While a team from Missouri Southern accepted the Pioneer Award recently at the Great Game of Business’ annual Gathering of the Games, it was one professor in particular who had a spotlight of her own.

Maryann Mitts, assistant professor of kinesiology, was given 90 seconds to present details on the Kinesiology Department’s “PAUSE for Retention” minigame during the “Show Me Your Minigame” segment.

The contest pitted Mitts against 16 other businesses and organizations. Southern was the only group involved in higher education. Judges wanted to hear about the problem being addressed, players involved, forecasting targets, rewards and method of keeping score – all in 90 seconds.

In her winning presentation, Mitts told the judges that the problem is retention, keeping students in the department as the semesters pass. Two weeks before midterms, kinesiology gives each student a PAUSE (Preparation, Attendance, Understanding, Support and Effort) card for a self-evaluation.

“When our students reach 20 percent participation, they received a green MSSU ink pen,” she says. “At 40 percent, faculty had to have a pink streak in their hair. At 60 percent, we did a PAUSE Plunge with faculty jumping in the pool fully clothed immediately after our mass advising day. For the 80 percent participation reward, students got a tailgate at a spring baseball

game.” Mitts says when the mini-game effort began at MSSU, her department was determined to be fully involved.

“I think that’s because we have background in sports and games,” she says. “I have to credit Jean Hobbs, our department chair at the time, for leading the way in getting behind this.”

The department received a $2,500 prize package, which it gave back to the university to support other employees attending Great Game trainings.