Futures Task Force Charge

Frank Einhellig, Chair
Jim Baker, Research and Economic Development
Chris Barnhart, Biology
Mike Carlie, Sociology & Anthropology
Peter Collins, Music
Marc Cooper, History
Jane Doelling, School of Teacher Education
Ryan Giedd, Physics & Astronomy
Dennis Hickey, Political Science
Michael Hignite, Computer Information Systems
Jane Hoogestraat, English
Kathryn Hope, Nursing
Julie Masterson, Communication Sciences & Disorders
D. Wayne Mitchell, Psychology
Elizabeth Rozell, Management
Dennis Schmitt, Agriculture
Wade Thompson, Theatre & Dance
Michael T. Nietzel
Task Force Charge

Thank you very much for agreeing to serve on the Task Force on Missouri State University Futures, chaired by Frank Einhellig, who I want to give particular thanks to for agreeing to lead the group.

I intended this Task Force to be composed of some of the University's most accomplished faculty, recognized for their influential scholarship and for their ability to understand the University in broad, inclusive terms and to represent the highest standards of excellence in teaching, research, and service. This group clearly qualifies on all dimensions, and I appreciate your willingness to devote your efforts to this important job. I plan to name two or three more individuals to the Task Force, but summer vacations and leaves have conspired to prevent me from contacting them up to this point. Rather than wait any longer to get started, I have decided to initiate the process so that the Task Force can begin to formulate its approach and discuss the methods it will employ in answering its charge. I will announce the additional members of the group as soon as I talk with them, and I will then inform the campus of the complete membership of the Task Force.

The charge for the Task Force is to:

  • Assess the current status of the University's scholarly and educational strengths as well as its best opportunities for initiatives with a high potential for excellence;
  • Recommend up to 12 areas of contemporary scholarship that should be the priorities for investments of new and reallocated resources, particularly the addition of faculty lines;
  • Propose specific options for academic restructuring and reorganization that will promote interdisciplinary innovations, strengthen research and degree programs, increase administrative efficiency, and generate additional savings in administrative costs that can be reallocated to academic priorities.

In responding to this charge, I would ask the Task Force to consider multiple criteria, including the following:

  • Major trends and opportunities in extramural funding;
  • Areas where growth in knowledge is expected to be most dramatic;
  • Special needs of Missouri, Springfield, and the Ozarks to include economic development, technological advances, cultural enrichment, physical well-being, and social prosperity;
  • Encouragement of new collaborations in research and learning as well as linkages to the University's existing and emerging research strengths;
  • Compatibility with the University's statewide mission in public affairs; and
  • Potential for contributing to superior undergraduate, graduate, and professional education.

As you may be aware, many universities have launched similar efforts to identify those areas of knowledge that should be targets of focused reinvestment. The Task Force may want to review those plans, interview external consultants, or evaluate outcomes from prior strategic approaches as ways to inform its recommendations. You should pursue whatever strategies you believe necessary for reaching well-reasoned opinions, but I would encourage you to give ample opportunities for input from faculty, students, and staff throughout the process.

The Task Force should concentrate on identifying broad intellectual/research themes, rather than specific departments, units or programs, for the recommended priorities. I anticipate that most of the priorities you will recommend will accommodate expertise in a range of the University's existing units.

I hope you can meet a February 1, 2006, goal for a final report. This document need not be a lengthy one, but obviously it should present the rationale for your final recommendations, and it should be prepared in such a way that it can be widely distributed for campus input and comment.