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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


Ambrose Notes Access, Affordability, Completion and Student Success UCM Priorities

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Sept. 9, 2014) – Setting the tone for a new academic year, University of Central Missouri President Charles Ambrose on Monday, Sept. 8 emphasized that access, affordability, completion and student success continue to be priorities as the university prepares for Fiscal Year 2016. The president delivered his 2014 State of the University Address to faculty and staff members in the James L. Highlander Theatre while the speech also was viewed via live streaming video.

Noting the state of the university is “strong,” Ambrose opened his remarks talking about the success of the recent visit to UCM by the North Central Association of the Higher Learning Commission. He praised the work of the university’s faculty and staff who helped prepare for the site visit, March 10-12. This resulted in continued accreditation for the university, which the president said was due in large part to the positive work of faculty and staff.  He stressed that the university has a talented and devoted faculty and staff who engage students every day in the co-curricular experience of college and who produce a powerful cumulative effect that strengthens both the value of UCM and the success of the university’s students.

Students with Ambrose-SOU 2014

During his State of the University Address Sept.8, University of Central Missouri President Charles Ambrose, left, is joined on the James L.  Highlander Theatre stage by three students. With him from left are Brian Green, a student from Lee’s Summit and participant I The Missouri Innovation Campus;  Kayla Rogers-Sigetich, a UCM junior and Steward Scholar from Marionville; and Joshua John, a UCM graduate student from India.

He pointed out during the HLC exit interview, the site visit team chair noted about UCM, “This is a place that generally cares for its students, engages in their success and does everything it can to help them be successful, and students recognize that and appreciate it.”

 President Ambrose spoke about the university’s Learning to a Greater Degree strategic platform, noting the importance of the core values it represents - engaged learning, a worldly perspective, a culture of service and future-focused academics. He shared a preview of videos of new “Choose Red” television ads that will air next week in the Kansas City market. He said they integrate the strategic positioning message and demonstrate the value of a UCM education.

 The president invited three students on stage who fielded questions related to the impact of Learning to a Greater Degree on their lives. Those appearing with him during the State of the University Address were
Joshua John, a UCM graduate student from India who already has undergraduate and graduate degrees from UCM; Brian Green, a student from Lee’s Summit who – through The Missouri Innovation Campus -  earned a high school diploma and an associate degree from Metropolitan Community College; and Kayla Rogers-Sigetich, a UCM junior and Steward Scholar from Marionville who has benefitted from an internship at World Wide Technology, Inc.,
St. Louis. They shared information about their background and how UCM is contributing to their success.

Ambrose said access to a higher education remains a top priority for UCM. He emphasized the university believes in reducing barriers for qualified students in in finding ways to ensure students who desire a higher education degree have the opportunity to achieve one.

Contributing to access and affordability, he noted that tuition, fees and room rates for the 2014-15 school year have been held the same as the previous year. UCM’s efforts to provide affordable tuition has resulted in average increases in tuition of 1.48 percent throughout the past six years. Cumulatively, these increases have consistently been below the Consumer Price Index.

Through the Learning to a Greater Degree Contract for student completion, the university is committed to helping students graduate on time and with less debt, Ambrose told the gathering. He added that the ultimate goal of a college education is to help students graduate with a degree that helps ensure their future success. At UCM, students not only enjoy the complete college experience while on campus, but Ambrose said they will be able to earn a more valuable degree that makes them top competitors in the job market.

Talking about future budget planning, the president noted that looking to the immediate future, UCM will continue to face financial challenges, including declining or static state funding. Therefore, continuing UCM’s Strategic Governance for Student Success Model requires innovative thinking about the allocation of all university financial resources, Ambrose said.

“The old paradigm is gone,” he said, showing a slide about how state funding has declined, with projected 2015 state core appropriations of $52 million falling $1 million below 2007 core appropriations.  He noted that in the coming months, the university needs to be “more proactive versus reactive” in seeking ways to drive up revenue and effectively use its resources.

President Ambrose said to better align UCM’s financial resources with strategic goals, the university’s Board of Governors this fall will launch an initiative aimed at developing new tools for strategic resource allocation.

