The Truman State Board of Governors conducted a meeting Feb. 9 and discussed current University business.
In front of an audience of about 20 students and faculty, 10 board members discussed multiple issues, projects and reports, including the Bill for Higher Education, the current funding formula model, new campaigning strategies and current Student Senate proposals.
Bill for Higher Education
University President Troy Paino said he had been spending some time in Jefferson City to represent Truman State while higher education legislature was being discussed. He said a bond request was made that would specifically provide about $700 million for higher education throughout Missouri.
“The needs are high,” Paino said. “Not only on our campus, but throughout the state.”
Paino said these funds could be used for the renovation projects for Baldwin and McClain Halls, which would include smaller projects such as new HVAC systems in both buildings and the installation of sprinkler systems. He said the renovations would improve the learning environment in Baldwin and McClain.
Paino said he worked with other university presidents throughout the state to discuss the funding formula and presented to staffers of the Joint Committee on Higher Education. He said the proposed formula is not legislation at this point, but rather just a model. However, he said it could become the basis for legislation, and Truman will be providing feedback for the model.
He said one of his main missions is to protect Truman’s quality and mission as a liberal arts and sciences institution and to represent the University’s best interest for funding.
“We need to stay invested in who we are,” Paino said. “What I like most about my job is interacting with the students and the next couple of weeks are critical. We are in a state of flux about [the funding formula] and we just don’t really know right now.”
Foundation Board Report
Governor Sarah Burkemper presented the Foundation Board Report, which included more plans to preserve the quality of Truman by raising funds and increasing endowment through a new campaign.
Burkemper said following the success of the five-year “Bright Minds Bright Futures” campaign, a new campaign will launch July 1. She said planning for the campaign has begun.
The “Bright Minds Bright Futures” campaign exceeded the $30 million goal and Burkemper said she was optimistic about the new campaign and its success.
As part of the current Strategic Plan, Paino announced a project to redesign the University’s web page. Stamats Communications, Inc. will talk to students and faculty across campus to get feedback about potential changes, he said.
Paino said changing the University’s web presence will be a new marketing platform and will communicate the values, missions and traditions of the University to potential students. New university branding and marketing through a web redesign also will improve the learning experience for current students and help keep alumni connected to the University, Paino said.
Paino also presented the project timeline for the new marketing and web redesign.
Student Senate policies
Student Senate President junior Aaron Malin and Student Senate Vice-President sophomore Ryan Gordon presented three major policy proposals to the Board. The policies had been discussed among Student Senate.
Malin and Gordon first presented the iTech fee. They said this $17 fee would quadruple University bandwidth, upgrade subscriptions to electronic databases, provide a new discovery search service and possibly extend Pickler Memorial Library hours of operation.
They said the student body will vote during March 4 to 6 for the iTech fee.
Second, Malin and Gordon presented a proposal for a gender-neutral housing option in the residence halls. They said this option would give the University a competitive advantage against other in-state universities. They also said this option might increase the number of residents who continue to live on campus after freshman year. Malin and Gordon said the option might increase funding for Residence Life.
Malin and Gordon also presented the proposal to provide employee benefits to same-sex partners of University employees.
“Student government will work toward the availability for same-sex benefits,” Malin said. “We have a real opportunity here to show what it means to be Missouri’s only highly-selective liberal arts and sciences university by showing real leadership on this issue. Truman is a place of incredible integrity and to uphold that, someone is going to have to take the first step on this to do the right thing. I hope, with all my heart, it will be Truman State University that recognizes the importance of this issue.”
Malin said the issue will be placed on Student Senate’s agenda, and he encouraged the Board to put it on the agenda for the next meeting during April.
The Board meets a few times each semester and they the motion for the next meeting to take place at 1 p.m. April 13.