Directory
A-Z Index

May 10, 2021

Leadership reviews successes of 2020-21 academic year with Board of Regents


Northwest Missouri State University leaders reflected Thursday during the Board of Regents’ May open session on the institution’s agility and resilience in confronting an academic year that produced its share of successes at the University in spite of a global pandemic.

The Board moved quickly through a short agenda as it convened via the Zoom online meeting platform – yet another symbol of how the University adapted during the pandemic year. Regents approved the University’s spring degree candidates as the institution prepared to host eight commencement ceremonies through the weekend as well as the appointments of 200 full-time and adjunct faculty for the summer term.

The meeting concluded with reports from Northwest leaders, including Staff Council President Troy Brady and Faculty Senate President Dr. David Shadinger, who expressed their gratitude for the ways the University adapted to COVID-19 during the 2020-2021 academic year.

Shadinger, an associate professor of communication, lauded the University’s mitigation measures and response to the pandemic, calling it a model for the rest of the state. He noted the ways faculty adapted to hybrid teaching methods that placed students, sometimes simultaneously, in classrooms and on Zoom. Northwest also provided faculty with a variety of tools, including cameras, microphones and face shields, to support teaching.

“Let me state something very definitively for the record that during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 and 2021, the faculty of Northwest Missouri State University did their jobs of managing the education of students in the classrooms, labs, outdoor experience and in the online environment especially,” Shadinger said.

He added, “I think we’ve shown our resilience, character and fortitude, and we stand ready to continue with the educational mission of the University.”

During his report to the Board, Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski called for celebrating University faculty and staff for their work during the last year.

“At Northwest Missouri State University we have strong performance – that’s the what, if you will,” Jasinski said. “But the real secret is the how, and it’s who does what. And our faculty and staff are just beyond reproach.”

Jasinski reflected on several achievements of faculty during 2020-21, including Dr. Katie Spears’ receipt of the Governor's Award for Excellence in Education, Dr. Kurt Haberyan’s discovery of an algae species and Dr. Rhonda Beemer’ selection to the NCAA Division II FAR Fellows Institute.

Additionally, he noted a grant to expand early childhood care, the launch of an esports program, the opening of Veterans Commons, successful vaccination clinics in the Carl and Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse in partnership with Mosaic Medical Center-Maryville and the Nodaway County Health Center, and Northwest’s athletic feats, including the Bearcat men’s basketball program’s third national championship in the last four postseason tournaments.

“All of these accolades, all of these awards, all of it really comes down to our people,” Jasinski said. “Our faculty and staff and our people deliver – deliver performance.” 

Jasinski noted the University’s collective “performance excellence,” which includes setting the highest overall enrollment in the institution’s 115-year history last fall and an all-time record graduate enrollment this spring. The University maintains a high retention rate with 76 percent of 2019’s freshman class choosing to return to Northwest in fall 2020 – the second-highest rate in the University’s history – and the institution’s graduation rate is in the 90th percentile of its peer group. Northwest’s career placement rate indicates that 96 percent of bachelor’s degree earners and 99 percent of master’s degree earners secure employment or continue their education within six months of graduation, making Northwest the best college in Missouri for getting a job.

According to a report released in January by the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development, Northwest is the most efficient among state universities for state appropriations per degree and certificate granted.

“COVID has been everywhere,” Jasinski said. “It’s affected everybody around the world. It’s affected every business, nonprofit, K-12, higher ed. We’re no different, but in many ways we are different. We’ve heard from our peers in higher education, and many of them have remained online since last March. We haven’t, and it’s because of David and the Faculty Senate and our entire faculty. It’s because of Troy and Staff Council and our entire staff. It’s not been perfect, but we’re very thankful to come through this and we’ll keep moving forward.”

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