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explorate University of Missouri Honors College Newsletter

Celebrating 175 Years

MU marks anniversary on Feb. 11

When college pays (well)

Professor Jeff Milyo

124 years of athletic tradition February 3, 2014 |

Mizzou’s Third Annual Social Justice Symposium I am excited to extend an invitation to students, campus partners and colleagues to present at Mizzou’s Third Annual Social Justice Symposium. If you or someone you know is interested in presenting (or attending) the symposium, please see below for general information and presenter and attendee registration details. As you can see, the deadline for presenting is fast approaching so get your ideas together and submit soon! Please pass on to student groups, faculty and staff that might be interested in presenting/attending! About the Social Justice Symposium:

The Social Justice Symposium is a (less than) one day conference designed to create conversation around two very important aspects of social justice: understanding and activism. Attending this event will allow participants to focus on the core of social change; understanding how social justice topics affect multiple populations and how to be active in those topic discussions. This conference will focus on two different audiences: 1.) those that are interested in learning more about social justice topics and 2.) those that are ready to be more active and advocate for others. In conjunction with the theme, Beyond Words: A Focus on Understanding & Activism, the sessions presented will fall under two categories: a beginner’s category (focused on education and understanding) and an advanced category (focused on activism and advocacy). This event is FREE for any MU student, faculty, and staff member that wishes to submit a presentation or attend. The website for general symposium information is This event is scheduled to happen on Saturday, February 22nd from 11am to 5pm in the Leadership Auditorium, MU Student Center. The day’s schedule will include keynote speakers, multiple sessions with varying topics, and roundtable discussions. Topical areas covered may include race, culture, multi-culturalism, women’s empowerment, LGBTQ, the social construct of gender, disability, serving our veterans, and sustainability. Attendee Information:

If you are interested in attending this amazing conference, please complete the attendee registration form by Friday, February 14th at 5pm. Find SJS:

Facebook: Mizzou’s Social Justice Symposium Twitter: Mizzou StuffToDo: StuffToDO

*Sponsors to date include Student Life, Residential Life, MU Counseling Center, Residence Halls Association, National Residence Hall Honorary Let me know if you have questions!

Luke Gorham Leadership & Educational Resources Advisor Department of Residential Life C122 Pershing Hall 573-882-1876

- explorate - - (ex-plo-raht) is a explorate plural imperative form of the - - “to exLatin verb explorare, plore.� Drawing on the Honors College motto, Explore. - Dream. Discover., explorate invites students to seek out every opportunity available to them.

Facebook University of Missouri Honors College Twitter @MUHonors

- - contributors explorate editor Rachel Koehn staff reporters Siyu Lei Kate Maxcy Jacob Renie Kelsie Schrader Congrong Zheng faculty advisor Dr. Gregory Triplett

Cover photo by Jacob Renie.

in this issue 3 Announcements & Upcoming Passport Events 5 Celebrating 175 Years

MU marks anniversary on Feb. 11

9 Sports: 124 years of athletic tradition 11 Faculty: When college pays (well)

Professor Jeff Milyo on his Honors Economics course

13 Dr. West on Honors Colleges - - |2 explorate

Announcements Apply to be an Honors College Ambassador! Honors Ambassadors are honors students who serve as the representative voice for all Honors College members. Honors ambassadors provide feedback to the Director of the Honors College on honors courses, requirements, extra-curricular opportunities, etc., as well as on university issues that impact honors students.

In addition, honors ambassadors assist with on- and off-campus recruiting events. Any freshman, sophomore or junior honors student may apply to be an ambassador though preference is given to first and second year students. The application can be downloaded under the “Extracurricular Programs and Events� page on the Honors College website. Applications are due by Friday, February 7 at 5pm to Ambassadors are selected based on their application and an interview with a panel of current honors ambassadors. Final selections are made by the Director of the Honors College.

May 2014 Graduates: Honors Certificate Applications Due

In order to participate in the Honors Convocation, students must apply for their Honors Certificate no later than the end of the third week of classes in their final semester (February 7th by 5pm). The application can be found here:

Please print and complete this form and return it to 210 Lowry Hall. Copies are also available in 210 Lowry Hall.

