Author Archives: tmiles

A Heart for Healing

The health care industry is the Kevin Bacon of the modern economy. Just as the award-winning actor is seemingly connected to every other Hollywood celebrity in one way or another through his extensive body of work, so too does the ever-growing reach of health care touch upon other industries and professions.

Beyond medical doctors and nurses, it includes physical therapists, dentists, chiropractors, in-home care specialists, speech therapists, psychologists, counselors and pharmacists, among many others. Factor in related positions such as hospital administrators, medical transcriptionists, technicians, nutritionists, insurance providers and support staff in occupations too numerous to mention, and it becomes apparent the health care industry is so large it is almost impossible to quantify. Eventually, most Americans will be involved with it in some way, shape or form – either as a provider or consumer, often in both roles.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a growth rate of 19 percent in health care occupations between 2014 and 2024. Health care and social assistance is expected to become the largest employing sector during that time, surpassing the state and local government sector and the professional and business services sector. An estimated 3.8 million jobs will be added to the health care and social assistance sector before the aforementioned 10-year span ends. An industry growing that rapidly demands a lot from its labor force, which is why a liberal arts education can be beneficial to graduates entering the field.

Truman is well-equipped to train those individuals seeking to help fill the health care needs of the nation. Traditional undergraduate programs such as biology, exercise science, communication disorders, psychology and nursing remain staples of the University, and of the nine graduate programs currently offered, four – biology, athletic training, counseling and communication disorders – are directly related to health care.

Considering the massive scope of the field, many areas of study listed at truman.edu/majors-programs could ultimately translate to an occupation in health care. Additionally, the University extends a myriad of minors which can enhance any degree and create new ways to service the ever-changing industry. An accounting student who picks up an actuarial science minor is a valuable asset for employers in the vocation of medical research or insurance. Art majors with experience in child or disabilities studies have the potential to be an integral part of a patient’s therapeutic treatment. The versatility of the liberal arts, combined with complexity of patient needs, equates to almost limitless opportunities.

“Health care professions require more intellectual preparation and sophistication than simply building a set of technical skills for applying the trade of doing medicine,” said Stephen Hudman, associate professor and chair of biology. “We value critical thinking and problem solving as central components of the educational experiences we offer.”

Programs related to health care are some of the most popular at Truman. By some calculations, nearly 40 percent of Truman students pursue a degree in a discipline commonly associated with health care. During a typical Career and Grad School Expo, hosted on campus by the University Career Center, roughly 25 percent of the visiting employers are related to the field in some capacity.

Every year the National Association of Colleges and Employers surveys its employer members and asks what skills they look for in new hires. According to Brandi Wriedt, Truman’s career technology and operations manager, the top seven skills – problem solving, teamwork, written communication, leadership, work ethic, analytical/quantitative skills and verbal communication – are all embedded into Truman’s curriculum.

“The great thing about a liberal arts university is the ability to refine and develop the skills employers are seeking,” Wriedt said.

One reason so many students choose Truman for their education is the consideration they receive from their instructors. The University proudly touts its student-to-faculty ratio, as well it should. Usually in the neighborhood of 16:1, that student-friendly proportionality is helpful in any degree program. For the healing arts, it is vital. More attention for students often translates to better prepared practitioners. When health care services reach the stage of life and death decisions, the level of expertise on the part of the provider can never be too high.

“I recently spoke with a recruiter for a hospital in Missouri who remarked about how well-prepared our graduates are,” said Brenda Wheeler, associate professor and chair of nursing. “She went on to tell of an instance where a recent graduate, because that graduate’s ability to reason and problem solve, was instrumental in saving the life of a patient.”

In addition to faculty guidance, Truman has a variety of on-campus support for future health care providers. Among the more than 240 student organizations offered, no fewer than 20 are directly or indirectly related to health and wellness. Along the same lines, 10 pre-professional interest paths in fields such as optometry, occupational therapy and medical technology can be found at truman.edu/majors-programs.

