Vol. 25 No. 7 - September 28, 2020


  • Students Spread Love of Reading to Local Children

    Students (from left) Annika Lawless, Lillian Conger, Sydney Bowman and Addy Inlow celebrate the inaugural Kids Reading Corner event. Each Saturday from Sept. 19 through Oct. 31, Truman students will take turns reading to kids on the lawn outside of the courthouse during the farmers’ market in downtown Kirksville.

    Sept. 19 marked the first of what will be many events during the next few months where new Truman students promote literacy to area children.

    Freshmen Sydney Bowman, Lillian Conger, Addy Inlow and Annika Lawless created the Kids’ Reading Corner, which debuted at the Kiwanis Farmers’ Market in downtown Kirksville, Sept. 19. The students took turns reading to children, and they brought age-appropriate books for older children as well. After setting up camp on the courthouse lawn – complete with balloons, blankets and pillows – area youngsters stopped by the inaugural Kids’ Reading Corner while their parents and guardians were at the farmers’ market.

    “Going into this project I was going to be happy even if we only had one kid throughout the whole project,” Conger said. “For me, it’s not about how many kids we get to read to, but how many kids we get to interact with and brighten their day in these hard times.”

    Kids’ Reading Corner is the product of TRU 100: READ, a one-hour action component of Truman’s First-Year Experience Symposium. As part of the class, students are responsible for developing and implementing a literacy outreach project for Kirksville children, pre-K through fifth grade. Sarah Mohler, associate professor of English, created the class with a lofty goal in mind.

    “Children who read or who are read to from a young age develop stronger language and cognitive reasoning skills while also exhibiting better emotional regulation and greater empathy for others. The benefits can last a lifetime,” Mohler said.

    Kids’ Reading Corner is one of 13 literacy outreach projects brainstormed by students in Mohler’s class. Other upcoming projects organized by the 100 freshmen in the class will support the Adair County Public Library, the Bruce Normile Juvenile Center, the Kirksville R-III School District and even an area laundromat, among others. Some students will also be recording books read aloud to be shared on the public library’s YouTube channel.

    READ is one of nine different TRU 100 courses in the First-Year Experience Symposium, each with a different overarching goal. Most of the students in READ selected it due to their own personal interests.

    “I chose this course for my TRU 100 class because I have always loved to read, and picking up a good book has just always been comforting to me,” Bowman said. “I also hope we influence the children on their perspective of reading and get them excited about it.”

    For Inlow and Conger, the class also has the potential to help them in their future careers. Inlow plans to be a nurse and thought the experience could help her when working with children. Conger has her sights set on a career as an elementary teacher.

    “Experience is super important to me, and being able to take a class freshman year that will help me learn about children’s literature and allow me to gain more experience with kids is just what I need,” Conger said.

    Career experience is one of many potential benefits with the TRU 100 courses. They were also designed in part to help Truman students engage with their fellow classmates and their new home.

    “Early engagement with service-learning will connect them with the Kirksville community earlier in their careers at Truman,” Mohler said. “Service-learning can be a powerful, transformative learning experience. Many students at Truman have done service-learning as part of their upper-level coursework, but I am so glad students have been given the opportunity to engage in service-learning in their very first semester at Truman.”

    All four students behind the Kids’ Reading Corner felt the class has already enabled them make connections beyond campus boundaries.
    “Participating in this class has made me feel like part of the community because I am able to reach out and talk to people from all over town,” Lawless said.

    In a little more than a month, there were other noticeable changes among students in the READ course. Margaret King serves as a preceptor for the course and has witnessed firsthand how the class can assist in students getting comfortable in their new surroundings.

    “Like all freshmen, they started off a tad shy and unsure about college. A lot of them were overwhelmed as well,” King said. “From what I have witnessed during these six short weeks as a preceptor so far, the TRU 100 symposium is allowing first-year students to develop leadership, organizational and professional skills, while also allowing them to use their creative and social skills to design and carry out these projects. It is not only letting them build relationships in the Kirksville community, but helping them develop long-lasting friendships with other students as well, which I can see is helping many of them find their place here at Truman.”

