Missouri State University
The Family Connection

Ask Priscilla! Can you tell me a little more about move-in weekend activities for family members?

Yes, I would love to tell you about the activities we have planned for families during Move-in Weekend. For your student, the weekend will be filled with many fun activities such as Playfair, Fan Fest and Bear Bash, New Student Convocation (featuring Kyle Dean Massey), New Student Festival, Fraternity & Sorority Life 101 and the Belong-B-Que! Your student will have a great time getting acclimated to campus and connecting with other Bears. Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MO

For you, the family member, we have some activities that we feel you will enjoy, learn more about the experience after your student starts classes and have some time to reconnect with your student before heading home on Saturday. These include Family Information Sessions, the President’s Reception for Families and the “See You Later” Brunch. Throw in a women’s soccer exhibition game and you have a great weekend in front of you. Let me share a few details with you:

Family Welcome Session – August 14th, 3pm or 4pm – Plaster Student Union Theatre

Join us for an interactive, entertaining welcome session that delves more into campus life for your student. There are two sessions and you are welcome to pick the session you would like to attend. Refreshments are served (and after a hot day of moving, you will enjoy the cool theatre and sweet treats). All family members and students are welcome.  We have some special guests joining us for each session so don’t miss the opportunity to cool off, meet other family members and find out more about campus life at MSU.

Women’s Soccer Exhibition Game vs. Arkansas State University – 6 pm
Betty and Bobby Allison South 17813_6546 WSoccer

Throw on your best Bear Wear and head out to the soccer field to watch our women’s soccer team take on Arkansas State University in an exhibition game.  Enjoy the game then head over to the President’s Reception for New Families. Admission is free.

President’s Dessert Reception for New Families – August 14th, 7pm – 8:30pm
Davis-Harrington Welcome Center

UPDATEDPresident Reception

Join President Clif Smart and his wife Gail for a lovely dessert reception in the new Davis-Harrington Welcome Center.  Relax after a day of moving, visit with faculty, staff and administrators, enjoy delicious desserts provided by Missouri State Dining Services and mingle with other families of the Class of 2019 while your student enjoys Play Fair and other activities. The deadline to RSVP is August 7th. RSVP here. Families only.

“See You Later” Brunch – August 15th, 11am
Garst Dining Center or Blair-Shannon Dining Center

Enjoy a delicious brunch with your student in one of our fabulous dining centers before heading home. Parents eat free with their student. Additional guests are $6.50 each.

There are also lots of activities going on in Springfield August 14-16th including the Route 66 Festival which will feature lots of great activities such as concerts, car shows, parades, a 6.6 run and more. Find out more here.

We hope you will join us for all the activities we have planned but it is ultimately you and your student’s decision about what is best for your family. If you have any questions, contact me at pchildress@missouristate.edu or by phone at (417) 836-3060.

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Ask Priscilla! What are Bear Bucks?

Bear Bucks are the University’s declining balance account for your student’s BearPass card operated by Blackboard.

Bear Bucks can be used at all campus vendors, including Plaster Student Union restaurants (except the bank and the Post Office which is cash only), Bear Necessities. the Meyer Library and the Bookstore. If you invest in Bear Bucks your student will only need his/her BeBear bucks small imagearPass for most on-campus purchases. Your student would only have one card instead of cash/change or several other cards in his/her wallet.

There are no fees, minimum balance requirements or other stipulations like a bank card has.  Since Bear Bucks is a declining balance account, it cannot go into overdraft. That feature avoids costly fees that banks impose. Bear Bucks is a safer, more efficient way for your student to keep and spend their money on campus. Furthermore, Bear Bucks do not expire.

There are two ways to add more money to your student’s Bear Bucks account.   Money can be added online through his/her “mymissouristate” portal or in person at the Bursar’s Office in Carrington Hall.

Learn more information about Bear Bucks and the Bear Pass card here.


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Ask Priscilla! How do I order football tickets for the Family Weekend/season home opener football game?

This year the Family Association is selling the discounted Family Weekend football tickets directly.   Ordering football tickets for the Family Weekend/season home opener is easy.   Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MO

You do not have to register for all of the Family Weekend activities to order football tickets but we encourage you to look at the schedule of events and the different packages available and join us for one or all of the events taking place September 11-13th.

