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Arts & Letters Expressions
An online publication for the alumni and friends of the College of Arts and Letters

Explore the Midwestern roots of a literary icon

Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes, 2017 inductee to the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame

Langston Hughes is most commonly associated with the Harlem Renaissance, but he spent his early life in the Midwest.

Dr. Matthew Calihman, associate professor in the English department, said, “I do think Missouri is important to him,” noting that regional geography and events often emerged in Hughes’ writing.

Visiting scholar and documentarian Dr. Carmaletta Williams will unpack these influences during a multimedia presentation timed with Hughes’ induction to the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame.

Key details

A global artist and mentor

Hughes’ association with public affairs stems not only from his lifetime engagement with politics and society, but also from his role within America’s literary tradition.

“He’s a tremendously important figure — a giant,” Calihman said. “He had great influence on contemporaries.”

Calihman’s own research includes African American writers from the 1960s and 1970s, some of whom received direct encouragement from Hughes. “He was tremendously important in terms of cultivating African American writers,” Calihman said.

About visiting scholar Dr. Carmaletta Williams

Dr. Williams is the author of Langston Hughes in the Classroom (National Council of Teachers of English; 2006) and the co-editor of My Dear Boy: Carrie Hughes’s Letters to Langston Hughes, 1926-1938 (U of Georgia P; 2013).  She won an Emmy Award for her portrayal of Zora Neale Hurston on Kansas City Public TV and Kansas City Public Library’s program Meet the Past.

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Solutions: academic integrity resources

Katie Stinnett, academic integrity coordinator

The office of academic integrity provides support and resources for faculty who are dealing with plagiarism, cheating and other issues of academic integrity. Its coordinator, Katie Stinnett, recently shared some thoughts that may be helpful for anyone looking to more effectively address these issues.

Common areas of concern

Stinnett described common areas of concern. Some relate to student activities (particularly social media behaviors), but there are other areas where faculty play proactive roles in prevention and enforcement.

Management and communication challenges

In Stinnett’s experience, students who are struggling with time management or communication are more vulnerable to choices that compromise their academic integrity.

Faculty can help by crafting clear, specific assignment instructions and making students aware of campus resources, such as the Writing Center and the counseling center, which helps students who feel overwhelmed and anxious about juggling class assignments.

Not understanding the consequences

Stinnett says that some students may be aware that they’re violating academic integrity but don’t believe the consequences will be that bad.

Accountability can change this dynamic, and it’s most effective when the standards are enforced consistently — across different disciplines and by different instructors. Stinnett encourages all faculty to register academic integrity concerns with her office, so that they can be properly documented and addressed.


Sometimes, Stinnett shared, even a student who wouldn’t consider plagiarizing someone else’s content may commit an academic integrity violation through self-plagiarism, or “double dipping.” This occurs when the student reuses original work for multiple classes.

Double dipping can be especially tricky for upper-level or graduate students, who are naturally inclined to work on the same subject matter across multiple classes.

Stinnett says that students who wish to revisit or reimagine work created for previous classes should be straightforward with their instructors.

Faculty can then help prevent self-plagiarism by providing clear criteria that will be used to judge a student’s new contributions or progress. For example, an instructor might require the student to turn in all the drafts of a project, so that the instructor can fully evaluate the significance of changes between drafts.

Group work

Adhering to academic integrity standards may become more complex during group assignments. One scenario Stinnett mentioned: one group member does not contribute to an assignment but is awarded credit based on the work of the group.

Stinnett suggested using group evaluation forms, which require each group member to assess the contributions of other group members. Requiring evaluations — and making students aware that they will be evaluated by their peers — can help hold individuals accountable in group assignments.


Blackboard content

There is an academic integrity tutorial that can be added to any course’s Blackboard.

Find it by visiting: Blackboard > Content Collection > Institution Content > Academic Integrity Content

This tutorial is free for use in any course, and instructors can require students to review the tutorial and take the associated exam.

Academic Integrity Days

The office of academic integrity is hosting a series of events, March 28 – March 30. Stinnett shared that these events have been highly effective. “In a 60- or 90-minute session,” she said, “I can get through to students, partly because I’m not their teacher. I force reflection so that students will stop and think about their own behavior.”