    Other TRU 100 courses are exploring such topics as hunger in Adair County, increasing sustainability efforts, assisting with the Forest Lake Area Trail System (FLATS) and addressing how art can celebrate and strengthen community. Future outreach efforts through TRU 100 courses will be highlighted in the Truman Today.
  • To Infinity and Beyond: Planetarium Programming Fits Many Needs

    Jared Young and Stephanie Russell project images for a show on the dome of the planetarium. The pair worked together to create a custom show for Russell’s class highlighting the impacts of climate change, urban sprawl and other man-made and natural geographic features of Earth.

    Truman’s Del and Norma Robison Planetarium has the capability to take visitors on a virtual journey throughout the universe. It’s also a good place to look at things happening right here on the ground.

    While planetariums are typically associated with the heavens, programming can be adapted to fit a variety of needs. Truman’s planetarium has featured the seven wonders of the world, laser shows set to popular music, poetry readings and theatre events, to name just a few.   

    “What the planetarium can provide goes beyond general space exploration. The planetarium serves as a hub for liberal arts education,” said Jared Young, planetarium director. “Any department on campus can utilize the planetarium, and with the assistance of our staff, can build custom content to fit curricular needs. We’ve had professors build content for their courses, and students build content for class assignments.”

    Young has helped coordinate original programming to fulfill multiple requests. Recently, he and Stephanie Russell, a visiting professor of history, were invited to participate in the Digistar Usergroup Conference and present on the custom-built geography show created for Russell’s class last year. Digistar is the software used in the Robison Planetarium, along with more than 2,000 other venues in more than 50 countries.

    “Developing the show was such a rewarding, collaborative process,” Russell said. “Jared and I both were sort of figuring out what could be done. I had no idea what we could make, and, apparently, we’re doing something new with this software. That feels really good.”

    Using new software installed in September 2019, Young worked weekly with Russell to create a show highlighting the impacts of climate change, urban sprawl and other man-made and natural geographic features of Earth.

    “When I contacted Digistar with a formatting question regarding show production, we were encouraged to present the show at the conference, as it is a unique use of the software,” Young said.

    Russell was not looking to be part of a groundbreaking use for the planetarium, but rather a way to help drive home course material to her students.

    “The planetarium makes an impression,” she said. “It’s one thing to point at a flat map in the book and talk about the magnitude of the Amazon River. It’s another thing, entirely, to see the scale of the water flowing into the Atlantic, and how small other rivers are in comparison. I can show a picture of an atoll, but zooming through the sky into the vastness of the Pacific to a tiny coral reef really illustrates just how precarious the position of civilization can be in many places.”

    In addition to specialized content for courses, Young and his staff have worked to create original programming for public shows. Mythology Monday, Final Frontier Friday and Stellar Saturday are all programs created in-house.

    Mythology Monday is the brainchild of Alexandra Miller, a senior history major. She builds the shows herself, doing the research and determining what visuals to include. Rachel Thompson, a senior communication major, assists Miller in planetarium operation during shows.

    Young serves as the host for Final Frontier Friday. He builds a new show each week that discusses various topics related to space exploration and discovery, such as exoplanets, star life cycles, the potential of life beyond Earth and the future of space exploration.

    Stellar Saturday shows are completely operated by planetarium student-staff. Samantha Demoor and Samuel Thomas are the usual hosts. They research different space-themed topics ahead of time to present to audiences.

    All planetarium shows encourage audience participation, which includes asking questions and suggesting places to travel.

    In a normal year, the planetarium hosts 200 hours of programming, and at least that many shows. This includes public shows, field trips, guest lectures, movie nights and events hosted by student groups for area K-12 students, such as the Language Festival and the DARTS STEAM Summit. Annually, the planetarium consistently welcomes 4,500-5,000 visitors, including 25-30 field trips per year for K-12 students from northeast Missouri. The planetarium is available for reservation by organizations and off-campus entities.

