Engaging the Community

Third Friday of each month at 7:45 a.m.

This monthly program features Missouri State University President Clif Smart discussing the implications of national and international events on the University and local community. Join us as we look at current events and public affairs through a local lens. You can also email topic suggestions for this program.

Ways to Connect

Scott Harvey / KSMU

While enrollment of first-year students at Missouri State University has been on an upward trend, it could mean expanding housing services as capacity meets or exceeds needs.

President Clif Smart says a feasibility study is underway to determine the need for a new “traditional style” residence hall.

“If you look back a few years ago our freshmen class; we had a few less than 2,500. And this last year we were about 3,150. In the fall we anticipate being well over 3,200. So we’ve got a growth of about 750 freshmen in the last three years,” says Smart.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

Missouri State University is preparing to finalize its long-range plan that will guide the school from 2016-2021.

The Board of Governors will consider approval of the plan at its June meeting. President Clif Smart says as each unit sets their goals for next year they’ll “begin with this document.”

“Not a top-down approach… Centrally, we’ll say ‘here are three or four things we hope to emphasize.’ But everybody then gets to decide how they plug into that,” says Smart.

JQH Arena
Scott Harvey / KSMU

Athletic success is one way higher education institutions can raise their profile and offer a peek into the school’s other offerings.

For Missouri State University, a recent example of that was the success of and national attention paid to last year’s postseason run by the Bears’ baseball team. It’s one of 17 athletic programs at the school.

Clif Smart
Missouri State University

Missouri State University’s amended non-discrimination policy puts into writing current practices and clarifies any confusion with regards to existing law.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

Missouri State University President Clif Smart says he’s concerned over legislation to lift the current ban on the carrying of concealed firearms at the state’s colleges and universities.

Speaking to KSMU during its monthly program Engaging the Community, Smart says the bills that were pre-filed ahead of the legislation session could pose more harm than good.

“We just think the danger of accidental shootings and suicides and shootings in anger way overcome the possibility that a student having a gun on campus might be able to thwart a terrorist attack,” he said.  

Scott Harvey / KSMU

Missouri State University President Clif Smart says allegations of mistreatment against Vice President Dr. Ken Coopwood, while a distraction to some extent, will not take away from the school’s primary focus of improving diversity and inclusion efforts.

An ongoing independent review into the allegations comes as MSU students are calling for more action and accountability concerning diversity measures.  

Taylor Health and Wellness Center
Missouri State University

A largely student effort that led to passage of a referendum to expand Missouri State University’s Taylor Health and Wellness Center will offer more space and additional services for the school’s roughly 23,000 students, faculty and staff, retirees and their dependents.

President Clif Smart says the current facility, which has been the same size and in the same location for nearly 40 years, is woefully inadequate.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

A freeze in undergraduate tuition at Missouri State University for the 2016-2017 year would equal the fourth time in the past eight years that tuition at the school will remain flat.

That’s according to President Clif Smart, who adds that since higher education funding began to drop in 2009 inflation is near 12 percent. And as a result of holding tuition flat for several years, Missouri State has increased tuition by less than the cost of inflation.

O’Reilly Clinical Health Sciences Center
Scott Harvey / KSMU

On average, Missouri State University adds a few major academic programs each year. In 2015-2016, that includes the Bachelor of General Studies and the Master of Occupational Therapy programs.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

Upon entering the Missouri State University campus from the east end, you’ll notice the new Davis-Harrington Welcome Center, a $6 million project, two-thirds of which was funded through private donations, with the other third coming from a state match.

It’s one of the eye-catching additions as the fall semester begins on the Springfield campus, which once again underwent a physical transformation during the summer months.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

Missouri State University President Clif Smart says the top priority in the recently passed budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year was giving the school’s employees a raise.

“We had a three year period where no one got an across-the-board raise. There was obviously inflation during those years. And so when you factor that in we haven’t caught up yet… we’ve been working over the last three years to try to catch up. And by that I mean trying to do compensation increases that were more than inflation.”

Missouri State University, Carrington Hall
Scott Harvey / KSMU

From issues on the budget, bonding, and specific bills related to higher education, it’s the job of the Council on Public Higher Education for Missouri to represent those interests.

The organization is comprised of the presidents or chancellors of all four-year public universities in Missouri, making 13 members. It is tasked with supporting and advancing the mission of Missouri’s public four-year universities, and increasing the understanding and appreciation of public higher education by state leaders and the public at-large.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

Two months after it released a climate study gauging diversity and inclusion issues on campus, officials at Missouri State University are pushing forward with ways to improve its culture.

The findings showed that, among other things, many students that associated with a minority group did not feel as accepted or connected to the university, and at times experienced verbal exclusion.

“So the first part was getting that material out,” said President Clif Smart.

At college campuses across the U.S., free speech zones exist to allow people from outside the school to express themselves.

At Missouri State University, content neutral speech can take place at three such areas; behind Strong Hall, north of the football stadium, and north of the Plaster Student Union. And those wanting to utilize the space must request a permit, which can allow for up to eight hours of expression.

“They need to tell us when they wanna be here. They choose which spot they wanna be in – one of the spots allows for increased volume, the others do not.”

Missouri State Seal
Scott Harvey / KSMU

Ethics conversations on end of life decisions, sustainability, news reporting, poverty and race are among the panel discussions slated for April 14-17, as part of Missouri State University’s annual Public Affairs Conference.

The theme for the event, now in its 10th year, is The Ethical Citizen: Can you Make a Difference? Free and open to the public, the Public Affairs Conference is intended for all community members, often addressing a wide range of issues and featuring a diverse group of speakers.