Board of Curators discusses new degree programs

One new program considered was a film studies degree.
Curators Warren Erdman and David Bradley exit the UM system Board of Curators meeting Thursday at the Clinton Club located in Mizzou Arena. During the meeting, topics discussed included an amendment to allow employees to use sick leave time in less than eight-hour increments.

The UM system Board of Curators met Thursday in the Clinton Club at Mizzou Arena to discuss proposals for two new degree programs and sick leave for employees, in addition to other business.

The board, which is the governing body of the four-campus university system, met in different committees throughout the day to listen to various reports and confer about the proposals presented. Each proposal will come to a vote Friday morning when the curators reconvene.

The board discussed the potential for two new degree programs at MU during the Academic, Student and External Affairs Committee meeting. One of these programs is a Bachelor of Arts in film studies.

"(A film program) is in very high demand," Vice President of Academic Affairs Steve Graham said. "This proposal has gotten good reviews all the way around."

According to the written proposal, the program would be beneficial in both the recruitment and retention of students. In addition, the proposal calls the lack of a film program a glaring gap in MU's curriculum.

Graham said he's confident the resources necessary for the degree program are already in place because many film courses are already offered at MU. He also said the new film program is tailored to MU's academic identity.

"It fits in very well with MU's strategic plan," he said. "There's a growing focus on new media."

The curators also discussed the addition of both master's and doctorate programs in clinical and translational science. According to the proposal, this new program will bring together educators and researchers from a wide array of fields, including medicine, engineering, nursing, veterinary medicine, agriculture, education, journalism, law and business.

"This program will quickly take scientific discovery into practice," Graham said. "It will bridge the gap between basic sciences and clinical practices."

In regard to employees, the board proposed several amendments that, if finalized by a vote on Friday, will alter the UM system's policy on sick leave. One of the new amendments would lift the previously instated sick leave limit of 12 days for university employees for the year.

"As you all know, in certain flu situations, we are actually encouraging people to stay home and not come to work," Human Resources Committee Vice President Betsy Rodriguez said. "This is only for this year, as we evaluate the impact of this change, we're recommending a temporary lift of that limit."

Another one of the new amendments would allow for employees to use their sick leave time in less than eight-hour increments. The amendment will also require faculty to use personal leave for their first three days of any injury-related leave of absence.

On the fiscal front, the curators discussed the reallocation of the school's investments to match benchmarks for future investment returns. Taking the instability of the market into account, the curators looked at how the school has met its benchmarks from last year.

"Essentially, counting state appropriations, we did better than break even," Finance and Administration Vice President Nikki Krawitz said.

The Board of Curators also discussed the way learning is changing with technology. After Graham screened a student-made video entitled "A Vision of the Student Today," Student Representative Laura Confer shared her own thoughts on a new era in learning.

"It's a different way of learning today," Confer said. "E-learning is the future."

The board will conclude its two-day meeting Friday at Mizzou Arena.

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