Photography by Kyle Spradley

The University of Missouri has pushed the frontiers of research and scholarship for nearly two centuries. Faculty inventors and creators — including online educators — share discoveries with students and link Missouri industry, agriculture, emerging businesses and innovative ideas.

One such effort involving distance-learning faculty is the biomass boiler at MU’s power plant. The 100 percent biomass-fueled boiler went on line in 2013, joining an older, conventional plant in generating heat and power for the MU campus. Up to 40 percent of the plant’s total fuel is expected to come from sustainably sourced biomass.

In expanding their use of renewable fuels, power plant staff sought the assistance of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources to help develop sustainable biomass resources.

Researchers in the college and at the MU Center for Agroforestry established research plots to test various species of trees as energy crops, while developing guidelines to protect the sustainability and health of the forests.

Read the full story here: Wood chips and CAFNR

Many of the researchers working on the MU power plant biofuel project also teach courses in the online master's degree program in agroforestry.

The first such degree program in the nation, the online master’s in agroforestry prepares professionals to advise landowners on how to diversify farm income; improve soil, water and air quality; sequester carbon; and increase biodiversity.

If you want to work with industry-leading researchers and broaden your career opportunities in forestry, agriculture or resource management, explore MU’s 100-percent online master’s in agroforestry.

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When you enroll in a distance learning program or course from the University of Missouri, you gain the opportunity to study under some of the best scholars in your chosen field.

Two such academic leaders from MU’s College of Engineering recently were elected fellows by the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for 2015.

Dong Xu and Yuwen Zhang were among 347 fellows in this year’s class.

Yuwen Zhang

The AAAS selects fellows for their contributions in 24 different disciplines. Zhang was selected for engineering, while Xu was selected in the biological sciences category for his work in the bioinformatics field.

Read more about the fellowship here: Two professors earn prestigious fellowships from AAAS

At Mizzou, Zhang chairs the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, one of six departments contributing to MU’s online graduate certificate in energy efficiency.

Energy management is an important concern nationally. From natural resource extraction to automobile manufacturing to home building, the challenge is to use our resources efficiently.

MU’s online graduate certificate in energy efficiency helps engineers create and implement energy-efficient technology, advocate for the use of sustainable practices and craft sustainability plans.

If you want to advance your career in engineering, manufacturing, design, construction, energy policy or energy management, you owe it to yourself to look into this 100-percent online program from MU.

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A study by researchers at the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing (SSON) may help make nursing homes safer for elderly residents.

Associate Professor Amy Vogelsmeier led a team that investigated the role of nurses in identifying medication errors that could pose safety risks to nursing home residents.

Nearly 66 percent of all adverse events experienced by nursing home residents, such as falls, delirium and hallucinations, could be prevented, in part, by monitoring medication more closely.

“Nursing home work is hard,” Vogelsmeier said. “The ability to manage patients’ care and keep them stable is a clinical challenge that requires highly educated, clinically savvy nurses.”

Read more about the study here: RNs more likely to identify high-risk medication discrepancies.

Vogelsmeier is the John A. Hartford Foundation Claire M. Fagin Fellow at SSON, where she also coordinates the nursing leadership and health care systems area of study.

U.S. News & World Report ranked the SSON online program as a Top 50 program for graduate education in 2015. calls SSON the best nursing school program in the nation in terms of affordability, academic quality, accessibility and board exam pass rates. ranks MU’s online nursing master's programs as "Best Buys."

Want to advance your career in nursing and learn from acclaimed researchers like Vogelsmeier? Join us online Jan. 14 for a live presentation on the Sinclair School of Nursing's DNP program. Program director Dr. Robin Harris will share information on the curriculum and answer your questions. Register today!

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Integral to the mission of the University of Missouri is a commitment to public service — the obligation to produce and disseminate knowledge that will improve the quality of life in the state, the nation and the world.

This weekend MU will host commencement exercises to celebrate a diverse group of graduates who have taken up that challenge. Among them are more than 300 scholars who are receiving degrees they earned online, often while working full time.

Carlos Blanco is one of them. A veteran educator, he holds a PhD in reading and critical thinking and a master's in higher education, both from the University of Arizona. He currently chairs the English and reading program at St. Louis Community College, where he has taught for 17 years.

Blanco's latest achievement is an educational specialist degree in educational, school and counseling psychology with an emphasis in mental health practices in schools. He earned the degree online through the MU College of Education.

"I believe I have the duty to seek out experiences that will help me develop my skills in the service of students, specifically with respect to the understanding of positive mental well-being practices for students," Blanco said.

Blanco wanted to continue his professional development with a distance-learning program that would allow him to continue working full time.

"I chose MU because of its affordability, and because the campus is in close proximity to my home," Blanco said. "This has permitted me to visit the campus multiple times to conduct school business and likewise meet with various professors throughout my studies.

"Educators need to foster positive mental health in classrooms, in addition to encouraging students' academic skills preparation," he said.

