Higher Learning Commission
Chapter 2. Criterion 1. Mission
The institution's mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution's operations.
1.A. The institution's mission is broadly understood within the institution and guides its operations.
1.A.1. The mission statement is developed through a process suited to the nature and culture of the institution and is adopted by the governing board.
The current mission of the University of Central Missouri (UCM) was approved by the University's Board of Governors in October of 2008. UCM's mission reads as follows: The University of Central Missouri experience transforms students into lifelong learners, dedicated to service, with the knowledge, skills and confidence to succeed and lead in the region, state, nation and world. UCM offers a comprehensive array of bachelor's programs and selected master's and doctoral programs building upon historical strengths and 'statewide mission.'
The mission statement was developed by the Strategic Planning and Resource Council (SPRC) and vetted to the campus community before being approved by the Board of Governors. The membership of the SPRC, which has been dissolved and replaced by the president's Strategic Leadership Team, was broadly based to include upper and mid-level administration, faculty, and professional and support staff. The group, chaired by the Provost and Chief Academic Officer, met regularly to discuss the mission and vision statements that were approved following public discussions by the faculty. UCM's 'statewide mission' in professional applied science and technology reflects Central Missouri's strengths in technology, its capacity to reach a statewide learning community, and its highly qualified faculty and staff. Both the University and statewide mission were distributed to the campus community for discussion and input prior to submission for approval by UCM's Board of Governors.
1.A.2. The institution's academic programs, student support services, and enrollment profile are consistent with the stated mission.
The University's curriculum is consistent with this mission as service and an emphasis on lifelong learning are at the core of our academic programs. UCM offers an undergraduate foundation in the liberal arts (See Chapter 4, Criterion 3 B 1 for detailed information on the University's revised general education program.), with an emphasis on integrating critical thinking, interacting, valuing, communication skills, managing information, and technological applications into the curriculum across all disciplines. UCM continues its historical emphasis in preparing educators for Missouri as stated in our mission.
Consistent with our statewide mission, the University provides pre-professional, professional, academic and career-oriented undergraduate and graduate programs to meet the changing and technological needs of the workforce. Furthermore, UCM provides in-service instruction for technical educators and other professionals needed to make Missouri competitive in a national and world market.
Consistent with this mission, the University of Central Missouri admits graduates of accredited high schools based on specific admission criteria, actively recruits traditionally under-represented students, and offers a strong merit-based scholarship program to attract highly capable students.
In an attempt to foster lifelong learning, Central Missouri provides a learner-centered academic environment that challenges individuals to actively participate in the educational process to include service and research projects. To reinforce the value of lifelong learning for students, the University empowers faculty to excel in teaching, scholarship, research, creative actvities, and public service through professional development opportunities offered through its Center for Teaching and Learning.
1.A.3. The institution's planning and budgeting priorities align with and support the mission.
The broadly defined educational purposes listed in 1 A 2 above provide the foundation for the University of Central Missouri's long-term and annual planning and budgeting processes. The long-term strategic directions and goals that comprise the Strategic Resource Model (to be discussed in our response to Criterion 5 C 1) operationally define these educational purposes. Annual planning, budgeting, and reporting processes in turn require all units (academic and support services) to identify goals and objectives to support the strategic initiatives.
1.B. The mission is articulated publicly.
1.B.1. The institution clearly articulates its mission through one or more public documents, such as statement of purpose, vision, values, goals, plans, or institutional priorities.
Following enabling legislation, in 1996 Missouri's Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE) granted Central a statewide mission in professional applied sciences and technology. In addition to the University's comprehensive education mission, Central's statewide mission has enabled the institution to build a framework from which it can launch strategic initiatives to provide technical education and training to bolster Missouri's workforce. This mission is published on our website, the Faculty Guide, and in numerous University publications such as the Fact Book, undergraduate and graduate catalogs.
In addition to the mission statement, the University's vision statement and Community Creed, which defines the set of core values that guide the behavior of UCM's students, faculty, and staff is widely publicized in both electronic and paper media such as the Student Planner/Handbook, the Fact Book, and UCM's website.
The important role played by the undergraduate and graduate catalogs in communicating the explicit institutional and educational goals, and more importantly, either their connection to, or basis in, the University's mission and purposes cannot be overemphasized. Print and web versions of the undergraduate and graduate catalogs are the primary means by which the University communicates institutional and educational goals. Beginning with the mission statement, the undergraduate and graduate catalogs provide the public with a comprehensive overview of University offices, programs, and services. Most importantly, undergraduate and graduate catalogs list the explicit student outcomes for all degree programs, and the program of courses for all degrees. Departmental brochures, publications, and websites provide publicly available information such as program requirements, faculty characteristics, courses of study, and career opportunities.
