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The Board of Regents convened for its regular open session Thursday in the Student Union Ballroom with COVID-19 mitigation measures in place. (Photo by Brandon Bland/Northwest Missouri State University)

The Board of Regents convened for its regular open session Thursday in the Student Union Ballroom with COVID-19 mitigation measures in place. (Photo by Brandon Bland/Northwest Missouri State University)

June 19, 2020

Regents approve 2020-21 budget, revised fall 2020 academic calendar


Northwest Missouri State University’s Board of Regents during its regular meeting Thursday unanimously approved the University’s 2020-21 budget, which consists of its Education and General Budget and Auxiliary Services Budget, totaling about $124.7 million.

The budget reflects projected increases in enrollment and flat state appropriations approved by the Missouri legislature, adjusted for unappropriated federal stabilization funds.

The FY21 budget includes increased scholarship funding as well as investments in employee health and retirement benefits, online professional programs and technology.

In addition to anticipated COVID‐19 mitigation expenses, the approved budget calls for a use of general reserve funds, as approved by the Board last month, and a reallocation of funds if revenues are negatively impacted by enrollment, state appropriations or investments.

In her presentation to the Board, Vice President of Finance and Administration Stacy Carrick said Northwest’s budget planning and framework is based on guiding principles that support student success, the University’s employees, the institution’s future and its core competences – safe, trusted, invested and resourceful. She noted the University engages leaders across campus including Faculty Senate and Staff Council leads throughout its budget preparation process.

While Northwest’s primary goal in its budget process is to compile and align multi‐year strategic objectives and initiatives into a plan that positions the University for growth, Carrick acknowledged FY21 will present challenges as the world continues to face the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The level of uncertainty is unusually high compared to previous years, which will require effective oversight, leadership and stewardship as well as incremental decision-making in these unprecedented and challenging times,” Carrick said in her presentation to Regents. “Northwest entered the COVID‐19 pandemic having made difficult decisions during the past decade with a growth mindset and commitment to organizational viability. These decisions have paved the way for Northwest to be in its strongest financial position in the last decade and stronger compared to others in the industry.”

 

Decisions related to COVID-19

The Board also unanimously approved the University’s proposal to revise its fall 2020 academic schedule to ensure Northwest experiences as little disruption as possible related to ongoing COVID-19 concerns.

Under the revised calendar, all on-ground and blended courses will begin as planned on Wednesday, Aug. 19, and continue through Tuesday, Nov. 24. The week of Nov. 30 is designated as a preparation week for final exams, which will be delivered online during the week of Dec. 7.

In addition the Board approved two other COVID-19 measures related to Northwest’s decision to close its campus and move coursework online last spring.

Regents approved a Memorandum of Understanding between Northwest and Aramark Educational Services, LLC, the University’s campus dining contractor, for changes in meal services provided after the University closed its dining operations for the spring semester on March 12.

The Board also approved the University’s recommendation to use its second allocation of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, amounting to about $2.4 million. Those funds will help Northwest offset refunds of nearly $4.2 million to students who moved away from the campus and did not use campus dining services after the University transitioned spring courses online.

While Northwest received a total of about $4.8 million in CARES Act funds, federal guidelines required the University to distribute 50 percent of that money to eligible students to help them cover expenses such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. Regents approved the distribution of those funds to students last month.

Colleges and universities may use the remaining half of their allocation to cover institutional costs such as refunds made to students for housing, food or other services that could no longer be provided during the pandemic; for costs associated with hardware, software or internet connectivity provided to students; and other eligible expenses due to the COVID-19 disruption of campus operations.

 

President, Board chair address issues of race

Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski and Board Chair Dr. Marilou Joyner opened Thursday’s meeting with statements regarding “Issues of Race at Northwest.”

Like a variety of institutions throughout the country, Northwest has opened itself to confronting its own “blind spots” regarding diversity and inclusion in the midst of nationwide racial tension. In their remarks, Jasinski and Joyner said Northwest and the Board of Regents stand ready to listen and share tough conversations about the ways the University can address systemic issues of bias and structural racism.

“We — as a nation, a state and a campus — have been talking about racial diversity and inclusivity for all, but we just haven’t made sufficient progress,” Jasinski said.

In the wake of national unrest after Minneapolis police officers killed George Floyd, Northwest staff member Monica Zeigel, student Cayla Vertreese and alumna Tashsa Samudzi organized a peaceful protest June 6 in downtown Maryville. Acknowledging the “collective energy” exhibited that day, Jasinski said the unity and willingness by black alumni, student groups, Faculty Senate, Staff Council and local business owners to contribute to the discussion is “a signal of action to come.”

One of Northwest’s immediate steps, Jasinski said, is engaging with an outside consultancy to support the University as it seeks to understand key drivers to black student success and evaluate policies and processes.

“This is about people,” he said. “It is about protecting and uplifting the health, well-being and development of our black students and employees; the health, well-being and development of our LGBTQ+ communities and populations; the health, well-being and development of all of our students and all of our employees, all of the stakeholders that make this University a community.”

In her remarks, Joyner, who presided for the last time Thursday as chair of the Board, spoke of her pride for Northwest and Board members’ shared commitment to enhancing diversity, inclusion and racial equity at the University.

“We stand with Dr. Jasinski and the rest of the administration for recognizing the need to respond to the concerns that have been raised by our staff, by our students and by our alumni,” Joyner said. “We’re committed to making our campus the most welcoming place for all persons.”

 

Other business

In other business, the Board of Regents:

  • Approved the appointments of 243 full-time faculty for the 2020-21 academic year.
  • Approved a proposal to launch a Master of Science program in data analytics, beginning in fall 2021.
  • Approved a revised Transfer of Credit Policy to reflect new practices related to the state of Missouri’s Core 42 initiative, which provides a transfer framework for general education courses offered at state institutions.
  • Approved revisions to the guidelines and nomination process within the University’s Honorary Degree Policy.
  • Authorized Northwest to enter into multi-year contracts with Nodaway Country Missouri Public Water Supply District No. 1 and a fiber optic services provider for services at the Agricultural Learning Center, for which the University broke ground in April.
  • Selected John Moore as its chair, while Roxanna Swaney will remain as vice chair.

The Board of Regents is responsible for sound resource management of the University and determining general, educational and financial policies.


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704