Vol. 28 No. 16 - December 11, 2023


  • Special “Tea Time” Explores Christmas Movies and Academic Reorg

    University President Sue Thomas recently recorded a bonus episode of “Tea Time with Sue” addressing a variety of topics from the academic reorganization to whether or not “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie.

    Among a handful of worthy candidates, Thomas cited the 1974 stop-motion television special “The Year Without a Santa Claus” as her favorite Christmas program of all time. She even claims to know all the words to classic numbers from the special, including “The Heat Miser Song.”

    In response to more Truman-specific questions, Thomas provided updates on the Greenwood Interprofessional Autism Center and the Kirk Building project. With regard to the upcoming academic reorganization, she noted, from the student perspective, there will be no changes to any programs, majors or requirements for graduation. Thomas believes the reorganization will provide some administrative efficiencies, and that bringing together certain programs under the same departments or schools should create a more dynamic synergy in terms of academics.

    The entire bonus episode of “Tea Time with Sue” can be found on the Truman YouTube channel, and selections will be posted on social media. In the spring semester, “Tea Time with Sue” will return with some interactive competitions. Follow Truman’s Instagram for details as they become available.
  • Counseling Celebrates Program's First Online-Only Grads

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    December commencement will include the inaugural class of graduates receiving a Master of Arts in counseling, the University’s first online-only master’s program.

    Designed with working adults in mind, the Master of Arts in counseling program offers students three degree paths, with specialties in mental health counseling, school counseling and rehabilitation counseling. Nine students comprise the first cohort of graduates, with five from the mental health counseling track and four from the school counseling track.

    Kathleen Haas participated in the program as a means of advancing her career. Participating online afforded her the opportunity to be close to family in Marceline, Missouri, while completing the required coursework. With a bachelor’s degree in psychology, the addition of a master’s degree will allow her to work directly with clients.

    “I have always had the dream of being a mental health counselor since middle school, and I knew Truman was a good choice for me since the program was online and trustworthy,” she said. “This degree will enable me to work with clients and hopefully begin to help people attain their wellness and mental health goals.”   

    Several Truman programs have offered a blend of in-person and online course options for years. Online options are expanding in programs including accountancy, data science and analytical storytelling, design, disability studies, English, gifted education and leadership. Many of the options are master’s degrees or certificate programs in an effort to reach more adult learners who may be interested in adding to their education while also pursuing a career.

    “Truman is still committed to making its undergraduate program a residential one because of the value that experience holds,” said Kevin Minch, associate provost. “In time, I think demographic changes and an increase desire nationally to educate adult learners who have some college, but no degree, will necessitate many universities exploring degree completion programs or other undergraduate pathways that leverage online to make coursework accessible to these audiences.”

    The Master of Arts in counseling program has been in development for nearly a decade. Assistance in getting it established has come from A.T. Still University’s graduate school in the form of planning and instructional design, with financial support from a MoExcels grant through the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development.

    Currently, five faculty members are affiliated with the program, and like their students, they are also spread across a variety of states in the country. To ensure academic quality and integrity, Truman online faculty members participate in additional training.

    “We require all of our faculty teaching online to undergo training through Quality Matters, a national consortium that supports quality assurance in online education,” Minch said. “A number of our faculty have pursued advanced training in Quality Matters and/or have pursued certification for their courses. We also provide additional advising support specifically focused on the needs of the adult and online learner.”

    Faculty member Cameron Ortega teaches “Introduction to Addictions,” “Assessment and Appraisal,” “Counseling Skills” and “Rehabilitation Foundation and Ethics.” Although she is based in Texas, the same state where she earned her bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D., she will be in Kirksville for graduation, along with Elsa Leggett, associate professor of counseling, and Karl Witt, department chair.

    “I am looking forward to coming to campus to celebrate our graduating students,” Ortega said. “Seeing my students’ graduate fills me with excitement as they embark on a new adventure. Students put a lot of hard work into a graduate program, and getting to be there and celebrate them with their friends and family is humbling and an honor.”

