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UMSL embarks on 5-year strategic plan, emerges from budget struggles

University of Missouri-St. Louis Provost Kristin Sobolik and Chancellor Tom George joined host Don Marsh. | 10/3/18
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The University of Missouri-St. Louis is embarking on a five-year strategic plan.

“It reflects where we want to be and what we want to focus on,” explained Kristin Sobolik, the university’s provost and executive vice chancellor, who joined UMSL in May 2017.

The five areas of focus are: student success, research and creative works, community engagement and economic development, inclusive excellence, and planning, operations and stewardship.

“You come up with a set of actions and goals but you have to recognize that you need flexibility ... nothing is set in stone,” added UMSL Chancellor Tom George, who along with Sobolik joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Wednesday.

The new strategic plan comes a few years after the university’s financial situation was not ideal.

“At the time we talked about three years ago, we were undergoing some major cuts because our revenues were not matching with our expenditures,” George said. “For the last two years we’ve actually had a surplus.”

That surplus, in part, allowed UMSL to spare some degree programs that were slated to be dropped. Other programs, however, remained on the chopping block including in areas within theater and nursing.

Another area of focus for the university is to increase student enrollment.

“We’ve lost about 1,000 students and we want to get them back,” George said.

“Given that our student population tends to be older and come from a wide variety of backgrounds … we need to make sure we have those support programs in place,” Sobolik added.

Listen to the audio to hear Sobolik and George address university-owned vacant properties, competition for students, cooperation among the St. Louis area’s institutions of higher learning and the role of adjunct professors.

Producer’s Note: St. Louis Public Radio is a department of the University of Missouri-St. Louis and the University of Missouri Board of Curators holds the radio station’s license. St. Louis Public radio is editorially independent and no one from UMSL administration or the UM System was involved in the production or editing of this content.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Alex HeuerEvie HemphillLara Hamdan, and Xandra Ellin give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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