Missouri State University

Office of the President

President Clif Smart

University Highlights

Highlights for first four months of fiscal year 2013
(July 1 – November 1, 2012)

Clifton M. “Clif” Smart III named Missouri State’s 11th president

Clifton M. “Clif” Smart III was named the 11th president of Missouri State University. Smart, who served as interim president for 16 months, began his duties Oct. 16. He was introduced as the new president in a ceremony in the Plaster Student Union Theater, with Board of Governors members on stage flanking Smart and his wife, Gail. Members of the campus community and Springfield community filled the 450-seat theater. Missouri State band members played the fight song as the Smarts walked onto the stage. Smart joined Missouri State as general counsel on Dec. 1, 2007, after a successful 20-year legal career. He was named interim president June 27, 2011, when Dr. James E. Cofer Sr., the 10th president, announced his plans to return to the faculty. During the 16 months under interim president Smart, Missouri State accomplished much, including: collaborating on a variety of initiatives with other higher education institutions, both in Springfield and around the state, including finalizing the new cooperative Doctor of Pharmacy degree program with the University of Missouri-Kansas City, setting an enrollment record on the Springfield campus this fall and breaking the record for private gifts in a single year with more than $20 million contributed.

Springfield campus sets enrollment record

Thanks to a record 21,059 students on the Springfield campus, official enrollment for the Missouri State University system was up for the fall 2012 semester. Official system enrollment has increased 14 of 16 years from 1996 to 2012. A total of 23,071 students are enrolled in the Missouri State University system in fall 2012 compared to 22,866 in fall 2011. In addition to the 21,059 students on the Springfield campus, 2,102 students are enrolled on the West Plains campus. Some 90 students are enrolled on both campuses; these students were only counted once in the system total. On the Springfield campus, the total enrollment is up 257 students from last year, surpassing the previous record of 20,949 set in the fall 2010 semester. Springfield students represent every Missouri county, 48 other states and the District of Columbia, and 86 other countries. The average ACT score for incoming freshmen is 23.9, well above state and national averages; 84.2 percent were in the top half of their graduating class and 60.6 percent had a high school GPA of 3.50 or higher.

Foster Family Recreation Center dedicated

Homecoming week at Missouri State University included the dedication ceremony for two new campus features: the Bill R. Foster and Family Recreation Center and the Michael T. Nietzel Plaza. The ceremony included remarks by university officials and the Foster family, along with the unveiling of the commemorative plaques. The Foster Recreation Center is a 100,000-square-foot, $30 million facility. The project was initiated in 2006 by student leaders, designed with the help of students, and funded through a dedicated student fee and private contributions. The center contains three gyms, a climbing wall, an aquatics area, an indoor track, a cardio-fitness center, locker rooms and multipurpose rooms for fitness assessment, dance and other related activities. Bill R. Foster and his family have a long history with Missouri State University and a lifelong commitment to health care. Students also benefitted from a significant gift from Bobby Allison. The $500,000 gift helped support the construction of the center and endow a portion of the intramural sports program. The Foster Recreation Center is one of several new facilities that opened during the year, which also includes an addition to the McQueary Family Health Sciences Hall and the new Greenwood Science Scholars’ Laboratory at Greenwood Lab School.

Area universities, colleges collaborate on academic, service projects

Five Springfield-area universities are collaborating on two projects, one academic and one service-oriented. The leaders of Drury University, Evangel University, Missouri State University, Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC) and Southwest Baptist University announced two joint initiatives at the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. The five presidents/chancellors signed agreements regarding creation of a Foreign Languages Institute and announced plans to work together on an annual community service project. In fall 2012 that project is Meals a Million sponsored by Friends Against Hunger. The five presidents/chancellors included Drury President Todd Parnell, Evangel President Robert H. Spence, Missouri State President Clifton M. Smart III, OTC Chancellor Hal L. Higdon and Southwest Baptist President C. Pat Taylor.

Jim Baker receives the National Friendship Award of China

Dr. Jim Baker, vice president for research and economic development and international programs, received the National Friendship Award of China in Beijing on National Day (Oct. 1). This is the highest honor that the Chinese government confers to foreign experts who have made outstanding contributions to China. Hosted annually by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, the award recognizes and commends foreign experts for their outstanding achievements and dedication to China’s development and construction in the fields of economics, technology, education and culture, as well as personnel cultivation. Winners of the annual award are invited to Beijing to attend the awarding ceremony, meet with Chinese party and state leaders and participate in National Day festivities.

