Author Archives: tmiles

Truman Athletics Among Leaders of NCAA Academic Success Rate

The Truman Athletics Department continues to be a leader among national, conference and state public institutions in the latest release of the NCAA Academic Success Rate data.

Truman was one of five NCAA Division II public schools nationally with an ASR of 88 percent or higher. That was also tops among the six public schools in the Great Lakes Valley Conference and the eight Division II public schools in the state of Missouri. Overall, Bulldog student-athletes were 40th out of 317 Division II schools, seventh out of 15 conference members and trailed only Rockhurst, Maryville and Drury in the state.

Academic Success Rate is calculated by the NCAA and considers only student-athletes enrolled. It is considered more accurate than the Federal Graduation Rate since it includes transfers, mid-year enrollees and non-scholarship student-athletes. The rate is recorded six years after initial collegiate enrollment.

The national average for Division II schools was an ASR of 68 percent, and all Truman sports had an ASR above the national average of their respective sport.

Top Dogs

Cross Country
The Bulldog women turned in their best conference meet performance in nearly a decade with a second-place showing at the 2018 GLVC Championships in Louisville, Ky. Gemma Saathoff placed seventh in the league race to earn All-GLVC honors. She earlier earned GLVC Runner of the Week accolades and was Truman’s leading runner throughout the season. On the men’s side, Thomas Cormier led the Bulldogs at the conference meet with a 27th place finish, and Truman was eighth in the team standings. Michael Grasing was the lead dog in most regular season meets this season.

Sophomore kick returner Lawrence Woods was named all-region and was the GLVC Special Teams Player of the Year. Woods led Division II in kick returns with an average of 50.8 yards per return and three returns for touchdowns, all Truman single-season records. The Bulldogs had their first six-game winning streak since 1998 and finished the season 6-5. In addition to Woods, 14 players earned All-GLVC honors and senior receiver Mitch Nichols was voted to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team.

Women’s Golf
The Truman women’s golf team completed the fall portion of its 2018-19 schedule in late October, which included four tournaments. In those four tournaments, the Bulldogs placed second out of eight teams, eighth out of nine, seventh out of 11 and second out of eight in the fall finale. So far this season, Lindsey Repp has the best scoring average on the team at 86.5 with an 18-hole low of 82 and
36-hole best of 168.

Men’s Soccer
The men’s soccer team finished year number 14 under head coach Duke Cochran with an overall record of 4-8-4, including 2-8-3 in GLVC play. The Bulldogs ended the season on a high note by defeating William Jewell on the road with a shutout, 2-0. Individually, forward Matt Yankowitz led the team in scoring for the second-straight season thanks to 16 points on six goals and four assists.

Women’s Soccer
The Bulldogs earned a share of the GLVC regular-season championship after going 9-3-1 in conference and 14-4-1 overall. Senior defender Laura Ney became the seventh women’s soccer player to earn first-team all-conference honors three straight years. In her 71 career matches, the Bulldogs have shutout nearly 60 percent of their opponents with Ney anchoring the backline. Head coach Mike Cannon was named the GLVC Coach of the Year. Sophomore Hanna Burke joined Ney on the all-region teams and led the Bulldogs in scoring with five goals and five assists.

The Truman volleyball team wrapped up its 2018 campaign with an overall record of 21-11, 10-8 in league play. The Bulldogs turned in the 30th 20-win season in program history, seventh under head coach Ben Briney in 10 seasons, and first since 2014. Individually, both setter Savvy Hughes and outside hitter Ellie Kaat were named second-team All-GLVC.

5 Minutes with Sana Camara

Here to Help

Originally from Senegal, Sana Camara has chosen to make Kirksville his home for nearly 30 years. He enjoys small-town life, finding it less stressful and more affordable than living in a big city.

Throughout his tenure at Truman, Camara has taught all levels of French courses. He earned his Ph.D. in French from The Ohio State University. He also has a master’s degree in comparative literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a bachelor’s degree in English from Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal.

While Camara and his wife welcomed their third child in the fall, his kids are not the only people he is helping find their way in the world. He actively works with the increasing number of Congolese immigrants relocating to Kirksville. As a professor of French, he is able to assist the non-native speakers when it comes to paying their bills, finding a job and even obtaining a driver’s license.

