Cronkite show performed in DC, NY

In celebration of Walter Cronkite’s upcoming 100th birthday, the Cronkite show premiered at the Newseum in Washington D.C. on Sunday, Sept. 25. The showing of Cronkite was part of a series of events at the Newseum, an interactive museum dedicated to journalism and news, in honor of the “Most Trusted Man in America.” Missouri Western President Dr. Robert Vartabedian, who conceived and edited the show, helped introduce the show to the audience. “We’re here and we’re very happy to be here to celebrate the centennial of Walter Cronkite’s birth that was back in 1916 in St. Joseph, Missouri. We’re also here to share with you our live, multimedia show entitled Cronkite,” Vartabedian said. John Maynard, director of programs at the Newseum, said it was nice having the play performed at the Newseum. “Of course, Walter Cronkite holds a very dear spot here in the Newseum. You’ll find his work throughout the Newseum, which looks at the history of journalism…It’s been a great partnership with Missouri Western State University.” The showing at the Newseum, however, was not the only place the Cronkite performance has appeared recently. “Just Friday night, we played the Lincoln Center with the entire trilogy,” Vartabedian said. “This is one show of three. The other two acts of this trilogy, And That’s the Way It Is: Cronkite’s Journey, starts with Harry and Walter: Missouri’s Native Sons as act one and act two is King and Cronkite, and then this is the finale or third act. We’ve done this in New York and we’ve had some people ask us if we’d like to extend our run to a regional or off-Broadway venue. We’ve also done it at Union Station in Kansas City and the Truman Presidential Library, so it’s getting more and more exposed.” Missouri Western has continued to expand its memorial in Spratt Hall in honor of the famed journalist and St. Joseph native. Speaking of Cronkite after the show, Vartabedian remarked on Cronkite’s integrity and legacy. “He shared with the world the major stories or most of the major stories of my lifetime and did so with a tremendous amount of integrity. It’s easy to memorialize someone of Cronkite’s character, it truly is,” Vartabedian said. Missouri Western will be hosting its own Walter Cronkite centennial event at the Walter Cronkite Memorial on Nov. 5, a day after Cronkite’s 100th birthday.

Big changes for the FAFSA

The time to get the Free Application for Federal Student Aid completed is now Oct. 1 - Feb. 1. Though FAFSA can now be completed anytime before February, it is advised that students fill it out as quickly as possible. This change is to better help first-year college students when they are choosing possible institutions by allowing them to know how much financial aid they will need months prior to their enrollment. The change also helps continuing students. Instead of getting it done in January when students don’t have school on the mind, they can get it done during fall break when Missouri Western is top priority. FAFSA will now be using the tax forms of two years prior, so students and parents won't have to wait to file their taxes before submitting. If a parent loses their job during the year, they are able to go onto Missouri Western’s Financial Aid website and find the Special Circumstance Appeal Request form so that the student will receive the right amount of aid needed. Due to the changes to the FAFSA, the Missouri's Access Grant deadline has also changed from April 1 to Feb. 1., along with scholarship deadlines and priority Financial Aid deadlines. For continuing first-year students, financial aid packaging deadlines are still due in May, after grades are posted. First-year students will receive their financial aid the first week of December as opposed to March or April. “The FAFSA date change will not affect the amount received," said Paul Orscheln, Associate Vice President Enrollment Manager. Marilyn Baker, Director of Financial Aid believes that this will be a positive change for students. “Before [students] leave for Christmas Break they can talk to Financial Aid staff and ask questions or use our computer lab to fill out questions. This is better than doing it during the summertime when we are here but students aren’t,” Baker said. “I hope it helps students. I hope it allows students to get their applications done before student break." Baker hopes to open up a couple of workshops at some point before Feb. 1 to try to help students with the changes. Students can make appointments to meet with Financial Aid if they have questions. Central High School’s graduating seniors are preparing for the FAFSA application changes already, and will be having Missouri Western’s Financial Aid department come and talk to the parents and seniors. “Families with older siblings may stumble at this change, because they had dealt with FAFSA in the past and were unaware of the new changes. However, for first-time freshman the change should be very simple,” said Megan McCamy, a student counselor at Central High School. All students are advised to deal with the new changes by checking their Goldlink accounts, student emails and completing FAFSA as quickly as possible

