The rapidly changing social and economic environment presents profound challenges to all states and nations. More than ever, in the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century, higher education is the gateway to an improved standard of living for Missouri's residents. The imperative for change is clear: those educational systems that adapt to the new environment will be positioned to lead their states to succeed in a globally competitive world.

The collective challenge to the higher education system is to understand the key components of the environment and to devise effective strategies that will capitalize on strengths while addressing weaknesses in challenging financial times. Providing the vision, the stable and sufficient resources, and the collective action to support a higher education system that ensures the future prosperity of Missouri residents, the state of Missouri, and the nation is necessary to address the most important challenges of the day.

Imperatives for Change (IFC) provides a vision that has been developed collaboratively by Missouri's higher education institutions and the Coordinating Board for Higher Education. This plan will serve for the next three to five years as a foundation for prioritizing goals, justifying an increased resource base, allocating resources, and implementing dynamic strategies to provide Missouri residents with the educational opportunities they need to be competitive on a global scale.

Imperatives for Change addresses three key strategic issues with accompanying goals:

  1. Increase Educational Attainment Missouri's higher education system will improve educational attainment, including certificate and degree production at all levels, to enhance the quality of Missouri's workforce and the quality of life of its residents.
  2. Develop a 21st Century Society and Global Economy Missouri's higher education system will contribute to a dynamic, information-based, globally competitive society and economy by collaborating with government and business.
  3. Enhance Resources through Increased Investment, Stewardship, and Shared Responsibility Missouri's higher education system will increase external financial support for higher education by demonstrating its value to key stakeholders and public policy-makers while understanding that shared responsibility is necessary for providing a globally competitive workforce, creating valuable new knowledge and products, and enriching the quality of life of all Missourians.