2013 State of the University Address Text

President Clif Smart and Provost Frank Einhellig
Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013

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Good afternoon and thank you for coming. Let me begin by making a few personal comments.

First, let me say thank you to everyone who dropped me a note, sent me an email, brought me a book, a pie, or flowers, told me a joke or said a prayer for me during my recent illness, surgery and recuperation period. The prayers were heard. I feel good, am back at it full time, and the pathology slides indicate I am cancer free.

This is the first time in my adult life I stayed at home for two solid weeks. I will tell you this — I don’t ever want to do that again; what’s more, Gail doesn’t want me to ever do that again. I enjoy working as most of you know. I especially love working here — with you and for you.

Dr. Frank Einhellig is a big part of why I can make that last statement.

As we have done for the last three years now, we will divide our talk today. I will give a general overview of the state of the University, then Frank and I will each address some of the specific items we will be working on this year. We will take questions on any topic at the end.

As an aside – In case you were not aware of this, Frank has agreed to serve three more years as provost, thus giving the University five years of stability in its top two leadership positions. I wanted to publicly say thank you to Frank for this commitment — but as I told every group of SOAR students this summer — get ready to work!

The title of this speech in “Thinking Bigger and Bolder: The 8 Major Goals for 2013-14,” but I am going to focus on the first four words “thinking bigger and bolder.” I used that phrase in my first speech to campus in 2011 and have repeated it many times since then. Sometimes I discuss the concept as growing into our name. It has even caught on in other units on campus which I appreciate. Before we talk about thinking bigger and bolder, let’s evaluate where we are now.

Points of pride

We are a good comprehensive university. Here is why I say that:

Growing enrollment

Students want to come here. Just look at the fall enrollment numbers:

  • We have an all-time System enrollment of 23,838.
  • The Springfield Campus enrollment is a record with 21,798.
  • We have the largest number of new first-time students since 2006 – 2,693.
  • We have 1,358 students with ACT scores of 24 or higher – compared to 1,192 last year.
  • We set a record for transfers – 1,754.
  • In fact, we are up in almost every category of students you can think of.

Result of that is almost $1 million dollars of new revenue for the year. I anticipate proposing to the executive budget committee to use the bulk of that new money to employ more faculty for next year.

We are up in enrollment despite the fact that there were fewer Missouri high school graduates this year and fewer students in Missouri community colleges. The pool was smaller and yet we were still up in every category while most other universities and community colleges were down.

In fact we had the largest growth in numbers of any four year public Missouri school.

Excelling students

Students are doing really good things here. This last year:

  • EnactusTeam (SIFE- students in free enterprise) community projects to develop business skills (COB) and won the regional competition.
  • Megan Johnson won top prize for charcoal drawing in four state region.
  • Calvin Coker won top prize at communication competition at OU.
  • Steph Anderson won national photo journalism awards.
  • Risa Wright won top prize for bat research.
  • Scott Turk named received national leadership award from his fraternity and this spring was named a distinguished graduate by intra- fraternity organization.
  • Casteel Kirk named national agriculture honor society president.
  • Jacob Singleton named a Fulbright scholar.
  • The sports medicine quiz bowl team placed 6th nationally.
  • Construction management team placed first regionally.
  • Caleb Schifitzel named an academic All-American football and preseason All-American in FCS level.
  • Television series “Epilogue” was named a national finalist for college Emmy award and took home second place.
  • The Standard was named the top student newspaper in the state again.
  • National marketing competition won by Ad Team last month.

There are dozens more examples.

High-achieving faculty

Faculty doing really good things here in research, performance and publications, as well as service. Some are highlighted in our new research publication Mind’s Eye.

Frank will highlight other achievements in a minute. Just as important, we have many great teachers in the classroom, and many involve their students in undergraduate research and regularly interact with them.

Tell story from Monday night first day of school. At Bears exhibition soccer game, Gail overheard a conversation between new freshmen. “How we’re your first day of classes? They were great. So interesting. Even better than I thought they would be.” That is not an atypical experience.

