University of Missouri System

University of Missouri-Columbia

If a candidate for the presidency of the University of Missouri asks interviewers about their priorities for the system and the themes that are part of the school’s vision, what should the answers be?

That was the topic of a meeting of the university’s Board of Curators in Kansas City on Friday. For anyone who has been following the up-and-down fortunes of the university in recent months, the list they came up with will look familiar:

(via Flickr/Adam Procter)

The commission created by Republican lawmakers to review the University of Missouri System is about to hold its first meeting.

The commission was created by GOP leaders following last fall's unrest on the system's main campus in Columbia. Protests centered on accusations that university officials, in particular former UM System president Tim Wolfe, were ignoring a series of racial incidents.

University of Missouri-Columbia

As the search for a president of the University of Missouri system accelerates, more people are interested in the job than expected.

That was the word Thursday from John Isaacson, a consultant hired by the search committee that is leading the hunt for a successor to Tim Wolfe, the system president who resigned in November, following  racial protests in Columbia.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon speaks in St. Louis on Thursday June 9. The governor appointed three new members to the University of Missouri Board of Curators on Wednesday.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon expects the three new members of the University of Missouri System Board of Curator to hit the ground running on an important task: choosing a new president.

Nixon appointed Mary Nelson, Thomas Voss and Jon Sundvold to the board last week. As St. Louis Public Radio’s Dale Singer reported, the interim appointees can take office immediately, without confirmation by the Missouri Senate and can serve until Nixon’s successor takes office next year.

Gov. Jay Nixon appointed three people to the University of Missouri Board of Curators, pictured from left: Mary Nelson, Jon Sundvold and Tom Voss
Provided by the governor's office

As the University of Missouri continues to search for a new system president, in the wake of racial protests, it will have a full nine-member Board of Curators to make the selection — and one of them will be the only African-American member.

Gov. Jay Nixon said Wednesday he was naming three new members to the board, plus a student representative from the Columbia campus. The interim appointees  can take office immediately, without confirmation by the Missouri Senate and serve until Nixon’s successor takes office next year.

Missouri Capitol building
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The only task the Missouri General Assembly is required by law to accomplish has been accomplished and, for the second year in a row, accomplished two weeks before deadline.

Lawmakers have sent a roughly $27.2 billion state budget to Gov. Jay Nixon that increases spending on higher education as a whole, while specifically cutting funding from the University of Missouri System.

Interim President Mike Middleton addresses the University of Missouri Board of Curators
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Last fall, amid demonstrations in Columbia that ended the tenure of the University of Missouri’s president and the chancellor at Mizzou, the system became a national focus for campus problems about racial diversity and inclusion.

Now, the system’s interim president said Friday, it is becoming a model for the best way to work through those problems.

If the University of Missouri system can find its dream candidate for president, she or he will have a track record of success in education but also be able to deal with leaders in politics and business and communicate effectively with the public.

And strong leadership experience, plus a sensitivity to diversity, would be good as well.

Field of students at a graduation
j.o.h.n. walker | Flickr

Updated at 10:08 a.m. Thursday, April 14, with date set for curator vote: Students who plan to attend Washington University this fall know that their tuition will be $48,950. Toward the other end of the scale, in-state tuition at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville has been set at $8,352.

But as students try to finalize their academic plans, those headed for any of the four campuses of the University of Missouri don’t know yet how much their bills will be, and they don't know when the decision may be made.

University of Missouri-Columbia

Backers of a study of the economic impact of the University of Missouri hope that its dollar figures speak loudly enough to drown out criticism of the system prompted by protests last fall in Columbia.

The study, released Monday, updates a 2007 study that looked at how much the four-campus university system contributes to the economy of the state. It was paid for by Missouri 100, a group that promotes the system politically and economically, and was conducted by two economics professors at Mizzou.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Working to pass Missouri's state budget ahead of schedule seems to be the new normal.

Usually at this point in the legislative year, the 13 bills making up the state budget would have barely been in the Missouri Senate's hands for a week. But on Thursday the upper chamber passed 12 of the 13 bills, sending them back to the House to set the stage for final negotiations.

Quadrangle at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
(Flickr Creative Commons User Adam Procter)

A review commission designed to implement changes to the University of Missouri System is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 66 would create an eight-member commission to recommend changes in the wake of last year's campus unrest. And refusal to implement any changes from the commission would result in future budget cuts.

Cheryl Walker leading the presidential search forum at UMSL
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Could the new president of the University of Missouri live for a couple of years in each of the four cities where a campus is located, to get a better feel for the entire system?

Probably not. But that’s one of the ideas brought up at a forum at the university’s St. Louis campus Monday designed to help a 12-member search committee narrow the qualifications and characteristics the new president should have.

New UM diversity officer Kevin McDonald
University of Missouri

Monday’s St. Louis on the Air featured two exciting segments. First, we aired the season two premiere of the St. Louis Public Radio podcast We Live Here. Want to stay up-to-date on the podcast? Check out its new website here.

Following the premiere, the University of Missouri System’s newly named, first-ever chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, Kevin McDonald, joined us to discuss some of the issues that We Live Here delves into as well as his plans for the new role. You can read about McDonald’s background here.

Millennium Student Center at UMSL
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

With its search committee in place and a desire to stabilize its leadership, the University of Missouri begins public hearings Monday to find out what qualities its next president should have.