Students who complete 20 or more hours of courses for honors credit and maintain a 3.3 cumulative GPA (as calculated after final grades are posted at the end of the semester in which the student is graduating) are eligible to graduate with an Honors Certificate. The 20 hours may include any number of General Honors and Departmental Honors course credits but no more than 6 hours of honors transfer credit, 8 hours of Learning-by-Contract credit, and 8 hours of approved graduate credit (form required). Students must achieve a minimum letter grade for each course: a C or better for regular honors or graduate courses or a B or better for Learning-by-Contract courses. Students must apply for the Honors Certificate by completing the application. In order to participate in the Honors Convocation, students must apply no later than the end of the third week of classes in their final semester. Information about the Honors Certificate and the application process can be found here:

Honors College Scholarships Due February 28th

Honors College Scholarship applications are due by 4pm on the final Friday in February (February 28, 2014). Application packets require a MU faculty recommendation, current transcript, and essay.

More information can be found here:

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Honors College Spring Awards Ceremony and Reception SAVE THE DATE A Celebration of Honors: The Honors College Spring Awards Ceremony and Reception Friday, April 4th, 4:00-5:30pm, Monsanto Auditorium

Come and help us celebrate the faculty, students, and administrators who contribute so much to the Honors College at the University of Missouri.

Study Sessions for Bio 1500, 2200 and 2300

Plan to attend our new Study Sessions for Bio 1500, 2200 and 2300 courses. Faculty have recommended top students from previous semesters to facilitate study sessions for each of these classes. If your students want to have an opportunity to work in small groups to better grasp concepts and learn how to apply information they are learning, this is for them. Student facilitators will provide tried and true strategies and want to help your students succeed. Bio 1500 Intro to Bio Systems—Lec 1, Dr. Joel Maruniak, Wed., 7-9 p.m., 106 Lefevre Bio 2200 Genetics—Lec 1, Dr. John David, Wed., 7-9 p.m., 116 Lefevre Bio 2200 Genetics—Lec 2, Dr. Paula McSteen, Mon., 6-8 p.m., 116 Lefevre Bio 2300 Cell Biology—Lec 1, Dr. Anand Chandrasekhar, Tues., 7-9 p.m., 116 Lefevre Bio 2300 Cell Biology—Lec 2, Dr. Michael Garcia, Tues., 7-9 p.m., 8 Tucker

Students will also have the opportunity to attend the Learning Center Help sessions for each of the above classes every Tues/Thurs 5-7 p.m. in Middlebush 211 as well as Sundays 1-3 p.m. on the SSC Main Floor.

Faculty-Led Study Abroad Information Sessions

The International Center will be hosting several information sessions for the summer 2014 faculty-led study abroad programs. Below is a list of the scheduled sessions:

- Exploring the Northern Renaissance: Dutch and Flemish Art in Netherlands/Belgium | led by Mark Langeneckert Monday, Feb. 3, 3 p.m. in 2206A Student Center | - French Language and Culture in France | led by Daniel Sipe Monday, Feb. 3, 4 p.m. in 2206A Student Center | - Rome: From Fascism to Liberation in Italy | led by Linda Reeder Tuesday, Feb. 4, 3 p.m. in 2205A&B Student Center | - English Architecture and Literary Landscapes in the United Kingdom | led by Elizabeth Hornbeck & Noah Heringman Tuesday, Feb. 4, 4 p.m. in 2205A&B Student Center | - Developing Dynamics of Democracy in Belgium/Netherlands | led by Marvin Overby Wednesday, Feb. 5, 3 p.m. in S203 Memorial Union | - Global Seminars in Ireland | led by William Kerwin and James Scott Speaking of Culture Wednesday, Feb. 5, 4 p.m. in S203 Memorial Union | Sunday, Feb. 9, 2-2:50pm internation Orr Street Studios, 106 Orr St. - From the Bronze Age to the Byzantine Empire in Greece | Speaker: Libby Cowgill, Dept. of Anthropology led by Michael Barnes Thursday, Feb. 6, 4 p.m. in S203 Memorial Union | “Mating Matters: A Valentine’s Day Primer on Human Coupling”

Upcoming Passport Event

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Celebrating 175 Years 1843

MU has its first two graduates.