    While the counseling program may be entirely online, that does not mean participating students are isolated. The program follows a research-based cohort model. Haas cited connections with faculty and classmates as components of her successful completion of the program.
    “I felt supported by the faculty members and my cohort in working toward my degree,” she said. “Zoom meetings especially helped to feel more connected despite the distance, and they generated a sense of community, all from the comfort of my home. I am grateful to have had the support of friends I made in my own cohort and could not have done it without their encouragement.”

    Prior to commencement, the counseling program will celebrate graduates in a special ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 15 in Violette Hall 1320. All are invited to attend.

    Admission to the Master of Arts in counseling program is made on a rolling basis and limited to 24 students per cohort. Start dates are available in January and August. Interested students are encouraged to apply early for priority consideration. More information about the program, including admission requirements, courses, internships and practicums, and professional practice, can be found online at truman.edu/majors-programs/graduate-studies/ma-counseling. Questions about admission can be directed to gradinfo@truman.edu or 660.785.4114.
  • Faculty Member’s Album Highlights Collaborative Process

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    While his name may be the only one on the cover, Victor Marquez-Barrios, associate professor of music, is the first person to acknowledge his latest album is a collaborative effort brought to life by the work of countless individuals, many of whom are his colleagues in the Department of Music.

    “A lot of work and love, by a lot of people, went into making this album happen,” Marquez-Barrios said. “I hope that people take the time to listen to it with an open mind and with open ears, and that they enjoy doing so. This is me sharing some of my stories and telling them in my own way, with more than a little help from my friends.”

    “The Moments Between” is Marquez-Barrios’ latest work, streaming on major platforms Dec. 15 with CDs available from Blue Griffin Recording and marquezbarrios.com. The album is a contemporary blend of his different musical backgrounds, including classical, jazz and folk music from different parts of Latin America. With many of the compositions requiring classically trained performers on a variety of instruments – most of which Marquez-Barrios does not play – he called on a plethora of guests to complete the project. From Truman alone, contributing artists include faculty members Jesse Krebs, Xin Gao, Elaine AuBuchon, Lanjiabao Ge, Brian Kubin, Eric Dickson and Michael Bump, as well as pianist Lucy Zeng and former graduate student Jessica Alvarado-Brenes. Another former graduate student, Theo Greer, assisted as the recording technician for sessions in the Ophelia Parrish Performance Hall.

    “I very much enjoy working with my colleagues in Truman’s Music Department, and I have been fortunate to collaborate with most of them on different musical projects over my time here,” Marquez-Barrios said. “This album is an example of that, and I am very happy with how the process went and with the final product.”

    In addition to Truman collaborators, Marquez-Barrios worked with other friends throughout his academic and musical career. After earning a Bachelor of Music degree from the University Institute for Musical Studies in Venezuela, he added master’s degrees in musical composition and music theory, along with a Doctor of Musical Arts in music composition, all from Michigan State University. He has worked with longtime friends and collaborators at other institutions throughout the U.S., including Albion College, Ithaca College, Virginia Tech and The University of Oklahoma. To accommodate the logistical complications of collaborating with multiple artists and recording in venues across the country, Marquez-Barrios made use of a sabbatical to complete the album. Now in his ninth year at Truman, he plans to take lessons from his experience and incorporate them into the music theory and composition courses he teaches.

    “This project was motivated by a desire to make my music easily available to a wider audience and accessible to anyone interested. A significant amount of work goes into making that happen, beyond the composition of the music,” he said. “I want to be able to share that with my students. Not only how to carry a creative project to completion successfully, but what to do afterwards to make that work available to interested parties such as performing groups, music festivals and the general audience.”

    While he may have had the better part of a year to bring it all together, this project is a labor of love for Marquez-Barrios that has been 22 years in the making. With all due respect to a certain pop phenomenon, “The Moments Between” could be seen as his own personal “Eras” tour. From the music he heard at parties as a kid, to what he learned in guitar lessons and songs his father wrote that he listened to while growing up, every piece on the album draws from a different time in his life.

    “I like the fact that each piece represents a different version of me and of my work. I don’t often go back to revise old works. I prefer to think of pieces as representative of a time and place, like a picture from a certain period that I accept as such and enjoy,” Marquez-Barrios said. “Being able to hear compositions from different times will hopefully give the listeners a better representation of my work, and maybe the ability to witness how it has evolved over those two decades.”