Contract with Department of Defense expands graduate program

Missouri State University’s College of Humanities and Public Affairs (CHPA) was awarded a five-year, $2.5 million contract from the U. S. Department of Defense (DOD). The contract is for CHPA’s department of defense and strategic studies (DSS), located in the Washington, D.C., area, to work in conjunction with the National Defense University to provide graduate courses for up to 48 mid-career DOD students to earn the Master of Science in Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Studies. The contract will help to fund at least two new courses, several new adjunct faculty members and additional sections of existing defense and strategic studies courses designated for the new National Defense University students, according to DSS Department Head Keith Payne.

Springfield and West Plains campuses again named military friendly schools

Victory Media, the premier media source for military personnel transitioning into civilian life, again named Missouri State University’s Springfield and West Plains campuses to its list of Military Friendly Schools®. The 2013 list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s service members and veterans as students. Inclusion on the list is based on a survey of more than 12,000 schools nationwide, which focused on the recruitment of students with military experience through scholarships, organizations, staffing and military credit for those who served. A total of 1,739 institutions were included on this year’s list, which will be highlighted in the annual “Guide to Military Friendly Schools” distributed to active and former military personnel, and G.I. Jobs, Military Spouse and Vetrepreneur magazines.

Project management program receives accreditation

Missouri State University’s project management master’s program in the department of technology and construction management, part of the College of Business, was accredited by the Project Management Institute Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs. Degree programs that achieve GAC accreditation must demonstrate and meet the GAC’s rigorous global standards of accreditation, which include an assessment of each program’s objectives and outcomes, faculty and student evaluations, onsite and online resources, annual self-evaluation and proof of continuous improvements in the area of project management education. Eighty-five project management degree programs at 39 institutions in 13 countries are accredited by GAC. GAC accreditation ensures the quality of academic degree programs and their graduates in order to meet the standards of the rapidly growing field of project management.

Missouri State receives ‘Best in the Midwest’ designation

Missouri State University was again selected for inclusion in The Princeton Review’s 2013 online list of “Best Colleges: Region by Region.” Missouri State is one of 153 schools on the site receiving the “Best in the Midwest” designation and has been included on this list since its inception 10 years ago. In addition to the student surveys, selection is based on a qualitative evaluation of academic excellence, as well as visits to schools and opinions from Princeton Review’s staff and college advisors. Information about each college included in the “Best in the Midwest” list is available online. The profile includes comments from students and general information about the school.

Highlights from fiscal year 2012
(July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012)

First class of 15 engineering students graduate

The first graduates of the cooperative engineering program received their degrees during spring commencement ceremonies in May. Four years ago, Missouri State University entered into a cooperative agreement with Missouri University of Science and Technology to offer a Springfield-based engineering program, which would meet the demands of engineering jobs locally. The class of 15 graduates received their degrees from Missouri University of Science and Technology which they earned while studying on Missouri State’s Springfield campus. Approximately half of the classes are taught by Missouri State faculty, while the other half are taught by Missouri University of Science and Technology faculty, many in person and others via distance learning.

Jordan Valley Innovation Center celebrates five years of growth

Downtown Springfield has undergone many changes during the past five years, but the opening of the Roy Blunt Jordan Valley Innovation Center in 2007 marked one of the biggest changes for the encouragement of economic development in the area. The Jordan Valley Innovation Center hosted a five-year celebration featuring Senator Roy Blunt along with university and community leaders. “One of the distinctive characteristics of Missouri State is the IDEA Commons, with the centerpiece being the Roy Blunt Jordan Valley Innovation Center,” said then Interim President Clif Smart. IDEA Commons was designed to incorporate elements of innovation, design, entrepreneurship and the arts into one location that would attract young talent and build the community. JVIC is the cornerstone for IDEA Commons, and it focuses on environmentally friendly projects with an applied research emphasis on biomaterials, nanotechnology, carbon-based electronics, biomedical instrument development and energy.

MSU Doctor of Nursing Practice program approved

The Higher Learning Commission notified Missouri State University that its Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program was approved. The DNP becomes the third stand-alone doctorate offered by the university. By 2015, the DNP will be the professional degree that is standard for nurse practitioners. Missouri State will add the DNP and two curricular pathways to achieve that degree – one for baccalaureate nurses and one for nurses who already have a master’s degree in an advanced practice area. The nurse educator specialization will remain at the master’s level. The all online post-master’s DNP program will be implemented beginning in the summer of 2012, and the Bachelor of Nursing Science to DNP will begin in the summer of 2013.