A key component in preparing the medical leaders of tomorrow is having the proper facilities to do so. In spite of ever-looming budgetary constraints, Truman has aggressively sought out ways to offer a cutting-edge education with access to the industry’s most recent tools and techniques. Visible evidence of this movement can be seen in the form of the Health Sciences Building, completed in 2011. Connected to the Pershing Building, the structure is home to athletic training, nursing, communication disorders, health science and exercise science. Among its amenities are the Nursing Simulation Center and the Speech and Hearing Clinic.

 

The 10-bed NSC simulates the look and feel of a hospital and is designed to create an environment where nursing majors can practice their skills as they progress through the curriculum.

Similarly, the Speech and Hearing Clinic offers communication disorders students an environment in which to hone their skills, but it goes a step further by affording the opportunity to work with actual patients. Student clinicians, under the direct supervision of faculty members, provide speech, language, and hearing screening, assessment and treatment services through the clinic. Since 1960, the Speech and Hearing Clinic has functioned with the dual purpose of preparing students and administering services to members of the community. More than 1,000 people a year, both children and adults, receive treatment from the clinic.

Practical, hands-on experience is a central theme among the health care related fields of study at Truman. Many programs either require or strongly encourage off-campus internships as part of the curriculum.

Just like with nursing and communication disorders, career enhancement opportunities abound in other programs. Athletic training students maintain and staff the University athletic training room in the Health Sciences Building and the “kennels.” The athletic training facilities have group rehabilitation areas, taping areas, wet room areas and modality treatment areas, as well as an extensive collection of diagnostic and rehabilitation materials used by student athletic trainers to prepare for professional degrees. Off-site facilities, including local high school and clinic settings, are used for practicum hours.

Truman-sponsored care has no boundaries. Most internships take place in conjunction with off-site partners, and on certain occasions study abroad expeditions are conducted as outreach initiatives. Communication disorders students have visited the likes of Mexico to provide services, and for more than 20 years, nursing students have taken an annual trip to the Philippines for a three-week cultural immersion experience. Whether it is Kirksville or Puerto Vallarta, these types of practical experiences all share common traits: they provide immediate assistance to those who need it, and they are valuable building blocks for future health care professionals.

Any assessment of Truman’s health care related offerings would be remiss without mentioning its crosstown educational partner, A.T. Still University. Sharing a home with the nation’s first osteopathic medical school has afforded Truman faculty and students opportunities not found in other institutions and communities similar in size. For example, Truman students participating in human anatomy classes are able to utilize ATSU’s cadaver lab. By comparison, less than five percent of undergraduate programs in the nation offer human cadaver-based anatomy.

Since ATSU’s founding 125 years ago, it is probably impossible to calculate the number of times the two schools have collaborated, and that spirit of comradery is alive and well today. In January 2014, administrators from both institutions entered into an agreement to streamline the transition from college to medical school. The Pre-Med/Med Accelerated Track program, also known as the “3+4” program, allows incoming freshmen the option to enter medical school after three years of attending Truman. This encourages students to focus on developing strong academic and leadership skills during their undergraduate experience without the traditional MCAT requirement.

Even for students with no plans to enter medical school, having a partner in ATSU provides a wealth of opportunities. Since 2002, the schools have collaborated on the House Calls program, wherein Truman students work with faculty and staff from ATSU to visit elderly volunteer patients within the community. The interdisciplinary effort involves three- to four-person teams, with students coming from fields such as nursing, health science and communication disorders. They provide clients with a physical assessment, health education, home safety information and a social interaction. In addition to the obvious immediate care, the program allows participating students to advance their communication skills while working with other professionals.

Similarly, the two schools often come together for stand-alone inter-professional education experiences, with Truman students working alongside first- and second-year medical students.

In 2013, ATSU established its sixth school, the Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health. As that university continues to grow, so too will the number of collaborative opportunities with Truman, and the relationship between both institutions should become even stronger.

