Message from Chancellor Shirley Lawler to Faculty and Staff
Welcome to the month of March!
The month has indeed come in like a lion with frigid temperatures and snow. I hope that warmer weather is out there in the near future as we approach our spring break. With a calendar packed full of activities for the campus, we are wishing for nice weather to welcome various groups to campus. As always, please let us know when you’re hosting a group. We all enjoy getting to meet the students from area school districts, their instructors and their parents – many of them Missouri State University-West Plains graduates.
Speaking of our MSU-WP graduates, the development office is focused on growing a strong alumni association for this campus. We are going to start by hosting our own employees who are graduates of this campus at the Richards House for an evening of pizza, cookies and conversations about what MSU-WP means to them. (We have over 30 employees who are MSU-WP graduates.) We want to get a feel for why this group chose this campus to start their university experience; what connected them to the campus; and what they are most proud of when speaking about MSU-WP. This is the start of many meetings with area alums to discuss growing this group to build support for this campus and the many outstanding academic programs we provide for students. Please let us know if you have suggestions for this endeavor.
At the February Board of Governors meeting, the budget for the construction of the outdoor amphitheater on the West Plains campus was approved. The bid was awarded to DeWitt & Associates. The project has moved slower than we had anticipated because the total cost of the project is higher than originally budgeted; however, everyone has pulled together to see that the project is completed this year, with the MSU-Springfield administrative services department contributing nearly half of the overall costs of the amphitheater. This $585,000 project will be funded by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources ($202,137), Springfield Administrative Services ($275,000), City of West Plains in-kind funds ($45,000), Amphitheater Foundation Accounts ($24,783), and the West Plains Chancellor’s Office operating fund ($38,080). The operating funds used from the MSU-WP campus will be encumbered in order to cover the $585,000 costs of the project; however, we will attempt to recoup WP funds by two means:
- We have submitted a request to have the amount of our grant request increased.
- We will also attempt to cut costs on the construction to regain the funds we have encumbered.
We will see the first shovels of dirt turned on this project within the next week or so, and we all look forward to many student and community activities in the amphitheater for years to come.
At a recent West Plains City Council meeting, the police substation for our campus was approved. We will now take this agreement to our Board of Governors for approval in March. We plan to place the substation in the west end of Drago Hall. If you saw the KY3 story last week, you heard the West Plains police chief express the city’s support for this project. They are very pleased to be able to place officers on our campus and plan to use not only car patrols, but a bicycle patrol around campus as well. This will add another level of safety and security to our campus that we do not currently have in place.
In addition to working with the city, we continue to foster partnerships throughout the community in an effort to grow many of our academic programs. During the past few weeks, we have had productive conversations with Ozarks Medical Center regarding the expansion of our nursing program; we are excited about the contributions of OMC to the expansion of our allied health programs. Our GOCAT partnership had a great meeting this past week regarding our training programs for our business and industry leaders in manufacturing. South Central Career Center continues to partner with us as we move forward with growing these career/technical programs. We are also looking forward to hosting the Rural Schools Partnership Forum and the American Small Farms Conference in the next few weeks. Both of these conferences should help us showcase our teacher education and agriculture programs here on the MSU-WP campus.
As I begin my tenth month on this campus, I am still excited about working with each of you to support the solid academic programs we provide for students on this campus. If you have not scheduled a time to come by for a cup of coffee to discuss your area of the university, please do so. And if you have stopped by for a discussion, feel free to come by again for another chat. I love hearing about your programs, departments and the projects you are working on now, and your vision for the future of your program or department.
I am sure you all are well aware of the increased level of communication through social networks. That is why I joined Twitter when I became chancellor. If you have a Twitter account, I welcome you to follow me @ShirleyALawler. I also encourage you to get involved with the university’s social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It is a great way to learn about upcoming events, keep up with campus news and see campus photos and video.
Items of Note
Please take a look at all the activities taking place on the campus during the remainder of the spring semester.
- March 21, Performance by Midwest Dueling Pianos, 7 p.m., West Plains Civic Center theater.
- March 26, Art Around Town exhibit opens at the Gallery on the Mezzanine at the civic center. Artwork viewable during regular civic center hours through April 4.
- March 27, American Red Cross Blood Drive, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., T104-105.
- March 19-20, “Bringing Back the American Small Farm,” West Plains Civic Center.
- March 30, Student Congress of Public Affairs, Melton Hall
- April 4, Rural Schools Partnership Forum, Lybyer Technology Center
Always remember, what you do each day for students does make a difference.