President Choi and Chancellor Cartwright give updates on budget cuts, faculty retention, cost of attendance

The discussion included plans about the provision of new resources for research, salary increases for faculty members and students’ cost of attendance.
UM system President Mun Choi and Chancellor Cartwright hold an open forum at the Reynolds Alumni Center. Courtesy of Erin Davis

University of Missouri System President Mun Choi and MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright convened for a town hall meeting at the Reynolds Alumni Center on Tuesday.

The two addressed several issues and answered questions raised by students, faculty and staff members.

One of the first issues brought up was the lack of funds for the libraries and the lack of resources to carry out research studies.

Cartwright addressed this by admitting that the libraries are currently in no position to sustain any further budget cuts, and assured listeners that the libraries this year will see nearly no budget cuts. Because of this, other places will have to take those cuts.

He also said that he realizes the lack of resources for research on this campus, stating that no new research facilities have been established on campus since 2004.

Cartwright said increased research and scholarship is the key infrastructure needed to support the faculty and students, so they can achieve the excellence that is expected of them.

A much longer discussion ensued over the topic of retaining qualified faculty members at MU, who often seem to leave for other jobs at highly-ranked private universities and Ivy League institutions.

Cartwright said the best way to retain professors is to show them they are valued to the point that they do not want to apply for a different job in the first place.

“I want to make sure we build that strength around them and think about how we give the increase to salary they need,” Cartwright said.

He also said that besides salary increases, faculty members at MU need to be nominated for national awards and be given a support mechanism, so they can spend less time worrying about administrative activities and more time helping students.

Choi agreed with Cartwright and said that recognition in forms of promotion, as well as salary increase, is significant in retaining faculty members.

“That is something we want to be able to sustain,” Choi said. “Faculty in other four campuses haven’t seen raises in the past 4-5 years so outside suitors come hauling to our university.”

Choi also discussed how the revenue generated from higher tuition fees can be used to provide for students in greater need of need-based financial support.

“There is a false narrative that exists in higher education that the lower the tuition the more affordable it is. This is simply not true,” he said. “We have to look at social economic classes and their needs separately.”

Choi stated that despite the increase in tuition, the goal is to reduce the overall cost of attendance for students at MU.

“Last year we increased tuition by 2.1 percent which resulted in a $210 increase but students living on campus will see a $350 reduction in their housing contract so there’s an overall reduction by $140 in the total cost,” Choi said.

Edited by Morgan Smith |

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