Truman is celebrating its sesquicentennial anniversary this year. The school has been called a lot of things in its first century and a half, but “complacent” is not one of them. Many of its most popular fields of study were only added in the last third of its existence, a testament to how well the University responds to the needs of the nation and the interests of its students. In recent years, a Master of Athletic Training has been added to the stable of graduate programs, and an online master’s program in mental health and school counseling is in the preliminary stage.

For generations, leadership at Truman has sought to be proactive when it comes to student readiness. Preparing graduates suited to meet the needs of the communities they will one day serve is dependent on recognizing what those needs will be. To that end, the University still has hopes of creating the state’s first autism clinic north of I-70 with the Greenwood Center project.

Announced in 2015, the project would repurpose the former Greenwood Elementary School into an inter-professional building serving those with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. The ultimate goal is to staff this comprehensive health services center with licensed professionals, and provide high-impact educational experiences for graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in health care related academic programs.

Repurposing the school would fill a public need, provide valuable experiences for students and bring new life to a treasured historical building. The University originally purchased Greenwood, located near the northeast side of campus on Halliburton Street, in 1999. It has primarily been used as a storage facility since that time. In August 2016, an architectural service firm was hired to assess the building. Although state financial support for the Greenwood Center is uncertain, the project remains a focus for the University.

Like the fate of the Greenwood Center, the future of health care can be difficult to predict. Advancements in medical technology rarely result in finality, only a moving of the goalposts and the creation of a new set of questions waiting to be answered. Whatever direction the industry takes, Truman will be there, training the problem solvers of tomorrow who will be ready to expand the limits of possibilities.

Do What You Love

Junior biology major Jamie David uses that principle to stay involved on campus and guide her future plans.

Jamie DavidWith her long brown hair, Jamie David might not look like Goldilocks, but that is exactly who she felt like when she arrived on campus. Originally in search of school that was both not too big and not too small, Truman caught her attention. After attending a showcase visit event during her junior year of high school, she left impressed.

“I was truly awestruck of how ‘at home’ I felt in a place I had never been before,” David said.

Now in her third year, the St. Louis native has grown to be even more comfortable with her choice of school. She enjoys her classes, and refers to the academic buildings and the library as “the places where all the magic happens.” On a nice day, David might be found on the quad studying for one of the classes in her biology major, or just sitting with a friend in a hammock.

“When I first came to Truman, I knew the campus was the perfect size,” she said. “Then I realized it was comprised of a perfect community that is able to support me in ways I didn’t even know I needed.”

Unlike the storybook Goldilocks, David gives back more than she takes. One of her mottos is “do what you love,” and that guiding philosophy motivates her to be active on campus. Among her commitments, she is an executive member of the Student Activities Board and Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority.

“Both are organizations that have helped me grow in ways I never thought were possible, though I am so grateful they did,” she said. “I love to be involved in these organizations because they are filled with people I love and care about, and I am so honored to help these organizations run as smoothly as possible.”

David also served on the Homecoming committee, is a student ambassador and has a passion for the Special Olympics. Because of the support see feels from her fellow students, faculty, staff and the city of Kirksville, she is compelled to reciprocate.

“I just try to give back to the community that gives back to me,” she said.

Her selfless mentality will serve David well in the future. After graduation, she plans on returning to St. Louis to spend a year working in a rehabilitation center before applying to physician assistant schools. The broad nature of the field appeals to her, and she hopes to make herself useful in any way possible. David is pursuing a minor in Spanish for the medical professions, even though she never studied the language before college.

“After taking Introduction to Public Health and Communication, I learned about the exponentially growing Hispanic population in the United States,” she said. “I was motivated to learn Spanish so I would be able to speak to the large growing population in our country.”

While David is particularly organized, her ability to maintain perspective and keep a positive attitude will ultimately make her successful wherever her career may take her.

“If at the end of the day I can say I tried my best to help someone in need, I will be happy, because I understand in the medical field every day is not going to be like ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’” she said.

