Western’s Board of Governors kicks off the year with big renovations

Western’s Board of Governors hit the ground running with their first meeting of the 2016-2017 academic year, Thursday, Aug. 25 at 1:30 p.m. in Blum 220. Vice President of Student Services, Shana Meyer gave a brief update on campus renovations. Including the remodel of the Center for Student Involvement and International Student Services offices, as well as renovations to Potter Hall. An open house is scheduled for Sept. 2, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., with an additional presentation at noon. The board also unanimously voted to name the university's newly renovated pool the Thomas Eagleton Indoor Pool. Dedicated to U.S. Senator Thomas Eagleton, who helped the university with a variety of campus renovations, including the installation of the pool over fifty years ago. Missouri Western President Robert Vartabedian was enthusiastic about the board agreeing to dedicate the pool to the late senator, as the the new sign for the pool had already been installed. “I’m glad you all agreed, because the letters are already up. I would have spent a lot of time tonight pulling those down,” Vartabedian joked. After the discussion on the dedication of the pool, the board reaffirmed their ethics policy, defining the moral obligation to identify any personal conflicts of interest a board member may have throughout the year. The board also welcomed Kim Sigrist as the president’s new executive associate and the new recording secretary of the board. Prior to taking on her new position in July, Sigrist worked as an administrative coordinator in Western’s Athletic Department. Vice President of Financial Planning Cale Fessler presented a reevaluation of the university insurance plan that will  provide Western employees vision, dental and health care at a lower rate. The university plans to switch their dental coverage from Blue Cross Blue Shield to MetLife, saving a little over two percent. The university health, vision and life insurance policies will remain the same. The Missouri Western Board of Governors will meet again on Thursday, Oct. 27 at 1:30 p.m. in Blum 220.

Child Abuse Conference

The fourth annual conference on child abuse education, prevention and investigation was held last Wednesday and Thursday, April 21 and 22 in Spratt Hall. The conference is hosted and sponsored by several departments on campus including the Regional Law Enforcement Academy, the Western Institute, the Department of Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, and Social Work, the Department of Nursing, the Department of Education, and the Northwest Missouri Children’s Advocacy Center. Professor of legal studies, David Tushaus, says the sessions were also sponsored by the JAYC [Just Ask Yourself to Care] foundation, which helps children and families in need of healing after experiencing trauma. Jaycee Lee Dugard, who was abducted at 11 years old and wasn’t reunited with her family until 18 years later, started the foundation as a way of providing support, protection and healing to those in need. “It is helpful for people in the profession, but also for people who have suffered similar types of abuse and neglect issues, to be able to hear about [Dugard’s] story,” Tushaus said. The main goal of the conference was to educate the general public on the issue of child abuse and neglect. Kip Wilson, associate professor of criminal justice, says there were several sessions that were open for all students, faculty and community members. “They’re designed to have some for educators, some are for lawyers, some are for social workers, some are for law enforcement and some are more for the medical side of things,” Wilson said. Tushaus explains why the sessions are important to the criminal justice department. “A big part of the investigation part of the conference has to do with law enforcement, and law enforcement’s role in investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect,” Tushaus said. The conferences are put on each year to educate Missouri Western students, staff and the general public on the importance of the investigations of child abuse and neglect. “We recognize that it’s important that these cases be investigated properly both to preserve evidence and to avoid re-victimizing the victim,” Tushaus said. The sessions are also a way of shedding light on a subject that Psychology Professor Teddi Deka says is prevalent in all societies. “It’s really important that other people that are involved with children are aware of recognizing child abuse or child neglect,” Deka said. Some resources community members can provide to a child who is suffering from neglect are making sure the child has food, getting resources to the parents and providing education for parents and their children. Deka stresses the importance of parenting education classes in high schools and for the general public as a helpful step in the prevention of abuse and neglect in children. “I think parent education is the number one prevention,” Deka said. “We need to educate parents about how to be better parents.” Wilson explains that another prevention of child abuse involves being more aware of the subject and taking the steps in reporting cases and providing adequate investigations. “Part of it is children are almost treated as objects or possessions, and so we investigate them completely different than we would some other crime,” Wilson said. He gives the example of when people notice a dog left on a chain without food or water and calls it in, the criminal goes to jail, whereas when children are in the situation of being neglected or abused they may not even have an investigation. At the keynote presentation, which took place on Wednesday and was free to the public, the statistics of child abuse cases not being reported were shown. In 1999, 3.244 million children reported abuse or neglect, and only 28-33 percent of these cases will get investigated. “I think it’s important to report it,” Wilson said. “If [the community] feel that something is wrong then they try to make sure that somebody looks at it, or if they can’t intervene themselves, make sure that somebody else will intervene.”

