Tentative plans are coming together and new directions are on the horizon under Dr. Bruce Speck, new president of Missouri Southern.

Speck said he wants to connect with Southern and he plans to have an open-door policy.

“I’m here to listen, I’m here to serve, I’m here to be available and I want to be engaged with the faculty, engaged with the staff, engaged with the students,” Speck said. “If anybody wants to see me call my secretary, Sharon, and make an appointment.”

After his first few days of meetings, Speck is getting acquainted with issues at Southern and developing some points of action. Increasing enrollment ranked high on his list.

“We’re certainly going to move forward in terms of our enrollment,” Speck said.

He says plans will need more study, but ideas are already on the table.

“One of the things that we are going to look at is an integrated marketing campaign and how that could help us.”

Speck arrived at Southern last weekend, taking up residence in the Hempen house until his Clarksville, Tenn. residence sells.

Since his Feb. 2 arrival, he has been to a basketball game, a memorial service for a Southern professor, business meetings across campus, and represented Southern at the Presidential Advisory Committee Meeting held by the Coordinating Board of Higher Education in St. Louis.

“I’m trying to make sure that I get business done in this office, but I also want to make sure that I get out on campus.”

Through his first few days on the job, Speck said he was gratified by the warm reception he has found on campus and in Joplin as a whole.

He wants to expand the community connections and support Southern’s donors.

“We’re going to make sure that we visit the people who have been very, very generous to the University and thank them for that,” he said.

He also wants to draw group support for the University through building on the ties Southern graduates have with the University.

“We need to think about establishing some alumni associations around the country,” Speck said. “There are graduates who have gone elsewhere

“We need to make sure we have contact with them.”

Looking to the future, Speck credits his developing vision of Southern’s needs to input from the University.

“People have wanted to do some of those things and I think we’re going to be able to bring some of that to fruition,” Speck said. “It’s not as though I bring any revolutionary ideas here I think people are primed to do many of these things and we’ll see how feasible they are.”