Students across the state are heading back into the classroom and that includes those at the college level.  Click to hear KMZU’s Kristie Cross speak with University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe:

Tim Wolfe

The entire University of Missouri system remains strong and continues to grow in all areas as we head into the 2014-2015 school year.  “We will see all-time highs in student population,” said Wolfe, “On our four campuses, we will be way over 76,000 students in the fall.  Also, the quality of our students, as measured by their class ranking, grade point, and ACT scores, will be at all-time highs.  We have a lot of research growth that’s going on and a lot of new construction that’s taking place on our four campuses.”

A large part of the system’s mission and a key to their continued success is to serve those in rural Missouri.  “The way we touch them is through extension,”said Wolfe, “So, what happens on the farm or the ranch is influencing what we do in our labs and on the farms we manage.  We work with our farmers and ranchers to try to understand what their needs are and how we can respond to agricultural challenges they may have.  The essence is to try to get the research we do in our labs out to the farms as quickly as possible, as well as ask the farmers what they need to be more productive and profitable.”

Officials are hopeful that Governor Jay Nixon will work with the general assembly to come up with the requested funding for their imitative projects.  “We are looking at a 5% increase in our core appropriation,” said Wolfe, “Those core appropriation dollars go towards scholarships, funding for extension, and hiring the best and the brightest faculty, as well as to the maintenance of the buildings.”

In addition, Wolfe said the system has almost $200 million in capital projects. “That will result in over 500 construction jobs and 1600 permanent jobs,” said Wolfe, “The reason we need these buildings is that we continue to grow the student population and the employers in the state of Missouri are demanding that we produce the right quantity and quality of graduates to fill the openings they have.  So, we are basically out of space from the education standpoint, specifically in the science, technology, engineering and math areas.”

According to Wolfe, if they receive the funding for the initiatives proposed by the general assembly, this will be the best year of funding for the University of Missouri system in 13 years.