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Archive for May, 2008

I recently got back from the Tiger Treasures rummage sale at MU’s Memorial Stadium today. Close to a thousand people showed up to get bargain prices on clothing, appliances, electronics and many other things that were donated or left behind by students in MU residence halls, student apartments and Greek houses.

Although a lot of the items were standard things you’d find in a dorm room — mini fridges, futons, microwaves, etc. — there were a few things that really gave Tiger Treasures more of a garage sale feeling.

They include:

*Guitar Hero guitar

*Sombreros

*a Zou Crew foam fan paw

*”Clueless” cordless phone

*space-themed men’s robe

*two chalices with skeleton hands up the sides

*Flarr! noise putty

*”HONK IF YOU LOVE SEXY JESUS” bumper stickers

*a pink “Put your big girl panties on and deal with it” beer koozie

*a giant Sonic the Hedgehog stuff animal, as well as a Spongebob Squarepants stuffed animal

*king’s crown and septor

…aaaand two rolls of toilet paper out of a 4-pack.

Most items were sold or claimed by 8 a.m., but the sale goes until noon and there’s a good chance a lot of the items listed above will still be there.

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The MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders expanded its personnel on Wednesday, MU Provost Brian Foster said in a news release. Foster announced Jim Poehling as executive director and chief administrative officer. Janet Farmer, the center’s founding director, was named academic programs director.

The center was established in 2005 from an $8.5 million gift from Bill and Nancy Thompson. The mission of the center focuses on three areas: services for children and families affected by autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, interdisciplinary research on the causes and interventions for these disorders, and education for students and community-based professionals.

“We have already made the Thompson Center a national presence in just the past two years,” Foster said in the release. “This success has come as a result of Dr. Farmer’s leadership. We must expand on this success and continue to build the Thompson Center into a vital resource for children and families, health professionals, educators, researchers, and policy makers.

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UM system President Gary Forsee reflected Wednesday on his first 100 days in the office of the president via e-mail to students, faculty, staff and employees at the system’s Columbia, Kansas City, Rolla and St. Louis campuses. Forsee was announced as president of the system Dec. 20, 2007 and took office Feb. 18, 2008. In the e-mail, Forsee outlined his new role and laid out his future areas of focus.

Here is the text of Forsee’s e-mail:

Today is my 100th day as president of this great university. I want to take this opportunity to share with you a few thoughts as I reflect back on this brief time, but more importantly share with you my thoughts as we look ahead!

As you might imagine, it has been quite a whirlwind for me. During my time as president, I have visited with key stakeholders, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, retirees, potential donors and legislators. I’ve also attended functions on all campuses, including graduations, and visited extension centers around the state. It has been a busy time indeed!

Many of you probably have heard variations of my messages as I have had opportunities to talk about my new role:

· The university is an economic growth engine for the state.

· Our four campuses and University of Missouri Health Care have distinctive missions while supporting the university’s overall missions of teaching, service, research and economic development.

· Our students are the lifeblood of what we do, and we need to ensure access and support for them.

· We need to creatively find new sources of support to fund our mission while being accountable. We also need to address a significant disparity in competitiveness of our faculty salaries.

· Higher education needs to be a critical part of every discussion of importance in our state and our country—and be seen as an investment in our future.

While my learning process continues and my list of priorities lengthens, my view of the areas that I will focus has sharpened

· We need to engage our stakeholders and all who love this university and care about its success.

· We will institute a system wide strategic planning process to ensure we are as prepared for the future as we have been in the past. We will look at our schools, departments and colleges on each campus where we can strive for a top 10 national ranking.

· We must accelerate our economic development mission, including focusing on our research and the funding opportunities and the leverage this provides.

· We will take on the tough issues of the day, including faculty salaries, establishing and gaining support for our plan with the General Assembly, challenging initiatives that don’t support our mandate, ensuring our brand as a university is strong in its values and ethics and being creative in identifying additional ways of funding our operating and capital needs.

· We will be accountable and transparent in how we operate and look for ways to be efficient as a system, including looking at best practices around the country to support our own creativity

For more information on these projects and other thoughts about my first 100 days in office, please visit the university’s new podcast initiative at www.umsystem.edu under Audio in the Highlights section.

Let me thank you for your support as I get “on board.” I will commit to updating you along the way and as I make my rounds on topics of mutual interest. I look forward to working with you all in the coming months.

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The Missouri Civil Rights Initiative, an anti-affirmative action initiative, will not be on the November 2008 ballot after receiving only 170,000 of the 210,000 signatures needed.  

Executive Director, Tim Asher said the initiative didn’t get the numbers needed because of the short period of time allotted to collect signatures, and not because Missouri voters disagree with the issue.

“I think 170,000 signatures in 113 days says Missouri residents are concerned about preferences in our state,” Asher said.

Asher said that while he would prefer to get MoCRI on the ballot this year, he will use this time to help push the initiative in other states such as Nebraska, and try again in Missouri in 2010. He said the process has showed just how prevalent affirmative action policies and practices are in Missouri.