UMKC and MSU partner to provide Doctor of Pharmacy program on Springfield campus

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon joined leaders from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Missouri State University to announce the signing of an agreement between the two universities that will allow students to enroll in UMKC’s Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree program offered on the Missouri State campus. The UMKC-MSU PharmD program was developed in response to current and projected shortages of pharmacy professionals in the state, particularly in underserved rural areas, and to meet the significant demand for the UMKC Doctor of Pharmacy program, as evidenced by applicant pools in excess of 500 students over the past several years. Additional impetus came from Governor Nixon’s Caring for Missourians commitment to support programs to address health care professional shortages statewide. The location of the program in Springfield at MSU makes it more convenient for students living in the southwest region of Missouri to attend UMKC’s pharmacy program. The hope is that students who enroll in the program will return to their home or rural communities to practice after they graduate.

MSU, OTC sign articulation agreements for two degree programs

Missouri State University and Ozarks Technical Community College signed two articulation agreements providing a seamless pathway for OTC students to transfer their Associate of Science and Applied Science degrees to complete a bachelor’s degree entirely online with MSU. Specifically, a Bachelor of Applied Science in technology management can be completed online for OTC students who have earned an Associate of Applied Science. OTC students may transfer their credits for junior status with Missouri State University. Similarly, a Bachelor of Science in criminology can be completed online for OTC students who have earned an Associate of Arts.

Missouri State offers new Evening College Plus

Missouri State University now offers a new program for the busy adult who needs to earn a college degree while juggling commitments like work and family. The new Evening College Plus program provides a pathway for individuals to earn an undergraduate degree through evening and online courses. Evening College Plus is designed around eight-week general education courses that meet one or two times per week and integrates seated and online instruction, creating a community of adult learners. Students have the option to enroll in up to two courses in an evening to reduce campus visits. The program also offers evening degree completion programs with courses offered one or two evenings per week or online for eight or 16 weeks.

Missouri State-West Plains named one of top 120 two-year colleges in nation

For the second consecutive year, Missouri State University-West Plains was named one of the top 120 two-year colleges in the United States by the Aspen Institute Community College Excellence Program. The recognition is based on a quantitative formula that assesses performance and improvement in graduation rates, degrees awarded, student retention rates and equity in student outcomes. Missouri State-West Plains was selected out of 1,200 community colleges across the nation and is one of only two recognized in Missouri.

Tent Theatre celebrates its 50th season

The raising of the iconic tent behind Craig Hall on the Missouri State campus in the summer of 2012 marked the 50th season of Tent Theatre. As the longest continuous running outdoor theatre company in the Midwest, Tent Theatre is an Ozarks tradition that has helped launch the careers of current Hollywood and Broadway stars, and provided great summer memories for theatre goers. Tent alumni returned throughout the season to attend events, perform in shows and assist with choreography.

Missouri State named to President’s Honor Roll for civic engagement

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the U.S. Department of Education named Missouri State University to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary commitment to service-learning and civic engagement. Missouri State was one of 11 Missouri higher education institutions to be awarded the President’s Honor Roll. Through their civic engagement, service-learning students generated more than $1 million worth of service for the community. During the 2010-11 academic year, 5,901 Missouri State students engaged in academic service-learning or other forms of community service, for a total of 382,895 service hours.

Research results in significant breakthroughs for grape, wine industry

Researchers at the at the Center for Grapevine Biotechnology in Missouri State University’s W. H. Darr School of Agriculture announced two major breakthroughs that will impact grape and wine industries in Missouri and the Midwest. The first discovery concerns the whole genome of Norton, the state grape of Missouri, which has now been sequenced. Although the whole road map of the genetic landscape will take years to complete, the raw genomic sequences shed the first glimpse on the genetic mystery shrouding the origin and legends of a true North American wine grape.

The second discovery concerns the first DNA virus ever discovered in grapes. The genome of the new virus is a double-strand circular DNA molecule. Close association of this DNA virus with an emerging grape disease will lead to a more detailed study of the new virus that will help prevent further spread of the virus and the loss of grapevines in vineyards. The new virus also poses many questions, such as where it originates, how it spreads to commercial vineyards, if it is widely distributed in vineyards worldwide, and more intriguingly, if it is present in wild grapevines that are native to North America.

