Missouri State University seeks to become a nationally acclaimed university, admired for the quality of its academic programs, the influence of its research and scholarship, the achievements of its students, alumni, faculty, and staff, and the impact of its many service efforts. To accomplish these aims, the University engages in regular strategic planning, informed by substantial participation from members of the University community, as well as from the many external constituents we represent and serve (alumni, advisory boards, community residents, and elected officials and policy makers).

Missouri State University's long-range plan provides a public statement of our mission, core values, and goals. It also identifies the primary strategies we will pursue to attain our priorities. This plan will focus our collective energy, guide programmatic decisions, and direct the allocation of resources. It is intended to translate the lofty language of our mission and values into the crucial drivers of success and the tangible outcomes we seek.

This plan should enable the University to define and then achieve the qualities that will distinguish it and give its graduates and programs a unique identity.

The plan also specifies a Public Scorecard that contains 25 performance measures by which we will assess progress toward our strategic goals. (See Chapter VI: Modeling Ethical and Effective Behavior for more details.) These measures constitute an essential management tool the University will employ to measure its current status, its continuous improvement, and its composite impact. These metrics will comprise the annual feedback that is essential for the University to calibrate its actual achievements and to compare itself to other public higher education institutions. The Scorecard is an instrument of accountability; it will allow the public to monitor on a regular basis the institution’s aspirations, accomplishments, and stewardship.

Development of the plan

This long-range plan, titled Imagining and Making Missouri’s Future, covers the years 2006-11. It is the result of an extensive 24-month review and revision of the previous plan, Countdown to the SMSU Centennial: A Long-Range Vision and Six-Year Plan (2000-2006), delayed from its original timeline because of the historic events of 2005-06: the Centennial Celebration; the name change from "Southwest Missouri State University" to "Missouri State University"; a reconstituted Board of Governors; and the search for and selection of a new President. This new strategic plan was coordinated with the University’s documentation and self-study that was prepared for the institution’s successful 10-year Higher Learning Commission (HLC) re-accreditation. On May 11, 2006, the HLC notified the University that it was fully accredited through 2016.

Planning for Imagining and Making Missouri’s Future was led by the University Planning Advisory Committee (UPAC), whose membership includes the Administrative Council, and representatives from the Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, and Student Government Association.

The initial meeting for the new plan was in March 2004, with the various committees and task forces beginning their work that spring and summer. Discussions began in earnest in fall 2004. Open forums were held, drafts were posted, and e-mail input was sought. UPAC continued its work on a regular basis through February 2005. It was at that point that the process slowed and, in some cases, ceased until spring 2006, due to the events previously cited.

With a new name, a newly configured statewide Board of Governors, new President Michael T. Nietzel, and an updated statewide agenda, the strategic plan process was revitalized in April 2006. A reorganized and tightly edited revised draft was developed and presented to UPAC, the campus community and the Board of Governors for consideration. The intent was for the smaller document to be more usable by the campus and more accessible by the University’s many external constituents.

On August 4, 2006, the Board of Governors approved the new plan in concept. A final draft was posted to the web on August 16 and comments were invited through September 8. On September 15, 2006, the Board of Governors officially approved the new plan and Imagining and Making Missouri’s Future was implemented. The final version of the plan was immediately posted on the Missouri State web site (, and printed copies of the plan were scheduled to be distributed to faculty and staff by November 1, 2006. A PowerPoint version of the plan was scheduled to be completed by November 15, 2006.

Imagining and Making Missouri’s Future follows two previous five-year 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 Five-Year Plan (2000-2006).

Strategic goals

This plan will enable Missouri State University to achieve five strategic goals:

Democratizing society – Higher education will be increasingly crucial to individuals being successful participants in 21st century society, and Missouri State will accomplish this goal by ensuring access to high-quality public education for well-prepared students from diverse backgrounds. A Missouri State education will enable its graduates to live successful, mindful lives in what will be a more challenging and demanding world.

Incubating new ideas – Universities will continue to be the source of most new scientific discoveries and technological innovations. Toward that end, Missouri State will expand and focus its research investments so that its faculty and students will be able to discover, advance, and synthesize knowledge. We will become an engine for knowledge.

Imagining Missouri's future – Missouri State will be an institution where we educate one another about the crucial issues and choices that confront the modern world. We will be an institution that encourages students to weigh priorities, explore alternative views, and ultimately understand their personal values through open and informed dialogue and scholarly engagement. We will promote imaginative learning.

Making Missouri's future – Missouri State graduates will 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.

Modeling ethical and effective behavior – To be true to the University’s statewide mission in public affairs, we must be an institution known not just for the quality of our outcomes, but also the constant integrity of how we do our work, especially when it comes to respect, honesty, integrity, collaboration, inclusiveness, social progress, and the effective stewardship of our resources — human, physical, and technological. Missouri State University will maintain and publish a Public Scorecard of important outcomes by which all stakeholders will be able to monitor and judge the institution’s progress in becoming a public university that is respected for the way it conducts its business.

University community principles

Strategic plans should reflect the shared values and beliefs that define the heritage of an institution and that point the way to a brighter future. Our core beliefs are the equivalent of an institutional soul, our common cause without which we will find consensus, progress, and change to be all but impossible. Missouri State’s core values are expressed in our "University Community Principles." These principles, many of which have been cherished by the academy for centuries, have served the institution well and will continue to structure the foundation upon which our planning and practice should be based. The University Community Principles statement follows.

The community of scholars that is 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.