    For more information about the Del and Norma Robison Planetarium, visit planetarium.truman.edu.
  • Compost Project Seeks Food Scraps

    The Truman Compost Project wants to help you help the environment.

    Anyone can bring kitchen food scraps to the Compost Project’s public collection bin on South Elson Street, located at the Communiversity Garden site, just east of West Campus Suites. Any food material, paper towels and paper napkins are accepted, but no food packaging, plastic or pet waste.

    The Compost Project recommends using an ice cream bucket or other lidded container to save several days’ worth of kitchen scraps, then bring it to the bin.  It is also suggested to line the empty container with a paper towel before filling with scraps so it will be easier to clean.

    Rot Riders is a student-led group that offers free curb-side pickup of food scraps, then transports them to the compost bin using bicycle trailers. They can be contacted at rotriders@kvpermaculture.org.  

    Learn more about the Truman Compost Project at compost.truman.edu or follow it Facebook or Instagram.

  • Career and Grad School Week Features Virtual Events


    Career and Graduate School Week will take place Sept. 28-Oct. 2, and this year will include virtual expos highlighting opportunities for students.

    To start off the festivities, the Career Center will host an Expo Bootcamp, Sept. 29. A professional statement workshop will take place from 5-6 p.m. From 6-8 p.m., there will be a resume workshop, a presentation to register for the Career Fair and a presentation on how to do a successful interview. All of these events will take place in person in the Student Union Building Georgian Rooms and virtually with the zoom ID 991 487 901.

    Students can sign up for this expo by going to hiretruman.truman.edu and then head to “Programs and Events” to sign up for either the “Virtual Graduate and Professional School Expo” from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 30, or the “Virtual Career and Internship Expo” from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 1.

    With any questions regarding times or function of the event, go to career.truman.edu or email the Career Center at ucc3@truman.edu. These events will be accessed from #HireTruman.


  • Spring Semester Survey Coming Soon

    As current data indicate that the pandemic will continue into 2021, Truman must determine the spring semester schedule that best meets the educational and health (physical and psychological) needs of campus. To inform the decision, faculty, staff and students will be emailed a survey link asking them to rank order their preferences for one of four options. Finals week and commencement would remain the same for all options.

    Option 1: Keep Existing Schedule
    Return to Residence Halls: Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 9-10
    Classes Begin: Monday, Jan. 11
    MLK Day Break: Monday, Jan. 18
    Spring Break: Monday-Friday, March 8-12
    Term Break: Monday, April 5

    Option 2: Start a Week Later; Eliminate Spring Break
    This option would provide an opportunity for a five-week interim between semesters in which to offer classes.
    Return to Residence Halls: Saturday-Monday, Jan. 16-18
    Classes Begin: Tuesday, Jan. 19
    Term Break: Monday, April 5

    Option 3 and Option 4: Split Spring Break Across Multiple Weeks
    These two options provide alternatives that split the five days of spring break across multiple weeks. As residence halls and dining facilities are ordinarily closed during spring break, these options would result in increased costs for the University as they require additional food service days as residence halls and dining facilities would remain open on the alternative days off. To eliminate the increased costs, the first week of spring semester would be online and students would not return to the residence halls until the weekend after the first week of classes.

    Option 3: Spread Out Spring Break Days (Version A)
    Classes Begin Online for One Week: Monday, Jan. 11-15
    Return to Residence Halls: Saturday-Monday, Jan. 16-18
    MLK Day Break: Monday, Jan. 18
    Spring Break Days: Monday, March 1; Tuesday, March 9; Wednesday, March 17; Thursday, March 25
    Term Break: Friday-Monday, April 2-5

    Option 4: Spread Out Spring Break Days (Version B)
    Classes Begin Online for One Week: Monday, Jan. 11-15
    Return to Residence Halls: Saturday-Monday, Jan. 16-18
    MLK Day Break: Monday, Jan. 18
    Spring Break Days: Monday, March 1; Friday, March 12; Wednesday-Thursday, March 24-25
    Term Break: Saturday-Tuesday, April 3-6
  • Show Support with Positive Messages


    Truman students, employees, alumni, parents and friends of the University will have a new way to show their support to one another as campus nears the halfway point of an unusual semester.

