Chapter V: Making Missouri’s Future

Missouri State University intends to be an institution that helps make Missouri’s future. To accomplish this goal, the University must educate its students to be well-informed, confident and conscientious leaders, prepared not just to take good jobs upon graduation but to make good jobs through the application of their knowledge and the pursuit of their ambitions. Missouri State will cultivate these leaders through a breadth of opportunities and a depth of learning that comes from rigorous standards in the classroom, in research, and in extracurricular activities. Our graduates will be committed to learning throughout their lifetimes, pursuing the personal curiosities that were awakened at Missouri State.

The education necessary for a fully imagined and realized future is ambitious and broad. To organize its resources to meet this goal, the University will stress six themes in its educational programs and research.

Business and economic development

Since the beginning of civilization, metropolitan areas have served as the world’s trade centers. These centers are vital to the economy in terms of production and consumption. Business and economic development, therefore, is central to the advancement of society. With a diverse and thriving economy, Springfield and southwest Missouri provide a unique setting for the University’s emphasis in business and economic development.

Commerce is the engine that runs a democratic society. The successful future of such a society depends upon its citizens having a complete understanding of the concepts of free enterprise and the entrepreneurial spirit. Accordingly, Missouri State University has three goals for its emphasis on business and economic development:

  • Missouri State provides its students with business and economic knowledge and the capabilities and values to succeed and adapt in a technologically changing, dynamic global economy
  • Missouri State encourages students and faculty to engage in the scholarship of discovery, learning and service, and to convey the results to the broader business and scientific communities
  • Missouri State builds effective partnerships and seeks cooperative opportunities with business, industry and government to benefit students and the public at-large

The core values that guide the development of this theme must include an understanding of ethical and global issues; the influence of political, social, legal, regulatory, environmental and technological issues; and the impact of demographic diversity on organizations. The character and integrity of the Missouri State students, faculty, and alumni must stand out as the single most important element of the business education mix.

In the process of developing educated persons, Missouri State University must strengthen the country’s workforce. Toward this end, the University shall introduce students not only to academic theory, but also to the practical application of academic work in business situations. As a result, Missouri State will encourage students to be involved in public affairs learning experiences and to apply what they have learned in the classroom to the benefit of others and themselves. This philosophy results in directly linking the University with business and industry of all types – public and private, large and small, for-profit and not-for-profit.

Combining theory and practical experience for the past 100 years, the University has graduated students in many fields of expertise, thus contributing to the state’s economic well-being. Missouri State alumni play significant roles in all areas of the economy. They have been, and are now, the leaders of many of the state’s businesses, educational institutions, and governmental agencies. The University is committed to continuing its preparation of well-educated leaders for business, industry, education, and government for the future.

Missouri State is uniquely positioned to address business and economic issues in both urban and rural settings. Located in a metropolitan setting where business and industry range from large-scale national corporations to small family-owned businesses, our faculty are familiar with a broad spectrum of business problems and challenges. This unique mix of resources provides learning opportunities for students, research opportunities for faculty, and service opportunities within the University and its centers. Accordingly, faculty, students, and alumni will use their Missouri State business education to build on a personal commitment to quality so as to make a difference in creating opportunities, innovations, industries, and philanthropies that will improve business and life in their respective communities.

Creative arts

Metropolitan area throughout the world are centers for the arts in which humanity discovers and nurtures its soul. In selecting the creative arts as one of its themes, Missouri State University recognizes the historical impact and future potential of the creative arts in the region that the University has historically served, as well as in the larger world.

Missouri State understands the public nature of the creative arts and the ramifications of such a nature:

  • That artists, as vehicles of human expression, must actively participate in the community and not be isolated from it
  • That the creative arts fulfill a variety of needs ranging from enlightenment to entertainment, from economic development to educational engagement
  • That the creative arts are inextricably linked to a society that prizes quality of life
  • That the creative arts must consistently seek to develop breadth and freedom of expression in deference to the diversity of the public they serve

In these ways, the arts become a bulwark of democratic values. Inasmuch as the creative arts are of, by, about, and for the people, the University’s commitment to the creative arts is a statement of oneness with its community.