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.  

Crime Hotspots

Do you ever avoid a certain area of your town or any town simply because it has a reputation for being unsafe? If you are going on a trip to somewhere unknown, don’t you want to be more aware of the dangers in that specific area? Friday, April 22, an event was held in Spratt Hall to enlighten students on the role of geographic information systems. Missouri Western welcomed Steven Ericson, from the Department of Geography at the University of Alabama, to come talk a little more about what exactly these hotspots are and why they are important. “Hotspot mapping allows people to really pinpoint and identify larger areas where crimes occur,” Ericson said. Ericson explained that hotspotting allows people to see if it just one specific place or a larger area is at risk for high crime. Ericson went on to say students should be asking themselves, “Where am I looking and where are my surroundings, so I don’t become the victim of crime?” “A lot of crime, in my opinion, is preventable -- especially with the help of these hotspot maps," Ericson said. According to Ericson, people have been recording crime hotspots for about 20 years. Some newspapers are showing maps with hotspots now to make their readers more aware of the locations that are unsafe, helping to prevent future crime. “It also helps police departments to better allocate when there are fewer police working, where they need to patrol to reduce crime; it allows them to better allocate their resources”. Ericson added that it’s also useful for university police departments to better to serve and raise awareness with students. It can let them know what parts of the campus and towns around them to avoid. Professor of History, Jay Lemanski, attended this event, and thinks Ericson is doing vital work. “The work Dr. Ericson does is important," Lemanski said. “The most interesting thing I learned were the different methods and theories. I think an interesting part of his presentation was where he listed different theories of crime and trying to find a way to correlate that to geography and where it occurs.”

Guy/Samenus hold first SGA meeting

Less than a week after being inaugurated, the Guy/Samenus administration held its very first SGA meeting. The new administration and SGA Senate took over the final SGA meeting for the 2015-2016 academic year on April 25, where they introduced and passed several pieces of legislation. The first votes the new senate cast were to approve SGA’s constitution and the bylaws. Approving SGA’s governing document is something that happens each year as a way of starting things off, said SGA President Alec Guy. “In terms of approving the constitution and the bylaws, those are all kind of formalities that we do at the beginning of the year,” Guy said. The Senate then approved legislation to confirm President Guy’s executive board. The approved positions and appointments included Executive Vice President Connor Samenus, Director of Public Relations Gillian Evans, Director of Finance Matt Scholz, Director of Student Involvement Mon’tra Qualls-Woods and Assistant Director of External Relations Brad Stanton. The senate was also presented with an interim SGA operating budget at Monday night’s meeting. The budget was passed unanimously, but it is not binding and will likely be refined and reworked over the summer months Guy said. “Basically what happens is we get the budget and we go through and we decide how we want to allocate funds or if we want to change anything in the budget,” Guy said. “This is just kind of a rough estimate and then over the summer, we’ll go through and specify it and actually decide what we want to spend everything on. So, yes, this is just an approval of formality and it’s not binding, but the one we approve next meeting will be binding.” The last bill approved by the Senate was a resolution to thank the previous SGA President Ida Haefner and Vice President Brad Stanton for their work over the past year. Overall, the new administration was optimistic about the first meeting as well as the future. “Like I’ve said time and time again, I think this group has a lot of potential and we can do great things,” Guy said. “I think for the first meeting, it definitely went well. There were a few questions asked, which I’m excited about. Usually, at the first meeting, everyone is kind of timid, but there were some questions asked and some people spoke and wanted to clear things up before the vote, which is a great thing.” Vice President Connor Samenus, who led the session, thought the meeting ran well and looks forward to working with the senate in the future. “I think it went well. I mean, it’s the first one and I was a little nervous, but everyone was well informed on the legislation, so it was great,” Samenus said. “I’m really looking forward to getting to know the senators better on a personal level and just working to help students in whatever way possible. I feel like we have a really strong senate and we can get a lot done and I’m really excited.” The next SGA meeting will be held in the fall semester.