Summer Briefing: Leadership and financial changes to shape fall semester

New provost, MSA council and revised graduate programs to move MU forward despite financial difficulties.

Since students departed for summer break in May, MU officials have been hard at work. Here’s a recap of some of the summer’s biggest news updates.

New Leadership

Those returning to campus will be met with fresh faces leading both individual colleges and MU as a whole this upcoming year.

Concluding a six month search, Chancellor Alexander Cartwright announced on June 21 that Latha Ramchand would step in as provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs, effective August 15.

Ramchand, who formerly served as dean of the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, said she’s interested in opening up a dialogue between herself, students and faculty on campus as well as bringing MU’s existing schools, colleges and research to the national conversation.

She fills the vacancy left by former provost Garnett Stokes, who resigned in January to become president of the University of New Mexico.

The Sinclair School of Nursing also welcomes a new perspective. Interim provost Jim Spain announced Sarah Thompson’s appointment as dean for the upcoming year on June 11.

Thompson brings her experience as a nurse, research scholar, professor and administrator to her new role. Prior to her appointment she served as dean and professor of the College of Nursing and associate vice chancellor of health professions at the University of Colorado-Denver. She began work August 1.

University Finances, Tuition and Layoffs

Chancellor Alexander Cartwright, vice chancellor for finance and chief financial officer Rhonda Gibler and interim provost Jim Spain present MU’s budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year in June. The budget revealed a gap of $49 million.

In response to the lack of funds, the university is eliminating 185 positions. Of these, 30 will be considered layoffs while the remaining 155 will only affect staff. Where faculty are under tenure and tend to hold advanced degrees in their field, staff perform a broader range of duties across campus. Many of these eliminations will come from positions left or vacant from retirees.

To accommodate the decrease in funds, tuition will increase by 1 percent for in-state undergraduates and 2.1 percent for out-of-state undergraduates. The Board of Curators lowered that of in-state students after striking a deal with Missouri lawmakers who agreed to not lower state funding. The curators voted unanimously to approve increases in tuition on all four UM system campuses.

Despite the upcoming year’s budgetary difficulties, in July university officials announced that MU raised over $147 million in cash gifts during fiscal year 2018. This accomplishment broke the university record set the year prior by 22 percent.

Graduate Studies

Following the conclusion of the year long graduate education review by a 17-person committee, chancellor Alexander Cartwright accepted 15 improvement plans to issue a decision to inactivate 12 graduate programs across campus.

In May, Cartwright also announced the launching of a College of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies. The college aims to address the future needs of graduate education through the merging and collaboration of graduate programs. It will be established in 2019.

Missouri Students Association

The MSA created a freshman council this summer for incoming freshmen. It will serve as a way for freshmen to get leadership experience prior to entering MSA as an academic or at-large senator. It will consist of up to 20 students.

MSA also attended the SEC exchange conference in Kentucky in July to work with other SEC student governments on ideas to better the university.

Edited by Stephi Smith |

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