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MU Chancellor Announces Financial Plan for Next 3 Years

Plan focuses on competitive salaries

July 9, 2007

Story Contact:  Christian Basi, 573-882-4430,

COLUMBIA, Mo. — University of Missouri-Columbia Chancellor Brady Deaton has announced the launch of Compete Missouri, a three-year financial plan for the University of Missouri-Columbia. Compete Missouri will focus on retaining and recruiting the best faculty to teach students and to perform the research that improves the quality of life and the economy for all Missourians. Currently, salaries for MU faculty rank next to the bottom of the public universities in the Association of American Universities (AAU), a group of the nation's most prestigious public and private research institutions.

This plan will enable us to meet our most significant financial challenges, with competitive salaries and rising energy and compliance costs being at the top of that list," Deaton said. "If Missouri is to compete successfully with other states related to economic development and if our students are to compete successfully for jobs and graduate education, then we must have the faculty and staff who can make that happen and not lose them to other states and private institutions." The UM Board of Curators at its most recent meeting strongly supported the need for competitive compensation on all campuses.

MU campus administration has identified $7 million in additional operating budget needs for fiscal year 2009. "We are fortunate to have record enrollment, record research funding, record campus construction and record fundraising, but this success requires that we find the financial resources internally to address the new needs generated by this momentum," Deaton said. "We are calling on the campus community to make that effort."

MU Provost Brian Foster led the campuswide planning process with the support of Rex Campbell, professor of rural sociology and chair of the MU Faculty Council, and John David, director of the Division of Biological Sciences and chair of the Strategic Planning and Resource Advisory Council (SPRAC). This initial planning involved numerous representatives of students, faculty, staff and administration. As part of that effort earlier this year, they asked the University community to contribute cost-saving ideas.

The proposals being reviewed include: library consolidation, offering the option of nine-month staff appointments, consolidation of administration in selected departments, elimination of some centers, consolidation of some academic programs, and recovery of operating costs. MU administration also will identify new ways of generating money, such as increasing summer and evening enrollments and implementing new revenue programs. Finally, the University will institute a strategic hiring process that will focus on campus priorities while ensuring access, quality and service to Mizzou's record student enrollment.

"We are using a process of strategic position management for all positions funded by the General Operations budget (i.e. funds from student tuition and state appropriations)," Foster said. "We want to consider each faculty and staff position strategically to determine which positions we must fill to accomplish our goals. MU central administration will accumulate funds from open positions to meet strategic goals, including competitive salaries. New hiring for faculty and staff will be focused on positions that serve those goals."

"Given the level of state funding, potential tuition constraints and Board of Curators concerns, immediate action by MU is needed to sustain quality programs," Campbell said. "Achieving the level of excellence expected of the University requires short-term sacrifices in order to achieve long-term gains."

"In the past several years, we have been engaged in an extraordinary amount of cost-saving activities and reallocation from low to higher priorities, particularly in regard to reducing administrative costs," Foster said. "However, our comprehensive budget planning for the future makes it clear that previous actions will not be enough to keep MU competitive at the level students and others expect of a flagship university."