Creating a culture of financial transparency and employee involvement is at the center of the Great Game of Education, the Board of Governors learned during a presentation on Tuesday, Aug. 23, at Missouri Southern.

The rollout for the program was launched during the recent faculty/staff welcome meeting, with employees learning how to begin the introductory training module.

The university is working with the Great Game of Business division of SRC Holdings Corporation in Springfield, Mo., to develop the open-book management initiatives for a higher-education setting. Jack Stack, the founder, president and CEO of SRC Holdings, is a pioneer in successfully executing the business model.

“These are exciting times at Missouri Southern,” said Scott Cragin, a coordinator for the program. “We are the first institution of higher learning to implement the open-book management practices of The Great Game of Business.

“The system teaches all employees about the university’s finances and empowers them to change what they are doing in order to make the institution the best that it can be. Rewards are given for such improvements so every employee has a stake in the outcome. The transparency that comes with the Great Game of Education will do much to ensure that MSSU is on a sustainable financial path.”

In other business, the board approved a recommendation from the university’s Budget Audit Committee to move from fully funded insurance with Aetna to a partially self-insured group plan with Cigna effective Jan. 1, 2017.

Under the plan, which was also approved by Missouri Southern’s insurance committee, the university will carry a separate insurance policy that will trigger when employee claims reach a specified threshold amount. The university will then pay for each out-of-pocket claim as they are incurred, rather than paying a fixed premium to the insurance carrier.

In a report from Rob Yust, vice president of business affairs, the board learned that creation of a walking trail between Missouri Southern and Northpark Mall can move forward after issues with a flood plain have been resolved between the property owners involved.

The proposal calls for a 10-foot-wide asphalt trail that would be open to foot and bicycle traffic. The city of Joplin will oversee the trail’s construction, while the university will install lighting for the 2,000-foot-long trail.

Tuesday’s meeting marked the first for Glenn M. McCumber as board chair.