UM students showcase research at Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol

Rep. Jeff Harris speaks at the Legislative Day rally as UM President Elson Floyd and Alumni Alliance Chiar Sterling Adams look on

From enhancing the delivery of chemotherapeutics to sustainable landscape design, students from all four University of Missouri campuses showcased why their research matters during Undergraduate Research Day, Tuesday, April 4 at the Capitol. The annual event demonstrates to legislators the unique opportunities undergraduate students from the University of Missouri have to participate in meaningful research with world-class faculty. Students displayed their research projects in poster sessions in the Capitol rotunda and shared information about their educational experiences and opportunities with elected officials. The students also were introduced on both the House and Senate floors.

This year 54 students from all four campuses worked with faculty mentors from departments including advertising, biochemistry, education, engineering, social work, and many others. Research topics ranged from "Diffuse Optical Tomography: A new way to detect early-stage breast cancer" to "Video game music in education and composition" and the "Automatic monitoring and flood detection for low-water bridges."

Icon-UniversityUniversity update

UM faculty honored with Governor’s Award for Teaching Excellence

Gov. Matt Blunt with UMR Professor Oran Pringle and Chancellor Jack Carney.

University of Missouri faculty were among those honored with the 2006 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching during a luncheon held Wednesday, April 5 in Jefferson City. Gov. Matt Blunt presented the awards to the University honorees, including Dr. Daniel Turban, professor of management and Stephen Furbacher Professorship in Organizational Change, MU; Dr. Jerzy Wrobel, associate professor of physics, UMKC; Dr. Oran Allan Pringle, professor of physics, UMR; and Elizabeth Vining, senior lecturer and international business coordinator, UMSL. Recipients were selected by their respective institutions for outstanding teaching, innovation in course design and delivery, effective advising, service to the institution’s community, and commitment to excellence. [See more photos...]

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icon question markState relations

Senate introduces its version of MOHELA plan

Discussion involving the governor’s Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative and the sale of partial assets from the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) continued to be an issue this week in the Capitol. Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Chuck Gross (R-St. Charles) introduced SB1256 late last week. This bill sets forth a different spending plan than the governor’s proposal. SB1256 contains all of the capital items in the governor’s proposal, but also includes a health care component addressing health care concerns across the state.

University of Missouri President Elson S. Floyd testified on Tuesday, April 4, in favor of SB1256, speaking in support of the capital items contained within the bill. He stressed how each of the proposed capital projects could assist the University in meeting the state’s economic development goals. The bill also includes some restrictive language concerning stem cell research. The president testified that the University follows all state and federal research guidelines and is opposed to having any restrictions on their research facilities.

The House Republican leadership has yet to make public the exact details of its plan, which has less emphasis on capital construction but establishes a new scholarship program and sets funds aside to pay future state debt obligations. [See a comparison of the MOHELA plans…]

Senate Appropriations Committee finalizes higher education budget

On Wednesday, April 5, the Senate Appropriations Committee agreed on the University of Missouri’s core and University-related budget for Fiscal Year 2007. The committee made several changes to the University of Missouri’s budget, including adding $2 million in undedicated funds to the core budget; adding $750,000 for an anesthesiologist assistant program at UMKC’s School of Medicine; adding $200,000 for an Institute for Ethics at UMSL; and adding a 2 percent increase to the MOREnet budget. The $1 million line-item allocated to UMKC’s School of Dentistry was rolled into the University’s core budget. Other changes include removing $285,000 from the core budget and transferring that same amount to the University-related line item for Missouri Rehabilitation Center, part of UM Health Care, in Mount Vernon. Funds added by the House for the Alzheimer’s research program were removed by the Senate. Once the committee finishes reviewing the budget bills, they will vote on each one and send them to the Senate floor for debate. The budget must be truly agreed to and finally passed by Friday, May 5.

Election overview

Rep. Scott Rupp (R-St. Charles), a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, won a special state Senate election Tuesday, April 4 by defeating Rep. Wayne Henke (D-Troy) with 53.7 percent of the vote. Henke, who also is an MU graduate, plans to face off against Rupp again in November’s general election for the same seat. Once election results are certified and he is sworn in, Rupp will move to the upper chamber to replace former Sen. Jon Dolan, who retired earlier in the year. Candidate filing for other elections closed on Tuesday, March 28; a complete candidate list can be found on the Secretary of State’s website. [Read more on upcoming elections in the House and Senate…]

COPHE sends letter to representatives opposing HB1865

The Council on Public Higher Education in the State of Missouri sent a letter to members of the Missouri House of Representatives on Monday, April 3, 2006, expressing the group’s unanimous opposition to HB1865 as it is currently structured. HB1865, sponsored by Rep. Carl Bearden (R-St. Charles), establishes a new “Access Missouri” freshman-only scholarship, and also caps state operating funds for colleges and universities at 2001 levels until the Access and several other scholarship programs are fully funded. The letter is signed by COPHE’s 13 member universities, including the University of Missouri, and states that while the bill contains many laudable goals, on balance it would “severely limit public universities’ capacity to educate students and serve the citizens of Missouri.” HB1865 is expected to be brought to the House floor next week.

