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Articles Tagged with teaching

Practicing and Teaching Law Internationally

An interview with S. I. Strong, Manley O. Hudson Professor of Law; Senior Fellow, Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution

An international career as an attorney was only the beginning for Professor S.I. Strong, the Manley O. Hudson Professor of Law at the University of Missouri. Specializing in international commercial arbitration, large scale law suits, international dispute resolution and comparative law, Strong uses her expertise in her research, teaching, and practice. In addition to her legal specialties, Strong writes about research and writing methods crucial for any lawyer. Her career remains international in scope, as she is in demand as a speaker, moderator, and expert advisor for initiatives, programs, and conferences around the world.

SyndicateMizzou “Turns” 100

An interview with SyndicateMizzou, a project of the Center for eResearch

The occasion of the 100th feature of SyndicateMizzou is marked with both celebration and sorrow. Celebration because this publication now proudly has shared the work of over 100 members of the MU community; sorrow because the creator of SyndicateMizzou, John Miles Foley, is not here today to celebrate. Dr. Foley, who founded both the The Center for eResearch and the Center for Studies in Oral Tradition, passed away in May of 2012. We continue our work in the spirit of Dr. Foley’s vision. Professor John Zemke has stepped into the role of Director of the Center for eResearch, and with his guidance we continue our mission of featuring the research and creative activities on the campus of MU.

Putting Physics First

An interview with Dorina Kosztin, Teaching Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy

The shelves of Dr. Dorina Kosztin’s office are full of colorful toys and apparatus, all demonstrating the power of science. As a physics professor, she is particularly fond of these toys because they show the practical, real-world dimensions of her field, well beyond the abstract equations and formulas typical of textbooks. Indeed, Dr. Kosztin has devoted her life to making physics a more accessible subject for students. Through her ongoing work, she has initiated major changes not only for programs in American institutions but in the very foundations of its classrooms.

Alcohol and Racial Bias

An interview with Bruce Bartholow, Associate Professor, Department of Psychological Sciences

Ask Bruce Bartholow about his current research projects, and the associate professor of psychology at MU will likely direct your attention to the large whiteboard mounted on his office wall. Crowded with names of collaborators and topics ranging from alcohol and race bias to video games and aggression, this board reveals the breadth of Bartholow’s research.

On His Proverbial Plate

An interview with Sandy Rikoon, Professor, Rural Sociology

Sandy Rikoon has a lot on his proverbial plate. His work is hard to pigeonhole, except to say that, in general, it’s grounded in concern over both people and the environment. Since his academic discipline in rural sociology lives “at the intersection of basic and applied research,” it is the pursuit of “seamless connections” between his research, teaching, and outreach activities that drives Rikoon’s work.

The Economics of Education

An interview with Michael Podgursky, Professor of Economics

Nothing will get a labor economist’s mental gears turning like the word “shortage.” At the very utterance of this term, Michael Podgursky’s ears perk up, his eyebrow rises, and he leans over his desk: “What do you mean by shortages?” It’s not that Podgursky isn’t accustomed to hearing the word—quite the contrary, actually. As a professor of Economics at MU, his query results from extensive research on education, a field that has fallen victim on numerous occasions to accusations of “shortages.”

Between OT and IT

An interview with John Miles Foley, Professor, Departments of Classical Studies and English

Ever since the third grade, when an assistant principal generously offered to teach him and two classmates French, John Miles Foley has been curious about how languages work. Starting with the early epiphany that language is always embedded in culture, Foley followed this line of thinking until it led to oral tradition, which the MU Professor of Classical Studies and English has now been researching for over three decades. It will surely be a lifelong journey, for the field far outstrips written literature in size, diversity, and social function. In fact, all the written literature we have, Foley is fond of saying, “is dwarfed by oral traditions.”

Evangelical Africanist

An interview with Robert Baum, Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies

Being a religious studies professor means that Robert Baum is frequently asked about his own religion, to which he responds cheerfully, “I’m an Evangelical Africanist,” a remark that reveals his “deep commitment to make sure Africa is included whenever we talk about the world.” Running through all of Baum’s work—whether teaching, research, or outreach—is a value on religious literacy, the desire to promote a better understanding of the world’s major religions.

