The University of Missouri has won the 2014 Strategic Innovation in Online Education Award from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), at the groups' annual conference in Miami. The award, in its inaugural year, honors Mizzou for its institution-wide commitment to online education.

"Our goal is to recognize institutions that have made the investment in time and human resources to design effective online learning experiences," said Robert Hansen, UPCEA CEO. "This award confers one of the highest distinctions within our profession, honoring, in particular, how an institution develops and meets strategic and innovative goals for online education."

UPCEA is the leading national organization for professional, continuing and online education. Founded in 1915, UPCEA serves more than 365 institutions across the country, including the University of Missouri. The awards committee sought examples of higher education organizations that had set and met innovative goals in collaborative ways — whether on one campus, within a system or through a consortium — and been strategic in the planning, development, implementation and sustainability in line with the institutional mission.

Mizzou began reorganizing the offices responsible for distance education in 2010 and formally created the Mizzou Online office in 2011 as part of the Provost's Office. The realignment required campuswide collaboration among administrative offices, academic departments, technology and administrative support teams.

Online program availability has grown steadily for years at Mizzou, and there are more than 90 degree and certificate options available wholly or partly online. The growth in programs has come with policy and process improvements affecting many facets of the campus' academic infrastructure.

"The work we have done to form the Mizzou Online office is a great tribute to those before us who positioned online distance education for future success at MU," says Jim Spain, MU's vice provost of undergraduate studies and e-Learning. "This award represents the work of so many faculty and staff who have served distance education at MU for decades. Our success really is a testament to the great partners we have all across our campus who have been integral to our progress as Missouri's land-grant institution."

"Both the awards committee members and the leadership of UPCEA thank the University of Missouri for sharing its initiative and inventive implementation of this online education merger, a model to which others in higher education can aspire," Hansen said.

MU's online commencement ceremony celebrates the accomplishments of more than 300 students across the globe and in 37 states — from Alaska to Florida — who have completed their bachelor's, master's, education specialist and doctoral degrees online since May 2013. The website features online invitations for graduates to email, encouraging their friends and family to "attend graduation," sign the guestbook and view video remarks from campus officials, including Dr. Leona Rubin, interim director of graduate studies.

The virtual "Pomp and Circumstance" also includes speeches from Provost Brian Foster, Vice Provost Jim Spain and Mizzou Alumni Association Executive Director Todd McCubbin.

"The virtual commencement site means a lot to Mizzou Online, as we honor MU's latest group of online graduates, their many supporters and all MU alumni," says Kim Siegenthaler, co-director of Mizzou Online. "The videos, photo gallery and congratulatory comments reflect the spirit and dedication of these graduates who've accomplished so much at Mizzou, despite their physical distances from campus."

No matter where you are located — you, too, can now "attend" the ceremony, post a note to the guest book page and read inspiring messages written by others who are proud of the new Class of 2013 Mizzou alumni.

The University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine is now accepting applications for its new online master of science degree in biomedical sciences, with an emphasis in veterinary medicine and surgery. Classes begin in January.

The 30-hour program is designed for working veterinarians, as well as veterinary technicians and biological sciences baccalaureate degree graduates, to earn their master's degrees, without having to relocate &mdash or even leave work &mdash to attend classes. "Our goal is to help students better understand the intersection of veterinary and biomedical sciences as a whole, so they can combine their technical knowledge and real-world experience to become more effective in their professions," said C.B. Chastain, DVM, professor in veterinary medicine and surgery, MU Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences.

The program focuses on the scientific principles of veterinary medicine and surgery including the physiology, pathology, toxicology, pathobiology, cytology, clinical chemistry and cell biology of animals, and can be a stepping stone to further scientific research, residency completion or doctoral programs.

Graduates of the program are well-suited for career advancement in scientific study, academia or clinical settings.

The online courses are taught by the same faculty who teach in Mizzou's residential classes.

"The faculty is excited to provide an online program that brings together a complete educational package for our graduate student professionals who are studying at a distance," Chastain said. "Our specialty is educating veterinarians and professionals, and this online option gives more students the chance to study with our faculty."

Graduate students enrolled in the online program pay in-state tuition regardless of where they live.

Applicants seeking admission for the upcoming semester &mdash January 2014 &mdash should submit their materials as soon as possible to the University of Missouri Graduate School. For more information about the online program, including admission requirements and a detailed course planner, visit or contact

Also, read how Mizzou's new online masters in biomedical sciences was featured in the Columbia Daily Tribune on Dec. 1, 2013.

The University of Missouri College of Education is now accepting applications for two online degree programs previously only available to on-campus students. The bachelor of educational studies and the master of education in educational psychology with a focus in student learning and well-being will both offer online classes beginning in January.

