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University of Missouri System President outlines priorities for coming year

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John Fougere

Chief Communications Officer

University Relations

Apr 06, 2012

Posted April 6, 2012

During his first meeting as University of Missouri System president, Tim Wolfe outlined for curators his top priorities for the coming year that will allow the university to better execute its core mission areas of teaching, research, service and economic development.

“We play a unique and important role in improving the quality of life for all Missourians and advancing our state’s future,” Wolfe said. “However, for us to continue to excel—especially in this era of diminishing support—change is inevitable. We must chart our own course instead having someone chart it for us.”

Wolfe said the collective priorities for the university system and its four campuses include:

  • Strategic Planning: The university will begin a strategic planning process in June focused on what success will look like 5 to 10 years from now. He said the university’s general officers will align system accountability measures with campus goals to achieve affordable student access to quality academic programs.
  • Attracting and Retaining the Best People: The university will continue to focus on investing in its people through competitive salaries, benefits and programs that allow faculty and staff to be more productive and valuable to students and the institution.
  • Innovative Instruction: The university will significantly expand its successful eLearning programs to further improve student success and provide access to more students.  It is anticipated that this will also generate additional revenue for the university.
  • Operational Excellence: The university will continue to improve efficiency and effectiveness across the system through Operational Excellence Initiatives, which underpin the university’s continued commitment to serving as diligent stewards of the public and private funds invested in the system.
  • Expanded Research and Economic Development: The university will continue to expedite the movement of innovations to the marketplace, stimulating Missouri’s economy with the creation of new businesses and jobs.
  • Effective Communication of our Value and Importance: The university will improve its communications outreach by more effectively relaying how the university reaches every Missourian—every day. Wolfe has charged a systemwide communications team with developing a plan for enhanced communications activities to begin implementation in June. 

Wolfe said his game plan over the next 90 days includes setting expectations on how the university will lead, communicate and execute its priorities, including maximizing opportunities for resources from the state and other private sources.

“As the state’s premier research university, we are on the forefront of ground-breaking research, the education of more than 73,000 students each year, and the economic development and vitality of the state,” said University of Missouri Board of Curators Chair David Bradley. “But to rest on our laurels and not dream—or plan—for the university and its future is not wise. As we are called upon to do more with less, the kind of strategic priorities President Wolfe has outlined for the board will help ensure the university’s relevance for years to come.”

In other board action, curators:

  • Received an update on the proposed 2013 operating budget.
  • Heard an in-depth analysis on the future funding requirements for the retirement plan. The annual required contribution to this plan for the upcoming budget year will be the largest in the history of the plan due to the historic downturn in the financial markets and lower than expected investment returns this past year. This large increase in contribution was not unexpected, and the university will fund the difference by drawing from the stabilization fund that was established several years ago for this purpose. The increased required contribution will be funded by a combination of an increase to the budget and a draw from the stabilization fund.
  • Approved a new degree program—a master’s degree in medical sciences for physician assistants—at UMKC.
  • Received the project design for the Chemical and Biological Engineering Building at Missouri S&T, and approved financing and design review for the Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, as well as bond refunding.

An audio archive of Wolfe’s President’s Report, as well as the full board of curators meeting, will be available on the UM System website no later than April 9 at www.umsystem.edu.

Reporters with any questions should dial-in to the press conference following the board of curators meeting today at 866-434-5269, access code 6109108.