Article Category Archives: Around the Quad

New Data Science Program Expands Career Opportunities

With its new online graduate certificate in data science, Truman is offering working adults with a college degree an opportunity to gain experience in one of the world’s fastest-growing career fields.

Data scientists are trained to decipher large volumes of information in order to find trends and gain deeper insight into what it all means. Average salaries can reach well into six figures, and common career paths include business intelligence analysts, analytics managers and research scientists, to name a few.

Truman’s online program is the perfect fit for professionals looking to enhance their skill set or considering a career change. It is comprised of five online classes and can be completed in as little as 45 weeks. It’s also a great option for upcoming or recent graduates who want to add additional value to their already valuable Truman undergraduate degree.

“This program is designed with the needs of the working student firmly in mind,” said Kevin Minch, associate provost. “Courses are compact and online. An academic success mentor helps students stay on track throughout each course. Students are assessed based on projects that apply the skills they learn to work-relevant topics. Most importantly, they learn the essential skills to apply data science to work promptly, whereas many other programs require the completion of an entire master’s degree before producing a credential you can show your employer.”

For convenience, there are multiple start dates available throughout the year. Courses are taught in intensive, eight-week terms, and a flat tuition rate applies for all participants, regardless of where they reside. Open to graduates from all educational backgrounds, the only prerequisites are Computer Science 170 and Statistics 190, or the equivalent from another university. Truman currently offers both of the prerequisites online during the summer term.

Upon completion of the program, participants will receive a notation on their transcripts and a certificate suitable for display.

Processing for applications has begun and the program will launch in January 2019. Participants who anticipate having to complete the prerequisites are encouraged to do so in summer 2018.

Additional details on the data science program can be found online at or by contacting


Multimedia Lab Upgrades Keep Truman on the Cutting Edge

The multimedia lab in Pickler Memorial Library was recently renovated, with several enhancements to the physical space, as well as the technology it provides.

“The upgrade supports our mission to offer an exemplary undergraduate education to well-prepared students,” said Susan Thomas, instructional designer.        

Students can use the lab as a place to collaborate on group projects, work individually or be creative through the use of technology, and faculty will have the ability to create content for courses, websites and more. Some of the many uses of the lab include: recording podcasts; scanning photos, slides or film collections into online digital archives; narrating and sharing videos; converting old VHS tapes into digital video; converting cassette tapes into an online file or onto a flash drive; scanning large documents or books; editing movie clips together; recording lectures; creating green screen videos; and videoconferencing a tutor, mentor, family member or friend. The lab can be used for personal, school or work projects.

Technology offered in the lab includes 10 new iMac computers, five high-end Windows machines, a 70-inch touchscreen display, a One Button Studio, a Lightboard Studio and two videoconference rooms. Among the software found in the lab is iLife Suite for Macs, including iMovie and GarageBand, and Corel VideoStudio for Windows. Affinity Photo and Designer, GIMP, Inkscape, Audacity, Epson Scan, LibreOffice and Google Apps for Education can also be used in the lab.

“It’s important for Truman to remain current with the latest technology, not just because of the cool factor, but because students entering the workforce or continuing on to discipline-specific grad schools need to have exposure to and experience with a wide variety of technology,” said Diane Richmond, director of learning technologies.

The multimedia lab is open during library hours. Student multimedia assistants are available to help patrons during peak hours. For more information about the multimedia lab, contact the Learning Technologies Team at (660) 785-7750 or at

Phi Mu Alpha Celebrates 50 Years

As a career band director, John Malvin is no stranger to receiving adoration from an audience, but the response he got during the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia banquet in February will always have special significance for him. Malvin and five other original members of the organization – Terry Loose, Dean Kurtz, Nolan Schwada, Larry Green and David Evans – returned to campus this year to celebrate its 50th jazz festival. After the alumni shared a few words about their time in the chapter, the current members showed their appreciation.

“The standing ovation for us at the end of our remarks brought tears to our eyes,” Malvin said. “Dr. Roger Cody, our original faculty sponsor, spoke and hugged each of us. It was a feeling I will never forget as long as I live.”

Not only is Malvin a founding member of Phi Mu Alpha at Truman, he served as the chairman for the first festival. As part of the group’s charter, they were tasked with producing a music project. After a number of failed suggestions, Malvin and Loose conceived the idea of a jazz festival, which has been an annual event ever since.

“We had no idea that it would be still going strong 50 years later,” Malvin said. “It certainly was a group effort.”