Football tickets for your student are complimentary but you need to include the student in the total tickets needed. If you want to order JUST football tickets, order the Go Maroon package.

Register/Purchase Football Tickets (again, you pick the events you want to attend or just football tickets) for Family Weekend now.




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Register For Family Weekend 2015

Please join us for Family Weekend on Friday, September 11 through Sunday, September 13.  This special weekend gives parents and family members of our students an opportunity to experience campus life at Missouri State, spend time with your student in their new environment, and enjoy lots of fun campus events.  These events include:  FW logo (maroon)

  • Welcome Breakfast hosted by the Career Center
  • Student Showcase and BBQ hosted by the Office of Student Engagement & the Student Activities Council
  • Make a Difference Event – Meals-a-Million Packathon – Be a #CitizenBear
  • Dive-In Movie hosted by Foster Recreation Center
  • Legacy Family Dessert Social hosted by the Alumni Association
  • Rappelling offered by the Missouri State ROTC Bear Battalion
  • “Route 66 hosted by Turner & Page, the Library Bears” Family Event hosted by the Meyer Library
  • Bears Football vs. Chadron and BearFest Village, our traditional pre-game tailgate
  • Plus a lot more!

The Family Weekend page has a full schedule of events listed, as well as information about packages available, discounted football tickets and local hotel accommodations.

Please check these pages frequently, as we will add and update information as the date approaches. “Like” us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/msufamilies) and follow us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/bearsfamilies).

Early bird registration ends August 1, 2015.  Registration for Family Weekend except for football tickets will close Friday, September 4th. Football tickets only will be sold through September 9th (depends upon availability).

Register for Family Weekend here.

If you have any questions, please contact Priscilla at pchildress@missouristate.edu or (417) 836-3060. A list of Frequently Asked Questions can be found here.

We look forward to seeing you at Family Weekend!

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Ask Priscilla! I’m worried that my student is never going to tell me any of their grades in college. Is there a way I can still see my student’s grades?

Excellent question. It’s a little unnerving for family members to start the “letting grow” process.  This is especially true when it comes to your students grades. For the past 12 years, you saw the grades on report cards, tests that had to be signed, you knew their schedule. You attended parent/teacher conferences which provided insight in to ways you could help your student. You set times for your student to study. You had some control. Now, not so much. It’s understandable that you are worried about this aspect of college. Missouri State is here to help you bridge the gap between knowing everything about grades and trusting your student is in control of their academics.  Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MO

It’s time for you to have PIE. That’s right, PIE. Not your typical cherry or apple. PIE is the acronym for Partners in Education, a program which aims to help first-year students and their families build a relationship of trust and communication, with the goal of improving students’ academic success and retention. When your student enrolls in the PIE program, he/she grants a designated partner (usually a parent or family member) authorization to access information regarding his/her academic progress for their first year (only their first year). The partner will also be mailed the student’s mid-term and final grade reports.

Students can enroll by visiting the Partners in Education link on the Academics tab of their My Missouri State portal. Contact the academic assistance office at 417-836-8346 or visit www.missouristate.edu/sdpa/PartnersInEducation.htm to learn more. Please note that only the academic assistance office personnel may release academic information to the partner indicated on the PIE form.

Something to remember…students may withdraw permission to release information to the partner at any time. Also, the PIE Program doesn’t override FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). The release does not apply to personal counseling, health, or financial information protected by FERPA. However, if your student is experiencing problems in these areas, University staff will be happy to assist in identifying available resources.

Encourage your student to learn more about the PIE program. This program is a great bridge between the high school years and your student accepting the responsibility for their academic career. Start the conversation with your student about time-management, open communication with his/her professors, and utilizing academic resources on campus such as the Bear Claw. Let your student know you support him/her as they start this next chapter in their life.


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6 Ways Parents Can Communicate Better With Their 20-Somethings

Whether technology is a blessing, a curse or a mix of both, it’s surely the newest frontier — and possible battleground — between parents and their twentysomethings.  miranda article

Today, kids have buds stuck in their ears and fingers attached to their touchpads. Tomorrow we all might have neural chips embedded in our brains.