In this spirit of unity, the University will dedicate itself to collaboration with various creative arts venues, and with a wide range of organizations and initiatives which utilize or have an impact on the creative arts within Missouri State’s metropolitan region. This commitment will manifest itself in a wide variety of endeavors, including partnerships with public schools to ensure quality creative arts education from kindergarten through graduate school; joint projects with civic arts organizations to provide learning opportunities for our students while also assisting the organizations; and collaboration with community groups to affirm and cultivate the arts’ integral relationship to civic vitality. Obviously, the creative arts form a critical point of intersection between Missouri State and its community and are, therefore, central to the institution’s public affairs mission.

In addition, Missouri State’s commitment to the creative arts will be illustrated by the seriousness with which it prepares students for potential careers in the creative arts. The University will enrich the lives of students through exposure to the creative arts, and it will educate and entertain the populace of the area. The University will create, for artists and audiences alike, a foundation of lifelong appreciation of how aesthetic values enrich our lives.

In embracing the creative arts as fundamental to its mission, Missouri State University asserts the intrinsic value of the creative arts to society and commits itself to engaging the campus community and the community external to the institution in an on-going exploration of the relevance of the creative arts to the world.


Health–defined holistically as physical, psychological, social, and spiritual well-being–is a focus of worldwide attention, and will remain so throughout the 21st century. Effectively using scientific and social resources to maintain a healthy citizenry is vital for stable and productive societies. Thus, public educational institutions have a responsibility to contribute to this undertaking; Missouri State University will continue to embrace this responsibility by highlighting health as a theme for making Missouri’s future.

Springfield has two of the five largest hospital systems in the state, contributing approximately $3 billion annually to the area economy and employing 20,000 people. Medical technology available in the community is equivalent to anything available in Missouri. Skilled practitioners in virtually all specialties are located in the Springfield area, and there is a well-developed network of mental health and human service agencies.

At the same time, southwest Missouri includes numerous rural communities in which access to quality health and social services desperately needs to be enhanced. There also is a growing population of non-English-speaking workers for whom access to quality health care is a significant challenge. Such a context requires a focused effort in health education, research, and services. Missouri State is prepared to play a major role in coordinating Missouri’s future efforts in this arena.

Missouri State already has strong relationships with key health care and human service providers in Springfield. The University continues to build on these relationships through initiatives such as the Ozarks Public Health Institute (OPHI), which brings campus expertise together with communities throughout the Ozarks to address pressing public health concerns. The OPHI, as well as other campus-community partnerships such as the proposed College of Public Health and the Community and Social Issues Institute, will allow students to acquire expertise through rigorous classroom instruction complemented by supervised clinical experience.

The University brings a wide array of disciplines to bear on its health focus. There is a growing understanding that health is affected by the interplay of physical, psychological, and social forces. To that understanding, Missouri State will build strong faculties in the natural and social sciences, as well as in health-related programs. Contemporary perspectives on health include growing emphasis upon preventive measures that seek to promote health rather than to recover it after loss. Several programs will focus efforts on health concerns related to physical inactivity and poor nutrition. Optimizing health in a complex society challenges our best thinking: issues of justice and equity call for creative problem solving to ensure that all have access to quality health services and for cost containment for those services. The convergence of the public affairs and health themes in the metropolitan conversation is illustrated in this policy issue.

Health is a global issue encompassing school, home, and workplace. The projected growth in the biotechnology, tourism, the life sciences, services for the aging, and further development in health care and human service related industries in Missouri present an opportunity for Missouri State to contribute through the intersection of the health and business and economic development themes.

The demand for health professionals and human services providers is increasing in southwest Missouri. The increasing numbers of elderly residents and retirement age citizens, a burgeoning entertainment and tourism industry, and a sound economic base have contributed to the area’s growth — now among the highest in the state. The University accepts the challenge to provide high-quality health and human services programs to the region.

Professional education

All community stakeholders have a basic and continuing concern with professional education and how it is provided. At Missouri State University, the preparation of teachers, counselors, school administrators, and specialty school personnel is an integral component of our mission in public affairs and addresses the essential needs of our community and society. The preparation of educators is the University’s heritage and a key element of the long-range plan. Students graduating from Missouri State University will continue to be among the best prepared educators in the United States.