Strong community partnerships

We are involved in community partnerships in secondary education, economic development, international training, water conservation and many other areas.

Very few comprehensive universities have anything like the Jordan Valley Innovation Center or the eFactory.

Almost none have been responsible for something like IDEA Commons, which reclaimed a huge derelict area of their community, or train executives from around the world in its International Training Center or have an accredited English Language Institute, a Foreign Language Institute with four other universities and colleges, and is internationally known for grapevine biotechnology research, or have an actors equity summer theater or a working 4,000 acre Hereford ranch or a nationally known field station on Bull Shoals Lake.

These are all points of pride in the terminology of our board.

Be proud of who we are and build on our successes

Here are my points. We are a good comprehensive university. We need to remember that. We need to all be proud of that. Talk about that. Tell our success stories. Wear our colors. Continue to brand our campus. If we aren’t all proud of where we work or attend school, why should anyone else be?

We need to continue to build on these successes — that was the name of last years’ speech, by the way. We need to stop thinking about ourselves as a directional university.

Think bigger and bolder

We need to think bigger and bolder in everything we do:

  • Enrollment and recruitment
  • Quality and rigor of our programs and classes — An Ozarks Culture ITV class is a good idea; a massive open online class on Ozarks Culture taken by thousands of students around the world is a bolder idea.
  • We need to think bigger and bolder in achieving a more diverse faculty and staff and student body
  • Kind of speakers we have on campus like John Goodman at New Student Convocation
  • Funding model
  • Footprint in this state and region
  • Quality of our facilities
  • Sustainability issues
  • And – public affairs and the signature events connected to public affairs — a MSU hall of fame is a good idea. A bolder idea is a State of Missouri Hall of Fame housed at MSU

Eight goals for 2013-14

That’s where the 8 goals come into play. They are now on our website at this address on the screen. I encourage you to check them out.

I’ll read through the headings. Specific measurable objectives are under each goal:

  1. Enrollment — continue to achieve modest annual growth
  2. Funding — allocate, reallocate and generate new resources to achieve University priorities
  3. Accreditation — develop the evidence to achieve continued accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission
  4. Diversity and inclusion — improve recruitment and retention of a diverse student body and work force
  5. Student success — expand high quality academic programs
  6. Facilities and sustainability — design, bid, identify funding sources and begin construction on priority academic and auxiliary facilities with a continued emphasis in sustainability
  7. Athletics — be competitive, be compliant and be successful in the classroom
  8. Raising the profile — continue to find ways to more effectively tell the Missouri State story

Specific facilities objectives

Let me give you three specific facilities objectives, all of which require us to think bigger and bolder, which we will be working on this year (goal 6):

Some of our academic space frankly isn’t up to 21st century standards and limits what we can do in various programs. That includes older buildings like Ellis and Pummill and relatively newer buildings like Glass Hall. We will begin to renovate them this year. We will not wait on the state to do this for us although we would welcome its assistance. We have to think bigger and bolder

Students now begin their tours of campus wandering around looking for Carrington Hall then sitting on the floor outside of the admissions office. This is no longer acceptable for the kind of University we are. We will build a Welcome Center, and we will not use any ongoing general funding to do so. It will be a beautiful signature building and anchor the east end of Bear Blvd. where the new entrance to campus is, just like the Foster Family Recreation Center anchors the west end of Bear Blvd. We have to think bigger and bolder.

The ugliest place on campus is the student bleachers at Plaster Stadium. They have to come down. My pledge to students is we will upgrade the academic and residence hall space on campus and build an incredible welcome center if they will help us turn this eyesore into something we can all be proud of. Having half a high school football stadium is no longer acceptable for the kind of university we are. We have to think bigger and bolder.

Introduction of Frank Einhellig

I am going to stop there and turn this over to Frank to discuss other ways we can think bigger and bolder in the academic arena and then I will share a few final thoughts with you when he is done.


