A strategy for Mississippi State University to become
the region's most respected land-grant institution
FutureSTATE 2015 Progress Reports
FutureState 2015 Progress Report, FY 2009 and FY 2010
ENHANCE STUDENT GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
Initiative: 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.
The Shackouls Honors College has given curricular enhancement grants to several departments and dramatically increased its funding of honors courses offered by departments across the university. The College created a new position, Assistant Director, and hired for that position as well as a new Student Services Coordinator. Funds were allocated for distinguished lectures, student conferences, and study abroad scholarships, and a second (summer) Undergraduate Research Symposium was created. Lastly, entrance requirements for incoming freshmen were enhanced during this period.
Initiative: Enhance library resources and services by developing a plan of action that will lead to membership in the Association of Research Libraries (ARL).
Increased expenditures were allocated toward the purchase of books in the Humanities. The Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Papers collection was received and the physical collection made available to scholars and students, while digitization of the Grant papers continues. Electronic access to scholarly journals was expanded, and all theses and dissertations may now be accessed electronically. A digitization unit was established and used grant support to provide worldwide access to several unique scholarly collections. The Library website was upgraded and new technologies including podcasts, RSS feeds, Flickr, and YouTube are being used. Primary services for students and faculty were physically relocated second floor and space needs are being more efficiently met for Special Collections, the Congressional and Political Research Center, the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Instructional Media Center, and the Government Documents/Current Journals unit. Efforts are continuing to expand services via Distance Learning community and to MSU Extension units throughout the state, the digitization program is being expanded, and the library is working directly with colleges and departments to offer customized workshops and instruction.
Initiative: Increase funding for freshman class sections in the College of Arts and Sciences, which provides core education foundation courses for all university students.
With the increased enrollment, the Provost provided a significant increase in funding for General Education classes in 2009 and again in 2010.
Initiative: 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.
The College of Arts and Sciences was created 8.5 new positions. The college replaced 18 faculty who either retired or left for other opportunities; several of the new hires are Phi Beta Kappa members. The college also reinstated a percentage of operating funds that had been cut previously. The Institute for the Humanities, which is housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, offered six lectures in its Distinguished Lecture Series by prominent scholars from around the country and Europe.
Initiative: 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.
Pathfinders expanded its efforts to improve academic performance and graduation by tracking enrollment of students beyond the freshman year. The program is also contacting students who have been academically successful but are not currently enrolled at MSU and encouraging them to return to the university.
Initiative: 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.
The Learning Skills Support Program (LSSP) used the $10,000 grant that accompanied the 2008 IHL Best Practices Award in the Academics Category to improve services. LSSP had a success rate of 78 percent among the 279 students who participated in 2008 and a 67 percent retention rate during the following semester for LSSP participants, compared with a retention rate of 22 percent for eligible students who did not participate. The success rate for 2009 was above 70 percent for the 368 participants, with a retention rate during the following semester of 63 percent, compared with 26 percent for non-participants. Efforts continue to improve course content, use new instructional technologies, and reduce the student-instructor ratio.
Initiative: 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.
Mississippi State raised approximately $500,000 in private funds for the MSU Promise Program in FY 10 and FY 11. During 2009-10, 126 students received awards totaling approximately $131,000. During 2010-11, 133 students received awards totaling approximately $135,000.
Initiative: Establish an African-American Studies minor and/or certificate program to build on and further encourage diversity among students.
The African American Studies interdisciplinary program is well established and offers students a wide-range of opportunities to study the history, literature, politics, and other aspects of black life and culture. The program is housed administratively in the College of Arts and Sciences but its faculty come from numerous disciplines across the university. An undergraduate minor in African American Studies is offered, along with a graduate level online Diversity Certificate Program. The program engages four core faculty members and a dozen affiliated faculty members.
Initiative: 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.
The International Institute was established and an Associate Vice President for International Programs/ Executive Director of the International Institute was appointed. The Institute is charged with developing a coordinated international effort across all units within the university to enhance the global status of MSU.
Initiative: 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.
The Department of Foreign Languages was renamed and restructured as the Department of Classical and Modern Language and Literature. The department offers courses in Chinese and Russian but the initiative to participate in the National Security Language Initiative is not being pursued.
Initiative: 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.
The G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans has quickly become a national leader in providing a campus based veteran resource center in support of student veterans, service members, dependents and survivors. MSU is now recognized by several different organizations, publications and federal/state agencies as being within the top 10 percent of "military-veteran friendly" universities. The center has developed several programs designed to support and assist our student veterans, service members, dependents, and survivors (VSDS) population. These include the Comprehensive Benefit Counseling Program, an Outreach/Recruiting effort, a Transition Program, and an Educational/Research thrust. The center has also worked with the MSU Student Veteran Association (SVA), since its inception. Collaborating with the SVA, the Center has been able to offer priority registration and scholarship support to our VSDS students, including Tillman Military Scholarships provided through the Pat Tillman Foundation.
Initiative: 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.
