Family legacies are important at the University of Missouri. Nowhere is that more clear than at commencement. Parents, grandparents and other relatives cheer as their graduates cross the stage to collect new MU diplomas for the family archives.

Robert Hamilton’s family has that Mizzou heritage. His grandfather earned master’s degree in wildlife biology from MU; his father, a law degree. Hamilton will join the graduate alumni ranks at commencement exercises this weekend (Dec. 16–17).

Unlike his forebears, however, Hamilton earned his Tiger stripes, in part, through online learning. While serving as chief biomedical engineer for the Veteran's Health Administration in Kansas City, he made time to successfully complete two master’s degrees: health administration and health informatics 

“Online education has made a significant difference in the lives of thousands of people who otherwise would not be able to get a degree. We are lucky enough to have these options available, but it is up to us to pursue those resources,” Hamilton said in a video addressed to his fellow graduates on the online commencement web site.

Hamilton is one of 425 members of the online class of 2016. Other graduates include a 22-year-old Missouri woman who has earned her bachelor’s in health science and a 72-year-old California man who will receive an educational specialist degree.

“Being able to juggle work, school and the surprises of everyday life is no easy task, but it is doable. For anyone considering going back to school, pursuing an advanced degree, or even getting started, I would highly recommend taking advantage of the opportunities within online education,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton’s remarks were echoed by David Kurpius, professor and dean of the Missouri School of Journalism. “The focus, dedication and perseverance to earn a degree in an online environment is admirable,” Kurpius said in a filmed address for Mizzou’s online commencement ceremony. “Your efforts chart a path to better yourself, the people around you, the places you work, and the communities in which you live.” 

Hamilton and Kurpius’ remarks appear on the commencement website, at online.missouri.edu/commencement. Graduates can use the site to share photos and their friends and families can use the site to write congratulatory notes in the online guest book.

“The congratulatory messages that faculty, friends and relatives add to the online guest book remind us of the broad community we serve and the pride our graduates feel as a result of their achievements,” said Kim Siegenthaler, Mizzou Online director.

“Make no mistake: Higher education is challenging," Siegenthaler added. “But these hundreds of online graduates prove that distance is no barrier to learning.”

Members of the online class of ’16 live throughout the United States and as far away as Singapore. Diplomas awarded to online graduates as part of fall and summer commencement this year include 64 bachelor’s degrees, 293 master’s, 43 doctorates and 31 educational specialist degrees.

For more information about the on-campus graduation ceremonies, please visit the Registrar's commencement page at commencement.missouri.edu.

The University of Missouri has once again been designated a Military Friendly School for helping military students succeed in the classroom and after graduation.

For the eighth consecutive year, publisher Victory Media has recognized the exceptional academic experience MU delivers to military personnel and their families — on campus and off.

Each year, the list of Military Friendly Schools is provided to service members and their families, helping them select the best college, university or trade school to receive the education and training needed to pursue a civilian career.

“It’s extremely gratifying to see women and men in uniform at Mizzou, refining their skills to better serve their country and their communities,” said Kim Siegenthaler, director of Mizzou Online.

Mizzou makes it easy for military personnel and their families to advance their education by providing more than 95 fully accredited degree and certificate programs entirely or partially online.

MU also offers a 10 percent tuition award to veterans, active duty service members, Reservists, National Guardsmen, military spouses and dependents who want to study online 

“MU’s online degree programs and courses are helping service members of all branches and career stages, as well as their families, both here in Missouri and around the world,” Siegenthaler said.

Another way MU helps military personnel and their families transition between service and academia is the MU Veterans Center. At the start of the fall 2016 semester, 687 veterans and their dependents were enjoying their G.I. Bill benefits at Mizzou.

“The University of Missouri continues its strong commitment of providing a welcoming environment for service members, veterans and their families as they pursue postsecondary degrees,” said Robert Ross, director of the MU Veterans Center. 

“The Military Friendly designation reaffirms that we are serious about our obligation to assist these outstanding students. Our full-service, one-stop resource center is connected to important campus partners that all work toward smoothing the transition to college life,” Ross said.

Are you a veteran, active duty service member, Reservist, National Guardsman, or a military spouse or dependent and want to study online? See if you’re eligible for the Mizzou Online Military Tuition Award.

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With the nation experiencing a shortage of physicians, medical schools across the country are seeking successful doctors who can bring their clinical leadership to the classroom.

To help address the shortage, the University of Missouri is the first university in the nation to offer a fully online online master’s degree for physicians who want to teach. 

