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University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (July 17, 2014) – Rick Sluder, a longtime professor and administrator whose leadership has contributed to three consecutive years of record enrollments at the University of Central Missouri, is retiring from his post to accept a new position. He becomes vice provost for student success at Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tenn., Sept. 15.
“I have had a storybook career at UCM and am genuinely appreciative of the opportunity to work with exceptional students, faculty, staff and members of the community. I intend to take all of my UCM experiences and apply them to serve students and ensure their success in my next position,” Sluder said in talking about his new position.
Sluder currently serves as vice provost for recruitment and outreach at UCM. He oversees student recruitment, the degree completion initiative, and is responsible for a unit that also includes Admissions, Registrar, Student Financial Assistance, UCM Summit Center, Extended Studies, and International Recruitment. The unit has previously included Academic Enrichment, Career Services, Diversity Office, Military and Veteran Services, and the Gateway Advising and Major Exploration Center.
“We’re very happy for Rick, as he prepares to begin his new role at Middle Tennessee State. He’s got the skills they are looking for,” said Deborah Curtis, UCM provost and chief learning officer. “We will miss his service at UCM, but we will continue to benefit from all the work he has put in place.”
A news release by Middle Tennessee notes that Sluder’s main role will be “ensuring the academic success of students.” MTSU launched its “Quest for Student Success” initiative in October 2013, creating extensive reforms aimed at helping its almost 24,000-plus students stay on track academically and complete their degrees. The university’s ultimate goal is to boost the current 52 percent graduation rate to at least 62 percent by 2020.
The MTSU effort works in conjunction with Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s “Drive to 55” goal to extend the reach of higher education and includes a top-to-bottom review of university operations as well as campuswide town hall meetings to gather even more ideas for student success.
Part of MTSU’s plan includes establishing the new vice provost’s post to provide leadership, vision and strategic planning for student retention and success. The job “will be particularly focused on creating a learning environment where high expectations for student learning are linked to a[n] … effective system of academic support initiatives.”
“We are excited about Dr. Sluder joining the MTSU family,” said University Provost Brad Bartel. “He brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge about student success issues and a proven track record of accomplishments.”
Sluder’s successes at UCM have included contributions to record enrollments, including record increases in international student enrollment, and increased diversity in the incoming freshman class; chairing the 50-member Student Success Committee; involvement in the campus effort to establish the Military and Veterans Success Center in November 2011; and implementing a Military Tuition Package, which has helped enhance recruitment of active duty military and veterans at UCM. Sluder also has played an instrumental role in strengthening partnerships with community colleges by updating articulation agreements, creating and revising program transfer guides, reviewing course equivalencies, and bringing together key leaders and program representatives from UCM, Metropolitan Community College, State Fair Community College and Johnson County (Kan.) Community College.
Sluder began his career at UCM in 1992 teaching in the Department of Criminal Justice, and climbed the faculty ranks to become a full professor. Prior to his current role, Sluder served as dean of the former College of Health and Human Services, associate dean and interim dean of the former College of Education and Human Services, interim chair of the Department of Physical Education, and graduate program coordinator for the Department of Criminal Justice.
Similar to UCM, Middle Tennessee State began as a state teacher preparatory school in 1911. Today it is a Carnegie Doctoral Research Intensive University that occupies about 1,000 acres in Rutherford County, Tenn. MTSU features a 500-acre main campus, an agricultural campus, an aerospace facility at the Mufreesboro Airport and the Miller Horse Science Center. The university also is comprised of eight undergraduate colleges, and more than 40 academic departments and 140 degree programs, and its College of Graduate Studies offers more than 100 degree programs. According to MTSU’s website, the school is the No. 1 producer of adult (25 years old and older) and low-income (Pell-grant eligible) graduates in the state of Tennessee.
Curtis said an announcement will be made in the future regarding plans to provide ongoing leadership for UCM’s vice provost for leadership and outreach position in which Sluder has served.