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MSSU Adopts Great Game of Education Strategy for Financial Susta - KOAM TV 7

MSSU Adopts Great Game of Education Strategy for Financial Sustainability

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   Missouri Southern State University  officials say they need a more sustainable financial future. For several years, the university has passed budgets that included deficit spending. Officials say that's  because of state funding cuts and the inability to raise tuition more than the cost of living.

  Now the school is trying a strategy that's been successful in business and industry.

It's being called the great  game of education modeled after a book. The Great Game of Business by Jack Stack.   The strategy  starts with open book management.

Professor Scott Cragin explains, "The concept of open  book management is not just that you open your books, but that you teach the employees to understand the numbers. And once they understand the numbers, they understand how they affect those numbers and work in their particular area to improve the numbers."

Cragin says the university is identifying the critical number that everyone works toward improving.

He says, "A critical number for us may be paid credit hours.  It might be the deficit, or might be cash balance."

Jeff Gibson MSSU's director of  budgeting and operations adds,  "As you engage  employees and  establish a critical number, you  establish benchmarks if you will. It's  important if you  achieve some of those objectives  that rewards are given. That's part of the process. We're  looking at that because our environment is  different than industry so  rewards will have to be different."

In business its bonuses and stock options which won't work at the university.  Departments will  create mini games with goals and rewards all  designed to save dollars or raise revenues.

Gibson says, "Folks  in industry discover something done on day to day basis  that can be done more efficiently, effectively to save resources,  to save money. And I'm really quite certain as we engage this process, our staff are gonna find ways to do that as well."

New dorm construction is a sign of enrollment growth which means revenue.  That  growth came with Lion Pride tuition and is paid for with the sale of bonds.  The university believes faculty can get involved in the great game of education  by helping with recruiting and student retention.

Cragin says,  “We (teachers) are always advising. And we need to find out why classes are dropped. Why are students dropping this class. What do we need to do change that to retain the students  because  retention is really the holy grail of higher education right now."

Southern is the first university in the world to attempt to use the great game of business plan to improve its financial outlook. 

     The Springfield company is offering free training to the university and gauging if it can work well at schools.

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