5 Minutes with Jerry Mayhew

Jerry Mayhew, professor of exercise science, has seen the University come a long way in his 42 years on campus. When he first arrived, the school had no exercise science labs or equipment. Today, he views Truman’s premier teaching and research labs as on par with any other university, which is one of the reasons he enjoys coming to work every day.

An underachiever until he got to college at Appalachian State University in North Carolina, Mayhew went on to earn a master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. Now he thinks learning is fun, and he strives to get the most out of his students, especially the ones who are not fulfilling their potential. Since he teaches the sophomore-level research methods class and exercise physiology class, as well as the senior-level capstone class, Mayhew gets to see students grow all the way through the curriculum. In his fourth decade of teaching, he is still passionate about exercise science and considers the human body the greatest textbook of all.

While some might view him as a workaholic, when Mayhew is not teaching or doing research he likes making miniature model cannons. He can also be found working in the yard or digging in his wife’s garden because, as he puts it, “you can see progress so nicely doing those almost mindless things.”

How would you describe your teaching philosophy?

Learning should be fun and a lifelong pursuit.

What do you like best about teaching?

Many people have shown me the excitement of studying the human body and its functions, and I’m just having fun passing that on. I love the look on a student’s face when they realize they have combined several facts to discover something new.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Figuring out how to get to or help that student who doesn’t like to learn, who doesn’t see the need to know all that he or she can know.

What has been the most memorable part of your career so far?

There’s not one memorable thing, there are thousands. It’s those students who have passed through Truman on their way to being accomplished professionals and tremendous contributors to the betterment of mankind.

What is the nicest thing someone has said to you?

“Thanks!” One of my all-time favorite students – who is now a university professor and director of a Division I research lab – said recently, when I was commenting on all the research she has done: “You’re the reason I’m in this business!” Can it get any better than that?

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I was a C student in high school and didn’t really find a love of learning until I got to college.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Every student I see, whether I have the pleasure of working with them or not. They are the future of Missouri and the United States, and ultimately the world.

What is your best advice to your students?

Enjoy this time of your life and look forward to the future.

Cheers to Truman!

University Celebrates 21 years at No. 1

This school year kicked off the same way as the last 20 – with Truman at the top of the Midwest regional rankings compiled by U.S. News & World Report.

Truman was listed as the No. 1 public university in the Midwest regional category in the 2018 Best College rankings. Overall, Truman was No. 8 among both public and private schools. It was the only Missouri university in the top 10, and it was the state’s only public school listed among the top 85 institutions rated in the Midwest regional rankings. This makes the 21st year in a row Truman has earned the top spot.

Truman received high praise as one of U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 Best Value Schools. In the “Great Schools, Great Prices” section, Truman was the No. 1 public university – No. 2 overall – for the Midwest region. Of the 15 schools included on the list, Truman was one of only two public institutions.

U.S. News & World Report bases its rankings on several indicators of academic excellence, including graduation and retention rates, assessment by peers and counselors, student-to-faculty ratio and alumni giving rate. Complete listings are available at usnews.com/colleges.

Truman also placed well in the 2017 College Guide and rankings conducted by Washington
Monthly, coming in as the No. 4 master’s university in the nation. Truman has become a fixture in the Washington Monthly rankings, finishing in the top five in each of the last five years.

The Washington Monthly rankings are unique in that they place an importance on social mobility, research and service. Along with traditional benchmarks such as graduation rates and costs, schools are rewarded for criteria including the number of first-generation students enrolled and the number of students contributing to community service projects, participating in ROTC and going on to serve in the Peace Corps. Additionally, Washington Monthly looks at the number of bachelor’s recipients who go on to earn a Ph.D. and the success rates and earning potential of students 10 years after enrollment.

Washington Monthly ranked nearly 900 institutions across the categories of national universities, master’s universities, liberal arts colleges and baccalaureate colleges. Truman was the only Missouri school to be included in the entire top 150 entries for the master’s university category, and it was the state’s only public school to crack the top 40 in any of the four categories. 

Truman’s affordability led to another distinction in this year’s ranking. In the supplemental category, “Best Bang for the Buck,” Truman was recognized as the No. 6 public school – No. 17 overall – in the Midwest region.

