Based on the Northwest Missouri State University model, we see some dark days ahead for Missouri Southern.
The Bored of the Governors didn’t give us much hope for optimism. They declared explicitly that the FY 2013 budget would be balanced at all costs.
Here it comes. Pain for everyone but those who created some of it. No administrator (RTV) will give up his housing allowance. No Presidunce Council member will lose their job. It will be you poor motherfuckers who will be in the crosshairs.
So who gets the ax? We have theories.
Faculty without tenure in the department of communication
The U is going to kill the department of communication. The Chart has indicated that the administration is moving rapidly to an online-only presence for the campus newspaper. The justification is moving into the next stage of news delivery. But the fact is that this university has not proved itself adept yet at digital-first delivery. The administration wants to marginalize any possible chance of dissent. The radio and TV stations are operating in the same way and with the same equipment they had decades ago. The only reason they haven’t collapsed is one generous benefactor.
Adjuncts and non-tenure faculty in the departments of theatre, art and music.
The U is going to merge these. It might even merge these with the English and communications departments and create a department of fine arts. Majors in some of these will be eliminated.
The Institute of International Studies
This has always been a target down the line.
It is everything the Dwight Douglas/Bruce Speck alliance sought to eliminate. They will portray it as wasteful. We would portray it as an investment.
Bring MSSU graduate Ivy Love back to speak. Let her tell her story. Then kill this. We dare you.
But when they gutted it once before, she did speak. Speck didn’t attend and didn’t change.
The director, Chad Stebbins, is close to hitting his 80 and out magic number.
Bang. You’re dead.
So how does it compare to the Northwest Missouri State model?
Listen to this gem from RTV in the Joplin Globe today:
“Public higher education as we have known it will not survive the economic realities that we are experiencing,” Speck said. “In all likelihood, Southern will be a different type of institution in the future, perhaps smaller in terms of students, faculty and staff, perhaps smaller in terms of program offerings.”
Right sizing. Remember that one from last month? Here is what he told Globe stenographer Roger McKinney in January:
Speck used the term “right-sizing” twice in his remarks. He explained after the meeting that he meant finding the correct size based on what the state is providing. He said he didn’t mean the phrase as it is sometimes used to refer to down-sizing or layoffs.
Wow. What has changed? Higher education has had money restored. The situation is less dire. But Speck’s pants are always on fire.
The fact is, The Bored and the administration will look at Northwest and do what we have outlined above. Then, they will turn their gaze elsewhere.
They will not hit athletics hard. They can’t. Not only did Northwest set a precedent with its measures, but the U is in a massive fund-raising mode to pay for the proposed Plaster Athletics Complex. Golf and women’s soccer may be axed but like the Institute of International Studies, that won’t move the needle much.
Nursing, dental hygiene and respiratory therapy are safe. This is part of the not-yet-dead dream of a medical school branch on the campus. Don’t laugh. The rumor is that the U is getting the stiffs for its new cadaver lab from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. Sound familiar?
Criminal Justice is safe. Too big a major. Too much invested. And they have guns.
So who should sweat? Any one on “The List.” Remember when colleges and universities had to identify “low producing” programs? That was back in October 2010. Here is a Chart story. Look for that to be a starting point.
They will follow Northwest with cuts to programs, eliminating faculty and staff through attrition and layoffs and let non-vital services go to hell.
But the cuts will be deeper and deeper. The Bored refuses to touch the U’s reserves, which is a betrayal of what they have said for years. The argument for no cost of living raises or tenure-track hires was that MSSU had to build up her reserves for FY 2013, what Rob Yust had called in “budget summits” the “armageddon.” Now they won’t touch those reserves. Why?
Some Watch staffers have suggested they plan to use that money down the line for the athletics complex because they won’t be able to raise the matching funds. Others have said the U is still pursuing a medical school branch and will use the funds as seed money for that project.
Our theory is that Missouri Southern will eventually be swallowed by Missouri State. It will become a “vocational” arm of that institution. It will offer medical industry degrees, criminal justice degrees and limited pre-professional degrees. If it can indeed get back in the saddle with KCUMB, it will become the region’s health care feeder school. The University of Missouri may bitch, but budgets as they are, they might not have the clout they had in the past to kill it.
MSSU will keep its athletics teams and be run much like it is, but will have an academic, political and financial attachment to the much larger Springfield school. Think of a littler University of Missouri system or the Kansas City Metropolitan Community College system.
What about the other regional universities in the “four corners” of the state? That is a post for another day.