Mizzou Online award winners at the Celebration of Teaching on May 16, 2018 Mizzou Online award winners
at the Celebration of Teaching on May 16, 2018

Mizzou recently celebrated the commencement of more than 5,500 graduates, including more than 540 students who earned their degrees online.

To recognize the faculty that makes it possible for these graduates to earn a first-class education, Mizzou hosts the Celebration of Teaching. At this annual professional development opportunity, the MU community comes together to acknowledge educators for their unique approaches to teaching.  

On May 16, at this year’s Celebration of Teaching, MU recognized five faculty members for their efforts in designing high-quality online courses and excelling in facilitating online learning experiences.

This year’s awards for Excellence in Online Class Facilitation went to Nikki Ashcraft, Lynelle Phillips and Donna Otto. The Outstanding Online Course Design Award went to Dr. Laurie Kingsley and Dr. Laura Cole.

Nikki Ashcraft is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the College of Education Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages program (TESOL) and has taught 100 percent online for seven years.

Assistant Professor Samuel Otten nominated Ashcraft for the honor and highlighted her work on the Teaching ESL/EFL to Adult Learners course. During fall 2017, Ashcraft facilitated student interactions across the globe with thoughtfully crafted discussion questions among students from the U.S., China, Korea and Ecuador. “Dr. Ashcraft’s skill in engaging with students and promoting student-to-student interaction is widely evident,” Otten wrote.

The second online class facilitation award went to instructors for the Sinclair School of Nursing, Lynelle Phillips and Donna Otto. Phillips and Otto worked on a redesign of the RN-to-BSN curriculum track, specifically aiming to improve the student experience in required group activities.

Laura Foley, academic technology liaison for the Sinclair School of Nursing, nominated both Phillips and Otto for the award. Foley wrote that the two professors deserve to be recognizedas they were “highly successful in improving group interactions in the NURSE 4970 course.”

Laurie Kingsley, an Associate Teaching Professor in Literacy Education in the College of Education was nominated for her work on Making a Difference for Struggling Reader, a graduate course taken by practicing teachers.

Otten, who also serves as Chair of the Learning, Teaching, and Curriculum Faculty Awards Committee, nominated Kingsley for the outstanding course design award.

In the course, Kingsley introduced a collaborative opportunity between her students, and as Otten writes, “This extremely authentic task has been lauded by many of the students in both of the classes as one of the best experiences they have had in an online class.”

Laura Cole also was honored for her exceptional work on an online course. Cole developed Sustainable Building Design Fundamentals with no previous online teaching experience. For this course, she was tasked with implementing an online laboratory, an approach that very few have attempted.

Not only did Cole attempt an online laboratory in her course, she succeeded. As her nominator, Jerod Quinn, wrote, “Dr. Cole went above and beyond creating this course to impact, benefit, and serve her learners in ways that educators dream about.”

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This weekend, May 11-13, the University of Missouri celebrates a new class of graduates. Among them are more than 540 graduates who are earning their #OnlineStripes – they completed their degrees online. 

Ajay Vinze Ajay Vinze
Trulaske College of Business

Ajay Vinzé, Dean of the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business, reminds the graduates that earning their degree online was no small feat. 

“We at the University of Missouri developed distance learning opportunities to improve access. It certainly was not to make programs any easier,” said Vinzé. “Online programming at Mizzou is just as rigorous as our in-seat offerings. But completing these programs is arguably more difficult, as many of our online students – all of you – are balancing family, career, and community responsibilities.”

Vinzé’s remarks are part of MU’s online commencement celebration of the class of 2018. The online commencement site also includes a guestbook and a stream of best wishes for online graduates from Twitter users.

The site is a tribute to the past accomplishments of the new graduates, but Vinzé reminds them to also look ahead to their future.

“The future is bright,” Vinzé says. “You are now #MizzouMade and I know you’ll join the extensive network of Tigers with pride.”

More than 540 Tigers from more than a dozen MU schools and colleges have earned their degrees or certificates online this semester at all academic levels.

Members of Mizzou’s online class of ’18 live in 39 of the United States and seven countries — as far away as Thailand. They range in age from 21 to 72. 21 graduates received tuition awards that provide a 10 percent tuition reduction (the Mizzou Online Military Tuition Award and the Mizzou Online Community College Award).

