At meetings this year, Missouri State’s Board of Governors has asked tough questions of the university’s president.
Members also repeatedly praised Clif Smart’s decision-making and handling of the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The board recently put that praise in writing with members giving Smart high marks on his annual review.
Members evaluated Smart’s strategic and educational leadership; organizational and financial management; fundraising; external, internal and board relations; and personal characteristics and values.
Board chair Amy Counts said, in a news release, that Smart continued to display “vision, judgement and agility” during the pandemic.
“In the spirit of innovation that is core to Missouri State, the university demonstrated leadership and creativity in providing a safe campus for our students and an interactive environment that few universities chose or were able to offer this past year,” Counts said.
“This enabled our students to have a somewhat normal campus experience during a year filled with multiple challenges.”
Smart presented his self-assessment to the board in June. That happened in executive session, or behind closed doors, which is permitted under the Sunshine Law because it involves a personnel matter.
Smart recently marked a decade as the MSU president. His contract runs through June 30, 2026, and he did not request an extension.
“The pandemic has continued to challenge us in all areas; however, as a university, we persevered to provide as normal a year as possible for our students,” Smart said in a release.
“It was a team effort by employees across the university — faculty, staff and administrators – all have demonstrated their leadership, flexibility and concern for the students as we continue to provide a quality education during unprecedented circumstances.”
Smart turned down raises in 2018 and 2020.
Under the terms of Smart’s contract, his base salary was expected to increase to “no less than” $377,890 in July 2022.
The board opted to accelerate the increase to an adjusted base of $380,000, effective July 2021.
Smart received, along with other employees, a 3 percent raise, bringing his base pay for the upcoming school year to $391,400.
He also earns $50,000 a year as part of a deferred compensation plan, which will fully vest in 2022. Starting June 30, 2023, he will be able to earn an annual cash retention bonus of $50,000 in lieu of the deferred compensation.
Claudette Riley is the education reporter for the News-Leader. Email news tips to [email protected]