Wichitan | Board meeting brings big changes to university
On Wednesday, September 1, 2021, the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents met on the Midwestern State University campus for a special ceremony to officially welcome MSU as a new member institution to their system.
“I think Midwestern State University has the perfect campus culture to fit in with the rest of the universities in our grand system,” said Jesse Mendez, alumnus of MSU Texas and current dean of TTU at the College of Education.
The Texas House Bill 1522, drafted by Representative James Frank and sponsored by Senator Drew Springer, is the legislation that moved MSU into the TTU system. Although it was signed in May, it did not officially enter into force until September 1.
“The Texas Tech University system is extremely excited and proud to partner with MSU Texas… as we grow stronger together, advancing higher education in our great state and beyond,” said J. Michael Lewis, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the TTU System.
During the meeting, former president Suzanne Shipley said her last words before leaving campus. As a Texas Tech graduate and the driving force behind this merger, this process marks the masterpiece of its direction.
“As you can imagine, it’s a bittersweet day for all of us to say goodbye to old ways and welcome new ones…. It’s the proudest moment in my personal and professional life… as my past meets my present, ”Shipley said.
After his speech, the process of delegating authority from the President of the MSU began. Dr Tedd Mitchell, Chancellor of the TTU System, has appointed James Johnston, Rector of MSU and Vice President of Academic Affairs, as interim president until the post can be filled on a permanent basis.
“Shipley’s departure… leaves Midwestern State University in need of strong leadership. We have that leadership, ”Mitchell said.
Johnston received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from MSU. His job at the university began in 2012 as Acting Dean of McGunn Health Sciences and Human Services. He became Permanent Dean in February 2013 until his appointment as Rector in 2017, and was then officially appointed Vice President of Academic Affairs in April 2017.
“[He] was instrumental in much of the work that went into making this day possible, ”said Mitchell.
To celebrate the university’s 100th anniversary and usher in a new century of education, the Board of Regents has ratified plans for various upgrades across the university. On August 19, MSU was informed that Moody’s Investor Service was placing the university under review. On the morning of September 1, they increased MSU’s outstanding debt by two notches.
“Before joining [the TTU System]… Moody’s rating of MSU’s outstanding debt was A1, they are now double AA2, only a cut below the TTU system, ”said Gary Barnes, vice chancellor and chief financial officer of TTU.
Now, with an AA2 rating, this makes MSU’s outstanding debt of high quality with very low credit risk. It was the highest rating MSU could have received.
“What this means is that while it does not change the cost of the outstanding debt of the capital for MSU, the owners of the outstanding debt of MSU have just benefited from an increase in the debt. premium of those outstanding bonds, ”Barnes said.
Along with this, the board said it allows for greater availability of obligations, tuition and tuition fees, operating budget, maintenance of employment status, tenure and tenure. university funds. There were rumors of plans to build a new football stadium, but no further information was shared.
Budget and equipment
In order to begin the upgrade plans, the Board needs to review the budget for the next fiscal year. Overall support was cut by $ 1.2 million, but the 87th Texas Legislature added $ 380 million in support across Texas to fund enrollment growth.
“In building our budget… for fiscal year 2021, we have built it essentially flat, with declining registrations. We also budgeted it for reduced, canceled, postponed activities, the ones we knew we couldn’t have, ”said Beth Reissenweber, MSU vice president of administration and finance.
Based on an increase in tuition fees and a decrease in the cost of servicing the debt, the budget for the next fiscal year amounts to nearly $ 124 million. Tuition fees represent 40%, state credits 24% and donations, grants and contracts 19% of the budget. Reissenweber says they’re going to spend most of it on people, with compensation costs covering nearly half the budget, with exchanges using around 22% and maintenance and operations using 16%.
“For FY2022, however, we expect modest enrollment growth and carefully budget for the return to normal in terms of business,” said Reissenweber.
For projects planned for the near future, additions and renovations to the Bolin Science room are the number one priority. She also indicated that the Daniel Building, the future Bridwell Activities Center, hopes to open in spring 2022.
To look forward
MSU faculty have prepared a video to present to the TTU Board of Trustees in order to capture the spirit of the university.
“As free-spirited Mustangs, each with their own unique character and style, we race together and work together as a team, representing strength, individuality and unity,” the video said.
MSU also organized various presentations to show the TTU Board of Trustees the foundations and subsequent achievements of the university. Different faculty and staff took the floor to introduce MSU campus, departments and students.
“We launched our ambitious global MSU Texas Boundless Opportunities campaign in 2016 with the goal of raising $ 50 million in the years leading up to our centennial celebration in 2022. The centerpiece of our campaign is simple: the students,” says the video.
The target was not reached until 29 months after the start of the campaign, and in 2017 and 2018 MSU broke the institutional record for donations and pledges received in one fiscal year to 32.8 million. dollars. Currently, MSU has raised more than $ 75 million, with one year before the campaign ends.
“It is the generous spirit of our MSU Texas community that is evident in the gifts received today. Donations include funding for scholarships, university programs, faculty development support, specialized technology and software, ”the video continues.
MSU hopes that the new placement within the TTU system will provide new opportunities for students to grow and flourish.
“Most importantly, we are proud of our graduates because we know they come out and change the world,” said Reagan Foster, assistant director of athletics for student development and outreach.