Annual Report 2014-2015

HLC continues accreditation

Officials with The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a regional higher education accrediting agency, voted to continue Missouri State University-West Plains' accreditation.

University officials received formal notification of the decision by HLC's Institutional Actions Council (IAC) by letter in August 2014. In the letter, HLC officials said the IAC continued the accreditation of Missouri State University-West Plains, with the "next reaffirmation of accreditation" scheduled during the 2023-24 academic year. The IAC made its decision at its Aug. 11 meeting, the letter indicated.

"We are pleased with the results of the self-study process and the April site visit and report," Chancellor Drew Bennett said. "The HLC site team report praised our self study, our board of governors and our dedication to students, highlighting an 'outstanding commitment by the administration, faculty and staff to help students be successful.' Operation 50K and our efforts to provide opportunities for students to appreciate cultural diversity and to prepare students for life and work in a global setting were specifically noted. In my opinion, we should be extremely proud of this HLC report as it provides an overall positive evaluation of Missouri State University-West Plains."

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is an independent corporation and one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States, http;//, phone: (312) 263-0456.

Bonding package provides funds for the West Plains campus

A bonding package worth approximately $300 million signed by Gov. Jay Nixon in June will fund repairs and renovations to public properties around the state. The legislation included about $1.7 million in renovations for Missouri State-West Plains. "The projects being funded are critical for our campus," said Dr. Drew Bennett, chancellor of Missouri State-West Plains. "We would like to thank everyone who made this support possible." Approximately $1.5 million in funding will go toward renovating the building currently occupied by the U.S. Postal Service in West Plains. Bennett explained the building's anticipated use will expand classroom, tutoring and office space for the campus. "As renovation plans are developed, additional uses may be identified that would fit very well with the central location of the building on campus." The project is expected to start in January 2017 and take about one year to complete. An additional $220,000 will be used to upgrade and improve life safety equipment in the Garnett Library, Putnam Student Center and M.O. Looney Hall. The work will begin in summer 2016.

Annual Fund: Provides opportunities for students

Donations to the Annual Fund are making a direct and immediate impact on the lives of students attending Missouri State-West Plains.

Begun in 2007, the fund provides money for five different University areas that cannot be funded through state appropriations or tuition: campus technology/labs/facilities, scholarships, emergency grants, educational initiatives and University/community programs.

For more information about the Annual Fund and methods for giving to the University, contact the development office at (417) 255-7240 or visit the office's website at:

Grizzly Greenhouse officially open for business

The Grizzly Greenhouse on the Missouri State University-West Plains campus officially opened for business June 16 with a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house hosted by University officials and the West Plains Area Chamber of Commerce. The greenhouse, which cost an estimated $110,000 to construct, will provide a teaching laboratory for students enrolled in the University's agribusiness educational programs developed as part of the $2.5 million U.S. Department of Labor's Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant Program at the University, officials said. The facility is designed to teach a variety of horticultural techniques, including conventional horticulture, companion plantings, raised beds and aquaculture.

Other Campus Highlights

  • Missouri State-West Plains was selected for the 2014 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The recognition, awarded annually by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) since 2006, is given to colleges and universities across the country that set an example in community service and make service learning opportunities a priority for students. This is the first year Missouri State-West Plains has been recognized. Missouri State-West Plains is one of the very few two-year schools in the country, and the only two-year school in Missouri, to achieve this distinction.
  • The Missouri State-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team ended its 2014 season on a high note Nov. 22 by placing seventh at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I Women's National Volleyball Championship Tournament in Casper, Wyoming.
  • Enrollment at Missouri State-West Plains increased 3.3 percent for the 2014 fall semester. The figures show 2,193 students took classes at the University last fall compared to 2013's overall tally of 2,123 students. The increase built on a 1 percent increase the year before and came at a time when many two-year institutions in Missouri experienced enrollment decreases.
  • Organizers of the Ozarks Gaming Convention (Oz-Con) hosted by Missouri State University-West Plains Computer Graphics and Programming (CGP) Department and the student chapter of Association for Computer Machinery (ACM) June 26-28 raised $2,500 through the event for Bridges, a community-based organization designed to meet various needs of students in the West Plains R-7 and surrounding rural schools.
  • For more than 10 years, students at Missouri State-West Plains scored above the national average in all categories of the Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP) examination. Graduates have scored at or above the national average in all five subject areas for 19 consecutive years.

Awards and Recognition

  • Dr. Renee Moore, professor of child and family development, Faculty Excellence in Public Affairs Award
  • Judy Carr, associate professor of psychology/sociology, Governor's Award for Excellence in Education
  • Jared Cates, Missouri State-West Plains graduate, Missouri State University Board of Governors' Citizen Scholar Award
  • 2014 Grizzly Volleyball team, NJCAA All-Academic Team honors

Online Degree Now Available

Students at Missouri State University-West Plains are now able to complete all of the credit hours required for the Associate of Arts in General Studies degree completely online. Dr. Dennis Lancaster, dean of academic affairs, said University officials received approval last fall from its accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission in Chicago, Illinois, to offer the degree online, and all of the components are now in place to give students who find it more convenient to take online classes the opportunity to earn a complete degree without having to make several trips to campus each week. Currently, 70 classes are part of the online curriculum, and several have multiple sections of the class available.

Endowed Professorship Established

Officials at Missouri State University-West Plains announced in May they have raised the minimum $250,000 needed in donations and pledges to endow the University's third professorship, the Endowed Professorship of Business. Chancellor Drew Bennett said the professorship will provide the money needed to support the salary of the chair of the division of business, applied technology and public service, an important position with demanding responsibilities. The professorship was awarded at the beginning of the 2015 fall semester, with Missouri State-West Plains funding the interest for the professorship for the first five years while pledges are being met and the professorship reaches its full endowment level.