One of the spring ’18 graduates is Jennifer Kandlik, who has earned several degrees through the University of Missouri. This semester, Kandlik has completed a doctorate in nursing practice online. Kandlik reminds graduates to not only thank their support networks, but to congratulate themselves during this time of celebration.

“Never forget to congratulate yourself,” said Kandlik. “Yes, give yourself a round of applause. You are the one who dreamed of more and took the steps needed to pursue the goal of higher education and never gave up.” 

Are you earning your #OnlineStripes this weekend? If so, share your photos on social media with #OnlineStripes in your post. You also can send the web link online.missouri.edu/commencement to your friends and family so they may leave congratulatory messages in the online guest book


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When you study online with the University of Missouri, you receive an award-winning education.

The Department of Health Management and Informatics (HMI) at the University of Missouri School of Medicine received the Cerner Award for Excellence in Healthcare Management Systems Education. The department accepted the award during the 2018 Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) awards luncheon. The HMI program has been accredited by CAMHE for 50 years.

“It is a privilege to have a CAHME-accredited master of health administration program situated within a school of medicine,” said Patrick Delafontaine, MD, Hugh E. and Sarah D. Stephenson Dean of the MU School of Medicine. “Not all MHA programs are housed within schools of medicine, so, our structure here in Missouri is unique.”

Read the full story here: Department of Health Management and Informatics Receives Educational Excellence Award

The esteemed program is not only offered on campus at Mizzou — many students receive their online master of health administration or online master of science in health informatics.

“The [online] program is designed to maximize the educational experience for full-time working adults,” said David Moxley, a clinical instructor, associate director of executive programs, and director of education technologies in the Department of Health Management and Informatics.

Mark your calendar

Students in both programs are accepted in the spring term only. We recommend you submit your application by Dec. 1. Learn more about the programs and how to apply: 

Health administration: Online master’s degree

Health informatics: Online master’s degree

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Missouri School of Journalism professor, Shelly Rodgers, was awarded the first 2018 Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence, an honor that recognizes five outstanding professors at the University of Missouri each year.

Rodgers, an MU faculty member since 2003, teaches courses for all four levels of the Journalism program, including undergraduate, on-campus MA, online MA, and PhD. She also teaches a course for the dual MA/MPH degree in Journalism/Public Health. Each of these different levels or areas has a different focus and goal, says Rodgers, and teaching them requires different teaching styles and techniques.

Shelly Rodgers Shelly Rodgers
Professor of Strategic Communication
Missouri School of Journalism

“It keeps me on my toes,” she said. “I am always thinking of innovative ways to teach online students, to help them succeed and stand out.” Rodgers uses video chats, phone calls, and online discussion boards to help distance students overcome the lack of physical space; in fact, she believes that her online students get as much one-on-one time with her as on-campus students.

Advances in technology have allowed online education to become more accessible to more students, which is exciting for Rodgers, who states that she has been “teaching online since the beginning of online time” and has seen the industry go through many changes.

Despite the changes, one thing remains the same: “Online master’s students are some of the most impressive students ever,” said Rodgers.

University of Missouri Chancellor Alexander Cartwright, Commerce Bank Chairman and CEO Teresa Maledy, and a group of MU staff members surprised Rodgers with the fellowship, which comes with a $10,000 check, this week.

The William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence is celebrating 28 years of recognizing exceptional professors; the fellowship was established in 1991 with a $500,000 gift.

Learn with the best

Are you interested in advancing your journalism career? Mizzou offers master’s degree programs in four journalism emphasis areas—Interactive media, health communication, media management, and strategic communication.

Learn more about our online journalism degrees and how to apply.

The University of Missouri is accepting applications for the nation’s first online veterinary public health master’s degree. The program is for those who want to lead global and regional efforts in food safety and zoonotic disease prevention.

Demand for public health professionals in this specialization is expected to grow according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which projects a 23 percent growth rate through 2022 for health service workers, including those specializing in veterinary public health.

“Human health is inextricably linked to animal health and production,” said Loren Schultz, DVM, PhD, associate teaching professor in the MU Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery and emphasis area director for the new program. “Particularly in those parts of the world where animals provide not just food and clothing but also transportation and fuel.”

The online master of public health degree with an emphasis in veterinary public health (VPH) serves veterinarians with an additional career path, and it also provides public health professionals from all backgrounds with an opportunity to problem solve emerging issues in animal and human health.

