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On April 19 in the Macklanburg Playhouse, some notable Stephens employees received awards as part of the annual Honors Convocation.

Recipients ranged from Equestrian instructors to financial aid counselors.

Equestrian studies instructor, Sara Linde, was given the 2010 Distinguished Teacher of the Year award. This is the highest award given to a faculty member. It’s also based on student vote. Linde is an alumna of Stephens getting her bachelors in 2002 for equestrian business management.

Financial aid counselor, Greg Hutchinson, got the H.E. Wilkerson Award for outstanding service to admission. This award is given to a member of the staff who has specifically worked hard to support admissions at Stephens College. In addition to receiving this award, Hutchinson is to receive a M.Ed. in Counseling next weekend at Stephens.

Assistant professor of theatre got the Century Candle Award for outstanding contributions to student life. He is also an alum of Stephens.

Aside from the Honors Convocations awards Stephens College got news that Media and Film department chair, Kerri Yost, received the Heartland Feature Award at the Kansas City Film Fest. She submitted her documentary “Neither Here Nor There”. A film about Bosnian refugees in the United States.

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Panache greeted me at the door with shaggy hair falling into his eyes and a never-ending bounce under his feet. I spent the morning at Phil and Nancy Harter’s home talking to them about their time in Columbia. And if you haven’t guessed by now, I am love with their playful French Briard Sheepdog, Panache.

Not Panache

This is not Panache but looks like him. Picture courtesy of Google Images

Phil and Nancy were more than welcoming when I arrived this morning. I sat amidst the renovated walls and custom-made fixtures sprinkled with Art Deco accents that made up the breathtaking house they have called home for the past ten years.

The Harters will be moving back to their home near Washington D.C. after seven years in Columbia. Phil is the Earl F. Nelson professor of law at the MU Law School and Nancy has been a driving force in women’s politics and education within the Columbia community. Although the Harters knew their stay would be short, they still managed to exude a passion for Columbia and it’s well-being.

A profile of this influential couple will be coming soon as they begin to say goodbye to a town they have grown to love.

Stay tuned…columbiamissourian.com

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but MU scientists are working to combat this by studying the smallest blood vessels in the body.

The MU School of Medicine received a $8.47 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for microcirculation research Thursday morning. This involves studying tiny networks of thin blood vessels that play a role in hypertension, diabetes, and strokes.

Gerald Meininger, principal investigator for the grant, said the money will allow scientists to study the internal structure of these blood vessels, which will lead to a better understanding of cardiovascular disease.

Read the full article on the grant here.

Members of the Johnston Hall Council at MU raised about $300 at a bake sale Wednesday afternoon for the benefit of Greta Johnson, daughter of Jessica Jennrich, director of undergraduate advising, curriculum and programming in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies.

Jennrich is also a stakeholder with Johnston Hall, meaning she works with residents and serves as a faculty adviser to the Women’s Leadership Freshman Interest Group. Her 1-year-old daughter, Greta, has cerebral palsy.

Johnston residents approached Jennrich about holding an event to support Greta and decided to put on a bake sale.

As of 1:30 Wednesday afternoon, proceeds from the bake sale totaled around $300, MU freshman and Johnston resident Stacy Ike said. This is in addition to funds donated by each floor of the hall, leaving a total of approximately $500 for Greta.

This amount shocked and overwhelmed Jennrich.

“It just warms my heart so much that students, faculty and staff would come out and be supportive,” she said.

Jennrich will use the funds to pay for additional physical, occupational and speech therapy for Greta.

“The harder you work at a younger age, the more you can accomplish,” she said.

As most students know, academic advisers can make or break one’s college experience. MU also seems to know the importance of great advisers, and last month the university honored two undergraduate advisers for their work with students.

Dr. George Jesse of the Division of Animal Science won the MU Excellence in Advising Award in the faculty division, and Aaron Cook from the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr., College of Business was the winner in the professional division.

Jesse is a professor and the director of undergraduate studies for the Division of Animal Sciences at MU. He has been an undergraduate adviser since 1971 (that’s nearly 40 years, in case you’re wondering!), and in the past 10 years has served as a member and chair of the Committee for Undergraduate Education and the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee.

Cook has worked in the Trulaske College of Business for four of the five years he has been at MU. He advises undergraduate business students and is responsible for all undergraduate scholarship recipient programming.

He is currently a co-facilitator of an Exploring Business Freshman Interest Group, the current liaison to the Business Week 2010 Steering Committee and the secretary for the Mizzou Alumni Association (Boone County Chapter).

The two winners were selected from a pool of 24 nominees by a committee made up of students, retired advisers and administrators.

A full list of the nominees follows.

2010 Excellence in Advising Award Nominees, Faculty Advisors

2010 Excellence in Advising Award Nominees, Professional Advisors

RJI after hours

By Paul Mossine

Brian Brooks stirred up controversy with journalism students today when he sent out a mass e-mail decrying students staying late in buildings at the Missouri School of Journalism and propping open locked doors in the evening. His e-mail to the students is here:

Students,

We’ve had some serious security problems in the Journalism buildings recently. Two things you need to know:

1. Propping open exterior doors to the Journalism complex is illegal and can lead to charges being filed against you for illegal entry. When the building is locked, that means all facilities are closed.

