Presidential SearchPresidential Search

Mission and 25-Year Assumptions


Missouri State University is a public, comprehensive metropolitan system with a statewide mission in public affairs, whose purpose is to develop educated persons. The University's identity is distinguished by its public affairs mission, which entails a campus-wide commitment to foster expertise and responsibility in ethical leadership, cultural competence and community engagement.

As the Missouri State University Board of Governors embarks upon a journey to secure the institution’s 11th president, it does so with the professional insight of the Administrative Council and other key stakeholders within the University. The job description is the official document that guides the search. What follows amplifies the job description by providing the environmental assumptions for the future. These assumptions, along with the resulting desired characteristics, should inform the process of selecting a new leader.

25-year assumptions


  • Springfield and the surrounding region will continue significant population growth.
  • In 25 years, Springfield is predicted to have: significantly more diversity, a population of 250,000 and an MSA approaching 650,000-700,000.
  • Springfield will continue to grow and be a regional center for health care and industry.
  • Meanwhile, Missouri will have only very modest population growth.
  • Missouri will have a higher percentage of high school graduates attend and attain a certificate, two-year, four-year or graduate degree.


  • A significantly larger percentage of new job creation will require some college and the fraction requiring a graduate degree will expand.
  • Health care, STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and education will continue to be major factors in the economic development of Springfield and southwest Missouri.


  • Missouri State will experience modest growth, approaching 27,000 within 10 years — about 24,000 on the Springfield campus and 3,000 on the West Plains campus.
  • The student body will look more like the world.
  • The trend for students to start college in two-year institutions will continue upward.
  • Full-time residential students will have continued to shrink as a proportion of our student body.
  • The number of working adults taking courses and seeking degrees will increase, with a heavy reliance on technology for delivery.
  • Changes in the state scholarship programs will affect enrollment, most notable will be an increased emphasis on needs-based financial aid.
  • An increasing proportion of student credit hours will be generated by graduate programs.
  • There will be an increase in selected baccalaureate and master’s degrees.
  • There will be an increase in doctoral programs, initially clinical doctorates and ultimately a limited number of PhD programs.


  • At best, state funding will remain static.
  • Out of necessity, the cap on tuition will be modified or eliminated.
  • As a result, the percentage of funding from the state will continue to decline, reaching the 20-25 percent level.
  • The importance of growing other sources of revenue (private funding, federal earmarks, sponsored grants/programs) will continue to increase.
  • It is possible there will be significant changes in the way in which students are charged — for example, increased use of differential tuition by academic programs.


  • Interdisciplinary work will be more prevalent and important.
  • Interactive technologies will be fully integrated into how we teach and learn — wireless, mobile, voice-activated, remote access and delivery.
  • Opportunities for internationalization will continue to expand.
  • There will be a continued need for specialized spaces for instruction, including laboratories.
  • Campus and/or students will become wireless.
  • The current method of lecturing will be replaced, at least in part, with alternative teaching methods.
  • The four-year model of a college degree will move to a differentiated time frame; examples include the following:
    • Three years of classroom instruction and one year of practicum
    • Three-year degrees/five-year degrees
  • The “contract education” model will be used more often.
  • Developing educational partnerships of all kinds will continue to be important.


  • There will be changes in higher education in terms of governance, consolidation, elimination — details unclear, but will look different than 2012. One result could be a larger Missouri State System including other existing institutions.
  • Public-private partnerships will be numerous and necessary.

Public affairs mission

The public affairs mission was signed into law on June 15, 1995. The mission defines a primary way in which a Missouri State education is distinguished from that of other universities and one way by which we educate students for future success.

The three broad themes of the public affairs mission can be articulated as:

  • Ethical leadership: Students will articulate their value systems, act ethically within the context of a democratic society, and demonstrate engaged and principled leadership.
  • Cultural competence: Students will recognize and respect multiple perspectives and cultures.
  • Community engagement: Students will recognize the importance of contributing their knowledge and experiences to their own community and the broader society. Students will also recognize the importance of scientific principles in the generation of sound public policy.