During her inaugural state of the university address, the chancellor of Missouri University of Science and Technology highlighted several accomplishments but also noted many challenges facing the university.
“I will tell you the state of the university is strong, the potential is great and the developments are dramatic,” said Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader during her address Wednesday in the Leach Theatre located in Castleman Hall on campus.
Since Schrader was named chancellor in April of this year, she has been meeting with all of the university’s departments, units, associations, student groups, stakeholders and customers as well as legislators as part of a listening tour.
After six months with Missouri S&T, Schrader said she is about two-thirds of the way through her meetings and expects to complete the tour in the spring.
Out of the discussions came six themes that Schrader outlined during his address. They are:
• Develop and inspire creative thinkers and leaders. “As a university community, we must promote creativity and innovation across the institution,” the chancellor said.
• Integrate teaching, learning, research and application. “At Missouri S&T, learning doesn’t begin and end in the classroom,” Schrader said.
• Enhance reputation and raise visibility. “We plan to build on that reputation for excellence and enhance our national and international profile,” she said.
• Foster global competency and inclusion. “We will continue to strive to make Missouri S&T an institution where everyone is welcome, and one that promotes an appreciation for diverse viewpoints and perspectives,” Schrader noted.
• Advance an environment of success, support and community engagement. “We know that the students who succeed at Missouri S&T go on to attain remarkable achievements in their personal and professional lives,” the chancellor said.
• Achieve sustainable growth and ensure the university's future. “Growth is good but managed growth is better,” she said.
“I'm proud to be leading a campus that’s on the move," Schrader said.
Schrader also talked about many challenges, naming examples of constraints on tuition and increaseing student debt, and noted that higher education is at a crossroads.
Universities are being asked to increase expectations as well as increase accountability while dealing with dwindling resources, she said.
“Missouri S&T is in the new normal,” Schrader noted. “We need to think of new ways to address these challenges ... It will not be easy.”
Schrader also talked about the state’s education budget, noting that it was a different story during the first part of the year versus this summer.
In January of this year, the Missouri Legislature talked of a 12.5 percent reduction to higher education funding, which later turned to a 7.8 percent reduction in February.
Schrader said Missouri S&T implemented $4.2 million in reductions while still allowing for a $1.2 million raise pool. In June, Gov. Jay Nixon ended up signing a 1 percent reduction to higher education.
Page 2 of 3 - The investments being made at Missouri S&T break down to 56 percent for enhancing students’ experiences, 27 percent for recruiting and retaining faculty and staff and 14 percent for student access, including new graduate teaching assistant positions, and the remainder for maintenance.
Schrader also mentioned the university’s strategic plan that is being aligned with a strategic plan being developed for the entire University of Missouri system. Missouri S&T’s process, which will take about a year, began in June of this year. The plan will emphasize a customer-focused approach to planning
The process started with a retreat in which a campus strategy statement was created. Since then, the university has been forming a guiding coalition and soliciting input from customers and stakeholders.
Schrader said from November through February will be when most of the work is done on campus in developing the plan. “It will involve a lot of thought and all of you. I look for you to be part of this solution,” she told the crowd.
She noted that a percentage of funding allocations for the Rolla campus will be based on Missouri S&T’s plan and performance.
Additionally, Schrader focused much of her address on several past accomplishments as well as future plans for Missouri S&T.
Among the highlights include the geothermal energy project that is under way on campus. Schrader said most of the geothermal wells have been drilled for the project.
The chancellor also noted a record number of female and minority, specifically Hispanic, students enrolled at the university this fall.
Overall enrollment is up by more than 3,000 students from 2000 to 2012, she said. The number of distance learners has quadrupled and the number of freshmen and graduate students has doubled since 2000.
“Our students are not your average Joe,” Schrader said, noting that the university has 57 National Merit Scholars, 1,014 Bright Flight Scholars, 1,671 Access Missouri Scholars and 850 Curator’s Scholars. The average ACT score for an incoming class is 27.9 and the average GPA is 3.75, the chancellor said.
Schrader also talked about a partnership between Missouri S&T and the Saudi Arabian government to help grow that nation’s economy and establish a new mining school there. Missouri S&T won a $24 million award from Saudi Arabia to train and educate personnel there.
The university also received positive recognition for the value of its education and return on investment and unveiled its virtual surface minding facility in April.
Missouri S&T athletic teams are off to a great start this fall, she added. The university has been ranked fourth in the nation since 2000 in Academic All-Americans.
The fall career fair was a success, Schrader said, noting that not only are employers looking to hire Missouri S&T students, but also co-ops and internships have allowed students to earn more than $3,000 per month average salary. Last year more than 790 students completed a co-op or internship in 34 states.
Page 3 of 3 - Schrader also gave kudos to Dr. Hyoung Koo Lee, who was selected to receive the 2012 DARPA Young Faculty Award, noted the university police was accredited by the IACLEA (International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, Inc.) and recognized the university for receiving the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) silver designation, the only campus in the UM system to achieve such a ranking.
Looking in the future, Schrader mentioned several upcoming projects such as the groundbreaking for the James E. Bertelsmeyer Hall at 11th and State streets and the Hasselmann House for alumni, in which a $500,000 bequest of Beverly Koeppel was given. $1.8 million has already been raised and a matching program hopes to bring the university $1.5 million closer to $3.8 million goal.