1885 1870

The College of Agriculture is established.


Women are admitted for the first time, but are limited to the Normal College.

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Women are admitted to the university outside of the Normal College.

Research by Kate Maxcy.



The tradition The veterinary science MU entomologists find of homecomdepartment establishes that cattle ticks cause ing is celethe first vaccine-virus deadly fever and discover brated for the first time. lab in the U.S. how to exterminate it.


The first residence hall and intercollegiate athletics are established.


Walter Williams establishes the world’s first school of journalism.

Photo by Kate Maxcy.

MU will mark its 175th anniversary on the university’s Founder’s Day -- February 11. A celebratory event will be held at the Student Center, according to Mizzou magazine. Here’s a quick look at how far the university’s come in the last 175 years:

1968 1950

Black students are admitted.


Faculty scientists conduct a soilerosion study, which leads to research which focuses on erosion and drought across the U.S.

The Legion of Black Collegians is created and is still the only black student government in the country..


The Missouri Students Association (MSA) is created.


Dr. Fred Robbins receives the Nobel Prize for research that leads to a polio vaccine. MU’s baseball team wins the College World Series, the first-ever national championship in any team sport for the school.


The nuclear research reactor, a world-class facility, is completed.


MU joins the Southeastern Conference


The MU Veterans Center opens

Sources:, Google Images

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Celebrating 175 Years

A history of development and achievement MU looks back on 175 years of growth By Congrong Zheng around the remnants of the building, and the six columns became the most recognizable symbol of MU. By 1890, the university had expanded to include schools of arts and science, medicine and law. In 1908, the world’s first journalism school, the Missouri School of Journalism, was founded by Walter Williams. With the Missouri Method of teaching students through real-world media experience, the Missouri School Journalism has often been ranked the best journalism school in the U.S., with a daily city newspaper, an NBC-affiliate TV station, one of National Public Radio’s top affiliates and the only student-staffed professional-services advertising agency in the country. In 1908, MU became one of the 34 public universities in the Association of American Universities only eight years after AAU was established. After World War II, MU’s enrollment greatly increased, and benefactors enabled the founding and expansion of hundreds of degree-granting institutions. Their generosity gave rise to programs for home economics, later renamed the College of Human Environmental Sciences; nursing, which became the Sinclair School of Nursing at 1975; and the College of Business, which is ranked among the top 50 business schools in the U.S. In 1973, the Carnegie Foundation classified MU as a Doctoral/Research University. MU shares this classification with other distinguished schools such as Harvard, Princeton and the University of Michigan, according to the MU website. With the globalization trend, MU has established over 200 global partnerships with other world-class institutes, allowing students to study abroad in numerous countries. According to the MU International Center, from 2011 to 2012, 1379 students studied abroad, placing MU in the top five percent of U.S. institutions for study abroad participation. Every day, MU is developing to face new challenges and achieving higher standards in academics. From the Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building, Chemistry Building addition and Black Walter Williams Culture Resource Center to the new residenestablished the tial hall on Virginia Avenue, the expansion world’s first of University Hospital, the moving of the school of jourMuseum of Anthropology and the Museum nalism in 1908. of Art and Archeology, MU has been creating Photo by Kate a more modern and accessible cam pus for Maxcy. students, faculty and staff.