Access to experts

MU already is a leader in veterinary public health. The MU School of Health Professions is home to a successful residential VPH program, one of only four such accredited programs nationwide. The degree, accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health, is offered in partnership with the MU College of Veterinary Medicine.

“Creating access to education at this level and in a field so critically important to societal wellbeing is at the center of our mission at the University of Missouri,” said Kristofer Hagglund, dean of the School of Health Professions.

Demand for new graduates

According to the World Health Organization, about 75 percent of the new diseases that have affected humans over the past 10 years have been caused by pathogens originating from animals.

“The challenges facing public health are growing,” Hagglund said. “Not only are we facing a shortage of trained public health professionals here in Missouri and across the U.S., but we also are experiencing an increase in the number of new public health threats we must learn to manage.”

Mizzou’s new veterinary public health emphasis area is intended to address this shortage. “Our goal is to give working professionals an opportunity to focus on a new career path with this online program while they continue in their full-time jobs,” Schultz said.

The ideal candidate for the program has a background or strong interest in animal science, veterinary medicine, zoonotic diseases, food safety, emergency preparedness and other emerging issues in animal and human health, Schultz added.

Partnership with Saint Louis Zoo

Students in the online veterinary public health program will have the opportunity to take part in an optional residential colloquium with the Institute of Conservation Medicine (ICM) at the Saint Louis Zoo. ICM Director Sharon Deem, DVM, PhD, serves as an advisory board member for the VPH program and has been working with MU students at the zoo for years. “The students like the interaction with the animals and really being able to know that they are helping a population or a species,” Deem said. “When we look at all the human health issues facing us today, we can see the linkages of the environment and animals to those concerns.”

Apply today

The new VPH program is 100 percent online. No campus visits are required. As with all online graduate programs at MU, students pay in-state tuition regardless of where they live or work.

The online VPH is currently accepting applications for classes that begin in August.

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The Trulaske College of Business is finding even more ways to connect working professionals, recent graduates and senior business students with their competitive master’s degree in Finance – now available online.

Financial sector job growth has experienced net gains in recent years and the growth trajectory is expected to continue, according to the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s employment trend information in the financial and professional services sector.

Mizzou’s online master of science in finance will provide you an in-demand credential for jobs in banking, insurance, high-tech start-ups, investment firms, securities and commodities brokerage and other financial services organizations.

Dan French Dan. W. French
Trulaske College of Business
Jeffrey E. Smith Professor of Finance
Online Finance Program Director

“Establishing the finance master’s program online means we can connect our academic offerings to an expanded group of students and professionals,” said Dan French, program director and Jeffrey E. Smith Missouri professor of finance. “Our curriculum develops strong analytical skills and financial decision-making ability,” he said.

Strong student outcomes

Ajay Vinzé, dean of the Trulaske College of Business, said students in the online finance program should expect the same quality classes and services offered to business students on campus. “Because of our world-class professional development opportunities and career services, our students are launching and advancing impressive careers,” Vinzé said. “You will join the ranks of our remarkable alumni by accessing the same nationally recognized programming.”

Significant demand exists for individuals with a specialized finance master’s degree, and this online option can open new opportunities for graduates of the program. Program participants will benefit from the Trulaske College of Business Career Services Office, which boasts a placement rate in excess of 92 percent with more than 1,000 companies recruiting its students.

8-week classes; international colloquium

Mizzou’s online master’s in finance delivers a big-picture understanding of global capital markets, financial modeling, statement analysis and industry ethics. 

Classes are offered in an eight-week format. While intensive, this schedule allows working professionals to focus for a brief time on the subject of each class while also keeping up with the demands of their careers.

The online program culminates in a week-long international experience where students will focus on international financial management, markets and transactions. The course taken during the international visit is taught by professors from the host-country university and includes cultural experiences in that country. 

Apply today

The online master’s program is currently accepting applications for the fall 2018 semester. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. GRE scores are not required.

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The University of Missouri’s online programs were nationally ranked in three categories by U.S. News & World Report in their annual Best Online Programs list.

Best online graduate education programs

The College of Education’s online master’s degrees were ranked higher than any other institution in Missouri. Tying for 36th, the offerings climbed 25 positions since last year’s rankings.