In 1968, jazz groups from across the state were invited to participate, and acts included bands from the University of Missouri, South Shelby High School and Jennings High School, as well as Truman’s own Sinfonia Jazz Band and the NEMO Singers. The performers were paid $100 each and received a turkey dinner prepared by Sigma Alpha Iota.

Despite five decades of age, the current festivals share many similarities with the original. While the turkey dinner has since been retired, the festival still serves as a celebration of the genre, but there is more of a focus on music education. The jazz festival brings in more than a dozen high school bands to perform and be judged by professional musicians. There is also a clinic those bands can attend, and the festival concludes with a concert featuring Truman’s two jazz ensembles, along with a guest artist.

In addition to helping put the whole thing in motion, Malvin has personally been able to experience multiple aspects of the jazz festival. During his career, he brought his bands to participate nearly a dozen times, and he was fortunate enough to win awards on each occasion.

Serving as the chairman, Malvin describes his first festival as a blur. In subsequent events he was working as a band director. The 50th anniversary gave him and his fellow fraternity brothers a new perspective that will always be rewarding in its own right.

“At this one, we were able to sit back and enjoy seeing the festival and the opportunity to renew old friendships,” he said. “The feeling of respect from the current Phi Mu Alpha members was amazing. They treated us all like we were something very special.”


Truman Tops List of Fulbright Producers

The Chronicle of Higher Education included Truman on the list of U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most 2017-18 Fulbright students. Truman was No. 1 on the list of master’s institutions for producing Fulbright students. The University had nine Fulbright students selected from a total of 16 applications.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 380,000 participants – chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential – with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. More than 1,900 U.S. students, artists and young professionals in more than 100 different fields of study are offered Fulbright Program grants to study, teach English and conduct research abroad each year.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program operates in more than 140 countries throughout the world. It is funded by an annual appropriation from Congress to the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and supported in its implementation by the Institute of International Education. For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit

Of the 22 universities listed among the master’s institutions, Truman was the only Missouri school.

Pitch Competition Showcases Innovation

In April, aspiring Truman entrepreneurs competed for $6,000 in prize money during the third annual Bulldog B.I.T.E. elevator pitch competition.

An elevator pitch outlines the concept or idea for a product, service or project in a short period of time, typically from 30 seconds to three minutes. Bulldog B.I.T.E., which stands for Business Innovation by Truman Entrepreneurs, allows participating students to pitch a for-profit or not-for-profit concept. The length of the pitch mirrors the time spent waiting for and riding an elevator in a high-rise building. The purpose of the pitch is to spur the interest of a potential investor or financial backer.

Six teams were selected by judges to attend the live pitch competition and present their idea to a panel. Contestants were judged based on the problem, product/service solution, market, competition, value creation, seed money, a Q&A session and the presentation of the concept. The winner received a cash prize of $3,000, and second and third place received $2,000 and $1,000, respectively.

The 2018 first-place winner was Jonathan Scheeler, a senior business administration finance major, for his drone data servicing concept. In second place was Shane Legatzke, a senior accounting and business administration finance major, for his pitch of a system of grants to educate high school students on financial literacy. The team of Joey Goldman, a sophomore business administration marketing and management major, and Victoria Kleitz, a senior business administration management major, finished third for their pitch of an application that allows users to find charities that are credible and donate to them.

Daymond John from the television series “Shark Tank” made a guest appearance at the end of the competition. He shared with the contestants a few words about prevailing as a young entrepreneur. John was visiting Truman as the guest speaker for the Holman Family Speaker Series.

The final-round judges for Bulldog B.I.T.E. were Jim Cunningham (’97), Paul D. Garnett (’73), Amanda Gioia (’93), Mike McClaskey (’85) and Brian Roth. The first-round judges for the competition were alumni Amy Gryder (’97) and Ron Thomas (’65). 

Alumni Doug (’94) and Diane (’95) Villhard, along with Express Scripts, sponsored the 2018 Bulldog B.I.T.E. competition.

Appointments Made to Board of Governors

Three members were appointed to the University Board of Governors in the first half of 2018.

Cheryl Cozette

Cheryl J. Cozette of Columbia, Mo., was reappointed to the Board for a term ending Jan. 1, 2024. Cozette serves as the 2018 chair of the Board of Governors. She is an adjunct professor in educational leadership and policy analysis at the University of Missouri-Columbia and a special consultant to the eMINTS National Center for programs related to school administrators. She recently retired as the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the Columbia Public Schools.