The cost of doing business

When Dale Krueger was hired as an assistant professor in the business department in 1984, President Ronald Reagan was about to be elected to a second term and Prince's Purple Rain was the number one album in the country. Now, 32 years later, he is the longest-serving faculty member in the Craig School of Business, and the lowest paid associate professor. In spite of that longevity, four teachers in CSB make about $35,000 more than Krueger-over $100,000-including a new assistant professor hired just last year. According to Krueger, when Western became AACSB accredited, the administration stopped hiring people without business doctorates, and began to hire at higher wages in order to remain competitive with other accredited universities. The cost of doing business The CSB currently has 19 faculty members ranked instructor, assistant professor, associate professor or professor. Out of these, only five remain from before the push for the AACSB accreditation in 2007. The 14 hired during or after the decision to seek accreditation were hired at considerably higher salaries than their counterparts. For example, three assistant professors hired last August are already making $80,000 or more, according to data provided by the CSB following a Griffon News open record request:
  • Jeremy Logan Jones, Management Assistant Professor- $80,000
  • Hillary Mellema, Marketing Assistant Professor- $82,000
  • Kirill Yurov,Management Assistant Professor- $92,000
Those salaries are approaching double the approximately $48,000 starting salary of assistant professors in many other departments, according to Missouri Blue Book record. While the salaries of the business department are high compared to to those in other departments, they are actually low compared to national figures. The top-paid faculty member in the CSB is Management Professor Mark Lewis, who was hired in August of 2005, before the push for the accreditation. Lewis is paid $106, 034.70 a year, and is closely followed by Accounting Assistant Professor Sunil Dahanayake and Information Systems and Marketing Professor Peggy Lane, both of whom were hired in 2014 and earn $105,060 annually. The university has also hired a new associate professor to start teaching next semester for $90,000 annually. Dean of the CSB Michael Lane said that it is necessary to hire top-notch faculty members in order to show that Western school means business, so to speak. "It makes companies comfortable with the quality of graduates that they’re getting. They know we have standards, they know that our faculty maintain their standards," Lane said. Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Jeanne Daffron explained that it is worth it to hire more expensive faculty members in order to meet the accreditation requirements. "If we’re going to have a program, we want it to be a high-quality program,” Daffron said. “So, you know, you have to divert the resources that are necessary for that." While personnel are funded through the general operating budget, the CSB does require each of its students to pay a $35 per credit hour fee. That fee is more than twice the $17.65 paid for humanities courses. But, the total cost per credit hour-$232.79 vs. $215.44-is only 8 percent higher for business students. Daffron also explained that the market for AACSB accredited-level hiring is a competitive one. "In order to get the credentials that you need for the quality program, the market is going to drive the price up," Daffron said. How we stack up on the national market Lane said that Western hires on the low end of the spectrum. "We’re hiring very low on the national scale, and we recruit nationally," Lane said. The majority of CSB faculty members make between the 10th and 25th percentile in their discipline, according to a study conducted by AACSB.  However, Lane said that some faculty members who were hired before the accreditation are "way below the market." For example,Behavioral Science Professor Brett Luthans, who was hired in August of 1996, is making $79,538.89 a year. Not only is that figure well below his brand-new colleagues, it is less than half the national median salary for full professors in his discipline: $168,900 Krueger’s $69, 842 salary falls below the 10th percentile and is well below the $129,000 median salary for associate professors in accounting. Similarly, Konrad Gunderson, also an associate professor in accounting, is well below the median at $73, 351. In comparison, Sunil Dahanayake, a new Ph.D. hired last fall—14 years