Taylor Health and Wellness Center Laboratory receives national award

The Taylor Health and Wellness Center Laboratory at Missouri State University was awarded the prestigious “Laboratory Excellence Award” by the Commission on Office Laboratory Accreditation (COLA), a national health care accreditation organization. The laboratory received the award for its outstanding performance in quality patient care and overall exemplary application of the principles of laboratory practices. The honor is the highest commendation that COLA awards, given only to those health care facilities that receive a perfect accreditation survey. To meet the requirements, laboratories must be compliant with all COLA required criteria for laboratory accreditation during their on-site survey, demonstrate successful proficiency testing during their three previous testing events and have no valid complaints against the laboratory.

MSU and French National Institute for Agricultural Research collaborate

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between Missouri State University and the French National Institute for Agriculture Research (l’Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, INRA) to strengthen the collaborations in research and education through cooperative research projects and exchanges. Under the MOU, Missouri State researchers and INRA scientists will conduct joint research projects, train young scientists cooperatively, exchange scientific materials and data, and organize bilateral scientific meetings.

Gohn Hall renovation to house Outreach Program

Renovation of Gohn Hall is underway, thanks to an additional gift commitment from David Gohn and his sister, longtime public educator Virginia Gohn Sapp, St. Louis. The family home, donated to the university by Gohn and Sapp, will provide office and classroom space for the Missouri State University Outreach Program on the West Plains campus. The Outreach Program offers several bachelor’s and master’s degree completion programs, including those in education and business, locally. Missouri State-West Plains students will be able to complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree in child and family development, education, business and more via distance learning technology and traditional classes in Gohn Hall. The renovated facility is expected to open by fall 2013.

Endowed professorship established

The promise of an endowed professorship in the William and Virginia Darr Honors Program at Missouri State University-West Plains has come to fruition. University officials received the amount needed to create the William and Virginia Darr Endowed Honors Professorship. The announcement fulfilled a promise made in 2008 when members of the Philanthropic Women for Education organization pledged an annual gift for five years toward the professorship while university officials sought to fully endow the position.

Academics

In supporting the university’s mission of developing educated persons, the office of the provost administers the teaching, research and service functions of Missouri State by providing educational and service programs — undergraduate, graduate, outreach, credit and non-credit — to meet the needs and interests of students and citizens. Several significant accomplishments in academics were achieved last year.

Professor selected as a Geological Society of America Fellow

Dr. Kevin Mickus, professor of geology, was selected to be a Fellow of the Geological Society of America. According to the GSA, “Society Fellowship is an honor bestowed on the best of our profession by election at the spring GSA Council meeting. GSA members are nominated by existing GSA Fellows in recognition of their distinguished contributions to the geosciences through such avenues as publications, applied research, teaching, administration of geological programs, contributing to the public awareness of geology, leadership of professional organizations, and taking on editorial, bibliographic and library responsibilities.”

Hospitality department receives state award for tourism

Dr. Melissa Dallas, head of the hospitality and restaurant administration department, accepted the Missouri Tourism Council’s 2011 Educational Award on behalf of the department for outstanding dedication and service to the Missouri tourism industry. Two Missouri State HRA students, Cat Blankenship and Matthew Evans, received top scholarships from the MTC earlier last year. The MTC is the official private sector umbrella organization of the tourism industry in the state of Missouri. Through state industry partnerships and a research-based business plan, the MTC strengthens the development, promotion and sustainable growth of the Missouri tourism industry for both visitors and state residents.

Outstanding academic advisors recognized

Two Missouri State University academic advisors were selected for national recognition by the National Academic Advising Association. Amy Marie Aufdembrink, advisor in the Academic Advisement Center, and Dr. Kelly Wood, associate professor of communication, were awarded the Outstanding Advising Award, which honors individuals and institutions that make a significant contribution to the improvement of academic advising. Aufdembrink was awarded as an outstanding advisor in the professional staff category, and she was one of 11 selected nationally. Wood was selected as an outstanding advisor in the faculty category, which recognizes individuals who advise in addition to their teaching duties. Wood was one of nine selected nationally for this recognition. In addition, Ross Hawkins, transfer advisor at Missouri State University, was elected chair of the Advising Transfer Students Commission for the National Academic Advising Association. He will hold the position for two years and will lead a commission charged with encouraging research, collaboration, sharing of best practices, encouraging presentations and advocacy for advisors working with transfer students.

Faculty and staff

During the year, several faculty members received national recognition or participated in activities on a national/international level.