The Center for Teaching and Learning increased offerings and departmental participation in the First Year Experience (FYE) program, dramatically increased enrollment, incorporated the newly established Maroon Edition common reading program for freshmen into the FYE courses, initiated training for FYE instructors, and provided support through activities and mentoring. Service components were emphasized through the Maroon Edition, with good results. Special programming such as lectures, field trips, and discussions were also presented in conjunction with the Maroon Edition common reading program. Learning communities are continuing to develop.
Initiative: Utilize the MSU Riley Center in Meridian to complement the academics on the Starkville campus in the areas of theater, public relations, and broadcasting.
The Riley Center offered two six-month performing arts series that featured 24 diverse performing arts events appealing to students, faculty and staff. Ten events were offered specifically for students in grades K-12 from throughout the region. Training sessions and workshops were provided for teachers from schools in our region and students from the Meridian and Starkville campuses in art integration. A successful internship program was developed for students from the Starkville and Meridian campuses in the areas of marketing/public relations, education, and theater production. Workshops in arts integration were given in partnership with the Kennedy Center. The Riley Center received a $30,000 grant from South Arts to participate in a southern region dance initiative that brought a nationally recognized modern dance company to Meridian for a three-day residency and performance. The performing arts season and premium conference facility attracted 54,000 attendees. The Riley Center in partnership with the Mississippi Arts Commission hosted the week- long Whole Schools Summer Institute and completed four years in partnership with the Meridian Public schools and Lauderdale County schools through the Kennedy Center Partners in Education Program.
Initiative: 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
The office of Admissions and Scholarships works with community colleges to target underrepresented populations and works with the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center for networking opportunities in diverse communities. The office of Student Support Services manages the TRIO program to provide supportive services for low income and first generation students. The proportion of African Americans in the student body rose to 20 percent by fall 2010. African Americans make up about 26 percent of new freshmen and about 18 percent of new transfer students.
Initiative: Develop relationships with colleges that have a high percentage of students from underrepresented groups.
Partnerships with community colleges have continued to develop and the number of African Americans transferring to Mississippi State has increased.
Initiative: 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)
The Center for Teaching and Learning offered faculty development opportunities including the popular Brown Bag series the seminars. CTL managed a successful pilot test and migration to a new audience response system and continued to offer technical training support for myCourses course management system, TurnItIn, audience response systems, and WIMBA. An online training course for distance instructors was offered four times. Other new programs include an advising workshop and a Preparing Future Faculty program, which graduated 11 students.
Initiative: Expand the scope and mission of the University Academic Advising Center.
The University Academic Advising Center (UAAC) continued to increase the number of students served. During fall 2009, the Center housed 1,425 undeclared and special non-degree students. In the fall of 2010 that number climbed to 1,479, an increase of 13.5%. The UAAC’s contact numbers are also increasing. The Center had 3,057 face to face contacts in fall 2009 and 3,271 in fall 2010. In 2009, the UAAC began a partnership with the Center for America’s Veterans and “undeclared” is now the major of choice for most transitioning veterans. Also in 2009, the UAAC and The Learning Center teamed to provide a semester-long weekly freshman seminar for undeclared students. The UAAC in fall 2010 provided the Career Services Center with a professional advisor to teach one section career planning in return for two sections of this course being reserved for undeclared students. In 2010, the UAAC was permitted the use of the Department of Instructional Systems and Workforce Development’s numerous workstations, providing newly admitted undeclared students enhanced access to the registration system during summer orientation.
Initiative: Establish a Study Abroad Office that reports to the Office of the Provost in order to increase study abroad participation at MSU. (2007-08)
An office of Study Abroad was formally established and reports to the Associate Vice President for International Programs/ Executive Director of the International Institute.
Initiative: 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)
The degree audit system evolution and successful implementation continues. We have completed the undergraduate degree audit system and are well under way with the graduate degree audit system. The Banner web to CAPP (degree audit) system was re-written to provide staff, faculty, advisors and students a one-stop, one-page degree audit capability. The registration system continues to evolve. We now pre-register incoming freshmen students before they arrive for orientation to make their initial registration sessions easier and shorter. The associate registrar is a member and current chair of the statewide university-community college articulation committee which is working to facilitate the transfer process. Our office initiated the a transfer transcript workflow process that sends automatic transfer transcript notifications from the Admissions Office to the Registrar’s Office, which speeds up the evaluation of incoming students’ transfer work.
Initiative: 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)
MSU Meridian hired two full-time recruiters and two part-time recruiters to replace the Starkville-based campus recruiter. Enrollment in the newly implemented B.B.A. in Healthcare Administration program grew to 17 students. Distance and online course offerings were merged with the online M.B.A. program offered by Academic Outreach and Continuing Education. Renovation of the downtown Newberry Building was begun to house the Division of Business. Ties were strengthened ties with the Starkville campus, government, business, industry, and community/junior college institutions through economic development and educational activities as demonstrated by the expansion of the campus downtown and by the expansion of degree programs. The Division of Education established professional development schools with two Meridian schools.
