Last Wednesday many of Missouri S&T’s esteemed alumni, faculty, and even UM system president Choi came down to listen to chancellor Dehghani’s state of the university address. The address began shortly after 5 pm as people rolled into the auditorium and opened with president Choi giving an introduction for Dr. Dehghani. The presentation was structured by first covering Missouri S&T’s past, our present condition, and what our plans are for the future.
Dehghani began with covering the school’s origin at the Rolla building 149 years ago, and he talked about the accomplishments of some of our oldest and some of our newer alumni. From the life of Vachel McNutt and his contributions, namely the discovery of U.S. potash, after graduation from the then “Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy” to newer alumni Sandra Magnus, Janet Kavandi, and Tom Akers who got the opportunity to travel into space. Dehghani also made a point of our school’s past with the military, community service, and even a period where our football team was undefeated, but never scored against in 1914.
From our school’s accomplished past, chancellor Dehghani then lead into our school’s current situation. For good we currently boast an incredibly high freshman average GPA of 3.95 and still have a very good regional reputation as a premiere university of science and technology. However, he also made strong points about where we really need to improve. As it stands we are still sitting as an R2 research university on the Carnegie scale, ranked 179 nationally, and have a retention rate of around 80%. Dehghani promised to push us to R1, place us in the top 100 schools nationally, and to work on improving our enrollment statistics.
Considering where our statistics were five years ago, such as being ranked 129 nationally, and our school’s diligent and hardworking ethic, Dehghani’s promises seem reasonable especially given his plans. For starters, our school’s focus on technological jobs promises to be greatly beneficial in the near future as it is projected that 65% of all jobs for current kindergartners don’t already exist. So our curriculum focus will be, as the chancellor put it, “future proof”. Dehghani placed our immediate focus on improving enrollment, and by extension our incoming student diversity and school accessibility, improving our research, and to improve the regional prosperity.
Our current plans for improving enrollment is through outreach programs to state and international high schools and undergraduates and to improve student retention by better assistance programs. We hope to better our research with better funding and more graduate students, and to improve our local economy with more job creation and providing assistance to local entrepreneurs similar to Purdue and discovery valley. More immediate plans that students will be able to possibly see before graduating is a complete campus beautification and a greater international focus. There will be a complete renovation of Schrenk Hall, the student design center, and even a new entrance into the university that will be underway and hopefully complete by 2022.
These points and more can be found online and more in depth on the Chancellor’s website at chancellor.mst.edu/state-of-the-university where there is a recording of the entire presentation along with more background. We all look forward to seeing the fruition of Chancellor Dehghani’s drive for making Missouri S&T the premiere technological campus of the world, and to make sure our next 150 years are even better that our last 150 years.