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Students gather data that may shape Greene County

Aerial view of Springfield with a focus on the Missouri State campus

Students in Didem Koroglu’s communication classes are participating in a service learning project with the potential to have significant impact on our community.

They’re partnering with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO) to increase public engagement with the 2017 Springfield-Greene County Community Focus Report, which investigates 11 “red flag” and “blue ribbon” areas in the county.

Bringing new voices to the conversation

According to a KY3 story about the project:

CFO has been researching and publishing these detailed community focus reports since 2004. In the past they have collected feedback through committees that are made up of leaders from roughly a dozen agencies. Those agencies share feedback they get from residents, and that information is then broken down into 11 areas of focus for the report.

Koroglu and her students are working to expand and diversify the feedback by providing an online option for residents to contribute.


Residents can now provide feedback about life in Springfield and Greene County via an interactive website dedicated to the Community Focus Report.

The students will then analyze and organize the feedback, creating white papers that will help direct efforts around the 11 focus areas.

Key details

Provide feedback for the Community Focus Report

Follow the students’ work

More information about the project and report

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Student meets VP

Carrington Hall

When Kolby Eller discovered that a close friend had been sexually assaulted at a party, he was shocked and confused. Not sure what to say or how to help, Eller began doing research into the topic.

“I found that this happens far too often and I knew I wanted to do all I could to prevent it from happening to anyone else,” said Eller, a junior socio-political communication major at Missouri State University. “So I took the pledge at ItsOnUs.com and started to plan events to promote the organization.”

It’s On Us

Although the It’s On Us organization has only been established for two years, it has many accomplishments. So far, 360,000 people have taken the pledge to help stop sexual assault and events have been held at more than 400 college campuses in 49 states to recruit new pledges.

“Some campuses choose to show documentaries and then host a pledge drive,” said Eller. “Other campuses bring in speakers to talk about sexual assault and bystander intervention. The campaign is probably known best for its PSAs that include famous politicians, athletes, musicians and actors.”

Eller, now a member of the National Student Advisory Committee for the organization, focuses on campus outreach. He is one of the regional directors for Region 7, or the Great Plains region.

“I contact roughly 20-50 student leaders a week and talk to them about programs they are bringing to their college campuses and then I pass them on to the national organization,” said Eller. “This way the It’s On Us headquarters can help the campus promote its event.”

Meeting the vice presidentKolby Eller and VP Joe Biden

As a member of the Student Advisory Committee, Eller was invited to attend a reception hosted at Vice President Joe Biden’s home at the Naval Observatory on Oct. 4.

“The reception was attended by roughly 60 people, including Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Tina Tchen, First Lady Michelle Obama’s chief of staff,” said Eller. “During the reception Vice President Biden spoke about why he is committed to the It’s On Us campaign and gave awards to college students who had been outstanding bystanders and prevented a sexual assault from occurring.”

After the reception, each student had the chance to meet with Vice President Biden and take a picture. Eller, a Chillicothe native, says the experience was eye-opening and encouraged him to continue his work with It’s On Us. He most recently attended a summit on sexual assault prevention at the White House Jan. 5. Eller will graduate in December of 2017 and looks forward to continuing his work in this area.

For more information, contact Eller at Eller114@live.missouristate.edu.

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Solutions: advising night

Academic advisingMissouri State Music Department logo is frequently identified as a key component of student success. Because peak registration season overlaps with the height of the semester, it can be challenging for faculty to work advising appointments into schedules that are already packed with teaching, research and service activities.

Last fall, the music department found an innovative way to address this challenge. They organized an advising night, primarily targeted to freshmen.

Advising night structure

The music department scheduled advising night from 7-10 p.m. on a week-night. There were three phases to the experience.

  • Students arrived (typically bringing their own laptops or devices). They checked in at a registration table.
  • Students then moved to a table that was staffed with peer advisors — upper division music students. This allowed them to speak broadly about their plans for the semester and receive informed peer advice about general education courses, all of which provided valuable context for the upcoming semester.
  • They then moved to private, individual appointments with faculty advisors. Once students completed this step, they were ready for registration.

Dr. Julie CombsBenefits

Dr. Julie Combs, music department head, shared that the event was highly effective. She identified the peer advisor phase as adding value because it provided person-to-person insight about schedules, workload and course progression. “Then with the students I advised, I felt that I accomplished a lot more because they felt more prepared,” Combs said.