Outside of the classroom Camara maintains a rigorous commitment to academia. He is the author of five books. In his free time, he enjoys watching sports on television.

What led you to teaching?

First, it was my own personal choice to study languages and literature, and then my positive experiences with excellent teachers who encouraged me to assist in the intellectual development of students with highly creative spirits, teaching them tolerance and respect for human values. I am always eager to have a positive impact on my students, whom I cherish as my own family.

How would you describe your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy is characterized by gentleness and good humor. Nonetheless, I believe students should always be challenged so they can appreciate the value of their knowledge.

What were your opinions on Kirksville when you first moved here?

It was truly a serendipitous experience. After the head of the French Department at the University of Illinois recommended me, Truman flew a four-seat plane to pick me up in Champaign. At that time, I was struck by the values my colleagues established: promoting teamwork and showing a spirit of collegiality. Though I have at times been a victim of prejudice within the community, I find solace in the maturity and positive reaction of my students.

Can you tell me a little bit about the influx of Congolese people to the area and your work with them?

The Congolese people make up the majority of the African community in Kirksville. As Diversity Visa Program lottery winners, they were attracted to Kirksville by word-of-mouth because of the job opportunities and benefits at Smithfield Foods and Kraft-Heinz. It is natural for me to be close to them, and to further develop good working relationships with them. Many expressed their pride and admiration for my position as full professor at an American university. They seek my advice when they are faced with difficult circumstances.

What has been the high point of your career so far?

My scholarly publications, and the fact that I was invited to talk about them on Senegalese television, and at renowned universities like UC Berkeley, Harvard University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Over the years I have become a very quiet man, so calm in appearance that I sometimes doubt my intellectual and creative capacities. Maybe it is the fear of failing.

What is your best advice to your students?

Never give up. I applaud people’s commitment and courage in the face of adversity.

Board of Governors Adds Student Representative

Tiffany Middlemas

Tiffany Middlemas, a junior business administration and history double major, has been appointed to the University Board of Governors.

A native of Kirksville, Middlemas has leadership positions with the Bulldog Student Investment Fund and Delta Zeta. Additionally, she works in the University Advancement Office, is a student ambassador for the Admissions Office and has completed two summer finance internships with The Boeing Company in St. Louis.

Middlemas was appointed to the board in July 2018 for a term ending Jan. 1, 2020. She succeeds Carter Brooks Templeton.

University Hosts TEDx Conference

Students, faculty, staff and alumni all took part in Truman’s inaugural TEDx conference in November.

TEDx events are organized independently under a free license granted by TED. Sponsored by Student Government, TEDxTrumanStateUniversity showcased a breadth of new ideas and was a true representation of the liberal arts. In total, 10 presenters discussed topics including trust as the key to knowledge, rural America’s role in addressing climate change, better health through risk-taking and how graphic design and education come together in unexpected ways to communicate information.

In the lead up to the event, Student Government invited any member of campus to submit an idea to present. The all-day affair took place in the Student Union Building, Nov. 4, and free tickets were made available to the entire campus. A viewing party featuring a livestream of the conference was also accessible in the Baldwin Hall Little Theater.

The presentations are available on the TEDx YouTube page, and Student Government hopes to host another conference in the next school year.

CPA Students Excel on Exam

Truman’s first-time pass rates on the uniform CPA exam continue to be among the highest nationwide.

In August, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy released the 2017 CPA exam results related to first-time candidates. Truman ranked: fifth in the nation out of 281 medium-sized programs; 22nd in the nation out of the 797 institutions with 10 or more reported candidates; second in Missouri; and first in the nation on the REG section for institutions with at least 20 REG exam candidates.

Truman candidates passed 77.4 percent of exam sections taken with an average score of 80. Nationally, the pass rate was 52.9 percent with an average score of 71.3. Student performance on the CPA exam was among the top three percent and evidence the University’s curriculum and focus on student learning continues to provide high value.