The college guide and rankings appeared in the magazine’s September/October issue and can be found online at washingtonmonthly.com/2017college-guide.

Photo Donation Honors University History

During this sesquicentennial year, those interested in University history have a new resource to explore thanks to a unique donation from an alumnus.

In the summer of 2017, John R. Andrews (’83) generously donated an old photo album containing 1860s and 1870s tintype photos to the University. His hope was that such a collection might generate additional interest and spark research opportunities during Truman’s 150th anniversary.

“Images tell such a more interesting story than just facts,” Andrews said. “I was hoping this album would be a great tool for the sesquicentennial celebration, to tell real stories.”

The album contains tintypes and early photographs of Joseph Baldwin, John R. Kirk and William P. Nason, as well as many other faculty and students from the earliest years of the normal school.

“We deeply appreciate Mr. Andrews’ gift to the University archives,” said Amanda Langendoerfer, associate dean of libraries for special collections and museums. “An album containing early photographs of our founder and the other people who helped shape the University is indeed a treasure. Donations such as this one help us keep our legacy alive.”

The album, which is now part of the University’s special collections, is currently on display in the Ruth W. Towne Museum and Visitors Center.

Also on display is “Truman Memorabilia Thru the Years,” which spotlights some never-before-exhibited objects that tell the story of the University’s history. It includes china cups from the normal school, a 125th celebratory license plate, colorful Homecoming memorabilia and much more. One feature of the exhibit is the story of the 1924 campus fire as told by student and former faculty member Pauline Dingle Knobbs. Her account can be heard at library.truman.edu/gallery/BaldwinFire/big_fire_baldwin.asp.

Joseph Baldwin and professors of the normal school are pictured in a photo album on display in the Ruth W. Towne Museum and Visitors Center.

NSF Grant to Provide $1 Million for STEM

Truman has received a $1 million grant to support students pursuing majors in the agriculture science, biology, chemistry and physics departments.

The five-year Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) Program, administered through the National Science Foundation, will provide more than $600,000 in scholarships for participants. In addition to receiving academic and professional development support from Truman’s STEM Talent Expansion Programs (STEP) Office, participants in the STEP Scholars Program will also enroll in a unique four-year series of scaffolded interdisciplinary research seminars and have the opportunity to earn a proposed interdisciplinary minor in scientific research.

The Truman team is led by Barbara Kramer, professor of chemistry; Stephanie Maiden, assistant professor of biology; and Tim Walston, associate professor of biology and interim dean of the School of Science and Mathematics.

More information about the STEP Scholars Program at Truman can be found at step.truman.edu.

Celebrating 150 Years

Sept. 2 marked the start of the University’s 150th year, but the festivities began a little early.

Truman is in the middle of a celebration of its sesquicentennial, which officially started July 1, 2017 and will conclude in May 2018. Since late summer, reminders of the anniversary have been popping up all over Kirksville, including on the street banners surrounding campus and the doors of most buildings. The 150 logo can be found on a number of T-shirts and memorabilia as well.

A back-to-school bash in August was the first campus celebration. Students, faculty and staff marked the start of the school year with games and live music on the quad, along with a 150th birthday cake. September saw Truman host a community event in conjunction with A.T. Still University, in the midst of its own 125th anniversary, and the city of Kirksville, which is celebrating 175 years.

Special events at Homecoming included ribbon cutting ceremonies for the newly reopened Baldwin Hall and improvements to the track, field and press box at Stokes Stadium. A concert featuring alumni bands was also scheduled during the weekend.

Students graduating this year will have the inside of their diploma cover adorned with an embossed, gold foil sticker of the 150th logo, and the Alumni Office will be giving them sesquicentennial T-shirts to mark the milestone.

During the school year, the weekly Truman Today newsletter has included small stories revisiting historical moments and bits of trivia from the University’s first 150 years. The archived stories can be found at 150.truman.edu/memories, and the most recent issue can be found at trumantoday.truman.edu.