Initiative: Strengthen assessment efforts to ensure institutional effectiveness. (2007-08)
The Office of Institutional Effectiveness was established in July 2008 and charged with leadership of assessment efforts across MSU. An ad hoc committee was established to provide peer-review of assessment reports submitted by individual units within MSU. In 2009, this committee was named as a standing committee. In August 2010, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness was merged with the Office of Institutional Research, with the new name of Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness. This allowed the efforts of each office to synergize to provide enhanced assessment at MSU. Fifty-one additional units (research and instructional concentrations) were added to the IE/Assessment process, for a total of 325 units conducting annual assessments.
Initiative: 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.
Mississippi State established the Sonny Montgomery Chapter of the Appalachian Leadership Honors Program and expanded informal and formal programs to developing student leaders. The Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement (SLCE) administers programs for high school students, community college students, first-year MSU students, and upperclassmen. Participants are about 50% black, 48% white, and 2% Hispanic and Native American. Women compose about 65% of the participants. LeaderSTATE is a residential leadership development program for high school students that has involved 862 students since 2007. Currently, the U.S. Army is funding LeaderSTATE and hopes to use it as a national model for teaching leadership skills and inspiring Junior ROTC cadets to pursue a college education in STEM related fields.
Day One is a first-year residential leadership learning community; 983 students have completed the program since 2007. These students were mentored by 80 different MSU faculty and staff and completed 162 semester-long service-learning projects. The G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Leadership Program accepts cohorts of 40 students who will matriculate through three semesters of leadership development classes. Since 2007, the Montgomery Leadership Program has enrolled 171 students, of which 120 students completed the program. Students in the Montgomery Leadership Program serve as peer mentors for students in Day One have delivered 61 service-learning projects of their own. The Maroon Volunteer Center (MVC) is a student-driven initiative that encourages and supports community involvement and volunteer service. Last year MVC coordinated or facilitated 41 community service projects.
Initiative: 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.
The Honor Code Office was established and trained a Council that consists of the appropriate representation from all the colleges. Faculty members who serve on the Council serve as chairperson during hearings, providing guidance to their colleagues on how to handle cases of academic dishonesty, and assist in writing articles for the Honor Code Newsletter distributed to faculty, students, and staff. The Academic Integrity Intervention Program is fully functioning and educates students who complete the program on what constitutes academic dishonesty, the ethical implications of violations, and study skills. More than 200 cases were adjudicated in 2008-2009 academic year and more than 220 in 2009-10. The usage of turnitin.com software continues to increase among students and faculty as a tool to educate and prevent academic dishonesty. The Honor Code Office assisted faculty members in administering exams to large classes by providing student proctors for over 25 examinations. The Honor Code Office hired a part-time director, a graduate assistant, and an office associate. Presentations on academic integrity were given to academic departments and student organizations. The Honor Code conducted an Academic Integrity Climate survey and is piloting a Process and Procedures survey.
RECRUIT AND RETAIN FACULTY
Initiative: Work to make faculty salaries nationally competitive with those of peer institutions.
Starting salaries for new hires are competitive with those of peer institutions. Budget reductions in 2009 prevented salary increases for current faculty. Budget savings in 2010 allowed merit salary increases for faculty. While not bringing salaries to peer-institution averages, this merit increase brought MSU salaries closer to the average.
Initiative: 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.
During 2009-2010, the university experienced significant reductions in state funding and it was not possible to add new tenure-track faculty positions. In the spring of 2011, the President authorized creation of 21 new faculty positions. There are plans to add new positions in the future as the economy improves and enrollment increases.
Initiative: 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.
The university continues to reward faculty annually with the following faculty awards: John Grisham Master Teacher Award, MSU Alumni Association Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, MSU Alumni Association Graduate Student Mentor Award, and Atley Jefcoat Faculty Excellence in Advising Award. The College of Arts and Sciences initiated the Arts and Sciences Researcher of the Month Award. The College of Business initiated a notable scholars program in which faculty receive awards funded by alumni. For two consecutive years the university has recognized 406 outstanding faculty members with StatePride Awards of $2,500 each, funded by private and university resources. The faculty awards program will continue through 2011-2012. Beginning in 2011-2012, the StatePride initiative will be funding eight new endowed faculty professorships over a five-year period.
Initiative: Use proactive approaches to increase the candidate pool for faculty positions, providing competitive start-up packages, salaries, and required infrastructure.
Competitive salaries continue to be a high priority for MSU. In the process of creating new faculty positions, a modest amount of start-up funds was built into the base E&G funding for new faculty positions. An average of $30,000 per new faculty position will be provided from the general fund. This is to supplement the standard funding of start-up costs from overhead funds.
Initiative: 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.
The StatePride Faculty Award program has been implemented. Each year, 406 faculty members receive a cash award of $2,500 in recognition of productivity. Different options to further reward faculty productivity are being considered for 2011-2012.
Initiative: Provide a mentoring program to assist new faculty with research in each department.
Each department is encouraged to assign mentors to new faculty. A number of colleges have college-based programs. The Office of the Provost has continued to improve and expand its New Faculty Orientation programming to include activities throughout the academic year.
Initiative: 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.