    In recent years, Marquez-Barrios has used a portion of his work to explore his identity as an immigrant. Previously released pieces such as “Nomadic Variations” and the song cycle “A Path Home/Camino a Casa,” which recently premiered at Truman, are examples of this aspect of his compositions.

    A track on “The Moments Between” that carries significant meaning for Marquez-Barrios and others associated with the Music Department is “Waltz for Kyle.” It pays tribute to Truman music alumnus Kyle Rieger who passed away unexpectedly last year.

    “He’s one of the best students I’ve had the pleasure to work with, and we remained in touch after he graduated,” Marquez-Barrios said.

    After 22 years of personal compositions, recording sessions in Kirksville, Oklahoma and Michigan, dozens of friends and fellow musicians volunteering their time, along with the work of sound engineers, professional audio mixers and the artist who created the cover art, “The Moments Between” is ready for its moment at the forefront. Marquez-Barrios also credits a grant from the School of Arts and Letters to helping bring the project to fruition, as well as his wife who contributes the spoken voice on one of the tracks.

    “It really took a team to make this album happen, and the collaboration went well beyond the music,” he said. “It is a joy to make music with friends, and I consider myself fortunate to have been able to do that on this project.”
  • Summer Jobs Available Through Truman Academies


    Preceptors and night monitors are needed for Joseph Baldwin Academy, JBA Junior and ATSU-Truman Healthcare Academy.

    The Institute for Academic Outreach is seeking applications for each academy for programs ranging from one to three weeks during June and July. Stipends vary based in the length of the program and nature of the work. 

    To be eligible as a preceptor, applicants must be a Truman student or a May 2024 graduate, have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and not have outside commitments while working for the program(s). Individuals hired for these programs will also be required to complete a criminal background check, pre-academy trainings and pre-academy orientations. 

    Information about each available position can be accessed at Institute for Academic Outreach Summer Employment or by emailing Michelle Wilson at mwwilson@truman.edu.
  • New Scholarship Honors Career and Impact of Bertha Thomas

    Bertha Thomas, left, accepts a recognition of the scholarship created in her name from Stephanie McGrew. Thomas worked at Truman more than 20 years, with a majority of that time serving as the assistant dean of Multicultural Affairs.

    Alumni, friends and co-workers of Bertha Thomas can now show their appreciation of the longtime campus and community figure by donating to a scholarship that bears her name.

    The Bertha Thomas Legacy Scholarship was established in 2023 by Stephanie McGrew (’10), and other Truman alumni and friends, to honor Thomas for her substantial contributions to students, campus and the Kirksville community. Thomas was an influential stakeholder within Truman’s leadership for more than 20 years. A majority of her career was spent as the assistant dean of Multicultural Affairs where she helped create safe spaces and support systems for all students, especially those from historically underrepresented groups.

    During Homecoming festivities this fall, Thomas was made aware of the gift during a surprise celebration. With the help of the Advancement Office, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion was able to host more than 120 people during an event celebrating current students and announcing the Bertha Thomas Legacy Scholarship.

    Thomas provided light to many people across the Truman and Kirksville communities that will forever shine as a byproduct of her priceless work. Her tenacity, innovation and wisdom made her a cornerstone in the community and allowed her to remove obstacles and barriers in the way of student success. Countless students have been positively impacted by her, whether it be directly or indirectly, and with this scholarship, her legacy will live on as it helps alleviate financial barriers to student access to higher education.

    Those who choose to give online, should type “Bertha Thomas Legacy” in the fund section on this form. For information on other ways to show support, contact the Advancement Office at 660.785.4133 or gifts@truman.edu.


  • Commencement Scheduled for Dec. 16


    The fall commencement ceremony to honor graduates will begin at 11 a.m. Dec. 16 in Pershing Arena.

    Michael Owsley, who will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in political science and international relations, as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in creating writing, will be the student speaker.

    Alumna Laura Brooks will give the commencement address. A 2009 graduate of the University, Brooks earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration, with concentrations in marketing and management, along with a minor in psychology.