Thank you Clif. As Clif has already suggested, it has been a wonderful start to this school year for a variety of reasons. Chief among them, we have more students interested in our programs and getting their education at MSU. I am deeply appreciative for all the work that everyone does in all parts of the University that makes us a great university; a place where students can follow their passion.

The driving force that unites us in our common cause of education is that all of us care about our students and their learning. And on the faculty side, we care about our disciplines, and we take joy in the creation of new knowledge.

Much of work toward our academic goals of this year is a continuation of things we have been working toward. I will focus particularly on the goals of enrollment (goal 1) and student success (goal 5), and try to show what we have been doing as well what we will do. Thus, our thinking bigger and bolder is rooted in the achievements we have made, and I will highlight a number of those things of the past year as well as look to the challenges of this year.

Meeting student needs

This year we are in the fortunate position of starting the year with 714 full-time faculty, which is 18 more faculty than last fall. Clif and I, your deans and many others have been working to make this increase in faculty happen. Every college, except the College of Natural and Applied Science, has an increase in faculty, and CNAS had an increase in graduate assistantships, making the total GA number across the University 515 for this fall.

Professor salary incentive program

We also continue to be concerned about the salary situation, which has particularly lagged at the full professor rank. This year we are putting into the compensation mix the Professor Salary Incentive Program that has been stimulated by the action of the Faculty Senate. This is not a new rank; it is salary adjustment program wherein we hope to make up to 100 total awards over the next several years to faculty who have strong records showing they continued the work that gained them the rank of Professor.

A task force chaired by Associate Provost Chris Craig worked over the summer to prepare the guidelines for applicants who want to be considered for the $5,000 salary adjustments that will be awarded to at least 20 faculty this year.

Applications will be due in December. Then the review process will start at the college level and move eventually to the Provost’s Advisory Council on Tenure and Promotion, and on to me and then Clif for final recommendations to the Board.

2012-13 curriculum highlights

On the programmatic side of academics, this past year a tremendous effort was put into bringing to the finish line the revision of our general education curriculum. This was the culmination of a three year process. We can be proud of this new general education program which will go into effect for students entering a year from now.

It is especially important to note that the new program more effectively integrates our public affairs mission. Of course, in many cases the departments involved, and particularly the faculty teaching these courses, still have work to be done this year in completing the way in which student learning outcomes will be assessed.

A second curriculum action which has major development steps to be undertaken this year is the implementation our Master of Occupational Therapy which was approved at the state level last year. Funding for this program has been provided through legislative action and now those funds will be forthcoming. Hence, we are embarking on an all-out effort to hire the faculty for this program and gain the initial stage of accreditation so we can accept student applications.

New honors pathway

Late last spring the Faculty Senate also approved a new track in our Honors College that provides opportunities for students who may be transferring or coming in with a considerable number of hours of general education achieved while they were in high school.

This change in the honors program has already had very positive results on the incoming honors class, which is up 12% to 333. 37 of those students are in the accelerated track. Those accelerated-track students are coming in with an average of 37 credit hours, and they will be taking a lot of their honor’s program in courses of their major, very often including a research project.

Curriculum developments through collaboration

Other curriculum developments of last year resulted in several institutional collaborations. We piloted the Foreign Language Institute that has students coming in from OTC, Drury and Evangel. This fall, that program boosts 302 students.

We are partners with five other universities in delivering the course work of the graduate-level Elementary Math Specialists Certificate.

The nurse anesthesia program, which was formerly a joint operation with Mercy providing the clinical component, has now been fully transitioned to MSU, and we have 28 additional clinical partnerships where students will do their practicums.

We are thinking bolder in the nurse anesthesia program and will be transitioning to a clinical doctorate, which will make our fourth health-care doctorate. These are bold steps!

Curriculum in development

This year we also have things in various stages of development that include an MFA in Visual Studies and an interdepartmental master’s degree in second language acquisition.