after Gunderson—started as an assistant professor making $105, 060. While that number may seem eye-popping here at Missouri Western, it is still well below The median assistant professor salary for accounting of $139,900. Ironically, the national median salary for assistant professors is higher than full professors ($139,700), something that is unheard of in other departments. Lane explained that quality hires tend to only seek schools who have AACSB accreditation. "Candidates don’t necessarily segregate by public-private, they do tend to segregate by AACSB accredited and non-AACSB accredited," Lane said. Daffron explained that the university needs those qualified candidates inorder to keep their accreditation. "AACSB looks very strongly at faculty credentials," Daffron said. "It's really not a meeting minimum standards kind of accreditation it's more of a higher education kind of accreditation." In addition to higher salaries, those hired at an AACSB accredited university are expected to do additional research and publish articles in order to maintain the university's accreditation, which means less hours spent with students. Doing their research All faculty members in the CSB are given one less class per semester than a typical teaching professor in order to spend time conducting research to publish journal articles or present at conferences, according to Lane. "They have to maintain our requirements for scholarly/academic and that is either three journal articles, or two journal articles plus two other things like presentations at conferences and those kind of things," Lane said. Lane explained that CSB professors have a heavier teaching load than most comparable universities, stating that many schools give their business professors at least two fewer classes. Additionally, Lane said that the requirements set by the CSB for their faculty members must be reported to the AACSB and met in order to keep the school's accreditation . Accreditation affirmation  According to the revised 2016 standards for AACSB, a school must be reevaluated every five years in order to keep their accreditation. The standards state that "the school must develop appropriate criteria consistent with its mission for the classification of faculty according to initial academic preparation, professional experience, ongoing scholarship, and ongoing professional engagement." The requirements set forth by the CSB must be met by each reevaluation period in order for the school to be reaccredited. Western first received AACSB accreditation in 2010, and was reevaluated last year. This semester, it was announced that the university had maintained its accreditation. Turnover The CSB has maintained a faculty of about 19 professors since it was founded in 2008.  However, since 2012, 11 faculty members have resigned from the school. While some have retired, Daffron said that others have left to be close to family. She also said that the level of turnover in the CSB may not be typical of other departments, and that this is due to the competitive job market. "It’s probably higher in business. Some of it is because there’s a lot of opportunity, the supply is not great," Daffron said. Another additional factor is that professors would rather publish more instead of spending time in the classroom. "Here we have a really strong focus on teaching,” Daffron said. “Some people really want an opportunity to have more of their day or week spent doing research." However, Daffron does not believe that the number of resigning professors is a serious problem, and she doesn't believe that Lane is worried. "Those are not easy positions to fill, but I don’t think he’s concerned that people are leaving, you know, in numbers that overwhelmingly concern him at all," Daffron said. Dahanayake and Selcuk Ertekin will be resigning at the end of this semester,and they won't be the only one's leaving. Krueger will be retiring on Jan. 1, after working past typical retirement in order to secure his future.  The 78-year-old associate professor said that he felt "blessed" to have worked at Western, but originally stayed despite having his doctoral degree in education administration not recognized by the CSB because his children were in high school here and his wife was a student at Western. He said the other people in the department that make less than the newer hires are in a similar situation. "They have a choice, like I do, but, because of family circumstances, most of these people do not want to leave for a variety of reasons," Krueger said.  

