With Fall Break behind us and the rush of the holiday season (and not to mention finals) ahead, I want to pause for a moment to share a few words of thanks and some important information.
Great Game of Education
When we launched the Great Game of Education here at Missouri Southern, it was with the goal of giving everyone on campus a vested interest in our financial well-being.
The GGOE Culture Committee designed a series of financial training sessions to help all employees understand the principles of the Great Game, and to create for each person an invaluable “line of sight” to see how their individual roles impact our critical number … operating cash.
The open-book management principles you embraced helped us to make significant improvements to our critical number. I’m pleased to announce that everyone will be rewarded for those efforts. The Board of Governors has approved a one-time distribution to all employees working at the university when the end of the year “critical number” was calculated on June 30, 2017.
Providing a “stake in the outcome” is a fundamental principle of GGOE. With that in mind, the board asked the GGOE Culture Committee to recommend what amount of the approximately $800,000 improvement in the critical number should be distributed to employees as their stake in the outcome. The culture committee recommended distributing 50% of the increase to employees and that the university retain the other 50% to battle the 2018 budget deficit.
The board approved the committee’s recommendation. Accordingly, full-time employees working at Missouri Southern on June 30 will receive $750, and part-time employees (also employed with the university on that date) will receive $375. Congratulations everyone!
But as we celebrate, don’t forget that the game goes on.
Along with every other higher education institution in the state, these are challenging times for Missouri Southern. We’ve weathered serious cuts to our budget, and must be prepared for more. As such, we have to redouble our commitment to creating a healthy financial future for this university.
I want to thank Dr. Cragin and all of the Culture Committee and subcommittee members for their dedication, as well as to all of you who have made an effort to “get in the game.” Let’s keep the momentum going!
I also want to extend my thanks to all of you who attended the recent Stakeholder Engagement Sessions in order to help us evaluate the university’s future.
About 150 people attended the face-to-face sessions, and countless others participated online. The resulting 1,200 or so comments and suggestions will now be analyzed for similarities and presented to the Board of Governors in November.
However, if you wish to continue in the effort to sharpen our Mission, Vision, and Values along with engaging in SWOT Analysis, Environmental Scan, and Aspirational Thinking exercises, please follow the links below to a Survey Monkey version of the documents.
SWOT Analysis – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MSSUSWOT
Environmental Scan – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MSSUEnvScan
Aspirational Thinking – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MSSUAspirations
New Performance Funding Model
I also want to offer a brief update on new performance funding measures that are on the horizon.
A statewide task force has been assigned to review the current performance funding model. The task force began meeting over the summer and continued their work into the fall, and recently made their final recommendations to the Coordinating Board for Higher Education. It is anticipated that the draft will pass with few, if any, changes. The new model will include six measures focused on: Student Success (2); Efficiency (2); Affordability (1); and Job Placement (1).
The items are not firmly in place yet, but early examination indicates that we should have very little problem achieving the Student Success elements because the two measures are focused on “completions per Full Time Equivalent (FTE) enrollment” and “Licensure Exam pass rates.” We should do well each year on both of these metrics.
The first Efficiency measure will monitor the “change in operating salaries per student FTE compared to Median Household Income (MHI).” It is anticipated that MHI will be statewide… not local. The “per student FTE” verbiage is very important to note, because FTE enrollment could mean the difference in passing or failing this item. And, it will be a “bright line” item where the university “change” will either be above or below the MHI “change.” This item should cause us to redouble our efforts to retain students.
The second efficiency measure examines our core expenditures as a percent of total expenditures compared to our peer group (identified by MDHE). To succeed on this measure requires being in the top 1/3 of the peer group or making annual progress toward that level.
We will keep you updated as we learn more about what these new measures will mean for us here at Missouri Southern.
50 Years at Mission Hills
The special ceremony comes 50 years (nearly to the day) that Gov. Warren Hearnes dedicated this campus, calling the new, four-year institution “a catalyst for progress.”
All employees, students and friends of the university are invited to gather with us where Gov. Hearnes once stood, in front of Hearnes Hall, to look back at the events that brought us here and to look toward the future as we rededicate this campus. We will be joined by some of the descendants of the school’s founding fathers, while Sen. Ron Richard will present a proclamation in honor of the occasion. Refreshments will be served on the Oval after the ceremony.
From its beginnings as Joplin Junior College 80 years ago, Missouri Southern has grown into a major education, athletic and cultural hub for the region, and each of you has played a role in our success.
I hope you’ll be able to join us as we celebrate this historic occasion.
Thanks for all you do for your continued service to our students and our university. Here’s to the next 50 years!