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Thu, October 15, 2015

Homecoming festivities start next week!

I have heard from several of our alumni near and far that they plan to attend this year’s Homecoming festivities, and I’m looking forward to seeing each and every one of you back home next week.

This year’s theme is “MinerFest,” a fall festival event. The Homecoming lineup includes a variety of alumni events and department open houses. And don’t forget a slide rule competition and results from the Hackathon for Humanity project!

Seven exceptional Miners will be honored at this year’s events. Learn more about them and their lasting legacy here.

One celebration I’m particularly looking forward to is the Computer Science Golden Jubilee. Our computer science program was the first of its kind in the state and is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Huzzah!

Another celebration that is a certain success is the 30th Anniversary of the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on African-American Recruitment and Retention.

Search beginning for new vice provost and dean

As you may have heard, on Friday Dr. Ian Ferguson, vice provost and dean of the College of Engineering and Computing, submitted his resignation due to personal and family health concerns. The effective date is immediate. Dean Ferguson helped establish the new College of Engineering and Computing last year as its first academic leader. With his vision, he helped guide many important activities during his tenure.

He will complete the calendar year on a leave of absence and will return to the faculty in the electrical and computer engineering department. I know he is anxious to continue to serve Missouri S&T when he returns. In the coming days, we will begin the process of searching for someone to fill this important leadership position. In the interim, please join me in wishing Dr. Ferguson and his family well.

Nest Home soars in early voting

As of the writing of this newsletter, the Missouri S&T Nest Home is ranked third in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathalon. So far, it has been judged on four out of 10 criteria, and a final ranking is expected next week.

I had an opportunity to see the home in Irvine, California, and meet U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who toured our home last week. It was clear that Secretary Moniz was impressed by the creativity of our team, and I could not be more proud of our Solar House Design Team and its advisors who made it happen. Learn more and check out a video of the home here.

Ongoing thought leadership in higher ed

It has already been a busy season of meeting with policymakers and community leaders to discuss some of the big issues in higher education. In September, I was a featured speaker at the Central Banking Series hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. At the event, I spoke about challenges in higher education and what we're doing at Missouri S&T to adapt to the changing landscape in higher education. The photo above shows what is called the "iron triangle" in higher education and illustrates the delicate balance of quality, cost and access.

On Friday, I will participate in a panel discussion about bringing more women into computer science at the Southern Governors’ Association annual meeting, which is being held this year in St. Louis. (I’m looking forward to sharing that the first individual to earn a Ph.D. in computer science at the university was a woman, Patricia McAdams, who earned her doctorate in 1977.)

Although tremendous progress has been made in the past two decades to bring more women into the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, computer science is one area where women aren’t just gaining ground – we’re losing it. I am honored to help shine a spotlight on this issue, and to raise awareness about the need to bring more individuals into the STEM fields at the state and national level.

In addition to this week’s panel, I will visit Houston, Missouri, on Nov. 6 to meet with community leaders and students as part of the Show Me Value Tour. This tour was initiated by University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe and aims to raise awareness about the value of higher education. This is especially true for Missouri S&T students. Last year, our undergraduates had an average starting salary of $63,350, among the highest in the nation.

Did you know?

Now in its 18th year, the Haunted Mine is the same age as some of our first-year students. The Haunted Mine, located at the Missouri S&T Experimental Mine, is open on select nights through the end of the month, with an early walkthrough for kids starting at 4 p.m. The spooktacular tradition benefits several student organizations and societies. Learn more here.

Whether you're able to come to campus in the coming weeks, or just visit in spirit, I hope you have a safe and enjoyable harvest season.

Warmest regards,

Cheryl B. Schrader, Ph.D.
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