Close Page

MNU to close Liberty campus, address unexpected expenses

News
By Alex Schmitt
May 02, 2017

This is the first definitive decision that has been announced as a result of the New Horizons initiative, a program launched in 2016 to evaluate every MNU program and organization in regards to investment, return and potential growth.

“It’s been a good site for us, but over a period of time it has not produced the kind of growth that you would think in that area,” Spittal said. “It costs us to maintain the facility that we lease, it costs us for staffing, it costs us for our people to go out there and teach classes and so we’ve determined to close that facility.”

Spittal said that there are currently two faculty members exclusive to the Liberty campus and both will transition to the Olathe campus to continue teaching.

On Nov. 7, leading faculty members submitted 30-70 page reports to the board of trustees to be used to assess their respective department or program. Spittal said there is no official timeline for announcing decisions based on these reports.

President David Spittal addresses staff and faculty during an all-campus meeting on April 26 in the Bell Cultural Events Center. During the meeting, Spittal gave updates on the New Horizons initiative and announced the closing of MNU’s Liberty, Missouri campus. Photo by Chace Owen.President David Spittal addresses staff and faculty during an all-campus meeting on April 26 in the Bell Cultural Events Center. During the meeting, Spittal gave updates on the New Horizons initiative and announced the closing of MNU’s Liberty, Missouri campus. Photo by Chace Owen.

“We still have things we need to solve for the benefit of students and so it will be a process as we move along,” Spittal said. “We hope to engage everybody, including students, but we have a lot of hard decisions to make.”
According to a graphic presented by Spittal to the faculty and staff, while the budget for this fiscal year showed a profit of $516,891, a series of expenses the university had not planned for have budget projections as of April 24 showing MNU ending out the year with a deficit of $813,474. This would make the the actual cost of the year $1,330,365 more than initially expected and planned for.

“We deal with [being over budget] all the time. We normally borrow about $5 million to get through the summer,” Spittal said. “[The bank has] only loaned us $3 million, and against that $3 million we have borrowed $1.2 [million], and they said, ‘we’ll loan you the rest if you show a profit.’ We are gonna fight for that.”

Spittal went on to say that MNU plans to meet its financial goals by contacting donors and churches, finding a new bank and limiting spending by university departments.

The president said that he wants to create a $5 million contingency fund that could be used to pay for unexpected charges including unforeseen maintenance, federal and state regulations and other university changes or occasional expenses.

Spittal also emphasised the need for the university to increase the number of students who attend MNU.

“We need to increase traditional, first-time person and transfer cohorts this fall to about 350,” Spittal said. “If we hover around 300, retention will be taking us back down to where we are not gonna gain any ground. We’ve got to fix the retention issue. We’re losing far too many students this past year for academic reasons [...] and a lot for social and personal reasons, [who] just cannot adjust to college life.”

In addition to retention, Spittal said the university needs to be bringing in new transfers, which will mean reaching out to populations other than athletes, the most common group to be pursued after their freshman year.

“About 100 athletes come to us each year as transfer students,” Spittal said. “We need to increase the number of non-athletes that are transferring into the other programs that we have. That’s going to be a challenge. One of the ways that other institutions are looking at growth is, ‘Are there students that we are missing who won’t come to us because they can’t participate in something they love?’ What other programs do we need to be looking at?”

With the emphasis on increasing enrollment, Spittal mentioned that a new cabinet level position could be created. “Strategic Marketing and Enrollment Growth” has been pitched as a potential addition to the president's cabinet.

Bruce Flanders, director of Mabee Learning Commons and head of the New Horizons task force, said that the task force discussed student enrollment as MNU’s lifeline, and that this position, if it were implemented, would place someone on the president’s cabinet to advise on how to improve student enrollment.

“The talk is adding a sixth position relating to enrollment strategies as being of such importance to the university that it rises to the level of a cabinet position,” Flanders said.

The president said that this is currently only a suggestion and is not yet decided upon or officially in the works.

 

Alex Schmitt

- More by this author

Alex Schmitt is a History at MidAmerica Nazarene University, and he is also the news editor for The Trailblazer.

comments powered by Disqus
IMG 3696

Cross country runs to a top 20 finish at nationals

For most college students, having to run a mile would be seen as a punishment and a burden. However, to the MNU cross country team, running only a mile is a nice day off.

moia112717

Many parts, one body

No. 19 MNU women's basketball team united in diversity

23592223 10212720222053616 306630559851822706 o

Sweet surprise: MNU men’s soccer ends year with national tournament berth

Jonathan Koch threw his jersey into his bag and stormed over to Cook Center. The text he had received from his coach was clear.

bfmock

Sunderland Foundation gives a second sizable donation toward MNU’s new Student Center

The Sunderland Foundation donated $300 thousand to MNU to go toward the building of a new Student Center in late October. The donation was the second gift from the Sunderland Foundation in two years.

file

Creative Spaces

Replenishing the mind and body through art

Devin Kelley

When answers are not enough

Responding to tragedies such as the Texas church shooting

Quick updates Nov. 2017

Men’s Soccer After an overtime win on penalty kicks on Nov. 3 at No.

JGMBB

Men's basketball team hits the ground running

This isn't true for the members of the MNU men’s basketball team.  Since August, the team has put in many hours on the court, in the weight room, in the film room and even on the track in preparation for the upcoming season.

Extreme makeover: website edition

MNU’s main online presence will undergo a facelift in 2018. After five years with the same website, the university’s Marketing and Communications Department wants a web platform that better accommodates potential and current students.

Videos / See More