UM System president announces $260 million in investments

The campuses still face a $80 million shortfall in the coming years.
On Sept. 14, 2018, UM system President Mun Choi announced a relocation of $260 million in investments to the four UM system campuses.

UM System President Mun Choi announced the reallocation of $260 million in investments to be spread across all four campuses in his public address, “Excellence Through Innovation: A New University of Missouri System.”

The investments will be implemented over a period of five years. They focus on student success, research and creative works, engagement and outreach, inclusive excellence, and planning, operations, and stewardship.

“By cutting and reallocating more than $180 million over the past two fiscal years, we have stated emphatically that the University of Missouri is making bold changes to achieve excellence,” Choi said. “It’s now time to make meaningful investments to achieve excellence. We will take actions that put Missourians first and invest only in areas that support our new vision for the university.”

The one-time money provided by the UM System is expected to be matched by each university. These sums will be used to invest in students, faculty and staff, the UM System said in a news release, and will include:

$100 million for scholarships, $75 million of which will be used to create the “Promise & Opportunity Scholarships”, which are based on financial need, and $25 million for funding “Next Generation Merit Scholarships” in order to recruit academically outstanding Missouri students.

$50 million for the Precision Medicine Initiative and the Translational Precision Medicine Complex. The goal of this initiative is to provide UM researchers with cutting edge technology to aid their projects and research.

$50 million for research and creative works; the hope is that this funding will encourage collaborative, multi-investigator proposals, which will then lead to more external research funding.

$20 million for digital learning initiatives, to grow online learning opportunities and reduce the cost of traditional education.

$12 million for Missouri Compact Distinguished Professorships, to help university leaders attract members of the National Academies to increase scholarly and research output.

$10 million for engagement and additional industry partnerships.

$8.5 million for inclusive excellence, to support recruitment and retention of faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds.

$7.5 million for faculty and staff success, to improve university culture, establish employee orientation programs, and develop strong professional development programs.

$1.5 million to expand KCSourceLink to MOSourceLink, in order to connect small businesses and startups in Missouri with resources for success, and $250,000 for a partnership with American Public Square, to provide opportunities for like-minded individuals at the universities to conduct fact-based, civil conversations about important issues.

Proposals for the funds will be evaluated this fall, and the final selections will be made by Choi, the four chancellors and senior officers of the university.

“Through administrative changes at the UM System and good financial management of our investments, we are able to reallocate our funds and focus them on the needs of our students, faculty and staff, directly supporting our teaching and research missions and the Missouri Compact,” said Ryan Rapp, vice president for finance.

Additionally, Choi announced the launch of Missouri Intern Connect in partnership with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and with support from the Missouri Small Business & Technology development centers. The online portal is designed to create opportunities for students to connect with internships statewide. The EQ Student Accelerator initiative will help students concurrently by providing them with alumni mentors and resources.

“Many of these students have to work several jobs while they're going to school,” Choi said. “We want to be able to provide them the support so that they can reduce the amount of time that they have to work so that they can increase the likelihood that they'll be retained and graduate to success.”

Choi also announced the appointment of Bill Turpin, CEO of the Missouri Innovation Center, to lead economic development efforts for MU and the UM System, and the appointment of UMSL CFO Rick Baniak as UM System Chief Transformation Officer to lead modernization efforts of administrative functions systemwide.

Despite the investments, the UM System is expected to face a $160 million shortfall between now and 2023, according to Choi. He said he anticipates about half will be made up through increased enrollment and online education, but that the four campuses will have to find additional ways to make up the remaining $80 million.

“We want our universities to be a place where our faculty and staff are proud to attend, civic leaders and communities and proud to support, and businesses are proud to partner,” Choi said. “We will become a stronger UM System driven by innovation and hard work.”

Edited by Morgan Smith | mosmith@themaneater.com

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