December 17, 2021 at 11:45am
Kendall Trump, Class of 2013

Randy Brooks

Dr. Randy Brooks

Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences

Despite the pandemic, the College of Arts & Sciences has had an excellent year of recruiting and continues to enroll over a third of all Millikin students in our academic programs. As of Aug. 23, 224 of the 568 new students entering Millikin University this academic year had majors in Arts & Sciences. Approximately 100 of these new students are in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs. We are also glad to be introducing a new major this year in engineering science. Our academic programs at Millikin continued to provide student learning and development opportunities this past summer. This summer 476 students enrolled in immersion courses for a total of about 1,000 undergraduate and 500 graduate student credit hours. Just over 100 students completed summer internships, directed studies or independent studies over the summer as well. Our Leighty Science Scholars Program and Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) students were also active on campus, completing undergraduate research projects under the guidance of various faculty. For example, this summer Dr. Dan Miller, Professor of Mathematics, mentored two students with Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) grants in the development of educational programs engaging in building robotics. Both students are active members of Blue Bots, Millikin’s intercollegiate robotics team. Jayme Reed ’22 is developing an honors seminar focused on programming robotics. Brian Freeman ’23 is creating a K-12 outreach program intended to bring computer science and robotics to local schools. The faculty and students in the College of Arts & Sciences are so glad to be back on campus in person this fall. It is a joy to re-engage students in Socratic dialogues and Performance Learning in the classroom.

Laura Ledford

Laura Ledford

Dean of the College of Fine Arts Students

and faculty in the College of Fine Arts faced enormous challenges last year with pandemic restrictions. In the performing arts, particularly, opportunities to tour, perform for live audiences and rehearse in groups were either canceled (tours), moved online (streamed concerts) or re-imagined to be rehearsed and recorded remotely on video (plays and musicals). An unexpected benefit of moving performances online was the creation of opportunities for students in our Arts Technology and Administration Department to both come to the rescue of our other departments, and learn valuable skills in audio and video production, editing and streaming technologies. Because of these students and creative faculty, the College was able to share its Performance Learning activities with our students and with the public in new ways. Even in the midst of these challenges, faculty have developed new majors for the College of Fine Arts. In the School of Music, new majors in music business have been launched that will allow students who are not necessarily musicians or performers to experience current music industry practices and the skills involved in event planning, label management, revenue streams, touring and marketing strategy. The other major that has been created and launched is multimedia communication within the Arts Technology and Administration Department. The curriculum unites media production expertise in audio, video, design, writing and web development with courses in communication theory, media ethics and storytelling. Finally, the College of Fine Arts is thrilled to have Marie Jagger-Taylor onboard as the new director of the soonto-be launched Millikin Community Arts Academy. The MCAA, an outgrowth of the Preparatory Program in the School of Music, will expand programming for kids in the Decatur area with dance, visual arts, technology, theatre and more music. We are very excited to share more opportunities for arts education with the community, especially for kids who may not have arts programming in their schools, or who would like to explore other artforms beyond music. !e MCAA may eventually offer programs for adults too.

Pam Lindsey Millikin

Dr. Pam Lindsey

Dean of the College of Professional Studies

The School of Exercise Science and Sport received University and Board of Trustees approvals for a new Master of Science in Athletic Training. While many scholarly activities were slowed due to the pandemic, a number of ESS faculty participated in virtual conferences in their related disciplines. Exercise science students in principles of strength training took the National Council on Strength & Fitness Personal Training Certification examination and demonstrated a 89% pass rate. The national average for 2021 was 70%. Dr. Wendy Kooken began as Director of the School of Nursing on Aug. 1. School of Nursing faculty and students are to be commended for helping to administer thousands of vaccinations and assisting with contact tracing. The National Council Licensure Examination Summary report for 2020 demonstrated a 98% pass rate for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates and a 90% pass rate for the Master’s Entry for Nursing Practice (MENP) graduates. These compare to an overall pass rate nationally of 87% and overall pass rate for Illinois at 88%. Dr. Chris Cunnings assumed the role of interim director of the School of Education beginning Aug. 1st. Director Cunnings will be defending the Master of Arts in Teaching at a State Education Preparation & Licensure Board (SEPLB) meeting at Illinois State Board of Education headquarters in Springfield. The MAT is anticipated to roll out in the Fall 2022. The Elementary Education program was named "Exemplary" in the first iteration of IEPP (Illinois Education Preparation Profile) ratings. The School of Education faculty are to be applauded for their support of students, as well as their effective and innovative pedagogical implementations during very challenging teaching and learning circumstances.

RJ Podeschi

RJ Podeschi

Dean of the Tabor School of Business

The ground level of ADM/Scovill Hall is currently undergoing a remodel to refresh the space to serve as a gateway to the Center for Entrepreneurship as well as continue to serve the 24/7 collaboration and study needs of students. Plans are being designed for a business accelerator space and business incubator for students to build and collaborate on their entrepreneurial ideas. In addition, the ground level will have comfortable lounge furniture for late night studying. Improvements are projected to be complete in the spring semester. The Tabor Investment Portfolio, the student-managed equity fund, has just eclipsed $500,000. The fund started as a capstone experience for finance majors in 2010, and continues to provide students the opportunity to analyze and evaluate U.S. equities, make recommendations on which securities to buy, hold, or sell, and report to the Board of Trustees on the fund performance. Tabor continues to provide Performance Learning experiences for students to build their resumes while working toward their degree. First-year students are immersed in business creation and team dynamics to develop new business ideas. Dr. Yuhan ( Jane) Hua and Dr. Marcos Hashimoto teach this introductory course. Students work in teams and partner with volunteer mentors as they develop their business plans. Our volunteer mentors are alumni, business owners and leaders, and experienced professionals who spend time with student teams coaching them through the process. At the end of the semester, a panel of judges from the Decatur community judge all of the business plans in a competition. The students on the winning team get awarded money that can be used for a travel course experience while at Millikin. Management information systems majors are doing back-end and front-end upgrades and maintenance to an organizational chart web application in partnership with Millikin’s IT department. The web application, first built in Professor Ed Weber’s web application course, is due for an upgrade. The new version will include an upgrade to the code base as well as additional feature enhancements. In MU Performance Consulting, an IT-based student-run venture, students from various disciplines continue to build websites for the community and campus. The firm recently agreed to build and host a new commercial site for Main Place Real Estate in Decatur. Dr. Mark Munoz and his global business strategy course, the senior business capstone, are working with Select Registry, a hospitality group, to build a strategic plan for their 260 independently owned hotels and inns across the United States.

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