COLUMBIA — University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe stood before curators Friday morning and unveiled what's in store for Chancellor Brady Deaton after he steps down on Nov. 15.
Deaton will lead the newly christened Brady and Anne Deaton Institute for University Leadership in International Development at MU. The institute will focus on leveraging public universities to work on global issues of food security, water quality, health care and social and economic well-being.
“It’s hard to think of more important topics facing our world today,” Wolfe said.
Deaton received a standing ovation from the crowd as he stood, embraced his wife, Anne, and went to the front of the room to describe his future role as chancellor emeritus.
Deaton said land grant universities have an opportunity and a responsibility to fight poverty, hunger and environmental degradation in the world’s poorest countries.
“When you look at the faces of the hungry children in these settings, it inspires you to do something about it,” Deaton said.
A slideshow Deaton prepared for the meeting stated that one of the goals of the institute is to position MU as a leader in this field.
In a news conference after the meeting ended, Deaton named two reasons public universities are not contributing as much as they could to solving major global issues: limits on research funding and breakdowns in communication.
To grapple with global issues of food, health and the environment, universities will have to work closely with governments, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector, Deaton said.
“The university is part of that milieu,” Deaton said. “It’s very exciting, and we can do much more of it than we’re now doing.”
Wolfe said $50,000 of the system’s investment fund will be used as seed money to start the institute, and he anticipates it will attract outside funding. Deaton’s salary will be $200,000, Wolfe said.
Wolfe offered few details about the search for a new chancellor, except to say that a search committee is being formed that will include “all important constituent groups” and that the field of candidates will be national.
Wolfe said this curators meeting was unusual given the announcement of Deaton’s new role and approval of the first system budget that includes five-year strategic plans for each of the four campuses.
“There is no doubt in my mind that this is a historic board meeting,” Wolfe said.
For the first time, each campus in the system submitted a five-year plan UM administrators could use to gauge the performance of each school on its own terms. Each campus offered a broad statement of its goals:
- The University of Missouri,St. Louis plans to confer 20 percent more degrees annually by 2018.
- The University of Missouri,Kansas City plans to grow enrollment to 20,000 and increase graduation rates 10 percent.
- MU plans to move up four places in the Association of American Universities’ ranking by 2018.
- The Missouri University of Science and Technology plans to increase undergraduate starting salaries by about 8 percent, improve its U.S. News and World Report score, enroll 38 percent more long-distance and online students, increase employer satisfaction with hires from 92 percent to 95 percent and improve donor satisfaction.
Wolfe said this year will be the first time their strategies are tied to the UM System’s budget, which for fiscal 2014 totals $2.8 billion.
“We passed our first budget firmly rooted in the strategic planning process,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe credited the four chancellors for creating plans tailored to each campus and UM System Vice President for Finance and Administration Nikki Krawitz for her work on a system-wide plan.
Krawitz retired this month after 10 years as vice president, and she, too received a standing ovation as well as a resolution of support from the curators Friday morning. She offered her thoughts about the importance of a public university.
“Be diligent and protective in defending it, and advocate strongly for public investment to ensure its quality,” Krawitz said.
Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.