House and Senate hold higher education appropriations hearings
Both chambers held initial reviews of the governor’s proposed higher education budget this week. The Senate Appropriations committee, chaired by Sen. Rob Mayer (R-Dexter), heard from Commissioner of Higher Education Robert Stein and Deputy Commissioner Paul Wagner Feb. 2. Dr. Carolyn Mahoney, current president of the Council on Public Higher Education (COPHE), spoke on behalf of the four-year public institutions and discussed the agreement between the governor and all public higher education institutions to keep tuition flat in exchange for a 5.2 percent reduction from their FY10 funding levels. Committee members clarified aspects of the agreement and discussed the exclusion of University of Missouri-related programs, such as University Hospital and MOREnet, from the agreement and what impact that will have on these programs.
The House Appropriations–Education committee, chaired by Rep. Mike Thomson (R-Maryville), heard a similar presentation Feb. 3. Discussion included scholarship programs and possible federal and state changes that would affect the programs.
Both hearings marked the beginning of the legislature’s budget review process. All higher education institution presidents will have an opportunity to present to the House committee Feb. 16-17. The committee will then submit its recommendations for review by the House Budget committee. All appropriations bills must be finally passed by May 7.
Additional FY10 expenditure restrictions announced
Based on a January report showing a 12.5 percent decline so far in the state’s general revenue collections, the state announced $73.8 million in additional expenditure restrictions to a variety of state programs. The February restrictions represent the third instance, after October and January, in which the state has withheld funding based on disappointing revenue reports.
The most recent announcement includes three University of Missouri–related programs, with 5 percent withheld from the budgets of MOREnet, the Missouri Rehabilitation Center in Mt. Vernon, and the Missouri Institute of Mental Health. The university’s operating budget has avoided restrictions so far due to the current year’s agreement to keep tuition flat for flat funding. However, all UM-related programs have had their budgets reduced by varying percentages. The following indicates the total percent withholding in FY10 for these programs:
- University Hospitals and Clinics: 28%
- Missouri Rehabilitation Center: 8%
- Missouri Institute of Mental Health: 33%
- Missouri Kidney Program: 18%
- MOREnet: 48%
- Missouri Telehealth Network: 26%
- State Historical Society: 25%
Three House members win special elections
The state of Missouri held three special elections for House seats Feb. 2. In St. Louis City, the winner in the 57th District was Hope Whitehead (D) with 56 percent of the votes. This seat was formerly held by Rep. Talibdin El-Amin.
In St. Joseph, the seat in the 27th District was won by Pat Conway (D) with 65 percent of the votes. This seat was previously held by Rep. Ed Wildberger, who was appointed Buchanan County recorder of deeds by Gov. Nixon in November.
In the southwestern part of the state, Nita Jane Ayres (R) was elected with 78 percent of the vote. She will be filling the seat formerly held by Dennis Wood, who resigned to become Stone County commissioner.
Visit http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/  to learn more about the race outcomes.
MU Extension annual report illustrates wide reach of land-grant mission
The 2009 MU Extension annual report illustrates Extension’s mission “to improve people’s lives, communities and the economy by providing relevant, responsive, and reliable research-based education.”
The report highlights several extension programs, including firefighter training, profitability techniques for Missouri farmers, life enrichment for senior citizens, technical assistance and research-based education for small business owners and managers, and science-based 4-H programs.
Legislative Day March 2
Make plans now to join friends, alumni and supporters of the University of Missouri for the 36th Annual University of Missouri Legislative Day scheduled for March 2. Highlights include capital visits beginning at 8 a.m., displays in the 3rd floor rotunda featuring university programs, and a rally in the 1st Floor Rotunda at 9:30 a.m. Visits continue through the rest of the day until 2 p.m.
This year, Legislative Day coincides with the governor’s math, engineering, technology and science (METS) week and campus displays on the 3rd floor rotunda will highlight these areas.
Visit http://umurl.us/lAj  to register for Legislative Day or for more details.
UM president delivers State of University address
University of Missouri System President Gary Forsee delivered his annual State of the University address during the board of curators meeting Jan. 29 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Forsee reflected on the many successes achieved by the university’s four campuses and system and took a closer look at the challenges facing public higher education in this economy.
A video of the State of the University address, as well as written remarks and accompanying slides, is available at http://www.umsystem.edu/sotu/ .
UM system unveils accountability measures
The University of Missouri System unveiled its comprehensive set of accountability measures at its board of curators meeting Jan. 29 in Kansas City. The Accountability Measurement System is a compilation of approximately 80 measures that encompass all facets of the university’s mission to help guide its efforts in the coming years. The measures will allow leaders, faculty and staff at all levels and on all campuses to translate their distinctive missions and aspirations into specific and measurable activities.
The measures include data for FY07-09, as well as targets for FY12, peer averages from other institutions and benchmark data from the top-performing peer institution in FY07.
To view the Accountability Measurement System overview, visit http://umurl.us/btz .
UM system announces plans to accelerate commercialization of intellectual property
Plans to invest up to $5 million to accelerate commercialization of intellectual property will help create high-value jobs in Missouri and provide funds to start-up companies, university officials said during a board of curators meeting Jan. 29 in Kansas City.
The Enterprise Investment Fund is designed to help fund start-up companies in Missouri that can move the discoveries of faculty from the laboratory to the marketplace, creating more high-quality jobs, building the state’s tax revenues and cultivating new revenue streams for the university.
Not all requirements have been finalized, but firms wishing to apply for funds must meet a series of minimum standards. Additional details are available at http://umurl.us/2pfPQ .
The university had big dream — and bigger results
The University of Missouri System Office of Research and Economic Development had big dreams—and even bigger results—in 2009. The department’s major accomplishments, including increasing licensing revenue and options signed by the university by 18.5 percent and 55 percent respectively, awarding grants to faculty to bring their ideas closer to market, and reducing the amount of time to move technologies to market, is highlighted in its 2009 annual report. The report also includes cutting-edge research under way at each campus.
To view the report, visit http://umurl.us/2m7 .