“The online format of the class gives doctors the ability to work toward their goal of teaching while continuing to practice medicine in a clinical setting,” said Erik Lindbloom, M.D., program director and associate professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at MU.

Read the full story on the School of Medicine web site.

Applications for the Jan. 17, 2017 class are now being accepted. Applicants should be board-certified or board-eligible physicians. Applicants with other doctoral or graduate degrees, such as an M.P.H, M.S.W, Ph.D. or Ed.D., also may apply if they are seeking a faculty appointment in academic medicine. 

Students in this program — and in all Mizzou’s online graduate degree and certificate programs — pay in-state tuition rates, regardless of their states of residency.

Learn more about the online master’s in academic medicine here.

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Faculty and advisers from the University of Missouri have returned from the 2016 UPCEA Central Region Conference (Oct. 17–19) in Indianapolis with awards for their outstanding leadership, excellence in advising and innovative programs.

Mizzou Online Assistant Director for Research Terrie Nagel received the 2016 John L. Christopher Outstanding Leadership Award in recognition of her service to UPCEA and to students.

Nagel had the support of Steven VandenAvond, Northern Michigan University vice president for extended learning and community engagement. “Terrie is tireless in her work,” he wrote in his letter of support.

She is productive, efficient and unwavering in her commitment to doing what is good for students and for the profession [of professional, continuing and online education]. … Terrie simply focuses outward on what others need and what will lead to “the greater good.”

The UPCEA 2016 award for Excellence in Advising went to Sandra Sites, online program coordinator for the Department of Education, School and Counseling Psychology in MU’s College of Education. Sites was chosen for having provided outstanding leadership and service as an advising professional.

Sites received numerous recommendations from former graduate students, including Carlos Blanco, a professor at St. Louis Community College.

Sandy went far beyond her duties as an adviser to the program … . From assisting me to select classes and providing pertinent information regarding course and scheduling changes, to offering me guidance regarding my educational program, Sandy provided me complete, individualized attention to promote my success … .

The UPCEA 2016 award for Innovative Programs went to MU’s master of public health program. Instructor Jenna Wintemberg accepted the award on behalf of the School of Health Professions.

Programs considered for the award were evaluated on cost effectiveness, quality, diversity and contribution to adult and continuing education – factors highlighted in the nomination letter:

The MPH program at the University of Missouri is preparing the next generation of leaders in one of the most needed and growing fields in the United States and around the world. Students learn the skillsets needed to make a lasting impact in a number of areas, such as infant health and safety, the aging population, international travel and commerce, antibiotics resistance and geopolitical threats … Moreover, distance and campus students are able to collaborate and exchange ideas through innovative and technology-rich classrooms.

About UPCEA: The University Professional and Continuing Education Association is the leading association for professional, continuing, and online education. Founded in 1915, UPCEA serves more than 400 institutions, including most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. UPCEA also builds greater awareness of the vital link between contemporary learners and public policy issues. 

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When you study online with the University of Missouri, you log on to a world-class research institution. MU is home to many facilities that foster discovery and interdisciplinary collaboration across multiple academic fields.

One such facility is the MU Center for Agroforestry, which conducts practical research as well as administers the online master’s degree and graduate certificate programs in agroforestry.

The center recently earned media attention for their research into how prairie habitat protects farmland from flooding and improves the health of waterways.

Reporters from KTVI in Kirksville, Mo., recently spoke with Shibu Jose, director of the center, about his team’s work.   

“If you have prairies restored or re-established in critical landscape positions over the landscape, chances are we will have massive absorption of storm water into the soil and less water getting into streams and rivers, avoiding or reducing the threats of flooding,” Jose said.

Early indications suggest that restoring even a thin strip of prairie grass can reduce run-off by six inches to eight inches of rainfall. But Jose is determined to show more results.

“Sometimes you need to show real world data before you can convince landowners of the benefits of an ecosystem like the prairie,” Jose said.

The Center for Agroforestry is offering an intensive introduction to the principles of agroforestry this summer in Columbia, Mo. The Agroforestry Academy, July 25–29, will include integrated classroom workshops, farm visits, hands-on demonstrations and content integration into practical agroforestry planning and design.

Farmers, natural resource professionals, extension agents and other educators are invited to register by June 30. The program is $1,000 per person and includes lodging,

food, local travel and all training materials. Limited scholarships are available for military veterans. 

To learn more about the Agroforestry Academy, visit the Center for Agroforestry website today.