    Doors will open at 10 a.m. for seating on a first-come, first-seated basis. Guests are asked to use the main entrance on the west side of the building. Graduates, faculty members and those who need to utilize handicapped parking spaces can use the east entrance. Restroom facilities are accessible on the arena level by the east stairs. For those who cannot attend in person, a livestream will be available on YouTube. More information can be found here.
  • Graduate Pizza Party Scheduled for Dec. 13


    December graduates are invited to attend a free pizza party from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 13 in the Student Union Building Georgian Rooms hosted by the Office of Advancement and the Northeast Missouri Alumni Chapter. Register to win Truman door prizes by updating post-graduation information here. Students can join the continuous bingo game at the party for a chance at prizes as well. Those graduates who cannot attend the event should stop by the Office of Advancement in McClain Hall 205 to pick up a free Truman alumni t-shirt. The Office of Advancement is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. T-shirts will also be available in Pershing Arena immediately following commencement.
  • Students Host Open Event for New Library Exhibit

    An open event premiering a new exhibit will take place from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Dec. 14 in Pickler Memorial Library first floor. This exhibit features work done by students in the printmaking class based on Ovid’s “Metamorphoses.” During the event, attendees will have the opportunity to be given a brief overview of the exhibit by the Latin 354 students. Light refreshments will be provided.

  • Finals Week Food Drive Supports Campus Food Pantry


    Students with extra meal swipes or dining dollars can purchase food in C-Stores or the Student Union Building and donate it to the Truman Food Pantry.

    The food pantry is a resource on campus that is working to end food insecurity for students. Food purchased can be dropped off in one of the donation boxes located in the Residence Halls. This drive will take place from Monday-Friday of finals week. Items in high demand at the moment are snack/breakfast items, protein bars, soups and ramen. Perishable items, refrigerated items or frozen food cannot be accepted.

    Questions can be emailed to serve@truman.edu or follow @tsuservecenter on Instagram.
  • Environmental Committee Accepting Project Proposals

    Environmental Sustainability Fee Allotment Committee (ESFAC) is currently seeking proposals for improving sustainability and environmentalism on campus. Any member of the Truman community can propose a project idea to the committee for consideration. In the past they have funded projects such as updated compost equipment, bee houses, solar power for the University Farm and reusable water bottle fillers. Proposals can be completed using this form. The deadline for proposal submission is Feb. 25.

  • Applications Open for New Student Tele-Ambassadors Program


    The Office of Admission is looking for enthusiastic student leaders with a passion for sharing their Truman experiences to apply for student tele-ambassadors for the 2024 spring semester.

    Student tele-ambassadors speak with prospective students on the phone or through text messaging to answer questions about Truman and the college search process. Scholarship, work-study and other opportunities are available. Applications can be found online and are due by 11:59 p.m. Jan. 7.
  • Make Plans Now for On-Campus Housing

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    Students who want to live on campus during the 2024-25 academic year can start planning where they and their friends might like to reside.

    The housing portal is now open for students interested in living on campus during the 2024-25 academic year. Residence Life is offering new options for next year, including expanded pet housing and more deluxe doubles in some residence halls at the same price as a regular double room, as well as more single-occupancy availability.

    In former triple occupancy rooms in Blanton-Nason-Brewer Hall, which were rarely in demand, students will now have the option to secure a deluxe double room for the same price as a standard double. For upper-class students, Campbell Apartments will also offer single-occupancy options for the first time.

    “Returning students living on campus have more options than a first-year student because returning students self-select their room earlier,” said Jamie Van Boxel, director of Residence Life. “Returning students can group up with their friends to take over a section of a residence hall or a group of apartments in Campbell. Returning students also have the opportunity to live in larger rooms or in an on-campus apartment with more space with a roommate of their choosing.”

    On-campus housing will be available in Missouri Hall, Ryle Hall, West Campus Suites, Blanton-Nason-Brewer Hall and Campbell Apartments. Due to the Dobson Hall parking lot being utilized as a construction staging area, that hall will not be available. As a result, additional options will be available in West Campus Suites and, if needed, Missouri Hall.

    “From a community building standpoint, this will allow us to offer a better student experience,” Van Boxel said. “Having more students in some of our more in-demand locations and room types will give students more opportunities to meet one another, make friends and have access to a full range of services.”

