Missouri State University

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Public Affairs Mission and Activities

On June 15, 1995, Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan signed into law Senate Bill 340 which gave Missouri State University a statewide mission in public affairs. This mission defines a primary way in which a Missouri State education is different from that of other universities and one way by which we educate our students to imagine the future.

Public Affairs Mission

The public affairs mission, as defined by the Missouri State University community, consists of three broad themes:

Ethical leadership

Ethical Leadership is striving for excellence and integrity as one continually develops ethical and moral reasoning while contributing to the common good.  Ethical leaders have the courage to live by their principles in all parts of their personal and professional lives.

Cultural competence

Cultural Competence begins with cultural self-awareness and expands to knowledge of, respect for, and skills to engage with those of other cultures.  Culturally competent individuals respect multiple perspectives and are able to successfully negotiate cross-cultural differences.

Community engagement

Community Engagement is recognizing needs in the communities within which one belongs, then contributing knowledge and working with the community to meet those needs.  Community engagement requires extending beyond one's self for the betterment of the community - a process that fosters greater awareness and personal growth.

Public Affairs Activities

Every member of our University community is encouraged to be engaged in, create, lead, and sponsor activities which promote a deeper understanding of public affairs issues.  Departments and offices across campus are engaged in hundreds of public affairs activities throughout the year; however, there are a few overarching activities in which the entire community is involved.

Public Affairs Conference

The Public Affairs Conference is an annual, week-long event held each Spring semester; it features a series of keynote presentations, panel discussions, and special events centered around a single broad theme.  Individuals from a variety of disciplines--such as business, science, the arts, education, and more--speak about issues related to that theme that affect people at a local, national, and global scale.  This conference is the cornerstone of our public affairs activities and is an important event for our community each year. To view more information about the conference, including past themes and speakers, please visit the Public Affairs Conference page.

Public Affairs Week

Public Affairs Week is an annual, week-long event held in the Fall semester.  The event, coordinated by Missouri State students, consists of a series of presentations, panel discussions, and special events that relate to the year's public affairs theme.  As it is an event developed by and for students, Public Affairs Week has come to emphasize and encourage engagement with our public affairs mission in fun and fascinating ways. This week of activities has a uniquely student perspective, and it adds an additional facet to our community's understanding of public affairs. 

Public Affairs WeekAvenue of Flags

Established during the University's Centennial in 2005, the Avenue of Flags (displayed at the right) presents flags from each of the more than 80 countries represented by Missouri State international students, faculty, and staff.  The flags have come to represent our committment to and celebration of our diverse University community and the members who contribute to it.  The Avenue of Flags is erected for three special events during the academic year: Public Affairs Week in September, International Education Week in November, and the Public Affairs Conference in April.  Flags are also displayed for other special events throughout the year, based on the discretion of the University's Administrative Council. 

GEP 101 Common Reader

GEP 101: First Year Foundations is a required freshman seminar and orientation course that discusses the University's public affairs mission and strategies for obtaining academic success.  As part of this discussion, all students in this course read and discuss a fiction or non-fiction book that embodies the upcoming year's public affairs theme.  By doing so, students will begin to apply critical thinking, inquiry, and problem solving skills that will be useful throughout their academic and professional lives.  It also gives freshman (and faculty and staff) across campus a common experience to discuss.

A committee of University faculty and staff select a book that is interdisciplinary in topic and requires little or no expertise with the subject to comprehend.  Several events and programs throughout the year are related directly or indirectly to themes explored in the Common Reader.

For information about the current year's Common Reader selection, please visit the First Year Programs website.