Mizzou musical excellence
Apr 13 2021
At the invitation of School of Music Professor Iskander Akhmadullin, my wife, Suzanne, and I attended our first in-person recital at the Sinquefield Music Center this past Sunday. We were guests for the afternoon performance of the Mizzou Brass Quintet. The Quintet played a variety of music ranging from Jennifer Higdon to Victor Ewald to Jelly Roll Morton.
So many of us have gone without attending musical performances and hearing live music over the last year. Being able to attend this performance and hear live music from a virtuosic group of musicians was very special! I can’t wait to attend even more of these events in the coming months from across our arts community as we slowly (and cautiously) return to these wonderful activities.
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Week of the Young Child
Apr 9 2021
From April 10-16, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Week of the Young Child. I am so proud that we can honor the critical work of our early childhood educators in this way.
They embody Mizzou’s enduring commitment to lifelong learning and our strong core values, and they have an immense impact on the teaching, research and outreach missions of the university. Even during the pandemic, our early childhood educators stepped up selflessly and with incredible compassion to teach, serve and support our communities. We are so grateful.
I want to recognize our amazing teachers, student-teachers and staff who support our Child Development Lab and the Adventure Club.
I also want to acknowledge the important work of our educational researchers and scholars. They continue to grow the university’s statewide and national impact as a public, land-grant, AAU institution with projects in educational development, pedagogy, accessibility and inclusion, and more.
Please join me in celebrating these and the many other contributions of our current and future Mizzou educators!
Welcoming Senator Roy Blunt
Apr 6 2021
We are honored to host U.S. Senator Roy Blunt on our Mizzou campus on Wednesday of this week. We are giving him a tour of the MU Health Care vaccination clinic and then hosting a roundtable discussion with university leaders and faculty members on the health challenges facing our state.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Mizzou has been committed to protecting the health of our local and statewide communities. The state of Missouri has designated MU Health Care as one of three sites in the mid-Missouri region (Region F) to receive a vaccine allocation intended to provide high-volume community vaccination. We are honored to be charged with this responsibility. Being a national leader in health care means stepping up when your people and communities need you most. We will continue to do that moving forward. And with the grand opening of our NextGen Precision Health facility in October, we will be able to accelerate life-changing discovery and efficiently move that research from the bench to the bedside, bringing new solutions to our citizens and boosting Missouri’s economic growth.
As Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee Labor/HHS, Senator Blunt secured six consecutive funding increases for the National Institutes of Health, bringing the total increase to $12.85 billion, or 42.7%. So, it’s no surprise that Senator Blunt has been a champion of our NextGen initiative from the beginning, and he remains committed to furthering the work of our university to expand health care access and efficacy.
We are so excited he has the opportunity to see this hard work that will improve and save lives in Missouri.
Congratulations to the Mizzou Chess Team
Mar 30 2021
Congratulations to the Mizzou Chess Team! Formed only a few years ago with contributions from the Saint Louis Chess Club, which is supported by Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield, our Chess Team reached the International Chess Federation’s World University Online Championships this past weekend. This tournament attracted over 1,300 participants from 200 universities and 84 countries, and Mizzou was the most successful university in competition. Our Chess Team came, they competed and they placed first in the world for the Blitz Cup and were runner-up for the Rapid Cup! Our team also won five individual medals:
- Mikhail Antipov (freshman) won a Silver Medal in Rapid and a Bronze Medal in Blitz
- Olga Badelka (freshman) won a Silver Medal in Blitz and a Bronze Medal in Rapid
- Grigoriy Oparin (graduate student) won a Bronze Medal in Rapid
I’m so proud of their achievements. Mizzou Chess Team members come from around the world. But with the pandemic, only a few of its members were able to be on campus this year, with others studying and competing from their home countries. Nevertheless, their excellence has persisted.
In addition to this most recent accomplishment, MU’s all-female chess team won the “best women’s team” award at the 2020 Pan-American Intercollegiate Championships in early January, while the MU Chess A team placed sixth in that event. And last September, the Chess Team earned gold and silver medals at the 2019 World Prestigious University Chess invitational in Tianjin, China. They were one of only five teams representing the United States at that tournament, competing alongside Saint Louis University, Harvard, Yale and Princeton.
Please join me in celebrating our team, Grandmaster Cristian Chirila (MU Chess Team Coach) and the College of Arts and Science for representing Mizzou so well across the nation and around the world.
Join the President and Provost for a Tiger support session
Mar 23 2021
We are constantly working to better support our Tiger family members who are coping with tragic and hurtful events. The recent and senseless loss of life in Atlanta has highlighted troubling trends in harassment, discrimination and violence against people of Asian descent and Pacific Islanders. And now more violence in Colorado has resulted in 10 deaths, including a police officer.
