The field is still wide open for a football stadium at Midwestern State University.
In its five-year strategic plan, which the university’s board of regents approved Friday, MSU reaffirmed its desire to secure $12 million to $15 million to begin construction of a 7,000-seat athletic stadium by 2020. The goal is to have about 70 percent of the funding come from donors.
MSU’s administrators have been gauging interest in the project over the summer, approaching a few donors about the project.
At the same time, the regents heard that the Wichita Falls ISD wants to discuss the rates it charges MSU for use of Memorial Stadium. The university currently rents the stadium for athletic use.
Marilyn Fowle, university vice president for business affairs and finance, included in her fiscal year 2018 budget review a place holder of $45,000 for a football stadium cost increase from the Wichita Falls ISD.
“At the very last minute, we got information … that there might be an increase in cost to use the Wichita Falls ISD stadium. … We weren’t sure what that cost was going to be because the negotiation wasn’t starting,” Fowle said.
The 2017-2022 strategic plan not only includes a football stadium, but increases in staff and budget for the marketing and promotions office, developing a campus beautification and master plan, doubling the participation in MSU study abroad program, growing the university by 2,000 students by its 100th anniversary in 2020, and more.
President Suzanne Shipley said the administration will still do what it always has — bring salary raises or the construction of a new building, for example — to the board for approval.
“But this gives us our marching orders as a campus,” she said of the strategic plan.
She added that each year, the strategic planning committee will bring forward what the university needs to move on, then in the spring, the committee will look at outcomes then make recommendations on whether or not to adjust the plan.
“Ultimately the actions associated with this plan will form the basis of our accreditation report,” she said.
Dr. Scott Meddaugh, who helmed the strategic planning committee, referred to the plan as a “continuous improvement plan.”
The document includes four broad strategic initiatives:
- Promote a strong university community
- Aggressively pursue new student populations
- Create a destination residential university
- Stimulate a culture of engagement
Under each initiative, the plan outlines various tactics to accomplish those initiatives, one of which is to increase its marketing footprint, including adding two full-time staff positions for the marketing and promotion office by 2020. The university recently entered into partnerships with North Central Texas College in Flower Mound and Weatherford College in Wise County, moves that would necessitate more marketing efforts as the university grows its enrollment numbers.
Part of the strategic plan is to increase the university’s marketing budget annually by up to 10 percent for the next five years, as possible, along with upgrading the university’s website and branding by 2019, “such that they are viewed by prospective students and other external stakeholders as the most appealing and effective in the state of Texas.”
In looking at increasing its enrollment, MSU is big on going online and putting a focus on adult completion classes, which are classes for nontraditional students who want to finish a degree they might have started some years ago, for example.
It wants to actively market adult completion classes online and hybrid programs in multiple locations. The university by 2019 wants to increase the number of programs, courses and sections that can be accessed online by 50 percent to make those offerings more attractive to working adults. And by next year, the administration wants to create a 100 percent online student fee schedule.
MSU aims to provide at least one section of each core course online once per year by 2021.
It also is looking to launch a feasibility study to see how marketable it would be to offer terminal degrees, such as a doctorate of nursing practice, educational leadership and radiologic science.
In its goal of making sure MSU is a destination residential university, administrators want participation in its study abroad program to go from 2 percent to 4 percent by 2021 while also adding 25 percent to the annual study abroad programming budget.
MSU also aims to be considered the most beautiful campus in Texas and a first-choice employer. That means bringing faculty compensation to at least the average of College and University Professional Association data. The administration also hopes to increase current staff salaries to an average of 7 percent above market minimum, while providing parity pay based on years of service.
Some other strategies and tactics included on the MSU Strategic Plan for 2017-2022:
- Create funding for the hire of one full-time museum educator position for the Wichita Falls Museum of Art by 2017.
- Decrease computer and printing expenditures campuswide by 20 percent by 2021.
- Increase the number of endowed academic scholarships (a minimum of $100,000 each) by three per year for five years.
- Develop premier programming in academics, arts and athletics.
- Position the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU and the NCAA Division II program as models of excellence.
- Expand the Academic Success Center into a student advising and mentoring center providing centralized campus tutoring, increased supplemental instruction and advising, and a one-stop approach to student services.
- Increase by 2020 the number of bilingual counselors in the admissions, financial aid and student orientation offices by two and ensure appropriate sections of distributed material and the website have Spanish versions.