Dear University community,
As a system, we always strive to meaningfully connect with our community throughout the year. However, this November has been a particularly stellar example of our civic engagement efforts.
One of the best examples of our efforts was our fourth collaborative research summit, which was hosted by UMSL on Nov. 14 and titled Rebuilding the Civic Compact: Interdisciplinary Research and Collaboration in the Behavioral and Social Sciences. Faculty, students and staff from all four universities shared their research breakthroughs and developed solutions for community issues, including addiction, educational opportunities, community engagement, and more. Presentations and panel discussions from the summit can be accessed online.
We’ve also worked in other ways to reach our citizens. The UMKC Conservatory engaged more than 1,000 concert goers in the vibrant arts of Kansas City and raised money for student scholarships through Crescendo: Rhythm of a City. MU Health Care unveiled an expanded and renovated emergency department to meet the increasing healthcare needs of our community. Finally, UMSL received an award from the MacArthur Foundation to continue reforms of the local justice system. I am so proud of our universities’ efforts to improve life for Missourians.
This month, we also took time to recognize and connect with our veterans who have worked to protect our nation’s civic values. MU held a number of events for Veteran’s Week, including a law clinic to provide guidance through the changing landscape related to veteran’s benefits. Missouri S&T shed light on the experiences of student veterans and continues working to create an inclusive climate for these important members of our community. Excitingly, UMSL was recognized as one of the “Best for Vets” colleges for the fifth year, underscoring the UM System’s commitment to supporting our veterans in their journey through higher education.
When we talk about connecting with our community, a major University initiative—improving accessibility to higher education—immediately comes to mind. I’m proud to say our systemwide efforts toward this initiative are shining again. This month, I announced a new partnership with Cengage, which will advance our efforts to provide students with more affordable course materials, saving them more than $3 million annually. Similarly, UMKC Chancellor Agrawal’s State of the University Address announced a $20 million investment in student scholarships, which includes $5 million from the UM System Promise and Opportunity Scholarships and Next Generation Scholarships that I announced in September. MU also hosted the Mizzou Youth Experience, an event where MU Athletics invites hundreds of underserved middle schoolers to show them the opportunities available to them in higher education.
The many events and announcements above reinforce the chief goal of the UM System, which is to achieve excellence and advance wellbeing for our state, but they represent only a small fraction of what we’ve recently accomplished. At the Board of Curators meeting this month, Curator David Steelman shared highlights from the past two years. His presentation illustrates just how far we’ve progressed towards our goals. Below, you’ll find more stories of how our universities are advancing our mission to serve our citizens. If you have a story to share about community engagement efforts or another exciting update, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MU College of Education eMINTS National Center has received two U.S. Department of Education grants, including the largest one in the history of the college. The grants total more than $18.6 million in federal funds and $3.8 million in private sector matching funds. The money will be used to expand a successful educational technology professional development program into rural schools in Missouri and Kansas.
Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D., announced $20 million in new scholarships on November 8 as the capstone to his first State of the University address. He also took the opportunity to shine a spotlight on outstanding students, faculty and staff.
Missouri S&T is one of 130 public land-grant universities taking part in a national effort to increase college access, close the achievement gap and award hundreds of thousands more degrees by 2025. The Powered by Publics: Scaling Student Success initiative, organized by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, launched on Nov. 11, 2018.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Child Care Access Means Parents in School program awarded UMSL a $132,000 annual grant for the next four years, which the university will invest in more resources for student parents and expanded hours and programming at the University Child Development Center.