State Of The University Address Fall 2013

President Kenneth W. Dobbins
Photo of Dr. Kenneth Dobbins
17th President

Good afternoon.

Welcome to the 2013 State of the University address. We typically try to have this event earlier in the semester – during the first couple of weeks of September. But it seemed fitting this year to use the State of the University as the inaugural event for the grand reopening of our historic and iconic building – Academic Hall. We are using today's event not only to report to you on the state of Southeast Missouri State University, but also as an opportunity for faculty, staff, and several of our students to have the first look at our renovated landmark building. It also gives us the opportunity to publicly thank and applaud all of those here at Southeast who played a role in making today happen.

As you already know, today's event has become a tradition to afford the President the opportunity to update our faculty, staff, students and friends on our accomplishments and to thank you for all you've done to make this a successful year. This event also gives Chartwells an opportunity to show their appreciation to you by providing what is commonly called "the shrimp boat reception" following the presentations.

Today's celebration of the grand reopening of Academic Hall has also provided the opportunity for Board President Doyle Privett to publicly provide the Board's appreciation for what you do every day and their outlook on the state of the University.

To celebrate the grand re-opening of Academic Hall, our Publications Department has developed the booklet that you received when you came in this afternoon. As you will recall, we typically have a printed piece that celebrates our accomplishments for the previous year and highlights our broad-based goals for the upcoming year. The piece you received today highlights our accomplishments NOT just for the past year, but celebrates our successes over the past five years. And truthfully, it was very hard to narrow those to just the few that fit on pages 10 through 16 of your booklet. We're going to talk about a few of those accomplishments today, but before we do, we need to celebrate another tradition here at Southeast, and that is to welcome the new members of the Southeast Missouri State University community.

Would all of those who started their Southeast employment after September 2012 please stand. Please join me in welcoming these new members of the Southeast Missouri State University community.

Construction Projects Thanks

For the past several years, we've lived with an awful lot of that orange construction fencing around our campus. In response to an aging infrastructure and deferred maintenance and repair issues, our Board of Regents worked cooperatively with Student Government, to implement a general fee to fund $58.2 million in bonds for several projects, including

· Academic Hall Renovations ($24 million, including dome)
· Magill Hall Renovation/Addition ($17,952,593)
· Power Plant conversion to natural gas ($6,080,600)
· Additional deferred maintenance priorities

You may have noticed from news reports that other colleges and universities, like Missouri State, are now following our lead and working on bond issues for facilities.

While we now see the fruits of our labor – new classrooms and laboratories in Magill Hall; cleaner air and no more ugly coal piles in back of the Power Plant; a fabulous new residence hall on the north end of campus; and this magnificent updating to our beloved Academic Hall, we know the last two and a half years have been difficult for many of you here on campus.

The reality is that the construction and remodeling of Academic and Magill Halls are dreams come true. But the dust, noise and confusion during this process has often seemed more like a nightmare to many of you. Remodeling creates mess, and that mess spills over to the entire campus. Desks, files, and faculty and staff in those buildings had to go somewhere during construction, and that place was usually somewhere else on campus that was difficult to access. Having numerous offices and items out of place can be very stressful.

Many of you moved out of old out-dated offices in Academic Hall into cramped, sometimes noisy, temporary offices in a variety of locations throughout the campus.

You experienced less than ideal environments,making it difficult sometimes to get things accomplished the way you'd perhaps prefer.

Those of you in Magill Hall suffered through not only the relocation issues, but also the noise, dust, and commotion of having half your building shut down while the other half was under renovation and/or construction.

And yet, you not only persevered – you thrived and found new ways to work, creating a dynamic culture and work environment that was collaborative and creative.

We want to thank all of you for your patience, your cooperation, your ingenuity, understanding and flexibility. Would all of those who have been displaced at any time over the past 2 ½ years due to the renovations and construction in Magill Hall or Academic Hall please stand and recognized? Thank you again for all you've accomplished this past 2 ½ years under less than ideal situations.

