Friday, April 21, 2023
Dedicated students, distinguished colleagues and dear friends,
In the last of my series of three historical accounts of S&T’s metamorphosis from the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy (MSM) to the University of Missouri-Rolla (UMR) to S&T, I wish to present to you a lesser-known deep dimension of S&T. You see, for over 150 years we have been known for our engineering programs due to a solid reputation of producing “career-ready” graduates. But there is more to S&T, much more, and here is the rest of our story.
Did you know that many of our non-engineering programs predate many of our engineering programs? Or that many of our humanities, liberal arts, physical science and social science programs were around before the creation of many engineering disciplines anywhere? Did you know that, as early as 1893, our faculty were teaching English literature, English history, German, U.S. history and psychology? Our physics department was established in 1892, mathematics in 1897, and this year marks the 130th anniversary of our chemistry department. History and political science, biological sciences, psychological science, and English and technical communication have offered undergraduate and graduate degrees for decades.
In fact, our College of Arts, Sciences and Education (CASE) consists of nine departments that offer more than 85 different academic options including certificates, minors, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees taught by 40% of S&T’s faculty members. CASE also is home to our Army and Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) programs. Three new Ph.D. programs in biological sciences, psychological science and technical communication will soon be added, and 2023 applications to all CASE majors are up 63% compared to 2022. Fully 100% of our spring 2022 teacher education graduates are employed as Missouri teachers in their certification area. Graduates of our biology and psychological science programs are well-positioned for careers, with above-average starting salaries. CASE’s new B.S. in environmental science is gaining interest with the added benefit of hands-on learning and research at our Ozark Research Field Station. Students involved in our ROTC programs also consistently receive their top choice in placement for the military, and our chemistry Ph.D. graduates are landing six-figure jobs with major companies.
CASE’s 2022 annual report highlights many of its academic and scholarly awards and recognitions. Women students make up 49% of all current students in CASE, a healthy double the university average. In fact, our first woman faculty member, Dr. Ida Bengtson, taught bacteriology, not engineering, in the 1920s. This was before many of our nation’s universities even admitted women students.
Prominent CASE alumni include three NASA astronauts, the president of Bell Labs during its most innovative era, successful entrepreneurs, leaders of the Apollo space program and Sandia National Laboratories, renowned physicians in anesthesiology and sports medicine, military leaders, astrophysicists involved in capturing the first images of black holes and identifying exoplanets, and even our own CASE faculty, just to name a few.
Our arts, languages and philosophy department provides an important creative outlet for students of all majors by offering opportunities to perform in band, choir, orchestra and theater. Plus, they provide top-notch entertainment for our community!
CASE’s faculty includes an award-winning orchestra composer and military historian as well as researchers investigating music’s ability to improve memory in older adults, sustainable aviation fuels and the chemistry of nanomaterials, among many other areas.
The case for CASE is self-evident with deep, historical roots and generations of scientists, artists and humanists who have enriched this wonderful institution. In addition to their stellar research, discovery and innovation, our humanities and social sciences faculty have created fertile intersections with our engineering and business education. The integration of humanities, natural sciences and social sciences into our curricula has better enabled our graduates to design, develop and implement ever-more-powerful tools and devices AND, at the same time, contemplate the human dimension of their work and articulate answers to profound questions related to climate change, automations, artificial intelligence and engineering ethics, to name a few. From combat drones and space vehicles to autonomous systems to nanotechnology to synthetic organisms, our inventors follow the norms of acceptable uses of technology closely.
Thanks in no small measure to the efforts of our colleagues in CASE’s human-centered disciplines, our future technical inventors and innovators are better aware of many non-technical dimensions of their work. Through their teaching and research our CASE colleagues remind us daily of the power of the written word, the wisdom of ancient philosophers, the astonishing nature of the human psyche and the importance of learning the lessons of history.
We are grateful for the current and historical contributions of our CASE colleagues who have helped define us more fully as an institution of creativity, innovation and “imagineering.”
-Mo.Share your thoughts!
Check out the latest news from S&T:
206 Parker Hall, 300 West 13th Street, Rolla, MO 65409-0910