Professional education includes individuals prepared in the fields of early childhood, elementary, middle school, secondary, reading, special education, and educational technology, as well as in administration and educational leadership, school and community counseling, library media, and other specialty areas in education-related disciplines. Professional education also includes any organized body of knowledge combined with extensive field and clinical experience in the application of evidence based practice that prepares students for careers in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 (PK-12) school and settings. Moreover, professional education at Missouri State University includes lifelong continuous learning offered through such programs as the Beginning Educator Assistance Renewal and Support (BEARS) program.

Well established and new partnerships with area school districts, public agencies, community organizations, and institutions of higher education contribute to the preparation of professional educators. The Teaching Academy and newly formed Ozarks Educational Research Initiative are examples of these collaboratives. Partnerships will be expanded to improve teaching and learning, focusing on the achievement of all PK-12 students, including those with special needs and disabilities. The College of Education will continue to partner with the University of Missouri-Columbia, as well as other Missouri institutions of higher education, to offer a cooperative Ed.D. in educational administration. This program is designed to meet the needs of Missouri principals and superintendents as they progress through the leadership ranks in school districts throughout the State.

The University’s unique collaborative model for teacher and educator preparation is represented by the Professional Education Unit (PEU), a group comprised of members of the College of Education, as well as faculty and professional staff across all six academic colleges and 27 academic departments. The diversity of this 200-plus member unit will be expanded and enable the University to prepare professional educators who can design and deliver effective learning programs for students in rural, suburban, and urban school districts. The PEU has regulatory and oversight responsibilities for monitoring the University’s education programs and certifications.

The PEU will continue to develop distance education programs that are responsive to critical needs identified for a wide population of children and adults in a multi-state region. Finally, in an effort to produce highly competent professional educators, the College of Education in partnership with the PEU and area schools, will continue to expand programs that support the growing Hispanic community in Southwest Missouri and Northern Arkansas. Agreements with institutions of higher education in Mexico are also being developed to promote faculty and student exchange programs.

The University, the PEU, and the College of Education, working with school districts, the interested public, and other agencies, such as the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, will continue to produce educators capable of meeting the complex challenges of the teaching and learning environments in which they will work.

The College of Education will continue to host experimental and innovative programs, and it will serve as a clearinghouse for research and evidence - based practices that enhance continuing education and advanced program experiences. One unique site is Greenwood Laboratory School, a department within the College of Education, which will continue to play a role in the preparation of professional educators by providing quality K-12 educational experiences for practicum and student teaching. Through increased partnerships, both inside the University and in the community, Greenwood Laboratory School will expand its mission of program experimentation and demonstration, especially within one or more of the University’s six themes, as well as in the area of technology-related learning strategies and approaches. For example, a summer Missouri Innovation Academy will be developed during the five years of this plan. The Innovation Academy will be closely linked to the Missouri Virtual School, Greenwood, and the Jordan Valley Innovation Center.

In addition to Greenwood, students in the PEU have an opportunity to complete field experiences in the Child Development Center (CDC). The CDC is part of the Early Childhood and Family Development Department and is an accredited center that serves 88 children from 6 weeks to 5 years of age. Not only does the CDC provide excellent care for young children in the community, it is a learning environment for University students and provides rich research opportunities for faculty.

With the growing interest in the development of young children in our community, the Early Childhood and Family Development Department has developed a Master of Science Degree in Early Childhood and Family Development, the newest degree in the College of Education. This interdisciplinary degree is designed not only for early childhood teachers but for other professionals in the human service field. It will be carefully evaluated over the next 10 years of implementation, beginning in 2007.

The Department of Counseling offers a valuable service to the community and essential training to school and community counselors, through the downtown Center City Counseling Clinic. New graduate programs are being developed, including a Master of Science Degree in Student Affairs and an Educational Specialist’s Degree in Counseling, with options in couple and family counseling and school psychology. Interdisciplinary efforts are being developed, including areas of special education and counseling, which will merge with existing clinical programs offering special services and supports to the community.

The University enters the 21st century as a recognized leader in preparing highly qualified teachers and education professionals. Adhering to the highest of standards, Missouri State University excels in pre-service teacher preparation, continuing professional development, advanced and graduate programs, and scholarly and applied educational research to ensure that all educators understand and can implement evidence-based practices in accord with state and federal mandates. In order to enhance the recruitment, preparation, and ongoing support of teachers, Missouri State University will continue to explore structural changes and improvements in the College of Education and PEU that will most effectively and efficiently meet these goals.