Distant Perspective

An interview with Peace Corps Fellows, MU's Peace Corps Fellows Program

Sometimes, in order to see the status quo, it takes a little distance. When MU’s Peace Corps Fellows return to the United States, they bring their global perspectives to the University of Missouri campus in order to open the minds of students, staff, and community members. Nathan Jensen, Jennifer Keller, Amy Bowes, and Andy Craver are among this year’s fellows. Their work in distant countries has changed them, helping them grow. Now they’re sharing their experience and newfound attitudes with MU.

“A Glass Half Full”

An interview with Enos Inniss, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Ever since Enos Inniss came to MU as an assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering a short time ago, he has kept remarkably busy on various research projects involving water quality and safety.

At First Sight

An interview with Kristina Narfström, Professor, Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery

Imagine waking to a bright, sunny day, but not really being able to see. Some people go their whole lives without witnessing that vivid red ball from their youth or the facial features of a loved one. Kristina Narfström, a veterinary ophthalmologist at the University of Missouri, is doing research that promises to provide some light at the end of the tunnel.

When Pottery Bolsters the Spirit

An interview with Bede Clarke, Professor of Art

“Ceramics is a very demanding discipline,” explains Bede Clarke, MU Professor of Art. Even after 35 years in the field, he says, “it still takes a lot out of me to do good work.” Clarke’s creative activity focuses on two areas. One involves the use of color and drawing and painting on clay with abstract and figurative imagery, and the other is wheel-thrown pottery fired in a wood kiln to achieve glaze effects.

Collateral Consequences

An interview with S. David Mitchell, Associate Professor, School of Law

When S. David Mitchell leaves for work in the morning, he isn’t sure which hat to wear. Sometimes he is a law professor, and sometimes he is a sociologist. On most days he wears both hats at once—an interdisciplinary approach to research that seems to bode well. As an associate professor in MU’s School of Law, Mitchell’s teaching and research feed off each other, focusing on the intersection of society and the law. While his teaching covers topics ranging from torts and criminal justice administration—from “bail to jail”—the courses he gets most excited about involve his main area of research, including “Law and Society” and “Collateral Consequences of Sentencing.”

“Lovely to the Ears”

An interview with Eva Szekely , Professor, School of Music

Fifth-year senior Mitchell Drury stands upright with his violin resting on his shoulder. He zeroes in on a sheet of music and begins playing the notes, carefully gliding his bow across the violin’s strings. His teacher, MU violin and chamber music professor Eva Szekely, hums to her student’s rhythmic tranquility. “The note before is the one you want to emphasize. Sustain without rushing,” Szekely instructs her intrepid pupil. “That’s beautiful.” Drury plays a work by renowned nineteenth-century violinist/composer Niccolò Paganini, one of Szekely’s favorite composers.

“In Their Own Words” as SyndicateMizzou ‘Turns’ 50

An interview with SyndicateMizzou, a project of the Center for eResearch

The idea for SyndicateMizzou, if I recall the story correctly, arose during a lunch conversation involving two Center for eResearch personnel, founding director John Miles Foley and Information Technology Manager Jamie Stephens, shortly after the center was born in April 2005. “Wouldn’t it be great,” remarked the latter, “if there were a website that could syndicate diverse content, be fully searchable, and bring MU’s innovation, accomplishment, and expertise to the rest of the world?” It was initially over soup and sandwiches that this conversation grew into a conception of SyndicateMizzou—a website created to document and promote research and creative activity at the University of Missouri-Columbia. In fact, the trajectory from idea to reality provides a worthy case study for imagining and executing an online project.

If Antiquities Could Talk

An interview with Alex Barker, Director, Museum of Art and Archeology

Alex Barker wears several different hats in MU’s Department of Anthropology and the Museum of Art and Archaeology. One of these hats involves his research and fieldwork on the European Bronze Age and the ancient American southeast. The other involves the directorship of MU’s Museum of Art and Archaeology. Standing at the crossroads of several disciplinary fields, most of Barker’s field research has in recent years dealt with a single broad question: how social complexity grows out of egalitarian societies. His fieldwork in North America and the Old World follows this transition over different periods and regions.

Design in the Virtual World

An interview with So-Yeon Yoon, Assistant Professor, Department of Architectural Studies

So-Yeon Yoon admits that while she has always liked computer games, even as a young child, she has also always enjoyed painting and drawing. Yoon describes her watercolor paintings and how for her the creative process is “very addictive”: “I like colors and creating something beautiful, and creating things on the computer actually gives the same kind of fulfillment.” She is attracted to three-dimensional (3-D) images and experimenting with different textures and colors. Thus it is perhaps no surprise that Yoon found herself drawn to the field of architecture and interior design—“a perfect match” in which her creative desires and her interest in computers could merge. Today, the assistant professor of Architectural Studies focuses her research and teaching on the areas of Human Environmental Psychology and Interior and Architectural Design. Her current research combines information technology with interior design and architecture, a composite field in which she applies technology, particularly virtual reality (VR), to interior design problems.

