UM curators tackle recruitment, president search and retiree benefits

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ROLLA - University of Missouri Interim Chancellor, Hank Foley, stressed the need for increased recruitment efforts at the UM System Board of Curators meeting in Rolla Thursday. 

Foley told the Board MU needs to double recruiters going into next school year. 

"At this point we do have some budget challenges, but we're willing to put the money that we do have into areas where we think we will get the highest payback," Foley said. 

Foley said in-state enrollment numbers have been better, but out-of state numbers are down, which is why the drop has affected revenue more harshly. 

According to Foley, there are several reasons for the decrease in MU enrollment. He cited change in enrollment standards in neighboring states, changing demographics in Missouri, and a better economy among the reasons enrollment has gone down at the university. 

Foley said in order to stay competitive MU needs to send more recruiters to Texas, California and Illinois. They have been increasing social media and electronic efforts in order to reach potential students. 

After the racial unrest on MU's campus last year, a big concern has been how the administration would handle diversity at the university. 

Foley said the future of MU diversity is "unsure" at this point.

However, he said he is optimistic MU can create comprehensive and effective diversity programs.

Foley said the university will have to campaign harder for students of diversity to ensure that they return in future years. 

Chancellors of the three other campuses also said they were not satisfied with the size of their enrollment efforts. For most of them, growing their recruitment has been an issue of budgetary restraints. 

Later in the day Thursday the UM System Presidential Search Committee approved the final qualifications of the next University of Missouri System president.

The qualification statement lists twelve qualities the committee agreed upon that will guide the curators in choosing the next UM System President. They include fluency in the culture of higher education, multi-cultural competency, and demonstrated business leadership.

The curators held open forums at each of the four campuses earlier this year to seek input from those communities. 

A change to retiree insurance was also approved at the meeting Thursday.

The UM System said the changes will allow UM to provide retiree insurance benefits to more employees.

The new system will affect employees retiring after January 1, 2018. 

(Editor's note: The body and headline of this story have been updated to reflect the newest information.)