"The MU College of Education is committed to providing students access to quality education programs whether they live in Columbia, Mo., or thousands of miles around the world," says Daniel L. Clay, dean of the MU College of Education. "With more than 30 online and hybrid degree programs, the college continues to be an online leader at MU."

"Adding these options to Mizzou's online portfolio is an important step in fulfilling our mission as a public, land-grant institution," said Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate students and interim vice provost for e-Learning. "Because Mizzou's online courses are taught by the same faculty who teach on campus, students have increased access to the very best Mizzou has to offer."

Bachelor of Educational Studies (BES)

The bachelor of educational studies is designed for professionals wanting to work in adult and continuing education or in workforce training programs. The degree program is especially well-suited to military veterans who have not yet earned a bachelor's degree. College of Education advisers and faculty members will work with the MU Veterans Center to support active duty and veteran military service members in the program.

While the college has been offering online graduate degrees for years, this is the college's first online undergraduate degree option. "The online BES prepares students for a variety of careers working with adult learners. This includes instructional and administrative positions at community colleges, as well as professional opportunities in workforce development programs, human resource training and continuing professional education," said Tony Barbis, BES program coordinator and College of Education associate teaching professor. "Students are given quite a bit of latitude in choosing courses that best meet their particular educational goals."

Because the program is designed for career fields that work with adult learners, it does not lead to Missouri state teacher certification. Applications for the BES are due Dec. 1, 2013. Courses in the program are 100 percent online.

Student Learning and Well-Being (M Ed)

Created by faculty in the Educational, School and Counseling Psychology Department, this graduate focus area is for K-12 teachers who want to focus on the whole student while improving learning. Courses will cover bullying, violence prevention, positive psychology, classroom assessments, human learning and the creation of supportive learning environments.

"We have focused on course work that will encourage teachers to approach learning and student well-being as two inseparable parts of the whole student," said Stephen Whitney, program coordinator and Educational Psychology associate professor. "Teachers will benefit from practical solutions created to decrease barriers and increase learning."

The GRE is not required for admission to the program. Graduate students enrolled in the online program pay in-state tuition regardless of where they live. Applicants should submit their materials as soon as possible in order to gain admission to the University for January 2014 course work.

For more information about both online programs, visit

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The University of Missouri and the presidents and chancellors of the Missouri Community College Association (MCCA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Wed., Oct. 9, establishing a partnership to provide Internet connectivity access to community college graduates who enroll in courses and degree programs through Mizzou Online.

In the agreement, each MCCA community college agrees to furnish, as needed, Internet connectivity through designated campus computer stations as a free and secure access point for Mizzou Online enrollees. Use of these work stations are limited to associate degree graduates of the respective community colleges who enroll in Mizzou Online courses.

"MU is proud of its tradition as a land-grant university of providing bachelor's degrees and beyond to Missourians who thrive in the fast-changing technology-driven environment of the 21st century," MU Provost Brian Foster said. "This partnership takes this tradition forward in an important way and reflects these institutions' opportunity to expand and strengthen options for Missourians."

The purpose of the partnership is to expand the comprehensiveness of distance education courses and degree offerings across Missouri so more citizens may earn associate and bachelor's degrees while continuing to live and work in each MCCA community college's service region.

"The use of existing and emerging technology to make higher education more accessible to residents in all regions of our state is a priority of the Missouri Community College Association," said Ray Cummiskey, president of Jefferson College and chairman of the MCCA Presidents and Chancellors Council. "By partnering with the University of Missouri to encourage degree completion at both the community college and university levels, MCCA is mindful that a high-quality, affordable education should not be a luxury, but available to anyone who desires."

MU will not compete with the respective community colleges when it comes to lower-division general education and prerequisite courses in a student's major. Students who are deficient in those courses will be encouraged to first complete those at the sending community college.

"Part of our heritage at MU is to serve the state of Missouri by making higher education accessible to citizens across the state," said Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies and interim vice provost for eLearning. "Our distance education programs were designed to meet the needs of individual students who face unique situations that prevent them from coming to our campus to study. Mizzou is proud to collaborate with the MCCA institutions to support their graduates who are interested in furthering their college education."

"MU is pleased to partner with the community colleges of Missouri and assist their graduates in pursuing a bachelor's degree from Mizzou Online," said Terry Barnes, assistant to the provost for community college partnerships. "At Mizzou, we have chosen to expand and strengthen our degree programs which provide high-quality accessible opportunities that truly will improve the lives of the citizens in the communities served by these institutions."