"Make Some Noise"

An interview with Bin Wu, Professor, Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Bin Wu has been responding to real-world problems related to industrial systems design for twenty years. “When we talk about industrial system design,” he explains, “we are talking about how to put facilities, people, and information systems together so that this system can function for whatever purpose it was designed to serve,” whether to manufacture or to supply. Traditionally, says Wu, when designing an industrial system our main consideration was always productivity – how to produce or manufacture things more efficiently. Three years ago, however, the MU Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering received a wake-up call that changed the direction of his work.

Reading the Visual

An interview with Nancy M. West, Associate Professor, English Department

The fact that Nancy M. West finds herself focusing so heavily on the visual in her research and teaching may at first seem to be “a sort of a curious thing,” but for the associate professor of English this fascination for the visual extends all the way back to a childhood devoid of photographs. “I love thinking about what photography means to people. Having grown up with very few photographs in my household, I’ve always been drawn to them,” she admits. It was no surprise, therefore, that West stumbled upon her first book project while scrounging through the bargain bin of an antique store: “I came across all of these old Kodak ads from the turn of the century, and I thought they were amazing. The images were just breathtakingly beautiful. The captions were unlike those we see now in ads. They were much more elaborate, much more descriptive. They addressed the consumer in very interesting, clever ways, and I just fell in love with them.” And at that serendipitous moment, the idea for Kodak and the Lens of Nostalgia (2000) was conceived.

Performing the Self

An interview with M. Heather Carver , Associate Professor, Theatre Department

M. Heather Carver is framed by her clown shadow—a black mannequin head wearing a pink camouflage hat and red clown’s nose—as she joyfully begins to describe her place at MU. “I come from a background of performing,” the Associate Professor of Theatre offers. “As a means of studying something, we perform it.” As a way of studying autobiography, for example, Carver performs autobiography.

Actually, It Is Rocket Science

An interview with Craig Kluever, Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Craig Kluever’s dream was born as he found himself awestruck in front of a grainy black-and-white television screen watching Apollo 11 land on the moon. He was in kindergarten. As he puts it, “that just made a big impact on me. Of course, the first thing I wanted to be was an astronaut.” Those early dreams of becoming an astronaut turned instead into a pursuit of the science behind the rockets. Today, the MU Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering works behind the scenes to solve the kind of problems involved in designing space travel—such as how to take off, how to reach a target, and, more importantly, how to return safely to Earth.

Generating Graphic Designs

An interview with Deborah Huelsbergen, Associate Professor, Art Department

In an office immersed in brilliant lime green and blue, Deborah Huelsbergen sits in front of her computer screen, with its Fruitloops screen saver, digging through boxes to pull out examples of her artwork. An associate professor of art and graphic design at Mizzou, Huelsbergen highlights two recent projects--both illustrated children’s books.

Audio and Video Tagged with teaching

Teaching from a New Perspective

From an interview with Mirae Kim, Assistant Professor of Public Affairs

Dr. Kim discusses how her teaching and research intersect.

Teaching and Researching Locally

From an interview with Grant Elliott, Assistant Professor of Geography

Elliott’s local research involves the threat posed to area forests by the Emerald Ash Bore, a predatory insect. Ash trees infected by these insects have a 100% mortality rate. In addition to this work, Elliott is collaborating on a science school at Rock Bridge State Park that will show students how forests change over time.

Preparing Law Students for the Practice of Law

From an interview with S. I. Strong, Manley O. Hudson Professor of Law; Senior Fellow, Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution

Dr. Strong discusses why research and writing are necessary skills for lawyers, and how she helps law students develop these skills.

The Writing Connection

From an interview with S. I. Strong, Manley O. Hudson Professor of Law; Senior Fellow, Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution

“Being a good writer,” Dr. Strong argues, “is a critical part of being an attorney.” In this segment, she discusses why this is the case, and how law students can and should develop their research and writing skills to become better lawyers.

The Practice of Law and the Teaching of Law

From an interview with S. I. Strong, Manley O. Hudson Professor of Law; Senior Fellow, Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution

Dr. Strong shares how her considerable experience of litigating very complex cases enhances her teaching, and how a professor’s background in the practice of law benefits students.

