirmation of accreditation. In preparation for Missouri State University’s site visit from the HLC in 2015-16, the University must provide assurances (narrative and evidence) that we meet the five criteria and all core components. The Missouri State HLC Steering Committee has appointed five subcommittees to begin to form the narrative and to identify evidence.
In addition to collecting evidence, this also is an assessment process. We will be asked to identify strengths and concerns. This is a time to celebrate our strengths — all of the things we do well. If we are addressing our concerns (closing the loop) in some way, we will be given the opportunity to show progress.
Draft reports and town hall meeting
Drafts of the subcommittee reports will be posted as they are reported to the committee from now through March 2014. You may submit comments to the steering committee through the chair or any other member during upcoming months. The committee needs to hear if it has missed evidence or if you think it should have identified different strengths and/or concerns.
In April 2014, there will be a town hall meeting to review the draft report and the preliminary lists of strengths and concerns. The University’s administrative team values your opinion, and it will be important for you to review the draft and comment (either to the steering committee or at the town hall meeting).
The first HLC criterion is mission; review the strengths and concerns the subcommittee has identified.
Please keep in mind that we are only at the draft stage. Please review the HLC Steering Committee agendas and minutes. We would like to hear your feedback.
Tammy and I would like to thank the following members of Subcommittee One for their outstanding work: Vic Matthews (chair, CHPA), Ken Coopwood (Diversity and Inclusion), Cindy Hail (COE), Cathy Pearman (COE) and Josh Smith (CHHS).
B.E.A.R. Fee results
Our students never cease to amaze me. To improve campus facilities, to improve school spirit and to improve the overall student experience, student leaders proposed the Bear Experience and Recreation (B.E.A.R.) Fee of $50 per semester (graduated by credit hours taken). The fee was voted on during Homecoming week and approved by a vote of 2,948 for and 726 opposed. The fee will be implemented beginning in fall 2014 assuming all the projects have been completed, including the soccer/track complex, field hockey/lacrosse complex, sand volleyball complex and Plaster Sports Complex, especially replacement of the student seating section on the east side.
I want to pay tribute to the student leadership who worked on this proposal, shepherded it through the process and got it passed. Many students were involved, but I want to single out Matthaus Klute and SGA President David Schneider for their excellent work.
About the fee
To further remind you of what this fee will help us accomplish, including artist’s rendering, I refer you to the SGA blog post about the B.E.A.R. Fee. We will be able to expand our recreation opportunities for students, as well as improve facilities for our student-athletes and the students who attend the events.
In summary, the student fee will generate about $1.6 million annually. Of that total, $200,000 has been committed to enhancing the student experience at athletic events. The remaining $1.4 million will make payments on about $20 million in bonds that we will use to construct these facilities.
What our students have done will benefit the University for many years to come. I applaud them for their foresight. They are thinking bigger and bolder.
United Way pledges due
If you have not already submitted your United Way materials, please do so. The deadline is here, and we want to include all of the contributions from our campus. I hope you will consider participating in this worthy cause. As you know, this is one of the University-wide activities we support annually. For more information or to make a contribution, please contact Tami Reed in the office of internal audit.
Thanks to everyone who helped make Homecoming 2013 such a special time for our students, our alumni and the entire campus community. It was an exciting action-packed week of events, capped by a great win by the football team, all of which left everyone feeling good about Missouri State University.