U.S. News ranked schools with online graduate programs in education in five general categories: student engagement with faculty and classmates; student services and technology; admission selectivity; faculty credentials and training; and peer reputation.

“Our online students often share stories about the quality of the content and teaching in these programs,” College of Education Dean Kathryn Chval said. “Our priorities on student engagement, excellent student services, quality courses, how long it takes students to degree completion and graduation rates have contributed to student success.”

Since 1997, when the MU College of Education offered its first online course, faculty and staff have grown the online programs to offer a range of options, including positive coaching, teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), technology in schools, early childhood special education and positive psychology.

Best online bachelor’s programs

U.S. News also ranked Mizzou’s online bachelor programs in the top 40 percent of all undergraduate online programs. MU offers 10 online bachelor’s programs ranging from business administration to hospitality management and health sciences.

Best online nursing programs

The Sinclair School of Nursing was recognized by U.S. News as one of the top 100 online graduate nursing programs in the country. Online master’s options include nurse educator and leadership in nursing and health-care systems.

More online options

Mizzou’s inventory of online programs is robust and continues to grow in offerings and enrollments. Distance student enrollment has grown 31 percent over the past five academic years.

“When people find out there are so many online degree programs at Mizzou, that are all developed by the same faculty who teach on campus, they immediately know they will be earning a degree that means something,” said Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies and eLearning. “We have online students in every corner of Missouri and across the nation. It’s our mission to increase access to Mizzou. With 100-plus online programs and counting, we’re doing just that.”

A recent survey showed that 90.4 percent of Mizzou graduates have found successful career outcomes. Mizzou’s outcomes rate is significantly higher than the average for a variety of peer groups, which reported the following rates for FY15 (the latest national data available):

  • Association of American Universities (AAU) public institutions, 75.6 percent
  • Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), 74.4 percent
  • Southeastern Conference (SEC) institutions, 75.5 percent

Mizzou offers the second most online programs in both the SEC and among public AAU institutions.

To start the process of earning your #OnlineStripes, choose the degree or certificate that meets your needs.

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This weekend, Dec. 15–17, the University of Missouri and the entire Mizzou community celebrates a new class of graduates and the new levels of personal and academic achievement they have reached.

Among them are nearly 200 graduates who are receiving degrees that they have earned online.

Kathryn Chval, Dean of the MU College of EducationKathryn Chval, Dean of the MU College of Education

Kathryn Chval, Dean of the MU College of Education, reminds the graduates and their supporters, “These degrees are not just awarded. You earned them.”

Chval’s remarks are part of MU’s online commencement celebration of the class of 2017. The online commencement site also includes a guestbook and a stream of best wishes for online graduates from users on social media.

The site is a tribute to the perseverance of the new graduates. “Some of you have experienced incredible hurdles through this journey,” Chval says. “You have amazed us with your intelligence, leadership, resilience, and persistence. Please remember this sense of pride as you enter the next phase of your life.”

Nearly 200 Tigers from more than a dozen MU schools and colleges have earned their degrees or certificates online this semester.  

Among them, 121 are receiving master’s degrees; nine, educational specialist degrees; 12, doctorates; and 41, bachelor’s degrees.

Members of Mizzou’s online class of ’17 live throughout the United States and as far away as Sweden. They range in age from 21 to 64.

Mizzou Online Director Kim Siegenthaler shares Chval’s praise of the new graduates and encourages them to thank all the people who supported them throughout their programs.

“We’re extremely proud of this graduating class,” Siegenthaler said. “We’re also tipping our hats to the graduates’ families and friends who lent their support. No one goes through MU alone.”

Siegenthaler also thanks the MU instructors, staff members and others who have helped the graduates find ways to balance course work with the demands of their careers and families.

“Helping online students succeed is what we’re all about at Mizzou Online,” she said. “We feel very fortunate that we get to celebrate so many achievements year after year.”

Are you earning your #OnlineStripes this weekend? Go to online.missouri.edu/commencement to congratulate your classmates. Graduates’ friends and families can leave messages in the online guest book.

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The University of Missouri is opening a new online pathway to help address the shortage of nurses and nurse educators in Missouri.  

MU has developed an accelerated curriculum that allows two-year RNs to earn bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees in nursing online in three to four years. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that, by 2020, America will need an additional 1.2 million registered nurses to meet the country’s health care demands.