Western to receive $800k more from state; increase won’t prevent salary erosion

The Missouri General Assembly has voted to approve a state budget for the 2017 fiscal year, which will provide a 4 percent increase to higher education funding. There is concern, however, that the $873,000 in additional funding will not be enough to offset inflation for personnel salaries. Historically, when state allocations are increased, universities patch any holes in their own budgets, and then look to add to salaries for their employees. If the governor approves the General Assembly’s budget, this trend of adding to salaries will likely continue for Missouri Western. “Provided our revenue estimates leave us with additional funding after we cover our mandatory costs, it is likely we would attempt to provide our employees with salary and wage increases, and follow that with other budgetary adjustments if additional funding remains,” Cale Fessler, vice president for financial planning and administration said. Western’s Faculty Senate salary committee recommended a 3.5 percent addition to salaries to counterbalance Missouri inflation rates. The raise would provide the average salary with $2,102.10, which some believe to be a suitable amount. “As to whether a… increase is ‘worth it,’ the answer is absolutely yes,” Jon Rhoad, past faculty senate president said. “One must not discount the long-term, compounding effect of percent increases.” Though the Faculty Senate recommended a 3.5 percent bump for personnel, Rhoad is doubtful that the proposal will pass the Board of Governors. “The president is always careful not to promise too much when talking about salary increases,” Rhoad said. “I do not think that the salary increase will be that large. A 3.5 percent increase would cost more than $1 million for all faculty and staff.” Even if the full amount of increased state allocations went to raises, the $873,000 would not be enough to institute the Senate’s proposal. In times of austerity and large-scale state cuts, it’s rare for salaries to be a first priority for universities statewide. “I think most schools are using state funding increases to address inflation across their budgets so as to allow them to hold tuition down and keep higher education as affordable as possible,” Paul Wagner, director of the Council on Public Higher Education in Missouri said. “I don’t think many universities have been able to consistently give faculty and staff raises over the past several years.” In attempt to counterbalance inflation rates, many universities, including Western, provide “cost-of-living increases” to salaries and wages. The Faculty Senate salary committee has reported that since 2007, these cost-of-living increases have lagged behind inflation by 1.7 percent. That percentage lag has compounded each year since then, to the point that in 2016, faculty salaries are 3.5 percent behind inflation. In order to mitigate these inflation levels, the Faculty Senate has proposed a 3.5 percent salary increase. Without the 3.5 percent boost, inflation will continue to erode university salaries.

Western celebrates Student Employment Week

Student Employment Week took place April 13 through 17 and has had an impact on both students and their employers. According to Brett McKnight, Student Employment Coordinator, student employment week is a week long recognition of student accomplishments. “It’s a week where colleges and universities all across the nation recognize student employees on campus. Part of that week is for the student employee of the year celebration and also student employment supervisor of the year," said McKnight. Kay-lynne Taylor, Director for Career Development Center, believes the recognition prompts students to work harder. “When somebody is appreciated, they will almost always do a little bit more and a little bit better, and they just feel better. It helps our students understand that we appreciate their efforts and we appreciate what they do. As student employees, they are understanding employability, what they are doing in their job, and then they also feel like the future is a little bit brighter for them in terms of their career path," Taylor said. There are between 500-600 students working on campus. Though this week was dedicated to recognizing all of them, some students were specifically recognized for their achievements. This year, Steven Brown, a senior Supplemental Instruction tutor in the Center for Academic Support (CAS) was a winner. The finalists included Hailey Kober, a Career Mentor in MWSUs Career Development Center, and Matt Scholz, Resident Assistant. This year's Student Employment supervisor of the year was Karen Luke, Administrative Assistant of the CAS. “It’s a rigorous process; this is only the third year, so since then we’ve had more applicants, more participation, and more offices are starting to recognize the whole week or even a day," Taylor said. “We want to help students learn professionalism, etiquette, and understanding how to do general office correspondence, because no matter where you work you’re going to have to do this. We also want to help them have initiative, [we're] seeking to help them develop self-motivation.They are learning skills that are going to benefit them in the future." McKnight explained that the event has grown over the years. “We’ve seen an increase of nominees. All the nominees are great people and deserving of the award, which is why there is a whole week to recognize all of them, regardless of who won the awards,” McKnight said. Jamie Sweiger, Assistant Director of Admissions-Operation, weighed in that students are integral to the campus's functions, as well as student employment being a good way for students to get work experience. “They are critical to our operation," Sweiger said. Sweiger continued. “It gives the students a good experience starting out—something they can build with their resume. I like to offer to be a reference for those that work for me. I try to teach them things that I believe will help them in the work force." Student employment opportunities at Missouri Western can be found at Griffons 4 Hire on the Career Development Center's website by visiting https://www.missouriwestern.edu/careerdevelopment/.