Contact: Jennifer Hollingshead
Office: (573) 882-0601
Northwest Missouri State University President Dean L. Hubbard and University of Missouri President Elson S. Floyd today announced their decision to slow the pace of discussions for merging the two institutions. In the interim, the two presidents agreed to establish a strategic partnership that expands collaboration in key areas of mutual interest, including graduate programs, research initiatives, and economic development.
The merger discussions that began last Spring will continue, but the institutions will not seek legislation to effect the merger during the next session of the General Assembly in January.
"We are pursuing something that has never been done before, and that is the voluntary merger of two public universities," said Floyd. "Given the complicated issues that attend such a bold step, it is not surprising that this proposal is unique. Before we take a merger plan to our governing boards, we want to ensure that we have all the answers to the questions that will be raised by our respective university communities, as well as those we are certain to get from legislators. We want everyone to be comfortable with what we are proposing to do before we move forward."
Floyd said that more time was needed to examine thoroughly all the issues involved in the merger.
"During the last two weeks, it became clear to Dean and to me that we needed to adjust our timetable for getting this merger done," Floyd said. "It was not in our best interest to follow the old timeline when we were not ready."
Hubbard said the merger teams would continue their work on administrative aspects of the merger proposal while the two institutions move ahead with joint initiatives.
"We plan to establish a strategic partnership that goes beyond mere collaboration so that we can test how a merger would really work, without actually taking that step," said Hubbard. "The strategic relationship we envision will enable us to gain experience working together on projects that would evolve naturally from a merger, including economic development initiatives in the Northwest region, joint graduate program offerings, and joint applications for research grants and contracts.
Floyd and Hubbard promised to keep their respective stakeholders informed of progress in the talks. "As we reach important milestones, we will report to our university communities," said Hubbard.