  • Dr. John Havel, biology professor, received a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources via the University of Wisconsin, Madison to test the effectiveness of the native water-milfoil weevil for controlling the EWM to determine if the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources should adopt augmentation with native weevils as an alternative to chemical treatment to suppress EWM;
  • Two faculty members in the department of geology, geography and planning, Drs. Kevin Evans and Kevin Mickus, were awarded a grant from the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Geologic Mapping Program to help students learn geology in the field and train them to do geologic mapping, while uncovering the historic, environmental and economic aspects of the region being mapped;
  • Biology faculty members Dr. Alicia Mathis and Sherry Leis received a grant from the Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Units through the National Parks Service to support managers and landowners in making good fire management decisions;
  • Dr. Michael Reed, associate professor in the physics, astronomy and materials science department, received a grant from the National Science Foundation to continue his research exploring the insides of evolving stars and measurement of the vibrations within these stars;
  • Bruce West, professor of photography in the art and design department, was part of an exhibition highlighting the photography of Mississippi. The exhibit, “Mississippi Photographs 1860s-Present,” ran in the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans;
  • Matthew Curry, director of the Center for Applied Science and Engineering in the Jordan Valley Innovation Center, received a grant from Creative Polymers for a project to determine the feasibility of creating a novel super conducting material that can be manufactured easily, is flexible at room temperature and has performance characteristics comparable to existing wires;
  • Dr. Robert Mayanovic, professor in the physics, astronomy and materials science department, won the National Science Foundation award to acquire a state-of-the-art micro-Raman-PL instrument, which will provide valuable experience for students, and complement the existing facilities and tools the department has for investigation of a wide range of materials;
  • Dr. Jennifer Krawec, assistant professor in the department of counseling, leadership and special education, received the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities Dissertation Award for 2012. As the recipient of this honor, Krawec was invited to attend and present her research at the 36th Annual IARLD Conference in Padua, Italy;
  • Dr. James Parsons, professor of music history, presented his paper, “Beethoven’s Ninth and the Hard Work of the Enlightenment,” at the Seventeenth Biennial International Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music at the University of Edinburgh;
  • Dr. Dennis Hickey, professor of political science, received a grant from the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy to examine Taiwan’s defense capabilities and to determine what the U.S. should do to address the growing military imbalance between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan);
  • Michael Whitley, director of development in the office of development and alumni relations, was selected to receive a 2012 Young Leader Award by the St. Louis American Foundation. The awards are presented annually to 20 outstanding young African-American professionals age 40 and younger from the St. Louis region who have gone above and beyond in both their professional performance and community involvement.

Students

  • The William T. White String Quartet, a student ensemble, won first prize at the West Central Division finals of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Chamber Music Competition in Boulder, Colo. Violinist Ryan Hardcastle also received first prize in the Young Artist String Competition at the MTNA competition and competed as a finalist in New York City; his winning performance included the music of J.S. Bach and Paul Hindemith.
  • The Holt V. Spicer Debate Forum at Missouri State University set a new school record by advancing three teams to the National Debate Tournament (NDT), continuing its streak of appearances at the national event. The Spicer Forum has qualified to the National Debate Tournament each year since 1996, about the 10th longest qualifying streak in the nation.
  • The Ad Team from Missouri State’s marketing department won second place in the U.S. Medical Reserve Corps Branding and Recruitment Challenge in early May. The Generation Y targeted campaign included multimedia and social marketing to recruit medical and non-medical volunteers.
  • Shana Austin, Casteel Kirk and Cheyenne Shipps, students in the Delta Tau Alpha national agriculture honor society, won second place in the agriculture quiz bowl held at the DTA National Convention in Warrensburg, Mo. The quiz bowl was set up in double elimination rounds and included four categories of questions covering plant science, animal science, general agriculture and agricultural business. At the convention, Kirk, a junior agricultural education major, was also elected the national president of the DTA.
  • Missouri State University’s Military Science ROTC Female Ranger Challenge Team took first place overall at the Brigade Ranger Challenge competition held at Camp Dodge, Iowa. The team took first place overall by winning six of the 11 events, and taking second place in four others. The competition challenged the competitors both mentally and physically over the course of the weekend. Challenge events included rifle marksmanship, the Army Physical Fitness Test, a 7.5 mile ruck march, an obstacle course, the construction of a one-rope bridge, a day and night land navigation course, a hand grenade assault course and two mystery events which consisted of rappelling and archery.
  • Students from Associate Professor Brian Calfano’s 2011 PLS 101 classes participated in local forums with KOZL-TV, which were used to develop reports on student-related issues ranging from drug and alcohol use to the economy, to personal debt. Recently, these reports won the first-place Missouri Broadcaster’s Association Award in the “Documentary/Public Affairs” category.
  • Through the process of organ donation, one person can save 50 lives, and marketing students again partnered with Mid-America Transplant Services and Mercy Hospital-Lebanon to create an organ donor registration awareness campaign titled the x50 Project. Last year, the x50 Project successfully achieved over 1,000 organ donor registrations.
  • Students from the media, journalism and film department launched their first online web series, “Epilogue.” Approximately 100 students were involved in the development and production of this unique show. Showcasing the many talents of students in the College of Arts and Letters, the six episodes were written by students in media, journalism and film’s screenwriting program, produced by students in the media and multimedia production programs, and directed by an electronic arts major and a graduate student in communication.
  • Bethany Forrester, senior civil engineering major in the cooperative engineering program between Missouri State University and the Missouri University of Science & Technology, attended the Clinton Global Initiative University in Washington, D.C. Only 1,200 students are invited to attend the event and are chosen for their commitment to a project which addresses a global need. Forrester is working with MSU graduate Bryan Simpson, who also attended the event. The CGIU challenges college students to address global issues with practical, innovative solutions that include taking concrete steps to solve the issues through building relationships, creating action plans, participating in hands-on workshops, and following up as they complete their projects.
  • Students in the electronic arts program and the department of media, journalism and film won more than 50 awards at media competitions last year. The competitions include the 2012 Missouri Broadcast Education Association, the Derby City Film Festival, the Society of Professional Journalists Region 7 Mark of Excellence Awards, the Missouri College Media Association and the College Newspaper Business and Advertising Managers competition. Students took home four first place awards and five honorable mentions at the Missouri Broadcast Education Association competition. In addition to winning first place at the MBEA competition, the short film “Thin Air” took home the award for Best Student Short at the 2012 Derby City Film Festival in Louisville, Ky. The film was also accepted to the Santa Cruz Film Festival.