The General Studies committee is refining their work on a general studies degree.

A variety of certificate programs are in development at the department level, such as several in criminal justice, a graduate certificate in financial analysis and several other graduate business certificates.

Not counting the new certificates in progress, MSU currently has 23 graduate and three undergraduate certificates. It is a challenge to all of us to make these tightly-focused study opportunities visible to those who may be interested!

Connecting to the world

A growing part of the experiences of our students is in study away. This past year the number of students participating in either a short-term or an extended period of study away grew by 17% to a total of 455 students.

This year the deans have all provided some support to match money from central administration so that $95,000 of scholarship money will be distributed to assist students who might not otherwise have a study-away opportunity.

Being a comprehensive university

Missouri State is growing into its name and also its classification as a comprehensive university. A part of that maturity has been expanding the pathways for students to access academic programs. We continue with off-site delivery of degree programs in Joplin, West Plains and several other locations that include our defense and strategic studies master’s program in the Washington, D.C. area.

Online programs

And while even in this presentation, we often represent the teaching process as a teacher in a classroom setting, the roles of faculty go much beyond that stereotype. Based on student demand, MSU online-available classes and programs have dramatically expanded such that this fall we advertised that we have 7 undergraduate majors that can be completed online, 13 graduate degrees and a total of ten certificates.

That online program number includes the graduate programs in communication and literacy that became available this fall, and the bachelor’s degrees in communication, general business, finance and health services. New programs always take some time to be fully developed, so there is ongoing work to be done this year in these program formats.

An additional online undergraduate major will soon be available in professional writing, and other program areas are in development.

Alternative delivery methods

Even though our online portfolio has rapidly grown and has been heavily subscribed, this method of course delivery is still a relatively small fraction of the MSU total course offerings and enrollment, suggesting we have room to grow without causing concern. Last year only 8% of the student credit hours were in online enrollments, with that number broken down as 7% for undergraduate and 18% for graduate credit hours. Blended courses make up about 4% of the credit hours.

The census data posted yesterday shows the online credit hours of enrollment this fall are 36% above last fall. Summer school enrollment is clearly favoring online delivery with the online fraction of credit hours last summer moving up to one-third of the total credits generated.

Expanding open instruction

In keeping with the theme of this presentation, we are taking the bold step of developing a MOOC — a massive open online course. A Presidential Task Force comprised of 18 faculty recommended we try such a venture in a narrow, focused area where this University has special expertise: Ozarks culture and history. Brooks Blevins, professor of history and a part of the Ozarks Studies Institute, will be the key discipline provider in the development of this MOOC.

Brooks is near completion of authoring an iCourse on Introduction to Ozarks Studies which will be offered next spring. That background work will help a great deal in the MOOC project, which we think will increase the visibility of MSU and (hopefully) attract some students to our campus.

Collaborations with community colleges

I want to turn our attention to some of the collaborations we have developed and will continue to expand with community colleges. The 2013-14 goals for the University include building on what we have done by developing articulated, seamless transfer pathways from two-year schools in St. Louis and Kansas City.

Crowder College

We have already done a lot of this type of work with schools in our region — Crowder, OTC and West Plains. Starting with a strong elementary education bachelor’s program already on-site at Crowder, we have expanded to other areas. In the past year, our academic leaders and faculty worked extensively with Crowder Community College, and we signed agreements that facilitate Crowder students moving into our nursing program, social work and preparation for the physician’s assistant master’s program.

Further, the College of Natural and Applied plans to teach genetics at Crowder in order to make it easier for student to come into their programs.

Ozarks Technical Community College

The number of transfer students this fall from our near neighbor, OTC, is up almost 100 students. Why? Our faculty and academic administration meet regularly with their counterparts at OTC. We have put in place online and evening curriculum transitions to MSU, share building space at Lebanon, have OTC students living in our dorm facilities and much more. This relationship; is good for the students, and thus good for both of our institutions.

