Regents increase marketing, communication department budgets

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Responding to calls for better marketing and communication, officials at Southeast Missouri State University have increased budgets for both departments. The board of regents approved a $96.66 million budget Tuesday that funds new university advancement positions, additional advertising and more resources for admissions recruitment.

"Strategic planning initiatives were a big focus of the budget," said Kathy Mangels, vice president of business and finance.

The budget also reflects a 3.25 percent pay raise for faculty and staff, $40,000 for minority student recruitment and retention, nearly half a million for increased scholarships and two new student financial services positions.

State appropriations account for $47.2 million of estimated income, with student fees expected to bring in $47.3 million. Other sources of income such as investments will bring in the rest.

State funding has not returned to levels the university once enjoyed in 2001, but is "doing much better," president Dr. Ken Dobbins said. Nevertheless, while state funding increased by 4.3 percent over last year, student fees rose 8.08 percent.

Other action

Other action taken by regents:

* Approved a contract for Southeast Missouri Hospital to deliver health-care services at the university's clinic, previously run by the university. Services now will be offered to faculty and staff in addition to students. They will be charged a minimum of $10 for each visit. Previously there was no charge for students to visit a nurse, although fees to visit a nurse practitioner were typically much higher than $10.

The university's clinic has been operating in the red because it is unable to bill insurance companies, Mangels said. Now, Southeast Missouri Hospital will operate the clinic and have billing capabilities.

The clinic will remain in Crisp Hall. During certain summer months and after hours students, faculty and staff will be able to visit the hospital's Plaza Primary Care at 1723 Broadway.

University staff currently working at the clinic will be given the opportunity to interview for a position with the hospital.

The contract will begin Aug. 1 and be effective for a year, with the option for renewal.

* Approved the design and location of a new autism center, to be built on the former playground of the old Washington School. It will serve as a diagnostic and treatment center for preschoolers to adults. The state appropriated $2.6 million for construction, which will begin in early fall and is expected to be complete by next summer.

The university has discussed offering an Autistic Behavior Analysis certificate or a masters in special education with a focus on autism. Southeast, the Thompson Center, the Judevine Center, and the Tailor Institute have expressed an interest in combining resources to operate jointly out of the space.

* Approved smoking restrictions on campus. Students will be limited to smoking away from doors and only at 24 designated areas. School officials say the measure is meant to reduce risks of secondhand smoke and limit litter.

lbavolek@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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