It also helped students who struggle with planning ahead learn from peers who may be more proactive, Comb said, and in doing so helped strengthen relationships among music students and further develop the department’s sense of community.

Resources and planning

In planning the event, Combs enlisted the following resources:

  • Nathan Hartzler, distributed user support specialist, provided technical support to make sure all advisors had access to current student educational planner templates
  • Between six and eight faculty members, who have each earned master advisor designations, agreed to serve during advising night
  • A group of 15-20 students, who have been identified as leaders in the department, came to provide peer advisement

Combs incentivized participation by providing pizza for dinner. She also offered convocation credit, which all music students must earn, and held a raffle for registered advisees.

She was pleased with the results and plans to host the event again. “It helps make students really responsible for their own success,” Combs said. “I like to see their independence grow from it.”

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Show-Me Chefs: ultimate locavores

Since its first season in 2015, Show-Me Chefs has entertained audiences with televised culinary showdowns between area chefs. It’s quickly become a local tradition — with an emphasis on local.

Show-Me Chefs creator Deb Larson, associate professor in the department of media, journalism and film, shared, “It sort of came to me as we were developing the show that most Americans are very disconnected from our food sources and producers.”

Larson said, “I want people to know we have all kinds of food being grown right here in southwest Missouri. Even year round you can buy fresh produce at the farmers markets. It’s a celebration of who we are.”

Real-world job skills

Over the course of three seasons, more than 130 students have worked on Show-Me Chefs, filming 24 contestants who’ve served up more than 250 meals. Their work was recently recognized with a 2017 College Arts Emmy in the Series-Unscripted category.

It’s a very hands-on learning process, and Larson knows when to step in as an educator and when to allow students to solve problems as they arise. “It’s all about them understanding how to be self-didactic. It’s a big crew, and the standards are high. If they don’t know something, they have to figure it out,” she said. “But they also have a team unit to help them troubleshoot issues.”

This course structure is modeled on a process called instructional scaffolding, which emphasizes providing targeted resources and support for students in a customizable learning environment — with the ultimate goal that students gain autonomy in the field.

Student operating camera

Instructional scaffolding has long been employed through internships and learning from team supervisors or mentors. But Larson has formalized the process in student production by dividing a large team into production units, such as camera and lights, art department, and producing and directing. Each unit is led by a graduate student, who provides guidance to the upper- and lower-division students that make up the rest of the team.

The set offers a complex ecosystem in which to learn. “It really makes you appreciate how many people it takes to make a show,” Larson said. “Every single person’s job is important to the whole.”

An innovative take on public affairs

While the connection between a cooking show and Missouri State’s Public Affairs Mission may not be readily apparent, Larson sees a lot of overlap through community engagement. “We interface with so much of the Ozarks community to produce this show,” Larson said. “There are a lot of local food producers who are out there making a living or enhancing their income through their love of growing food, and we like helping people learn about and support them.”

By showcasing these ingredients, Show-Me Chefs hopes to inspire viewers to eat locally, which Larson believes contributes to a balanced lifestyle. She said, “If you eat local and seasonally, you’ll be better off for it.”

Show-Me-Chefs pantry

Giving back

As an additional investment in the community, Show-Me Chefs donates a portion of the proceeds from its annual gala to Missouri-focused nonprofit Care to Learn. According to the Care to Learn website:

For thousands of kids in Missouri, school isn’t just a place for learning. It’s a shelter. A kitchen. A refuge from suffering. For these kids, hygiene needs go unmet. Meals are few. And clothes rarely fit. They come to school distracted by hunger and limited by embarrassment—their education an afterthought to survival.

The Mission of Care to Learn is to provide immediate funding to meet emergent needs in the areas of health, hunger and hygiene so every student can be successful in school. These are the things that stand between children and belonging—basic unmet needs that cause pain and embarrassment.

Larson said donating is important because “we want some of these kids to attend college later. And if they’re made to feel like they can’t learn and can’t succeed, they won’t believe they can do that. So we want to be part of making them feel successful now and in the future.”

Show-Me Chefs Gala
Guests and chefs at the 2016 Show-Me Chefs Gala

Support from the community

These opportunities exist because many aspects of the Missouri State and Springfield communities provide support. Larson is grateful for resources provided by the university, the College of Arts and Letters and the departments of communication and media, journalism and film.