The President schedules regular meetings with the President of the Faculty Senate, and the Provost meets weekly with the Faculty Senate President. Beginning in fall 2010, the Provost holds a meeting at beginning of each semester with academic department heads in which to discuss many topics, including promotion and tenure expectations. The Provost has met each semester with the University Promotion and Tenure Committee since the fall of 2010.
Initiative: 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.
The Provost participated in a promotion and tenure workshop in the spring of 2010 that was sponsored by the University Promotion and Tenure Committee, and the event is to be held annually. The possibility of converting to department chairs was discussed during the meetings of the Select Committee on Efficiencies and Innovations, which met fall 2009 to spring 2010.
Initiative: 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.
During the 2009-2010 academic year and afterward, discussions have been held in the Associate Deans Council, the Deans Council, and Faculty Senate about the annual review process. A new academic operating policy is being proposed.
Initiative: 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.
The expectations for tenure and promotion are regularly discussed with the campus community by the Provost. Venues for discussion have included department faculty meetings, college faculty meetings, and workshops held by the Center for Teaching and Learning.
Initiative: Investigate ways to put more emphasis on teaching in the promotion and tenure process.
Since April of 2010, the Provost has publically stated his position that teaching, research, and service are inextricably linked and that units should emphasize the importance of evaluation the total package of the applicant, which must include quality teaching.
Initiative: Place more value on the importance of quality teaching. The Center for Teaching and Learning should examine current teaching practices.
The Center for Teaching and Learning has engaged a number of outside speakers to address quality teaching. Presentations during 2010 focused on innovative and high impact teaching methods. The CTL holds teaching-oriented workshops throughout the year, including a formal lecture by the most recently selected Grisham Master Teacher.
Initiative: Increase the proportion of undergraduate courses taught by tenured or tenure-track faculty.
Budgetary constraints have limited the ability to replace tenured or tenure-track faculty who leave MSU. Therefore, the total number of tenured or tenure-track faculty has remained constant, while student enrollment has increased. These factors have hindered the ability to place more tenured or tenure-track faculty in undergraduate classes.
Initiative: 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.
The Associate Vice President for Research meets monthly with the Associate Deans for Research to facilitate research efforts and advises the Vice President on areas of excellence and emerging research areas. The Associate VP for Research meets monthly during the academic year with a Faculty Research Advisory Committee (FRAC) to help identify impediments to research and emerging research areas. The Assistant VP for Research manages limited submission grant opportunities and makes appropriate faculty aware of potential grant funding. The ORED cross-college research facilitation program encourages groups of faculty to focus their collective expertise on a single research area and facilitates building research teams.
Initiative: Improve the infrastructure to assist and enable faculty research.
ORED supplements infrastructure funding in a number of areas that enable faculty research. This includes the electron microscopy assets, genomics equipment, high performance computing assets, business incubation facilities, a very strong regulatory compliance office, a university lab animal veterinarian, and a large number of research center facilities both on and off campus.
Initiative: 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.
Academic colleges generally have two associate deans, one for research and one for academic affairs. The associate deans for research meet monthly with the Associate Vice President for Research and on occasion with the Vice President for Research and Economic Development to discuss impediments to research, research opportunities, interdisciplinary research activity and strengths and weaknesses. The Associate Provost meets with the associate deans for academic affairs and the Dean of Graduate Studies. The Dean of Graduate Studies does meet on occasion with both groups of Associate Deans and is a member of the Dean’s council that meets with the Provost and Executive Vice President. At college level, each associate dean communicates with faculty in a variety of ways, including ad hoc committees, periodic meetings with the department heads, and email.
Initiative: 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.)
Service and outreach have been discussed by the MSU Benchmarking Committee established to establish criteria for evaluation of departmental productivity. The committee has met at least monthly since February of 2010. Metrics for service and outreach are being considered for internal and external benchmarking purposes.
Initiative: 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.
Mississippi State University was granted the Community Engagement classification by the Carnegie Foundation. This classification was granted based upon the application submitted by MSU. The advanced level of community engagement by students, staff and faculty, coupled with the exemplary partnerships with the community, lead to recognition as a Community Engagement institution.
ACHIEVE FISCAL STABILITY
Initiative: Engage private, corporate, and foundation sources to establish a "Reach for Excellence" endowment in support of academic excellence.
The Reach for Excellence initiative managed by the MSU Foundation successfully raised about $31 million for scholarships, faculty development, academic excellence, and campus beautification. In early 2009, the initiative was succeeded by the StatePride campaign focusing on scholarships and faculty development, with a four-year $100 million fund raising goal.
Initiative: 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.
The Office of Admissions and Scholarships has conducted a successful campaign to increase enrollment. Fall enrollment figures are as follows: 2007 – 17,039; 2008 – 17,824; 2009 – 18,601; 2010 – 19,644.
Initiative: Increase the number of top scholarships available by providing additional resources for the scholarship pool in Admissions and Scholarships.
Beginning in 2009, Admissions and Scholarships increased the scholarship award amount for students with an ACT score of 29 or higher. This has resulted in an increase in the number of 29+ ACT students enrolling at MSU and receiving scholarships.