“What we want to do to continue to move forward, in what would be rather choppy water, is to give us new tools to engage the campus and continue to build out the Strategic Resource Model, but provide some things, so far, we have not  been able to produce,” the president told the gathering. “One of them is a greater degree of engagement across the campus. You have to have more engagement in terms of active thinking about resources, where they should be allocated, where they are going to have the biggest return, meeting people’s needs where they need to be met, and transparency so that you know in fact that if you meet these needs, and have new dollars, you can generate those dollars to actually invest.”

“At the same time, we have to look at resources. We have to have an environment that has some degree of reward for creativity and innovation,” he said. 

 To accomplish such objectives, Ambrose said the university will develop the new Strategic Resource Allocation Model, which will be sequenced to fully impact development of the Fiscal Year 2016 budget. A campus facilitation team will work with faculty, staff and administrators who will serve one of three strategic response teams, which will be convened this fall.

“These three teams will have the tools they need to produce the outcomes that are effective,” Ambrose said, adding that the teams will create an implementation plan in FY 2016.

 Ambrose announced that university faculty and staff who want to serve on these teams are being sought. About 10 to 12 individuals will serve on each team.

 The first team will define and develop key performance indicators (KPIs) and analyze resources needed to achieve them. Team two will develop a budget process that enhances transparency and accountability, and ensure resources are directly connected to strategy and aligned with KPIs. Team three will assess organizational structure and capacity, and develop business model options focused on innovation and net revenue.

“Teams one and two will have a little bit of work to do together because they’re meant to bring the metrics together with the budget process. But here’s the key, the engagement in how these (metrics) are used and how they are best designed and implemented -- everybody is going to be engaged, because you are the end users,” Ambrose said.

He added, “Team three will help envision new opportunities and how you take the work of teams one and two in helping everyone be more productive in terms of envisioning ways we can all have a higher stake in generating more resources.”

According to Ambrose, the Strategic Resource Allocation Model development process is an opportunity to take both a tactical and, more importantly, a strategic approach in considering how UCM will operate with a fixed amount of resources and how to use those funds to accomplish identified university goals. It also provides a means to consider new sources of funding and revenue generation, how to support a shift in net revenue drivers in support of the university mission, and encourage and promote the types of innovation required to preserve the collegiate experience at UCM.

This new model must support efforts related to the Learning to a Greater Degree Contract for student completion, which is designed to increase the number of students who graduate on time. Ambrose said, this is a very focused mission response to address a statewide need for more college graduates who can contribute to a quality workforce. The president stressed the importance of UCM’s educational core commitments, and noted that the university must provide its students with co-curricular, fully engaged learning experiences. State funding will be tied to such measures in the future, and UCM will be held accountable for them, he said.

Strategic Resource Allocation will depend heavily on initiatives such as UCM’s efforts in Lee’s Summit to increase undergraduate- and graduate-level offerings, and expand the way the university delivers instruction to its non-traditional and adult students. Additionally, the model will open doors for expanding non-credit opportunities, offer accelerated coursework and enhance delivery of professional development programs.

Ambrose said maximizing opportunities through partnerships that support UCM’s mission and offer innovative approaches to course delivery are important as the university moves forward. He emphasized the value of faculty and staff members who continue to work with initiatives such as The Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC), which now offers degrees in systems Engineering Technology, Drafting and Design Technology, and Computer Science. Through UCM’s joint efforts with schools and businesses, this partnership will continue to grow to serve more students in the greater Kansas City area.

Additionally, the strong spirit of collaboration and shared vision between UCM and Whiteman Air Force Base that exists through the Whiteman Advantage initiative opens many possibilities for the university, Ambrose said. UCM will continue to seek new ways to provide programming that meets the needs of the men and women who serve our country or are transitioning to civilian life, and such measures will contribute to a strong enrollment and healthy financial outlook for the university.

“There are many other populations out there, just like the U.S. military, and we have to find them. When we have things people need and can use to make a difference in their lives, they want it,” Ambrose said.