University of Missouri President Mun Y. Choi gave his first State of the University Address for Mizzou on March 15. Here are the highlights.
1. Enrollment is on the rise
This year, we’ll see four straight years of enrollment growth — all despite the coronavirus pandemic. Students and parents continue to recognize Mizzou’s high-quality education, affordable cost of attendance and excellent career outcomes. Not only are we enrolling more students, we are ensuring they complete their degrees in a timely manner.
2. Our undergraduates are successful
Students are at the core of what we do. Using U.S. News and World Report data, Mizzou ranks as the #1 best value school among public national universities in neighboring states, and we are experiencing historic highs in 6-year graduation rates.
Not only are we seeing high graduation rates — we’re also seeing our students succeed once they leave Mizzou. The latest career outcomes survey revealed 95% of our undergraduates found successful career outcomes within six months of graduation — the highest rate among SEC universities. This is a testament to our hard-working students and the efforts of our faculty and staff members.
3. Research is a growing priority
One of the more impressive improvements is the dramatic rise in Mizzou’s research performance. Our faculty members are actively collaborating across campus — and beyond — and are submitting nationally competitive research proposals. Since 2018, the increase in the value of submitted proposals per faculty is 84%.
We currently have $388 million in total expenditures, moving us up 22 spots to 67th among the nation’s leading research universities.
4. We are investing in our future
A recent study conducted by Tripp Umbach found Mizzou contributed $5 billion to Missouri’s economy from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021. That means for every $1 the state spends funding MU, the university gives back $25.
That impact starts with people. MU currently supports nearly 50,000 direct and indirect jobs, both full-time and part-time — and our 153,000+ alumni who live and work in Missouri have an additional $27 billion yearly impact on our state’s economy. Our alumni put their education to use in every sector of our state’s economy, lending their skills to bolster the overall economic vitality of our state.
5. We are shaping a world-class future
Our current momentum is unstoppable. At every level, we need to think, act and invest like a world-class university. We must shape our future with great intention through a strategic focus and targeted funding. To forge this path, we have launched MizzouForward, a transformational blueprint and Mizzou’s boldest investment ever in our people, programs and potential.
MizzouForward’s strategic investments will accelerate our research performance, strengthen our AAU status and educate the next generation of leaders.
6. We are adding to our world-class faculty
World-class universities are defined by their faculty. Our faculty members play the primary role in ensuring the success of our students, and we would not be successful without them.
To help attract new faculty and support MizzouForward, strategic recruiting is in full force across the entire university. Faculty from top institutions all around the country are choosing to come to Mizzou — many because of the exciting research opportunities and available facilities.
7. Focus on faculty and staff support
To help support and retain talented faculty and staff, leadership has dedicated $500 million toward performance-based salary increases within the next five years.
8. Faculty success
Our high-performing faculty continue to be recognized with national honors and awards, including those from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Fulbright Program. To help our faculty attract even more national recognition, we created a new honors and awards office. This new office is open to all faculty and will help make award nominations part of Mizzou’s culture of excellence.
To help support humanities, arts, and social sciences faculty, Provost Latha Ramchand is developing programs of excellence, including the Great Books Program, mid-career research development, and catalyst research and scholarship grants.
As we continue to increase our research performance, we are building a more robust system of support for participating faculty. These include pre-award support, strategic proposal development services, research analytics and access to core facilities.
9. Expanding research infrastructure
Our goal is to put together resources so our faculty can continue to compete for federal research grants. The Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health building is just the beginning of how we plan to expand that research capacity.
On the health care campus, a new Children’s Hospital opening in 2024 will integrate into NextGen’s mission. We’re also creating new research facilities, including a veterinary diagnostic lab, influenza center and lab for infectious disease research, among others.
We are also looking to expand our capabilities in nuclear medicine. Two key expansions are underway, including a $20 million investment for the MU Research Reactor West and a $27 million investment by the Department of Energy to build a Radio Isotope Science Center. Completion of both is expected by 2024.
These critical investments will have a life-changing impact on each student. They also have a collective benefit for Missourians — and people around the globe.
10. Focus on student success
An overarching goal of MizzouForward is to fuel the success of our students — at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. We want to recruit the very best students and provide them opportunities to succeed in their chosen fields.
Leaders recently reached out and asked for proposals for projects that will help bolster student success. Fifty-one projects — representing 10 academic units, MU Extension and libraries — were funded. They will:
- Invest in state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories and instruments
- Increase hands-on student experiences
- Educate career-ready students
Another way we’re investing in our students is through the new Honors College curriculum built around STEM, humanities and social sciences. We will also increase central advising by adding more advisors to help guide our students through their college careers.
To invigorate our graduate students, we are launching several new programs to increase national graduate fellowships and post-doctoral fellowships, as well as help our graduate students apply for prestigious honors and awards.