Skip to main content
View Archives


Strategic Initiatives Progress Report, March 2019

Dear University community,

In September 2018, we were pleased to announce $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. Today, I’d like to share the progress we have made, as a university system.

Student Success

  • Scholarships: To date, we have secured more than $80 million in funding for the UM Promise and Opportunity Scholarship Program thanks to the generosity of the KC Scholars Program, the Bloch Family and H&R Block Foundations. With match funding from MU, UMKC and the UM System, we look forward to providing access to affordable, high-quality education to more than 2,000 students.

  • Digital Learning Initiatives: A Task Force has been developed to work toward the UM System’s vision to be the premier eLearning provider in Missouri and contiguous states, with a goal of reaching 25,000 new learners by 2025. This work is being done with support from EY Parthenon, a leader in the industry. Regular updates and progress from the Task Force can be found on our eLearning page.

  • The EQ Student Accelerator Program has successfully launched at all four UM System universities to support entrepreneurially-minded students across the system. This month, each campus will hold a Shark Tank-style pitch competition. The top three winners from each competition will participate in a systemwide event during the Entrepreneur Educator Summit on April 4-5 in Columbia, MO. Faculty, staff, students and the public are invited to attend the demo and awards ceremony. Attendance is free and registration is required.

  • Student Applications: Across the UM System, applications and admissions for first-time freshmen for Fall 2019 have increased by 3.9% and 9.1% respectively, compared to Fall 2018.

Research and Creative Works

  • Research Proposals: University faculty submitted more than 115 pre-proposals for bold and collaborative research projects that may lead to extramurally-funded, center-level national grants. After an internal review, 36 of the 115 proposals were selected to be developed into full proposals and to compete for the $10M in funding for the upcoming fiscal year. Final project selections will be announced on June 30. We look forward to seeing the development of these very exciting research endeavors.
  • Precision Medicine Initiative: In February, an update event was held to share the progress that’s been made since the launch of this top-priority initiative with internal and external constituents. Key updates included:
    • Cancer, neural and vascular working groups are collaborating systemwide to find research synergies
    • $50M in funding from UM System and $50M in funding from MU has been secured for use toward the $228M building cost
    • $4.3M of the $75-100M goal has been raised through philanthropy
    • The governor’s budget included a line item of $1M for the initiative and $50M for VA support is included in the federal budget
    • A search is underway for a project manager to lead the effort
    • Industry partnerships are being explored on a national and global level
    • Groundbreaking is expected in June with targeted completion and a grand opening scheduled for October 19, 2021.
  • Research Proposals and Awards: FY19 research proposals and awards across the UM System are up 5.9% and 15.8% compared to FY18.

Engagement and Outreach

  • UM System Office of Engagement: Under the direction of Chief Engagement Officer Marshall Stewart, a new UM System office and team was established in January. The team will support UM System’s focus on engagement initiatives and infrastructure to support faculty, programming, enhanced partnerships and collaborations to translate the research and teaching activities of all four universities to the citizens of Missouri and beyond. More information about the team and their objectives can be found on the Office of Engagement and Outreach page.
  • MOSourceLink launched with the vision to make Missouri the state for innovation, driving ideas and talent that result in business creation and expansion, creating the jobs of tomorrow. Led by Maria Meyers, the team has completed an initial asset map of university and community resources across the UM System. Their next steps will be to connect these resources by identifying regional champions and forming working groups around policy and capital. More information about their work can be found on MOSourceLink’s website.

Inclusive Excellence

  • The UM System joined the Southern Region Education Board (SREB) Doctoral Scholars Program as an Institution Partner, the first partnership of its kind, to provide support services to minority students seeking their Ph.D. Since joining, seven graduate students have been accepted into the UM System cohort and are nearing completion of their first year as Doctoral Scholars. This is the first time a university system has joined the SREB.
  • The UM System Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has continued providing professional development as part of its Diversity Leadership Development Certificate program, a recognition awarded to faculty and staff members who fulfill training requirements that represents their dedication to supporting an inclusive climate at work and in their communities.

Planning, Operations and Stewardship

  • Faculty and Staff Success: Human Resources leaders across the entire system developed a set of guiding principles to support faculty and staff success. The principles focus on enabling greater employee performance and supporting personal and professional growth to ensure that the UM System realizes its employee value proposition to become a true employer of choice. After several stakeholder conversations, the areas of investment over the next five years will include: Learning and Leadership Development, Recruitment and Retention, Learning Management System and Offboard and Exit Processes. More updates will be available as these programs and projects launch.
  • The UM System Buy Missouri program began in January. This program was designed to encourage university departments to give preference to Missouri firms for supplies, services and equipment purchases.
  • Philanthropic Contributions: The FY19 annual giving contributions across the UM System are up by 18.4% compared to FY18.

I’m so 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: Thank you for your contributions and continued dedication to these efforts.


Mun Y. Choi
President, UM System

Reviewed 2019-03-25