West Plains campus

We have expanded our delivery of classes and programs to the West Plains campus. Some of those highlights include adding the Master of Social Work as an initial offering in West Plains this fall.

General business and finance courses are being delivered in the evening by ITV, as well as their availability online. At the same time, MSU Springfield has continued its on-site elementary education degree and mixed delivery methods for several other College of Education degree programs, both undergraduate and graduate.

Our outreach and access attitude at MSU is appreciated and especially so by place-bound individuals who want to further their education. I am using this testimonial of appreciation that was directed to Professor Kelly Wood as one example of many that we receive. Education is the great equalizer, and students like this one, who will now work to complete an online communication degree, deserve the chance MSU is providing. As an aside, Kelly was recognized this past year at the national level for her excellence in advising.

Excellent scholarship in 2012

Part of the education of students and thus the work of faculty is in the teaching of students how to do research and delve into the unknowns with skills in critical thinking. Our faculty are the key to fostering student research as they have continued their own work.

In calendar year 2012, the faculty produced over 300 significant publications and creative works. That included 31 books, 218 referred journal articles in their discipline and multiple performances and exhibitions in the arts.

Much of that work touched the lives of students, and I congratulate you on this effort, dedication and continued involvement in the work that faculty do. This coming year we will continue and expand our scholarship work, and hold it up as a point of pride for Missouri State.

I picked a few book covers and covers from faculty works across the many disciplines to illustrate some of the published works. I used the books, in part, because they are so graphic in appearance. But it is equally important and difficult in the work for those disciplines which use journals as their main way of dissemination knowledge or the endless effort that goes into performance scholarship. Again, congratulations to all of you that contribute and mentor the student work.


A part of the work at MSU is supported by the efforts of 121 faculty and 51 staff who work grant proposals last year. External funding topped $20 million. These are not just research dollars. Over half of these funds were going into direct education programs, including equipment.

We received funding for grants that purchased major equipment, funding for delivery of classes in viticulture instruction, support for the education of nursing students, just to name a few.

Mind’s Eye

One of the bold highlights today is that for the first time we roll out a new publication with the title, Mind’s Eye, that showcases some of the research done by our faculty and their students. Pick up a copy of this publication as you leave today.

We have done big things, and it is time more people know about MSU research contributions to the betterment of society. I hope you will not only look at this showcase piece but also go to the website that has the same messages in video. We will be making this an annual publication that helps us tell our story to legislators, prospective graduate students and the public.

eJournal of Public Affairs

It is also noteworthy that we are in our second edition of publishing the eJournal of Public Affairs as an online journal. We have a terrific editorial board from around the country and excellent articles are being contributed.

Moon City Press

For several years the department of English has operated the Moon City Press as an avenue for publication of books, typically of regional interest. Some have been from MSU faculty, but certainly not all.

In the last few months the Moon City Press completed its first e-book, the novel “Blue Sabine. Hence, this is one more evidence of the changing times and how we are not only keeping up, but leading at Missouri State.


One of the 8 goals for this year is to have a special focus on the accreditation process. Collectively across the University, we are accredited by 32 external agencies. I will mention only three accreditation processes that are very active right now.

NCATE (National Commission on Accreditation of Teacher Education) will have a focused site visit in October for our many teacher-related programs. The faculty and administrators of the professional education unit have been and will continue to work on this process, which focuses on how well we have diversity integrated into our education programs.

An extensive self-study has been done by our music department in preparation for their accreditation which has its site-visit in the spring.

Higher Learning Commission

The umbrella accreditation for the entire University is the Higher Learning Commission. We are up for re-affirmation in this accreditation process, and while the site visit is two years away, the HLC process is one where we have had intensive work on a continuing basis and particularly in the last year.

I want to mention more about the HLC process, but before doing so, I think it is worth noting the some changes that have occurred in our student mix over the last few years.