Blanco says his course work, particularly his 12 credit hours in multicultural education, will help both him and his students.

"My campus is diverse, representing varied underrepresented groups, including the LGBT community, diverse religious groups, etc.," Blanco said. "It is imperative that I continue to develop my knowledge and skills related to the teaching of diverse groups and their unique circumstances."

For Blanco, studying online offered not only convenience but also interaction between peers and instructors. "An important factor is the requirement for students to engage with one another through discussion boards, which are part of every course," he said.

Blanco recommends the program to other educators and emphasizes that the multicultural education graduate certificate would also benefit professionals in counseling and human services.

"I trust this degree will contribute to my students' positive mental health, and to my professional development as teacher," he said.

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Fall 2015 commencement is this weekend (Dec 18–19). Among the hundreds of successful graduates who will receive their diplomas are 394 distance students who have earned their degrees through online courses.

"Members of the online class of 2015 come from all over the United States and as far away as Australia, the Czech Republic and Korea," said Kim Siegenthaler, Mizzou Online director.

The graduates range in age from 22 to 73. Most of them have completed post-graduate degrees; 320 are receiving doctorates, educational specialist or master's degrees.

"These students have demonstrated tremendous persistence and effort. Many of them completed their courses while simultaneously working full time and taking care of their families. And that's no mean feat," Siegenthaler said. "All of Mizzou — students, staff and faculty — have reason to be proud of their scholarship and stamina."

As a tribute to these students, Mizzou Online has created a commencement website where graduates can share photos and friends and family can write congratulatory notes in the online guest book.

Much like the on-campus commencement exercises taking place this weekend, the online commencement includes video remarks from Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies Jim Spain and student speaker Carlos Blanco (EdSp).

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

Congratulate a graduate today by posting in the guest book!

For the seventh-consecutive year, the University of Missouri has received the Military Friendly School® title from Victory Media. The designation is awarded to the top institutions in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students and dedicate resources to ensure veterans’ success both in the classroom and after graduation.

“Mizzou has given me the peace of mind to go back to school while working full time,” said Heath McGill, a student from Sikeston, Missouri, who is pursuing his undergraduate degree online. “Being a military veteran and married with two kids at home, it has been a smooth transition to the online classroom without the stress of a traditional college environment.”

The bond between MU and the military dates back to 1890 when the university named its athletic programs in honor of the Tigers, a local militia that defended Columbia from rebel assaults during the Civil War. Mizzou continues to honor that bond today with benefits such as the MU Veterans Center, which has helped military personnel and their families transition between service and academia since its founding in 2008. At the start of the fall 2015 semester, Mizzou had more than 358 veterans enrolled. In addition, the MU Veterans Center serves dependents of veterans, taking the total number of students served by the Veterans Center to 837. The campus is also home to the Mizzou Student Veterans Association.

“We are extremely proud to receive this honor again because it acknowledges the University of Missouri’s continuing commitment to providing a friendly and supportive campus environment that allows veterans, active military and family members to realize their higher education goals,” said Robert Ross, director of the MU Veterans Center. “The staff and student workers at our full-service, one-stop resource center are dedicated to supporting veterans from their transition to college through graduation.”

Availability of online courses and degrees also makes MU a popular choice for the military. More than 90 degree and certificate programs are available entirely or partially online.

“Through distance learning, military women and men earn nationally respected academic credentials and enjoy the flexibility they need to balance their education with other commitments,” said Kim Siegenthaler, director of Mizzou Online. “Academic quality is baked in. All our online courses, certificate and degree programs are taught by the same faculty—many of them award-winning leaders in their fields—who teach on campus.”

In addition to flexibility and academic quality, MU offers considerable value. In 2015, the university began offering a 10 percent tuition award to veterans and their families toward online degree programs.

“The Mizzou Online Military Tuition Award is just one more way MU honors veterans, active duty service members, National Guard, reservists and their families for their service to our country,” Siegenthaler said.

The Military Friendly Schools® designation provides service members and their families with transparent, data-driven ratings about post-military education and career opportunities.

“Post-secondary institutions earning the 2016 Military Friendly Schools® award have exceptionally strong programs for transitioning service members and spouses,” said Daniel Nichols, chief product officer of Victory Media and a Navy Reserve veteran. “Our Military Friendly Schools® are truly aligning their military programs and services with employers to help students translate military experience, skills and training into successful careers after graduation.”

The Military Friendly Schools® media and website, found at, feature the list, interactive tools and search functionality to help military students find the best school to suit their unique needs and preferences. The schools on this year’s list have world-class programs and policies for student support on campus, academic accreditation, credit policies, flexibility, and other services for those who served.

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When you choose to study online with the University of Missouri, you get more than just a degree. You also learn from scholars and industry experts who serve our citizens by making contributions to state and national policy.

Take Barton Wechsler, dean of MU’s Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs, who was recently elected to the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA).

