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April 15, 2010 Volume 31, No. 27

Faculty facilitators are named for Mizzou Advantage initiative areas

Investment impact

Goal is to increase MU’s impact and stature

For the past several years, MU has worked to identify its top five competitive assets and to develop a plan to capitalize on those strengths, collectively known as the Mizzou Advantage.

Provost Brian Foster recently announced the appointments of five Mizzou Advantage faculty facilitators and one education coordinator. These individuals will facilitate interactions, relationships and creative dialogues that will lead to innovative projects in the five competitive areas. The appointments are effective immediately.

“Our competitive assets differentiate us from the biggest, best-resourced universities and allow us to do things they can’t do,” Foster says. “These facilitators will be responsible for guiding these five strategic areas, encouraging research collaborations, identifying specific grant opportunities and helping to recruit visiting scholars and prominent scientists. This is the time to invest in our resources as our students, the state and the nation will benefit from these collaborations.”

Foster has budgeted $6 million to fund the Mizzou Advantage each year. He hopes this strategic effort will result in greater impact and stature for MU and more opportunities and jobs for Missourians.

The five strategic assets are Food for the Future; Media of the Future; One Health, One Medicine: The Convergence of Human and Animal Health; Sustainable Energy; and Understanding and Managing Disruptive and Transformational Technologies.

The five facilitators are:

  • Jo Britt-Rankin (Food for the Future) — Britt-Rankin is associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Human Environmental Sciences and associate professor of nutrition and exercise physiology. As an MU Extension faculty member and administrator, she has developed statewide, regional and national networks in the areas of food, nutrition, health and physical activity.
  • Charles Davis (Media of the Future) — Davis has served as chair of the School of Journalism’s news-editorial department and executive director of MU’s Freedom of Information Center. He has been the executive director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition since 2005. His research has studied homeland security and freedom of information issues, and curriculum reform at Moscow State University.
  • Carolyn Henry (One Health, One Medicine) — Henry is a professor of oncology with dual appointments in veterinary medicine and medicine. Under her leadership, MU’s veterinary oncology program became a charter member in the National Cancer Institute’s Comparative Oncology Trials Consortium. Her research focuses on comparative models of human disease and on biomarker discovery and application for cancer screening and diagnosis.
  • Cerry Klein (Sustainable Energy) — Klein, professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering, is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education, Institute of Industrial Engineers, and the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics. His research interests include information systems, entrepreneurship, health care and supply chains.
  • Carsten Strathausen (Understanding and Managing Disruptive and Transformational Technologies) — Strathausen, associate professor of German and English and chair of German and Russian studies, has been a faculty member at MU since 1997. His research focuses on the relationship between words and images, the impact of technology on society and new media.

Foster said the five initiatives were defined by the economy, culture and social fabric which are all in the midst of transformational change. Educational programs associated with these initiatives will help students ready themselves for the constantly changing global marketplace. Initially, the educational programs associated with the initiatives will focus on certificate programs that will provide context for graduates as they pursue their careers.

Foster has appointed LuAnne Roth, who will graduate from MU in May with a doctorate in English, to become the education coordinator of Mizzou Advantage. Roth has been an instructor in MU’s English department since 2001 and has taught classes on film and folklore.

She will facilitate development of the certificate programs and courses, which will have a heavy emphasis on problem-based learning, hands-on learning, teamwork and practical experiences outside the classroom. Many of the courses will be cross-listed across department and college boundaries to capture the interdisciplinary ideas that characterize each of the five initiatives and complement existing majors at the undergraduate and graduate levels.