It was a great 2016, with another record system enrollment in the fall.
We are looking to 2017 and beyond to build on our momentum and address some issues of extreme importance to the university.
We have been pursuing an aggressive action plan for the 2016-17 academic year, and two goals stand out that align with some key areas of our 2016-21 long-range plan.
We’re proud of record enrollment, but at the same time we have been shifting focus from purely growing enrollment to retaining students and increasing the number of Bears who complete programs.
Student success must be the overarching theme for everything we do, and students who enroll must be confident they will graduate.
We’re looking at factors related to retention — such as student experience, cost and finances, program offerings and how or when we deliver courses — to evaluate what we could do to help students finish a degree.
This is actually tied to the first goal, because first-generation, Pell Grant-eligible and underrepresented students are graduating at significantly lower numbers and percentages, both at MSU and throughout the United States.
It is critical that we create an environment and structure that attracts and retains historically underrepresented students and enables them to succeed.
We also need a diverse faculty and staff population to strengthen the educational environment for all students through exposure to different ideas, cultures and experiences.
So how are we going to address these goals? We can’t just say we’ll think about these topics. We must be accountable, with metrics set up to monitor our progress.
In October, we finalized targets for:
The university will devote significant time and resources in the coming years to move forward in these areas.
While some of our targets may be reached this year, others will take longer to accomplish because they will challenge the university to achieve more than it is achieving now.
We have to rise to this challenge. We do this because it’s the right thing to do.
We do this to best serve our students, who enroll hoping to build a better future, not to leave without a diploma.
We do this to best serve Missouri and the nation, which depend on higher education to provide a highly trained and skilled workforce.
We do this to make sure all students, faculty and staff feel welcome and included in our community.
We do this to raise our profile and grow our reputation.
We are up to the challenge, and we invite you to keep up with our progress.
Missouri State’s 2016-21 long-range plan, which outlines our priorities and goals for the coming years, is online.