Initiative: Increase the number and quality of graduate students, with the number of doctorates awarded growing by 5 percent a year.
Graduate student enrollment increased in 2009 by 4.3 percent when compared with 2008. Another increase in graduate student enrollment occurred in 2010, with a 2.6 percent compared with 2009. The number of doctorates awarded increased by 5.1 percent in 2009 and 16.3 percent in 2010 when compared with the previous year.
Initiative: Continue to improve compensation for graduate assistants.
Graduate stipends increased 1.8 percent and 4.5 percent in 2009 and 2010 relative to the respective previous years. In fall 2009, insurance supplements for graduate assistants increased from $100 (initial amount implemented in spring 2007) to $400 per year. This amount represents approximately 35 percent of the annual premium.
Initiative: 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.
The International Institute is developing a strategic plan with a significant section devoted to both undergraduate and graduate student recruitment. A main focus of the effort will be to enhance utilization of MSU alumni across the globe as volunteer recruiters.
Initiative: Implement an energy conservation plan with specific reduction goals based on FY 2006 usage and return cost savings to units achieving reductions.
Facilities Management continued to monitor energy performance and set direction via the MSU Energy Committee. Control systems in major buildings were upgraded to optimize equipment performance and schedule building occupancy via the campus wide scheduling system. An energy conservation project was started in one of the highest energy consuming buildings and high efficiency boilers began operating at the Central Plant Chilled/Hot Water Loop system. Four campus buildings and a new residence hall were added to the Central Plant Chilled/Hot Water Loop system. A number of real time meters were installed on building utility systems to monitor and record building energy usage trends. Campus Design and Construction standards were revised and development of Building Policy and Campus Sustainability Policy was begun. Project scopes were developed for campus wide lighting, controls and thermal storage projects. FY09 energy intensity (energy consumption per square foot) was 29 percent below FY06 and the FY10 intensity was 35 percent below the FY06 level. In 2009, the President signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. The carbon inventory and baseline have been developed and the Climate Action Plan is pending. Efforts at MSU to reduce energy consumption from FY2006 levels have avoided over $20 million in energy costs through FY2010. MSU has exceeded the IHL goal set for FY2016 of 30 percent energy reduction per square foot over a 10-year period.
Initiative: Review and adjust pricing of revenue-generating services.
The review as accomplished and recommendations implemented as feasible as part of the work of the university-wide Select Committee on Efficiencies and Innovations in 2009 and 2010.
Initiative: Continuously measure and manage costs to maximize productivity and efficiency.
A variety of cost-saving and efficiency-raising measures were adopted in 2009 and 2010 through the work of the university-wide Select Committee on Efficiencies and Innovations. These included mergers, consolidations, and elimination of administrative units. Efforts at MSU to reduce energy consumption from FY2006 levels avoided over $20 million in energy costs through FY2010. Efforts to go “paperless” have reduced the number of printed purchase orders issued annually from 20,000 to less than 5,000; the number of paper checks issued to vendors has been reduced from 48,000 to 21,000 annually; the 24,000 travel reimbursement checks previously issued annually have been virtually eliminated.
Initiative: 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.
The Office of Research and Economic Development strongly promotes interdisciplinary research efforts and fully supports them through a variety of programs. These programs include a faculty research support program and a cross-college research program that provides seed funding for interdisciplinary research efforts which involve faculty from multiple colleges. Faculty are highly encouraged to work within interdisciplinary research centers on campus and to involve their students in interdisciplinary research effort. Examples of centers that help to focus resources include our Sustainable Energy Research Center; the National Forensics Training Center; the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems; Geosystems Research Institute; and the National Strategic Planning and Analysis Center.
Invest the resources and energy required to recognize and solidify the national reputations of centers of excellence in Agriculture and Natural Resources Systems; Computational Science and Engineering; Transportation Systems; Applied Social Sciences; Materials and Devices and Energy Systems.
The Vice President for Research and Economic Development and the Vice President for Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine work together (meeting several times a week) to insure close coordination and support of research centers (http://www.research.msstate.edu/ci/). Within the agriculture and natural research systems area, we place strong emphasis on the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (MAFES); the Forest and Wildlife Research Center (FWRC); the Southern Horticulture Laboratory; the Thad Cochran Warmwater Aquaculture Center; 4-H programming; and the newly formed Institute for Genomics, Biocomputing and Biotechnology (IGBB), which was formed by merging the Life Sciences and Biotechnology Institute and the Institute for Digital Biology. The IGBB was then merged into our High Performance Computing Collaboratory to better facilitate its use of computational assets. The Office of Research and Economic Development continues to support the High Performance Computing Collaboratory, the Social Science Research Center, the National Strategic Planning and Assessment Center, the Center for Computational Sciences, and our materials programs.
Invest the resources and energy required to establish and solidify the national reputations of emerging centers of excellence in Global Information Systems and Natural Disaster Preparedness; Natural Resources, Environmental Science, and Environmental Toxicology; Bioimaging and Biomedical Sciences; Early Childhood Education, Health and Development; Community Engagement and Economic Development; Public Policy and Administration; the Center for America's Veterans; the Shackouls Honors College; and the Sonny Montgomery Chapter of the Appalachian Leadership Honors Program, and Internationalization and International Programs.
The Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) continues to invest in and support centers of research excellence through direct funding contributions, structuring opportunities for competitive and non-competitive funding opportunities, and helping to advertise research accomplishments on a national and international scale. Specific funding opportunities that were developed for these centers include the Southeast Region Research Initiative (SERRI), the Delta Health Alliance, congressionally directed funding, and British Petroleum oil spill related work. ORED continues to meet with research center directors to establish productive relationships between academic departments and the centers. Additionally, the ORED provides programmatic support for the Shackouls Honors College and promotes undergraduate research initiatives. A close working relationship was established between the Stennis Institute for Government and the Appalachian Leadership Honors Program. Grants were sought after and awarded to support our veteran community and the Center for America’s Veterans at MSU.
Invest the resources and energy required to realize the potential as national centers of excellence in the areas of Humanities; African-American Studies; and Leadership.
The ORED participated in an MSU initiative to create a stronger focus on international programs and world presence and worked with the Vice President for Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine to recruit and hire a Director of International Programs for MSU. Several international visits were made by MSU administration for the purpose of increasing our international work. Improved relations were facilitated between MSU and the World Food Organization, the United Nations, and other international aid organizations. ORED continues to invest in and support the Institute for the Humanities and African-American studies. Through the Faculty Research Support Program, ORED has facilitated several research programs impacting African-American research activity. ORED sponsors an annual Faculty Leadership Program.
Initiative: Identify additional interdisciplinary clusters and areas that demonstrate the quality and growth potential to become centers of excellence.
ORED proactively identifies emerging centers of excellence based on research success and productivity of our faculty and interdisciplinary research teams. Two new centers achieved IHL Board for approval: the Institute for Imaging and Analytical Technologies (I2AT), which combined the former Institute for Neurocognitive Imaging Technology and the Electron Microscopy Center, and the Institute for Genomics, Biocomputing and Biotechnology (IGBB), which merged the Life Sciences and Biotechnology Institute and the Institute for Digital Biology. We are fostering the growth of a Public Policy center of excellence.
Initiative: 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.
Associate deans for research and graduate education are in place in each academic college, at the MSU-Meridian Campus, and in the library, and an Associate Director for Research serves the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (MAFES) and Forest and Wildlife Research Center (FWRC).
PROMOTE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Initiative: Establish a Mississippi State Community Action Team (MSCAT) to assist communities across the state in economic development, ensuring the optimum utilization of university capabilities.
The Mississippi Community Action Team (MSCAT) was established and became fully functional, introducing several important initiatives to assist communities throughout the state. These included the First Impressions program for community assessment and improvement; YourTown Mississippi, a three-day workshop focused on community development using basic design and planning principles; and Issue Response Teams, which assemble a team with specialized expertise to address particular community issues. MSCAT merged in 2010 with the Stennis Institute of Government to form the Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development, and its work continues under that administrative umbrella. Within the Stennis Institute, the Mississippi Community Action Project is a pilot program funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission to provide training to communities to increase their participation and success in the planning, decision-making, and leadership processes. The program incorporates components of First Impressions and YourTown Mississippi.
Initiative: 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.
The university's recommitment to working with the local community to help grow the economy is an on-going initiative. Strategic collaborations with the city and county include university representation on the Greater Starkville Development Partnership Board of Directors, ex-officio membership on the Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority board, and membership on the local airport development board of directors. The goal of the aforementioned entities is to increase the community's competitiveness in retaining, recruiting, and creating high tech and wage jobs. During 2009, the Thad Cochran Research, Technology, and Economic Development Park served as a catalyst for public-private partnerships, entrepreneurship, and technology commercialization efforts in the region. Construction began on a new 40,000 square foot Industry Partners Building to provide Class A office space to private companies that locate in the park. Work continued on the design of the new Technology Boulevard that will connect Highway 182 to the current loop road and provide access to Phase II of the research park. During 2010, the university was an active member of various economic development organizations established to create new jobs. MSU, in collaboration with the city, county, and private developers, recommitted to the Cotton Mill project, a major economic impact partnership that will change the landscape of the community and create new jobs. The mixed use project includes plans for a certified conference center, hotel, restaurant, and a parking garage. The Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park attracted additional public and private investments to the local community. In 2010, the Industry Partners Building was completed and had an 80 percent occupancy rate. Negotiations with II-VI Inc. continued regarding their planned expansion in the research park. To accommodate II-VI's growth and other space needs, architects were hired to design a new 20,000 square-foot building including 10,000 square feet for II-VI, 8,500 square feet for a new business incubator, and 1,500 square feet for a cafe. The Master Plan for Phase II of the research park was updated to add approximately 45 acres to the park's footprint and the new infrastructure layout.
Initiative: Team with the city and county school districts to attain higher levels of accreditation for all schools.