    Pet housing will still be offered for the 2024-25 academic in the south wing of Blanton-Nason-Brewer Hall. The demand for pet-friendly housing has increased every year since the option was first offered in 2021. More information about pet-friendly housing can be found online.

    Students planning to live on campus are encouraged to submit their housing application as soon as possible. Room self-selection begins Feb. 15 for returning students and April 3 for new incoming students. More information regarding the room self-selection timeline can be found online here. Questions about the housing process can be directed to Residence Life at 660.785.4227 or reslife@truman.edu.
  • Volunteers Needed for University Publications

    Student volunteers are needed for University marketing purposes. Those interested in being featured in various marketing materials should fill out this form.

  • Spring 2024 Room Lottery Open Until End of Semester

    Union & Involvement Services will continue accepting Spring 2024 Lottery requests on a first-come first-serve basis. These submissions will be processed after priority consideration lottery, which ended Nov. 3. Forms can be found here. Paper forms will not be accepted. Contact the Union & Involvement Services Office at union@truman.edu or 660.785.4222 for more information.

  • Student Representative Needed for Alumni Board

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    The Alumni Board of Directors represents Truman’s alumni population and helps stay connected with the interests of alumni. The board works with the Office of Advancement and facilitates the exchange of ideas between alumni, students and the University. The student representative to the Alumni Board will provide student perspective to board discussions and create awareness on campus of alumni involvement and benefits.

    The board term is one year, July 1-June 30, with possible renewal for a second consecutive term. To apply, submit an application along with a current resume to Mandi Wiser at awiser@truman.edu.
  • Residence Life Hiring Student Advisors


    Residence Life is looking for students who will create welcoming environments, develop connections with students and foster a learning-centered community to apply as student advisors for the 2024-2025 school year. Student advisors will have their room and meal fees fully covered.

    Anyone enrolled in classes, has lived on campus for at least one semester once employed and maintained a 2.75 GPA, is qualified to apply. The application is open now until Jan. 19. Visit reslife.truman.edu or email reslife@truman.edu for more information.
  • Sign Up to Get SERVE Center Volunteer Opportunities

    Are you interested in performing service at local non-profits this school year? Sign up to be included in communication with volunteers. The SERVE Center has partnered with more than 130 community agencies located in the Kirksville community to bring service opportunities to meet every student’s interests.

  • Athletic Fee Accountability Committee Accepting Proposals

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    Any member of the Truman community can propose a project idea to the Athletic Fee Accountability Committee for consideration. These projects should enhance the athletic facilities or equipment on Truman’s campus. The purpose of this proposal is to introduce the project to the committee. Proposals should include as much information as possible, but the committee will also help to refine submissions. Submissions can be submitted here by Jan. 7.
  • FAFSA Applications to be Available by Dec. 31


    The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2024-2025 school year is scheduled to go live by Dec. 31.

    All students in need of financial assistance are encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Federal Student Aid is the largest provider of financial aid for college students in the United States.

    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 students to taking a loan, but it does allow for more options.

    The 2024-25 FAFSA will use 2022 tax year information with a priority deadline of Feb. 1, 2024 for Missouri residents. It is strongly recommended to apply or renew before Feb. 1 Details about the FAFSA can be found online at studentaid.gov.

    Truman’s Financial Aid Office is currently working on details of when aid offers will be available for students. This year it will most likely be March for incoming freshmen and April for current students.

    For more information, contact the Financial Aid Office at 660.785.4130 or finaid@truman.edu. The Financial Aid Office website also has a variety of helpful resources for students and their families.
  • Food Pantry Hours for Finals Week

    During Finals Week, the Truman food pantry will be open from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students can request a food pack here. The food pantry is located in the Student Union Building Down Under.

  • Winter Break Hours at the Rec

    Dec. 18-22
    11 a.m.-2 p.m.

    Dec. 23-Jan. 1

    Jan. 2-12
    11 a.m.-2 p.m.
    Closed Weekends

  • Holiday Reception for Faculty, Staff and Retirees

  • Retirement Reception for Teresa Wheeler

  • Next Issue

    The next issue of the Truman Today will be available Jan. 16.