Introduction of Doyle Privett

We kicked off the celebration of the grand reopening of Academic and Magill Halls this morning with a combined Board of Regents and City Council tour of both buildings, followed by a Board of Regents meeting.

So we are very privileged to have the members of the Board with us today, including the president of the Board, Mr. Doyle Privett of Kennett. Mr. Privett has served as a Board member for more than 14 years. He was first appointed to the Board of Regents in December 1994 by Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan to fulfill an unexpired term, and was reappointed in 1997 and served until January 2004. In April 2009, Mr. Privett was again appointed to the Board by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to serve a six-year term, and was elected president of the Board in December 2012.

He received his bachelor of science in accounting degree from Southeast in 1973, and is a certified public accountant who currently serves as chief financial officer for Kennett National Bank.

He is a member and past Board member of the Missouri Society of CPAs and served as president of the Southeast Chapter of CPAs. He is a member of the board of directors of Kennett National Bank, and serves as chairman of the advisory committee of Southeast's regional campus in Kennett.

He has been married to his wife, Bonnie, since 1974; they have two children, Brian and Brooke, who are both also Southeast graduates. Brian and his wife recently had a new son, Evan, who we hope will be a member of the Southeast Freshmen Class of 2031.

To bring you greetings from the Board of Regents, please welcome, the President of the Board of Regents, Doyle Privett.

Doyle Privett Remarks

Thank you, President Dobbins, and on behalf of all the members of the Board of Regents, I want to welcome you to the grand reopening of Academic Hall. This is such a special occasion and to have the opportunity to be involved in this State of the University event and the Grand Reopening of Academic Hall is truly an honor for all of us.

We are equally impressed to watch this exercise that showcases the amazing loyalty and longevity just displayed by those of you who spent quite a bit of time standing. We certainly know how committed so many of you are to Southeast Missouri State University and we appreciate your dedication.

Introduction of Board of Regents

Before we proceed further, I do want to make several introductions. As you can see, joining us today to mark this historic University event are members of the University's Board of Regents. I would ask that Board members please stand and remain standing and please hold your applause until all have been introduced:

Ms. Kendra Neely-Martin from St. Louis, vice president of the Board of Regents
Mr. Daren K. Todd of Kennett
Mr. Thomas M. Meyer of Cape Girardeau
Mr. Jay B. Knudtson, former Cape Girardeau mayor and our most recent appointment to the Board of Regents
Mr. Kevin Magnan of Festus, student regent

Compliments to Staff


I know I speak on behalf of all the Board when I tell you how truly amazed we have been at how well the historic elements of this building have been preserved. This is just a phenomenal renovation and we want to say thanks to several people who have been instrumental in the success of this project, and all the other ongoing projects, including the restoration of Dempster Hall after the July fire. I'm going to call on a few people to stand and be recognized today because I believe we all owe them a debt of gratitude for their dedication to this project. Would you please stand when I call your name and please hold your applause until all have been recognized?

First, Kathy Mangels, Vice President for Finance and Administration, would you please stand? We are indebted to Kathy for her overall leadership on the entire bond project – the administration of the selling of the bonds, and the overall supervision of the Academic Hall, Magill Hall, Boiler Plant, Dempster Hall, and new residence hall projects.

Angela Meyer, Director of Facilities Management – this is a person who has had a tremendously full plate over the past two and a half years, but who has done an extraordinary job of supervising all these projects, in addition to the day-to-day Facilities Management challenges.

Carolyn Figliolo, Facilities Management Project Director for Academic Hall

We also want to recognize the Magill Hall Facilities Management Project Manager Lisa Howe. Lisa would you stand?

Besides Magill's construction and renovation challenges of doing half a building at a time, the project posed additional challenges in that almost 20 years ago, Americium, a radioactive chemical element, was spilled in that building and the spill was only discovered in the early 90s. So in addition to recognizing Lisa for her work, we would be remiss if we did not recognize Dr. Walt Lilly who has spent more than a decade working on ways to not only clean up that spill, but to clean it in ways pleasing to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Dr. Lilly, would you please stand? And assisting Dr. Lilly for the past several years has been Dr. John Kraemer, director of the Center for Environmental Analysis, and Autumn Gentry, our Safety and Environment Officer.