Student diversity

At the student level, MSU has steadily increased in historically underrepresented students and in international students. Those two groups now comprise 18% of the student body. In relationship to recognition of the varied backgrounds of students who must receive a good education, we have worked very hard in the recruiting process and introduced additional scholarships. And there is much more that has been done, including that this fall we have a new mentoring program for faculty.

These efforts in diversity are things we needed to do, they are the right thing to do, and they are essential to our accreditation processes.

Update on accreditation process

Going back to the HLC process for a few closing comments, accreditation for the University under this process is focused on how well we can assure that we are meeting expectations in five major criterion. They are displayed on this slide: mission, integrity, teaching and learning, both in terms of quality and evaluation, and the overall resources of the University.

The HLC process involves every component of the University and not just the academic side. It is of supreme importance, and I am also pleased to say that it is a useful process.

The Steering Committee for the HLC process has been working hard for the past year. It is chaired by Dean Jahnke, and this year the Steering Committee has formed five subcommittee — one each to further delve into the evidence and develop the documentation for each of the five criteria.

The goal for this year is to prepare a draft of our assurance document (formerly commonly called a self-study). It is essential that all of you know what is going on and that all of you realize you are a part of this accreditation process. It is not something the Steering Committee does, and we forget. All of us need to have an involvement.

To that end, questions will regularly come to the faculty and administration about how well we are positioned and what changes we still need to make. Regular status updates will be given with the Faculty Senate, the Administrative Council, the Board of Governors and other constituents.

We want input from everyone, and involvement in the process. Hence, we anticipate having a Town Hall session in late spring. As I close my portion of this presentation, I want to say again how important it is that we all are involved in the HLC accreditation process, where we will showcase excellence at Missouri State.

We have been doing good things and the right things for accreditation, but it is essential that we effectively demonstrate and provide evidence of this facts. Our formal assessments are a central key to our success, and this includes the Quality Improvement Project, where we show how public affairs is a part of our curriculum. We are in the second year of this project, and we have had great response from the faculty.


In summary, our curriculum is regularly being realigned and focused to student needs. Our faculty scholarship is strong, the research often includes students, and the level of productivity places us in a unique class that separates us from a regional university. These are some of the many points of pride for Missouri State University.

I will now turn the podium back to our President, Clif Smart.

President Smart’s closing remarks

Thank you, Frank. Well said.

Let me emphasize that quality, creativity and rigor will be important principles for the University to follow as we work to think bigger and bolder about our academic programs.

In the next few minutes, I want to report on a recent legislative development and address several specific objectives from the 8 goals, and then Frank and I will take questions

Update on House Bill 253

There has been much in the news all summer about HB 253, which would have reduced revenue to Missouri State University by between $6-11 million dollars annually according to Governor Nixon’s calculations because of cuts to business income taxes. That size cut would have been catastrophic for us on top of the $11 million dollars in cuts we have already sustained over the past 4 years.

Last week that veto was sustained by 15 votes.

I want to publicly thank Republican representatives Lynn Morris, Jeff Messenger, Lyndall Fraker, Lyle Rowland, Don Phillips and Sue Entlicher from our corner of the state, who despite enormous party pressure, did not vote to override the governor’s veto. I also want to thank democrat Charlie Norr who voted to sustain the veto.

We are indebted to you. We will not forget your support for education.

Besides not reducing our appropriations further, that action has also resulted in the Governor releasing the money held back from this year’s general appropriation ($3.1 million) as well as the specific health care funds which had been withheld in their entirety (another $1.3 million). We can now move on with expanding our healthcare programs on both the Springfield and West Plains campuses. Thank you Governor Nixon for releasing this money

I encourage all sides to work together to find a compromise plan to reduce taxes without diminishing state support for education as quality education is the most important driver in economic development. We need to avoid a repeat of this fight next year.

Highlights of funding goal

The two remaining goals I want to address are funding (goal 2) and athletics (goal 7).

