MSSU Board of Governors discusses president search and enrollment numbers at monthly meeting

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The search is on to find the next president of Missouri Southern State University.

Missouri Southern leaders want create a search committee to help with the hire. That’s the first step to replacing Dr. Alan Marble, a process that started Thursday afternoon with a closed session of the Board of Governors.

“Relating to the hiring, firing, or disciplining of employees by a public governmental body,” explained board chair Bill Gipson.

The MSSU Board of Governors plans to create a search committee, which could include individuals on campus, from the city of Joplin, and the Chamber of Commerce. That committee is expected to make a recommendation on hiring a presidential search firm.

“We all share the same high hopes for this institution, and finding the right leader to continue our forward momentum and campus culture that was established under Dr. Marble’s tenure is key to our success,” said Alison Hershewe, the vice-chair of the board.

The Board of Governors also reviewed fall enrollment numbers, which are down. 5,604 students are enrolled as of last Friday, a decrease of 6.7 percent from the fall of 2018.

“We had budgeted for a five percent decrease knowing the economy is strong and that it’s a very competitive market for students,” explained MSSU Executive VP Brad Hodson. “Because of the economy, we moved a little bit past the five percent mark but overall, we’re right where we thought we would be.”

A tuition increase also likely played a role in the drop. MSSU officials are looking into the trend to try to turn it around in the future, also encouraging students to take advantage of state help, like a program easing the strain of past school costs.

“One of those does allow students that still have a balance on their account to have some of that balance taken away and give them a better chance of re-enrolling,” Hodson added.

Two members of the Board of Governors are also leaving their posts – Tracy Flanigan and Michael Frank. It will be up to the governor to appoint their replacements.

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