Chapter 3: SMSU as a Future-Oriented Organization

Engaging in Planning

Missouri State’s allocation of resources and its processes for evaluation and planning demonstrate its capacity to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its education, and respond to future challenges and opportunities. As described in Chapter 1, shortly after President John Keiser’s arrival in July 1993, he stated that SMSU would become a planning-oriented and mission-driven university. In his first major speech at the University, he discussed developing the first long-range plan under his administration. In subsequent speeches, he discussed his intent to develop a series of five-year plans to help guide the University. Newly established performance measures would allow the University to monitor its success in implementing each of these plans.

Since 1995, the University has developed and implemented two long-range plans, Welcoming the 21st Century: A Long-Range Vision and Five-Year Plan (1995-2000) and Countdown to the SMSU Centennial: A Long-Range Vision and Six-Year Plan (2000-2006), and it is in the process of developing the third long-range plan, Missouri State University, Daring to Excel: A Long-Range Vision and Five-Year Plan (2005-2010), which should be approved late in 2005.

The President suggested and the Board of Governors approved assigning the task of developing the first long-range plan to the University Planning and Advisory Council (UPAC), whose membership includes the Administrative Council, as well as representatives from the Faculty Senate, the Staff Senate and the Student Government Association. First appointed in 1992, UPAC serves as the advisory body to the President in all matters related to strategic planning. A similar process was followed for the development of the second and third plans.

Performance indicators were established for each of the University’s long-range plans. These system performance measures, coupled with annual program outcome measures, are used to monitor implementation of the plans. Data is collected from units across campus and published in the Annual Report On Performance Measures, which is made available on the University’s Web site. In addition, the President makes an annual report to the University’s Board of Governors that discusses the successes and failures of the University in implementing these plans.

During the development of each plan the President charged UPAC  with ensuring that the planning process remained open and characterized by broad-based participation of constituents both on and off campus.

A brief review of the development of the University’s three long-range plans and their uses follows. The review emphasizes HLC Criterion 2 but relates to the other four as well.

Criteria and Core Components supported in this section include 1d, 2a, 2b.

Welcoming the 21st Century: A Long-Range Vision and Five-Year Plan (1995-2000 ) - Evolution of the Planning Process

The University Planning Advisory Committee (UPAC) was appointed in 1992 to begin work on a comprehensive plan. UPAC produced a first draft in January 1993. In spring 1993, the Board of Regents adopted a selective admissions standard in response to the Coordinating Board for Higher Education’s (CBHE) request for an approach to a series of essential policies in Critical Choices in the fall of 1993. In January 1994, the University conducted a university-wide reorganization to better focus on the five themes in its mission, which had been adopted by the Board of Regents. (The Board later became the Board of Governors with state representation from outside the region.) Finally, internal discussions were held on this long-range plan, and regular meetings were held with the SMSU Board of Regents and the staff of the CBHE.

Implementation of this institutional plan involved the initiation of action plans designed at the unit level, and their integration and acceptance at the central administration level. Each of the academic and administrative units on campus developed detailed operational or tactical plans based on the institutional plan. These operational plans focused and directed institutional processes, including the development of academic programs, facilities and support services, information technology strategies, and enrollment management plans. The “Plan for Improved Student Learning and Assessment,” for example, addressed the need for a comprehensive plan to respond to the Critical Choices, selective admission standards, and performance measures. Programs and facilities incorporated into the plan were not short-sighted. They took into account enhancement funds available through the State of Missouri, and they used a set of guiding principles to establish priorities in planning. All facility renovation and new construction efforts had to meet the guiding principles before being added to the master plan. These plans at the unit level served as the basic building blocks in the development of the annual institutional operating budget.

This first five-year planning document clearly stated the University’s mission: “SMSU is a three-campus metropolitan university whose single purpose is to develop educated persons while focusing on five themes: professional education, health care, business and economic development, and performing arts, with special statewide emphasis on public affairs.” The plan also stated three major goals for the University:

  • to improve the focus of the university mission,
  • to increase standards in both teaching and learning, and
  • to operate in a systematic fashion.

During the years following approval of Welcoming the 21st Century, the plan served as a roadmap and the annual Performance Measures served as mile markers. That is, the University administration did not implement the entire plan. In some instances, the environment changed so that the plan needed to be adjusted; in others, the actions proposed by the plan were later deemed inappropriate. For example, a number of the academic programs proposed were not implemented due to a lack of documented demand. In addition, a new campus union building was proposed but after a detailed review of many factors, the existing building was renovated. Deviations from the plan were formally reviewed by the Administrative Council and reported to the Board of Governors. The decisions to make such changes were discussed by the campus community before being accepted by the Board of Governors.