Special activities

  • Missouri State University granted its 14th honorary doctorate to Shawn Askinosie, J.D., founder of Askinosie Chocolate. Askinosie received the Doctor of Public Affairs (A.P.D.) during the spring commencement ceremonies.
  • In recognition of his long-standing involvement with and support of Missouri State University, the Robert W. Plaster Foundation and the Plaster Family was selected to receive the 2011 Bronze Bear Award. Over the years, the Robert W. Plaster Foundation has made gifts in support of students, academics, economic development and athletics. Leadership gifts from the Plaster Foundation led to the naming of three significant facilities on campus: the Robert W. Plaster Sports Complex, the Robert W. Plaster Student Union and the Robert W. Plaster Center for Free Enterprise and Business Development.
    Missouri State University, along with presenting sponsor The Springfield News-Leader, hosted the eighth annual Public Affairs Conference. The event, which is free and open to the public, brought a variety of speakers with global perspectives to Springfield.
  • The 14th Ozarks Celebration Festival took place with traditional craftspeople and commercial artists, three stages of music (which included traditional, bluegrass and gospel music), Ozarks storytelling, traditional dance (which will include square, jig, contra and clogging), films, historical characters, exhibits and much more.
  • During the summer, Missouri State hosted the Missouri Fine Arts Academy, the Public Affairs Academy and the Missouri Innovation Academy.
  • The Missouri State University School of Accountancy again partnered with representatives from a dozen federal, state, local, private and not-for-profit agencies throughout the region to offer free tax preparation, e-filing and tax controversy assistance as part of the Across the Life Span (ATLS) and Volunteer Individual Tax Assistance (VITA) programs. The walk-in clinics were offered free to those with low incomes, older adults and citizens who speak English as a second language.
  • Missouri State University celebrated five special months: National Hispanic Heritage Month, Native American Heritage Month, African American Heritage Month, Asian-Pacific Islander Month and Women’s History Month.
  • Dr. Eric Nelson, professor of history and dean’s fellow for transformation at Missouri State University, and Jeff Huff, assistant professor of computer graphics and programming at Missouri State-West Plains, received the Missouri Council on Public Higher Education’s “Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education” from Gov. Jay Nixon. The annual award honors outstanding faculty from post-secondary public schools, colleges and universities within the state. The recipients were selected by their respective institutions for effective teaching, innovation in course design and delivery, effective advising, service to the institution’s community, and commitment to high standards of excellence.

