Southwest Missouri State University prides itself on being a "collaborative campus community of learners" with substantial involvement from faculty, staff, students, and administrators, as well as input from the university's various constituent groups (alumni, advisory boards, area residents, state officials, etc.). SMSU believes this collegial and diverse campus community is more easily attained with a clear mission, long-range vision and comprehensive plan of how to achieve the agreed-upon goals.

This long-range plan for Southwest Missouri State University, Countdown to the SMSU Centennial: A Long-Range Vision and Six-Year Plan (2000-2006), resulted from a review, reevaluation and revision of the five-year plan. The new plan covers six years so that SMSU's planning cycle will be in sync with that of the Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

Goals for the plan

SMSU's new six-year plan is intended to achieve four specific goals:

  • to further focus the university mission
  • to continue to increase standards in teaching, scholarship and learning
  • to continue to operate as a system
  • to establish partnerships with other institutions and entities to achieve the university mission

Further focus the mission

From 1995-2000, SMSU sharpened its focus on mission and mandate by emphasizing the real and unique strengths of the university and of its location. The university was successful in this effort. During this six-year plan, SMSU intends to further focus its mission through its designation as a "metropolitan university," implementing its legislatively-approved statewide mission in public affairs, and by serving southwest Missouri in the five themes of the metropolitan conversation: professional education, health, business and economic development, creative arts, and science and the environment.

Continue to increase standards

The desire to increase standards and the quality of teaching and learning led to the adoption of the selective admissions standard and its implementation on a reasonable schedule, the move to enrollment management in policy and tactics, the adoption of a host of measurement and outcomes assessment activities, and the campus-wide emphasis on the student-centered and professional obligations of faculty and staff. Great strides have been made in all areas. This six-year plan builds on that foundation and raises the standards bar a notch higher than before.

Continue to operate as a system

In the interest of the students and taxpayers, it was essential to operate SMSU's campuses in a systematic way. The university has been successful in this effort and wishes to continue that practice. For example, while SMSU-West Plains is separately accredited, there is a standard approach to system planning and management. Another example is the way in which the campuses are linked electronically (video, voice and data).

In the fall of 1994, the Springfield and West Plains campuses were linked with two-way interactive video to connect students at both sites using voice and video. Since 1994, an additional 15 sites have been added to the distance learning network, with more sites planned during 2000-06 to provide better access for all citizens of southwest Missouri. SMSU is committed to developing learning systems serving all campuses through means of electronic laboratories and classrooms capable of receiving and sending textual, graphic, audio, and video information, and to better serve regional needs through distance learning capabilities enhanced by such technology.

Establish partnerships

A new focus for the six-year plan is establishing partnerships, a key ingredient to succeeding in the 21st Century. SMSU has enjoyed mutually beneficial partnerships for many years, especially with the public schools and other colleges and universities in Missouri. The university intends to build on the existing partnerships and expand them to include what some may have previously considered "nontraditional partners." These partnerships will always be a means to accomplish SMSU's goal of developing educated persons.

Declaration of University community principles

SMSU operates within a set of guiding principles developed cooperatively and formally approved by all segments of the university community (Faculty Senate, Student Government Association, Staff Advisory Council, and Administrative Council) before being approved by the SMSU Board of Governors. The Declaration of University Community Principles will be disseminated to students primarily through Student Affairs documents. It reads:


The community of scholars that is Southwest Missouri State University is committed to developing educated persons. It is believed that educated persons will accept responsibility to act in accordance with the following principles:

  • Practicing personal and academic integrity.
  • Being a full participant in the educational process, and respecting the right of all to contribute to the "Marketplace of Ideas."
  • Treating all persons with civility, while understanding that tolerating an idea is not the same as supporting it.
  • Being a steward of the shared resources of the community of scholars.
  • Choosing to accept these principles suggests that each participant of the community refrains from and discourages behavior that threatens the freedom and respect each member deserves.

Choosing to accept these principles suggests that each participant of the community refrains from and discourages behavior that threatens the freedom and respect each member deserves.