Chapter 5: SMSU as a Connected Organization
As a multi-campus system operating under a single Board of Governors, Missouri State University is necessarily “a connected organization”: the main campus in Springfield is connected to the West Plains campus, to the small fruit research program at Mountain Grove, and to a much larger region through the Missouri State virtual campus, which coordinates telecommunication-based delivery of distance education among and by the three campuses. Effective administration of this multi-campus system requires coordination and is the responsibility of the Missouri State System Coordinating Council. The Council, composed of representatives from each campus, is responsible for developing business and support systems necessary to ensure that that campuses operate cooperatively, efficiently, economically, and without duplication.
The linking of these campuses through the Coordinating Council provides only one example of how Missouri State is a connected organization. The University’s numerous connections may be seen as a complex web, linking the individuals and units of the Springfield campus with people and institutions throughout the world—not only to the relatively close West Plains and Mountain Grove, but also to the distant Dalian, China. The Missouri State Branch Campus at Dalian is an educational cooperation project between Liaoning Teachers University (LTU) and the Missouri State University System, which offers students a three-year curriculum that may be used toward an Associate of Arts in General Studies with an emphasis in Business through Missouri State—West Plains. In the fall 2004 semester, SMSU-Springfield began offering the courses leading to a Bachelor of Science degree in Business for graduates of the West Plains AA program. The first cohort of students is expected to graduate in 2006.
Administrators, faculty, staff, and students also are connected to others elsewhere through participation in national and international organizations, such as the Council on Public Higher Education, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the Golden Key International Honor Society. Because this part of the web of connections—through official organizations—is similar to that of other institutions of higher learning, this chapter recognizes connections that may be more unique to Missouri State. In keeping with its public affairs mission, these connections illustrate services the University provides for the common good of humanity.
Prior to discussing the theme of serving the common good, however, this chapter continues a topic discussed near the end of Chapter 4 in “Creating the Capacity for Lifelong Learning.” Missouri State creates a culture of service through many programs such as Citizenship and Service-Learning and through volunteer work conducted by faculty and staff. These numerous activities help instill in students a sense of what it means to be active citizens concerned about the public good. The result is more than learning; it is also creating lifelong habits, or learning for life.
Through the process of creating a culture of service, Missouri State also serves constituents. That is, the processes of serving are not just considered, envisioned, and established in the classroom and in policies and planning documents; the processes of serving constituents are enacted in ways that are monitored, evaluated, and revised to meet constituent’s changing needs.
In addition to elaborating on how Missouri State serves constituents as it creates a culture of service, this chapter also discusses several of the collaborative efforts in which the University participates. Missouri State has built bridges among its programs and secondary schools, community colleges, graduate schools elsewhere, and potential employers. Recent collaboration also has involved non-educational entities, such as the city of Springfield, communities in the region, and businesses in China.
None of Missouri State’s collaborations with external constituents would be possible without healthy internal communication. The University has several formal means of communicating its plans and ongoing works, including council, committee, and departmental meetings; publications; and online newsletters. Most recently this Self-Study and the new long-range plan, Daring to Excel, have identified the University’s internal communication strengths, as well as some challenges. While reviewing both the University’s intricate web of internal communication connections and its many collaborations that serve constituents, promote the common good, and create a culture of service, the Steering Committee discovered more examples than can be included in this report. Therefore, what follows is only a partial list.
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