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Board of Curators approve new mission statement, rule on leave, room/board rates


Christian Basi

University launches new mental health app

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – During their meeting today, the University of Missouri Board of Curators strengthened their commitment to free expression, affordability and mental health awareness as they approved several items that will impact how the UM System conducts business and supports the university community in the future. 

“We continue our work focused on defending our communities’ rights of free expression,” said Jon Sundvold, who was presiding over his final meeting as chair of the Board of Curators. “As a university, we are successful when we can discuss differing viewpoints in a respectful manner. Our revised mission statement emphasizes the importance of freedom of expression and academic freedom as well as how we serve as a catalyst for innovation in this great state. ”

At the conclusion of its report in July 2018, the University Task Force, led by Curator Darryl Chatman, suggested review of the UM System mission statement for possible revision. Following additional input over several months from chancellors, provosts and other leaders – including faculty, students and staff – today the board approved the updated mission statement that now reads:

The mission of the University of Missouri System, as a land-grant university and Missouri’s only public research and doctoral-level institution, is to achieve excellence in the discovery, dissemination, preservation and application of knowledge. With an unwavering commitment to academic freedom and freedom of expressionthe university educates students to become leaders, promotes lifelong learning by Missouri’s citizens, fosters meaningful research and creative works, and serves as a catalyst for innovation, thereby advancing the educational, health, cultural, social and economic interests to benefit the people of Missouri, the nation, and the world.

“Our new mission clearly states our service to the state as we strive to educate future leaders and improve the lives of all Missourians,” Chatman said. “I’m also very appreciative of the hard work of the task force and support of the other board members throughout this process. This establishes our foundation for the future of the university.”

The board also approved room and board rates for all four universities in the System. Increases ranged from 0.2% to 2.4%, which are below the average increase of other Missouri institutions. Rates are effective for the summer sessions beginning in June 2020.

“I’m very glad to see that we can continue offering good accommodations with minimal rate increases,” Sundvold said. “This helps keep the financial burden on our students as light as possible.”

In other action, the Board approved a change to the leave policy that would allow eligible faculty or staff to receive up to 30 consecutive calendar days of paid leave after donating an organ or up to seven consecutive calendar days of paid leave following a bone marrow donation. 

Later, UM System President Mun Choi sent a note to every campus, providing updates on the Shared Leave Program that was established two years ago and announced the launch of a new application designed to support mental health. Under the Shared Leave Program, employees can donate accrued vacation to a shared pool. To date, the program has supported 45 employees across the system, providing 5,800 hours that covered more than $150,000 in wages. 

This month, the university launched Sanvello, a mobile- and web-based app that offers support to relieve mental health symptoms and program healthy habits and behaviors. It is free to all University of Missouri employees and students. 

“I’m excited to see progress being made on mental health support,” Sundvold said. “This is vital for our employees and our students and helps ensure that we have a vibrant and supportive community. I know we have many staff members across all four campuses that have dedicated a lot of time to providing our students and employees with the proper support, and I’m appreciative of all their work.”


Reviewed 2019-11-21