Would all of you please show your appreciation to these folks for their outstanding service to these many projects?

We also want to thank several other groups for their outstanding work and support on these projects. As if all these bond projects did not keep you all busy enough, on Monday, July 15th, the unthinkable happened when the roof of the Dempster Building caught fire. We are very fortunate that there were few students in the building at that time and all those in the building got out safely.

I understand that it seemed like an agonizingly long time before the Cape Girardeau Fire Department arrived, but in actuality, it took less than 20 minutes to extinguish the fire. Again we were fortunate that the fire was contained to the roof area and it did not set off the sprinkler system. From the emergency communications process to the relocation process, all of you worked together to make a very difficult situation as painless as possible.

Again, Angela Meyer spearheaded the Dempster Project. But she had a lot of help from the Facilities Management Department.

Archie Sprengel, Assistant Vice President for Information Technology, and his staff - Rodger Chisman, director of Telecommunications, and Lenny Burford, manager of PC Networking and Maintenance. Would you gentlemen please stand? You can only imagine the miles of wiring, the number of Lan drops and wireless routers, the planning and implementation it has taken to prepare Academic and Magill Halls, and repair Dempster Hall, with all the computers, telephones, smartphones, tablets, televisions and video screens that will be used. We appreciate all the hard work Information Technology has put into making sure all these buildings are technologically state-of-the art for all our faculty, staff and students.

Would all of you in Information Technology and members of the Facilities Management staff who were involved in any of these ongoing projects – Academic and Magill Halls, the Boiler Plant Conversion, residence hall construction, or the rehabbing after the Dempster fire - please stand. Would you please join me in showing our appreciation?

I know I speak on behalf of all the Board of Regents when I say thank you. Thank you to those who have been affected in some way by the relocations, construction, renovations, and remodeling. Thank you to those who relocated. Thank you to those of you in all the other offices on campus who were squeezed out of your spaces, or who welcomed these interlopers into your buildings and your spaces. Thank you all for your cooperation, your patience, and most of all for your support as we have all worked to achieve the goal of updating and renovating these strategic campus buildings.

Salary Equity Study

The members of the Board of Regents know that Southeast faculty and staff are loyal, dedicated, and hard-working. That is why we agreed with President Dobbins that a salary equity study should be conducted to ensure that our faculty and staff are paid competitive salaries. As you know, the Board supported the President and Budget Review Committee's recommendation last year to set aside $1.2 million to be used to implement recommendations from the salary equity study.

The salary equity study benchmarked our positions with 18 comparable Midwestern state universities and other appropriate salary studies. Today, the Board reviewed the study recommendations which were discussed campus wide for input from faculty and staff. Based on the parameters outlined in each employee group, I am pleased to announce there are 115 or 29% of the faculty eligible for an individual salary adjustment, 106 or 28% of the administrative and professional staff members, and 99 or 48% of CTS staff for a salary adjustment beginning the first of January. In the coming weeks, Vice President Mangels and our Human Resources staff will be providing each of you with the results of the study as it pertains to you.

Additionally, a salary equity study for the operating engineers will be completed by November 30th and we believe additional staff in that group will receive salary adjustments. On behalf of the Board, this is one way our Board can thank you for what you do for Southeast.

Privett Concluding Remarks

President Dobbins will soon be talking with you about the state of Southeast Missouri State University. As members of the Board of Regents, we have the opportunity to view the state of this university from a different perspective, and we unilaterally believe this is a very well-run, successful and progressive university.

We are blessed with excellent and dedicated faculty and staff, and we believe we serve some of the finest and most dedicated students in the Midwest. We hear from employers again and again that our students are well educated and have an excellent work ethic.

