The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 16, 2012

MSSU governors hear proposals aimed at boosting enrollment

By Susan Redden

JOPLIN, Mo. — An academic subcommittee of Missouri Southern State University is proposing several strategies aimed at boosting enrollment.

Improving departmental websites, addressing enrollment changes in schools in the university and improving campus efforts to support pre-enrollment were among the efforts recommended by Pat Lipira, interim vice president for academic affairs, on Friday in a report to the MSSU Board of Governors.

She said university departments should develop websites that include strong visuals and testimonies of successful graduates.

“We need to toot our own horn,” she said.

MSSU’s fall enrollment is down for the second consecutive fall semester. Official enrollment is 5,417 students, down from 5,591 students reported in the fall of last year. University officials have blamed the drop on the effects of the May 22, 2011, tornado, such as a decrease in affordable housing options for students or a desire by students to focus on their financial stability.

The university is working with a firm that advises universities on enrollment issues. Board members also were told that Friday was the first day for enrollment for spring semester classes and that some classes already were reaching capacity.

In other action, Bruce Speck, university president, reviewed with the board testimony he gave on Nov. 14 before the Missouri Joint Committee on Education at a hearing on the state’s higher education funding formula. The joint committee is to develop a comprehensive funding formula for Missouri public colleges and universities by Dec. 31, with implementation to come in the state’s 2015 fiscal year.

Board members also:

• Endorsed a series of academic policy proposals presented by Lipira.

• Were told MSSU today will be serve as the host for the 2012 NCAA Division II men’s and women’s cross country national championships. It is expected to bring more than 750 athletes, coaches and family members to Joplin.

• Heard comments from Missouri National Guard Capt. Amanda Self, who is heading the Show Me Guard Officer Leadership Development program at the university. Self has served in Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan.

Closed meeting

The MSSU Board of Governors met in a closed meeting after its regular session, citing legal actions and confidential privileged communication between the body and its attorneys. The board agenda also cited potential plans to close the meeting for real estate discussions and for hiring, firing or promoting employees.