McNair Program Receives Grant to 2022

Truman’s McNair program has been refunded by the U.S. Department of Education, and service to first-generation, income-eligible and underrepresented minority students will continue through at least September 2022.

The five-year award for more than $1.3 million in federal funds is matched by $97,850 per year in funds from Truman as well as generous in-kind support provided by University faculty and staff across campus offices.

Students participating in the Truman McNair program are encouraged to pursue graduate study leading to a Ph.D. or research doctorate degrees in a wide variety of fields. The program provides paid summer internships, graduate school preparation, faculty mentoring, academic advising and the opportunity to conduct an original research project as well as participate in a vibrant community of learners.

Truman McNair usually admits sophomores and juniors, but any student who has been involved in undergraduate research, or is potentially interested in doing so, is encouraged to meet with the McNair staff to determine whether they are eligible and whether the program may be a good fit for them. In this new grant cycle, Truman initiated a Pre-McNair Fellows program that allows McNair-eligible students with interest in graduate school to learn more about what they do.

For more information on the program, eligibility or the application process, visit mcnair.truman.edu or call (660) 785-5393.

Interfaith Connections Strengthen Student Bonds

Social niceties suggest it is best to avoid religion and politics as topics of discussion. With emotionally charged subjects, conversations can easily escalate from discussion to division, further increasing the chasm between participants. Students in one particular organization, however, are doing their part to create an atmosphere of understanding with the hope of finding common ground.

Hillel is Truman’s only Jewish organization, and while it is not unusual for the group to have non-Jewish members, the past year saw the inclusion of its first Muslim member.

A health science major from Kansas City, Mo., Maha Mohamed was always interested in learning more about the Jewish faith. After reading some ancient Jewish literature, she saw many parallels with her Islamic faith. She found it disturbing the groups had been fighting for so long with no intent of reaching a solution. During an especially rough time in Palestinian-Israeli relations, Mohamed began a friendship with fellow student Tori Thompson, a member of Hillel.

“I had met a lot of Jews in my life and had been good friends with them, but she was one of the only ones to openly talk about her faith with me,” Mohamed said.

Thompson invited Mohamed to a Hillel meeting, but she was reluctant to attend, assuming she may not be accepted. After about a year, and many invitations from Thompson, Mohamed came around, based in part on her experiences in the Muslim Student Association.

“I didn’t know how Hillel members would receive me initially, and I assumed they would be uncomfortable with my presence,” she said. “But, in MSA we always encourage people who aren’t Muslim to join us, and I assumed Hillel would be the same.”

Mohamed found the group to be friendly and welcoming, and she continued to attend meetings.

“Hillel members have taught me more about Judaism than any history book about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ever has,” she said. “It’s that willingness to learn from the people of the group you’re studying that will push this generation on a positive and inclusive trajectory.”

That sentiment is also shared by the members of Hillel.

“We have had people in the organization who are not Jewish, and every new person and viewpoint gives us different insights on what we can do and how to improve from year to year,” said Devin Gant, president of Hillel.

Members of Hillel were so impressed by Mohamed’s contributions to the group they elected her to serve as the organization’s vice president for the current school year.

“This decision was not based upon her faith, but rather our faith in her,” Gant said. “Her faith does not diminish her ability to serve in that role. Even though we might have different viewpoints, and subscribe to different religious ideologies, we both want what is best for Hillel.”

Mohamed hopes to use her leadership role to build relationships with other campus religious organizations like she has already done with Hillel and MSA.

“We can’t claim to try to build bridges with other groups if we’re always just with our group and in our comfort zone,” she said.

Hillel students Devin Gant, Maha Mohamed and Tori Thompson

Progress Continues On Campus and in the Community

For alumni and friends who have not been back to Kirksville in quite some time, certain elements of town and the campus might look a little different. The community has seen steady improvement in recent years, and the progress is starting to show.