The University of Missouri will turn 175 years old on the upcoming Founders Day, February 11, 2014. MU is one of the six American public universities with units in law, medicine and veterinary medicine on one campus. According to the magazine of the Mizzou Alumni Association, as a research institution, MU spends about $240 million annually to do basic science research and develop products that change lives, from healthful foods to a cancer treatment with no discernible side effects. With efforts from students, faculty, administrators and staff, MU boasts an open, diverse, and environmental aware campus atmosphere. As the Division of Enrollment Management records show, 36 percent of students are from a state other than Missouri or countries around the world. From 1839 to 2014, MU has developed from a cluster of “schoolhouses” to an internationally competitive higher education institution. In 1839, 900 citizens of Boone County pledged $117,921 in cash and land to win the bid to locate the new state university in Columbia, according to the university website. This investment started the history of the first public university west of the Mississippi River. The high speed growth of MU occurred in the 1870s when MU was awarded land-grant status and the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, later renamed the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, opened its doors. Today, MU is ranked one of the top 15 universities in the world of animal and plant science research. In 1892, a disastrous fire burned the academic hall. Campus grew up

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Celebrating 175 Years

A legacy of prominent alumni MU graduates include celebrities, politicians, businessmen By Kate Maxcy Since MU’s establishment in 1839, an upwards of 60 alum have distinguished themselves as some of the best and brightest individuals in the realms of science, politics, journalism, entertainment, business and athletics.

Celebrities Jon Hamm, Brad Pitt and Sheryl Crow all started their careers at MU. Pitt and Crow were involved in Greek life while Hamm was in a theater company. They are now famous actors and a singer-songwriter, respectively. Hamm and Crow graduated in 1993 and 1984, and Pitt left for Los Angeles with just two credits remaining in his journalism degree.

Trulaske College of Business, named after Robert J. Trulaske in 2004. Photo by Kate Maxcy.

Athletes David Freese, Max Scherzer and Carl Edwards represent professional teams in baseball and NASCAR. All three left before graduating from MU to pursue their respective passions. Freese and Scherzer both play in the MLB. Freese played for the St. Louis Cardinals until he was traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2013. Scherzer plays for the Detroit Tigers. Edwards races for the Roush Fenway Racing team, one of NASCAR’s largest premier teams. Two notable businessmen graduated in 1940: Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. and Sam Walton. Trulaske was most recognized for his financial support of the business school, which he donated as a way to give thanks to the school’s attribution for his success in his company, True Manufacturing. After his passing in 2004, the business school was renamed to the Trulaske College of Business in his honor. Walton founded Wal-Mart in 1962, and it has since become one of the largest retailers in the nation. While many graduates of the Missouri School of Journalism have gone on to be successful in their respective fields, a few stand out in the national headlines: John An-

derson ‘87, who has worked at ESPN for almost 15 years; Jim Lehrer ’56, the executive editor of PBS NewsHour; and on campus, Donald W. Reynolds, who was a ‘27 graduate and started one of the nation’s largest private media companies, then Donrey Media Group, now Stephens Media. The journalism building is named after Reynolds. A handful of politicians have worked in the state or national governments representing Missouri since graduating. Jay Nixon, Claire McCaskill and Ike Skelton each completed their bachelor’s and law degrees at MU. Nixon has been the governor of Missouri since 2009 and McCaskill currently serves as the senior U.S. senator. Ike Skelton served as a senator in the ‘70s and then as representative until 2011.

Three science and technology bachelors have made a name for themselves and MU during their careers. William F. Baker ‘75 contributed to the development of the tallest man-made structure in the world, which stands in Dubai. James Fergason ‘56 invented functional uses of liquid crystals and has since acquired over 100 U.S. patents to his name. Linda Godwin, who received her master’s and doctorate degrees in ‘76 and ‘80, is a former astronaut and participated in four space flights with NASA. She is currently a professor in the physics and astronomy department.


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124 years of athletic tradition

Photo by Jacob Renie.

By Jacob Renie

The University of Missouri has a long and storied athletic tradition dating back to 1890 when the university formed its first football team. The following year saw to the beginning of what would become one of college football’s oldest and most heated rivalries when Missouri met the University of Kansas on the gridiron for the first time. These two teams would continue to play each year until just two years ago when MU moved into the SEC. “It goes back to the Civil War and the way that some of these border states and areas were fought over on almost a daily basis,” said Benjamin Arnet of the Mizzou Network. “It goes back to that and whenever the universities started competing, the rivalry carried over to the field.” Missouri currently holds the lead in the Border War in both football and baseball, while Kansas controls basketball. This rivalry has many times featured key wins. Back in 1960, Missouri was ranked No. 1 for the first time, only to have it taken away by a loss to Kansas which was later ruled a forfeit to Missouri. Unfortunately, this game is

