CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Sept. 25, 2007ᾰThe Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents today approved a new five-year contract for Kenneth W. Dobbins, who has served as president of the University since July 1, 1999.
The new contract, effective today, runs through June 30, 2012. Dobbins will receive an annual salary of $174,109 plus a $25,000 annuity, well below the $214,216 average compensation received by the presidents of Missouri’s similar public universities. His current compensation includes a salary of $165,000 and a $20,000 annuity.
Brad Bedell of Sikeston, president of the Board, said the new contract was based on the Board’s assessment of the University’s accomplishments under Dobbins’ leadership as well as the establishment of additional duties making him the individual with primary responsibility for working with the Missouri Congressional delegation on federal funding initiatives. “Since taking office Dr. Dobbins has led the University through the completion of our strategic plan including some major achievements, despite some serious financial challenges in recent years,” Bedell said.
Among the accomplishments he cited are the completion of the $50 million River Campus, largest capital project in the University’s history, including raising over $13 million in private donations for that project; completion of the Seabaugh Polytechnic Building; reaching record enrollments in each of the last seven years to the present 10,665 students; and launching initiatives such as three regional campuses, the University Research Village and an Innovation Center aimed at improving the economy of Southeast Missouri.
“Dr. Dobbins is a proven leader who is well respected in both state and national higher education circles I am pleased that the Board has recognized his dedication to our region and more importantly to our students by approving this new contract,” Bedell said.
Dobbins said in signing the new contract that he is very pleased to accept the Board’s offer and is optimistic that the next five years will be another period of progress for the University. “I look forward to working with our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends to make Southeast the ‘University of First Choice,’ a goal that is clearly within reach.”
Dobbins became the 17th president of Southeast Missouri State University after serving in several positions in higher education administration both at Kent State University in Ohio and at Southeast.
During his tenure at Southeast, academic programs have been enhanced, including establishment of a School of Polytechnic Studies and the Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts which opened this Fall on the River Campus.
An innovation center and business incubator to promote entrepreneurship and enhance the region’s economy have been funded by the state and were opened in 2005; a research village is being planned on the University farm on Interstate-55 and new land has been acquired for the Department of Agriculture to relocate the farm; a comprehensive review of all academic and non-academic programs has been accomplished to maintain quality and minimize student fee increases in the face of significant state appropriation reductions; and capital construction projects totaling over $200 million have been completed to expand and modernize the University’s physical plant.
Services for students have been enhanced during the Dobbins presidency, including construction of the 300-bed Vandiver Hall; construction of a new Aquatic Center and two parking facilities; addition of a second Student Recreation Center; renovations of Greek Housing; construction of new athletics fields; creation of a Center for Student Involvement housing student organization offices; and major renovations and expansions of food service areas.
Dr. Dobbins has served a two-year term as president of the Missouri Council on Public Higher Education (COPHE), the organization of the 14 presidents and chancellors of Missouri’s public colleges and universities, and is the Missouri representative and past chairperson of the Committee on Professional Development for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), a nationwide organization of 430 universities. He is also one of only four faculty members who develop curriculum and teach each year at the AASCU New Presidents’ Academy. He is currently president and previously served two years as president of the Ohio Valley Conference, and is a vice president of the executive board of the Greater St. Louis Council, Boy Scouts of America.
He earned his B.S. degree in accounting from the University of Akron (Ohio) in 1971 and served as a commissioned officer and civilian executive in the U.S. Air Force for almost 10 years. He received the M.B.A. degree with emphasis in management information systems in 1979 from Old Dominion University (Virginia), and the Ph.D. in higher education administration in 1987 from Kent State. He is also a Certified Public Accountant in Ohio.
From 1981 until 1991, Dr. Dobbins held several positions at Kent State, including Assistant Treasurer, Assistant Director of Financial Affairs, Director of University Auditing, Registrar, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Higher Education Administration. He came to Southeast in 1991 as Vice President for Finance and Administration, and served as Executive Vice President from July 1993 until his appointment as President six years later.
Dr. Dobbins and his wife, Jeanine Larson Dobbins, Director for the Missouri Statewide Early Literacy Intervention Program based at Southeast, have one son and daughter-in-law, Paul and Stacey Dobbins, both Southeast graduates.