Advances in information technology, such as electronic mail and the World Wide Web, have assisted greatly in providing avenues to share information with campus constituents. The Central community is informed about the University's progress toward institutional goals through a variety of methods, including UCM Daily, campus electronic mail, and memoranda from the president, open forums, and semi-annual planning retreats. The greater community is informed through publications such as the alumni quarterly tabloid, Central Today, and University promotional brochures.
Central practices a philosophy of integrated communications with regard to communicating with the many constituents served by the University. Marketing communications and public relations messages are developed in accordance with the core values of the University, and consistency across media is provided by the University Relations Office. A wide range of communications vehicles and methods are employed, including news releases, newsletters, publications, email, direct mail, and advertising. The new website includes the capability to have real-time posting of news, events, and profiles, greatly enhancing the ability to share information throughout the community.
1.B.2. The mission document or documents are current and explain the extent of the institution's emphasis on the various aspects of its mission, such as instruction, scholarship, research, application of research, creative works, clinical service, public service, economic development, and religious or cultural purpose.
UCM's mission statement only indirectly addresses the roles and importance of instruction, scholarship, research and its application, creative works, clinical and public service, economic development, and cultural purpose. These issues are most directly addressed in the president's strategic planning initiatives, more specifically, UCM's Strategic Positioning Platform. The Positioning Statement, which describes who we are at UCM, is derived directly from our mission statement and the Four Reasons to Believe: Engaged Learning, Worldly Perspective, Culture of Service, and Future- Focused Academics. The Reasons to Believe explicitly state the extent of emphasis our institution places on various aspects of our mission, such as dedication to service, becoming leaders in the nation and the world, and lifelong learning. These aspects of our educational delivery system are also addressed in the mission statements of our academic colleges, as well as our promotion and tenure guidelines and criteria in the Faculty Guide (Section III B), Board Policy, and our Academic Procedures and Regulations. The strategic plans for the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies and the College of Education are presented in the Virtual Resource Room in the Supplemental Materials section as illustrative examples.
1.B.3. The mission document or documents identify the nature, scope, and intended constituents of the higher education programs and services the institution provides.
Our mission clearly identifies our role with regard to the types of programs, degrees, and services we are committed to providing for our students. This is particularly true with respect to our statewide mission, which delineates our statewide responsibility with regard to preparing students for careers in professional applied sciences and technology. Our current mission, however, does not as clearly delineate the nature, scope, or intended constituents of the higher education programs and services UCM provides as did previous mission statements. Our institution's previous name was Central Missouri State University. Prior to 2003, when UCM was awarded a statewide mission in professional applied sciences and technology, our mission statement more clearly identified our intended constituents as the citizens of Missouri, more specifically, citizens of the west central region of the state. The University adopted a new mission in 2003 and UCM extended its intended constituents to all citizens of Missouri (A copy of this mission statement is presented in the Supplemental Materials section of the Virtual Resource Room.). Our current mission, adopted in 2008, after our name change to the University of Central Missouri, expanded our constituents to the region, nation, and the world.
1.C. The institution understands the relationship between its mission and the diversity of society.
1.C.1. The institution addresses its role in a multicultural society.
The University's mission directly addresses equipping students "with the knowledge, skills and confidence to succeed and lead in the region, state, nation and world," and the strategic position platform includes "Worldly Perspective" as one of the four Reasons to Believe. UCM is committed to preparing students to work in a world that continues to become more globalized, and to do this a student must understand the diversity of cultures that exist. In 2003, the Board of Governors adopted "diversity" as one of the University's core values. "The University of Central Missouri is committed to attracting and supporting a diverse body of students, faculty, and staff members. The campus strives to be responsive to the specific needs of people with physical handicaps and offers educational programs to allow all students to reach their full potential. Central Missouri encourages acceptance and respect of individuals with differing values, ideas, beliefs, abilities, and life experiences. The University promotes good citizenship, a sense of civic responsibility, global awareness, and an appreciation for human diversity at all levels." To this end, the University offers study abroad opportunities in 60 countries and 285 institutions worldwide; hosts hundreds of international students each semester from 50 different countries; provides a variety of multicultural course offerings including an International Studies major and minors in Africana Studies and International Justice. In addition, students are introduced to a variety of international speakers, artists, and visiting faculty each year; and provides opportunities for students to engage in co-curricular activities abroad. Preeminent among these international co-curricular activities is the annual Montgomery Cup debate program, which takes the Talking Mules Debate team to the British Isles to compete against some of the best debaters at schools such as Cambridge and Oxford. The University's Criminal Justice department is also the sponsor of the annual International Justice Symposium and The Journal of The Institute of Justice and International Studies.