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what kept Missouri out of the national title that year. In 2007, Chase Daniels led the Tigers to another No. 1 ranking with the defeat of Kansas. In a game against the Jayhawks, Mizzou also hosted the first ever homecoming in 1911 when Chester Brown invited alumni to come home for the big game at the end of the season. Tiger basketball had its first ever game in January 1907 and since then has made 26 NCAA Tournament appearances and won eight conference titles. MU had its first ever gold medal Olympian in 1920 in the form of sprinter Jackson Scholz. Scholz won the 4x40 relay in 1920 and the 200-meter dash in 1924. Ben Askren, another Olympian, said in his Missouri Hall of Fame acceptance speech that, “No athlete that comes here has to worry about [if they can win] anymore. They can come here and be confident.” Askren won first place in wrestling at MU in 2006 and 2007 before qualifying for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In 1935, the great Don Faurot won his very first game as Missouri football’s new head coach. From there Faurot went on to win 101 games and turned the Tigers into a true football force. “[Don Faurot] really set the foundation for Mizzou football,” Arnet said. “He was the guy that came in and made us into a major college football team.” Since Faurot, only Gary Pinkel has more wins. Pinkel passed Faurot just this year with a Cotton Bowl victory over Oklahoma State in a season where the Tigers went from unranked at the start of the year to winning the SEC East and finishing fifth in the nation, Missouri’s second highest finish ever. MU’s first national championship came in 1954 when the baseball team won the College World Series. The Tiger baseball program has been to the College World Series six times and won its conference 20 times, including 2012, which was its last year in the Big 12. The Tiger track and field team won Missouri’s second NCAA championship in 1965. Despite two championships, MU’s greatest accomplishment could argu-

Sources: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mizzou: the magazine of the Mizzou Alumni Association

ably have been in 1956 when Al Abrams Jr. became the first African-American to receive an athletic scholarship. He played basketball for three years at Missouri. The following year in 1957 MU took another huge step forward and offered Norris Stevenson an athletic scholarship. Stevenson, who was the Tigers’ first African-American scholarship football player, is still honored today with a banner of his image in the athletic conference center. During Stevenson’s time at MU, the football team also finished fifth in the nation which was, up until 2007, the highest they ever finished. That 2007 football team is what put MU on the map with a fourth place finish. “As a fan, what that did is it made the idea that Mizzou football can compete for a national championship real,” Arnet said. “It kind of all started with that 2007 team.” A couple of years later MU hosted ESPN GameDay in 2010 for homecoming against Oklahoma. The Tigers went on to upset the Sooners and GameDay recorded its highest attendance ever. In 2012, the SEC welcomed Missouri into its fold and the university has since embraced its new elite athletic conference. “It puts you right there among the elite schools in virtually every sport,” Arnet said on joining the SEC. “There is so Photos by Jacob Renie.

much competition across the board. It’s caused us to raise our game in virtually everything we do.” For an example Arnet pointed out the volleyball team, who went undefeated this year and won the SEC. What many people don’t know though is that the volleyball program has been top notch since its birth in 2000. Along with its debut season, the Tigers have reached the NCAA tournament 11 of its 13 seasons of existence. Like the football team, they suffered a hard entrance into the SEC last year in 2012, but more than made up for it the following year. Though the athletic program is younger than the university, the Tigers will also reflect on its rich history in 2014.

