MU Faculty Council schedule more performance-based funding talks

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 | 6:08 p.m. CDT; updated 9:01 p.m. CST, Wednesday, November 16, 2011

COLUMBIA — MU Faculty Council members Thursday will again have the opportunity to discuss performance-based funding and the implications of such a model at MU.

Broadly speaking, performance funding is the allocation of state money to schools based on their performance in certain academic areas from one year to the next. A performance-based model is being seriously considered for Missouri's colleges and universities.

Faculty council members have raised questions about the model at previous meetings. Their chief concern is that the model would be too focused on statistics such as enrollment and graduation rates and thus would undermine the quality of education at MU.

A task force was created last fall to investigate performance-based funding measures and draft a proposal that could be implemented for schools receiving public funding in Missouri. The task force includes Nikki Krawitz, vice president of finance and administration for the UM System, who is scheduled to explain the proposals to the council at Thursday's meeting.

Under a performance-based model, any state appropriations greater than base level funding for the previous year would be budgeted to each university based on that school's performance in five areas.

At ahigher education summit in August, college presidents discussed Gov. Jay Nixon's plan to implement a performance-based funding model. At the summit, Nixon said he would like the measures to include four areas, plus a fifth measure that would determined by each school.

Krawitz said the task force is still working on the exact measures, but each area could include:

  • Student progress: Freshman to sophomore retention rate and full-time degree seeking undergraduates completing 24 hours in their first year.
  • Degree attainment: Total degrees awarded, degrees awarded per full-time equivalent students and six-year graduation rate.
  • Quality of learning: Performance on major field and professional licensure examinations.
  • Affordability: Increase in institutional aid and combined state support and net tuition per full-time equivalent student.

There are still significant questions regarding the implementation of performance-based funding, said Steve Graham, UM System vice president of academic affairs, in a report to the system's Intercampus Faculty Council.

These questions include:

  • What level of performance is sufficient to trigger funding?
  • How will progress over the past 10 years be recognized by the model?
  • How will performance-based funding be regarded by the state legislature?

At Thursday's meeting, faculty council members will have the opportunity to discuss the proposed measures with Krawitz, who will present the measures again at the fall semester's rescheduled general faculty meeting on Nov. 16.

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