But however the digital landscape transforms, the underlying issues between parents and their emerging adults will remain the same. Today’s twenty-somethings are becoming separate, autonomous adults amidst this new landscape of ballooning social media and constant connection. Both the potential and the pitfalls play out during the dance of attachment and separation that marks the 20s decade. The promise of closeness is greater than it’s ever been before, but so are the dangers that result from relentless communication that can skew over-the-top.

Today’s 24/7 entanglement can ensnare both generations in a web that’s now worldwide. As Berkeley, Calif. family therapist Sherri Glucoft Wong puts it, for a parent who’s tempted by a child’s unlocked diary, “The Internet is one big, unlocked diary!” Let both sides beware.

Finding the right balance is personal to every family and may set the pattern — for better or worse — for years to come. Here are six tips to help you and your grown kids keep the channels open with as little static as possible:

1. Do respect the shifts in contact during your kids’ 20s.
Digital contact ebbs and flows through the stormy weather and calmer zones of the 20s. There’s often a barrage of calls, texts and emails during the early launching years when kids first leave home and burst with hot-off-the-presses news, the need for a helping hand or a cash infusion. Newly arrived college students may still rely on parents’ guidance in making decisions — which classes to take, how to resolve roommate disagreements and the best way to open a bank account. But as students get their bearings and build new networks, calls, texts and emails usually drop off.

Just as the mother of a toddler tries to gauge how much separation her child can handle with games of peekaboo or increasingly longer forays into the world on her own, so it goes years later with college students far from home. You want to be available when needed but also convey the message that you have faith that your grown kids can handle things and manage well on their own. You may also want to be clear that you’re doing OK on your own, too, not crying by yourself in their empty bedrooms.

2. Do observe good boundaries in cyberspace, as elsewhere.
Digital communication is a two-way street, and parents of emerging adults need to take care that they’re not overwhelming their grown kids with a messaging blitz in whatever media are available. Just because you can reach them anywhere or any time doesn’t mean you have to send a text on a Saturday night or expect an email to be answered seconds after you send it. Give them the same privacy and growing-room that you craved as a young adult away from home for the first time.

Your good-advice e-messages may be meant well (Don’t forget to sign up for Professor So and So’s seminar! Go to the health service for that cough!), but when too many pile up, they’ll become background music, easy to tune out. And if you encourage your grown kids to text requests night or day (How do I change my printer cartridge? What’s the capital of Slovakia?), you may be discouraging them from figuring things out for themselves.

3. Do use the right method to reach your kids where they live.
Most 21st century parents have figured out that leaving kids a voicemail and expecting a call back is whistling in the wind (“Mailbox is full”…since 2005). Email is slightly more effective, but can still be stonewalled. If you want a quick answer from your kids, LRN 2 TEXT. Texting is so quick, easy and uninflected, it’s more note passing than writing, and like an all-night diner, it’s always open for business. It can be done on the fly; in fact, it’s the preferred medium for the on-the-fly generation — from class, from cars (unsafely), from parties and from restaurants in the middle of elaborate meals. Even living in the same house, some parents have noticed that it’s easier to get their twentysomethings’ attention by texting, not talking.

4. Do think twice before becoming Facebook friends with your kids — and their friends.
Some twentysomethings may be more into Facebook than others, but more than any other social networking site, Facebook is still the global town square where the under-30 generation hangs out (or at least visits occasionally), meets and breaks up, tracks who’s dating and who split up, and who likes — or dislikes — which band, movie and political issue. Seen from a developmental perspective, Facebook is an arena where the identity issues of emerging adulthood are played out, as users assemble the self they wish to present to the world. But is this persona intended for mom or dad?

The Facebook currency is “friends,” those people to whom your Facebook page is linked. In theory, there are privacy settings or “groups” on Facebook that allow some friends to see more of a user’s profile than others, and these concentric circles of familiarity could help transfer to cyberspace the friends-with-etiquette relationship between parents and emerging adults. In theory, a college student could let her parents view her beach photos from spring break … and hide the ones where she’s dancing on bar tables.

Since Facebook’s privacy settings are often in flux, observe the same sensitivity about closeness versus distance in cyberspace that you do elsewhere. For example, if you are Facebook friends with your kids, you might look at the photos they post…but refrain from leaving a trail of comments on their wall. Likewise, don’t post anything cringe-inducing about them on your page. And a word to the wise: if you become “friends” with their current girlfriend or boyfriend, then when a break-up occurs, that former lover will be able to track any new relationship in photos on your page. During these years of changing partners and tender feelings it’s something to think about before you click “accept.”