    “Build Up Bulldogs” is a way for anyone to publicly share a positive, uplifting message. Words of encouragement can be shared by tagging @TrumanState on Facebook or by using the hashtag #BuildUpBulldogs on Instagram and Twitter. Messages can also be submitted online here.

    Messages can be general in nature, or can highlight the positive work of a department, employee, organization or student. Positive messages will be shared on the Truman social media wall, available at social.truman.edu. From Oct. 5-8, messages will also be projected onto the north side of the clock tower from 7-10 p.m.
  • Student Behavior Key to Truman COVID Success

    The Faculty Senate COVID-19 Working Group, composed of Nancy Daley-Moore, Scott Alberts and Christine Harker, discussed Truman-related cases for the week of Sept. 22. Click here to watch a recording of their conversation.

    Daley-Moore and Alberts also focused on the distinction between quarantine and isolation in relation to Truman numbers. Daley-Moore, who is one of the coordinators of the University’s contact tracing program, explained the procedure for identifying and managing positive tests and those who may need to be quarantined for precautionary reasons. A recording of their conversation is available here.

  • Matzo Ball Soup Orders Open

    The Jewish Student Union is selling small bowls of matzo ball soup for $4 each. One dollar of each bowl will go toward AM Housing, a charity in Kirksville working to build a homeless shelter.

    Matzo ball soup is a traditional Jewish soup. Is it typically chicken based, but can also be vegetable, with two to three matzo balls, which are like dumplings, but denser. To place an order, email JSUatTruman@gmail.com or fill out the order form here. Once 10 orders of a flavor have been places, the Jewish Student Union will make contact regarding soup delivery.
  • Retirement Reception: Dana Safley

  • IJM Hosts Pop-up Thrift Store

    International Justice Mission will host its second annual pop-up thrift store, called “Threads,” on the quad Sept. 29-30. Stop by to purchase clothes and fund rescue missions. Everyone will be required to wear masks. Hand sanitizer and gloves will be provided.

  • Symposium Open Forum Meeting

    The members of the Symposium Committee will host an open forum featuring symposium action faculty from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Sept. 30 via Zoom. A few of these faculty members were profiled at the Strategic Planning and Assessment Workshop in August. Now hear from each one of the nine faculty members involved with this new first-year experience. Learn about their initiatives, challenges and excitement on working with freshmen and mentoring upperclassmen.
  • CASE Offers Statistical Consulting


    The Center for Applied Statistics and Evaluation (CASE) is available for office hours via Zoom for all statistical consulting needs. Services are available to campus groups and projects, the Kirksville community, and the greater Northeast Missouri area.

    Consultants will be available Mondays from 10-11 a.m. and from 3:30-4:30 p.m., Tuesdays from 2-3 p.m., and Thursdays from 12:30-2:30 p.m. Online office hours are available on Zoom here or by entering the meeting ID: 929 2221 2142. More information is available at case.truman.edu. To make an appointment outside of the regular office hours email case@truman.edu.
  • Study Abroad Fair Goes Virtual

    Students can join the first-ever Virtual Study Abroad Fair from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 1. Attendees are welcome to come and go as their schedule allows. Please register ahead of time to reserve a free ticket here.

    Students can talk to members of Truman partner programs from Germany, Ireland, Czech Republic, Morocco, England, Austria and more. They can also join the panels to learn about financial aid and student life to get all of their questions answered about study abroad.

