Katelyn Chostner, Editor in Chief
The State of the University Address was presented by Provost Kristin Sobolik and Chancellor Thomas F. George this past Wednesday. The address took place in the Touhill Performing Arts Center and recognized past accomplishments and future goals of the University of Missouri–St. Louis.
Recently, UMSL adopted “We Transform Lives” as the college’s new mission statement. George elaborated on this mission by listing some of UMSL’s achievements from the current and past fiscal years. The University enrolled nearly 21,000 students during the fall, spring and summer semesters. While many students were from the Greater St. Louis area, UMSL continues to enroll people from all over the nation and world. Most of the college’s attendants stay and work in St. Louis after graduation.
George joked that without the education UMSL provides, “basically, St. Louis wouldn’t exist.”
The University issued around 3,100 degrees to graduating students in the last fiscal year. According to George, over 2,000 undergraduate degrees, 900 graduate professional degrees and around 100 graduate and undergraduate certificates were awarded. UMSL reached a large milestone last May when their 100,000th graduate walked across the stage.
“We’re a university which is only 55 years old and we now have 100,000 alums,” said George.
The chancellor went on to talk about the new strategic plan. A few years ago there were massive budget cuts. Now the university has been given $28 million in gifts and pledges. With the profits, gifts and pledges the university received, it was able to hire three new deans this past year: Andrew Kersten, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Edward Sanchez, dean of the Pierre Laclede Honors College; and Ann Taylor, dean of College of Education started this current fiscal year with UMSL. The deans have similar goals within their respective colleges, to invest rather than cut.
“With the surplus we are able to look and say, ‘How can we invest in special strategic areas for the university in line with our strategic plan?’” said George.
In addition to the investments in faculty, others are being made to UMSL’s campus. The oldest academic building on campus, Benton Hall, was recently renovated. According to George it was a $25 million investment that received contributions from the state, UM System and UMSL. UMSL students, faculty and staff can expect more renovations throughout the campus’ buildings.
George also referred to some changes that will be happening with courses. UMSL has completed an Academic Program Prioritization which was overseen by the provost and is an “annual ongoing effort.”
“Here we’re looking at identifying, especially programs of excellence, that we can invest more dollars into and looking at other programs that we’ll probably be pulling some dollars away,” said George.
He went on to say that UMSL is also undergoing a Curriculum Alignment Process. The CAP program will allow the university to reduce the number of course offerings while “streamlining” others for students.
“The idea here is to line up the curriculum in the program for students so they’ll have a better shot at getting out in four to six years, or two to four years if you’re a transfer student,” said George.
George ended his presentation with a speech about the reaccreditation happening this fall. On Nov. 5 and 6 a review team will be on UMSL’s campus. They will be looking at different aspects of UMSL and according to George they will most certainly be looking at academics. He encouraged students, faculty and staff to look at the strategic plan and know the mission statement for UMSL.
After the University Address, Sobolik invited several faculty and staff members onto the stage for recognitions. These recognitions included New Faculty Recognition, Staff Milestone Awards, Service of 25 Years, the 2018 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence and the 2018 Gerald