Truman is one of only 187 universities worldwide accredited in both business and accounting by AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. AACSB accreditation is the internationally recognized, specialized designation for business and accounting programs at the bachelor, master and doctoral levels.

Bike Share Program Offers Transportation Option

Students, faculty and staff can now borrow a bicycle for the day by presenting a Truman ID at the Student Recreation Center.

Launched in October, the Bike Share Program is a cooperative venture between the Bike Co-op, Student Recreation Center, Business Office, Advancement Office through alumna Colleen Ritchie, the Student Giving Campaign and student founder Theo Greer.

Cable locks and handlebar baskets are included with each bicycle. Adult bicycle helmets are also available for checkout.

Donors’ Gifts Enhance Campus

Spike is not the only bulldog on campus these days.

Visitors passing through the mall will now see a new bronze bulldog sculpture on the library patio. Through generous gifts from alumni and friends, donated specifically for a bulldog sculpture, the piece was commissioned with Crandall Sculpture and Design.

The artist, Brandon Crandall of Brashear, Mo., worked to create something that would be both visually stunning and instill pride in every generation of bulldogs. The nearly six-month project included art sketches, feedback from a bulldog breeder and Crandall’s signature process of building sculpture with foam, clay and countless hours of design before sending the mold to the foundry for bronzing and completion.

After a quick turnaround from Eligius Bronze of Kansas City, Mo., the finished bulldog was installed in time for Homecoming 2018 and was unveiled at the dedication of the Roger J. Johnson Patio. During the Sesquicentennial Plaza campaign, private gifts were raised for the naming rights of the space, located to the west of Pickler Memorial. The patio was named in honor of Johnson, a longtime employee who retired from the Physical Plant in 2017 after 29 years of service.

In another part of campus, with the support of many Truman parents, a two-year fundraising project was completed in the summer. Red Barn Park is now home to a new pavilion.

Creating a pavilion in Red Barn had been a topic of discussion for many years, and thanks to the Truman parents who donated more than $70,000 to the project, the pavilion became a reality in the fall. The new structure provides a covered location for many different uses such as hosting picnics, an outdoor classroom or meeting destination. It will also be useful for event registrations and outdoor movies.

MO Hall Cafeteria Gets Long-overdue Renovation

One of Truman’s residence halls now features new dining options after undergoing a substantial renovation.

For the first time since the building opened in 1965, the kitchen of Missouri Hall was renovated during the summer. Guests will quickly notice a larger, more open layout to the cafeteria section, what Justin Dreslinski, director of dining services, refers to as a food-forward concept.

“Students will definitely notice a change,” Dreslinski said. “This by far is the most up-to-date, modern dining renovation. The way some of the cooking surfaces are placed, the food is going to be cooked right in front of you.”

One noticeable change is the addition of a food island, which includes a deli and soup station, salad bars with a section for controlled allergens and two new exhibition-style cooking grills with one designated for vegetarian options.

For the first time in 15 years, the seating area was updated. All of the tables and chairs are new, and the redesign has increased the cafeteria’s capacity by more than 20 seats, taking it to more than 200.

While the new amenities are nice for guests, the behind-the-scenes changes in the kitchen were the primary reason for the renovation. Previously, the kitchen area had no air conditioning, and temperatures could reach as high as 115 degrees. Other changes include all new appliances and electrical upgrades, as well as a walk-in cooler now attached to the building.

Dreslinski said the cost of the project was covered with surplus dining funds earmarked for reinvestment in University food service programs. The Missouri Hall kitchen renovation began the day after students moved out in the spring and was completed just prior to move-in day.

Visit Campus Through the Online Tour

Alumni and friends interested in revisiting campus, but who are unable to make it back to Kirksville, can now check out Truman’s updated virtual tour.

A series of videos by current students, faculty and staff lead the visitor through a guided tour of the University, showcasing different elements of the campus and community on each stop. The narrations are coupled with photographs showing activities that students engage in at each location, as well as 360-degree photographs of the spaces.

In addition to the tour, visitors can find buttons to share tour stops on social media, and prospective students can request further information about the University.

The updated tour was developed entirely in-house, which saves the University money and creates content that is more unique and relevant to Truman, as opposed to other schools that may outsource their work.