University of Missouri Chancellor Alexander Cartwright held an event on Wednesday with members of the press to discuss his vision for the future. He addressed questions regarding the public perception of the University and challenges in hiring diverse faculty. Cartwright said he plans to revamp the image of the Columbia campus following a series of publicity setbacks.
Student demonstrations in November 2015 brought MU into the national media spotlight. Since then, the campus has experienced a sharp decrease in new student enrollment, as well as cuts to state funding. Cartwright said he wants to improve MU’s image by building relationships with the community at large, and creating opportunities for the university to impact Missourians outside of campus.
“I think we’re entering a different phase where we will not have distinctions between the walls of the University and the community,” he said.
Cartwright said that while he does not yet have specific ideas yet on how to do this, his focus on the symbiosis between the campus and community will be the driving philosophy behind setting future goals.
Among perception issues that linger following the November 2015 student protests are concerns of faculty diversity. Cartwright said that improving diversity in faculty hiring remains a priority, but cautioned that it will take time to accomplish.
“It’s challenging generally, just so you know, this is not a problem that is just a Mizzou problem,” he said. “If you look across all of higher education, you will see this problem.”
The issue of faculty lacking in diversity at MU received increased public attention during student protests in November 2015. Student group Concerned Student 1950 included in its list of demands increasing the number of minority faculty hired by MU.