Curators discuss tuition increase, new programs

Tuition is expected to increase between 1.8 to 3 percent across the system.

During its Dec. 11 session at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, the UM System Board of Curators discussed issues like rising student tuition and new degree programs.

Proposed Tuition Increases

The curators discussed the proposed tuition increases for the 2016 fiscal year that begins July 2015.

The undergraduate and graduate in-state tuition are expected to rise by 1.8 percent, while undergraduate and graduate out-of-state tuition are expected to rise by 3 percent.

According to the meeting documents, the UM System’s enrollment has grown by 38 percent since 2001, and tuition and fees have replaced state support as the primary resource for the operating budget since 2011.

A tuition increase of 1 percent would bring in nearly $6 million in revenue across the system.

The tuition and fees for the 2016 fiscal year will be presented to the curators again for final approval in the February meeting.

New Degree Programs

The curators unanimously approved two new degree programs for MU.

Hank Foley, UM System vice president of academic affairs, said the Bachelor of Arts in Digital Storytelling program will become available to students in the College of Arts and Sciences in fall 2015.

The new program will incorporate classes in a various schools — including the School of Journalism, the College of Engineering, the College of Human Environmental Sciences and the College of Education — and emphasize skills in writing, production and visual communication and design.

The second program is a master’s degree in dietetics, which will combine with the current bachelor’s program in dietetics to create a coordinated five-year program. Foley said the program’s goal is to prepare students to become registered dietitians.

Lafferre renovation approved

The Finance Committee unanimously approved funding for a proposal to renovate and repair Lafferre Hall.

The project will cost $44,675,000 and $38.5 million will be provided by a state appropriation based on bonds. Nearly $6.2 million will be funded by MU.

According to the proposal, the renovations will provide space for experiential teaching and learning labs, computer labs, a student machine shop, student team areas, and approximately 29,000 square feet of research space.

The building currently has a rating of 0.91 on the Facilities Conditions needs Index, which means that 91 percent of the building needs to be updated. The project is estimated to be completed in December 2016.

The committee also unanimously approved an addition and renovation to the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute that includes adding a fourth floor to the building as well as an extension.

Preserving red campus

Gary Ward, MU’s vice chancellor for administrative services, presented information to the curators about preserving various buildings on red campus. Ward said there are many educational and general purpose buildings on campus that require renovation.

Jesse Hall is currently undergoing renovations that are estimated to be completed March 31, 2015. The renovations include adding a sprinkler and fire alarm system, improving the heating, ventilating and air conditioning, replacing an elevator and adding another elevator.

Swallow Hall is also currently being renovated, with the project estimated to be completed in February 2016.

Other buildings that still await renovation include Neff Hall and the Neff Annex.

Rewarding faculty

Betsy Rodriguez, UM System vice president for human resources, presented changes to the merit reward system. She said the current system is based on recognizing excellence for individuals based on performance, but it will be changed to recognize departments in addition to individuals.

Rodriguez said departments can be recognized for various aspects and that there is no set criteria for attaining merit excellence.

Cheryl Schrader, chancellor at Missouri University of Science and Technology, said some of the ways for departments to receive these merit rewards include high quality teaching and research. However, she said, each department would need to agree on the metrics used.

The board is scheduled to reconvene at 9 a.m. Friday to hear from UM System President Tim Wolfe and three outgoing curators.

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