Article Category Archives: Around the Quad

Truman Education Continues to Earn National Praise

Truman continues to receive high marks for helping students earn degrees while keeping the cost of their education low.

The Business Journals ranked Truman at No. 40 on its list of the best public colleges in America. The publication looked at nearly 500 four-year public institutions nationwide and based its rankings on 19 indicators of academic excellence, affordability and diversity. The study’s objective was to identify the public universities and colleges that offer the best educational experiences to their students.

According to the article that accompanied the February release of The Business Journals’ rankings, 70 percent of U.S. students who earned bachelor’s degrees in 2013 went into debt to finance their education, with typical graduates owing more than $28,000. By comparison, half of Truman’s students graduate without any student debt and the other half graduate with debt well below the state and national averages.

Cost was one of three core categories — out of six total — where Truman earned a five-star rating. Truman’s accolades from Forbes, Kiplinger’s, Washington Monthly and U.S. News & World Report were also taken into consideration by The Business Journals’ rankings.

At the start of the year, the Princeton Review heaped praise on the University by including it in the book “Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Best Value Colleges and What It Takes to Get In.” Although Truman is a perennial fixture in Princeton Review listings, inclusion in this particular book is notable as it is the first to factor in data regarding academics, cost, financial aid, graduation rates, alumni salaries and job satisfaction. One of only 77 public schools to be included, the book noted Truman “offers a private school education at a public price” and that “comprehensive financial aid programs can be used to make sure that students are able to focus on their studies.”

Truman also earned acknowledgement twice this year for its involvement with two unique organizations — the Fulbright Program and the Peace Corps.

The Chronicle of Higher Education recognized Truman as a top producer of U.S. Fulbright students for the 2014-2015 academic year. Of Truman’s 19 Fulbright applicants, six were offered the award, which placed the University third nationally among master’s institutions. Truman tied with four other institutions across the U.S.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. A current objective of the program is to encourage participants to find innovative solutions to global issues such as climate change and pandemics. Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 300,000 participants, chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential, with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Truman’s 14 alumni currently serving in the Peace Corps helped land a spot on that agency’s annual list of top schools.

Since the creation of the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 200 Truman graduates have served as volunteers. The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing schools according to the size of the student body. This year, Truman tied at No. 19 among Medium Colleges and Universities, classified as having enrollments between 5,000 and 15,000 students.

Truman shared the No. 19 spot with four other schools, including Washington University in St. Louis, which was the only other Missouri school to make the list in any of the three size-based categories. This is the third time overall that Truman has made the Peace Corps rankings.

The University is also a partner in the Peace Corps Master’s International program, which now includes Truman’s Master of Arts in leadership. Individuals in the program typically complete one year of graduate coursework before beginning their Peace Corps assignments. The two-year Peace Corps appointment counts as the required internship experience and tuition is waived during their service.

The Peace Corps sends volunteers abroad to work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global

Celebrating 100 Years of Bulldogs

BulldogPuppy2012-23of41Tenacity, perseverance and dedication were the traits that first earned Truman athletics the name Bulldogs 100 years ago. While much has changed over the last century, these core qualities remain strong on campus. This spring, students celebrated the Bulldogs’ centennial with a week of events leading up to Truman’s National Spirit Day, April 3.

Although the term “bulldogs” was first used by coach O.C. Bell to describe the football team’s tenacity in 1909, it was not until 1915 that Bulldogs became the official name. After several losing seasons — and no wins at all in 1914 — a committee was formed to see what could be done about reviving school spirit. While the students were very supportive, the committee knew they were discouraged, so it was decided that some type of emblem was needed to inspire enthusiasm.

President Troy Paino and Spike

President Troy Paino and Spike

The committee suggested the bulldog be adopted as the team mascot because of his perseverance and ability to hold on and fight until the very end. This perfectly represented not only the team’s dedication, but also the loyalty of the student body. The 1914 team never gave up and neither did their fans, who always gave them a hearty send off and welcome home for every away game.

It was the baseball team that first played under the Bulldog name in the spring of 1915. To honor this tradition, Spike the Bulldog threw out the first pitch at a Truman home baseball game as part of the week of festivities.

