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Archive for October, 2007

Though most people only think about ghosts and vampires during the month of October, some MU professors think about them all year round. MU has several classes that touch on the myths and creatures of Halloween.

Introduction to Folklore: Anthropology 2150 and English 2700. According to the course catalog, this class introduces the study of folklore, including the methodology, approaches and genres of folklore. What the course catalog doesn’t mention is that it also has a section on vampires in literature. The professor, Scott Mitchell, could not be reached for comment.

Haunting and Healing: Religious Studies 4130. According to the class description in the syllabus, provided by Professor Richard Callahan in the Religious Studies Department, this course begins with the premise that ghosts exist, and that haunting is real. That is, ghosts and haunting are social and cultural facts: as people talk about them, relate their lives to and through them, express their beliefs and experiences and narratives about them, ghosts and haunting have real effects on people’s lives and the world we live in.

During the semester, the class studies examples of hauntings and seeks to discover the roles that spirits and ghosts play in society, Callahan said.

American Film Genres as American Mythology: Honors Humanities Curriculum 2120. According to the course catalog, the course examines a range of texts from the of the most important genres of popular film-the western, the police story, and the vampire tale-as a way of determining how genres function in our society to shape our ideas about what it means to be American men and women, particularly in relation to the social problem of violence.

Other University Hauntings:

And just in case there is someone in Columbia who hasn’t heard about the haunted areas of the universities, rumor has it that Senior Hall of Stephen’s College is supposedly still home to the ghost of a young female student, who died with her love, a young soldier. Also, “ghostly apparitions” allegedly haunt the Residence on Francis Quadrangle at MU.

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The 17th annual Association of Black Culture Centers conference will take place at MU from Thursday, Nov. 1 to Sunday, Nov. 3. The theme of the conference is “Culture Centers and the Shaping of Diversity on Predominantly White Campuses”. The three keynote speakers that will headline the event include Dr. Julianne Malveaux, president of Bennett College for Women, Dr. James Stewart, professor of Labor Studies and Industrial Relations and African and American Studies at Penn State, and Dr. Darlene Clark-Hine, African American historian. Roger Worthington, interim chief diversity officer at MU, said that the conference will cover “a wide spectrum of diversity issues relevant to every member of the campus.”

To register and to view the conference schedule, visit the conference website.

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MU gets healthier

Columbia Missourian: More than 2,000 MU faculty, staff and employees kicked off a new wellness program by lining up for free flu shots and a variety of health screenings Monday. They were also offered plenty of information on weight and stress management, personal training and health care services and resources on campus.

More than 200 volunteers, including nursing, medical and health professions students, helped out at the fair. A UM System website provides some background information on the wellness program, which is planned for all four UM-System campuses.

UM-Rolla, UM-Kansas City, and UM-St. Louis will hold their health fairs in the spring.

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Since Rosemary Porter became dean of MU’s Sinclair School of Nursing almost a decade ago, annual grant awards have increased 486 percent, undergraduate enrollment has gone up by adding the Accelerated BSN degree and Sinclair formed a partnership with Americare Systems, Inc. to build and operate TigerPlace, an aging-in-place site for seniors.

Today, Porter announced that she will retire next September.

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"SkYBOX U.”

Joe Nocero, business columnist at the New York Times, had an interesting piece in Sunday’s Play magazine about a proposal to expand Michigan Stadium to include a bunch of luxury suites. Nocero uses the debate to highlight the “arms race” in college football, even among small programs, to build bigger and better facilities to attract the best players.

In the case of Michigan, whose athletic department generates $87 million a year in revenue, Nocero figures the luxury boxes are a worthy investment. Not so for most schools, however. Less than a third of Division I college football programs make money, noted Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economist.

That doesn’t stop places like Florida Atlantic University from taking on millions in debt for a chance at the big time.

Big-time college football is now so divorced from what actually goes on at a university as to be a kind of subsidiary, not even tangentially related to education….

As Sheldon Steinbach, the former general counsel of American Council on Education, puts it, “The most basic question of all is, who decided to get higher education into the intercollegiate athletic business?” But at this point, major universities are not about to shut down a big-time football program, the way the University of Chicago did in 1939. There’s too much at stake.


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Some institutions are beginning to think the answer is no. Gustavus Adolphus College, in Saint Peter, Minn., has cut merit-based financial aid from 48 percent to 33 percent over the past few years. Hamilton College, in Clinton, N.Y., will get rid of merit-based scholarships altogether when the new freshman class begins school next fall.

The reason behind these decisions: Highly qualified students are applying to these schools anyway and are choosing to attend regardless of the possibility of receiving a merit-based scholarship.

This topic, the subject of a blog post on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Web site, has generated much debate:

“What about a kid with only a 3.2 GPA? UF is not an option, and a private school won’t provide any merit scholarship to them. They have to rely on community colleges, which are already bursting at the seams… Clearly, there is a problem that needs to be fixed. Cutting merit scholarships would be a part of the problem, not part of the solution.”
John, who is sending his daughter to the University of Florida on merit-based scholarships

“I think one point that can be made is that often by pouring more money into merit aid, we are not helping those who need aid the most. Ironically, for many schools, the needy are paying for much of the subsidy of those receiving merit aid.”
Russ Watjen

MU, Columbia College and Stephens College continue to provide both merit-based and need-based financial aid to their students.

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