Addressing social justice issues. Advocating for nature. Empowering ethical leaders. Giving a hand up to students in need.
They’re all part of how Missouri State University faculty and staff demonstrate the public affairs mission.
The Board of Governors awarded its Faculty and Staff Excellence in Public Affairs award to six employees.
The recipients’ track records, work and accomplishments support the mission.
Each winner receives a $1,500 grant for travel and/or projects related to their public affairs activities.
Staff Excellence in Public Affairs winners
Heather Blades, associate director, Center for Dispute Resolution
Blades integrates public affairs in her training, advising, mentoring and skillful diplomacy.
She leads a study away course to Northern Ireland that explores the dynamics of conflict and peacemaking. Blades challenges her students and program members to bridge differences and understand the power of cultural competency.
Sheryl Ruff-Hensley, administrative assistant, marketing department
Ruff-Hensley is public affairs in action. She takes the initiative to comfort distressed students, deliver meals to colleagues in need, provide community resources for international students and more.
She inspires students and the campus community to be generous in their service to others and engage as Citizen Bears.
Katie Stinnett, program manager, student development and public affairs
Stinnett reconciles potential cultural differences with the university’s standards for academic integrity.
She trains faculty and students on cultural norms and how those can affect behavior in the classroom. Her problem solving, advising and counseling skills help retain students academically and provide ethical learning experiences.
Faculty Excellence in Public Affairs winners
Lyle Foster, assistant professor of sociology, College of Humanities and Public Affairs
Foster’s belief in education and the value of collaborative relationships fuel his passion as a teacher and a community advocate.
He creates pathways for student success and a more inclusive Springfield by offering dynamic classroom experiences, open dialogue forums and civic projects. His projects develop a better, healthier community.
Dr. Janice Greene, professor of biology, College of Natural and Applied Sciences
Greene trains students at all levels to be engaged and principled leaders and advocates for a better environment.
She emphasizes the importance that nature plays in improving quality of life for all people. As one of her students said, “Dr. Greene lives the public affairs mission, even when no one is looking.”
Dr. Carol Miller, distinguished professor, College of Business
Public affairs comes to life through Miller’s dedication to the environment, equal rights and a diverse set of social justice issues.
Her research, publications and service have inspired a new generation of ethical leaders and have made notable changes in public policies. She guides her students to be agents of change by helping them discover their passions, then by teaching the skills needed to change society for the greater good.