Here are four of our specific funding objectives under goal 2 for this year:

  • Work to have the voluntary funding formula developed by the Council on Public Higher Education (COPHE) endorsed by state leaders and implemented
  • Meet the five established statewide performance funding measures to achieve maximum funding from state appropriations
  • Continue to allocate resources based largely on enrollment growth
  • Improve compensation for faculty and staff

I will begin with the last one — improving compensation remains a top priority of our board and the administration. With the veto of HB253 sustained, we are confident we can continue to make progress in this area again next year with our 4th across the board raise since I was named president in late June 2011. Our commitment to this goal is also seen in the new Professor Salary Incentive Program Frank discussed.

I also want to emphasize that nothing we do in improving our facilities will limit our ability to work on this objective as the funds to improve facilities will come only from specific fees, private money, reserves, money dedicated to maintenance and classroom upgrades, money allocated by the legislature for the OT program and insurance proceeds — not from ongoing general funds which we use to increase compensation.

We can improve both the quality of our facilities and improve compensation of our employees if we think bigger and bolder.

Explanation of funding objectives

Those first three objectives under goal 2 on the slide are related. Let me explain.

All new state money was distributed to universities through performance funding this year. Since the Governor’s veto of HB 253 was sustained, this means we actually will get the new money.

Because we hit all 5 of our performance goals, Missouri State will receive a higher percentage increase than many other universities. For the first time in decades, all universities are not going up or down in state funding by the same percentages

The new funding formula that all the four year schools are promoting (objective 1) incorporates a huge performance component and adds an equity component and a weighted FTE component.

Missouri State does even better under this formula. So one of our goals is to have the key elements of this formula enacted into law this year. I am personally involved in these discussions with the Governor and legislative leaders as vice chair of COPHE. I think we can get this done.

With performance funding driving state appropriations under either formula, that means enrollment issues like graduation rates, retention rates and the number of STEM and healthcare graduates we produce play a significant role in our ability to do all the things we have been discussing

And with tuition and fees accounting for almost 70% of our revenue, continuing modest enrollment growth becomes more important every year.

Thus, you will continue to hear Frank and me emphasize its importance, and we want you to know that new money for new academic lines will primarily be allocated to colleges that have consistent sustained growth.

Highlights of athletics goal

Finally, I want to spend a few minutes on goal 7 — athletics success.

I know everyone does not think this goal is very important. I know some have asked why this goal is here since it was not a goal last year.

The short answer is the board directed us to include it. But I want you to know I think it is important as well.

Here are my top 4 reasons why:

  • Athletics, done the right way – and I insist we do it the right way – helps mold young people into future ethical leaders. They develop the drive to succeed, good work ethic, sense of responsibility, knowing how to win and how to lose, skill in planning, understanding the rules of a game, treating others, including competitors, with respect, ethical behavior toward others, knowing how to work with teammates and so forth. I believe this is particularly important for our female students and is a reason why we will continue to expand our female athletics programs beginning with tennis next fall
  • Athletics helps promote positive spirit and passion toward the University. Research tells us that the more connected our students are to the University, the higher their retention and graduation rates will be, no matter their intellectual ability. Nothing helps you think of yourself as a Bear better than winning sports teams.
  • Athletics helps Missouri State financially. When a University features winning programs, alumni and donors are more likely to give and support those programs and the University. This affects the University as a whole, not just the athletic department. Most of our biggest donors to academic programs began as donors to a specific athletic program.
  • Athletics helps promote the statewide and national brand of Missouri State University. We saw that with Wichita State in our own sports conference in men’s basketball last year. The exposure and marketing they received in 3 weeks could not have been obtained at any cost any other way. That analysis came to me directly from their president earlier this year when we were traveling together.

Athletics includes a vibrant football program. We have to think bigger and bolder in athletics including how we can field a competitive football team.

Thank you for attending this afternoon.

Now Frank and I will answer questions on any topic.