5. Do learn to read your child’s communication clues.
Most parents develop a second sense about when their grown children need encouragement and when they want to be left alone to puzzle things out on their own. Unmade or unanswered calls may just mean a grown child’s life is happily full and attention is elsewhere. But unexpected, unexplained silences can also be a sign of trouble brewing or a crisis that has deepened into despair. You have to make a sensible judgment about each child and each situation based on what you know about your child. If a longer than usual silence suggests that a child is having a hard time or a recent call home has been particularly emotional, it might be time to follow up with an email or text: “Send me a brief message to say you’re OK” (or arrange a future call).

6. Do model the digital behavior you’d like your grown kids to follow.
If you repeatedly answer texts while you’re with your kids or sink into long phone conversations while they’re visiting, they might feel it’s just fine to do the same. If you want to share quality time together, model good digital use so your kids feel they have your full attention when you’re together in real life.

(By Elizabeth Fishel and Jeffrey Arnett, reprinted from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/04/communicating-with-grown-children_n_7463726.html)

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Ask Priscilla! What is the Common Reader?

The Common Reader, a program for our first-year students,  is an integral part of the Missouri State public affairs mission. It’s not just an assignment or busy work for our students, it’s a tool to enhance the first-year student’s experience, encourage the students to think about the public affairs mission and to start having conversations with their fellow students about the Missouri State and the global community.

This year’s common reader is The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore.  It’s a story of  two boys, same name but life paths completely different.  the_other_wes_moore_thumb

There are several goals of the Common Reader Program. They are:

  • Establish an opportunity for first-year students to understand their responsibility as engaged learners in an academic community.
  • Set expectations for student success by emphasizing the importance of reading, writing and critical thinking in the University environment.
  • Create a sense of community by increasing interdisciplinary thinking and dialogue among students, faculty and staff through shared academic and co-curricular experiences.
  • Promote a deeper understanding of the public affairs mission and it’s wider societal impact through a critical analysis of a common reader.

“Missouri State University’s common reader program provides a common academic experience and creates a greater sense of community among students, faculty and staff. It also offers an introduction to intellectual life at Missouri State University. ” Dr. Rachelle Darabi, Associate Provost for Student Development and Public Affairs

Please consider joining us in reading The Other Wes Moore. It’s an excellent book.  Reading the book and discussing it with your student is great way to start the conversation about the impact of the book and the Missouri State public affairs mission. Learn more about the common reader program.

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Ten Parental Habits That Can Negatively Affect Your College Student

As college parents we want the best for our college students.  Many college parents have spent years planning for and working toward their student’s college experience.  They would never intentionally do anything to harm their student’s chances of making the most of his years in college.  However, there are some things that parents do, often unintentionally, that may have negative effects for their student.  16298844169_d054ddaa7b_z

Check this list below and consider whether or not you may be guilty of any of these habits.  Certainly, no parents are guilty of all of these habits.  Many parents may not be guilty of any of these habits.  Unfortunately, all are actions that some parents take at one time or another.  The list may seem harsh, but it gives us all pause, and food for thought.

