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A strategy for Mississippi State University to become
the region's most respected land-grant institution
FutureSTATE 2015 Progress Reports
Table of Contents
ENHANCE STUDENT GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT Increase course offerings and programming through the Shackouls Honors College, developing additional sections of honors courses and increasing staff to meet expanding program needs, and expand efforts to recruit and mentor future scholars and leaders through the Distinguished Scholars Program. Enhance library resources and services by developing a plan of action that will lead to membership in the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). Increase funding for freshman class sections in the College of Arts and Sciences, which provides core education foundation courses for all university students. Strengthen the College of Arts and Sciences to acknowledge the central role of the liberal arts and sciences in the educational experience of all students, including hiring additional faculty and devoting resources to other initiatives that enhance undergraduate study. To further expand academic opportunities for students in the liberal arts and sciences, seek to shelter a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Expand the scope of the Pathfinders retention program to include upper classmen as well as freshmen. The program has had a significant positive effect on both retention and graduation rates. Support efforts to intervene academically with students who are scheduled for suspension due to low GPAs by funding the Learning Skills Support Program, contributing to improved retention and graduation rates. Establish and fund the Mississippi State Promise grant program to provide access to the People's University for academically qualified freshmen and community college transfers who might otherwise be unable to attend. Establish an African-American Studies minor and/or certificate program to build on and further encourage diversity among students. Establish the Mississippi State International Program (MSIP) to recognize the global nature of almost everything we do and enhance the educational experience of students through exposure to other cultures, including development of a strategic initiative that focuses on recruiting international students. Submit a request to receive funding and participate in the National Security Language Initiative by offering language and experiential learning opportunities related to Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Hindi, and Farsi. Establish a Mississippi State Center for America's Veterans (MSCAV) to recruit and support students who have served in the armed forces, make MSU the university of choice for veterans and their families who desire to complete a college degree, and perpetuate the legacy of Rep. Sonny Montgomery of Mississippi, MSU graduate and author of the Montgomery GI Bill. Create a core curriculum based first year experience program that provides students with individualized attention, leadership service experiences, and help in making the transition to college life. Utilize the MSU Riley Center in Meridian to complement the academics on the Starkville campus in the areas of theater, public relations, and broadcasting. Increase emphasis on programs that focus on other higher education institutions, including community colleges, and programs such as Upward Bound to facilitate transfer of undergraduate students from underrepresented groups to MSU. Develop relationships with colleges that have a high percentage of students from underrepresented groups. Further strengthen the commitment to quality undergraduate teaching by providing additional support to the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) for learning communities, additional staff, and additional programming. (2007-08) Expand the scope and mission of the University Academic Advising Center. (2007-08) Establish a Study Abroad Office that reports to the Office of the Provost in order to increase study abroad participation at MSU. (2007-08) Continue efforts to improve the degree audit and registration systems to make them more student-friendly and staff-friendly, including facilitation of the transfer process from the community colleges. (2007-08) Integrate the Meridian Campus strategic plan with the plan for the Starkville campus. Explore special and niche programming opportunities at Meridian. Encourage closer interaction between the Meridian and Starkville campuses. (2007-08) Strengthen assessment efforts to ensure institutional effectiveness. (2007-08) Establish an Institute for Leadership and Service to coordinate and expand leadership and service opportunities. Establish the Sonny Montgomery Chapter of the Appalachian Leadership Honors Program; establish a minor in Leadership Studies to provide a marketable enhancement to existing degree programs; and expand informal and formal programs to include diversity components for developing student leaders. Promote honor and academic integrity. Create an Honor Council with widespread representation from all colleges, educate students and faculty about issues related to academic misconduct, increase enforcement of penalties for academic misconduct, and provide a remediation step that would encourage students to make reparations for past poor behaviors. RECRUIT AND RETAIN FACULTY Work to make faculty salaries nationally competitive with those of peer institutions. Increase the number of tenure-track faculty (with terminal degrees and postdoctoral experience where appropriate) and fund new positions to support new and expanding academic programs. Establish a faculty honors and awards program to recognize and reward faculty. Expand faculty recognition thorough lower levels of awards, such as college awards, to recognize shorter term successes and younger faculty. Use proactive approaches to increase the candidate pool for faculty positions, providing competitive start-up packages, salaries, and required infrastructure. Revise the reward system to promote and recognize outstanding faculty productivity. Faculty members who have outstanding publication, presentation, grant-getting records, and numbers of Ph.D. advisees should be appropriately rewarded as part of an overall accountability system for all colleges, departments, and faculty members. Provide a mentoring program to assist new faculty with research in each department. Foster more effective communication with faculty by scheduling annual meetings between the upper administration and the combined leadership of the Faculty Senate, University Promotion and Tenure Committee, and the University Committee on Courses and Curricula; scheduling meetings between the provost and department heads and deans to discuss promotion and tenure standards and procedures; scheduling meetings each fall between the University Promotion and Tenure Committee and representatives of college and departmental promotion and tenure committees; and communicating changes in policies and practices in a timely manner. Conduct seminars sponsored by the University Promotion and Tenure Committee and by college promotion and tenure committees to assist faculty members preparing applications for promotion and/or tenure. Explore the advisability of changing from department heads to department chairs. Evaluate the faculty annual review process using a broad-based committee. The annual review process should provide evaluations of faculty work that are consistent across the university. Reviews should include constructive advice on how individual faculty can achieve promotion and/or tenure. Discuss with the campus community the appropriate emphasis that will be placed on teaching/learning, research/scholarship, and service/outreach for annual reviews, merit-pay increases, promotion and tenure decisions, and post-tenure review. Investigate ways to put more emphasis on teaching in the promotion and tenure process. Place more value on the importance of quality teaching. The Center for Teaching and Learning should examine current teaching practices. Increase the proportion