In response, we have asked our deans and vice chancellors to provide more opportunities for our community members to gather together to listen and support each other. The provost and I will also be available to speak to students, faculty and staff this Thursday, March 25 from 2:30-3:30 p.m. in Jesse Auditorium. Please let us know if you can attend by writing us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can ensure social distancing. If you can’t join us in person, we also welcome your comments and suggestions to the same email.
We hope these opportunities will bring more awareness to the issues that our students, faculty and staff face as well as provide important resources and information. Progress can only happen when we take deliberate steps together with compassion and understanding.
Mun Y. Choi Latha Ramchand
Discussing excellence with our alumni
Mar 19 2021
Last night, I participated in the Mizzou Alumni Association’s virtual MIZ Talks alongside Associate Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations Todd McCubbin. Todd and I were joined by alumni from around the world, with the event being viewed more than 800 times so far.
Throughout the conversation and live Q&A, we discussed the importance of Mizzou’s land-grant mission; our progress throughout the pandemic; our work toward a safe, full in-person return in the fall; and upcoming plans for our commencement celebrations. We also shared our excitement for tomorrow’s NCAA tournament game that I’ll be attending, and I even had the chance to talk about racing my moped against the Mizzou helmet car! That race will be in the fall, during one of our football games.
From this conversation and more, it’s clear to me how committed our alumni are to supporting Mizzou and growing our excellence.
Men’s basketball flying high
Mar 15 2021
Up until yesterday, our Mizzou men’s basketball team had received two berths to the NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday in seven years. But that’s old news. Now, our Tigers are headed into 2021 March Madness as the #9 seed in the West Region! They face Oklahoma at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday.
I’m so proud of our student-athletes for their perseverance and success in what has been arguably the most challenging year for college sports. I also want to thank Coach Cuonzo Martin and his staff for everything they’ve done to support our players and achieve this goal.
I’ve had the opportunity to attend most of our men’s basketball games this season, and let me tell you: This team is bringing immense talent, ambition and commitment to the tournament. I can’t wait to see them beat Oklahoma!
Engaging and supporting our communities
Mar 9 2021
While I was riding my moped around campus on Saturday, I noticed the colorful displays and posters at the Kappa Alpha Theta house. There, the Theta women were celebrating their support for the CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) program, having raised over $16,000 this past year. CASA supports and promotes court-appointed advocates for abused or neglected children, and its volunteers work closely with children to find a safe, permanent home that gives children the opportunity to thrive.
Along with the work happening throughout many other student-run and student-supported organizations and clinics — including Mizzou Alternative Breaks, Tiger Pantry and our COVID-19 vaccination clinics — our students improve the lives of others who are in great need. I am so proud of their commitment to this charge. It’s yet another illustration of how Mizzou works to fulfill its mission of engagement and service every day.
Educating students to become tomorrow’s leaders, part 2
Mar 5 2021
In my last post, I talked about the characteristics found in successful leaders and how Mizzou is working to enhance its learning models. The pandemic has brought a need for us to adapt quickly, for two main reasons:
- We simply can’t conduct our educational activities in the same way we did before the pandemic; and
- These disruptions will have a more long-lasting and widespread effect than many of us initially thought.
While Mizzou was always working toward more innovative learning strategies, the pandemic accelerated these developments. Think about it this way: It’s like we had been using a flashlight to search for a specific package in a dark warehouse — then suddenly, someone turned on the lights.
Going forward, I believe we can leverage these lessons toward greater progress:
- Our students are incredibly resilient, collaborative, adaptable and technologically savvy. Now we need to harness these characteristics as we rethink our learning models.
- The extra miles that our faculty invested in educating our students during the pandemic demonstrates their commitment to our teaching mission.
- The gap in digital access is real and problematic. By addressing this gap, we can further integrate digital tools into our curriculums as we build a global educational environment that promotes inclusive excellence in our living, learning and working.
- The post-pandemic workforce will look very different, including how people work and what kind of work they do. We must prepare our students to navigate those changes not just for the time they graduate, but also for the rest of their lives.
Educating students to become tomorrow’s leaders
Mar 2 2021
As Mizzou continues to evolve throughout its 182-year history, our approach to education also has to evolve. We should constantly be thinking about our current models of learning to figure out what’s still working, what could be improved and why yesterday’s success may no longer work in tomorrow’s world.
The following are some of the characteristics that I’ve found in successful leaders. In sum, they:
- Exhibit professionalism, work ethics and integrity every day
- Exhibit leadership, regardless of their role in an organization
- Embrace diversity and inclusion for all
- Embrace freedom of expression for all
- Embrace intercultural fluency
- Employ critical thinking
- Engage in civil discourse
Regardless of one’s chosen discipline, research from the National Association of Colleges and Employers shows that these soft skills help students find more success in the workforce. More success in the workforce equals a greater impact on our communities, and an overall improved way of life for all. Ensuring that we educate students to be successful isn’t just part of who we are. It’s the beating heart of our existence.