Today we not only celebrate the grand reopening of Academic Hall, but we also celebrate your success in making Southeast one of the top comprehensive regional universities in the country. On behalf of all the Board, again thank you for all you do and keep up the great work!

President Dobbins Resumes

Thank you President Privett. Let's give him and the Board another round of applause for all they do in providing policies and guidance.

"Honoring Traditions // Inspiring Success"

It is hard to believe Jeanine and I have been at Southeast for 23 years and this is the 15th State of the University address I've had the privilege to deliver. Each year, I feel more and more honored to serve as the President of this great institution. But this year, I speak to you with even more pride for what we've accomplished over the past five years and for where I see Southeast going in the next five years.

Today, as we celebrate not only the grand reopening of Academic Hall, but also the team work and the successes of our faculty and staff over the past five years, we must challenge ourselves to look to the future of our University and how we can best continue to serve the needs of our students, our region, and our nation.

As you can see from your booklet, we are using the theme "Honoring Traditions/Inspiring Success." This is the theme not only for the Grand Reopening of Academic Hall, but it also is the theme for Homecoming Weekend, and the theme for the University's comprehensive fund-raising campaign. Certainly today's grand opening honors one of the greatest traditions of this university – Academic Hall – a building which has hosted thousands of new students over its more than a century's existence. But this stately building with its domed roof, 1904 World's Fair lights, and beckoning massive columns, is also an inspiration. The renovation of this building inspires all of us to look to the future and to marvel at what changes might occur when this building reaches 200 years of age.

If you will refer to your booklet, pages 10 through 16 outline just a few of our Points of Pride over the past five years. It was extremely difficult to narrow down our major accomplishments to fit on these few six pages.

We honestly could have printed the entire book with what you all have accomplished over the past five years. You can take great pride in these successes and you can see from the inside back cover, or page 17, that your accomplishments have been recognized by wide-ranging national and international organizations, accrediting agencies, and web sites.

Certainly, as President Privett has just pointed out, one of the major accomplishments has been the successful completion of the $58 million in bond projects. But we also worked cooperatively to achieve the Higher Learning Commission's Reaffirmation of Accreditation; upgraded our services to veterans and military personnel and their families; passed a state audit with flying colors; created or enhanced more than 50 academic offerings; and strategically expanded our online academic programs. The Board of Regents, University administration, and Faculty Senate have worked cooperatively over the past several years to pass significant policy additions and revisions, including the Non Tenure-Track Faculty Appointments Policy, which sets a faculty-staffing ration of 75 percent tenure track and 25 percent non-tenure track positions.

Together, we have worked effectively and efficiently over the past five years to meet the priorities of the 2008 Strategic Plan and today we should celebrate our success.

In a moment, you'll see this last year's successes on our annual Year in Review video. But let me talk about just a few of our successes and challenges for the upcoming year.


· 1994 enrollment was 7,925 – in the last decade, enrollment has increased by more than 50%. Total enrollment for this fall is 11,917, marking the 19th straight year of enrollment growth for our institution and the 13th year of record breaking enrollment. It also appears that the average ACT of full-time first-time students has increased from 22.87 in Fall 2012 to 23.09.
· We are extremely pleased with this enrollment growth, but know that due to high school demographics, our incoming freshman classes and overall enrollments will be challenging over the next several years. We experienced record-breaking enrollments this year despite a reduced freshman class of more than 150 students. We are working on new enrollment and student success approaches to address this challenge.
· African American enrollment surpassed 1,000 for the first time ever, and international student enrollment surpassed 900 students. The progress we have made in this area is remarkable, considering we only had 315 African American students enrolled at Southeast in 1996, and our international student enrollment was once as low as 176 in 2005.
· Equally impressive is the fact that we successfully retain these students from freshman- to sophomore-level at a higher rate than the student body as a whole.
· Online courses continue to be very popular with students. The number of students taking 100% of their courses online grew from 851 (FA12) to 971 (FA13). There is also a significant increase in the number of students supplementing a face-to-face course load with at least one online course. This number grew from 2588 (FA12) to almost 3,000 (FA13). In total, 32% of our students are taking one or more courses online.