UCM employs a variety of staff and students whose primary responsibility is to help the university address its role in a multicultural society and provide services to multicultural students. In the Mentoring, Advocacy, and Peer Support Office, a graduate student works with diversity scholarship recipients such as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship and Cesar Chavez Scholarship to aid in their transition to college. Similarly, a graduate student in the Office of Student Activities works with the many ethnic cultures and heritage organizations to organize, coordinate, and publicize diversity programming. This graduate student also works with residence hall staff to provide diversity programs as part of the residence life education. The Admissions Office sponsors a Multicultural Student Ambassadors Association and employs a multicultural admissions representative, who coordinates the Multicultural Visit Day Program.
The University and its units maintain memberships in a variety of organizations with a multicultural awareness focus such as the International Relations Council. The University also partners with a variety of community organizations that represent multiculturalism such as the Kauffman Foundation. The University sponsors nine charter schools, which "enhances its ability to provide a comprehensive, engaging teacher preparation program and contributes to its mission to serve at-risk students." Some of the UCM sponsored schools specifically serve multicultural populations and require extensive partnership with community multicultural organizations. A description of each school is provided on-line at http://www.ucmo.edu/charterschools/sponsored.cfm.
An array of multicultural scholarships are offered by the University through its Foundation such as the Martin Luther King Scholarship, the Cesar Chavez Scholarship, and the Black Achievers Society of Kansas City Scholarship. There are also a variety of scholarship opportunities for students seeking to expand their cultural view through study/service abroad. In particular, the Global Vision Endowment funds an outreach program abroad, and the Steward Scholar Program supports a student for four years of study including an international experience (See http://www.ucmo.edu/today/archives/13/winter/ article3_1.cfm). Each year the university recognizes an international alumni with its Distinguished International Alumni Award (see http://www.ucmo.edu/alumni/awards/ international.cfm?print=yes&).
1.C.2. The institution's processes and activities reflect attention to human diversity as appropriate within its mission and for the constituencies it serves.
The institution celebrates the diversity of society by hosting an array of cultural celebrations throughout the year which provide an opportunity to educate and honor human diversity. For example, each January the university hosts over a week of activities in commemoration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. A schedule of 2014 activities can be found at http://www.ucmo.edu/diversity/mlk/. These activities are organized and planned by a committee that represents a cross section of the campus and larger community. Similarly, the Office of Accessibility Services each year sponsors a series of educational activities in collaboration with related academic departments to commemorate National Disability Awareness Month. Each spring the Office of Student Activities coordinates the efforts of a variety of student organizations and academic department for Unity Week.
The University also has a wide array of organizations that represent specific ethnic cultures and heritages. These groups currently include African Student Association , Africana Studies Club, Chinese Student Association, International Student Ambassador Association, International Student Organization, Korean Student Association, Muslim Students Association, SANSKRITHI, and Saudi Student Club, and five National Pan- Hellenic Council (NPHC) organizations - Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. There are also diversity identity organizations such as Queers and Allies, Students Advocating Gender Equality, and a diversity of religious organizations. All of these organizations provide a sense of belonging, acceptance, and shared values for their members while providing important educational programs for the larger campus community. For example, the International Center and International Student Organization organize a variety of activities to celebrate different world cultures with the Culture Night being a particular community favorite. Each October, the Saudi Student Club hosts Saudi Arabia day in collaboration with other student organizations and academic departments.
Student governance groups determine how the portion of student activity fees designated for support of student organizations is allocated. These governance groups include the historically black National Pan-Hellenic Organizations, the International Student Organization, and the Association of Black Collegians.