The U.S. Congress created NAPA to help public sector leaders meet the important and varied management challenges of today and anticipate those of the future.

Wechsler joins more than 700 other trusted and experienced NAPA fellows in improving the quality, performance and accountability of government.

In addition to serving as dean of the Truman School, Wechsler teaches graduate courses in public management, including strategic planning and performance measurement, organization dynamics and leadership, and social innovation.

Wechsler’s research on public management has been published in Public Administration Review, Administration and Society, Journal of the American Planning Association, Public Productivity and Management Review, Review of Public Personnel Administration, other academic and practitioner journals, and numerous edited books. He serves on the editorial board of Public Productivity and Management Review.

Want to advance your career in public affairs with an online degree from the Truman School? Speak to a Mizzou Online recruitment adviser today. Call us at 1-800-609-3727 or send an email to

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Looking to advance your career in nursing through online learning? The University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing (SSON) is one of the best nursing schools in the country, thanks to its outstanding scholars.

One such scholar is Associate Professor Amy Vogelsmeier, who coordinates the program for the SSON master of science in nursing with an emphasis in leadership in nursing and health-care systems.

Vogelsmeier was recently inducted as a fellow into the prestigious American Academy of Nursing (AAN), taking her place among the nursing profession’s most accomplished leaders. She joins an elite group of 17 other SSON current and emeriti faculty members who also are AAN fellows.

“We have many hardworking researchers at the SSON who are doing cutting-edge work to advance the nursing profession and to drive reform of America’s health system,” said Judith F. Miller, dean of the nursing school. “I’m proud of Amy and salute her as she reaches this career milestone.”

Read more about Vogelsmeier’s achievements and research here: Nursing Scholar Inducted Into American Academy of Nursing.

Leaders like Vogelsmeier help make MU the gold-standard in distance learning for the nursing profession. U.S. News & World Report ranked the SSON online program for graduate education as a Top 50 program in 2015. calls SSON the best nursing school program in the nation in terms of affordability, academic quality, accessibility and board exam pass rates. ranks MU’s online nursing master's programs as "Best Buys."

Want to get ahead in nursing and learn from acclaimed researchers like Vogelsmeier? Speak to a Mizzou Online recruitment adviser today. Call us at 1-800-609-3727 or send an email to

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If you're looking to advance professionally by continuing your education, but you can't afford to pause your career, you've probably considered distance learning.

So you probably also know that not all online courses and degrees are created equal. As we noted last week, quality of instruction is an important factor when evaluating online course and degree programs.

MU is a highly regarded and accredited university, with some of the nation's leading scholars. Those same professors teach MU distance learners as well as on-campus students, which explains why so many working professionals enroll in online courses and programs at Mizzou.

Among our many award-winning instructors who teach online are two new recipients of Mizzou Alumni Association (MAA) awards.

Barbara Reys received the Distinguished Faculty Award, the highest honor the MAA presents to faculty members. The award recognizes Reys' sustained efforts in teaching, research and service, and places special emphasis on her relationships with students.

Reys is Curators Professor at the College of Education's Department of Learning, Teaching and Curriculum. There she co-directs the elementary mathematics specialist graduate certificate online program.

Marjorie R. Sable received an MAA Faculty-Alumni Award, which recognizes her work as a teacher and researcher as well as her relationship with students.

Sable is the director of the School of Social Work, where she is instrumental in the graduate certificate in military social work, among others. Social work professionals can access the school's online master's degree while still working full-time.

Want to advance your career in social work or education? Interested in studying under leading scholars like Sable and Reys? Speak to a Mizzou Online recruitment adviser today. Call us at 1-800-609-3727 or send an email to

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If you're like most people interested in an online degree or course, you probably wonder how the education you receive through distance learning compares to the on-campus experience.

When you study online with the University of Missouri, you are enrolling at a highly regarded and accredited university. Your diploma and transcripts proudly identify you as a full-fledged MU student. And you study under the same leading scholars as students on campus.

For proof, look no further than the four MU faculty members recently named as 2015-16 SEC Academic Leadership Development Program fellows. Two of those professors also are leaders in MU's distance learning programs.

Professor and Chair Anna Ball teaches many of the courses in the agricultural education online master's. She also is interim director of graduate studies for MU's Agricultural Education and Leadership program. (What's more, Ball earned her doctorate right here at Mizzou. Can I get an M-I-Z?)

Joi Moore, PhD, is the associate division director at the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies, where she manages graduate teaching assistants and the curriculum for the digital media online program. Watch Moore explain the school's mission in this video.

We are extremely proud of these two as well as the other MU fellows: Debbie Dougherty, associate dean of research at the College of Arts and Science, and Chuck Henson, associate dean for academic affairs at the School of Law.

Outstanding faculty like these are what set the University of Missouri apart from other schools offering online programs. If you want one of the best distance learning experiences in the SEC, talk to Mizzou Online. Our advisers are ready to help you learn the skills you need to advance your education and career.

See how you can earn your MU degree online.

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