Nearly every item contained in Welcoming the 21st Century was addressed, with about 85 percent of the goals being accomplished. With regard to academic programs, the plan proposed seven new undergraduate and 18 new graduate programs. Since the plan was approved, four of the undergraduate programs and 13 of the graduate programs have been implemented. In sum, the University was disciplined in implementing the first long-range plan but was not enslaved by it.

Countdown to the SMSU Centennial: A Long-Range Vision and Six-Year Plan (2000-2006) - Continuing Evolution through Long-Range Planning

Countdown to the SMSU Centennial: A Long-Range Vision and Six-Year

Criteria and Core Components supported in this section include 1a, 1c, 1d, 2a, 2b,2c.

Plan (2000-2006) was the culmination of nearly 18 months of campus discussions and planning led by UPAC. Work on this second plan began in January 1999. From January-May 1999, the campus community concentrated on Phase I: reviewing and revising the mission and the university-wide themes. All drafts were posted on the University’s Web site for review. During spring 1999, there were seven UPAC meetings, two public hearings, and more than 100 individual messages from members of the campus community. Additionally, the University sought input on the vision statement from the CBHE. In May 1999, the SMSU Board of Governors approved the revised vision statement.

In September 1999 UPAC began work on Phase II: determining the details of the six-year plan. Again, drafts were posted on the University’s Web site. There were three public hearings, and eight meetings of UPAC. During Phase II, all official campus groups were encouraged to comment on the plan, and most did. Again, the University sought input on the plan from the CBHE. In May 2000, the SMSU Board of Governors approved the plan. Countdown to the SMSU Centennial was implemented July 1, 2000. Printed copies of the plan were distributed to all faculty and staff in July and the plan was posted on the University Web site.

The plan revised the University’s mission statement slightly and added another goal to those of the previous plan. Changes in the mission statement reflected the development of a new campus in China, an increased focus on developing the University “system,” and modified understandings of the “performing arts” theme to include all “creative arts” and of “education” as “professional education.” These changes also added a new theme, “science and the environment,” and acknowledged public affairs as the University’s formalized, statewide mission.

Countdown to the Centennial was the culmination of nearly 18 months of campus discussions and planning.

The revised major goals stated in the plan were

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

The new goal of establishing partnerships reflected the University’s intent to build on existing partnerships while expanding them to include “nontraditional partners.”  One example is the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Missouri State and the Springfield Business Development Corporation (a subsidiary of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce). The purpose of the MOU is to enable the University and the Springfield Business Development Corporation to foster collaborative programs and activities, such as

  • Advancing technology businesses in the Springfield area through the Missouri State Center for Applied Science and Engineering (CASE)
  • Determining the level of support required by advanced technology businesses in the Springfield area
  • Building a program through CASE to provide the necessary support to advanced technology businesses in the Springfield area
  • Raising the visibility and promoting the capabilities of CASE activities to interested state and federal agencies

 Since the plan’s adoption in 2000, the University has closely monitored its implementation through the annually published Performance Measures. The Performance Measures consist of two major sections. The first section details items that are not necessarily quantitative and focuses on three major areas: academic programs, facilities and support services, and information technology. For example, the reports in Section I include

Since the adoption of Countdown to the Centennial, the University has closely monitored its implementation through the annually published Performance Measures.

  • School of Teacher Education. At its April 2000 meeting, the Board of Governors passed a resolution establishing the School of Teacher Education. That same resolution consolidated the following departments: Early Childhood; Elementary and Middle School Education; Reading, Special Education and Instructional Technology; and Secondary Education, Foundations, and Educational Research. The focus of the School of Teacher Education is on the preparation and ongoing support of teachers.
  • School of Communication Studies. At its October 2000 meeting, the Board of Governors passed a resolution establishing the School of Communication Studies in the College of Arts and Letters. This resolution also established two departments to be administered by the School of Communication Studies: the Department of Communication and the Department of Media, Journalism, and Film. The new school was structured to allow the nearly 40 full-time faculty and staff to better serve their more than 700 majors. The school also provides important benefits for accreditation purposes, especially for journalism.
  • School of Agricultural Sciences. At the December 2001 meeting, the Board of Governors passed a resolution establishing the School of Agricultural Sciences in the College of Natural and Applied Sciences. The school has three departments: the Department of Agriculture, Department of Fruit Science and the Department of Consumer and Family Studies. The purpose of the school is to better portray and manage the University’s diverse agricultural sciences programs and to better position the University to obtain external funding for those programs.