of undergraduate courses taught by tenured or tenure-track faculty. Discuss ways to make research efforts more focused. Identify areas of excellence and emerging research areas. Build core faculty in new and emerging areas of research strengths. Improve the infrastructure to assist and enable faculty research. Develop faculty research committees in every department and center. Committees would meet regularly with the associate deans for research, and the associate deans would meet regularly with the vice president for research and the dean of graduate studies. Associate deans would identify opportunities and resources at the college level. The vice president for research and the dean of graduate studies would identify opportunities and resources at the university level. Define service and outreach as follows: Service is largely dedication of our time and effort in support of university based, professional, civic, educational, and faith-based activities. (Other mutually agreed upon activities may be included in this definition.) Outreach delivers to clientele educational and research programs that strengthen their capacity to address critical agriculture, business, family and youth, community, and economic development issues impacting them. (Other mutually agreed upon education and research activities may be included in this definition.) Promote service and outreach relationships by portraying respect for internal and external participants in the service and outreach areas and enhancing communication within the MSU community to encourage collaboration and teamwork that strengthen service and outreach effectiveness. ACHIEVE FISCAL STABILITY Engage private, corporate, and foundation sources to establish a "Reach for Excellence" endowment in support of academic excellence. Increase tuition revenue through an integrated recruiting and retention campaign to attract students to the main campus, the Meridian Campus, degree-granting centers, and courses and programs offered through distance learning. Synchronize enrollment growth with increases in faculty numbers and other resources. Incremental growth of 300 to 500 undergraduate students per year should be maintained for a period of four to five years. Increase the number of top scholarships available by providing additional resources for the scholarship pool in Admissions and Scholarships. Increase the number and quality of graduate students, with the number of doctorates awarded growing by 5 percent a year. Continue to improve compensation for graduate assistants. Develop a strategic initiative that focuses on recruiting graduate and undergraduate international students from specific regions, retaining those students by helping them to feel welcome at Mississippi State and in Starkville, and developing strong, continuing relationships with international alumni. Implement an energy conservation plan with specific reduction goals based on FY 2006 usage and return cost savings to units achieving reductions. Review and adjust pricing of revenue-generating services. Continuously measure and manage costs to maximize productivity and efficiency. EXPAND RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES Heighten the overall impact of the university and advance issues important to its constituents in Mississippi and beyond by identifying centers of excellence that can help focus resources to enhance our service to the state and nation and build our national and international reputation. Centers of Excellence are characterized by interdisciplinary clusters and areas open to all faculty members who have interest and expertise, rather than centering on specific colleges, departments, or other units. Centers of Excellence should be further strengthened by encouraging the participation of current faculty, targeting new hires, and providing enhanced support as resources become available. Identify additional interdisciplinary clusters and areas that demonstrate the quality and growth potential to become centers of excellence. Appoint associate deans for research and graduate education to serve collectively as a council of academic administrators to assist and advise the Dean of Graduate Studies and to provide day-to-day oversight of graduate programs in their colleges. PROMOTE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Establish a Mississippi State Community Action Team (MSCAT) to assist communities across the state in economic development, ensuring the optimum utilization of university capabilities. Recommit to strong economic development teamwork and communication with the local community. Enhance and expand the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park to create high-wage jobs. Team with the city and county school districts to attain higher levels of accreditation for all schools. Communicate the importance of service and outreach at the campus level and enrich students' experiences through service learning. STRENGTHEN PRIDE AND INVOLVEMENT Take advantage of the enthusiasm of alumni and friends across the nation and beyond by working with them to enhance the nature and character of the MSU family in support of recruiting throughout the state, the nation, and the world. Increase resources, re-emphasize winning with character, ensure compliance, and continue to focus on academic progress and the success of student-athletes in intercollegiate athletics. Tell our story by aggressively informing the university community, government leaders, and the public about MSU's accomplishments, and involve them in telling our story to others. Develop an information process to ensure that alumni and supporters are regularly updated on university events, initiatives, and successes, recognizing the vital contributions of alumni and friends to recruiting, fund raising and other efforts. Simplify and improve the performance appraisal process for staff to allow for effective communication about job performance between supervisors and the staff members. Provide broad-based diversity/sensitivity training. Provide chairs of search committees with training in how to conduct a search. Ensure viable, productive social outlets for our students, building on the good will, friendship, and service provided by student organizations. Commit to a strong Student Association vested with appropriate responsibility and authority and strong discipline- and interest-based student organizations, taking advantage of the skills and character of student leaders and ensuring their participation as part of the TEAM. Develop and implement a Mississippi State Campus Appearance Program (MSCAP) including the use of sculpture and other art to help attract new students, faculty, and visitors and provide a more pleasant living and working environment. Implement the MSU Diversity Plan and use it as a management tool. (2007-08) Modernize the process for allocating classroom space and better utilize technology already in place. Purchase or develop software that provides a complete inventory of classroom space, the rated occupancy of classrooms, and the average size of classes. Schedule more classes during off-peak times. Designate all rooms with lecture facilities as general classrooms that are available to all departments. Establish safety as a top priority and reinforce it through frequent messages, safety training for supervisors and workers, and investigations of all safety incidents. Establish a coordinated effort for identifying safety issues and overseeing regulatory requirements. Continue to improve campus accessibility for students, faculty, staff and visitors with disabilities, including improved access to technology and electronic information. Evaluate every element found in the campus landscape, including buildings, plantings, and paving, from a sustainability standpoint, and increase the application of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards in new construction. Involve appropriate university expertise as well as external expertise in these evaluations. Update and monitor implementation of the Campus Master Plan. Continue to improve environmental safety by enhancing the emergency phone system and campus lighting.