’08-’09: Your year in review

Alexandra Nicolas

For Missouri Southern, the 2008-2009 school year has been a time of change, a new president, new buildings and a new direction for the University.

University President Bruce Speck said many of those changes, especially those concerning budget cuts, have not been easy.

“Those are tough decisions, when you have an impact on students, it’s always hard,” he said.

Though those decisions have been tough, Speck says they have culminated in what he considers to be one of the high points of the year, building up a cash reserve. However, building the reserve didn’t come free of cost. A 10 percent budget cut across the board and a 30 percent cut to the institute of international studies started the year on a less than favorable note for many. Though, in retrospect, the University president doesn’t see any other option than those cuts, Speck wishes there had been more time to explain the decision to the school before it was made.

However, the cutting of the Child Development Center and then the retraction that decision is one issue he wished he could have avoided.

“We worked with the information we had. We were subsidizing a very few people, why should we be using E&G money to privilege a very small number of people?” he said. “Maybe what I should have done is ask more questions.”

With his second year in front of him, Speck hopes the University will continue toward what he believes to be a bright future. Goals for next year include working towards more cash reserves, and seeing the ground breaking of Southern’s new indoor practice facility/ weather shelter.

“We need to get to a point where we can give cost of living raises,” he said. Speck hopes the University will be able to do so in the next few years.

New direction for the Foundation, a new Director of Athletics and restructuring the University will be notable points in the next school year.

“We still have some work to do on the structure of the University we do need to restructure something that makes sense,” he said.

The University’s mission could also be up for review in the future.

“We don’t have an international mission, we have an international component to our University mission,” Speck said. “I think it’s going to survive, that’s not the issue, the issue is how do we fund it?”

Speck said future plans include keeping track of attendance at international event, and “benchmarking” the school achievements against others.

“We’re moving forward, and I’m very hopeful for the future,” he said. “But I don’t have a crystal ball.”