HSSU faculty and staff prepare to kick off the new school year


From the interim president’s “State of the University Address,” to a talk about mental health and trauma on campus, speakers delivered presentations to get everyone energized at this year’s Faculty and Staff Institute.

“I’m honored, thrilled and really humbled to serve as interim president for Harris-Stowe State University,” said Dr. Dwayne Smith.

Dr. Smith went over the priorities for the year in his presentation. One of the top priorities for this academic year is to grow enrollment and establish online and graduate programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Anheuser-Busch School of Business and the College of Education. Another priority is to address infrastructure issues to improve the functionality of campus spaces and services.

“One of the main focuses for this year will to be to see what Harris-Stowe is doing to transform lives through education, since it is key,” Smith said.

The theme for this school year is “Destination Graduation,” which was inspired by Dr. Smith’s personal story. Dr. Smith shared his first-year college experience, which included connecting with the university’s culture and ultimately graduating with a full-time staff job.

Missouri Commissioner of Higher Education, Zora Mulligan, talked about capital funding for the university. Historically, African Americans have been at a disadvantage with securing capital for businesses and organizations. Mulligan said that both Harris-Stowe and Lincoln University submitted notable applications.

“The students at Harris-Stowe deserve to live and learn just like every other student at other universities,” Mulligan said.

According to Mulligan, the Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant is a program where HSSU students will be able to use for a free college education. The major qualifications for the grant are to be age 25 or older, attend a public college or university and complete a two-year degree in a high-demand occupation.

“First-generation college students need more access to resources in order to succeed as opposed to those with access to what they need for school,” Mulligan said.

HSSU student enrollment has increased by 126 percent in the past five years. The new initiatives and programs developed for this school year are to ensure HSSU scholars succeed.

“It’s not just about making decisions on what building will get built or what amount of money will be allocated, but it’s about people. It’s about making people’s lives better,” Mulligan said.

The office of STEM Initiatives will serve to expand opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Dr. Freddie Wills will be the leader for the office, which will include the new $2.25 million National Science Foundation grant awarded back in May and other STEM activities.

Other speakers included Ms. Romney Edwards, HR Generalist, who spoke about Title IX and Dr. Cammie Conner, Director of Counseling and Prevention Services, who talked about addressing mental health as well as introducing “trauma-informed care” to the department.

Additionally, according to the athletics department, five students received a Daktronics scholarship. Exceptional student athletes obtain this award annually in their various sports.

The first day of classes is right around the corner. Harris-Stowe is excited to welcome its newest group of hornets.

“I’m proud to be here,” Dr. Smith said. “We’re going to have a great year.”

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