Dear University community,
At this month’s Board of Curators meeting, the Board approved an updated mission statement for the University of Missouri System. The changes reflect our unwavering commitment to academic freedom and the freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is a critical foundation for inquiry, reflection and growth. Recently, UMKC launched an innovative program called ‘Agreeing to Disagree,’ which is designed to embrace free speech and encourage civil discourse.
These revisions are important to me because our mission statement is the most fundamental and enduring expression of how we live out our values as a united university system—through excellence and leadership and including diverse perspectives. To uphold those values, we support our community holistically. Part of that means supporting community and rural health. As we continue the NextGen Precision Health Initiative, we’ll transform the academic health center at MU to become a leader in precision health research, education and clinical translation. The Academic Health Center Strategic Plan will be informed by Town Hall meetings that gather input and share updates with the larger campus community (find the information for attending the December meeting here).
"The Academic Health Center Strategic Plan will be informed by Town Hall meetings that gather input and share updates with the larger campus community."
We’re also focused on addressing and supporting mental health on our campuses. We want our students, faculty and staff to be aware of the many resources that are provided systemwide. One resource, an app called Sanvello, is available for free download from the App Store, Google Play or the Sanvello webpage for anyone with a university email address. Sanvello provides tools to build personal resilience and find support when needed. Individual universities have also launched mental health initiatives, such as UMKC’s Roos for Mental Health.
Inclusivity is another value for the UM System. This month, we announced a new statewide partnership with Special Olympics to combine our systemwide resources and impact lives across the state. At the university level, Mizzou joined a national alliance to support inclusive STEM faculty recruitment and hiring practices; Missouri S&T held open houses to introduce traditionally underrepresented students to opportunities in higher education, as Chancellor Dehghani announced his intent to make Missouri S&T a “destination of choice” in his first State of the University address; and UMSL marked First-Generation Celebration Day, recognizing around 3,000 first-generation UMSL students who are exploring their ambitions through higher education.
"We announced a new statewide partnership with Special Olympics Missouri to combine our systemwide resources and impact lives across the state."
This month also showcased one of our most tangible values—fostering research and creative works that benefit society. MU researchers are receiving multi-million dollar grants, including a $1.8 million award to study the effect of alcohol on brain inflammation and nearly $4 million to bring research discoveries to the consumer market through the Midwest Biomedical Accelerator Consortium. In addition, a $10 million gift from the Kinder Foundation will support the continued study of constitutional democracy. UMKC and MU School of Medicine researcher Carole McArthur helped identify a new strain of HIV, an important development in humanity’s battle against the evolving virus. Missouri S&T is planning the construction of the Collaboratory, a state-of-the-art communication hub where students and faculty of both the sciences and humanities can work together on society’s grand challenges. UMSL’s Ameren Accelerator Demo Day showcased the work of entrepreneurial start-up companies who have partnered with UMSL faculty and students to innovate the energy industry.
Living out our values doesn’t stop when we leave our campuses. For example, MU Extension and community partners in Fulton have united to teach justice-involved women key skills, including healthy meal preparation. In another local effort, MU Extension and MU students are improving disaster recovery plans by learning from tornado-impacted Jefferson City businesses. The UM System lives out the value of engagement on a global scale, too. From Missouri S&T’s work to establish engineering programs in Kuwait to UMSL’s support of conservation work in Madagascar, we are committed to changing the world for the better.
"MU Extension and community partners in Fulton have united to teach justice-involved women key skills that will improve their lives."
If you have a story about how you or our university community lives out our values, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.