Forums are set this week for each of the system’s four campuses, including one from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Monday at the Millennium Student Center at UMSL.

New UM diversity officer Kevin McDonald
University of Missouri

The new diversity officer at the University of Missouri will be working at the system level, but that doesn’t mean he plans to remain aloof from students, faculty and staff at the four campuses.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, has become one of the loudest critics of University of Missouri decision-making in recent months.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

A Missouri Senate committee is considering legislation to create an appointed, eight-member Review Commission for the University of Missouri System. The sponsor, Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, says this panel will help sort out a recent lack of leadership.

Melissa Click
KBIA - Provided by Melissa Click

The University of Missouri Board of Curators has rejected an appeal by Melissa Click to overturn her firing in the wake of her behavior during student protests at Mizzou last fall.

In a statement released Tuesday, board chair Pamela Henrickson said the curators voted unanimously during closed session Monday to uphold Click’s termination because her appeal “brought no new relevant information.”

Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

As the search begins in earnest for the next president of the University of Missouri system, members of the committee who will narrow the field were told Monday to concentrate not just on the person who might fill the job but on the goals they want that person to accomplish.

Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications

The top budget writer in the Missouri House is pledging to cut more than $8 million from the University of Missouri System next year.

In a statement released Tuesday, House Budget Committee chair Tom Flanigan, R-Carthage, says the vast bulk of his proposed cuts, $7.6 million, will target the overall University of Missouri System.

Mizzou's Columns
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When Sen. Kurt Schaefer ventured into electoral politics, the Columbia Republican promised to be a zealous advocate for his hometown university.

Moments after finishing off his victory celebration in 2008 over state Sen. Chuck Graham, Schaefer told this reporter about how he would champion higher education funding in the midst of a national economic collapse. After all, he said, "an investment in the University of Missouri is not just an investment for Columbia — it is an investment for the state."

It happens every year around this time.

Outstanding high school athletes get up in front of their peers and announce which of the colleges that have been vying for their services they will attend in the fall, and proud alumni tally their school’s take. Signing day is a big deal for anyone who follows college sports.

David Russell, who retires at the end of this month as Missouri’s higher education commissioner, would like to see the same fervor and excitement around academics, not just athletics.

For those following the unrest at the University of Missouri last fall, Melissa Click became a household name after she confronted a student trying to record a gathering of students on a campus quadrangle, shoving the student’s camera and calling for muscle to have him removed from the area.

UMSL Chancellor Tom George joined "St. Louis on the Air" to discuss financial issues at the university and what's in the works going forward.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

University of Missouri-St. Louis Chancellor Tom George is under pressure. This year, the school must find a way to fill a $15 million-sized hole in the budget — and that means layoffs. Who or how many will be laid off remains to be seen.

In November, George announced that instead of seeing a 2 percent increase in enrollment, the university actually saw an enrollment decrease of about four percent and that was the root cause of the shortfall.

On Oct. 10, students blocked a car carrying former University of Missouri system president Tim Wolfe during Mizzou's homecoming parade
Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

We first aired this podcast about race at Mizzou last November, just after a series of protests at the University of Missouri's flagship campus led to the resignation of its system president, Tim Wolfe. 

A student panel discusses diversity efforts at the University of Missouri Board of Curators meeting on Feb. 5, 2016
Stay Tuned/Nine Network of Public Media

The interim president of the University of Missouri said Friday that the school has to stop looking backward at the recent turmoil and concentrate on moving forward on issues of race and diversity.

But before he spoke, a student panel told members of the Board of Curators that such progress won’t happen until university leaders pay more attention to what students want and need.

The columns at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
St. Louis Public Radio file photo

After demonstrators interrupted a meeting of the University of Missouri Board of Curators Thursday to restate their demands that led to the resignation of President Tim Wolfe, the curators got down to the business of how to choose Wolfe’s replacement.

About two dozen representatives of the group Concerned Student 1950 -- which was instrumental in the protest that led to Wolfe’s departure in November as well as the demotion of Mizzou Chancellor R. Brady Loftin -- entered the curators’ meeting at the Alumni Center on the Columbia campus about 15 minutes after it began.

Sen. David Pearce
Marshall Griffin I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies use the magic of radio to welcome state Sen. David Pearce to the podcast for the first time.

The Warrensburg Republican has entered his final year in the Missouri Senate, as term limits will prevent him from running for re-election.

Former UM curator David Steward
University of Missouri

As they set tuition rates for the next school year, deal with the continued fallout from the resignation of a president and begin the process to find his replacement, the University of Missouri Board of Curators will operate at two-thirds strength.

All six of the seats on the board that usually has nine members will be filled by white lawyers, who will have to deal with the issues of race that prompted protests in Columbia and echoes throughout the four-campus system. And it could be mid-May at the earliest before any new members join the board.

Interim President Mike Middleton addresses the University of Missouri Board of Curators
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 12:35 p.m. Thursday with details of search - A committee of more than a dozen people from all four campuses of the University of Missouri will lead the search for a new president of the system.

The board of curators, meeting by teleconference on Wednesday, decided that a search firm would also be hired to find a successor to Tim Wolfe, who resigned his position in November after prolonged protests on the Columbia campus. In the meantime, Mike Middleton will continue serving as acting president.

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