Missouri University of Science and Technology plans to boost the number of doctoral students and invest in two of Missouri S&T’s four best-in-class or “signature” areas through additional state funding, Missouri S&T Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader announced today (Wednesday, Oct. 8) during her State of the University Address.
Speaking to students, faculty and staff members in Leach Theatre of Castleman Hall on the Missouri S&T campus, Schrader announced that the initiatives have received over $4.5 million in state funding through a University of Missouri System allocation. “These investments reflect the UM System’s confidence in the vision we have set forth in our bold strategic plan,” Schrader said.
“Missouri S&T’s research and graduate programs will benefit greatly from these investments – and so will society as a whole,” Schrader said. “These additional funds will help build on our rapidly growing Ph.D. programs as well as strengthen key research initiatives that address critical state and national needs.”
The funding will create 70 new Ph.D. research assistant, teaching assistant and fellowship positions, and will increase the number of doctoral students at Missouri S&T by 12 percent – from 583 to 653.
The initiative also provides competitive funding for the equivalent of 350 existing graduate research and teaching assistant positions.
“Our doctoral student enrollment has already witnessed a record increase since 2007, due to the increasing demand for our Ph.D. graduates,” Schrader said. “As a result of this new investment, we will be able to keep pace with the demand for a high-quality Missouri S&T graduate education.”
Since 2007, the Ph.D. enrollment at S&T has grown by nearly 70 percent – from 344 in the fall of 2007 to 583 this fall.
Schrader pointed out that the effort to increase Ph.D. students will also focus on recruiting more women and under-represented minorities into these programs. Missouri S&T offers Ph.D.s in 21 degree programs.
Complementing this effort to recruit more Ph.D. students is funding to provide needed technical and professional staff as well as funding for National Academy of Sciences or National Academy of Engineering-stature leaders and visiting faculty for the two signature areas of Advanced Manufacturing and Advanced Materials for Sustainable Infrastructure. These are multidisciplinary research and education areas in which Missouri S&T is highly regarded. The university plans to further invest in these areas to make them among the nation’s best.
This marks the second year the UM System has provided funding for campuses based on proposals to advance each campus’s strategic plan. Last year, Missouri S&T received $3.2 million in state funds through the process. That funding helped support the creation of new faculty positions plus support staff for recruiting and hiring; improvements to instructional laboratories; and a redesign of three calculus courses to improve student success.
“This fall we’ve been able to add 17 faculty representing departments from across campus, from physics to education, and from civil engineering to electrical and computer engineering,” Schrader said. “This is just the beginning of our ambitious plan to hire at least 100 additional faculty by 2020.”
Also during her State of the University Address, Schrader highlighted several accomplishments of the past year, including:
- Record enrollment of 8,642 students this fall – a 6.3 percent increase over last fall’s record numbers and nearly double the student population of 2000. Schrader added that record numbers of women, graduate students, Hispanic students, international students and under-represented minorities were enrolled at S&T this fall.
- Progress on major construction projects on campus, including completion of the geothermal energy project, which began in April 2012 and already has reduced energy use by 50 percent; installation of artificial turf at Allgood-Bailey Stadium and intramural fields; completion of James E. Bertelsmeyer Hall, the new chemical and biochemical engineering building, at 11th and State streets; and progress on construction of the Hasselmann Alumni House.
- A 37 percent increase in private giving to the university – from $10.1 million in fiscal year 2012-2013 to $13.8 million in fiscal year 2013-2014.
- Growth in research funding “despite a soft economy and a continued drawback of federal funding for research.” Schrader pointed out that Missouri S&T’s $37 million in net contract and grant expenditures for research in fiscal year 2013-2014 was a 7 percent increase over two years ago.
- Completion of the campus master plan, which will guide future growth and development for the campus over the next 20 to 25 years.
- The creation of a two-college academic structure and the recent addition of two leaders for those colleges: Dr. Stephen Roberts, vice provost and dean of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Business, and Dr. Ian Ferguson, vice provost and dean of the College of Engineering and Computing. Schrader also referenced other leadership changes that occurred over the summer: the appointment of Dr. Robert Marley as provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, and the appointment of former provost Dr. Warren K. Wray to the position of vice chancellor for global and strategic partnerships.
- Recognition of student successes, including the second-place finish by Missouri S&T’s Mars Rover Team in the international University Rover Challenge, held last spring in Utah. Schrader received help from the team’s rover, Phoenix, which delivered her speech to her on stage.
Schrader also thanked the audience for their participation in the development of “Rising to the Challenge: Missouri S&T’s Strategy for Success.”
“Thank you for your investment in this plan; thank you for your trust in me,” Schrader said.
She also invited audience members to attend a Strategic Planning Summit at noon on Nov. 6-7 in the Havener Center on campus. “Here you can see a detailed overview of the plan and meet some of the people behind our many accomplishments.”
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