Nov. 19, 2013

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There is always a reason to be thankful.

At Missouri S&T, we have at least 8,130 — one for every student enrolled at Rolla this fall. It's the highest enrollment in our history, and it's on my list of things I'm grateful for.

S&T students are thankful, too. Many of them expressed their thanks through a photo campaign called Project Thankful. Their responses ranged from "awesome" professors to the many opportunities they have on campus.

What are you thankful for? I'd love to hear your thoughts about this season. You could see your tweet, photo or comment on our thankful site. To submit an original photo or message that expresses your gratitude, use the #ThankfulMiners hashtag on Twitter or on Instagram.

On the subject of being thankful, there are a few stories I'd like to share with you.

S&T on a national stage
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Last week I returned from Washington, D.C., where I served on a panel discussing strategic planning and student affairs at the annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. I was proud to represent Missouri S&T and even more proud that our strategic plan is being held up as a national model.

Even though student affairs isn't always the first division that comes to mind when planning for the future, as I shared with attendees, you can't successfully execute a universitywide plan like ours without involving student affairs. This division, which on our campus includes wellness, disability support, athletics, housing, student activities and other areas, has a complex understanding of our students. Our student affairs staff helps us get to the heart of what our students need — not just want — and how we can ensure they succeed and, by extension, how the institution succeeds.

Elementary education teaching certification announced
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Last week I also had the opportunity to share with more than 700 Missouri school teachers some exciting news: Beginning next fall, we will offer a STEM-focused elementary education teaching certification.

I broke the news at Missouri's annual Project Lead The Way meeting, which Gov. Jay Nixon also attended. As I shared with the audience, this new certification will allow us to begin training a whole new cohort of elementary school teachers with a STEM specialty, expanding high-quality math and science education to our youngest and most impressionable students. This unique approach to certification includes extensive field and clinical experience in collaboration with Rolla Public Schools during junior and senior years.

All of our elementary education teachers will graduate with a math specialization, science specialization or both and will have an opportunity to work with our 18 STEM-focused summer camps and Project Lead The Way.

Recognizing faculty excellence
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The final bit of news I'll share is about our faculty, whom I am thankful for every day.

Last month it was announced that four of our distinguished faculty members will receive Faculty Excellence Awards. The awards are given annually to recognize excellence in teaching, research and service. Each award winner will receive a $3,000 stipend funded by industry and alumni contributions. Click here to see the winners.

Additionally, 31 faculty members received the Outstanding Teaching Award for 2012-2013 on Monday. The Outstanding Teaching Award is given each year to faculty members by the Outstanding Teaching Award Committee, which bases its selections on student evaluations. Click here to see the winners.

Congratulations to all our awardees! These individuals help to make S&T such a high-quality, unique learning institution.

Missouri University of Science and Technology