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Strategic Initiatives Progress Report

Dear University community, 

Last September, we announced $260 million in strategic investments to achieve excellence in the five Missouri Compacts for student success, research and creative works, engagement and outreach, inclusion and planning, operations and stewardship. Now, more than a year later, I’d like to provide an update on exciting progress we’ve made systemwide. 

Student Success

  • Scholarships: To date, we have secured more than $86 million in funding for the UM Promise and Opportunity and the Next Generation Merit Scholarship programs to provide affordable, high-quality education to students systemwide. 
  • eLearning update: In September, we announced that Mizzou and UMSL’s online learning programs will move under the leadership of Chief eLearning Officer Matthew Gunkel starting this month as a result of recommendations from our internal eLearning Task Force and our partnership, now concluded, with EY Parthenon. The eLearning team will continue to look for collaborative opportunities systemwide to meet the workforce needs of Missouri and beyond. Additional updates and progress can be found on our eLearning page
  • Student Enrollment: Across the UM System, first-time college student enrollment for Fall 2019 has increased by 4.7% (16% for MU) compared to Fall 2018.
  • Student graduation rates: MU’s 6-year graduation rate increased from 69% in 2018 to 71% in 2019. Missouri S&T’s 6-year graduation rate increased from 63% in 2018 to 66% in 2019.

Research & Creative Works

  • NextGen Precision Health Institute:In June, we celebrated the groundbreaking of the cutting-edge facility, anchored at MU, where researchers, clinicians and industry partners will collaborate to streamline technology and more rapidly develop therapies for patients.
  • Alliance for Precision Health: In July, we announced a 10-year partnership with Siemens Healthineers, an innovative industry leader, to ensure our universities and health care partners have continued access to leading-edge diagnostic and therapeutic equipment.
  • NextGen Precision Health Initiative: In September, we began a series of NextGen visits starting in Kansas City to engage the local university and surrounding communities on what this initiative means for them and the state of Missouri. We look forward to engaging the entire community around this top priority project.
  • NextGenGift Announcement: Last Friday, the NextGen Precision Health Institute received one of its first major gifts, $6 million, from Jim Fitterling, CEO of DOW to support the construction, already underway and on track to be completed in 2021.
  • Research Investments: In August, we announced the first round of funds totaling up to $20.5 million to support bold and transformative research to train the next generation of leaders to meet workforce needs, create breakthrough discoveries to improve the human condition and convey the benefits of teaching and research to Missouri communities.
  • Research Proposals and Awards: FY19 research proposals and awards across the UM System are up 14.9% and 12.8% compared to FY18.

Engagement & Outreach

  • Recruitment displays: The Office of Engagement worked with all four universities to make a display with admissions information available in all Extension offices across the state. The county faculty and staff are also trained on these resources to connect prospective students and their parents with valuable information about attending any of our campuses. 
  • UM System Health Engagement Task Force:On October 16, a group of academic leaders systemwide will convene to identify focal areas and strategies to collaborate on regarding health issues. We look forward to sharing an update on those plans following the meeting.
  • Engagement Week: From October 21-25, we look forward to all four universities and our county Extension leaders coming together to share the exciting work happening across the state of Missouri. For event details systemwide, visit the UM System Engagement Week page.
  • MOSourceLink: Check out the newly-released Resource Rail, a map of Missouri’s entrepreneurial resources that takes business owners through their journey from inception through proof-of-concept, rollout, expansion and exit. Entrepreneurs can use the Rail to find the right low-cost or no-cost resource —whether they lead tech startups, high-growth scaling businesses, microenterprises or Main Street businesses. Additionally, MOSourceLink released the Show Me Jobs report that illustrates the more than 190,000 jobs created by Missouri startups (first-time employers with fewer than 20 employees) from 2014-2018. The report makes it clear that entrepreneurs are a critical part of the economic vitality throughout every corner of Missouri.

Inclusive Excellence

  • Funding allocations: The UM System Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is excited to share a few project examples of strategic funding outputs that illustrate inclusive efforts systemwide, including:  

    • The UM System Office of the President applied for and received funding to put in a lactation rooms in University Hall.
    • At MU, the College of Engineering developed a program aimed at recruiting, supporting and graduating more women, African American and Latinx students from STEM. Their mission is to foster conversations amongst all identity groups.
    • UMKC developed a cross cultural dialogue program aimed at increasing inclusion and belonging practices.
    • Missouri S&T will be piloting a centralized accommodations fund in order to determine whether there is an impact on utilization to better provide for their staff.
    • The UMSL Fine Arts Department purchased a wheelchair accessible pottery wheel.
  • Future funding: To better streamline systemwide, future funding allocation processes are currently under review by the DEI Advisory Council and will be shared upon approval. In the meantime, universities should continue implementing their inclusive excellence plans to track metrics and outcomes.

Planning, Operations and Stewardship

  • State funding: In June, the state budget was signed and included $416.2 million in core funding to support our four universities, keeping our funding stable. We are grateful to Governor Parson and the Missouri legislature for their investment in our university system, including a $10 million line item to support our top priority capital project, NextGen Precision Health Institute, which will benefit all Missourians.
  • Project Unify: A team of our IT professionals are identifying and implementing improvements to the integrations and business processes around Slate, Canvas and Starfish, allowing for all four universities to more efficiently and effectively utilize these tools to increase the success of our students. Additionally, a Task Force is in motion to identify process improvement efforts in the Admissions, Cashiers, Financial Aid and Registrar spaces, resulting in streamlined experiences for students, faculty, and staff systemwide.
  • Long-term planning processes: A five-year financial plan and accountability model was developed and implemented systemwide. This approach provides leaders with relevant and timely information about the financial sustainability of their strategic and operational plans. Additionally, we have implemented cost-effective changes to the retirement plan.
  • Philanthropic Contributions: The FY19 annual giving contributions across the UM System are up by 14.8% compared to FY18.

Programs for Faculty and Staff Success

  • Academic Leadership Conference: The UM System Offices of Academic Affairs and Human Resources hosted the first-ever Academic Leadership Conference in August. Nearly 180 provosts, deans, department chairs and other leaders from all four universities converged for a two-day conference, which included informative keynote addresses about leadership strategy and interactive breakout sessions on a wide range of topics, including navigating internal conflict in a department, managing a daily avalanche of email and finding success in higher education’s uncertain funding environment. In addition to professional development opportunities, the attendees were able to engage with their colleagues and counterparts from across the system in a collaborative environment.<
  • Leadership Development: For the first time, the new Administrative Leadership Development Program(ALDP) and Leadership Development Program (LDP) cohorts converged during their annual retreats to offer an opportunity for faculty and staff to network and engage with each other.
  • LinkedIn: The UM System invested in the LinkedIn Enterprise Program to enhance recruitment efforts systemwide. Job postings from eRecruit will automatically be published on LinkedIn improving candidate pools and awareness of career opportunities.

I am proud of progress made in the last year, especially as we have focused on the fundamentals of student success, research and outreach. I remain grateful to the leaders, faculty, staff and students for making these important contributions to the Missouri Compacts that enrich our University, our state and the communities that we serve.

To learn more about the initiatives and funding processes, or for regular status updates, visit: /strategicplan/investments. Thank you for your contributions and continued dedication to these efforts.



Mun Y. Choi
UM System President

Reviewed 2019-10-16