The Seventh Column Olympics about more than just winning By Jacob Renie I absolutely love the Olympics. I love its spirit, its competitors, and what it symbolizes. The idea that all the countries of the world can come together for two weeks and forget their differences is uniquely unlike any other. The Olympic creed states, “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well.” This ideal is greater than any one athlete. It’s about representing your country and showing true patriotism. Some of the greatest, and saddest, stories come out of the Olympics each year. Take Tracy Barns for example. She gave up her spot on the U.S. biathlon team this year to none other than her twin sister, Lanny Barnes. Both twins competed in the 2006 Winter Games and Lanny Barnes made it to Vancouver four years ago, but she fell short this year due in part to an illness on the day of the trials. It is because of this that Tracy Barnes gave up her spot to whom she believes is the better Olympian. “It shows if you care enough about someone, you’re willing to sacrifice everything,” Lanny Barnes said in a recent interview with USA Today. “This is her dream, what she’s been talking about her entire life. It shows true Olympic spirit. The Olympics are not always about gold medals, she showed that with her decision.” On the opposite end of the spectrum are bobsledders Emily Azevedo and Katie Eberling, who spoke out against Lolo Jones receiving the third and final spot on the women’s bobsled team. “I should have been working harder on gaining Twitter followers than gaining muscle mass,” Emily Azevedo bitterly told USA Today. “I feel this year there was a certain agenda,” Katie Eberling said, also in an interview with USA Today. “It’s no fault of my teammates. There’s been a lot of inconsistencies and that makes you wonder what’s going on. It’s not right.” This bitterness has no place in the Olympics. Honestly, the Olympics are not about any one athlete. Sure there are big headliners like Michael Phelps, Abby Wambach, and Usain Bolt, but ultimately it’s about the colors you’re wearing. That being said, these athletes are the best of the best. The Olympic motto states “Citius, Altius, Fortius,” which is Latin for “Swifter, Higher, Stronger.” These people from every country had to fight to make it to Sochi and no matter the outcome, they deserve the respect that their hard work has earned them. Hopefully this year we shall see many U.S. competitors chomping down on some hardware, but if not, at least they competed. And that’s what matters most: the journey, not the destination.

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FACULTY a variety of economics courses over the years, including Health Economics, Law and Economics, Political Economics, and, recently, a one-credit seminar course called Economics After Dark. This semester, he is teaching an Intermediate Microeconomics course, a senior capstone course, and the Honors General Economics course— the latter of which he has taught for the past five years. Outside of his teaching career, Photo by Kelsie Schrader. he is a father of two— an 11-year-old and a 13-year-old—whose severalyears-old drawings he keeps hung up around his office so as not to hurt their feelings. The 1051 Honors Economics course is a popular course for many honors students, especially those majoring in Professor Jeff Milyo on his Honors Journalism. In fact, the section Economics course Milyo has taught for the past several years is designated as By Kelsie Schrader primarily for Journalism majors. The other section encompasses a wider variety of For a professor of Economics, Professor students and majors. One of Milyo’s students, freshman Kate Jeff Milyo exhibits an unusual enthusiasm for throwing money around. One student Hargis, commented that the lessons in even allegedly made $112 in class from Milyo’s class are very applied and that the Milyo. Here’s the catch: students can- class is interactive. Milyo, she added, “renot simply hope to show up in class and ally engages the class. He’s humorous, but leave with a heavy wallet. No, he or she he really knows what he’s talking about. must first learn the lesson Milyo is in- He’s always willing to help students out.” troducing—this seemingly nonsensical Senior Jeanna Hoffman agreed, saying handing out of money is all in the name that she definitely trusts Milyo and his knowledge of each topic. of knowledge. Rather than two- or three- hundred Professor Milyo has taught college economics for nearly twenty years, spending students listening to lectures for the enten of those years at MU. He has taught tire period, Milyo appreciates the small-

When college pays (well)

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er class size, which allows for his sections to play games and engage in discussion. Milyo often utilizes stories from his own life to provide the students with a “practical application of theoretical material.” Hoffman fully understands this—on the first day of class, she made $112. “I didn’t give it to her,” Milyo said. “She had to earn it.” Hoffman recalls eating somewhere between nine and fifteen granola bars, though things started to get a little hazy halfway through. Milyo paid her more and more to eat granola bar after granola bar to illustrate the law of diminishing marginal utility—which essentially says the satisfaction derived from a specific good decreases the more it is consumed. The practicality of the lesson is something Hoffman is sure she will never forget. However, she believes that she will probably not to eat any granola bars for a while. Milyo says it is also common for him to make bets using his own money with students as to whether they really read this and that in their textbook or if they are maybe mistaken. In addition, he says he tries to make his own mistakes into class lessons, such as if he missed an appointment with a student.