  • You have too much contact with your college student.  Many parents may have a hard time believing that there can be too much contact.  You are concerned about your student.  You want to know that your student is doing well.  You want to know that your student is happy.  You miss your student.  You want to fill your student in on life at home.  And so you call or text your student several times each day.  Your student calls you to discuss all of her decisions.  You like continuing to be involved in your student’s life.  However, a major part of the college years is the increasing independence that the student experiences.  Sometimes holding on too tightly may hinder that growing confidence and independence.
  • You don’t let your student make his own mistakes.  Sometimes, as parents, you can see the mistake coming.  You know a poor decision at the moment that it is made, or being considered.  You see your student heading down a dangerous path.  Certainly, you should help your student avoid serious mistakes that can have dire consequences – especially if they involve health or safety.  But many mistakes, although they might be avoided, are important life lessons.  Students need to learn to take responsibility for themselves, and that often involves bearing the consequences of their actions.  Letting students make their own mistakes, and learn from them, is an important part of these college years.
  • You encourage your student to come home often during the semester. If your student’s college is close enough to make it feasible, it may seem like a good idea to encourage her to come home on weekends.  Perhaps your student would like to keep a job at home.  You want to make sure she is sleeping and eating well.  You may feel that she should maintain contact with friends at home.  You may feel that she can study better, or avoid partying temptations, at home.  But students who come home often for weekends are less engaged in their college experience.  They have less time to make new friends and get involved in campus activities.  Students who are less engaged in their college experience are at greater risk for leaving school and also often receive poorer grades.
  • You burden your student with problems at home.  You certainly want to help your student stay in contact with home life, and you need to be honest with him about major issues happening at home.  But be careful that you don’t overburden your student with issues about which he can do nothing.  Remember that your student is trying to adjust to being away.  This will be more difficult if he feels guilty about not being at home.
  • You “help” your student by taking care of school issues for him.  Perhaps you know that a deadline is approaching and your student hasn’t dealt with something.  You know that your student should make a deposit or turn in a form or write a letter.  A reminder to your student may be helpful, but doing it for your student may not.  Or perhaps, you know that your student has difficulty getting up in the morning so you call him each day.  Although you may be helping your student in the short term, you are not helping him to gain the independence that will serve him well in the future.
  • You pay bills late, file forms late or miss an important parental deadline. When bills are paid late students often have “holds” placed on their accounts.  This may prevent your student from registering for classes or choosing a dorm room.  This difficulty is compounded if your student doesn’t know that a bill is unpaid or a form unfiled.  She may be frustrated when she doesn’t understand why she can’t do what she needs to do.
  • You are not completely honest on your financial aid forms. When you complete the FAFSA or the Profile or any other scholarship information, double check that your information is entirely accurate.  If there is a discrepancy, your student could lose his financial aid or scholarships.
  • You try to act as your student’s academic advisor – telling her what classes to take or how many credits she should carry.  You may have ideas about courses, and you should certainly discuss your student’s schedule with her, but let the professionals at the college do what they are trained to do.  They may know more about certain classes or sequences of courses.  They have seen students with too many credits who are unable to do quality work.  They have seen the students with too few credits lose focus or need an extra year to complete college. Weigh in, but remind your student that she needs to work with her advisor to plan her course of study.
  • You “heavily edit” your student’s paper, or write your student’s paper, or write a letter or e-mail in your student’s name.  Consider carefully the message that any of these actions send to your student.  Consider carefully whether these will help your student in the long run.  Yes, he may receive a better grade on a paper or in a class, but what is the lesson that he has learned?
  • You forget that you and the college have the same goal: your student’s success.   If you do need to contact the college – through phone, e-mail, or in person, try to be patient and understanding if you don’t get an immediate answer to your question – or you don’t get the answer that you had hoped for.  Sometimes the person to whom you talk may not be the person with the answer.  Remember, too, to be completely honest in any information that you give to the college.  Don’t harm your student by trying to make excuses for him or giving inaccurate information.  The college can’t help if they don’t know the reality of the situation.

Even the best intentioned parent may make an occasional mistake that may affect his student.  We all do the best that we can.  Taking a few minutes to think about the bigger picture or possible consequences of some of our actions can help us avoid what might be some costly mistakes for our students.

(Reprinted from www.collegeparentcentral.com)

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Ask Priscilla! What immunizations does my student need to start classes at Missouri State?

This is a good question. There are some immunizations that are required by the State of Missouri for your student to start his/her classes at Missouri State. Your student isn’t REQUIRED to submit proof of immunizations (except for the ones listed below) but it is highly recommended.  Having this information on file can be useful.  Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MO

At Missouri State, we have a fabulous health facility, Taylor Health and Wellness Center, that is available to help your student while they are on campus.  Taylor Health and Wellness Center’s outstanding staff looks forward to assisting your student with their health and wellness needs.  The services of Taylor Health and Wellness Center, which are available to all members of the University Community, are high quality, convenient and economical.

Please review the information here, look at the website, and visit Taylor Health and Wellness Center when you visit campus.

