MU announces more than $4 million MizzouForward investment in student success

President also shares news of more than $60 million from federal government to support NextGen construction and faculty endowments

March 15, 2022
Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430,

  • This is an image of MU President Mun Choi explaining the story of someone that was inspired by MU Faculty.
    University of Missouri President Mun Choi begins his presentation by sharing the story of a former MU student who was inspired by her professors.

University of Missouri President Mun Choi today announced more than $4 million in awards to fund 53 projects that will support student success during his State of the University address. The awards are part of MizzouForward, a $1.5 billion comprehensive investment strategy to enhance the university’s research and education missions over 10 years.

“When we launched MizzouForward last fall, we made a pledge to provide our faculty with the resources, infrastructure and support they need to provide world-class education and conduct cutting-edge research,” said Mun Y. Choi, University of Missouri president. “This investment is the first of many that will enhance student success and improve graduation outcomes.”

Each of the innovative projects support student success by making classroom upgrades (physical improvements or IT resources), upgrading laboratories (investments in new equipment or instruments for student education), or investing in new software that enhances classroom experiences or student learning.

In addition to the student investments, Choi shared important infrastructure updates, including news of federal funding in excess of $60 million that will go toward the construction costs of the Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health building and endowments of faculty positions. He also discussed a $20 million investment for the MU Research Reactor West (opens 2024) and a $27 million investment for the Department of Energy Radio Isotope Science Center (expected 2024).

The 53 student success projects to receive funding include the following:

  • Additional “Spot” robot – The Autonomous Systems Lab will invest in an enterprise edition of the Boston Dynamics Spot robot, which allows remote access for students not located in Columbia. Adding an additional robot will also enable more students to gain important hands-on experience.
  • Architectural Studies outdoor learning space – Architectural Studies will create an outdoor space for the installation of large-scale fabrication and design prototypes where students can evaluate and test their artifacts in real-world conditions. The space will foster experiential learning as students will be responsible for planning and executing exhibitions throughout the year.
  • American Government course redesign – A joint venture between political science faculty and the Teaching 4 Learning Center will invest in a course redesign of American Government to incorporate game-based learning, which leverages innovative, experiential and multi-modal opportunities for increased student engagement and learning. An example includes an escape-room style game where students are teamed up to solve a quest through collaborative analysis of clues and facts.
  • 3D-printed organ models – The School of Medicine and the College of Engineering will develop 3D-printed organ models resembling human tissue that can be used to teach surgical techniques for students, residents and fellows in a controlled, low-risk environment. This will ultimately improve performance when caring for patients. The collaboration with engineering students who create and produce these models will provide real-time learning for developers as well as end users.
  • Financial aid workshop – The Office of Financial Success will use award funds to develop a new student financial aid workshop that outlines basic financial planning concepts, concentrating on student financial aid processes and availability. By offering the workshop twice a semester, students will have the opportunity to increase their financial literacy and learn basic financial skills.
Highlighting research growth

Choi also highlighted new hires made as part of MizzouForward and the School of Medicine’s RISE UP recruiting effort. Choi also noted that since 2018, MU has seen a dramatic increase in research performance. In the last three years, the value of submitted research proposals has increased 84%.

A second strategic priority of MizzouForward is increasing investments in new and current faculty. Choi said the university intends to hire 30 new MizzouForward faculty this year and each year going forward, on top of regular recruiting. The university has worked to hire clusters of faculty focused in priority research areas for the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and Department of Energy.

“To become a world-class university, we need to think, act and invest like a world-class university,” Choi said. “Through strategic focus and targeted investments, we are shaping our future with intention.”

Choi announced a $500 million commitment toward salary increases within the next 10 years, which includes annual performance increases as well as retention of high-performing faculty and staff.

To support existing faculty, a new Honors and Awards office was created to identify awards and faculty with high research activity and award potential. The office launched a searchable award database and will offer support throughout the application process. New research support programs will provide proposal development managers, grants and contracts specialists, technical editors and illustrators, and evaluation specialists.

Measuring economic impact

Choi also touted the results of a recent economic impact report, which showed MU had a $5 billion impact on the state in 2021. The university supported nearly 50,000 jobs and generated $281.8 million in state and local taxes. More information about the economic impact of MU will be released later this week.

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