Higher Education

Cramming for class

When Mamadou Badiane walked into his 9 a.m. advanced Spanish conversation class during the first week of class, he expected a full house of students, a bit groggy perhaps, but otherwise ready for the start of the winter semester.

Faces: Mark Drabenstott

After working to further economic understanding in America’s heartland, MU’s Mark Drabenstott will take his expertise to an international level as chairman of the Territorial Development Policy Committee in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (The OECD uses the British spelling for “organization.”)

MU bankruptcy counseling is certified

The MU Office for Financial Success has become the first university-based program in the United States certified by the U.S. Trustee’s Office to offer financial counseling services to those considering bankruptcy.

A study in gay suburbia

Wayne Brekhus is known at MU for his funny anecdotes, his charismatic lecture style and his eclectic interests. Brekhus, an associate professor of sociology, has been known to travel across the United States to scout out snakes in their natural environments. He can hold his own in a game of chess. And he isn’t shy about joining the mosh pit at a heavy metal concert.

MU committed to economic development

As one of the state’s largest employers, the UM System has been a major factor in Missouri’s economy since its flagship campus in Columbia was founded in 1839.

Uniquely able

If Dave Roberts has learned one thing in his 32-year career in vocational rehabilitation, it is that disability is a normal part of life.

Across nation, varying math education methods tough on students, teachers

When it comes to math, what students are learning and when they learn it varies significantly across the country, according to MU’s Center for the Study of Mathematics Curriculum. According to a recent report by the center, some students learn to add and subtract fractions as early as first grade or as late as sixth grade.

Sweet success

Morgan Hickman has two relationships. They demand attention, cause stress and often frustrate her. They are finite math and economics, two classes that gave Hickman so much trouble that she sought help from MU’s Learning Center.

Shaking dust off teacher education

A four-year study of the nation’s 1,200 schools of education calls teacher colleges “the Dodge City of the education world,” saying they are as chaotic as the fabled Old West town.

Foreign student numbers rising

Even before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the growth of international student enrollment at MU each year was, at best, stagnant. This fall, however, even as foreign students’ interest in attending college in the U.S. appears to be declining, MU saw its first significant rise in international enrollments, from 1,373 to 1,414.

Far from home

Magda Pride is one of nine children, all of whom were schooled at home. When it came time for her to choose a college, she didn’t intend to stray far from her parents and siblings; her first two choices were schools she could commute to every day.

Professor to lead women’s research

Sociology professor Jackie Litt has noticed that female faculty members are in short supply in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at MU. To find out why, Litt will lead a group of researchers awarded a $500,000 grant by the National Science Foundation to explore the status of women in the so-called “STEM” academic departments.

Improving Missouri’s math skills

For the past five years, fewer than one in five high school students in Missouri, on average, have scored “proficient” or higher on the math portion of the Missouri Assessment Program test. Missouri’s mediocrity is not atypical of the United States, which as a whole lags the rest of the developed world in terms of students’ math ability.

Teaching tolerance through theater

Religious intolerance is a common source of conflict at MU, according to students, faculty and staff who took part in a four-year study of campus diversity issues. Religion was a factor in 37 percent of hate incidents and 16 percent of hate crimes experienced on campus, according to the MU Campus Climate Study. In particular, 39 percent of people of Middle Eastern origin said they had been victims of harassment on the MU campus; more than half said they believed they were harassed because of their religion. Those findings have led to a $100,000 Ford Foundation grant to increase religious and cultural understanding at MU.

Directing campus diversity

The good news: The chances that young Missourians will enroll in college by age 19 has increased by 8 percent in the last decade, according to the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. The bad news: The chances that those students will be white is much greater than for other ethnic groups.

MU grad forms ISCS to help students

An MU graduate is helping international students succeed in school and preparing them for life beyond campus.

Pricey pages

In August, Missouri State Auditor Claire McCaskill reported that the cost of attending college in Missouri has outpaced the rate of inflation by about 8 percent since 2000.

Sales generate royalties for academic department

Like every school and department on campus, the MU Department of Economics has had to compensate for decreasing financial support from the state. Recently, the department found a way to increase its $30,000 annual budget by more than 40 percent — by requiring students to buy a textbook written by department faculty.

Dealing with depression

Lynn Rossy has been a clinical psychologist at MU since 1999. Every year, she sees more and more students with the tell-tale signs of clinical depression — feelings of hopelessness, a serious lack of motivation, poor eating habits and dwindling interest in being with friends.

Columbia College receives large gift

Tom Bass has fond memories of visiting Columbia College as a child.