In December 2015, Kraft Heinz announced a $250 million expansion of its facilities in Kirksville. The deal included a guarantee the company would employ in the neighborhood of 500 full-time positions through 2026. Commercially, the area has seen a ripple effect, with more stores and restaurants having already opened, or with plans to do so in the near future.

Among the new businesses in town are two hotels, one near the North Park complex and one at the south end of town near the intersection of Franklin Street and Highway 63. The additional hotel rooms should make it easier for visitors to find lodging during graduations, Homecoming and Family Day. The increase will afford Truman the opportunity to host expanded athletic events such as conference tournaments and championships. Information on securing a room can be found at visitkirksville.com.

Members of the Kirksville community have also come together to support various infrastructure projects. In April 2016, voters overwhelmingly supported extending the economic development sales tax, which had previously been used to aid in the expansion of Highway 63 to four lanes and the bypass project. A majority of the revenue is now invested in repairing and maintaining the local streets, with about 25 percent of the funds directed toward economic development.

The following April, voters went to the polls in support of a half-cent parks and recreation sales tax predicted to generate an estimated $1.2 million annually for the city’s parks and programs during the next 15 years. A new aquatic center is part of the plan with the passage of the tax, the location of which is still to be determined.

An all-volunteer community organization is working to construct a four-mile paved trail system connecting Thousand Hills State Park with the city. The Forest Lake Area Trail System (FLATS) has been in operation since 2009, and the first of a three-phase project was completed in December 2015 with the addition of an eight-foot wide concrete path between the park’s campground and marina areas. FLATS received a $147,000 federal grant to help complete the next phase of the project – a .7-mile section running west from Osteopathy Street on the south side of Missouri Trail – and expects to begin construction in spring 2018. The group has collaborated with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the city, county and the National Park Service to ensure the trail meets the needs of all residents. Fundraising efforts have included partnerships with area businesses, and, most notably, the FLATS Uncle Sam 5K Run during the Independence Day holiday and the FLATS Trail Half Marathon each fall.

Specific to Truman, the University continues to maintain the aesthetic charm of campus and the structural integrity of its buildings, all while operating on a tight budget. This fall saw the reopening of Baldwin Hall, which had been shuttered during the previous school year while the nearly 80-year-old building received upgrades including new heating, air conditioning, lighting, plumbing, wiring, walls and flooring.

Baldwin Auditorium

Since opening in 1938, Baldwin Hall had seen little in the way of renovation. An elevator was added in the late 1980s, and the building received some structural attention to the exterior in the summer of 2012. Previously, the largest capital improvement to Baldwin Hall included the addition of the auditorium in 1959. Under the recently completed renovation, the auditorium received new paint and updated lighting.

While Baldwin Hall might be most widely known for its auditorium, much of the 85,000-square-foot building is dedicated to academics and student services. The first floor is now home to the Study Abroad Office, the Center for International Students and the Multicultural Affairs Center. Along with 47 offices for faculty members and GTRAs, the rest of the building now houses two large classrooms, two seminar rooms and 12 general classrooms. Other academic areas include five collaborative study rooms, two foreign language computer labs and six dedicated foreign language tutor rooms. Additional functional spaces include six music practice rooms, interfaith prayer spaces and two conference/meeting rooms, as well as informal lounges and study spaces on all three floors. A major component of the update is new restrooms on all three floors.

Stokes Stadium

On the other end of campus, Stokes Stadium received several notable improvements in the previous year. New turf and a new, larger track were unveiled in the fall. Additionally, a new press box was added, primarily with funding provided by private donors after years of the Office of Advancement pursing gifts specifically for the project. The press box facility includes a new ticket booth on the ground level, an elevator, restrooms, two hospitality suites and six suites that are used for game operations.

Notable projects still in store for the campus include continued work on the mall. The area between the Student Union Building and McClain Hall was renovated in 2015. Currently, the Office of Advancement is conducting a brick campaign to renovate the remaining area directly to the east of the Student Union Building (click here). More information on that project, including how to purchase a personalized brick for the campaign, can be found at 150plaza.truman.edu.