Jan. 23, 2014
New year, new focus
Even though the new year often brings unpleasant weather to the Midwest — and this one was especially frigid — the turn of the calendar is one of my favorite times of year. I see it as a time to reflect on the year before and focus on what's ahead.
This year has been especially gratifying for me as I think about what we've accomplished together in the past year and what's in store for Missouri S&T in 2014 and beyond. From our record enrollment to great strides with strategic planning to progress in identifying some of our next campus leaders, it's clear to me our future is indeed bright.
Looking back, I'm especially proud of our research programs, which continue to grow and contribute meaningful scholarship at a time when many research universities are struggling. I'm also proud to share that a few weeks ago our excellence was once again highlighted in the media when U.S. News & World Report ranked 14 of our online master's degree programs among the best in the country.
Looking ahead, implementing our strategic plan will continue to be a focus. Just last week, with your input, two of our four best-in-class, signature areas were selected: advanced manufacturing and advanced materials for sustainable infrastructure. These areas will help us to further sharpen our focus as we invest in key strategic areas and raise the profile of S&T both nationally and internationally. Finally, I'm pleased to announce that we're beginning the new year by placing a new emphasis on our most valuable asset — our people. Our faculty and staff inspire me daily, and making sure that S&T is an attractive place to work and to grow is a top priority for me today and every day. You can read more about this and other stories below:
These areas were selected after departments were invited to submit proposals and after much study. As outlined in Lever 2.1 of our strategic plan, we will employ transformative and focused hiring, including cluster hires, in these selected areas of expertise to support best-in-class achievements.
The second round of selecting the two remaining signature areas is now under way and will be announced this summer. I encourage faculty to reach out to their department chairs for assistance in putting forth ideas and proposals.
Due to budget concerns, Missouri S&T had planned to gradually increase the salaries of employees who are affected by this new compensation structure over the next three years. However, our campus leaders and I decided that this crucial investment in our employees couldn't wait that long. Across campus, we have made difficult tradeoffs in order to fulfill this commitment immediately. This is something the campus has been requesting for a long time.
We will continue to address competitive compensation for faculty and staff. Faculty will immediately see bigger promotional bumps as they move from assistant to associate professor positions, and from associate to full professor.
It is my strong belief that sustainable growth is not possible if our people are not appropriately compensated. These initial investments in the new compensation structure and in our faculty are sure to provide a high return.