2. It has been called to my attention that the custodians have found people sleeping and/or working in the building when they arrive in the early morning. This is prohibited when the exterior doors are locked. If you propped open an external door or entered through one propped open, that does not excuse the fact that you are in the building illegally.

Effective immediately, MU Police will begin patrolling the complex to ensure compliance.

Thanks for your help in protecting our facilities and equipment.

Brian

The move resulted in a backlash from students on Twitter, Facebook and blogs, questioning Brooks’ move.

Some concerns students shared were:

  • That many students work long hours, especially during finals week, and a police presence would add to stress.
  • That students pay tuition to use facilities that would be closed off to them after-hours.
  • That many assignments are time sensitive, and regulating access to technology would interfere with deadlines.

I talked to Brooks today, who seemed annoyed by the accusations that his actions were not reasonable. He said that any journalism student can obtain access to the facilities, and was irritated that professors were not passing along the information to students that would ensure their access. He said that any student could get their name on a list through their professor and could get their student ID card activated easily to avoid problems with police. He said t his concerns are for the safety of students, as many homeless people have been entering RJI after hours through propped open doors. He also made clear that the rules to be enforced by police have been in effect for the past two years.

Brooks outlined three doors that can be opened with a card around the journalism complex:

  • Near the Neff Annex parking lot
  • On the “circle drive” side of Gannett
  • Between RJI and the old sociology building

UPDATE: Brooks sent out a follow-up e-mail close to 7 p.m. to clarify his earlier statements. He explained the process to obtain access to RJI, as we mentioned above and said that policing the buildings would probably not go into effect until summer session, although he can’t guarantee the retraction would make its way through MUPD before the weekend.

You can read his original e-mail to faculty and staff and the follow-up e-mail after the jump.

UPDATE #2: For those of you interested in participating in the “study-in,” it has been called off because its creator found Brooks’ second e-mail satisfactory.

Continue Reading »

 

MU Chancellor Brady Deaton, Budget Director Tim Rooney and Faculty Council Chairwoman Leona Rubin addressed faculty members in a half-full Jesse Wrench Auditorium yesterday at the spring general faculty meeting, and those in attendance (including yours truly) were treated to a fast-paced, concise review of recent activity by several divisions at the university.

MU budget explanation

MU Budget Director Tim Rooney outlined the following costs MU will face in the following year:

  • The 5.2 percent budget cuts from the state total a decrease of $10 million.
  • MU will attempt to maintain the discount rate currently available for undergraduates, which adds $2 million to MU’s expenses.
  • The 2.7 percent increase in graduate tuition would mean tuition waivers from assistantships would cost the university $800,000.
  • Few expenditures, which include increasing instruction costs due to enrollment growth, faculty diversity recruitment, promotion funding and new scholarships, would add $9.6 million to the deficit.

However, to help offset the above costs (which total more than $20 million), there are a few avenues for income.

  • The tuition increase for out-of-state undergraduates, graduate students and those in professional programs, would bring in approximately $5.2 million.
  • The projected enrollment increase of 538 students would total $3.9 million.

In total, Rooney projected a deficit of about $12 million.

To see a more detailed report of the budget situation, read the Missourian’s article on the subject.

Enrollment projections

Also at the meeting, Deaton addressed potential enrollment numbers for fall 2010.

Based on price elasticity calculations, Deaton said, the increase in non-resident tuition could decrease out-of-state enrollment by 160 students. He also said that more freshmen are opting to attend community college, and that families are increasingly concerned about higher education costs.

Deaton said enrollment projections would be more accurate after the May 1 deadline for deposits, but he said the university has so far received 17,080 applications, which is a 6 percent increase from last year. The following increases were also found from last year:

  • an 8 percent increase in applications from “high-ability students,” or those who achieved a score of 28 or higher on the ACT (4,700 students);
  • a 7 percent increase in transfer student applications (1,865 students);
  • a 13 percent increase in non-resident applications (7,615 students);
  • a 14 percent increase in African-American applicants (1,911 students);
  • a 31 percent increase in Hispanic applicants (640 students); and
  • a total projected increase of 2.3 percent (500-600 students) for a total of about 31,800 students.

Faculty Council Update

Council Chairwoman Leona Rubin reviewed recent council activity:

  • A course evaluation committee, headed by Steve Osterlind and Robert Torres, is in the process of reviewing the entire course evaluation document.
  • A review of the general education requirements at MU is nearly finished and a report should be compiled by fall.
  • The council recommended that the Board of Curators approve a resolution guaranteeing benefits for employees’ domestic partners.
    • Specifically for MU, the council is looking into “soft benefits,” which could include access to a partner’s library card and a partner add-on to season passes at AL Gustin Golf Course.
  • The university began offering credit for military veterans for certain courses completed while in service.
  • A family friendly task force was formed to address the unique circumstances of student parents at MU.
  • Former Council Chair Tom Phillips reviewed changes to the Classroom Intellectual Property guidelines, which specify under which circumstances the university owns the copyright to works created by employees.