Excited Researchers Make for Exciting Teachers

From an interview with R. Lee Lyman, Professor and Chair of Anthropology

Dr. Lyman quotes Arts and Science Dean Michael O’Brien and talks about his zeal for his research spills over into his teaching.

Creativity in Engineering and Teaching

From an interview with Alina Zare, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

The engineering field needs thinkers from a broad variety of backgrounds in order to approach problem solving in a creative way. Dr. Zare discusses this and how her research influences her teaching and vice versa.

Classical Music in the Classroom

From an interview with Benyamin Schwarz, Professor, Architectural Studies

Schwarz is known for playing five minutes of classical music before each of his classes. He believes it can teach students about beauty.

Writing Intensive Classes

From an interview with Benyamin Schwarz, Professor, Architectural Studies

Schwarz talks about his teaching methods in the Writing Intensive classroom. He was awarded the MU Campus Writing Program’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2013.

The Life Cycle of a T-Shirt: Undergraduate Lessons in Politics and Economics

From an interview with Simone Dietrich, Assistant Professor, Political Science

In this video Dr. Dietrich describes a popular lesson she teaches to undergraduate students that traces the global life-cycle of a cotton t-shirt. Through examining this simple item—from production, to initial purchase, and to eventual reuse—Dr. Dietrich is able to show her students how politics interact with economics, how comparative advantage impacts international trade, and how charity can have unintended consequences.

MFAP’s Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program

From an interview with Lisa Higgins, Director, Missouri Folk Arts Program

The Missouri Folk Arts Program’s Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program encourages the continued transmission of traditional and folk arts by providing an honorarium to master artist and apprentice teams. Missouri’s TAAP is one of the longest running and most prolific programs of its kind in the country.

Teaching and Research

From an interview with Stephanie Shonekan, Assistant Professor, Ethnomusicology, Black Studies

Dr. Shonekan explains how her teaching and reasearch enhance each other, and talks about how her own cultural background provides a unique platform for teaching about music and identity.

Teaching Psychology in the Classroom and Lab

From an interview with Kristy vanMarle, Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences

Dr. vanMarle works with students both in the laboratory and in the classroom. Her work in the classroom helps “keep her excited about the research,” she tells us, and her students in the lab provide important feedback and offer fresh perspectives that contribute greatly to the research.

Teaching the History of Mathematics

From an interview with Adam Helfer, Professor of Mathematics, Adjunct Professor of Physics & Astronomy

One of the courses Dr. Helfer particularly enjoys teaching is the History of Mathematics. According to the MU course description, this “includes topics in the history of mathematics from early civilizations onwards”, and the subject is explored “as an abstract discipline and as a subject which interacts with others and with practical concerns.”

Teaching Teachers

From an interview with Roy Fox, Professor of English Education, Department of Learning, Teaching, and Curriculum

Dr. Fox discusses what drew him to the field of English Education, and how he has worked to help teachers rediscover their passion for the work they do in and out of the classroom.

Rewards of Teaching

From an interview with Dorina Kosztin, Teaching Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy

Although students may not generally speak up to tell her how much they appreciate her classes, Dr. Kosztin receives significant gratification from seeing how her courses change her students’ perspectives on the world.

Teaching and Research

From an interview with Lori Eggert, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences

Last year Dr. Eggert was allowed to design her own class. However, she was already making Introductory Ecology her very own by mining her research for examples and using them to help build her student’s foundational understanding of the subject.

Connecting Research and Teaching

From an interview with Bruce Bartholow, Associate Professor, Department of Psychological Sciences

Bartholow explains how his research and teaching intersect. In a senior-level course on research methods, for example, he discusses the procedures used in his own lab. Students are “integral to everything” in his working group.

Research, Teaching, Outreach—a Powerful Mix

From an interview with Sandy Rikoon, Professor, Rural Sociology

Increasingly, says Rikoon, what drives his work is the pursuit of “a seamless connection” among the activities of research, teaching, and extension. While his research and teaching clearly inform each other, Rikoon explains that outreach has become a larger part of that mix.

Teaching

From an interview with Sandy Rikoon, Professor, Rural Sociology

Rikoon, who received a Kemper Award for Teaching Excellence in 2002, and was named Curators Distinguished Teaching Professor in 2008, teaches a number of graduate-level courses in the areas of environmental sociology, the sociology of agriculture and natural resources, and political ecology, as well as an undergraduate course titled Population and the Environment.