Several active transfer and articulation agreements that facilitate the transfer of community college graduates to Mizzou Online courses and degree programs are already in place. Mizzou Online, which offers more than 90 University of Missouri undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates, served more than 12,600 students last year.

"It is exciting for MU and the institutions of the MCCA to combine resources to better support these students interested in advancing their education," said Mizzou Online Co-Director Gera Burton. "The exciting outcome is the opportunity these students will have to utilize their degrees to advance professionally."

Member institutions of the MCCA are Crowder College (Neosho), East Central College (Union), Jefferson College (Hillsboro), Metropolitan Community College (Kansas City), Mineral Area College (Park Hills), Moberly Area Community College (Moberly), North Central Missouri College (Trenton), Ozarks Technical Community College (Springfield), St. Charles Community College (St. Peters), St. Louis Community College (St. Louis), State Fair Community College (Sedalia) and Three Rivers College (Poplar Bluff).

Contact: Josh Murray

The University of Missouri is now accepting applications for its inaugural class in the online Master of Public Affairs program. Classes begin in January 2014.

The online master's degree from the Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs is designed for busy professionals with three to five years of experience. Those working in local, state or federal government; nonprofits; social enterprises; environmental agencies; non-governmental organizations (NGOs); education, health care and financial institutions; and the private sector are encouraged to apply.

Accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), Mizzou's long-standing MPA program also is offered as a traditional on-campus program in Columbia, MO, as well as a mid-career option taught in the evenings in Jefferson City, MO. "The need for innovative problem-solving among leaders in the public sector is ever growing," said Bart Wechsler, dean of the Truman School of Public Affairs. "Adding the fully online option is our response to the demand from students across Missouri and other states who are seeking to be part of this expanding field but cannot join us on campus."

Courses in the program are 100 percent online, offered in nine-week terms and feature instructor and classmate interaction that will have students discussing current issues and trends in leadership, human resources, strategy and policy development.

"Students will be diving into topics relevant to organizations of all sizes and coming away with practical solutions," Wechsler said. "We show leaders how to dissect issues and situations as individuals and in teams. Our faculty are intent on equipping public service professionals with the tools they need to lead their organizations through current and future challenges."

The Truman School also is launching online graduate certificates in public management and nonprofit management.

Applications are due Nov. 15 for the January classes. The GRE is not required for admission to the online program. Graduate students enrolled in the online program pay in-state tuition regardless of where they live.

"This is an important, professional degree for Mizzou to offer online," said Jim Spain, interim vice provost for e-Learning. "Providing access to those seeking to advance their careers in the public and nonprofit sector is at the core of our land-grant mission as a public university."

For more information see

Attention new and returning students in online courses and degree programs: We have created a web resource guide for you that walks you through key processes at Mizzou, including using the registration system for the first time, enrolling in courses, finding textbooks, accessing academic advising and signing up for proctored exams.

The Mizzou Online New Student Orientation site covers a wide range of information related to online education at the University of Missouri:

  • Welcome/Getting started
  • Advising and support services
  • Registration and courses
  • Campus resources

"We hope this collection of how-to links and explanations is helpful for new and returning online students," says Terrie Nagel, Mizzou Online assistant director. "We know this is a big campus with many procedures so we wanted to collect important information in one place for our students who are learning with us at a distance."

The orientation resource guide is available from the homepage, student resources and current students' pages, as well as from the site-wide footer section under "Student Resources."

Send your ideas for additional information you would like to see added to the orientation pages at:

As careers in restaurant, catering and venue management become increasingly popular, the University of Missouri is answering the call for higher education in the food and beverage industry with an online bachelor's degree in hospitality management. Aspiring restaurateurs can begin the degree this fall.

The degree–a bachelor of science in hospitality management with a focus on food and beverage management–is designed for those with culinary training background, including active-duty military and veterans. Students from community colleges and other training programs who have taken food service vocational course work are encouraged to apply.

Courses begin in August and January, are eight weeks long, and will cover commercial food production, hospitality law, food service and beverage operations, as well as private club and catering management.

"These online courses will build off the practical experience students bring from culinary programs and military training," said Leslie Jett, executive chef, assistant teaching professor and faculty coordinator of the program. "We will help transition students from food service operators into thinking and leading like managers, which will give them a competitive advantage.

"In addition to preparing graduates for back-of-house leadership, they will be able and ready to manage positions that hold fiscal controls, staff accountability, guest services and operational responsibility," Jett said.

The program is one of the first undergraduate online offerings from the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR). The on-campus hospitality management program has been recognized nationally for its hands-on approach and focus on the business and management side of the food and beverage industry. The same faculty who teach the on-campus program have created this version and will be teaching the online courses.