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When it comes to faculty, few universities punch above their weight like the University of Missouri. MU students on campus and online get to study under some of the leading scholars in their given fields.

Take Ian Worthington, for example. A curator’s professor and a leading global expert on ancient history, Worthington recently received the 21st Century Corps of Discovery Award. This annual award celebrates outstanding MU professors and discoverers who inspire and bring together the university community.

Worthington has authored, edited and otherwise contributed to scores of scholarly publications. He has lent his expertise in classical antiquity to numerous media projects, including productions from the BBC and the Australian ABC Network.

His latest book, By the Spear: Philip II, Alexander the Great, and the Rise and Fall of the Macedonian Empire, was recently featured in conjunction with a major exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago.

Worthington shares his considerable knowledge with distance learners in a self-paced online course on Alexander the Great. History 4004: Topics in History – Social Science focuses on Alexander’s achievements, his life and whether he should be called “great.”

This challenging course requires serious commitment and rewards students with an in-depth understanding of the context and legacy of one of antiquity’s most influential figures. 

Want to know more about the foundations of western civilization? Learn how to enroll in History 4004 today.

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Many online programs offer convenience, but the University of Missouri offers something more: distance learning with the same award-winning instructors who teach classes on campus.

One such instructor is Alexandra Socarides, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of English. Socarides recently received a William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence.

“It is difficult to anatomize the qualities of such an extraordinary teacher, but certain themes recur: her talent for leading discussion and asking questions, her innovative methods of teaching literature and writing, the inspiration students experience in her courses, and her kindness,” says David Read, chair of the MU English Department.

Socarides has designed more than 20 new courses, has served on the Honors Council and the Campus Writing Board, and is currently the department’s director of undergraduate studies. 

In addition to her duties on campus, Socarides teaches Survey of American Literature: Beginnings to 1865, a popular class in the online bachelor of general studies program.

She has created programs including a “coffee with majors” series to help students interact with faculty, a mentoring program for incoming English majors and multiple “careers in English” events.

Read the full Kemper Fellows profile of Socarides here

The William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence is awarded each year to five outstanding teachers at the University of Missouri. Each fellow receives a $10,000 stipend.

The 2016 Kemper fellows are Socarides, Mary Beck, Sarah Bush, Robert O’Connell and Earnest L. Perry Jr.

Want to complete your bachelor’s degree on your own schedule? Look into our online bachelor of general studies (BGS) and online bachelor of arts in interdisciplinary studies (BA) programs today!

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Distance learners have many different reasons for choosing to study online: Convenience. Career advancement. Personal growth. When online students choose the University of Missouri, they get the added benefit of skilled, innovative and caring instructors.   

This week’s annual Celebration of Teaching conference at MU gives the campus an opportunity to recognize these faculty members for their unique approaches to teaching online. 

As part of this year’s celebration, Mizzou Online inaugurates two awards for outstanding instructors.

Award for Excellence in Online Class Facilitation

The first award, for Excellence in Online Class Facilitation, recognizes a faculty member who excels in leading an online learning experience that supports high-quality student-to-student and faculty-to-student interaction, increases social rapport among students and requires students to work together to achieve learning outcomes.

The recipient of this award is Jill Ostrow, an associate teaching professor in the Department of Learning, Teaching, and Curriculum in the College of Education. Ostrow also serves as the director of distance programs for the department. 

Ostrow was nominated by four fellow instructors for her work in facilitating the  course sequence Practicum in Child Study I & II. In their united letter of recommendation, the faculty members praised Ostrow for integrating well-selected readings, choice, invitations for reflection and relevant assignments into her courses. 

“Dr. Ostrow provides the kind of explicit feedback that encourages reflection, growth and confidence,” the faculty members wrote. “She provides feedback that names the brilliance in the teacher’s application and synthesis of content while also providing the kinds of collective and individual nudges that push the learner forward. This kind of genuine and informed attentiveness is what additionally marks Dr. Ostrow’s course as outstanding.”

Award for Outstanding Online Course Design

The second award sponsored by Mizzou Online is the Outstanding Online Course Design Award. This award recognizes creative implementation of instructional strategies and acknowledgement of emerging trends surrounding the challenges learners face.

Two instructors are receiving this award: Zandra de Araujo and Leah Rosenberg.

De Araujo is an associate professor in the Department of Learning, Teaching and Curriculum in the College of Education and is being recognized for her online graduate course Contemporary Equity Issues in Mathematics Education.