Dual Credit Online

· New Dual Credit Online format has proven to be extremely popular with school districts in the region. On opening day, there were 337 students from 23 school districts participating in this new online format. Courses offered included CH181, EN100, MA134, PY101, SO102, and US105. For the spring semester, we will be offering five dual credit online courses.

Student Success and Retention

A wide variety of efforts on campus are calling attention to the importance of helping students stay in school, be successful, and graduate. In spring 2013, the Strategic Enrollment Management Committee's Retention Subcommittee, chaired by Associate Dean of Students and Director of Student Retention Trent Ball, was reconstituted.

Additionally, Southeast was one of only a couple four-year state institutions that participated in the Missouri Completion Academy in September in St. Louis. The Academy allowed us to provide ideas and use best practices to improve student success, retention, and degree completion on our campus.

Not only is it important to create an environment so that students can succeed, but one aspect of the state funding model for university appropriations is based on our retention rate. Unfortunately, Southeast in FY14 almost lost $300,000 in base budget by not meeting our retention goals.

Consequently, we will be planning and sharing with you best practices in several important ways to help students succeed. It will be imperative that we all assist with student success, retention, and graduation, especially in light of the state mandates regarding future funding of the University.

Academic Visionary Committee

As you know, while we've been one of the leaders in the state in academic program review and finding innovative approaches to teaching and learning. We have also been aware that we could not just eliminate academic programs to meet budget needs. We must invest in the future and determine what the needs of our students and employers will be in the Year 2020. As a result of the Southeast in the Year 2020 plan, we established the Academic Visioning Committee with Dr. James Stapleton as chair.

Our goal is to seek out possible academic and instructional programs and centers of excellence based on emerging trends, issues, and opportunities. You will recall that several weeks ago, there was a campus-wide call for proposals so you could submit your ideas for new or enhanced academic programs.

Members of the Visionary Committee are now reviewing those more than 40 new ideas and working with deans and chairs to determine which might best work for our campus and our service region. I would urge you to attend the Brown Bag lunch on November 6th here in Academic Hall to hear about some of those proposals and how we will proceed with several new academic initiatives.

Strategic Plan

We are continuing to plan for the future of Southeast Missouri State University through our strategic planning process. As you know, the Strategic Plan Steering Committee, co-chaired by President Privett and me, is continuing to meet to revise our strategic plan to give us the guidance for our next five years of success here at Southeast. A first draft of the plan has been posted on the President's website, but the committee will be working on further revisions, a mission statement, and priorities.

You'll be hearing about open forums and opportunities to continue to review the draft strategic plan in the upcoming weeks.

Provost/Executive Director Searches

As you know, we have a couple of vacancies at the executive level and we are currently working with search firms to find the best possible candidates. Airport interviews for our Provost position were held in St. Louis last week and the committee has narrowed the search to four candidates who will be on campus on Mondays and Tuesdays the weeks of November 4th and 11th. A news release on each candidate with their resume and campus itinerary will be posted in Newswire.

This is a very important leadership position for our campus, so I hope you will make yourself available to meet with each of these candidates in the open-forum interviews for your respective groups. I want to publicly thank the committee for their efforts and especially to recognize Dr. Hamner Hill who is chairing that committee, and publicly acknowledge and thank Interim Provost Gerry McDougall for all the positive accomplishments he has made as interim provost.

Comprehensive Campaign

As I indicated earlier, our theme for the year, "Honoring Tradition, Inspiring Success," is also the theme for our current comprehensive fund-raising campaign. The Southeast Missouri University Foundation led by Vice President Bill Holland and the development staff have done a wonderful job raising money for scholarships and programs to support students.

When Jeanine and I came to this University in 1991, the Foundation had an endowment of $4.1 million, and had raised more than $28 million through the New Vision of Excellence Campaign. But scholarships were not even mentioned in the Foundation's annual report.