His mistakes become lessons of economic concepts that will be memorable to the class. Milyo says the honors course is also unique from the regular courses in terms of interactions and familiarity. “The students can ask their questions very easily of me rather than have to go to a TA,” Milyo said. He also gets to know the students, making the class a little less adversarial than other courses may be. Additionally, one of the main differences between the honors course and regular economics courses is the intensiveness. Since it is a five-credit course that combines both microeconomics and macroeconomics, there is more information to grasp in a shorter period of time. Milyo helps students out by telling several stories and providing extra material that is not so much essential to exam success, but makes the information more applicable to life. In the future, Milyo would like to try to develop a history of economics course, an environmental economics course, and possibly the Economics After Dark course—the latter of which would be made a regular offering rather than just a onetime-course. However, the resources that would allow for the creation of these courses are currently limited, so the development of such courses

would take place several years from now. Student excitement and curiosity are some of Milyo’s favorite aspects of teaching on the whole. “The first few classes—seeing the new students, and there’s kind of an excitement there,” Milyo said. He also likes teaching the Principles of Economics course, which typically contains freshmen, versus his senior capstone course. To Milyo, this contrast is interesting because the freshmen seem very intellectually engaged and curious while the seniors seem to have much more on their minds. Milyo offered a few words of advice to students. First, that every student should

take Principles of Economics, as it is very practical and useful in the lives of all. Next, he says honors students especially should “be proactive in asking questions and talking to their professors.” Finally, he believes it is very important for students to view their role as “student” as their full-time job. Many of Milyo’s students have praised him as being informative yet interesting. His use of stories, games, and real-life examples to teach his lessons has helped students to be successful both in and out of his class. And as Hoffman said, “How can you not enjoy a class that makes you that much money on the first day?”

Freshman Kate Hargis works diligently on her economics homework. Photo by Kelsie Schrader. Even though his children are much older now, Professor Miylo keeps their pictures hung up around his office. Photo by Kelsie Schrader.

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Dr. West on

Honors Colleges The following article by Dr. Nancy M. West was printed in The Chronicle of Higher Education on January 31, 2014. The piece is entitled “What’s the Point of an Honors College, Anyway?” At a baseball game two summers ago, as other parents cheered on their kids, I argued about the value of an honors college with the father of my son’s teammate, whom I’ll call Tyler.

Tyler’s dad is the kind of parent who blares constant “advice” to the coach and points out the mistakes of every child on the team but his own. Between innings, he asked what I did for a living. When I told him I had just been appointed to direct the Honors College at the University of Missouri, he sneered. “My ex-wife wants our oldest son to enroll in that, but I’m opposed. He plans to be a doctor. He needs good grades. He shouldn’t be taking harder classes.”

Then he looked me straight in the eye and asked, “What’s the point of an honors college, anyway?” It was hot, and I wanted to smack him. So I gave him a snooty answer about how I thought “any parent would want his child to challenge himself.” Needless to say, he didn’t respond well. That exchange turned out to be the first of many conversations I’ve had about the value of an honors college. Like Tyler’s dad, though more politely, prospective students express concern that the challenge of an honors curriculum will jeopardize their GPAs, and therefore their chances of finding a job or getting into graduate school. So do their parents. Some people on campus bristle at the “elitism” of honors colleges, uncomfortable with the notion of singling out students for special attention and benefits. Both of these viewpoints are understandable. More distressing has been my realization that the honors college often needs to be defended to administrators, from department chairs upward. Honors education has never been a cost-effective enterprise, given its demands for quality instruction, small classes, enhanced opportunities, and personalized service to students. As more and more colleges gravitate toward larger classes and online delivery, honors now seems like a luxury they can no longer afford.

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We need then to think about honors colleges in a way that deals with current anxieties and economic pressures. And we need to state their value so that it can resonate with many people, even Tyler’s dad.