Missouri law requires:

A. All students who reside in on-campus housing must have received the meningococcal vaccine and a record of this vaccination must be on file at Taylor Health and Wellness Center at least two weeks before you move in to on-campus housing. The only exceptions the law permits are for a signed statement of religious exemption or a physician signed specific statement of medical exemption, and these would need to be on file with the university at least two weeks prior to moving in to on-campus housing.  Your student can NOT move-in to his/her residence hall if proof of vaccination hasn’t been received.

B. Screening of all new students taking a class on campus for tuberculosis risk factors. This survey can be accessed at My Missouri State in the Wellness Section of the Profile tab. This must be completed at least before your student registers for their second semester classes. It is best to complete this sooner than later.  For international students from countries considered endemic (widespread) for TB infection, a test for tuberculosis (TB) is required before or during the first semester at Taylor Health.  It is recommended that all students traveling from countries where tuberculosis is endemic update their TB test 12 weeks after their trip. It is also recommended that all incoming students who are at high risk for TB should
have a current TB test. The ACHA list of endemic TB countries may be found at http://health.missouristate.edu/tbcountries.htm

Students interested in receiving allergy injections or immunizations can go to the Treatment Clinic portion of the Taylor  website or call our Treatment Clinic at 417-836-4020.

Taylor Health and Wellness Center
Missouri State University
901 S. National Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65897
1-417-836-4000 Phone
1-417-836-4133 Fax

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Mike Jungers – A Legacy of Commitment to Student Success

Retirements are always a bittersweet time and the retirement of Dean of Students Mike Jungers is no exception. Dean Jungers has been a fixture at MSU for 39 years working in many different areas of the university. Everyone that has crossed paths with Dean Jungers is touched by his kindness, humor, sensitivity and love of our students. Dean Jungers officially retires on June 1st but will be assisting the university with some projects off-and-on.  646

1) You are retiring after 39 years at MSU. What education/career path did you take to get to the position of Dean of Students?  My educational path is not something I would hold up as a model.  My career path was marked by my willingness to explore opportunities beyond my current position.  In every position that I had, I was also contributing to another area of Student Affairs.  In this way, I moved from Residence Life to university conduct, retention, and fraternity coordination, to drug education and prevention programs, to university conduct and disability services, to student conduct and behavioral intervention, and finally into the role of Dean of Students.

2)      In your years at MSU, you’ve seen a lot of change take place. Can you tell us three of the biggest changes you have seen in your time here and what effect those changes had on the student body?  One would be the emergence of the Student Government Association as a representative body of the students to a significant contributor to the landscape and services of the University through first the creation of the Wyrick Fund, followed by the Sustainability Fee, the Recreation Center and Recreation Facility Fees.  Secondly, the recognition of the statewide mission in Public Affairs, the articulation of the three Pillars, and the signature annual events that followed.  Finally, our focus on diversity and inclusion which is causing us as a community to experience some very significant but necessary growing pains.  There is so much room for growth in what we can realize as an institution and in our influence beyond our campus.

3)  A student comes to you and says that he/she is interested in a career in Student Affairs and they would like to know why you chose student affairs and the feedback you would give them on working in student affairs. What would you tell them?  Student Affairs was not so much a choice as it was an evolution.  There is certainly a thread that connects my first role, as an RA and then a SOAR Leader in the late 60’s to my present role as the Dean of Students, but I never looked too far beyond the role I was fulfilling at any given time.  Be prepared to never be richly paid; never say “I’ve seen it all;” expect that there is always more to do and a new group of students to work with; be open to learn about students and about yourself throughout your career; and develop a life beyond your work.

4)  What are your hobbies outside of MSU?   I love to canoe and fish with my friends; road biking for the exercise, solitude, and taking in the world around me; and enjoying art in all its forms with my wife Gayle. How do you balance work/life?  Hmmm, I am not sure that I do.  My meditation is probably my best “balancing act” whether or not the rest of me is in balance.

5)  What is your favorite tradition here at MSU? Why?  It is a tradition practiced at every institution of higher education, but I have to say that my favorite tradition is commencement and the role of undergraduate marshal. So much joy, relief, reflection, friendship, love, pride, satisfaction, and appreciation in JQH Arena. There is no event like it and I feel like I have the very best seat and role in the house.

Read more about Dean Jungers in The Standard.

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