Governor signs higher education budget

Geyer award recipients Richard mendenhall, Rep. Brian Yates and Rep. Bryan Pratt

Gov. Matt Blunt signed the higher education appropriations bill, HB 1003, on Friday, June 23, at bill signing ceremonies held at both UMKC and MU. The governor approved the entire core budget appropriation passed for the University of Missouri by the General Assembly, which includes a 2.8 percent increase, or about $13.75 million in additional funding for UM. The total appropriation for UM for the next fiscal year beginning July 1, 2006, is $413.1 million. University of Missouri President Elson S. Floyd attended the bill signing and praised the governor for his leadership and commitment to reinvesting in higher education. The budget increase enables the University “to deliver the highest quality education we can at our institution while keeping down the cost of tuition,” Floyd said.

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President, chancellors host legislative forums for candidates
Top: UMR Chancellor Jack Carney visits with Tod DeVeydt, House candidate for the 111th District. Bottom: UM President Elson S. Floyd talks with UMR Dean of Engineering Robert Mitchell and Buz Harvey, Phelps for the Fort. Photo credit: Kelley McCall.

University of Missouri President Elson S. Floyd and the chancellors from each of UM’s four campuses are hosting candidate forums this summer in Rolla, Columbia, Kansas City and St. Louis. All candidates for the Missouri House of Representatives and State Senate are invited to attend any one of the forums. The goal is to provide the candidates with an overview of the University of Missouri and the University’s position on important legislative issues, as well as to help acquaint candidates with the University’s leaders and campuses. Each forum will include a presentation by Floyd, followed by campus highlights presented by the respective chancellor and a campus tour. The first forum was held Thursday, June 22, 2006, at UMR’s Havener Center. Upcoming forums will be Thursday, July 6, at MU; Monday, July 17, at UMSL; and Tuesday, July 18, at UMKC.

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Special committee on immigration reform holds hearing

A newly-appointed Special Committee on Immigration Reform for the Missouri House of Representatives met for the first time on Thursday, June 8, to begin studying the impact of immigration and illegal aliens on Missouri. During the past session two bills were introduced, HB1864 and SB1250, that included language that would require registrars at public institutions to certify to the General Assembly that they did not knowingly admit illegal aliens before the state appropriation for the institution is released. The bills also included a number of other provisions not related to higher education. Chairman Ed Emery (R-Lamar) announced at the hearing that the committee would revisit these issues during the summer and in the upcoming session.

During the June 8 hearing, the University of Missouri testified that it does not knowingly admit illegal aliens. Those students applying for admission who are not U.S. citizens must present the appropriate documentation before they can be considered for enrollment. Students who do not have proper documentation are directed to an agency that is able to help them get the appropriate paperwork in order. The University of Missouri does, however, admit many students who are legal aliens and who do have proper documentation. These students make up an important part of the fabric of the institution and contribute to the diversity that the institution values. A related story on immigration can be found in the federal section of this Update [Read more…]

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Legislators participate in Mizzou Update

St. Charles-area legislators Sen. Chuck Gross (R-St. Charles), Rep. Cynthia Davis (R-O’Fallon) and Rep. Vicki Schneider (R-O’Fallon) were guests at a Mizzou Update reception in St. Charles, Friday, June 9. The event was co-sponsored by MU Extension and the local MU alumni chapter. About 80 people were on hand to hear MU Chancellor Brady Deaton speak about the importance of MU’s mission. Deaton said that over the last decade, Mizzou’s research operations have produced expenditures of approximately $1.7 billion – most of that spent on jobs, goods and services in Missouri. Federal grants make MU a leader in improving Missourians’ food, environment and health, including the treatment of cancer. Research also is extended to citizens through University of Missouri Extension. Deaton cited an extension program, with assistance from a Missouri Foundation for Health grant, that helps children reduce their risk of developing Type II diabetes. More than 75 teachers in 20 schools in St. Charles County have been trained to teach 2,300 students about nutrition, fitness and diabetes. Deaton also thanked the legislators for their support of the University and the land-grant mission.

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UM Health Care hosts legislative dinner

University of Missouri Health Care hosted central-Missouri area legislators and legislative staff at a dinner on June 12, 2006. Rep. Judy Baker (D-Columbia) and Rep. Steve Hobbs (R-Mexico) attended the event, along with staff members from Rep. Jeff Harris’ (D-Columbia) and Sen. Chuck Graham’s (D-Columbia) offices. UM Health Care Chief Executive Officer Jim Ross discussed the characteristics of UM’s health system and its uniqueness as an academic medical center and as one of only two safety-net hospitals in the state. In its safety net role, UM Health Care provided uncompensated care to over 69,000 patients in FY05 at a cost of $43.7 million. Over the last few years, UM Health Care has experienced growth in a variety of areas, including: 

  • Surgery service volumes reached a five-year high in FY05;
  • The Family Birth Center at Columbia Regional Hospital saw a 31 percent increase in births from FY03-FY06;
  • The University Hospital census increased by more than 40 patients per day in FY05;
  • With the help of the MU School of Medicine, more than 70 medical school faculty have been recruited for a record high of more than 500 faculty; and
  • UM Health Care increased its total market share by 8 percent from October 2004 to September 2005.