Intercollegiate athletics

  • Missouri State’s already-rich history in intercollegiate athletics added yet another achievement in 2011-12 season, as the school’s five conference titles led the way in bringing the Missouri Valley Conference All-Sports Trophy back to Springfield. Numerous Missouri State student-athletes helped their teams claim those five championships and four 2nd-place finishes. Leading the charge for men’s basketball was senior forward Kyle Weems, who finished his career among the all-time MSU greats in several categories and helped the Bears to a third-place tie in a close Valley race. Meanwhile, a quintet of seniors helped the Lady Bears basketball team to an outright Valley title and their third-straight postseason appearance in the WNIT. Guard Casey Garrison finished her career with 2,271 points, the third-most in MVC history, while forward Lacey Boshe set the MSU career record for games played with 131.
  • The women’s golf team, led by senior Kelsey Welber’s MVC-leading scoring average, won the MVC title for the first time since 2001 and earned a trip to the NCAA Regionals, finishing 20th. The golf squad excelled in the classroom as well, as Welber, Emma Clegg and Emily Potts were named to the National Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar Team.
  • The men’s golf team had a strong season as well, finishing second at the Missouri Valley Conference Championship, the best placing the program has seen since the 2000 season. The team claimed six MVC Golfer of the Week awards and were led by Daily Young and Will Hogan’s all-conference honors.
  • MVC first-teamer Heath Melugin led men’s soccer to a 1st-place tie in the Valley. The team picked up its first-ever win over an opponent ranked in the top five when they knocked off No. 4 Creighton 1-0 at Plaster Field on Oct. 12. The team’s other four seniors joined Melugin on the all-conference squads. Thomas Vania was named to the second team while Gerard Barbero, David Buckenheimer and Jordan Hoffman earned honorable mention honors.
  • The women’s soccer Bears finished with a 12-5-2 record en route to a second-place finish in the Valley. The squad dominated defensively during regular season conference play, as they allowed only two goals in six games, the fewest in team history. Head coach Rob Brewer reached a personal milestone as well when he won his 150th game at MSU in a 1-0 home win over Drake on Oct. 7.
  • Women’s swimming and diving continued its reign of supremacy in the water, as that squad won the MVC title for the fifth-straight year and for the ninth time in 10 years. They made Missouri State proud in the classroom as well with a 3.24 team GPA, good for a Team Scholar All-American All-Americans honor by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America.
  • Missouri State baseball and volleyball both qualified for the NCAA Tournament. Keith Guttin’s baseball Bears earned an at-large bid to the tournament with a 40-22 overall record and a 13-7 mark in the MVC. The volleyball team, led by head coach Melissa Stokes, qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in nine seasons and recorded its 13th-consecutive 20-win season.
  • Several other MSU student-athletes also had success academically. Boshe earned Academic All-American second team honors and was named the Valley women’s hoops Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Cross country’s Emily Beaver and Erin Edwards were named to the MVC Scholar-Athlete team, while the football team picked up four conference academic honors. Men’s soccer (3) and women’s soccer (6) combined to claim nine spots on the MVC Scholar-Athlete teams. Senior forward Heath Melugin claimed Capital One Academic All-America® First Team honors.
  • On the West Plains campus, the Grizzly Volleyball team was named one of the 2011-12 NJCAA Academic Teams of the Year by the National Junior College Athletic Association for posting a combined grade point average (GPA) of 3.40 on a 4.0 scale.

Sponsored research programs

As funding cuts continue to be an issue for grant seekers, Missouri State University received an excess of $18 million in funding – an overall increase of 1 percent from FY 2011 – according to the office of sponsored research and programs. During Fiscal Year 2012, 245 awards were received, totaling $18,975,376 in additional resources for the university. Externally sponsored grants and contracts assist university departments, faculty and staff in achieving their goals of education, research and service projects. Even though the university continues to see federal and state budget cuts, faculty and staff managed to increase the amount of funding received from state agencies by 76 percent from the previous year. In addition, there is a greater focus on contracting with various entities for service projects, which increased by 19 percent in FY 2012.