Judith Fitzgerald Miller, Dean of the Sinclair School of Nursing at MUJudith Fitzgerald Miller, Dean of the Sinclair School of Nursing at MU

“We need more nurses and the educators to prepare them,” said Judith Fitzgerald Miller, Dean of the Sinclair School of Nursing at MU. “Nursing schools around the country lack the faculty to keep up with the demand for degrees as it is, and that is only going to grow for the foreseeable future,” she said. 

The shortage of nurses and instructors is due, in part, to age. Registered nurses and nursing faculty both have an average age of 50. As nurse educators retire, nursing schools are turning away qualified applicants because they lack instructors. 

“Our goal is to grow our own faculty – not just for Mizzou, but for all nursing programs in Missouri,” Miller said. 

The program is supported by a grant from the Missouri State Board of Nursing and the Missouri Department of Higher Education. The grant also provides scholarships for full-time and part-time students in the first year of the new program.  

“This scholarship, which is only available to students who start in 2018, is the perfect opportunity for nurses who want to share their experience and love of nursing in the classroom,” said Gina Oliver, faculty member in the School of Nursing. 

Scholarship recipients will have to agree to teach in nursing programs for three years after graduation. 

“The shortage of nurses in Missouri is at an all-time high,” said Heidi Lucas, director of the Missouri Nurses Association. “But to graduate more nurses, our colleges and universities have to have more capacity. When programs like this produce nurse educators, nursing programs can hire more instructors. In turn, the state can educate more future nurses.” 

On the job market faster

Mizzou’s new online RN-MSN curriculum removes four undergraduate-level courses typically required of students and instead includes six graduate-level courses covering similar topics. In addition, credit for two courses will apply to both undergraduate and graduate course work. 

Applicants will be admitted to the existing online BSN program and will apply to MU Graduate Studies in the last semester of their undergraduate course work. Those with minimum grade point averages of 3.0 will be admitted to the master’s program. Nurses will have earned their BSN and MS in three to four years.

MU is currently accepting applications for the summer 2018 semester that begins in June. Application deadline for both the program and the scholarship is April 1, 2018.

Are you an RN interested in becoming a nurse educator? Learn more about the accelerated online nurse educator track.

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A master’s degree in accounting is typically required for accountants who want to become certified public accountants (CPAs).

Now, working professionals who are ready to move up a level or advance to a leadership role in their accounting careers can earn their master of accountancy degree (MAcc) entirely online with the University of Missouri.

The School of Accountancy in the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business is accepting applications for its online master of accountancy degree (MAcc). Classes begin in August 2018.

The online MAcc program is ideal for you if you want to advance your career through graduate study, or if you studied accounting as an undergrad and want the prestige and brand recognition associated with MU’s nationally ranked program.

Shannon Ferguson, director of the online MAcc program in the MU School of Accountancy.Shannon Ferguson, director of the online MAcc program in the MU School of Accountancy.

The online program is an expansion of the popular campus-based accountancy program, says Shannon Ferguson, director of the online MAcc program in the MU School of Accountancy.

“The course work and rigor of the online MAcc is consistent with that of the campus-based program. Our online instructors are drawn from the same faculty, so they bring the same high-quality instruction to students on their computers as they bring to the students in their classrooms,” she says.

The School of Accountancy has a strong record of student success. “Being #MizzouMade has its privileges,” says Vairam Arunachalam, director of the MU School of Accountancy and PwC/Joseph A. Silvoso Distinguished Professor of Accountancy. “Students are increasing their employability in a high-demand field. Our graduates have a nationally commended pass-rate on the CPA exam, and their placement rate for full-time employment is greater than 95 percent.”

The Mizzou accounting program is unique among Missouri schools in its emphasis on professional development and career services, says Ajay Vinzé, Dean of the College of Business.

“Because of our world class professional development opportunities and career services, our students are launching and advancing impressive careers,” Vinzé says.

The School of Accountancy also has strong ties to the accounting industry. The school’s advisory board represents all of the so-called Big 4 accounting firms as well as regional and local firms.

Students with full-time jobs can take one class each semester and finish the MU program in about three years.

As with all online graduate programs at MU, students in the new online MAcc will pay in-state tuition regardless of residency.

Do you want to become a CPA? Learn how you can move up a level in your accounting career by earning a master’s degree in accountancy online.

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