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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MU’s Trulaske College of Business execMBA program has received a national distinction for helping students succeed.

The UPCEA Excellence in Advancing Student Success Award recognizes institutions and programs that support adult and/or nontraditional students via strategic initiatives, projects or services.

UPCEA CEO Bob Hansen; Kathleen Dolan, director of the Trulaske execMBA program at MU; Lesley Nichols, executive director of professional studies at Emerson College and chair of the UPCEA Marketing, Enrollment and Student Services Network; and Inside Track SVP Chuck Kleiner.

Kathleen Dolan, director of the Trulaske execMBA program, accepted the award April 8 at UPCEA’s 101st Annual Conference in San Diego.

The award was sponsored by InsideTrack, a provider of student coaching services.

The Trulaske execMBA was specifically designed for working professionals. “We built this program on the basic insight that people who are interested in advancing themselves want to be surrounded by others who also have a similar drive, energy and intellect,” Dolan said.

The effect on graduates is profound: Of the inaugural graduating class, nearly half the students ended the 21-month program with either a promotion or a new position.

In honoring the Trulaske execMBA, UPCEA highlighted the program’s practice of collecting student feedback in near real-time via an impartial outside vendor. This measurement model melds MBA pedagogy with technology, the better to serve busy executives.

Course work in the program is 75 percent online and 25 percent on-campus, giving students the optimal balance of online convenience, career benefits of face-to-face instruction, and cohort networking.

The hybrid model has drawn national attention. Bloomberg Businessweek highlighted the Trulaske execMBA in its 2013 Best Part-Time MBA and Best Executive MBA report. Poets & Quants named it one of the best online MBA programs in the U.S.

The Trulaske execMBA program is now accepting applications for the next cohort, which begins classes in August. GRE scores are not required.

To learn more about the Trulaske execMBA, or to apply to the program, visit online.missouri.edu/exec-mba-award.

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New research from the University of Missouri has found associations between trouble sleeping and behavioral problems in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Micah Mazurek

“Past research has found that children with ASD often have trouble sleeping at night. Many children with ASD also struggle with regulating their behavior during the day,” said Micah Mazurek, assistant professor of health psychology in the MU School of Health Professions and the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders and co-author of the study.

“If parents are noticing that their children are having behavioral problems, it may be helpful to make sure they are sleeping well at night,” Mazurek recommended. “For all children with ASD, it is important that parents and professionals routinely screen for sleep problems. Addressing these issues will help children be at their best during the day.”

Read the full story here: Trouble sleeping associated with behavioral problems in children with autism

Some researchers at the Thompson Center also teach courses in MU’s online master’s degree program in autism education. This 30-hour online graduate degree program covers the methods of teaching individuals with ASD, including high-functioning autism and Asperger syndrome, as well as social competency and applied behavior analysis.

Want to help young children and youth with autism or related conditions? Learn more about MU’s online master’s in autism education.

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A national body has recognized a University of Missouri faculty member for her efforts in helping prepare educators to teach English to speakers of other languages (TESOL).

The TESOL International Association selected Nikki Ashcraft PhD for her contributions to shaping the future of both the association and the TESOL profession.

Nikki Ashcraft

Ashcraft is the primary instructor in the online TESOL program offered by the MU College of Education’s Department of Learning, Teaching and Curriculum.

"I enjoy teaching online since it allows me to work with TESOL students all over the world,” Ashcraft said. “Our online program is truly international in scope."

Ashcraft has worked for 24 years in the field, teaching English and training ESL/EFL teachers in Chile, Kuwait, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. She has provided TESOL methods training to Fulbright English Teaching Assistants assigned to the Middle East and North Africa.

Ashcraft formerly served as chair of the TESOL International Association’s Teacher Education Interest Section. Her books include “Teaching Listening: Voices from the Field” (2010) and “Lesson Planning” (2014), both published by TESOL Press.

Ashcraft and other recipients will receive their honors at the TESOL 2016 International Convention and English Language Expo, April 5–8 in Baltimore.

“This is an amazing accomplishment, and it recognizes Dr. Ashcraft's talent, commitment and amazing work ethic in TESOL,” said Rachel Pinnow PhD, associate professor and coordinator of the TESOL program.

Ashcraft has been with MU for five years. She and her colleagues in the TESOL program help scholars and practitioners use theory and research to enhance their work.

“Everyone at the Department of Learning, Teaching and Curriculum is proud of — but not necessarily surprised by — Dr. Ashcraft's achievement,” Pinnow said. “It is further testimony to our department’s tradition of excellence in addressing pressing issues for English language learners and the teachers who work with them.”

Graduates of the department go on to become some of the most sought-after, successful and best-prepared classroom teachers within Missouri, nationwide and around the globe.

The TESOL program at MU offers three options for students who want to pursue a career teaching English as a second language: a master’s degree (M Ed), a graduate certificate, and a certification preparation track for teachers seeking Missouri ESOL certification.

All three programs are completely online — no campus visits are required. And students pay in-state tuition, regardless of where they live and study.

Are you looking for advanced education in ESL/EFL teaching and learning? Or are you a certified K-12 educator seeking ESOL certification? Learn more about MU’s online TESOL program today.

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When you choose the University of Missouri, whether online or on campus, you get access to the Mizzou Advantage — the unmatched expertise of MU faculty and a long-standing culture of collaboration.

You can see this interchange of ideas at the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, where MU faculty from diverse fields are launching an employment readiness program to assist adults with autism.

Karen OConnor
Jena Randolph

Led by assistant research professors Jena Randolph and Karen O’Connor, the Self-Determined Transition Readiness through Individual Vocational Experiences (STRIVE) will help participants gain experience and skills so they can obtain and maintain competitive employment.

“One of the barriers to employment for adults with autism is limited work experience,” Randolph says. “STRIVE will have a direct impact on the participants by giving them volunteer and work experience in different positions across campus.”

Read the full story here: Neurodiversity Champions

In addition to their work at the Thompson Center and on campus, Randolph and O’Connor also teach courses in MU’s online master’s degree program in autism education.

This 30-hour online graduate degree program covers the methods of teaching individuals with autism spectrum disorders, social competency and applied behavior analysis, learning theory, instructional leadership, instructional technology and research.

Want to help young children and youth with autism or related conditions? Learn more about MU’s online master’s in autism education.

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