COLUMBIA — Tim Wolfe made his first official presentation as University of Missouri System president to the Board of Curators on Friday morning.
In it, Wolfe outlined six priorities for the system, including retaining the best faculty and staff, expanding e-Learning opportunities, eliminating wasteful administrative processes and building a stronger communication plan to convey the system's value to Missoura residents and legislators.
"We must chart our own course instead of having someone chart it for us,” he said.
Wolfe said the 90-day game plan needs to be building a strategic plan that focuses on these priorities and watching carefully the development of a final state budget, which could include stable funding for public colleges and universities for next year.
No major votes took place Friday at the curators meeting.
Typically, the board would hold votes on any action items discussed at its Thursday meetings following presentations by the board chairman, system president and campus chancellors on Friday morning.
But a change in procedure approved before the meetings began Thursday afternoon placed full-board votes directly after each committee meeting.
Coupled with a change in scenery — there were no ropes separating the curators from the public seating — the board is trying to make the meetings more accessible and comfortable, Wolfe said Friday.
In addition, there were no chancellor's reports Friday as curators welcomed Cheryl Schrader to her first board meeting as the new chancellor of Missouri University of Science and Technology.
Board chairman David Bradley also spoke Friday and introduced an Advancing Missouri video, highlighting the ways the UM System has an effect on southeast Missouri.
On Thursday, the board discussed several issues, including faculty salary increases, the system's preliminary budget and an investment structure for UM System employees' retirement fund.
At a press conference following the meetings Friday, Wolfe recapped his strategic priorities and spoke to the differences he's seen between the education and business environments and how implementing priorities in each environment has its own challenges.
"The major difference that I see and have experienced since being in this role," Wolfe said, "is that you have much more creativity, innovation, expertise and counsel available to you than what you have in the business environment."
"That's a heck of a lot of mental horsepower if you can tap into it appropriately."
The presentations Friday concluded the curator's April meetings, the last regularly scheduled meetings before the final state budget is due in May. When the board meets in full again in June, curators will see a version of the system budget that takes into account whatever final state appropriation will be provided to public colleges and universities.