Science and the environment

Missouri State University will make Missouri’s future by emphasizing its theme of Science and the Environment. The interrelationships between people, scientific advances, and the natural environment are issues of fundamental importance for the 21st century. Population pressures and human consumption patterns, especially of water and energy, raise questions about the future availability of non-renewable and renewable resources.

Scientific research at Missouri State will continue to seek approaches that promote economic, social, and environmental sustainability. Consistent with its public affairs mission, the University will strive to produce graduates who are environmentally literate and sufficiently attuned to responsible stewardship of the earth’s natural resources. This will be achieved not only through the curriculum, but also by exemplary operations on Missouri State campuses. Examples include minimizing the energy used to heat and cool buildings, appropriate disposal or recycling of waste products, and the use of environmentally friendly chemicals whenever possible.

Missouri State is located in the Ozarks, a region that is unique in the U.S. for its diverse physical and cultural features. The area has a rich history dating back some 12,000 years to the first Native Americans. It is predominantly rural, but it is experiencing one of the fastest regional growth rates in the country. Water and air quality in this region, which are major attractions for visitors and permanent residents alike, must be addressed as this growth continues.

Environmental issues in the 21st century have a global dimension as well. Missouri State is now a major player in global education through its branch campus in China and through a diverse student population drawn from more than 80 countries. At the same time, global competition for the sale of agricultural and other products creates the need to train Missouri State graduates to use new scientific advances to turn raw materials into value-added commodities. Missouri State’s Center for Applied Science and Engineering (CASE) and Center for Biomedical and Life Sciences, in conjunction with the Jordan Valley Innovation Project (JVIC), will be primary instruments for making Missouri’s future in the areas of material, biomedical, and life sciences. Other significant resources include the Ozarks Environmental and Water Resources Institute and the Bull Shoals Field Station. By promoting the theme of Science and the Environment, Missouri State’s students will be better prepared to understand the unique Ozarks region and its relationship to the global environment.

Virtually everything humans do involves interactions with the natural environment. The challenge, in the long term, is for such interactions to preserve, rather than degrade, the environment. Basic research in the sciences continues to provide knowledge about the structure and dynamics of the environment. It will be imperative for the University to be a leader in studying the environmental changes that result from social change and new technologies.

Through research, teaching, and action, the University will make Missouri’s future one of increased public knowledge and awareness of the consequences of environment-human interactions.

Missouri State’s location provides an ideal setting for the Science and the Environment theme. Few regions contain the physical and cultural diversity found in the Ozarks. The predominately rural setting contrasts with growing metropolitan areas, including the state’s third largest city, Springfield. Phosphate contamination, for example, is on a greatly different scale when comparing the septic system of an isolated rural residence with treatment facilities serving 150,000 people.

Knowledge concerning the interactions between the region’s growing tourism industry and the natural environment will have relevance to other areas. The region contains several of the fastest growing counties and communities in the state. The business and industry associated with this growth is becoming increasingly important, and yet agriculture remains a significant economic activity. Understanding the unique Ozark region and its people in relation to the global environment are parts of the metropolitan conversation that will be fostered by the Science and the Environment theme.

Human dimension

America’s democracy was created to provide space and liberty for each individual to explore and discover his or her own self. What are the critical questions that each individual must address? What does a person believe about God or the afterlife? How should such beliefs affect one’s current actions? In light of a person’s beliefs, what should their role and responsibilities to the larger community be?

All of these questions raise fundamental issues that humans have faced through the ages and across continents. They are the same questions that members of the Missouri State University community must face today in order to live well-considered lives. The nation’s founders sought to devise a government that allowed the freedom to genuinely and honestly reflect on these and other vital questions. The answers to these questions, which individuals seek and find in their personal pilgrimages, constitute the "happiness" that Thomas Jefferson stated was an inalienable right to pursue in the Declaration of Independence. In service to this uniquely human pursuit, it is imperative that scholars at Missouri State explore within the context of their own academic disciplines which makes human life uniquely human.

