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About Central Methodist University
Central Methodist University (CMU) was founded as Central College in 1854 by Missouri Methodists. In 1961 the word “Methodist” was added to the name in order to differentiate it from other institutions of the same name and to highlight its relationship with the United Methodist Church. In 2004 the name was again changed, to Central Methodist University, to reflect the statewide mission thanks to the range of extended studies program located in every corner of Missouri. At the same time, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) and the College of Graduate and Extended Studies (CGES) were created to clarify the university’s administrative and governance structures. The University has been continuously accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1913 with the most recent accreditation visit taking place in April 2008.
CMU’s 94 acre wooded main campus in Fayette, Missouri, is located midway between and approximately two hours from both Kansas City and St. Louis, about 25 miles northwest of Columbia. The campus is designated a National Historic District. Fayette is a community of about 2,700 people, situated in the scenic Boonslick region of mid-Missouri. The attractive campus includes the Morrison Observatory with its treasured Clark telescope and the Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art, a campus jewel with over 700 works of art and five shows each year.
A major focus of the institution over the past 15 years has been upgrading the Fayette campus physical plant. Almost $50 million has been spent on new construction and substantial renovations during that time including the construction of a new Student and Community Center, improvements to athletic facilities, and renovations of McMurry residence hall and historic Classic Hall. The University is continuing this emphasis on improvements to its campus facilities as it implements the recommendations from the 2012 master plan.
The Fayette campus is home to approximately 1,200 undergraduate students with an additional 2,400 students enrolled in the College of Graduate and Extended Studies. CMU has 20 other degree-granting locations throughout Missouri, many at community and technical colleges with whom CMU has developed partnerships. CMU first began its extended study degree completion programs in 1989 and added its first graduate program in 1996 – a Master’s of Education. Since that time, graduate programs in Clinical Counseling and Nursing also have been implemented. In addition, CMU offers more than 100 courses on-line available to both on-campus students and those enrolled in CGES.
Of the 1,200 students on its main campus, approximately 87% are from Missouri and over 40% are first generation college students. In addition, there are 35 international students representing 22 different countries. CMU students are prepared to demonstrate knowledge of the liberal arts and academic specialties represented in CMU’s more than 40 different majors as well as technical skill and professional competencies. University life emphasizes honesty, integrity, civility, and a strong sense of personal responsibility as integral elements of character and leadership. This CMU educational experience is offered by a dedicated community of faculty and staff with a student/faculty ratio of 15:1. Graduates frequently mention the personal attention and individualized nature of their CMU academic experience.
CMU has an excellent reputation for its wide array of performing arts programs open to all students regardless of major. These provide outstanding experiences for students as well as visibility for the university. Selected examples include the annual opera workshop, performances by its many vocal and instrumental music groups, and theatre programs such as the ten-day Tennessee Williams Festival last spring. This university and community collaboration included conversations with Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Edward Albee and a Tony award winning actress. The Swinney Conservatory of Music has long prepared a significant proportion of Missouri’s music educators.
The university is home to 14 intercollegiate varsity athletic teams that compete in the Heart of America Athletic Conference of the NAIA Division I. The University has been designated a Champion of Character Institution by the NAIA. Almost three-fourths of its 1,200 students participate in co-curricular activities. Additionally, the athletic department enjoys a strong academic reputation averaging NAIA 24 scholar athletes over the past five years.
Placement rates for CMU graduates are nearly 100% for teacher education and 90% for students planning to attend law or medical school. The university boasts an impressive list of alumni who have served in significant leadership roles including a governor of Missouri, CEO’s of several major corporations, the scientist instrumental in developing the herbicide “Roundup,” and several nationally known leaders in higher education.
The operating budget for the 2013 fiscal year is approximately $26 million. The endowment was valued at almost $30 million as of the end of June, 2012. CMU was rated among the most financially sound institutions in the recent Bain rating of college and university financial sustainability.
CMU holds accreditations from the following: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE); The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education, Missouri Department of Higher Education; Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE); National Association of Schools of Music (NASM); and the University Senate of the United Methodist Church, Division of Higher Education, General Board of Higher Education & Ministry.
The 34 members of the Board of Trustees represent a wide range of professions and geographic locations. They are strongly committed to the university and are well-versed on the issues facing higher education today and the role of boards in effective governance.