Research and Teaching

From an interview with Matt Will, Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences

Will states that his research dovetails perfectly with his teaching, allowing him to “give [students] a little window into the research field” and provide “more of the cutting-edge science than what they would get from the textbook.” He also gives undergraduate and graduate students alike the opportunity to conduct research in his lab, either through independent research projects or collaborative work.

Teaching Economics

From an interview with Michael Podgursky, Professor of Economics

When Podgursky returned to MU to teach in 1995, he noticed there wasn’t a course on the economics of education. He immediately created the class and has been teaching it ever since. He also enjoys educating students from all majors on the basics of economics and oversees the Economics Capstone.

The Director’s Philosophy

From an interview with Clyde Ruffin, Professor, Theatre Department

Ruffin explains his approach: “You know, I hadn’t really thought about whether or not I had a philosophy, because I was committed to doing what I felt was right; I’m kind of guided by my heart in that way.” He inspires his students and actors by encouraging them to be confident and to take ownership of their talent. He doesn’t believe in offering his students intensive direction throughout rehearsals and class; he feels that personal development is more valuable to human growth.

Teaching

From an interview with John Miles Foley, Professor, Departments of Classical Studies and English

As a Curators’ Professor and Byler Chair in the Humanities, Foley is well known for his teaching, offering a number of courses in the Classical Studies and English departments, and occasionally in Germanic and Slavic. For example, he currently teaches courses on oral tradition, a seminar on Beowulf, and courses in Homer and Greek literature. Foley notes that the Beowulf seminar reads the entire poem—“all 3,182 lines”—in the original language of Old English. In fact, he adds, “we have a feast at the end of the semester, when we perform it aloud so that the students can get a feel of what it’s like in the original.” Regardless of the topic, Foley infuses students with an appreciation for the beauty and complexity of language and verbal art.

Intellectual Limbering

From an interview with Robert Baum, Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies

As soon as Baum begun teaching religious studies, he found people that one of the first questions people asked him was about his religion, to which he was ready with the cheerful response, “I’m an Evangelical Africanist.” “That comes from a deep commitment to make sure that Africa is included whenever we talk about the world,” he clarifies, and he loves to share this excitement about Africa with others. “I try to stretch people…to get students to see the world in as many different ways as possible, as a kind of intellectual limbering and flexibility exercise, so that they get a broader sense of what the possibilities of being human are [and] come away with more questions—about Africa, or indigenous religions, or about religions in general.”

Religion after 9/11

From an interview with Robert Baum, Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies

Given that half of Africa is Muslim, it is not surprising that Baum teaches a course on Islam. “Since 9/11,” however, his research on Islam has been in especially high demand. Living in Iowa at the time, he was asked to be on the “Iowans Respond” panel, which appeared on public television. Soon thereafter, Baum was giving lectures about Islam all around the state, and he eventually produced a DVD Abraham’s Children: The Shared Religious Heritage of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. From that point on, an important part of Baum’s work has involved outreach—helping people gain an appreciation for how much is shared between these world religions—Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. “A lot of the tension among the three,” he notes, “is precisely because of what they share more than the issues where they differ.”

Distant Education

From an interview with Peace Corps Fellows, MU's Peace Corps Fellows Program

This year’s group of Peace Corps fellows spent time in West Africa, southern Africa, and Kyrgystan. Their experiences were as unique as the countries in which they were located. Nathan Jensen and Jennifer Keller worked as agricultural volunteers in Mali; Amy Bowes taught English in Lesotho; and Andy Craver taught English in Issyk-Kul. Craver’s comment that she “learned a lot more from them then they did from me” echoes the attitudes of all the volunteers.

From the Field to the Classroom

From an interview with Enos Inniss, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Just as his students have benefited from their participation in the research process, so has Inniss: “I think the research also helps with the classroom experience—teaching—from the standpoint that there are real-world experiences that I can share."

Teaching Painting and Drawing

From an interview with Lampo Leong, Associate Professor, Art

In his teaching of painting and drawing at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Leong encourages his students to find their own voices in the contemporary art world. He pursues this goal, for example, by incorporating the latest digital technology, even when teaching traditional painting.

List of Classes

In the Classroom

From an interview with Kristina Narfström, Professor, Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery

Narfström teaches mostly post-graduate students at MU, and she gives lectures around the world about her research. “It’s very rewarding to be a teacher and a researcher at the same time,” she says. When in the classroom, Narfström tries to pass along her excitement for research to her students, “because that is the only way to advance our knowledge.”