MSU’s Program for Research and Evaluation for Public Schools (PREPS) served 89 of the state’s 152 school districts during 2010. PREPS is the largest such consortium in the state. A current goal of the College of Education is to establish the Louisville, Miss., public school system as its first Professional Development School (PDS) site. The college also continues to work with the Starkville Public Schools on development of a PDS.
Initiative: Communicate the importance of service and outreach at the campus level and enrich students' experiences through service learning.
Mississippi State was listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in both 2009 and 2010. In 2010, Mississippi State earned the Community Engagement Classification of the Carnegie Foundation. MSU students and faculty sponsored and took the lead in building three Habitat for Humanity houses in the local community beginning in 2009. The Maroon Volunteer Center, a student-driven initiative, coordinated community involvement and volunteer service in a wide range of activities during 2009 and afterward and initiated the Spirit Awards to recognize student contributions to community service.
STRENGTHEN PRIDE AND INVOLVEMENT
Initiative: 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.
A record number of send-off parties for incoming students have been sponsored by alumni chapters. The E-Bark electronic newsletter encourages alumni and friends to send names of prospective students to the Office of Admissions and Scholarships. Over 50 alumni chapters provide scholarships. The Alumni Recruiting Network contacts students, hosts in-home parties, sends representatives to college fairs, and brings prospective students to campus for visits. Over 250 student recruiting events are held annually.
Initiative: 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.
The Athletic Department completed 24 successive years of finishing in the black. The total athletic operating budget of $37.4 million includes approximately $18 million from private fund raising, about $19.6 million from the Southeastern Conference, and almost $9.9 million from season ticket sales. Facilities have been improved with completion of the Mize Pavilion, a basketball practice and support facility, and major enhancements of Humphrey Coliseum, Dudy Noble Field, Pitts Tennis Centre, Maddox Track, Newell-Grissom volleyball facility, and the MSU Golf Course. All sports have exceeded the NCAA Academic Progress Rate cut score of 930, with no sports incurring NCAA penalties. The NCAA graduation rate for student-athletes is 79 percent, and the overall grade point average for student athletes reached an all-time high of 3.01.
Initiative: 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.
University Relations team produced more than 330 news releases for state and regional media. National/international media placements included USA Today, Washington Times, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, MSNBC, France24, and Our Amazing Planet, among others. A major story for Mississippi State was identification of a tornado alley in the Deep South, described by meteorologists as “Dixie Alley.” Social media outlets that include Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr are now emerging. Facebook “fans” have increased from 28,000 to nearly 58,000 and Twitter followers from a few hundred to nearly 5,000. The research editor has established a social media following through Facebook and Twitter feeds and a research blog. The research editor generates a daily news digest with an on- and off-campus subscription of more than 200 decision-makers. The news digest is also available on Twitter, and is approaching some 300 followers. Campus radio station WMSV airs 48 public service announcements daily in support of university programs and events, and produces the popular "Southeastern Drive Time" heard on 17 stations in five states. In collaboration with the TV Center, a 30-second "Hail State” spot was produced for airing on national outlets during televised athletic events. It aired twice on 11 nationally televised football games and six times on two regionally televised games; three times nationally during basketball games and nine times regionally; twice regionally during women's basketball games; and statewide during MHSAA state football championships on Mississippi Public Broadcasting. The Television Center produced a 30-minute feature of Templeton Ragtime Jazz performances that aired statewide on Mississippi Public Broadcasting. University Relations produced 17 Presidential Updates featuring MSU President Mark Keenum and produced four OurState video features and five True Maroon video features, both of which aired on the SECU network, the MSU web site, and Facebook. Marketing efforts included 12 statewide billboards about MSU; advertisements in two state airports; 270 radio spots on WMSV Southeastern Drive Time and SuperTalk radio; 14 print advertisements in publications that include Washington Monthly, Oxford American, and TravelHost.
Initiative: 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
Nearly 600 alumni events were held throughout the nation during the Alumni Association’s 125th anniversary year. The association has had over 30,000 active members for five consecutive years. There are 92 total chapters and 28 of those are out-of-state; six new chapters have been added in the last four years. The E-Bark electronic newsletter was sent to over 60,000 alumni and friends each month and the Alumnus magazine was mailed regularly to nearly 23,000 active alumni and friends.
Initiative: Simplify and improve the performance appraisal process for staff to allow for effective communication about job performance between supervisors and the staff members.
A new staff performance appraisal was implemented during 2008-2009 that includes a new process and form. Administrators and staff have been trained on the new process and form.
Initiative: Provide broad-based diversity/sensitivity training.
The Office of Diversity and Equity Programs revised the online harassment training program for supervisory employees to include all types of harassment. The office coordinated with the Student Affairs Division to develop and release an online harassment training module for students. Seven diversity workshops were offered by ODEP; 28 personnel were trained in 2009, and nine diversity workshops were offered with 139 personnel trained in 2010. Eleven harassment in the workplace workshops were offered by ODEP in 2009, with 101 personnel trained. Seven harassment in the workplace workshops were offered in 2010, with 145 personnel trained. An overview of non-discrimination and anti-harassment federal laws and MSU policies is given during new employee orientation sessions held weekly. In 2009, 39 orientations were held that trained 207 employees. In 2010, 43 sessions were held that trained 216 employees. A “Diversity At-A-Glance” brochure was developed about the diversity of MSU’s population.