Spike100Cake Other events in the weeklong celebration included an open mic night and murder mystery improv comedy night. Another highlight of the week was an official 100th birthday party in the Student Union Building where Spike was joined by members of more than a dozen campus organizations and received a bulldog-themed birthday cake.

More information about the Bulldog mascot can be found at

Truman Launches Data Science Program with $400,000 Grant for Competency-Based Learning Initiative

Truman is looking beyond the campus and the classroom to provide educational opportunities to high school students and working adults.

Beginning this fall, the newly established programs — collectively known as the Data Mastery Initiative — will aim to apply competency-based learning concepts and methods to both a high school concurrent enrollment course in computer science and a new graduate certificate in data science.

“The Data Mastery Initiative is exciting because it uses technology and an innovative approach to learning that expands the reach of a Truman education,” said University President Troy Paino. “It also proves that preparation for high quality 21st century jobs and a liberal arts and sciences education are complimentary and not mutually exclusive.”

The programs at Truman are being made possible thanks to a grant awarded by USA Funds and administered through the state of Missouri. They are part of a larger initiative to foster student interest in computer science from middle school through graduate education.

Programming for both adults and youth will be overseen through a collaborative effort between Truman’s Department of Computer Science and the Institute for Academic Outreach.

“The graduate certificate program should be an attractive option for those adults who are already in the workplace and want to acquire additional skills, but do not have the time to go back to school,” said Kevin Minch, associate vice president for academic affairs and director of Truman’s Institute for Academic Outreach. “These are emerging fields and it is important that we can find ways to adequately prepare the workforce of the future.”

In addition to the graduate certificate and for-credit classes for high school students, there will be non-credit coursework aimed at middle school students through Truman’s Joseph Baldwin Academy for Eminent Young Scholars summer program.

“In this day and age, it is never too early to get students experience in computer science,” said Jon Gering, dean of Truman’s School of Science and Mathematics. “As the landscape of technology continues to change there will always be a need to provide as many learning opportunities as possible at the high school and middle school levels.”

For more information, or to enroll, go to

A Tradition Begins

CupolaGroupPixApril2015-6of45Traditions are some of the first things that come to mind when remembering time on campus. Whether it is sharing a kiss in the Sunken Garden, making a contribution to the Gum Tree or jangling keys at a football game, there are certain things that are uniquely related to the University. In recent years, a longtime campus icon has become part of a new tradition.

For decades, the cupola atop Kirk Memorial has been a symbol of the University. Generations of students have come and gone, and even the name of the school changed multiple times, but the cupola always remained. When Kirk Memorial underwent improvements in the summer of 2013, it was discovered that some of the wood in the cupola had rotted and the structure needed to be replaced. A new cupola, which was created to look like the original, was constructed primarily of aluminum, and includes insulation and roofing material to protect the building.

Although it has moved, the original cupola still has a home on campus. After being taken down, it was repaired and placed outside the

ATQ-CupolaRuth W. Towne Museum and Visitors Center where it has found new purpose as a photo destination. Students, alumni and friends of the University can take their pictures alongside the once inaccessible landmark. In recent years, graduating seniors have been encouraged to get photos at the cupola in their caps and gowns before leaving. Since the cupola is now close to the Homecoming parade route, alumni can easily stop by to get a quick picture. For those with multiple ties to the University, the cupola makes an excellent backdrop for family portraits. Even prospective students can start partaking in Truman tradition by snapping a selfie with the cupola during their campus visits.

Cupola photos can be taken anytime, and shutterbugs are encouraged to share their pictures on the Truman and alumni social media accounts with #BulldogForever.

For other campus traditions, visit

Truman Takes Steps Toward a Healthier Campus

As of July 1, Truman’s campus will be tobacco-free. This means the use of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and electronic nicotine delivery systems (e-cigarettes) will be prohibited on campus grounds.

The new policy is designed to promote the health of the University community, as well as to preserve and protect University property and to provide a clean and safe environment in which to study, work and learn.

Members of the University Board of Governors approved the measure in March 2014 and allowed for more than a year to implement the change. This past year, Truman’s Health Center, Student Affairs, the Student Recreation Center, Residence Life staff and Human Resources have been offering smoking cessation programming to assist students and employees with this change to a tobacco-free campus.