Research and Teaching

From an interview with Steven Watts, Professor, History

When thinking about research universities like MU, Watts is perplexed by people who are skeptical about the value of research at a teaching institution. Looking at his own department, he observes that “the research activity of our faculty, without question, invigorates the teaching mission of the department. It is my experience that the best teachers…are the best publishers.” Uncovering new knowledge in the field, he says, helps to “get the juices running and overflows the bounds of research alone,” enabling new perspectives in the classroom.

Courses Taught

From an interview with Steven Watts, Professor, History

While many of his colleagues prefer to teach more specialized courses in their specific areas of research, this 1995 winner of the William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching award prefers freshman-level courses such as “Survey of American History.” Watts also teaches a series of upper-division classes in American culture. Perhaps the most “fun” course he offers is, not unexpectedly, on Walt Disney.

From Inspiration to Evaluation

From an interview with Bede Clarke, Professor of Art

Although their medium is visual, ceramics students are encouraged to articulate their experiences verbally, as well as to write about them. A fundamental part of these classes involves critique, where students present their finished products to the class, talk about their inspiration and ideas, and critically evaluate the work in terms of where it has succeeded and where it has failed. Beyond creation and evaluation, students research a topic (e.g., a culture’s ceramics or a contemporary ceramic artist) and present their findings to the class. “It’s probably my favorite part of the class,” Clarke remarks, “because they become the teachers."

Teaching Ceramics

From an interview with Bede Clarke, Professor of Art

Bede Clarke has been teaching in MU’s Art Department since 1992, with classes ranging from beginning to graduate ceramics. Beginning ceramics classes are very design-oriented, Clarke explains, “geared toward instilling good design principles and decision-making in students.” Besides sitting behind the potter’s wheel, his students do background research on some aspects of ceramic history—“about 20,000 years of human beings making things out of clay”—a learning process that may involve a trip to the Museum of Art and Archeology as well as to Ellis Library.

Courses Taught at MU

From an interview with S. David Mitchell, Associate Professor, School of Law

Mitchell teaches a broad range of courses, including a criminal justice administration course that he describes as “bail to jail”; a class about torts, which involve civil wrongs; and one called Law and Society, which examines the social context behind the law. The latter course clearly reflects Mitchell’s background in sociology, which has influenced both his pedagogy and his research. In Collateral Consequences of Sentencing, he covers felon disenfranchisement, felon exclusion laws, and prisoner reentry.

Thoughts on Affirmative Action and Teaching

From an interview with S. David Mitchell, Associate Professor, School of Law

As one might expect, Mitchell has opinions about the recently proposed Missouri referendum that would have eliminated preferential hiring in public employment or education. The referendum was defeated because it failed to secure the needed signatures to be placed on the ballot. If there already was a substantial representation of diversity among students, staff, and faculty, he clarifies, then perhaps affirmative action would no longer be needed. “But until that day comes,” he concludes, “affirmative action is still a necessity.”

In the Classroom

From an interview with Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz, Assistant Professor of Communication

Behm-Morawitz’s research with media extends beyond video games. When she is teaching, she tries to make sense of the different types of media effects she observes, an approach that she hopes will advance students’ critical thinking and viewing skills.

Cone’s Teaching and Outreach Activities

From an interview with Karen Cone, Professor of Biological Sciences


Cone teaches first-level genetics to biology and biochemistry students. “It is a lot of fun to teach introductory genetics,” she says, her enthusiasm obvious. She also teaches a capstone genetics course called “Human Inherited Diseases,” which explores the underlying molecular basis of certain inherited diseases in humans. “I’m not a human geneticist,” Cone specifies, “but I’ve learned about human genetics by teaching that class.” In addition to her teaching and research, Cone has done several major outreach projects.

Plans after Graduate School

From an interview with Graduate Students, Life Sciences

When asked, each individual reveals ideas about their post-graduation plans. When he graduates, for example, William Donald Thomas plans to continue the same type of research in molecular biology, in search of better treatments for breast cancer. Brian Bostick is a MD/Ph.D. student, earning a medical degree alongside a Ph.D. He explains: “My hope is to combine both clinical work as an MD, working with patients, but also to keep a research career going.” As such, Bostick intends to keep developing treatments for heart disease and “try to transfer those breakthroughs we are having in the laboratory to the bedside and help human patients.” Regarding his own ideal plans following graduation, Severin Stevenson says he would like to work in private industry for a while, but hopes that after some years of this he will return to teaching.