Associate professor Deborah Hanuscin, a Kemper Fellow and recipient of state and national teaching awards, nominated De Araujo for the honor. In her nomination letter, she noted how the mathematics instructor employs an investigation-based approach to exploring equity in real classrooms, and how she enhances the quality and engagement of students in discussion of equity and diversity.

“I am familiar with good teaching,” Hanuscin wrote. “Zandra’s course is … great teaching. My gut reaction after walking through her course design with her was, ‘I need to work on my own course design now!’” 

The undergraduate online course design award recipient, Rosenberg, is a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies in the College of Arts and Science.

Rosenberg was nominated by Richard J. Callahan, associate professor and chair of the department, for her course Cults and New Religious Movements.

“Dr. Rosenberg has done a remarkable job transforming a successful in-person class into an effective online course that overcomes instructional challenge,” Callahan wrote in his nomination letter. “She has incorporated instructional strategies … to successfully steer students, step-by-step, through difficult thinking and terrain, always aiming at the learning objectives and goals of the course.”

Mizzou Online is dedicated to collaborative efforts with academic units and administrative offices at the University of Missouri to support distance students and expand distance education. Instructors like Rosenberg, de Araujo, Ostrow and many others make Mizzou an online education provider of choice for more than 15,000 students every year.

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Hundreds of successful graduates will receive their University of Missouri diplomas at commencement exercises this weekend (May 13–14). Among them are nearly 300 distance students who have earned their degrees and certificates through online classes.

“It takes great discipline and determination to stay on top of course work while also managing the work load of daily life,” said Sasha Schmid, head tennis coach and an instructor for MU’s online master’s in positive coaching, who addresses the graduates in filmed remarks for Mizzou’s online commencement ceremony.

“I am in awe of these learners’ commitment to continued education often in the midst of full time jobs, sometimes even multiple jobs, the demands of caring for young children, or sometimes caring for elderly parents,” Schmid said.

Mizzou’s online graduates range in age from 22 to 64. Most of them have completed post-graduate degrees; nearly 250 are receiving doctorates, educational specialist or master's degrees.

One of the graduates is Lt. Buddy Anliker, who completed his master of public affairs degree online while working full time for the MU Police Department. “The ability to network with all of these extremely intelligent professionals during my time as a student has made me a better leader,” Anliker said.

Anliker delivers remarks to his fellow graduates in his filmed address on the commencement website, at online.missouri.edu/commencement. Graduates can use the site to share photos and their friends and families can use the site to write congratulatory notes in the online guest book.

“We’re honored to have had the opportunity to help these graduates prepare for the next step, whether it’s professional advancement or personal enrichment," said Kim Siegenthaler, Mizzou Online director. “We hope the online commencement site gives them a place to celebrate their accomplishments because, in many cases, these distance students aren’t able to travel to campus for graduation ceremonies.”

For more information about the on-campus graduation ceremonies, please visit the Registrar's commencement page at commencement.missouri.edu.

Graduate programs, professional schools and the discovery of new knowledge through research add unparalleled value to a degree from the University of Missouri. Increasingly MU also serves that value to distance learners through online courses, degrees and certificates.

One example of that added value — what we like to call “the Mizzou difference” — is the online graduate certificate in positive psychology offered by the Department of Educational, School and Counseling Psychology in the College of Education.

Cory Elfrink

Cory Elfrink, program coordinator in the College of Education, emphasized that value in a recent interview with MastersInPsychologyGuide.com. 

“We do not simply memorize character and talent strengths — we seek to develop them,” Elfrink said.

The practice of positive psychology is gaining momentum. More and more professionals are looking for ways to nurture talents and strengths, both in the work place and in their personal lives.

MU has responded to this demand by creating a 15-credit hour graduate program that is conducted entirely online, the better to meet the needs of working psychologists and other professionals.

“This certification is, among other things, an excellent complement to those professions who would like to better incorporate a positive psychology perspective,” Elfrink said.

Read the full interview at MastersinPsychologyGuide.com.

The University of Missouri has long been associated with extensive publication and research in the field of positive psychology. Faculty in the College of Education began teaching positive psychology on campus in 2006 and online in 2012.

Students can complete the five courses in the online graduate certificate in positive psychology in as little as three semesters. This program accepts applications on a rolling basis, so students can apply at any time.

Interested in helping build thriving individuals, families, communities and organizations?

Learn more about the online graduate certificate in positive psychology.

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