Missouri State is grounded on the principle that all individuals have worth and must be valued as members of the human race. As such, Missouri State has included in its Declaration of Community Principles the necessity of respecting the contributions of all in the "marketplace of ideas." Nowhere is this imperative more evident than in the issue of what is of ultimate concern to human individuals. To ensure the freedom that Jefferson understood to be necessary for a successful "marketplace of ideas," Missouri State recognizes human differences and values, which create a multifaceted human dialogue about meaning in life. Further, the University can help serve as a curator for the historical and cultural traditions and resources of Missouri. "Making Missouri’s future" involves enhancing those aspects of character that facilitate rational discourse, critical thinking, tolerance, and the appreciation of diversity in all societies.

In some fashion, all disciplines enhance, educate, and inform our understanding of human existence. For example, the study of history seeks to explain why people and countries behave the way they do as a consequence of past events. Literature and other art forms pull one into others’ life experiences and by so doing, enhance and illumine one’s own experiences of love and heartache, success and struggle, joy and loss. The natural and health sciences explain the physical and physiological aspects of life in the world, impacting humankind’s health and its connection with the environment. The social sciences explore the development of culture and analyze the workings of the human mind.

Moreover, an understanding of the human experience is essential in a service economy and required at a university that produces citizen-entrepreneurs. In sum, understanding human motivation requires exposure to the works of the world’s influential thinkers who have struggled to understand the human dimension. Clearly then, all disciplines contribute to a greater understanding of why humans experience the world and their environment as they do and also provide possible solutions to improve our interactions with our world and each other, thus improving each individual’s search for their ultimate concerns.

Knowledge and wisdom are basic to critical thinking, enabling us to separate myth from reality about ourselves as well as others. Missouri State’s curriculum is well suited to prepare students for reflection on a "life well lived." Self-awareness gained from the University’s courses contributes to the building of character, a willingness to make personal self-sacrifices for the common good, and a developed empathy for others. An educated person appreciates excellence in art, literature, and music through which one finds meaning and comfort in times of need.

Human history has seen glaring examples of times when that which is uniquely human and that which maintains human dignity was lost. Graduates of Missouri State must be committed to defending and upholding the dignity of all humanity. The Constitution guarantees us the freedom to pursue individual rights and responsibilities, and to identify and seek our ultimate concerns. Education at Missouri State should initiate the search, while also providing the tools for a successful pilgrimage.

New degree programs

Based on the current and emerging markets, as well as its own strengths and resources, Missouri State has identified the best opportunities for new academic programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. Those degree programs that are in stages of development for the early years of this plan are identified in Chart V-A. Collaborative approaches that can extend our resources will continue, as shown by the development of engineering program with the University of Missouri at Rolla. Several additional new programs and graduate certificates are being evaluated for implementation in later years of this plan with resource demands a key factor in governing our continued diversification of curriculum. The primary driving force for consideration of all program additions is that Missouri State is committed to providing those degrees and focused-study opportunities that address the educational needs of our social and economic communities that are rapidly changing. It is significant that even within the first years of this plan there is at least one new program in three of the six University-wide theme areas, plus learning that will be fostered by an interdisciplinary approach.

The new programs will be funded through a combination of new funds along with reallocated funds from programs that are reduced or discontinued. Programs at Missouri State will be reviewed regularly and rigorously by both internal and external bodies.

Chart V-A

Proposed new academic programs

Start Year (Fall)New ProgramCollege and Theme(s) or InterdisciplinaryExpected Student #% of Students new to Missouri State
2006 M.S. Early Childhood/Family Development COE - Professional Education & Healthcare 25 9 100%
B.S. Exercise Science CHHS - Healthcare 10 100 50%
2007 M.S. Criminology CHPA - Business & Econ. Dev. 15 20 25%
M.S. Project Management COB - Business & Econ. Dev. 25 35 100%
B.S. Emerging Technology Management COB - Business & Econ. Dev. 10 70 75%
B.S. Entrepreneurship COB - Interdisciplinary 50 200 50%
B.S. Global Studies COAL/CHPA - Interdisciplinary 0 20 10%
M.S. Student Affairs COE - Professional Education 10 40 50%
2008 B.S. Civil Engineering CNAS - Cooperatively Offered with UMR 10 10 100%
B.S. Electrical Engineering CNAS - Cooperatively Offered with UMR 10 10 100%