So what is the point of an honors college? There are two ways to answer that question. The first is in terms of students. Most high-ability students need individual attention. Honors colleges provide that. More important, they promote the value of striving for the best one can do. In an academic culture tainted by grade inflation, honors colleges celebrate true accomplishment, instilling in students the pride that comes with being thoroughly in earnest about their education.

As to GPA concerns: My experience has been that honors students often do better in their honors courses than in their nonhonors courses. The reasons for this success are partly the quality of the instruction, partly the mentoring students receive from professors, but mainly the firepower that comes from putting smart, motivated students together. In the words of Rachel Harper, who coordinates our honors humanities series, “Surrounded by other highachieving and curious students—both in their classes and in their living arrangements—honors students feel pressure

in the best of ways to do well.”

actions than those we have at home or our regular workplaces.

Honors is thus the “natural home of pure “These shared areas have played an outsized role in the history of new meritocracy,” as my colleague David ideas,” observes Oldenburg. And yet compared with other countries, Setzer argues. Universities need such a America does not place much importance on third places. And what’s home more than ever. While colleges be- true of our country is also true of our universities. Faculty and staff come more like companies, and “excel- rarely venture beyond the buildings that house their departments. lence” increasingly refers to University officials sequester themselves in spacious financial success, surely we offices located within buildings populated exclusively can justify the value of an The answers I’ve by administrative offices. And students—too many of honors college by guaranthem these days—go from their classrooms to their teeing that it remains one articulated here all part-time jobs to their apartments. space on the campus where deep thought flourishes, arrive at the same Universities need third places in order for new kinds and where “excellence” still research and thinking to propagate. Honors collegconclusion, which of possesses meaning. es, meanwhile, need a new identity in order to sucis that the “point cessfully assert their value in the future. The other way to answer the question of an honors of an honors col- Thinking about honors colleges as third places gives college’s value is in terms us a new and nonelitist way of asserting their value to lege” is its idealism. a university. It reinforces how they can serve as spacof its benefit to a university. For one, honors colleges enes of creativity; conversation; intellectualism; collegiHonors represents hance the prestige of their ality. It also reinforces their potential as homes of inuniversities by enrolling terdisciplinarity. Like all third places, honors colleges higher education at high-achieving students are neutral ground, separate from departments and who provide a leavening inyet in the business of serving them all; as such, they its best and most fluence on the campus and provide an ideal space for the kind of “in between” then go on to achieve great collaboration required by interdisciplinary work. aspirational. things. Honors colleges are where team-teaching—that activity we all say we should do more of but can’t beThey also have the potential to serve cause of departmental restrictions—really can happen. as a “third place” for their universities. In 1989, the sociologist Ray Oldenburg This spring, thanks to the cooperation of the art history and English coined the term “third place” to refer to departments, I’m team-teaching an honors course called “Thinking environments, separate from work and About Color” with two other professors. The course is wildly interhome, which people visit frequently and disciplinary, focusing on subjects like Technicolor and the history of voluntarily. Examples include coffee- mauve. Our planning meetings for the course have been electrifying, houses, cafes, salons, and the Internet. intellectually and pedagogically. And in each meeting, ideas for collaborative research bubble up. I can’t remember ever feeling this creAlthough they vary wildly in look and ative, or collegial, about my teaching. feel, third places share certain fundamental traits. They act as social level- The answers I’ve articulated here all arrive at the same conclusion, ers, discounting class status as a mark- which is that the “point of an honors college” is its idealism. Honer of social significance. Their mood is ors represents higher education at its best and most aspirational. If playful; their atmosphere is warm and I could replay that dreadful conversation with Tyler’s dad from two friendly. They promote group creativity years ago, that is what I’d tell him. and lively conversation. Most important, they serve as anchors of a community, I’d also point out that my son, Silas, hit a double that day. fostering broad and less scripted inter-

- - | 14 explorate

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Source Unknown

February 3, 2014 |

explōrāte - Feb. 3, 2014  

explōrāte is the bi-weekly newsletter of the Honors College at the University of Missouri.

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