  • Food Packs Available for Students


    Drawstring packs of food are now available for Truman students experiencing food insecurity. Any student limiting their food intake due to cost is eligible to receive a pack. This semester, food packs will be slightly larger than in the past, and will offer students more food options from which to choose.

    Packs can be picked up with a Truman ID at the SERVE Center located in Student Union Building 1105 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Food is provided by Pantry for Adair County in partnership with the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, and from generous donations from the Truman community.
  • Mindful Meditation Sessions


    Every Thursday at 3 p.m. mindful meditation sessions are available on campus. Each session runs for about 15 minutes with a short survey at the end. Scan the QR code to find the location each week. Sessions are sponsored by the TRU 100 FOCUS: Mindfulness in Student Life course.

  • FAFSA Can be Filed Oct. 1


    The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be filed as early as Oct. 1 for the 2021-2022 school year at studentaid.gov.

    Even though a student may not qualify for grants or work study, all students are considered for the Federal Direct Loan (no co-signer required). Filing the FAFSA does not commit you to taking a loan, but it does allow you more options.

    The 2021-2022 FAFSA requires students to report income and tax information from an earlier tax year. For the 2021-2022 FAFSA students will use their 2019 tax information.

    It is strongly recommended to apply or renew before Feb. 1, 2021.
  • DPS and KPD Host Brown Bag Lunch Q&A

    The Truman and Kirksville police departments will host a brown bag Q&A lunch from 12-1 p.m. Oct. 1 in the Student Union Building Georgian Room B.

    Sara Seifert, Truman chief, and Steve Farnsworth, Kirksville chief, will engage students in a discussion about police services, as well as answer questions regarding policy/procedures and general safety concerns. The departments hope to share and receive information about current safety and security issues that are of concern to everyone.

    Bring a lunch and come to share thoughts or concerns about safety and police services. The goal is to provide transparency and build rapport with the Truman community by providing a better understanding of the Truman and Kirksville police departments.
  • Hamilton Choreography at the Rec

    Come learn some of the choreography from the hit musical “Hamilton.” Participants will be led through a series of stretches, a little bit of dance conditioning and be taught the choreography from the song “My Shot.” Modifications of choreography will be provided for all levels. The class will take place from 5-6 p.m. Oct. 2 in the Student Recreation Center 208. Capacity for the room is 14.

  • Krebs and Cho to Perform Faculty Recital

  • JBA Nominations Open


    School principals and guidance counselors can now nominate distinguished students for the 2021 Joseph Baldwin Academy.

    Students who will complete the 7th, 8th or 9th grade at the conclusion of the 2020-2021 academic year and who are high achievers as indicated by GPA, IQ, enrollment in gifted courses, high standardized test scores or equivalent measurement are eligible for nomination.

    Students who attended the academy last year will not need to be nominated. Their 2020 application materials will be automatically forwarded.

    Since its inception in 1985, JBA has grown to more than 400 students each summer, representing many states. JBA offers highly talented students a head start on their future university careers by allowing them to spend three weeks as college freshmen: they move into a residence hall, adapt to living with a roommate, eat dorm food, make new friends, attend classes and work with Truman faculty.

    Each JBA student enrolls in one of 20 challenging, college-level courses offered in one of two three-week sessions (June 5-26, 2021; July 10-31, 2021). In the past these classes included courses in astronomy, chemistry, equine science, biology, criminal justice, history, debate, creative writing, theatre, ceramics, visual communication, music, literature, foreign languages, computer programming, cryptology and college algebra. All JBA courses strive to meet the interdisciplinary challenge: to bring various ways of thinking and learning together in one course, to challenge students to find how disciplines solve problems and address creativity in different ways.

    The selection of the Joseph Baldwin Academy scholars involves two steps with specified deadlines:
    1) Nomination-due Oct. 5, 2020
    2) Application-due Nov. 20, 2020.

    For more information about JBA, visit jba.truman.edu. Questions can be directed to 660.785.5406 or tiacademies@truman.edu.