"CAFNR is excited to offer this in-demand degree through distance education technologies and serve the educational and career preparatory needs of students," said Bryan Garton, associate dean and director of academic programs for the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. "Students learning at a distance receive the same high quality education as on-campus students, thus helping fill the employment demand in the hospitality industry."

In addition to food and beverage management course work, students also will meet Mizzou's general education requirements for a bachelor's degree with online courses in the social sciences, English, math, economics and science.

"Our goal is to provide students access with the same academic programs online that we provide on campus so that our students have the true One Mizzou education experience," said Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies and interim vice provost for e-Learning.

"This degree program in hospitality management is an important addition to Mizzou's online portfolio because it provides access for the thousands of men and women in military food service operations and culinary vocational programs who now have an opportunity to move into a relevant undergraduate program. This allows these students to continue their education while advancing in their careers," Spain said.

Many of the courses are 100 percent online, but the program does require an on-campus experience in Columbia, Mo., for the capstone course. For more information see

Nearly 300 online students from across the country join the 6,100 other graduates who can now proudly count themselves among the alumni of the University of Missouri. Mizzou's online commencement ceremony celebrates the accomplishments of students who have completed their undergraduate, graduate and education specialist degrees at a distance.

"These graduates are hard-working distance students, many of whom have family and career obligations to fulfill in addition to the many hours of study necessary to complete their degrees," says Stacy Snow, Mizzou Online spokesperson. "We created the online ceremony to honor these students who, against many odds, have made their education a priority. And we hope that the graduates will forward the commencement link to their friends and families so that many can celebrate their accomplishments."

The "ceremony" consists of video remarks from campus officials, much like the on-campus commencement exercises taking place this week. The virtual "Pomp and Circumstance" experience features speeches by and several campus leaders including Chancellor Brady Deaton, Vice Provost Jim Spain, Graduate School Dean George Justice and Mizzou Alumni Association Executive Director Todd McCubbin. At the site, well-wishers can leave congratulatory notes for individuals, school and college groups or all online graduates in the guest book; visitors can read inspiring messages written by others; and graduating students can even post photos of themselves in the photo gallery.

Friends, families and supporters of MU: Congratulate your graduate from wherever you're located. You can "attend" the spring 2013 online commencement ceremony anytime, day or night. We encourage you to add to your loved one's commencement experience by posting in the guest book.

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

The University of Missouri received two awards from the Great Plains Interactive and Distance Education Alliance (GP IDEA), a national consortium of degree-granting universities that provides inter-institutional access to online human sciences and agriculture courses through a collaborative distance education program model.

Tracy Kitchel, associate professor and director of graduate studies for MU's Agricultural Education and Leadership department, received the alliance's 2013 Faculty Excellence Award. "The Great Plains IDEA Cabinet created this award in 2010 to recognize faculty members who have made a significant contribution to the success of the academic programs in the alliance," says Carol Gould, GP IDEA executive director.

Kitchel oversees the new online agricultural education master's degree — now accepting applications for the fall 2013 semester. He also chairs the national group for agricultural education, called AG*IDEA, which combines online courses offered by MU and 19 other universities in the consortium (as part of GP IDEA) to provide the new fully online master's degree through Mizzou.

"I am very honored by being named a recipient of this award," says Kitchel. "As a national agricultural education group, we have worked hard to build our program. Participation in Great Plains and AG*IDEA has helped leverage resources in our local department so we can teach other courses while relying on the expertise of faculty from across the country. I really enjoy working with the staff at Great Plains IDEA and am thankful to have a great support system at Mizzou Online."

Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies at MU, shares Kitchel's enthusiasm toward the faculty and support system that Mizzou Online has in place in working with the GP IDEA consortium. "We are very fortunate to have a team that is committed to serving the campus as we help make MU more accessible to students across the state and country, as well as around the world," says Spain.

Supporting Kitchel in setting up the online courses to launch the new degree is Nita Smarr, Mizzou Online campus coordinator for GP IDEA programs. Smarr received the alliance's Rock 'n' Rolling Award for "her attention to detail and work ethic that ensures no rock goes unturned," according to Gould. "We are pleased to recognize the outstanding educators and the support staff who are so important to this organization."

Spain adds, "Mizzou Online's support of our faculty and their students has been critical to the sustained success MU has achieved in expanding our online distance programs."

Mizzou now offers 11 online degree and certificate programs through the GP IDEA consortium, including studies in agricultural education, family and community services, financial and housing counseling, geriatric care management, gerontology and youth development, and personal financial management. For more information about Kitchel's Faculty Excellence Award recognition and the AG*IDEA program, see the College of Agricultural, Food and Natural Resources news article.