Governor declares Graduate Education Week

Gov. Matt Blunt issued a proclamation on behalf of the State of Missouri naming the week of April 2-9, 2006, Graduate Education Week. The proclamation refers to graduate education as “the jewel in the crown of the American educational system,” and highlights the many benefits advanced educational opportunities offer the State of Missouri. “We’re very excited about Graduate Education Week,” said Pamela Benoit, interim dean of the MU Graduate School. “It gives us a chance to explain how important graduate education really is, both for individuals and for Missouri collectively.” Each of the four University of Missouri campuses offers graduate level degrees. In celebration of the week, several events have been organized to help increase awareness of the programs and stress the importance of these advanced degrees. [Read more on the events…]

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icon question markCampus highlights

UMKC hosts event for women legislators

Former Kansas state senator Audrey Langworthy, Rep. Beth Low, and Institute Director Vivian Eveloff at the luncheon.

The Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life hosted its annual “Statehouse Sisters: Changing the Face of Leadership” program on UM-Kansas City on Friday, Mar. 24 as part of Women’s History Month. The program was moderated by former Kansas State Sen. Audrey Langworthy and featured a panel of legislators including Kansas Sen. Barbara Allen (R- Johnson County) and Missouri Rep. Beth Lowe (D-Jackson County). Missouri Sen. Yvonne Wilson (D-Jackson County) was scheduled to appear but was unable to attend. The legislators discussed their career paths and stressed the importance of women’s involvement in public life. Low, who is currently the youngest woman in the Missouri House of Representatives, stressed the importance of women not being afraid to run for elected office and shared her own story. Other event sponsors included ASUM, the Student Life Office, Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership, The Cookingham Institute of Public Affairs, Minority Student Affairs and The Women’s Center.

UMKC School of Medicine hosts legislative luncheon

Sen. Charles Wheeler (D-Kansas City), Rep. Gary Dusenberg (R-Blue Springs), and Rep. Jerry Nolte (R-Gladstone) attended a legislative luncheon at the UMKC School of Medicine on Friday, March 24. Various administrators visited with the legislators about the school’s top issues, including a proposed anesthesiologist assistant program and bioinformatics program. Recruitment and retention of qualified faculty to perform research and train students also was a topic of discussion. The UMKC School of Medicine is a unique six-year program that admits students directly out of high school and trains through a docent system.

Lt. Governor Peter Kinder visits UMKC to support incubator project

From left to right: UMKC Chancellor Guy Bailey; Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder; Warren K. Erdman, UMKC trustee; James Spigarelli, President and CEO of MRI; and Bill Duncan of the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute.

On Wednesday, April 5, Lt. Governor Peter Kinder was joined by UMKC Chancellor Guy Bailey in announcing his support of Gov. Matt Blunt’s Lewis & Clark Discovery Initiative. Among other capital improvements and higher education initiatives, the governor’s proposal would fund the construction of a $12 million business incubator in Kansas City. “By creating a business incubator at UMKC, we will put Missouri at the forefront of the business of discovery,” Kinder said. “This business incubator will give public and private interests the ability to work together to develop new life-saving medicines and treatments, as well as create new jobs for Missourians.” Chancellor Bailey noted the long history of collaboration UMKC has with the Midwest Research Institute. The incubator will be constructed on land between the two campuses. “You can see that this new facility is located in a way that will really cement our partnership,” Bailey said.

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Icon-UniversityFederal update

U.S. House of Representatives passes higher education reauthorization

The U.S. House of Representatives recently approved the College Access and Opportunity Act (H.R.609), which would reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA) until 2012. Originally enacted in 1965, the HEA was established to assist low- and middle-income students pursue higher education. Today Congress appropriates more than $70 billion in financial aid to students, and hundreds of millions of dollars to higher education institutions through provisions contained through the HEA authorization. The House passed the final bill on Thursday, March 30 after consideration of several amendments that addressed many concerns of the higher education community. The Senate has not yet passed a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. The current extension is set to expire on June 30, 2006.

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icon question markLegislator Profile: Sen. Tim Green

State Senator Joan Bray

Sen. Tim Green (D-St. Louis) received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. As a student at UMSL, he remembers several semesters of taking classes in the evening and studying during the day. “I don’t know if I would say they are my fondest, but I do remember spending 14 hour days on campus,” Green said. He also recalls some of his most memorable professors, including Professor Rod Wright, who taught urban politics many years ago, and Terry Jones, a current professor of political science. [Read more…]

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