The initiative states “The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”

MoCRI officially ended its efforts in Missouri May 4, but is still working to be implemented in Arizona, Colorado and Nebraska. Similar initiatives have already passed in California, Washington, and Michigan.

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last week at the special MU faculty meeting, there were a couple of signs that the university’s American Association of University Professors chapter is looking to receive a kick-start from its relatively dormant last few years on campus. 

Victoria Johnson, an associate professor of sociology, was one of the drafters of the petition that kick-started the faculty meeting process. She said that even though there has been an AAUP chapter at the university for years, its active membership had been steadily declining until last fall.

She said that membership has steadily increased this past academic year, and that even more members were interested in joining after the faculty meeting.

On my way into the meeting Thursday afternoon, I saw mathematics professor Stephen Montgomery-Smith, another of the petition’s drafters, coming into Cornell Hall with a large stack of AAUP literature in tow.

Johnson said there are many concerns that faculty have related to state underfunding of higher education, relationships between administration and faculty and to attacks on the university faculty by some political officials.

She said the AAUP will join with several other departments at MU to present a one-day “Corporatization of the University” symposium designed “to educate, discuss and debate issues relating to higher education in Missouri as well as trends throughout the nation,” she said in an e-mail.

Johnson said she hopes to bring in political officials to present their views on funding higher education and will present panels on the economic impact of higher education and the comparisons of higher education models in European Union nations compared to the United States, for example.

The symposium will occur at some point this upcoming fall semester.

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My previous post (Enough Bang for Your Buck?, May 2) addressed the big picture regarding troubles with educational spending and how it intertwined with faculty concerns about the fiscal future of the university. The Compete Missouri plan, as it stands, will take $7 million of in-house money in order to fund faculty salary increases. That money is coming from cuts from the pool of money that some faculty believe will eliminate too many full-time faculty, teaching assistant and research assistant positions.

An interesting article in the Miami Herald today reports on the University of Florida’s decision to cut 400 jobs, which will include eliminating vacant positions and laying off 20 faculty members and over 100 staff members. The school, the article says, also will reduce undergraduate enrollment by 4,000 students over four years, beginning with a decrease of transfer students by 1,000 next year.

Florida has been mired in a budget crunch of its own for the last several years, much like the situation Missouri finds itself in. Many of Florida’s pubic institutions will be seeing cuts in some form, the article said, leaving fewer spots for in-state students to attend the colleges and universities.

It’s not so much that this story has a direct pull to MU, but in light of what has been going on from a fiscal standpoint, both here and across the country, showing that Missouri isn’t alone is very mildly relieving. But it brings up the bigger worry of just what is happening nationwide to the public higher education system. It’s a problem that, as each report of budget cuts comes in, seems only to be getting bigger as the public pocketbook gets smaller. 

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Cinco de Mayo is not the Mexican day of Independence, contrary to popular belief. That particular day actually resides on Sept. 16. On May 5, 1862 a Mexican army of 4,000 faced 6,000 French soldiers at the Battle of Puebla. The battle ended in victory for the Mexican army after four hours. Since then, Cinco de Mayo has become a day for the celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, along with Sept. 16.

NATIONWIDE

As of 2006 there are 28.3 million U.S. residents of Mexican origin, which is 9% of the nation’s total population. From that number there are 630,000 Mexican-American U.S. military veterans and 1.2 million 25 or older with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Approximatly 350,000 have a graduate degree.

ON A LOCAL UNIVERSITY LEVEL

MU- As of Fall 2006 there are 498 students on MU‘s campus who have listed themselves as Hispanic. Undergratuates make up the largest portion at 382 and there are 206 undergraduates and graduates registered in the College of Arts and Science

Columbia College– Based on the numbers given which were taken from their Fall 2007 Census, Columbia has a total of 747 Hispanic students. Like MU, Columbia’s undergraduates make up the largest portion at 735. This includes their day program and adult higher education division.

Stephens College– At Stephens there are 24 students currently enrolled who identify themselves as Hispanic. This makes up 2.3% of the university’s student body.

MEXICAN RESTAURANTS IN COLUMBIA

For anyone who would like to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with something other than Taco Bell, this is a small part of what Columbia has to offer.

  • El Jimador Mexican Restaurant, 3200 Penn Terrace. Open 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. today and 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday
  • El Maguey, 301 E. Nifong Blvd or 3101 E. Broadway. Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and Monday
  • El Rancho, 1014 E. Broadway. Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m today and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Monday
  • La Tolteca, 1112 E. Stadium Blvd. Open Monday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant, 3306 W. Broadway. Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday
  • Taquiera El Rodeo, 805 E. Nifong. Open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and Monday
  • Tequila Mexican Restaurant and Bar, 3605 S. Providence. Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday

Related blog post with more general enrollment information: Enrollment Throughout the Years

*National information was taken from the U.S. Census Bureau who collected it from the 2006 American Community Survey, student information was taken from the corresponding schools.

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