“There’s actually a lot you can do with a Ph.D.,” says Erica Racen. “Traditionally, people think that you go into academia and have your own lab. But I have a passion for teaching. Having come from a small liberal arts college, I would like to go back to that environment and teach.” Amy Replogle similarly reports a passion for teaching, saying, “I would love to become a professor at a small institution.”


While Andrew Cox is not certain what direction to take after graduation, he knows that he loves doing research. “I am less thrilled with the grant writing, the constant rejection, and the cut-throat nature of academia,” he responds. If he had to guess, Cox suspects that he will eventually teach: “I love interacting with students. There is really not much more thrilling than getting someone interested, involved, and engaged in research.”

How do research and creative activity intersect with teaching?

From an interview with SyndicateMizzou, a project of the Center for eResearch

In this segment, faculty members talk about how their research and creative activity contribute to better teaching, as well as the relationship between these two aspects of their work. Frequently, the two endeavors intersect, profitting both. Carmen Chicone remarks, “If you are actively involved in your subject, you’re bound to be a much better teacher.”

More than the Object’s Label

From an interview with Alex Barker, Director, Museum of Art and Archeology

Barker refers to a certain tension between curators, who have all this ‘stuff’ they want to communicate, and exhibit designers, who want to keep the exhibit as clean and simple as possible. “Ultimately, we want people looking at the art, not at the labels,” he indicates; but the Museum still wants to educate. In that spirit, the museum is experimenting with technology to showcase the art and the significance of art to everyone by creating MP3-based audio tours of the museum that can then be played on any personal audio device, including iPods, notebook computers, and even cell phones. Barker hopes this will allow greater flexibility for visitors, whom he imagines selecting a tour and walking through the galleries at their leisure while looking at the art and listening to the audio information, “instead of looking back and forth between the label and the art.”

The Museum of Art and Archaeology

From an interview with Alex Barker, Director, Museum of Art and Archeology

Barker has worked in several kinds of museums—natural history museums and anthropology museums. “No one feels uncomfortable going into a natural history museum without knowing about bird taxonomy or going into an anthropology museum without knowing the latest details about the origins of humans,” he says. “But a lot of people are uncomfortable coming to an art museum if they don’t know a lot about art, and that is not a good thing.” Fortunately, the Museum of Art and Archaeology combines art with classical archaeology, offering a view of the changes of art over a very long period of time. Barker has been trying to make people more comfortable with the idea of coming into the museum and having their own experience with art—engaging authentic objects, whether from antiquity or from more recent periods, on their own terms.

Teaching at MU

From an interview with So-Yeon Yoon, Assistant Professor, Department of Architectural Studies

Yoon teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the Department of Architectural Studies. Her courses tend to focus on emerging technology (including Interior Design, Visual Design, Computer Graphics and Design, Photoshop, 3-D Computer Animation, and Web Graphic Design). Asked how she manages to stay at the cutting edge of technology, Yoon replies that she relies on her students: “Teaching is an essential part of my research, because I can use my students’ help.”

How Wu Came to This Area of Work

From an interview with Bin Wu, Professor, Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Following years principally involved in research, Wu now spends more time working with both students and the public on energy efficiency and the environment. As he puts it, “I feel very strongly that every one of us needs to do something and behave in responsible ways, individually or collectively, [to] do something about it.” As an educator, Wu gets the message out to his students, who he says are the future: , “It’s really a very fulfilling thing to do. I have been a professor for all of my professional life—doing research, writing books and other publications, and teaching. I can honestly say that what I’m doing now regarding energy efficiency is absolutely the most fulfilling.”

Teaching at MU

From an interview with Bin Wu, Professor, Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Wu teaches a number of classes, at both the undergraduate and graduate level, in the area of industrial systems analysis and design.

What Does an Industrial Engineer Do?

From an interview with Bin Wu, Professor, Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Bin Wu, Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, has been researching, teaching, and consulting within the field of industrial engineering for twenty years. “When we talk about industrial system design,” he explains, “we are talking about how to put facilities, people, and information systems together so that this system can function for whatever purpose it is designed to fulfill – for example, to manufacture or to supply. Traditionally, when we designed a system, the main efficiency considerations were related to productivity.” About three years ago, however, Wu received a wake-up call: his son’s birth created a sense of urgency to address environmental issues, and specifically energy efficiency. He realized then that when designing and improving systems, particularly industrial systems, “energy has got to be a very important consideration, if not the most important consideration.”

