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Over the past several months, many different University of Central Missouri stakeholders have contributed to this self-study, which UCM is proud to share with the Higher Learning Commission's site visit team. Creating this document has provided a valuable opportunity to reflect on the progress the university has made since receiving HLC reaccreditation in 2004. It also documents work yet to be done and information that is vital for the institution to meet current and future goals related to student success.
Throughout the pages of this self-study are examples of many new initiatives, including measures that demonstrate a renewed emphasis on classroom attendance, enhanced academic advisement and activities designed to help students graduate in four years. The document also includes information about partnerships that have been formed between the university, private business, government, military and public schools that have contributed to programs that meet local, state and national needs and goals for higher education.
Additionally, this self-study offers examples of ways UCM has strategically positioned itself as a university dedicated to preparing graduates who will shape their world because they have experienced "Learning to a Greater Degree." UCM is fortunate to have faculty and staff members who have a strong commitment to helping the institution meet this promise by creating a culture of service, engaged learning opportunities, future-focused academics, and a worldly perspective that will contribute to student success. These same campus stakeholders are also playing an instrumental role in launching the new Learning to a Greater Degree contract for student completion to help students graduate on time.
Addressing challenges such as access to college and the rising cost of a higher education has led to innovative new partnerships, which are discussed in this self-study. UCM is pleased to work with Whiteman Air Force Base and the Missouri National Guard to meet current education needs for active duty military, as well as providing educational programs for veterans who want to transition into new careers. Another outstanding partnership is the Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC), which garnered support from the state's governor and gained national attention by prompting a visit to UCM in July 2013 by U.S. President Barack Obama. The MIC partnership between the university, the Lee's Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College in Lee's Summit, and numerous businesses is helping to make college more affordable, while also accelerating the time it takes for students to earn a college degree, gain applied experience through paid internships, and acquire sought-after skills that businesses in a high-tech world demand.
As evidenced in the pages of this study, the university has faced financial challenges posed by years of declining state support, but the institution has remained stable by implementing a Strategic Resource Model that has included measures such as administrative and academic reviews. Such initiatives have helped the university generate cost efficiencies while not losing focus on priorities as they relate to student success.
UCM looks forward to sharing this self-study and hosting the Higher Learning Commission team. We look to the future with great excitement, grateful for faculty, staff, administrators, students and members of the community who truly want to make the University of Central Missouri a place where students can experience learning to a greater degree.
Joining you in service,
Charles Ambrose, President
University of Central Missouri