Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

On Saturday morning, rather than sleeping in late, hundreds of college students were up and ready to hit the sidewalks of Springfield.  They were part of a research project that is looking at the “user-friendliness” of our neighborhoods.  KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann has the story.

Missouri State University

During our monthly conversation with Missouri State University President Clif Smart, the President examines some key points from Thursday’s State of the University Speech.  

With the fall 2013 semester in full swing, Missouri State President Clif Smart presented his annual State of the University Address to faculty and staff. KSMU’s Scott Harvey was there and has this report.

A handful of speakers and dozens of spectators Tuesday joined in celebrating the completion of Missouri State University’s new art and design complex at Brick City. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann attended the event and has this report.

This year marks the fourth time that a local organization will provide new shoes to hundreds of Springfield elementary students in participating Title I schools. Next week, OneSolePurpose will also give away its 10,000th pair of Converse Chuck Taylor shoes. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann has the story.

A resolution signing Monday in Springfield by officials at Missouri’s two largest universities also served as another call by Gov. Jay Nixon that legislators uphold his veto of HB 253, just two days before their annual veto session. KSMU’s Scott Harvey has more.

Nixon was joined by MSU President Clif Smart and University of Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton, who signed a resolution pledging that the schools will work together, and with health care providers Mercy Springfield and CoxHealth, to train more health care professionals.

MSU began the Ozarks Celebration Festival as a way to create a sense of place for its students, as well as to celebrate and honor the Ozarks’ history and culture. Since its inception 16 years ago, the weeklong festival has become the university’s largest yearly event, which attracts around 20,000 people from across the country and beyond.

Over the past several months, officials at Missouri State University have been working to raise money for the Dr. Alice Bartee Endowment. As KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann reports, thanks to the contributions of many, and a recent gift of $25,000, the project is off to a great start.

Few professors carry a legacy like Dr. Alice Bartee.  She was the first woman at Missouri State to receive full professorship. Those who knew her best, or were one of her students, considered her a mentor, an advocate and a pioneer. 

For many college students across the country, today marks the beginning of a new chapter as they get situated in their new living quarters, meet their roommate for the first time, and prepare to be away from home. KSMU’s Scott Harvey has reaction from the Missouri State University campus. 

“Well I just got here, and it’s really busy and I’m really nervous.”

This is Shannon, who at this point had yet to meet her new roommate or see the inside of her bedroom.

“I wanna meet new friends. I have to try and get myself out there,” Shannon says.

More than 23,000 students throughout the Missouri State University System are expected to converge on campus next week for the start of fall classes. The total figure is projected to top enrollment from this time a year ago, according to President Clif Smart.

“On the Friday before classes to a year ago the Friday before classes we’re up in every category. We’re up in freshmen, we’re up in transfer students, we’re up in graduate students, we’re up in students of color, we’re up in international students,” Smart said.

Doors reopen in the Ozarks this week at several schools as the new school year is set to begin. KSMU’s Scott Harvey profiles what a couple of districts have in store for returning students.

At Nixa High School Monday, where the new school year kicks off Tuesday, officials formally unveiled its new classroom wing, part of a $9 million bond measure approved by voters which also included a new wing at the junior high.

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) Friday touted the recently-approved Senate solution to student loan interest rates during stops in Springfield and Hollister. KSMU’s Scott Harvey has more.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

State entities are adjusting their budgets for the 2014 fiscal year after Gov. Jay Nixon’s recent decision to restrict millions in funding. Despite vetoing HB 253 in June, the Democratic Governor cited cost concerns of the bill, which could be overridden by lawmakers during their September veto session.

On a pleasant June afternoon, 27-year-old Jason Harmon is walking his dog George on the sidewalks of Missouri State University in Springfield. At home, this yellow Lab plays the role of pet for him, his wife and two young sons. But on campus, donning what Harmon calls George’s work jacket that reads “working dog, do not pet,” this service dog is ready and willing to protect, guide and inspire Harmon while in the classroom and amongst society.

Saying a key provision of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down Section 4, which establishes a coverage formula to identify states that may require extra scrutiny regarding voting procedures. As KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports, the decision essentially shifts the focus back onto Congress to find a solution.