Cozette graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Kansas City College and Bible School. She received a Master of Arts degree in elementary education from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and did further coursework in educational administration at Truman. She received her Doctor of Education in educational administration (curriculum and instruction, general administration) from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Mike McClaskey

Mike McClaskey of Castle Pines, Colo., is a retired Fortune 500 corporate executive. Most recently, he worked in executive capacities at DISH Network serving as the executive vice president and chief human resources officer as well as the senior vice president and chief information officer. Before joining DISH, he spent 12 years at Perot Systems where he was the corporation’s vice president of infrastructure solutions and CIO.

A native of Kirksville, McClaskey received Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Education degrees from Truman in 1985 as well as a Master of Arts degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. McClaskey serves as the president of the Foundation Board, and he was an active steering committee member for both the “Pursue the Future” and “Bright Minds, Bright Futures” campaigns. He and his wife, Janet (Yearns) McClaskey, were named Truman’s Alumni of the Year in 2014.

McClaskey was appointed to replace Michael A. Zito for a term ending Jan. 1, 2022.

K. Brooks Miller Jr.

K. Brooks Miller Jr. of Springfield, Mo., is the president and chief executive officer of Jordan Valley Community Health Center. An alumnus of Truman, Miller received a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration in 1982 and a Master of Arts degree in education administration in 1987.

Miller’s career in health care began with the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Rural Health Clinic program in 1984. He advanced to the position of CEO for the Northeast Missouri Health Council, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) providing comprehensive services throughout Missouri. In 2002, he relocated to Springfield to serve as the president and CEO of Jordan Valley Community Health Center, an FQHC which offers accessible and integrated primary, oral, optometric and behavioral health care services to more than 50,000 patients annually.

Miller was appointed to replace Susan Plassmeyer for a term ending Jan. 1, 2024.

Presidents Return for Sesquicentennial Celebration

As a part of the Truman State University Foundation Banquet weekend in April, a number of festivities took place across campus. The annual event honors donors and the significant impact they have on Truman.

All 17 presidents were recognized during a Sesquicentennial Presidential Celebration. Five of the six living former presidents were in attendance, and all presidents were represented, in many cases by family members.

Troy Paino, the most recent former president, returned for the unveiling of his University portrait, which took place in the Student Union Building Hub. The painting is now on display with the other presidential portraits on the third floor of Pickler Memorial Library.

President Sue Thomas takes a picture with five of the six living former presidents during a sesquicentennial event in April. Pictured from left to right: Thomas, Darrell Krueger, Robert Dager, Jack Magruder, Barbara Dixon and Troy Paino.


“Pursue the Future” Campaign Exceeds Goal

In less than the allotted five years, Truman surpassed the $40 million goal in its “Pursue the Future” fundraising campaign.

At the Truman State University Foundation Banquet, April 14, a surprise announcement revealed the campaign exceeded its original goal.

“I am grateful for each and every gift commitment that has been made during this campaign. It takes every single gift to reach a stretch goal,” said Charles Hunsaker, interim director for advancement. “With roughly seven years invested in this campaign, counting pre-campaign planning, it is so gratifying for our staff and volunteers to have surpassed this significant goal.” 

A majority of the money raised will go directly toward helping students. Nearly $23.7 million dollars has been allocated to support Foundation scholarships. Academic programs and faculty support will receive more than $7.9 million, followed by $5.4 million for mission enhancement gifts, including the Truman Fund for Excellence, along with more than $3 million for athletics. 

“Student-centered support was the driving priority for this campaign,” Hunsaker said. “Our alumni and friends believe in Truman’s mission and have demonstrated this belief by their willingness to invest in our continued efforts to provide opportunity and access for each of our students.”

In total, more than 15,000 gifts and commitments have been received for the “Pursue the Future” campaign as of April 20. Commitments have come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from $1 up to the largest-ever commitment to the University, a $7 million legacy commitment from alumni Dan and Jan Shepherd.

Truman began the advanced gifts, or “quiet phase,” of the five-year “Pursue the Future” campaign July 1, 2013. The three-year public phase began in July 2015. “Pursue the Future” will conclude June 30, 2018, and any gifts or commitments received prior to then will count toward the official total.

For information on how to make a gift to the “Pursue the Future” campaign, including personalized bricks and pavers for the Sesquicentennial Plaza, visit