Show-Me Chefs also receives donations from a diverse range of local businesses, including 319 Downtown Event Center, MaMa Jean’s Natural Market, Horrmann Meats, Red Top Oven, New Horizons Hydroponics, Urban Roots, Fellers Food Service and KOZL TV, who provide everything from prize money for the winning chef to pantry items to the aprons contestants wear on the show.

Individuals can learn about opportunities to get involved by following the Show-Me Chefs Facebook page (which also serves up tasty, behind-the-scenes sneak peeks and information about the October 2017 Show-Me Chefs Gala).

Delicious ingredients — very close to home

The Missouri State campus is a source for two Show-Me Chefs ingredients: beef and wine from the Darr College of Agriculture.

Larson praised this cross-campus collaboration. “It’s great working with Darr,” she said. “We want everyone to know that we have these programs. The College of Agriculture raises very good cattle, and the quality of the meat is excellent. We have award-winning wineries, and how cool is that? Sharing them on the show is a natural fit for us.”

And for viewers who get inspired and want to try Missouri State beef and wine? Rhonda Breshears of the Darr College of Agriculture shared that Hy-Vee and Horrmann Meats sell both beef and wine and that the wine is also available at the Brown Derby International Wine Center.

It’s the perfect way to dine like a Show-Me Chefs judge!

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Jaime Bihlmeyer recognized for excellence in online teaching

Jaime Bihlmeyer, professor emeritus, is the recipient of the 2016 Master Online Course Recognition Award (MOCRA) from Missouri State Online.

Students working onlineMOCRA criteria and recognition

Professor Bihlmeyer’s course, MED 470, was evaluated by a scoring rubric and judged to be best in each of the following categories:

  • Course overview and introduction
  • Learning objectives and competencies
  • Course design, organization and instructional materials
  • Student collaboration and engagement
  • Student assessment strategies and measurements
  • Course technology and media value
  • Student support

He will be publicly recognized at the All Faculty Recognition Reception in May.

Take the course

Bihlmeyer is scheduled to teach an online section of MED 470 during the Fall 2017 semester.

Key details

  • Course name: MED 470-899 (Postmodern Trends in Movies)
  • Credit hours: 3
  • CRN number: 44270
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COM Week 2017 features distinguished researchers and alumni

Communication Week is a signature event for Missouri State University’s Department of Communication. It focuses on highlighting communication teaching and research, as well as bringing together students, alumni and community members to network. This year, the week-long event themed “Make Your Missouri Statement” will take place on campus from Feb. 21-24. Dr. Shawn Wahl, Missouri […]

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Awards recognition at BEA’s 2017 Festival of Media Arts

Media, journalism and film and electronic arts students were awarded significant honors in the 2017 Festival of Media Arts, sponsored by the Broadcast Education Association.

About the Festival of Media Arts

From the Festival’s website:

The Broadcast Education Association’s Festival of Media Arts is a competitive festival open to BEA individual faculty and student members. Last year the Festival received over 1,530 total entries in 15 competitions.

About BEA

BEA is the premiere international academic media organization, driving insights, excellence in media production, and career advancement for educators, students, and professionals… BEA serves as a forum for exposition, analysis and debate of issues of social importance to develop members’ awareness and sensitivity to these issues and to their ramifications, which will ultimately help students develop as more thoughtful practitioners.

Award winners

Narrative Video Category

Award of Excellence

Counting to 1,000
  • Josh Pfaff
  • Samantha Rohde
  • Andrew Westmaas
  • Joshua Moore

Award of Excellence

Backstage (Season 1, Episode 1: “Just Ignore the Cameras”)
  • Erin Snider
  • Samantha Kelly
  • Chelsea Eichholz
  • Lauren Johnson

Promotional Video Category

Second Place

Posers — Indiegogo Fundraising Video
  • Sean Thiessen
  • Becca Thompson
  • Nicklaus Martin
  • Jacob Dailey

Video Spots Category

Award of Excellence

Show-Me Chefs Promo
  • Lauren E. Johnson, editor
  • Colin J. Robertson, composer

Multimedia Sound Design Category

Second Place

Outwatch Cinema Trailer
  • Peter Batemon, sound designer and editor

Feature Scriptwriting Category

Third Place

  • Brian Keppy

Award of Excellence

Meat Me
  • Shyla Shank
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