Ross also discussed the health care system’s financial, strategic and facilities plans, which will be accomplished over three phases in the next ten to fifteen years. The master facilities plan will be presented to the Board of Curators at its July meeting.

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Groundbreaking ceremony for new Clinical Support & Education Building
Jim Ross, CEO of University of Missouri Health Care; William Crist, M.D., Hugh E. and Sarah D. Stephenson Dean of the MU School of Medicine; Gordon Brown, Ph.D., chair of the school's Department of Health Management and Informatics; and Brady Deaton, Ph.D., MU chancellor, at the groundbreaking. Photo credit: David R. Owens.
Jim Ross, CEO of University of Missouri Health Care; William Crist, M.D., Hugh E. and Sarah D. Stephenson Dean of the MU School of Medicine; Gordon Brown, Ph.D., chair of the school's Department of Health Management and Informatics; and Brady Deaton, Ph.D., MU chancellor, at the groundbreaking. Photo credit: David R. Owens.

The MU School of Medicine and University of Missouri Health Care held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Clinical Support and Education Building on June 7, 2006, at the construction site on the west side of the medical school and University Hospital. Rep. Ed Robb (R-Columbia) attended the event, which included remarks from MU Chancellor Brady Deaton; Dr. William Crist, Dean of the School of Medicine; Jim Ross, chief executive officer of University of Missouri Health Care; and Dr. Gordon Brown, chair of the medical school’s Department of Health Management and Informatics. The new building will contain facilities for the school’s growing faculty, medical students, medical records and University of Missouri Health Care staff. The building also will house MU’s Russell D. and Mary B. Shelden Clinical Simulation Center, which will contain high-tech mannequins that will be used to train physicians and other health care providers. The building will cost approximately $26 million and is scheduled for completion in October 2007.

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UMSL chancellor delivers annual report to the community
UMSL Chancellor Tom George delivers his annual report to the community.
UMSL Chancellor Tom George delivers his annual report to the community.

UM-St. Louis Chancellor Tom George delivered the campus’ 30th annual report to the community on May 25, 2006. George said the campus is breaking new ground in economic development and civic engagements. He cited the relocation of the headquarters of Express Scripts, Inc., to a research park on the campus, as well as a planned partnership with St. Louis Community College for its new Wildwood campus. George also outlined updates to the UMSL master plan, which includes renovation of Benton Stadler Hall, a new building for KWMU, and general road and entrance enhancements to the campus.

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UMR gets funding for 2007 solar house

The solar house team at the University of Missouri-Rolla is one of 20 teams that have been selected to receive $100,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy to support the construction of new houses for the 2007 Solar Decathlon. UMR has designed and built houses for previous Solar Decathlon events, which are typically held every-other year on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to raise awareness about solar energy. Students will begin construction on UMR’s 2007 house this fall.

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Congressional appropriations

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee held its first mark-up the week of June 19th. The Subcommittee on Agriculture approved its $94.6 billion bill, which provides $18.2 billion in discretionary funding, $886 million more than requested and almost $400 million more than the House-passed bill. According to the press release, the subcommittee’s recommendations included $2.421 billion for agriculture research and extension programs, including funding for the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service. The bill the House passed in May provided $18.4 billion in total discretionary resources, which is $96 million below the level authorized for FY06 and $564 million more than the President’s budget request. This is the first mark-up of 12 bills left for the Senate to pass. The Senate also is expected to mark up the legislative branch appropriations bill this week.

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U.S. House and Senate pass different immigration bills

In May, the U.S. Senate approved its version of immigration reform (S. 2611), which included several visa provisions for higher education. The legislation would create a new F-4 visa category to make it easier for foreign graduate students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the U.S. to remain here to work after graduation. Sen. Kit Bond held a roundtable discussion at MU earlier this year to gather input on this topic. The bill also would increase the cap on H-1B visas from 65,000 to 115,000 per year. In addition to the new provisions regarding higher education, the Senate bill would allow most of the 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. to remain in the country and earn citizenship. It would create a guest worker program for an additional 200,000 prospective immigrants each year and take a number of steps to secure the border. The House approved its version of an immigration bill (H.R. 4437) that focuses on enforcement and border security, without a legalization and guest worker program. The issue now moves to the conference committee, where the differences between the two bills will be reconciled.

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