A new strategic plan at Missouri University of Science and Technology outlines a blueprint to ensure that every undergraduate student gets involved in “experiential learning,” along with upgrades in teaching and research facilities and additional faculty positions, all to ensure that the university offers the best possible return on investment for students, research partners and others.
The plan – titled Rising to the Challenge: Missouri S&T’s Strategy for Success – is the result of a year-long process involving thousands of faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends. Missouri S&T Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader will discuss the plan, which is still in draft form, at the University of Missouri System Board of Curators meeting June 13-14 at the University of Missouri-Columbia campus.
“Missouri S&T is well-known for providing a high return on investment for our undergraduate students in terms of starting salaries and career success,” says Schrader. “We want to make sure that all of our customers receive that same sort of high ROI. This plan is our blueprint for providing an exceptional ROI for all undergraduate or graduate students who earn their S&T degrees on-campus or online – or a combination of the two – as well as the employers who hire our students, the companies and agencies who partner with us in research, and the donors who invest in Missouri S&T and help us realize our promising future.”
In her letter introducing the plan, Schrader calls it “the fruit of an unusual process – one in which we flipped our perspective and viewed Missouri S&T from our customers’ point of view.”
“The insights gained from this 180-degree shift require us to think candidly about how we add value, change lives and help solve the world’s great challenges in education, energy, health, information, security and the environment,” Schrader writes.
The plan is centered on four themes, which each contain specific actions – or “levers” – designed to achieve the themes. The themes are:
- “Develop and inspire creative thinkers and leaders for lifelong success.” Goals related to this theme include requiring all Missouri S&T students to take part in a significant experiential learning activity (such as participation on a design team, studying abroad or conducting research) and creating professional development opportunities for students, faculty, staff and alumni.
- “Enhance reputation and raise visibility.” Goals related to this theme include hiring and keeping faculty in key areas that will strengthen S&T’s reputation and leveraging Missouri S&T as the state’s technological research university, a hub for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and research.
- “Achieve sustainable growth to ensure best return on investment.” Goals related to this theme include an evaluation of current academic programs while making sure those programs remain relevant, and improvements to classrooms, labs and other facilities for more effective research and learning.
- “Increase and facilitate meaningful access to and interaction with renowned faculty, staff and services.” Goals related to this theme include creating a comprehensive strategy for distance and online education and improving recruitment for doctoral students.
Led by Provost Warren K. Wray and Dr. James A. Drallmeier, chair of mechanical and aerospace engineering, the process has resulted in a concise, 33-word “strategy statement” that defines where Missouri S&T wants to be by 2020, the year of its 150th anniversary.
The strategy statement says:
Missouri S&T will provide by 2020 a top return on investment among public research universities to students, employers, research partners and donors through extraordinary access to renowned expertise, services and experiential learning opportunities.
While still in draft form, the strategic plan is online for review and comment from the campus community through June 30. To view the plan, go to the provost’s office website and click on the “New Strategic Plan” link.