Each of these three schools was established following the criteria outlined in the long-range plan. Minor variations include such items as the change of the department name, Consumer and Family Studies, to Applied Consumer Sciences.

Section II reports on the sixty-seven performance measures identified in the long-range plan. These measures represent the priorities and commitments of the University’s “system.”  The intent of each measure was to demonstrate that SMSU has made a firm commitment toward either a state or an institutional goal. Particular emphasis was placed on tracking the implementation of goals identified by the Missouri Department of Higher Education’s CBHE.  Nine of the Performance Measures, for example, were included to enable the CBHE to continuously monitor the University’s progress toward its mission within the statewide system of public higher education.

Daring to Excel: A Long-Range Vision and Five-Year Plan (2005-2010)

Work on the University’s third long-range plan began in January 2004. Once again, UPAC was given the task of developing the new plan, entitled Daring to Excel: A Long-Range Vision and Five-Year Plan (2005-2010). The eighteen-month planning process was divided into eight major phases:

Criteria and Core Components supported in this section include 1c, 1d, 2a, 2b, 2c, 3d, 4d.

  • Phase I         UPAC evaluates existing plan.
  • Phase II        Planning task forces develop proposed plans/chapters.
  • Phase III      UPAC reviews and prioritizes plans/chapters.
  • Phase IV      Planning task forces revises plans/chapters.
  • Phase V        UPAC reviews long-range plan and submits it to the Administrative Council.
  • Phase VI      Administrative Council reviews/approves long-range plan.
  • Phase VII     Board of Governors reviews/approves long-range plan.
  • Phase VIII   UPAC publishes and distributes long-range plan.

The President’s charges to UPAC included

  • Conduct a planning process centering on the University’s mission, helping to define vision, values, goals, and strategic priorities for the University.
  • Coordinate the planning process with the Higher Learning Commission Self-Study.
  • Identify steps to be followed in the planning process to ensure that the University’s board, administration, faculty, staff, current students, alumni, and relevant external constituencies participate fully in developing the University’s long-range plan.
  • Collect evidence to demonstrate that the University has met and continues to meet the goals developed in the long-range plan.
  • Facilitate development of a long-range plan that takes into account emerging factors such as technology, demographic shifts, and globalization that will impact SMSU during the next five years.
  • Develop measures to monitor the University’s history of financial resource development in areas such as faculty development, technology, learning support services, and facilities (new and renovated).
  • Develop performance measures specific to the long-range plan that will provide the University with an effective system for collecting, analyzing, and using organizational information to support continuous improvement. The performance measures will reflect the current Higher Learning Commission Criteria and corresponding Core Components.

For the new plan, a number of sections in Countdown were retained while other sections were revised or replaced. Major revisions in the plan included the identification of a relatively small number of new academic programs and expansion of sections focusing on distance education, diversity, facilities planning, graduate programs, human resources, information technology, international programs, and research. In addition, the plan adds a sixth theme, “the human dimension” to the University’s mission statement.

The planning timeline originally included adoption of Daring to Excel by the Board of Governors at its June 2005 meeting. However, because of the new presidency effective July 1, 2005, and the new name effective on August 28, 2005, the decision was made to delay final adoption of the five-year plan until later in 2005.

A few examples from Daring to Excel illustrate ways in which planning supports the University mission and is future oriented. The chapter on facilities and support services is future oriented in that it provides not only for current needs but also for projected needs of students, faculty and staff. Plans for the future, for example, include a new facility for health, fitness, and wellness and upgrading for Residence Life Services, as a result of listening to constituents’ needs. In addition, as part of the University’s Environmental Management System (EMS) (which also has program goals, objectives and targets), the University maintains and adheres to procedures for dealing with campus-wide recycling as well as with hazardous waste management and removal—both considering the long-term well being of constituents.

The changing world environment has influenced the University’s curricular planning as well. Daring to Excel includes a new emphasis on “global studies,” through the following recommendations:

  • Incorporate the concept of global citizenship into the public affairs mission by emphasizing global issues and foreign perspectives in all academic disciplines, and by implementing the Comprehensive Global Studies major.
  • Focus Missouri State’s globalization efforts on regions of the world that offer the best opportunities, including Latin America, Europe and the former Soviet Union, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, and on select countries in each of these regions.

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