The University of Central Missouri has a long history of recruiting and admitting students from underrepresented groups. Page 2 of the Fact Book shows the ethnic origin of our student population for the past five years. UCM has seen a steady increase in the number of students from underrepresented groups. Our student numbers compare very favorably with the other public 4-year institutions in the state. Access has been and continues to be a strategic priority for UCM. Examples of recent efforts to underscore UCM's relationship and the diversity of society are our THRIVE program, increase in need-based scholarships, and our leadership in the establishment and managing of nine charter schools in the Kansas City, Missouri, area that serve a diverse population of students, many of whom present special challenges for a variety of reasons (a copy of the Briefing Paper on our charter schools presented to UCM's Board of Governors in October of 2013 is contained in the Supplemental Materials section of the Virtual Resource Room.).
1.D. The institution's mission demonstrates commitment to the public good.
1.D.1. Actions and decisions reflect an understanding that, in its educational role, the institution serves the public, not solely the institution, and thus entails a public obligation.
The University's actions have long been guided by its motto, "Education for Service." UCM contributes to a wide array of service efforts that demonstrate the University understands its role in serving the public, particularly its obligations in a multicultural society.
The University of Central Missouri's role as sponsor to nine public charter schools enhances its ability to provide a comprehensive, engaging teacher preparation program and contributes to its mission to serve at-risk students and the public good. UCM has sponsored charter schools since 1999. The sponsorship of these schools in Kansas City, Missouri, also benefits UCM's teacher education students by offering them opportunities to gain hands-on experience within an urban setting, while satisfying accreditation standards for their education. Since 2003, 2,063 UCM students have acquired field experience in the UCM-sponsored charter schools.
The University offers numerous academic programs, both degree and non-degree, that serve the public. Our teacher education programs, and majors in nursing, social work, communications disorders, criminal justice, safety management, counselor education, and occupational safety and health represent just a sample of degree programs offered by UCM that provide public benefit in a very direct manner.
In addition to degree programs, the University provides a number of non-degree offerings that serve our students and the community. The Office of Student Activities sponsors a variety of programs that serve our students and the good of the public. The LEAD (Leadership. Education. Advocacy, Development) Series, and the Leadership Development Program, are designed to help students reach their full leadership potential and learn how to use leadership skills in their own lives.
As a publicly supported institution, the University of Central Missouri is committed to serving the region. The University's many centers and institutes demonstrate UCM's understanding and acceptance of its obligation to serve the public. Highlighted below are examples of centers that support the campus and community.
The Student Recreation and Wellness Recreation Center offers a variety of recreational and health programs designed to improve the mind, body, and spirit of our students. The new facility is also open to alumni, faculty, and staff. This facility, as well as the golf course, recreational fields, hiking trails, and Multi-Purpose Building, are the University's primary vehicles for improving the health of our campus population, and are major instruments for serving the local community.
Two years ago, the University established a Military and Veterans Success Center which serves active military, veterans, reserves, and their dependents. UCM's Military and Veterans Success Center provides a safe, secure, and supportive environment for our students to assist them in the transition to college life by connecting them with other military and veteran students. The Center fosters study groups, provides a computer lab and assistance from dedicated staff members, and offers counseling services to our military students in a private, comfortable setting. The center's staff also offers assistance with their education, health care, and job placement needs. This center, along with our expansion of educational programming to the nearby Whiteman Air Force Base in Knob Noster, Missouri, demonstrate UCM's commitment to meet our obligation to serve our community and nation as a whole.
The Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies & Development provides education and services in business and technology skills to help aspiring entrepreneurs become successful in business. Local experts provide consulting, training, and research assistance in such areas as market research and sales support, business and financial planning, product evaluation, and assessment and development.
There were two primary motivations that drove the creation of the Missouri Innovation Campus (to be discussed later). The first was to establish a means by which students could obtain a degree in a shorter period of time and at less cost than the conventional 4- year process. The second was to meet the needs of employers in our region by ensuring that Missouri Innovation Campus graduates possessed the necessary knowledge and skills to seamlessly enter the workforce and be independently productive from the outset.
As a service learning project, students in the Modern Languages program provide recordings in native languages for English-as-a-Second Language students in local public schools. Every semester, groups of our student athletes visit neighboring schools as part of a reading program. These and other University initiatives clearly speak to UCM's support of external interests and our engagement with our constituents in delivering needed educational programming and services. A listing of our engagement efforts with our external constituencies is presented in the Virtual Resource Room under Supplemental Materials.
1.D.2. The institution's educational responsibilities take primacy over other purposes, such as generating financial returns for investors, contributing to a related or parent organization, or supporting external interests.
