Closing out the Fall 2014 semester

Four-year degrees

The importance of motivating students to not only graduate but graduate on time is addressed in a recent report by Complete College America. “Four-Year Myth” addresses ways that colleges and universities can help students and their families control the rising costs of higher education and student loan debt by providing them with a direct route to graduation. fourmyth

I encourage you to read through the report (http://completecollege.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/4-Year-Myth.pdf) and consider the suggestions offered for creating a path for reducing the cost of higher education and graduating more students … and helping them graduate on time.

Great Game progress

The Great Game of Education continues to take shape under the thoughtful guidance of Dr. Scott Cragin and Jeff Gibson. We had about 60 members of our campus community volunteer to serve on the design team, working to adapt the open-book management system for use here at Missouri Southern.

While it’s still a work in progress, a number of Great Game resources are available on SharePoint (https://intranet.mssu.edu/sites/TheGreatGameOfEducation/SitePages/Home.aspx). Check it out, and stay tuned for more information as this exciting initiative comes together.

Title IX training

You should have received an email recently informing you that Missouri Southern will offer mandatory webinar training for all staff members to stay in compliance with the federal requirements for Title IX.

The webinar will be offered from 9 to 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 18. If you haven’t registered, follow this link: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/756256222.

Specialized Title IX training for faculty members will be offered during the all-faculty meeting on January 9th.

Reynolds Hall renovations 

Dr. Crystal Lemmons gives Gov. Nixon a tour of areas in Reynolds Hall in need of renovation.
Dr. Crystal Lemmons gives Gov. Nixon a tour of areas in Reynolds Hall in need of renovation.

Thank you to everyone who attended Gov. Nixon’s announcement that he’s going to request more than $5.2 million in funding for renovations to Reynolds Hall.

It’s one of the oldest buildings on campus and the lab areas used by students are showing the many years of wear and tear. We’re pleased that the governor’s request has bipartisan support, including our local legislators, and hope that the state legislature moves quickly so we can get started on this critical project.

On a related note, Missouri Southern hosted approximately 50 of Missouri’s freshmen legislators from around the state earlier this week. Their statewide tour visited campus for lunch in Connor Ballroom and we were joined by our friends at Crowder College to speak with them about what each institution has to offer – independently and collaboratively.

Celebrating students

I would also like to take a moment to congratulate our students, who have had a great fall semester.

The men’s and women’s cross country teams made it to the 2014 NCAA Division II National Cross Country meet in Louisville, Ky., and our basketball teams are off to a strong start to the season. Our instrumental, choral and theater students have given the campus and local community some phenomenal performances recently.

The Southern Jazz Orchestra helped heat things up with their Swinging’ Holiday Show
The Southern Jazz Orchestra helped heat things up with their Swinging’ Holiday Show.

We’re also very proud of our Mock Trial team and the success they have had this fall. They’ll be competing in the Mid-Missouri Tournament next month as well as an event right here on campus before heading to the regional competition in February.

The items listed above  just scratch the surface of the numerous student accomplishments cataloged this fall and we are proud of each one!

Board presentations

I also wanted to give you a head’s up about a couple presentations planned for upcoming Board of Governors meetings.

During January’s meeting, Scott Snell – Director of Distance Learning – will speak about the exciting growth and development of online, ITV, blended formats and other delivery systems. The technological advances of the past couple of decades have combined to make distance education a vital component of today’s higher education platform.

The following month, the board will hear about our prairie preservation plan during a presentation by Dr. “Kip” Heth, Rob Yust and Randy Hasse, from the Missouri Department of Conservation. It’s important that we move to permanently protect a portion of the prairie land, because it is a unique asset to the university and one that we should preserve for future generations.

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Finally, I want to thank you for your service to our students and our University! Please have a safe and joyful holiday break.