O1 Distinctive Institutional Features
Missouri Western State University is one of 13 publicly supported universities in Missouri.
Western has a statewide mission in applied
learning (Figure O.2), and provides associate, baccalaureate and graduate degree programs, as approved by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Missouri Coordinating Board of Higher Education (CBHE).
Applied learning and service are signature
emphases for Western.
Originally founded in 1915 as Saint Joseph Junior College to provide a two-year liberal arts transfer program, Western was transformed into a four-year college in 1969, and became a full member of the State of Missouri system in 1977. The Junior College was first accredited by the North Central Association in 1919, and Western has since continuously maintained accreditation. Western completed its last Self-Study in 1999-2000. By state statute, Western became a university in August, 2005.
Located in St. Joseph, Missouri, 46 miles north
of downtown Kansas City, Western is accessible to individuals within a 50-mile radius, particularly those coming from the Kansas City region
Western serves both traditional and non-traditional students and expects all students to grow intellectually to meet the standards of an academic discipline and the institution. Western shares the common purpose of serving students, the community, the region, and the State (Figure O.2).
At Western, learning is viewed as a team process requiring the dedication of the students and the caring, informed guidance of well-qualified faculty and staff in a mutual pursuit of knowledge.
Missouri’s public two- and four-year institutions share a general studies structure of 42 credit
hours for purposes of transfer (Figures 1.2 and
1.3). Electives and courses in the majors enable Western students to become critical thinkers and productive contributors to society, as well as
Western has engaged in extensive planning
that has resulted in The Western
Advantage: A Five-Year Strategic Plan (2002-2007) and Building the New American Regional University (2007-2012). Building upon the successes of the first Strategic Plan, more than 400 individuals from the campus and the larger community reviewed and updated Western's vision, mission, and values, and developed new goals and objectives for seven identified strategic areas:
- Building Graduate Programs
- Enhancing Academic Quality
- Sustaining Institutional Accreditation Priorities
- Building Connections
- Using Measurement and Assessment
- Valuing People
- Building and Managing Resources
All units report annually on five-year plans that align with the University’s strategic planning. Western has completed five years of implementing the first plan and has published annual progress reports in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007.
Western became the first four-year public
university in Missouri to join AQIP (2003). Western joined AQIP because the institution’s strategic planning process had created an
environment emphasizing continuous improvement in systems and processes.
Western’s first AQIP Action Projects grew
directly out of strategic planning. Applied Learning, Student Engagement, and Communicating Quality Action Projects represented priorities in relation to Western’s mission. Category One of the Systems Portfolio includes the Applied Learning Action Project. Category Two provides details for Student Engagement and Communicating Quality. Each Action Project received Strategic
Planning Implementation Funds (SPIF) of $100,000 for each of the three years of
implementation. Category Eight details the
integration of AQIP Categories into strategic
planning goals and objectives.
Western's second set of Action Projects were developed from strategic initiatives in the new plan: Building Graduate Programs, Enhancing Academic Quality through Critical Thinking, and Using Measurement and Assessment.
Western has structured its Systems Portfolio to reflect the integration of strategic planning goals into AQIP Categories. Each Category begins with a matrix that identifies and indicates progress for strategic planning goals and objectives closely associated with the AQIP Category. The Western Advantage identified seven strategic areas:
- Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management
- Applied Learning and Student Development
- Information Technology
- Facilities and Grounds
- Image and Advancement
- Community Service, Partnerships, and Workforce Development
- Planning and Budgeting
A new matrix identifies and indicates progress for goals and objectives in Building the New American Regional University (Results 2008-2012) . A link is also provided to the matrix for the previous strategic plan (Results 2003-2007).
Active links (underlined) throughout the Portfolio provide access to important systems, planning, and policy. These links guide Western’s various stakeholders to areas that interest or directly affect them and provide more detail than the Portfolio content itself.
Western has identified a comparison group of six institutions with which it is building comparison data: Coastal Carolina University, Colorado State University-Pueblo, Mesa State College, Missouri Southern State University, University of South Carolina-Aiken, and University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
Western’s Governance Structure (Figure O.4) is found at the end of this Overview.
Figure O.1 Area Map
Figure O.2 Vision, Mission, and Values
Missouri Western State University will set the standard for
excellence for the new American Regional University focused on the development of students as learners, as persons, and as citizens through applied learning, and on the development of the region through applied research and service.
Missouri Western State University is a learning community
focused on students as individuals and as members of society.
Western offers students at all stages of life the opportunity
to achieve excellence in the classroom and beyond, especially through applied learning, as they
prepare to be leaders in their work and in their communities.
As a leader itself, Western is committed to the educational, economic, cultural, and social development of the people and
the region that it serves through applied research and professional and voluntary service.
In fulfilling our mission and pursuing our vision, we the people
of Missouri Western State University hold in common these
Service. We share the common purpose of serving students,
one another, and the people of the region.
Quality. We are committed to the quality of our programs, our
students, and our partnerships with the people of the region.
Enthusiasm. We are enthusiastic about learning and confident
that we can make a difference in the lives of students through
Freedom. We promote the free exchange of ideas that makes
education liberating and democracy unique.
Respect. We act as individuals and as a campus community
with respect for diversity and for the best in human potential.
Courage. We seek the challenge and adventure of shaping the
future with an increasingly global perspective.