On Jan. 1, Wayne Goode began his term as chair of the UM System Board of Curators and Don Downing assumed the position of vice chair.
The Board of Curators is the governing body of the university system, Goode said. Among other duties, its members are responsible for approving university budgets and audits and overseeing investments and retirement accounts.
Members of the Board of Curators are volunteers, UM System spokeswomen Jennifer Hollingshead said. Gov. Jay Nixon (D) appointed Good and Downing to the board in 2009, according to a news release. Board members are appointed to serve six-year terms, and members elect a chair and vice chair to serve for one year. Goode served as vice chair of the board in 2012.
Both Goode and Downing are MU graduates. Goode received a bachelor’s degree from MU and later received an honorary law degree from the University of Missouri - St. Louis, according to the news release. Downing received a bachelor’s degree from MU and a juris doctorate from the MU School of Law.
After graduating from MU, Goode was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 1962. He later served in the Missouri State Senate from 1984 until his retirement in 2005. Goode is also the chair of the Missouri State Capitol Commission and is a member of several other boards, including the board of the Missouri Historical Society. Downing is an attorney with the St. Louis firm of Gray, Ritter and Graham, P.C., according to the news release.
Despite his ties to MU, Goode said it is not challenging to balance the needs of all schools in the UM System.
“We all take a statewide view,” Goode said. “It’s not difficult for me to balance the needs of all four campuses. They’re each somewhat unique … so that’s not difficult.”
Goode said one of the board’s primarily goals for the upcoming year will be implementing UM System President Timothy Wolfe’s strategic planning initiative, a program that is designed to help each campus outline strategies and financial plans to guide them in future years.
“There are ongoing issues such as teaching a planning process that the president started with the board about nine months ago,” Goode said. “That’s a several year process and it should have a long-term impact on the university.”
Goode said the board’s biggest challenge is budget shortfalls, which can lead to tuition increases that are larger than what the board considers ideal. He said the state legislature is currently considering a bond issue for voters, which would increase the MU System revenue and allow funding for building projects.
In the board’s role in overseeing funding, Goode said the board tries to stay out of the day-to-day operations of the system’s four campuses.
“We try not to get too deeply involved in the actual management (of the campuses),” Good said. “We leave that to the president for the most part. But sometimes it happens the other way around and we get some things that get a lot of public attention.”
The board will also work on other issues in the upcoming year. Goode said he would introduce some of the topics at the board’s first 2013 meeting on Jan. 31.
“There are some smaller items that I will talk about at our board meeting at the end of January that I want to focus a little attention on, but none of those are monumental issues,” Goode said. “Our real responsibility is making sure that the university is well run, serves the public and serves the students.”