A sampling of research, education and service projects funded by external sources during Fiscal Year 2011 include:

  • Dr. Chin-Feng Hwang, associate professor in the William H. Darr School of Agriculture, participated in the Cornell University-based Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) project entitled “Accelerating Grape Cultivar Improvement via Phenotyping Centers and Next Generation Makers” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The collaborative effort will lay a solid foundation for breeding of the Norton grape, the official grape of the state of Missouri. It will also accelerate the testing and release of new hybrids of the Norton grape and Vitis vinifera, the European grape used for most wine making worldwide, with enhanced pathogen resistance and improved fruit quality. Hwang is conducting the project in partnership with Dr. Bruce Reisch from Cornell University and in collaboration with 10 other universities. The funding will support the program through August 2013.
  • Dr. Marcie Venter, assistant research professor and research archaeologist for the Center for Archaeological Research, received a subaward from the Delaware Tribe for the “Collaborative Survey and Inventory of Delaware Sites in Southwest Missouri” project. The funds are part of a $39,742 Historic Preservation Fund grant the Delaware Tribe received from the National Park Service. The award will be used for archaeological field research and report preparation that will help identify, report and protect early nineteenth-century Delaware settlements and cemeteries in the James River valley from urban expansion.
  • Dr. Susan Sims-Giddens, associate professor in the department of nursing, was awarded a grant from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for the Missouri Preschool Project. The award marks the 10th year of the project, which is a collaborative effort between the university Child Development Center, the MSU department of nursing and the Springfield R-12 School System. Drs. Mary Beth Mann and Joan Test, associate professors in the department of childhood education and family studies, were collaborators on the grant.

Federal funding

Federal agencies continued to provide the greatest amount of funding for FY12, with an approximate total of $6.7 million. State agencies supplied $4.4 million (compared to $2.5 million in fiscal year 2011), county and city agencies provided $97,636, businesses provided $3.2 million, nonprofit agencies provided $1.5 million, international agencies funded approximately $25,771 and other funding sources provided $2.6 million.

Major federal grants awarded last year include:

  • Dr. Michael Reed, associate professor in the physics, astronomy and materials science, received a $131,241 grant from the National Science Foundation to continue his research on “Asteroseismology of Pulsating Subdwarf B Stars via Observational Mode Identification and Modeling.” The grant will fund continued research exploring the insides of evolving stars and measurement of the vibrations within these stars. It also will fund the salaries of the researchers involved in the study.
  • Professors Les Reid, Jorge Rebaza and Xingping Sun of the department of mathematics were awarded a three-year grant totaling $298,255 by the National Science Foundation for the “Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Mathematics at Missouri State University (REU)” program. The program fosters undergraduate research and will allow the department to bring nine students from across the U.S. to Missouri State to begin hands-on research. The REU program offers summer research opportunities in the fields of algebra, analysis, combinatorics, differential equations and numerical analysis.
  • Missouri State was re-awarded the Upward Bound Federal Grant for 2012-17 from the United States Department of Education. Upward Bound provides opportunities for participants to succeed in their pre-college performance and ultimately in their higher education pursuits. Upward Bound serves high school students from low-income families and high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education, and enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education.

Private fund-raising

  • For the fifth year in a row, the Missouri State University Foundation set a new record for fundraising in Fiscal Year 2012, which ended June 30. The $20,311,218 raised during fiscal year 2012 topped the Foundation’s previous record of $16,698,481. The gifts will help to fund programs, scholarships, equipment and other needs across campus.
  • With gifts from 23,792 donors, the Foundation was able to help achieve the university’s overall goals of increasing student access to higher education and recruiting and maintaining quality faculty members.
  • Our Promise: The Campaign for Missouri State University continues, having exceeded its $125 million goal well ahead of schedule. The campaign will strive to reach the $150 million mark by Dec. 31, 2012, the originally scheduled conclusion.
  • Highlights of gifts given to the University over the past year include:
    • Missouri State University-West Plains students will benefit from the largest gift in the campus’ history – a $4 million gift that will endow and expand the Corps of Opportunity program and two athletics scholarships. The gift to the Missouri State University Foundation is from the Lorene Thompson Brooks estate. In recognition, the Corps of Opportunity Program will be renamed the Ed and Lorene Thompson Brooks Corps of Opportunity Program. It is the largest scholarship gift in the Foundation’s history. The Corps of Opportunity Program combines scholarships and on-campus work opportunities for qualified students who need financial help to pay for their college education. Although federal and state financial aid programs provide assistance to students who have the greatest financial need, the Corps of Opportunity Program targets students who have unmet financial need, whether or not they received benefits from one of these government programs.
    • A major gift from Springfield philanthropist and long-time Missouri State University supporter Jim D. Morris will result in new basketball locker rooms and team facilities in JQH Arena. In recognition of the gift, it will be named the Jim D. Morris Basketball Complex. The target completion date is fall 2013. The two-level complex, located on the south side of the arena floor, will include locker rooms for both the Bears and Lady Bears basketball teams, coaches’ offices, an athletic training facility, an academic study area, a state-of-the-art team video room and other support areas.