Through the generosity of the members of the Copper Dome Society, many of whom are our own faculty and staff,today the Foundation has grown to more than $70 million in net assets and our endowment allows our students to receive over $1.2 million dollars in scholarships every year.

And while that certainly helps, we will need to do even more to support our future students. We are pleased the Foundation Board of Directors authorized a comprehensive campaign be undertaken to raise $40 million to help students today and tomorrow.

Specifically, the campaign goals are $20 million for scholarships, $17 million for academic programs and $3 million for campus renovations.

Our efforts began three years ago and we have quietly, not silently, been working toward this goal. Tomorrow evening at the annual Copper Dome event, we will be announcing what we have raised to date. Additionally, we'll be thanking our faculty and staff who have donated to the University on November 6th at a special Faculty and Staff Donor Appreciation reception. I hope all of you who not only support this University in the work that you do, but who also give back to Southeast by donating to our Foundation, will plan to attend those special events.

All of these areas I've mentioned today are just a few of the many, many examples of your success during the past academic year. I would like to personally thank each and every one of you for what you do to educate, transform, and help our students be successful.

Suffice it to say, it is because of your support, your expertise, and your dedication that Southeast Missouri State University continues to be strong, prosperous, and a beacon to all in our region who seek higher education.


As in years past, the Department of Marketing and University Relations has produced a video highlighting many of the accomplishments of our University during the past year.

Baseball great Babe Ruth once said, "The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime."

So what you will view now is a short video highlighting the ways our University team played as a whole this past year. Ladies and gentlemen, "The Year in Review."(Click here to view Thank you, Marcus Painton, Tonya Wells, and all the staff in Marketing and University Relations on a job well done! Wasn't this a great video of what you have accomplished this past year?


In conclusion, I want to assure you that while we will continue to face challenges in higher education in our state, the health, vitality, and future prospects for Southeast Missouri State University are strong and bright.

We should all be very, very proud of our University and the people and region we serve. One of our challenges for the future is to show that pride – to tell the Southeast story and to speak about what we have accomplished and what we plan to do in the future. Ladies and gentlemen, we have the right to toot our horns! We have overcome a lot of challenges, just like this century-old building we sit in today.

Our University sits among the top of all regional comprehensive universities in the nation, just as our Academic Hall with its copper dome sits at the top of the highest hill in this region.

Southeast Missouri State University is, as our alma mater says, "a beacon light to all below," and we should tell everyone we can who we are, what we have achieved, and what we can and will do to improve the lives of our students and the people of our region.

I am confident that we will continue to strategically work to educate and transform our students into the future leaders of this great state and nation.

Again, I want to express my personal gratitude to all of you who are a part of our progress and who bring dedication and optimism to our campus each and every day.

The state of our University is a reflection of the faculty, staff, students, and Board of Regents who are Southeast Missouri State University.

Now, before we dismiss, let me give you a few housekeeping details. You were given a map as you entered this afternoon, and it should provide you with an outline of all the offices and rooms.

You will find the annual "shrimp boat" reception food on the lower level of this building and we thank Chartwells for their generosity. We hope you will take this opportunity to socialize over some excellent refreshments, but also to take a tour of this magnificent building.

You can ONLY access the new Dome Room with the glass ceiling that allows visitors to see the beautiful interior of the dome from the main level elevator just down from the new Board of Regents room.

The Dome Room has limited space so only 40 at a time can access the room. You will need to go to the elevator on the main-level floor and you will be escorted into the Dome Room in groups, so please make sure you take time to see this area of the building.

There are folks in each area of the building that can answer your questions and give you historical perspective. There is an exceptional exhibit on the history of Academic Hall in one of the second floor classrooms.

Finally, I would invite you back here in the Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. for the official grand opening of the building. Board President Doyle Privett and former University presidents Bill Stacy and Kala Stroup, among others, will be our speakers for this very historic event. There will also be music provided by the University Symphony and Chorus.

On behalf of our current and future students, thank you – thank you very much - and have another Great Year!

Academic Hall 144
Office of the President
One University Plaza, MS 3300
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701