The University's clear and primary focus is on meeting its educational responsibilities. This focus is evidenced by the quality and scope of the curriculum that is available to students both on and off-campus through direct instruction and distance delivery methods. By far, the largest portion of the University's operating budget is assigned to its core instructional mission (approximately 70%). With the hire of Dr. Deborah Curtis as Provost, UCM's president changed the title of UCM's Chief Academic Officer to Provost and Chief Learning Officer, to publically represent and acknowledge the institution's commitment to the education of its students. The Provost and Chief Learning Officer provides the vision, leadership, and support for each academic college and department. The University recently identified four signature programs: Education, Business, Criminal Justice, and Nursing. This recognition and promotion of academic programs is further evidence of the primacy of education at UCM.
In the face of nationally declining enrollment, UCM's student enrollment reached record levels each of the last two years. There are likely a number of reasons for this upsurge - affordability, location, etc., but the ability of our academic programs to meet students' personal and professional needs is likely a major cause. Students regularly report "quality of academic programs" as the reason they chose to come to Central.
In the past five years, the University has constructed a Student Recreation and Wellness Center, refurbished science labs, and revised its general education program with a renewed emphasis on liberal education. As part of a reorganization effort to improve synergy and conserve resources, the University moved from a five college to a four college structure. In 2013, the University's Foundation approved a payout from its endowment fund of more than $750,000 to provide scholarships for academic programs. The Foundation's payout for scholarships for FY 2014 will be $824,394, an increase of 8.28% over FY 2013. The University hired 48 new faculty (35 full time) for fall of 2013. The Center for Teaching and Learning's budget for 2013-2014 provides more than $177,000 to support faculty development, travel, and instructional equipment upgrades.
1.D.3. The institution engages with its identified external constituencies and communities of interest and responds to their needs as its mission and capacities allow.
The primary means by which an institution of higher learning can show it engages with identified external constituencies is by the academic programs it offers. UCM is no exception. As mentioned above in section 1 D 1, the University offers a number of degree programs that respond to the needs of our external constituencies. Our programs in teacher education, nursing, social work, communications disorders, criminal justice, safety management, counselor education, and occupational safety and health, represent just a sample of degree programs offered by UCM that are sensitive to our external communities, both locally and regionally.
As part of Central's Quality Improvement Program or CQIP, all academic programs are directed to re-validate their program outcomes on a regular basis. For most programs, this involves talking with an advisory group composed of employers, alumni, and other professionals to determine the need to revise the discipline's student learning outcomes. This re-validation process directly engages identified external constituencies to allow our faculty to better respond to their employment needs.
In 2013, the University received approval from the Higher Learning Commission to develop a consortia arrangement with the Lee's Summit R-7 School District in Lee's Summit, Missouri, the Metropolitan Community Colleges of Kansas City, and various business partners (e.g., Cerner, DST Systems, Honeywell, St. Luke's Hospital). Called the Missouri Innovation Campus, this effort is designed to provide an outcomes-driven, competency-based curriculum that will result in students receiving a baccalaureate degree in four years following their sophomore year in high school. This initiative represents a tremendous commitment on the part of the University to respond to the educational needs of the public and the employment needs of external constituents.
Seeking to serve members of the University of Central Missouri campus community who are recognized as food insecure, UCM faculty, staff, and students gathered on Tuesday, October 8, 2013 for the opening of the Campus Cupboard, a food pantry that will serve the UCM campus. Located in the lower level of the UCM Student Recreation and Wellness Center, the Campus Cupboard was developed through a collaborative effort by the Office of Student Activities, the Department of Communication Disorders and Social Work, and the Department of Nutrition and Kinesiology.
The University has close ties with the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce and participates in a number of cooperative ventures with the local chamber. For example, each fall, UCM and the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce jointly sponsor an event called "Get the Red Out."This community street fair is open to businesses, profit/non-profit organizations, student organizations, and others who are interested in sharing information about their business, product, organization, or project.
UCM engages directly with its external constituents through its Professional Development (PD) group that provides excellent workforce training and development. PD uses a competency-based approach to workforce development, focusing on training that leads to jobs. PD conducts its own research, talking with employers and mapping the region's competency-based workforce and economic needs to our program offerings and customizing as necessary. In 2012, the National Energy Retrofit Institute at the University of Central Missouri received a $120,145 grant to provide training opportunities to strengthen the green jobs career pipeline for energy conservation in the bi-state Kansas City metropolitan area.