1.0 About the University

1.1 History

Missouri State University was founded in Springfield in 1905 as the Fourth District Normal School. The institution's primary purpose during its early years was the preparation of teachers for the public school systems in the southwest region of Missouri. The first name change came in 1919 when the school became Southwest Missouri State Teachers College, reflecting its regional mission. By the mid-1940s, the University had expanded its instructional program beyond teacher education to include the liberal arts and sciences; and as a consequence in 1945, the Missouri legislature authorized an official change in the institution's name to Southwest Missouri State College. As additional programs were implemented at the undergraduate level and with the development of graduate education, the University became an educationally diverse institution by 1972. Recognition of this further growth and development again resulted in an official change in name to Southwest Missouri State University. In 1995, Senate Bill 340 was signed into law, giving Missouri State University a statewide mission in public affairs.  On the 100th anniversary of the founding of the University, in 2005, the name changed to Missouri State University.  This name change identified the institution as a multipurpose, metropolitan university providing diverse instructional, research, and service programs.

Missouri State University-West Plains was established in 1963 as the West Plains Residence Center and has been a semiautonomous, two-year campus within the Missouri State University system since 1971. Consistent with the Missouri State-West Plains is a teaching and learning institution of higher education offering two-year associate degrees, certificates and a variety of continuing education courses as needed by the employers and citizens of the area. 

The Missouri State University Mountain Grove Research Campus, originally established as the Missouri State Fruit Experiment Station by a legislative act in 1899, is the oldest identifiable segment of Missouri State University. Until 1974, it operated as a state agency under a board of trustees appointed by the Governor. As a result of the Omnibus State Reorganization Act of 1974, administrative responsibility of the Station was given to the Board of Governors of the University. In 2006, the Station was integrated into the Department of Agriculture in the College of Natural and Applied Sciences as part of a reorganization of the University.

Missouri State Branch Campus, located at Liaoning Normal University in the People’s Republic of China, offers a two-year Associate of Arts degree through the West Plains campus and a Bachelor of Science in General Business degree through the College of Business on the Springfield campus. The Branch Campus programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Today, the University functions as a multi-campus system that is integrated to address the needs of its constituents.

1.2 Mission

Missouri State University is a public, comprehensive university system with a mission in public affairs, whose purpose is to develop educated persons while achieving five goals: democratizing society, incubating new ideas, imagining Missouri’s future, making Missouri’s future, and modeling ethical and effective behavior. The University’s identity is distinguished by its statewide mission in public affairs, requiring a campus-wide commitment to foster competence and responsibility in the common vocation of citizenship.

The academic experience is grounded in a general education curriculum which draws heavily from the liberal arts and sciences. This foundation provides the basis for mastery of disciplinary and professional studies. It also provides essential forums in which students develop the capacity to make well-informed, independent critical judgments about the cultures, values, and institutions in society.

The task of developing educated persons obligates the University to expand the store of human understanding through research, scholarship and creative endeavor, and drawing from that store of understanding, to provide service to the communities that support it. In all of its programs, the University uses the most effective methods of discovering and imparting knowledge and the appropriate use of technology in support of these activities.

1.3 Missouri State University System

The Missouri State University campuses are structured to address the special needs of the urban and rural populations they serve. Missouri State University-Springfield is a selective admissions, graduate level teaching and research institution. Missouri State University-West Plains is an open admissions campus serving seven counties in south central Missouri. Missouri State University-Mountain Grove serves Missouri’s fruit industry through operation of the State Fruit Experiment Station. The China  Branch Campus at Liaoning Normal University (LNU) operates in Dalian, China.

The University also operates various other special facilities, such as the Darr Agricultural Center in southwest Springfield, the Jordan Valley Innovation Center in downtown Springfield, the Bull Shoals Field Station near Forsyth, Baker’s Acres and Observatory near Marshfield, the Missouri State University Graduate Center in Joplin. In addition, Missouri State has the operations and program offerings of one entire academic department, its Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, located near Washington, D.C. in Fairfax, Virginia.

1.4 Governing Board

The governing authority at Missouri State University is vested in the Board of Governors (Chapters 172 and 174, Missouri Revised Statutes). The Board of Governors of the University is the final appointing and approval authority.

1.5 Organization

Executive Administration - The current executive administrative organizational structure at Missouri State University is depicted in the Organizational Chart in 1.6.  Departments are aligned under this structure and are given responsibility and authority as specified by the Board of Governors.

Administrative Responsibility - Policies and procedures relating to personnel administration of employees are applicable throughout the University in order to provide equitable treatment and consistent relationships with all employees. Departmental administrators and supervisors are responsible for adherence to University personnel policies and procedures in their respective departments, for providing direction and supervision, and for establishing standards of quality and quantity of work performance.

Office of Human Resources - The Office of Human Resources, under the Vice President for Administrative & Information Services, provides various support services to all departments in order to attract, develop, and retain the human resources needed to support the University's teaching, research, and administrative functions. The Office administers certain employee-related programs, maintains personnel records, interprets University personnel policies and procedures, and carries out functional responsibilities related to the University's personnel programs, including: salary administration, applicant recruitment, referral and employment, employee development, orientation, benefits administration, and employee and labor relations activities.

In providing these services, the Office of Human Resources seeks to coordinate the personnel needs of the University with those of the employees. As a service-oriented unit, the Office of Human Resources is available to support departments in their administration of personnel programs and in their direct support of employees. The employee should make suitable arrangements with his/her department supervisor prior to leaving the work area to visit the Office of Human Resources

Staff Senate – The Staff Senate promotes and fosters the welfare and growth of University staff through a fact-finding, deliberative and consultative body of representatives which makes studies, reports, and recommendations to the administration on behalf of its constituency.

The twenty-seven (27) Senators represent all major occupational categories (except faculty) and include seven (7) divisional representatives at large, representing the President and each Vice Presidential unit. The Senate also includes one representative from Faculty Senate and one representative from Student Government Association as non-voting members. Employees are eligible to become Senators after serving one year at the University. The University encourages employees to attend Senate meetings when possible and participate in Senate membership activities. Supervisors should use student workers, forward phone calls and take other measures to allow as many employees as possible to attend and participate.

The Staff Senate meets the first Thursday of each month in Plaster Student Union. All Senate meetings are open to everyone, but staff members, in particular, are encouraged to attend. For agenda and other Senate information, visit the Staff Senate website  or email staffsenate@missouristate.edu. For the West Plains campus, visit the West Plains Staff Senate website or email STACWP@missouristate.edu.

1.6 Organizational Chart

View the Missouri State University System Organizational Chart or read the accessible System Organizational List.