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Higher Education

MU honors photojournalist for 60-year career

Over 60 years, Ernest C. Withers has taken between 8 million and 11 million photographs.

Withers, 83, is known for his documentation of the Civil Rights movement and social scenes from the 1950s and ’60s in his hometown of Memphis, Tenn.

Faces

With the onset of arthritis and consistent physical therapy to repair a 13-year-old hip injury, Mary Rotella said her body isn’t quite what it used to be.

“It’s hard to get older,” said Rotella, 46, chairwoman of the Stephens College dance department. “I’ve been dancing since I was 3, so if you think about it, my hips have been rotating for 43 years.”

Now You Know

What’s new: Faculty and student researchers at the National Center for Explosion Resistant Design at MU are looking for ways to make buildings explode gracefully rather than catastrophically.

The center, which was created in 1997 under the supervision of Sam Kiger, chairman of MU’s civil engineering department, promotes understanding of the explosion environment and generates structural building designs. The designs aim to reduce flying debris and prevent the collapse of a building after an explosion, thus minimizing potential injury or death to people inside the structure.

Ken MacLeod

MU students taking Geology 2150 live out a fantasy many children share: learning about dinosaurs in school. And although teaching the class might seem like a great job, it wasn’t one Ken MacLeod ever expected to have.

“I just kind of fell into it,” MacLeod said.

Firestone Baars Chapel

Firestone Baars Chapel is a landmark of the Stephens College campus.

Designed by architect Eero Saarinen, creator of the St. Louis Arch, the chapel was completed in fall 1956 as the culmination of a project that began 17 years earlier by students who wanted a place of worship on campus.

Coaching Chess

Strategically, Tim Campbell cannot lose this game of chess; he knows his opponent’s next move. Today, he is playing against himself.

On Tuesday evenings downstairs in Brady Commons, Campbell sits patiently and waits for students to challenge him. It will cost them $10 an hour, but he doesn’t think it’s a high price for developing analytical skills.

Students educate peers on drug risk

Women on college campuses are one of the groups most at risk for sexual assault and date rape, says Kendra Yoder, co-coordinator of MU’s Rape Education Office. In response, the university has formed educational organizations to raise awareness about sexual assault, including one that focuses on drugs used in date rape.

Three major date-rape drugs — GHB, Rohypnol and Ketamine — can be slipped into the drinks of unsuspecting people who later fall victim to sexual assault or rape.

MU attends worldwide digital video conference

Last week, MU participated in Megaconference VI, the world's largest videoconference. With people communicating from 340 different sites and 33 countries around the world, the conference in its fourth year had its largest turnout ever. The conference promoted the use of videoconferencing in education and research.

Stephens to offer new business minor

Thanks to a $48,500 grant from Coleman Foundation, Stephens college will be offering an Entrepreneurial Studies minor for the semester of Fall 2005. Freshman survey results demonstrated the growing need for an entrepreneurial program and a pilot class two years ago in entrepreneurship received positive feedback. The minor will be tailored to the student's field of study.

Gov. Holden awards Columbia teachers

Teachers from Stephens College, Columbia College and MU will be recognized by outgoing Gov. Bob Holden and will receive the Governor's Award for Excellence and Teaching and Performance Excellence in Education. Recipients were chosen for their innovation, effectiveness, commitment and service to classes and their students.

Going deep

William Busch, professor emeritus at MU has been teaching a class on scuba since since he assisted in designing the Natatorium upon his arrival at MU in 1964. In Busch's class, he does more than give individuals the required training to earn a recreational C-card, or basic diver certification. It requires students to take 64 hours of water work and 64 hours of theory, as well as pass the YMCA Physical Fitness Land Test.

Dressing the scene

On a weekday early in December, things are a little calmer at the Stephens College costume shop. “The Will Rogers Follies” has opened; “A Dickens Victorian Christmas” has closed. Approaching final exams have left the costume shop nearly empty of students, but there are still thousands of costumes that help tell the history of the school’s theater, dance and music departments.

In the main room of the shop where designs are created, performers are fitted and costumes are crafted, three women sit at their respective stations. Shop foreman and chief designer Patty Doyle remains anchored to her sewing machine. Patricia Davis sits at the end of a long drawing table and faces the door of the costume shop. Gail Shen sits across from her, facing the wall.

Faces

Working two jobs to make ends meet normally wears people out. For Mark Partington, a manager at T.A. Brady’s and a supervisor at J.C. Penney’s, one would think that a proper way to relax would be to rest in a peaceful setting.

Instead, Partington has a much more boisterous pastime.

Times

Women’s athletics on the MU campus go back to 1889, when the University of Missouri Board of Curators made one semester of physical education a requirement for women.

The female students used a room on the top floor of Jesse Hall along with a small run-down shack, which was used as a dressing room for women involved in outdoor sports. Over the years, MU women participated in wall scaling, hiking, field hockey, indoor baseball, table tennis and badminton.

MU developing new sports major

MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources is in the first stages of developing an undergraduate degree in sport venue management.

Jim Spain, assistant dean of academic programs for the college, said the program would train students to manage the locations where sports occur or become part of a team’s administrative staff, from the high school to professional level.

Disability Web site focuses on community

Putting a personal spin on areas of accessibility, as well as making available resources for disabled people in mid-Missouri, was Laura Schopp’s goal. She was instrumental in getting disAbility Spin Web site started.

With the community’s involvement, the site has the possibility of becoming an all-encompassing resource. DisAbility Spin is devoted to the disabled residents of Columbia who can visit and post their own experiences on the discussion forums within the site. There’s also a section for event listings. “People can constantly update the site. It really belongs to the community and it’s going to rely very heavily on the community’s interest to keep it vibrant,” said Schopp, a neuropsychologist and associate professor in the department of health psychology at MU.

Faces: Leslie Perna

Leslie Perna’s career as a violist has taken her all over the world. Perna, who is associate professor of viola at MU’s School of Music, initially focused on the violin. She received a bachelor’s degree from the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music in Cleveland in 1984 and a master’s degree from Boston University in 1986, both in violin.

Perna said she drifted toward the viola because she appreciated its role in classical music and its richer and darker sound.

Fun Fact

The Columbia Female Academy was founded in 1833 as a place for Columbia’s elite to send their daughters to be educated. The Presbyterian-based institute was reorganized in 1856 as the Columbia Baptist Female College.

Now You Know

What was learned: About 25 percent of Missouri children entering kindergarten don’t have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. Research shows that the first five years of a child’s life affect his or her development and success in school, said Kathy Thornburg, director of the MU Center for Family Policy and Research.

What’s being done: Researchers at the center recommend that early childhood educators be properly trained and compensated to reduce teacher turnover. Children also need stability to prepare for school.

Opossum stunt outrages PETA

Animal rights advocates want a national fraternity to ban the use of wild animals in chapter activities after two members at MU were charged with stuffing about 40 opossums — living and dead — into a barrel.

Philip Josephson, national executive director of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, said Thursday that the opossum stunt wasn’t sanctioned or sponsored by the fraternity. There are currently no plans for a rule barring wild animals, he said.

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