West’s teaching philosophy

From an interview with Nancy M. West, Associate Professor, English Department

The teaching honors awarded to West bear witness to her pedagogical skills, including the Gold Chalk Award (1999, 2005), the William T. Kemper Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching (2004), and the English Graduate Student Association’s inaugural award for Outstanding Graduate Faculty Member (2005). Reflecting on her teaching, West states: “I really believe in interdisciplinary work—not just to present students with a reference every once in a while to an artistic or scientific movement, but to really see things from inside those disciplines. I think there are very rich connections to be made, and so I try to get students thinking in interdisciplinary ways.”

Teaching at Mizzou

From an interview with Nancy M. West, Associate Professor, English Department

West teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in the English Department on subjects bridging—like her research—the literary with the visual. She offers courses, for example, on British literature, film history, crime films, film adaptation of novels, novel illustration, and photography.

Working with Students

From an interview with Carmen Chicone, Professor of Mathematics

As a researcher at MU, Chicone spends a large portion of his time working with students. As an instructor involved with both graduate and undergraduate students, Chicone says that he learns a great deal from those he teaches.

Teaching theatre at Mizzou

From an interview with M. Heather Carver , Associate Professor, Theatre Department

Heather Carver describes herself as “a performance studies artist/scholar,” someone who investigates an issue through performance—“so we study autobiography, and we do autobiographical performance.” Carver teaches several kinds of creative writing, at both the undergraduate and graduate level, in adaptation and performance of literature for theatre and the screen. She also co-directs the Writing for Performance Program, which helps students adapt different kinds of writing for the stage or screen, including poetry, short stories, autobiography, or ethnography. And Carver serves as creator and artistic director of the Life and Literature Performance series to showcase original and adapted work by MU students for the stage.

More on the Center (Koller)

From an interview with Jim Koller and Karen Weston, Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology

Koller offers more history on how the Center came to be, as well as on his teaching philosophy.

Taft Research Fellow

From an interview with Béa Gallimore, Associate Professor of French

Within the Romance Languages Department, Gallimore has been teaching French composition, French literature and drama, and Francophone studies. During the Winter 2008 semester, Gallimore served as a Taft Visiting Research Fellow in a seminar about racism in French and Francophone literature. “Your research gives you insight for teaching,” she says, as she develops a new course on Afro-Persian writers and a new graduate seminar on testimonial writing.

Teaching at MU

From an interview with Craig Kluever, Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering has recently developed an emphasis area in aerospace engineering. Kluever teaches such required courses in the general areas of dynamics (how bodies move and how forces produce certain velocities and accelerations) and controls (how to design a control system to do a particular task), and he teaches such elective courses as Space Flight Mechanics and Aircraft Flight Mechanics (how to design a space mission or determine such performance characteristics as take-off, landing, range, endurance, and stability with an airplane).

Courses in cognition development

From an interview with Yuyan Luo, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological Sciences

In addition to running the Infant Cognition Lab, Luo also teaches cognition development courses at MU, ranging from infancy to toddler psychological and biological knowledge development.

Learning on Campus

From an interview with David Jonassen, Distinguished Professor of Education

Teaching Learning

From an interview with David Jonassen, Distinguished Professor of Education

Teaching and research as a pianist

From an interview with Peter Miyamoto, Professor of Music

Teaching Piano

From an interview with Peter Miyamoto, Professor of Music

Teaching piano at MU involves intensive one-on-one lessons between the student and the teacher.

Teaching at MU

From an interview with David Brunsma, Assistant Professor of Sociology

Brunsma teaches jointly in Black Studies and Sociology at MU.

Johnson's path to philosophy

From an interview with Robert Johnson, Associate Professor of Philosophy

How reading Plato’s dialogues influenced Johnson to become a philosopher.

The instinct of directing

From an interview with Jim Miller, Professor of Theatre

Miller discusses his philosophy of teaching the disciplines of directing and acting.

A passion for theatre

From an interview with Jim Miller, Professor of Theatre

Miller talks about theatre, his love for it, and the challenges it presents.

Teaching music at Mizzou

From an interview with Leslie Perna, Associate Professor, School of Music

Perna discusses what it means to teach music in a group context at Mizzou.

Teaching music moves humankind forward

From an interview with Leslie Perna, Associate Professor, School of Music

Perna discusses how teaching others about music is her part of moving humankind forward.