Message from Chancellor Shirley Lawler to Faculty and Staff
I wish I were standing in front of all of you and looking at your smiling faces today—I hope you are smiling. I would like to thank you for your hard work in moving Missouri State-West Plains forward during this unprecedented health crisis. I trust each of you are doing well, feeling healthy, and making the best of your time sheltered at home with your family. I think of you and the students often.
During this time of crisis, our faculty and staff have stepped up to help the community in multiple ways. Our technology, allied health, and nursing departments have donated several critically needed items in the fight against COVID-19 to Ozarks Medical Center. These include 100 face shields built by Jim Hart in the Fab Lab at the Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Technology, as well as several boxes of 3M N95 masks and disposable gloves, 10 IV poles, six IV pumps, seven hospital beds, two crash carts, five thermometers, one ventilator, one defibrillator, two vital sign machines and hundreds of temperature probe covers. The nursing department also provided several bottles of hand sanitizer. Ozarks Medical Center was very grateful for the donations.
A BIG thank you goes out to our Information Technology (IT) Department. What a dedicated group of individuals we have working to keep our campus connected through technology. In a matter of a few days, we took a vibrant two-year university and converted it to an online college—not how we had planned to spend our spring breaks—but we did it. The IT department assisted faculty, staff, and students with their technology needs so they could complete the spring semester. All our employees and every department pulled together to keep the university moving forward. Thank you!
Unfortunately, Governor Parson recently announced a withhold for higher education for this spring. For Missouri State-West Plains, this equates to a $510,000 loss of state appropriations. Thankfully, we were able to plug the hole in our budget with salary savings from unfilled positions, pulling designated accounts with balances larger than needed, and we had held back $342,263 from our “plus up” money from last year. We have been able to weather this first wave of budget cuts, and hopefully, there will be only one withhold for this year. We will keep you posted as we move through the remainder of this legislative session.
On a bright note, we recently had a faculty member and a student recognized for their achievements.
- Dr. Brenda Smith, assistant professor of child and family development, was selected as a recipient of the Missouri State University’s 2020 Faculty Excellence in Community Service Award. Congratulations, Brenda, and thank you for your dedication to the university and the community.
- Teala Mahan, West Plains, was selected as a second-team honoree of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Missouri All-Academic Team for 2020. Mahan is a sophomore Associate of Arts in Teaching major and president of our PTK chapter. Congratulations, Teala, on this incredible accomplishment.
I always enjoy reading the Alumni Spotlights. They serve as a great reminder of how the work by our faculty and staff changes lives and makes a difference. I encourage you to take a few minutes to read the most recent spotlight on Taler and Anna Sutherland. Here are just a few of the words they used to describe Missouri State-West Plains and their experience here: “special place,” “life-changing,” “gained skills and knowledge,” “thriving student life,” “amazing instructors,” “felt like we mattered” and “graduate debt-free.”
Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do in finding new ways to serve our students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay safe and healthy, and stay connected! I am only an email or phone call away. You can stay up-to-date with the latest updates and policies on the COVID-19 website.
Our primary focus areas continue to be recruitment and retention. The next few weeks are vital as we start ASK Week and work with our students to get them registered for the summer and fall semesters. Below are a few details.
- ASK Week begins April 13 and extended through April 24.
- Early registration is April 27-May 1
- Regular registration is May 2-August 16
- Summer classes will be online
- Seated classes resume in the fall.
Always remember what you do each day makes a tremendous difference in the lives of our students.