Initiative: Provide chairs of search committees with training in how to conduct a search.
Search Committee guidelines were developed during 2008-2009. HRM staff conducts search committee training utilizing the guidelines on a regular basis.
Initiative: 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.
The Student Association is the largest student organization in the state of Mississippi, representing over 20,000 students. SA leadership and involvement has grown tremendously in recent years, resulting in the highest participation of students in their Student Association since its inception in 1916. The Student Association has increased its collaboration with the state legislature and created the Bulldog Interest Group to have a presence at the State Capital. The Freshman Forum and Freshman Council leadership development committees work with Student Association Executive Council and Cabinet members throughout their freshman year to learn about SA and the University. The SA has advocated student representation on every university standing committee. The SA has created major programming events including Bulldog Bash, the largest free outdoor concert in the state, as well as a school spirit initiative known as True Maroon.
Initiative: 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.
Initiative: Implement the MSU Diversity Plan and use it as a management tool. (2007-08)
The Diversity Strategic Plan was released in February 2009 and a revised version was issued in September 2010.
Initiative: 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.
MSU has purchased the Astra Information System’s software suite of products to provide us with industry leading software capabilities. Astra replaced its software products with new versions rewritten to new Banner interface standards. We have made progress improving our assignment and utilization of classrooms by implementing a series of scheduling metrics.
Initiative: Schedule more classes during off-peak times. Designate all rooms with lecture facilities as general classrooms that are available to all departments.
During 2009 and 2010, scheduling metrics were implemented or developed to better utilize classroom space and spread out the availability of classes during the instructional week. The first metric requires class sections to utilize a minimum of 75 percent of the class seats. A second metric introduced set a 10 percent maximum percentage of total class offerings on each department per class period.
Initiative: 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.
During 2009, CPR/first aid classes and defensive driving classes were offered to the entire university. A proper lifting techniques class was developed and offered, with approximately 140 participants trained. A review of workers’ compensation claims led to additional safety training. Sixty building safety reviews were completed and instances of non-compliance with fire codes were reported to department heads, Facilities Management, and building managers for resolution. Laboratory safety reviews totaled 180. Almost 2,500 fire extinguishers/fire systems were inspected and a dozen fire drills were conducted. Fifty-five BSL-2 laboratories were certified. More than 280 hazardous waste pickups were performed and approximately 48,000 pounds of hazardous waste was shipped for disposal. In 2010, 51 training class were offered for CPR and First Aid, defensive driving, and AED certifications. Based on workers’ compensation claim data, training was offered in the areas of heat stress, proper lifting techniques, and ergonomics.
More than 200 major building safety inspections were conducted and safety-related findings reported. More than 150 laboratory safety reviews were conducted, and over 500 participants received training in laboratory safety. About 1,700 fire extinguishers/fire systems were inspected and five extinguisher training sessions were conducted for 94 participants. Eighteen new standard operating procedures were written, approved, and posted the Office of Regulatory Compliance and Safety’s website for the BSL-2 laboratories on campus. Eleven bloodborne pathogen (BBP) trainings were offered. About 21,500 liters of hazardous waste was shipped for disposal. Twenty-nine waste management training session were conducted. A total of 380 students and employees were classified as radiation workers, with 38 rooms containing radioactive materials, devices or x-ray machines. Sixteen of the radioactive materials laboratories were inspected twice annually, and training sessions and refresher trainings sessions were conducted. The Office of Regulatory Compliance and Safety developed a website for Laboratory Safety and Occupational Safety.
Initiative: Continue to improve campus accessibility for students, faculty, staff and visitors with disabilities, including improved access to technology and electronic information.
All new construction and major renovations met ADA standards and MSU standards.
Initiative: 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.
With the signing of the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment, several sustainability programs have been initiated focusing on campus operations, grounds/landscape, materials/procurement, and transportation. We have had increases in energy conservation and developed a Sustainable Procurement Document, Campus Wide Sustainability Policy, Construction and Design Manual, and campus wide recycling program. Activities include a continuation of Earth Day programs, composting, evaluation of alternative fuels (propane) for our equipment and vehicles, reforestation in some previously mowed areas on campus, planting native trees on campus, and implementation a central irrigation system to conserve water.
Initiative: Update and monitor implementation of the Campus Master Plan.
The Campus Master Plan was completed and implementation has begun. A Master Plan Development and Advisory Committee headed by the Provost and Executive Vice President was established to review projects and ensure compliance with the Master Plan. The committee operates under the governance document that was developed during the master plan process.
Initiative: Continue to improve environmental safety by enhancing the emergency phone system and campus lighting.
More than a dozen emergency phone systems with bright blue LED beacons and environmentally-hardened phone sets were installed across campus in 2009 and 2010. Weekly lighting patrols identify and repair non-functioning lights. A Lighting Survey Committee was formed to identify dark areas on campus. Special funding was secured and expended for improvement of campus lighting the first year.