On April 6, the Missouri Western State University Board of Governors held a specially called meeting. The meeting was streamed live to YouTube at 3:00 p.m. and lifted the financial state of emergency that the university has been in for the past several semesters.
The meeting opened with Personnel Finance and Operations Committee Chair Al Landes sharing the committee's recommendation of lifting the emergency. Landes then gave the floor to President Kennedy to share her and Darrell Morrisons' work over the past semesters and why she believes now is the time to lift the financial state of emergency.
After opening with a thank you to the board members for all their hard work, Kennedy provided a four-point summary of the recommendation and the work they have done to make it a possibility.
Firstly she spoke about how they have been operating on a tight and planned budget to ensure there is the appropriate action for the university to thrive in the future.
“Over the past two years, Missouri Western has put financial policies, procedures and controls in place to make the phrase, living within our means, a reality,” Kennedy said. “We are operating within a prescribed budget, taking steps to ensure that resources are used efficiently and responsibly. We have built a complete budget and provided education and training across campus, and implemented ongoing monitoring to ensure proper oversight.”
Dr. Kennedy moved to her second point on how Missouri Western has created strong student engagement and has a robust engagement plan to increase targeted outreach.
“Last fall the university worked to enhance the student experience on our campus, students were eager to come back to in-person classes,” Kennedy continued. “We were pleased to have so many activities available to them.”
Thirdly, the university has worked to provide relevant student learning opportunities and to increase student success across different programs.
“Through academic program review and the realignment of colleges and academic departments, we are creating a structure that supports student success in our technology-based and professional degree programs,” Kennedy explained. “The university is providing strategic course offerings so that students can make good progress and momentum towards graduation.”
Dr. Kennedy concluded with a final point on how they have made student focus an integral part of Missouri Western to create a culture where students are successful, and the staff is there to support them.
“In closing, there is good support for the recommendation to remove the state of emergency from the university. We cannot cut our way to prosperity, we've learned that,” Kennedy said. “We have to look for opportunities for growth, and these two years, while they have been challenging, we know that today we are stronger and better prepared for the future.”
Following Kennedy's speech, Governor Lee Tieman reflected on his time with the board, where he has gotten to view the hard work of all those at Missouri Western, from his fellow board members to those around the university. After thanking Dr. Kennedy and all the members present, he opened the floor to vote on the motion
The vote was unanimous for the removal of the state of the financial emergency with all governors in simultaneous agreement. Governor Landes ended the meeting with a thank you to the board, the faculty, the staff and President Kennedy and Darrell Morrison. He concluded with a thank you to the students of Missouri Western.
“Importantly id like to thank the students, it would have been very easy for a great number of our students to have left in the middle of our crisis. Landes said. “A great majority of them have stuck with us, and to me, that is the hallmark of our university here, so thank you to the students."