Michael Howarth publishes first novel

Sometimes, all a young kid wants to do is hone his sweet ninja skills and take his rightful place as the “Bruce Lee of New England.”

Things, however, are not always that easy. Throw in the pressures of high school, a shopaholic mother, a rap-loving therapist and an Asian cyber-girlfriend, and young Timothy Dimmick’s quest takes some un – expected turns.

Timothy’s path is at the heart of “Fair Weather Ninjas,” the first novel by Dr. Michael Howarth, associate professor of English and director of the Honors Pro – gram at Missouri Southern State University. “It has a humorous element, and there’s a lot in there for adults, too,” he said.

The novel was published this summer by Lamar University Literary Press. Andrew Geyer, author of “Dixie Fish” and “Meeting the Dead” said of the book: “If being a ninja means having the ability to overcome tragedy and to temper with grace the day-after-day awfulness that too often comes with being a teen, then Michael Howarth’s gorgeous coming-of-age novel is a must-read.”

The paperback is available through online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Dr. Patricia Murphy, a retired English professor, recently published “The New Woman Gothic: Reconfigurations of Distress.”

Published by the University of Missouri Press, the book adds to the study of the New Woman in British fiction in the 19th and 20th centuries. The “New Woman” was the term used at the end of the 19th century to describe women who resisted the limits which society imposed on women. (Today she might be called a liberated woman or a feminist.)

The book, designed for an academic audience, examines the New Woman as she appears in Gothic writing.

Buy Fair Weather Ninjas here!

Fall 2016 School of Arts & Sciences

Geography lab unveiled along with new major

The addition of a geography lab is helping to put the new major on the map at Missouri Southern.

The creation of the lab is a result of a minor degree growing into a larger program, said Steve Smith, professor of geography. After being approved by the state last year, the 2016-17 school year is the first for geography to be offered as a major.

“Geography and spatial science are among the top 25 job fields in the United States right now,” said Smith. “What we wanted was essentially an interactive class – room environment … a space that accommodates a bank of computers and space for lab classes and traditional lectures.

To construct the lab, crews combined two rooms on the second floor of Webster Hall, removing a wall and installing a dual-projection system, topographic maps, globes and new carpeting. “The idea was to create a space that’s visually interest – ing, and more than just a traditional classroom,” said Smith.

Fall 2016 School of Arts & Sciences

Social work program doubles its enrollment

When the social work program launched at Missouri Southern at the start of the 2015-16 school year, it was with fewer than 20 students. In its second full year, the program has more than doubled in size.

“We have 33 students who came in this August,” said Dr. Renee White, department chair. “There’s been a lot of word of mouth around campus about it, as well as by people in the community who have social work degrees and are excited to share the news.”

Another factor helping to bolster the new degree is the job potential. According to the National Association of Social Workers, employment it expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations. That is, in part, due to the growing elderly population and the aging Baby Boom generation.

White said she hopes to see the program continue to flourish at Missouri Southern. “Social work is an up-and-coming profession,” said White. “Regionally, there are some rural areas that are very much in need of social workers.”

Fall 2016 School of Arts & Sciences

Student programming featured heavily on KXMS

On The Air

The bouncing melody of Me Like Bees’ “Tundraland” emanates from the speakers in the KXMS studio, the song portion of an hour-long block devoted to local talent.

For those accustomed to hearing only classical music played during the daytime, the upbeat number from the Joplin based indie rock band might come as a surprise when tuning in. But it’s the result of an effort to have students be more involved in the day-to-day operation of the station, and to expand the “fine arts” referred to in 88.7 FM’s longstanding tagline – “Fine Arts Radio International.”

“KXMS has been well known as a classical station,” says junior communications major Justin Eves. “Classical music is definitely ‘fine arts,’ but ‘fine arts’ doesn’t mean just classical. It’s any kind of genre.”

Between 3 and 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, student produced programming offers a broad range of music, including modern rock, jazz, bluegrass, Celtic and tracks from the local music scene. Eves, who hosts Monday evening’s “Hour in the ‘80s” show as East Bay J, likes to offer a mix of favorites and “outlandish” international tracks audiences may not be familiar with.

Kirsten Blaser, senior mass communications major and the station’s student coordinator, says she enjoyed getting hands-on experience, but was a proponent of making the station a student-run affair.

“We wanted students to be heard on weekdays,” she says. “It draws more students to the practicum and the Communication Department in general. They get to pick what genre they want to feature on their show and what the format will be.”

Students learn how to use the digital audio delivery system, how to record a program and format a playlist.

“Our department strives to give students a real-world, on-the-job experience,” says Kisa Clark, coordinator of the student practicum. “Now they’re really getting it.”

“In the daytime, we still offer classical music for our pretty big base of listeners. But we also want to attract new listeners who might be interested in new programming.”

Daytime classical music programming comes courtesy of WCPE, a 24-hour classical station based in North Carolina. Weekends offer a mix of Missouri Southern sports coverage, opera and blues. It’s a mix of old and new that is building on the station’s already loyal audience.

“We seem to be getting a lot of positive feedback,” says Eves. “It’s really exciting.”

Fall 2016 School of Arts & Sciences Student Features