2019: A Southeast Year in Review

2019 was a remarkable year of achievement at Southeast.

From reaffirmation of our Higher Learning Commission accreditation and innovation in academic programs to new partnerships and facilities, and athletic accomplishments, Southeast continues to look to the future while maintaining our ever present commitment to student success. As 2019 comes to a close, we look back at some of the University’s remarkable achievements this year.


HLC Reaffirms Accreditation of Southeast

The Institutional Actions Council (IAC) of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) reaffirmed its accreditation of Southeast Missouri State University for 10 years with no interim reporting or monitoring required. The next reaffirmation of accreditation is set for 2029-2030. “Reaffirmation is the culmination of a rigorous, two-year HLC Comprehensive Quality Review process that validates the quality of our work and virtually every aspect of our institution – academic offerings, governance and administration, mission, finances and resources,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University. “Reaffirmation of our accreditation underscores the quality of this institution and a long tradition of excellence and service to our region and beyond.”

Southeast Sets Record High Retention Rate

Southeast set an all-time high retention rate and saw an increase in its six-year graduation rate this fall. The fall to fall retention rate for first-time full-time students reached an all-time high at 75.3%, up 0.9% from fall 2018. In addition, the six-year graduation rate stands at 49.7%, also up 0.9% from 2018.

70% of First-Year Students Receive Aid Under Southeast’s New Copper Dome Scholarship Program

More than 70% of first-year students at Southeast this fall received scholarship aid, thanks to the University’s new Copper Dome Scholarship Program. That’s up from 30% after Southeast reconfigured its scholarship program in fall 2018 and rolled out an all new version that offers test optional criteria, superscoring and stackable awards. The new program also offers straightforward renewal criteria. Students also can combine their awards with endowed scholarships and need-based aid they receive, including the Federal Pell Grant. In addition, the Copper Dome Scholarship is now progressive in value, meaning it can increase every year if certain renewal criteria are met. The new scholarship program is all part of Southeast’s longstanding commitment to providing a high-quality education at an affordable price.



Southeast Announces Will To Do Award to Expand College Affordability Across State

Southeast announced the new Will To Do Award, a scholarship to make higher education more affordable and accessible throughout the state. The Will To Do Award is a need-based scholarship to fill the gap in eligible Pell students’ unmet tuition and general fees beginning in fall 2020. The new scholarship underscores Southeast’s commitment to providing financial support to students who need it most while also boosting efforts to support Missouri’s college completion goals.

Missouri CBHE Endorses Southeast’s Statewide Mission Proposal

In May, Southeast applied for a statewide mission in the visual and performing arts, computer science and cybersecurity, to the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education. The Board unanimously endorsed the proposal at their September meeting. A statewide mission is a public recognition of an institution’s commitment and success in an area of particular strength. The next step will be to secure legislative approval during the upcoming session of the Missouri General Assembly.

Southeast Welcomed New Leadership in 2019

Southeast welcomed several new leaders in Academic Affairs in 2019.

Dr. Michael P. Godard, interim provost-chief learning officer at the University of Central Missouri (UCM) at Warrensburg, Missouri, was named provost at Southeast. He began his new duties July 1.

Dr. Doug Koch, vice provost of academic programs and services at the University of Central Missouri (UCM), was named vice provost at Southeast. He began his duties Sept. 1.

Dr. Tamela Randolph was appointed dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics after serving as interim provost at Southeast. She assumed her duties as dean on July 1.

Dr. Joe Pujol,  chair of Southeast’s Department of Kinesiology, Nutrition and Recreation, and professor of exercise science,  was appointed interim dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Studies. He began his new duties June 1.

Nathan Bullock, executive director of academic program development in the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Delaware Valley University, was named of dean of Extended Studies at Southeast. He will begin his duties Feb. 1.

2019 an Amazing Year for the Redhawks

Last spring, the Southeast Missouri softball team picked up its second NCAA Regional win in program history at the NCAA Oxford Regional. SEMO finished with a program record in wins, an Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) regular-season title, OVC Tournament crown and the school’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in 20 years.

This fall, the Southeast Missouri football and volleyball teams won OVC Championships on the same day. SEMO’s football team won the OVC regular season title and volleyball claimed the OVC Tournament crown. Those championships followed the soccer team’s OVC regular-season title earlier this fall. It is the first time since 2001 that an OVC school has had a top-two finish (volleyball was second in the OVC regular season standings) in football, soccer and volleyball.

Southeast Missouri revealed a new Rowdy the Redhawk mascot in January. The new-look Rowdy is still very much kid- and fan-friendly, and is more closely aligned with the Southeast athletics logo.
A total of 153 Southeast Missouri student-athletes were named to the OVC Commissioner’s Honor Roll for the 2018-2019 academic year. SEMO had the most selections to the Commissioner’s Honor Roll of any OVC member institution.
In addition to the Commissioner’s Honor Roll awards, the Redhawks also led the conference with 37 OVC Academic Medals of Honor. The OVC Academic Medal of Honor is given annually to the student-athletes who achieve the highest grade point average in a Conference-sponsored sport. Every Academic Medal of Honor recipient for the 2018-2019 academic year carried a perfect 4.0 grade point average.

NSA, DHS Name Southeast a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education; Institute for Cybersecurity Created

The University announced the creation of a new Institute for Cybersecurity to further research, education and service activities in this growing high-need field of study. Dr. Mario Garcia, currently associate dean for Academics in the College of Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC), was named director of the Institute and begins his new duties Jan. 1.

In addition, the National Security Agency (NSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated Southeast as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) through 2024. The announcement makes Southeast one of only three four-year institutions in Missouri to hold the designation, and one of just 250 nationally.


AND, the Southeast Cyber Defense Team won their seventh straight state title at the 2019 Missouri Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. Twelve Southeast students participated in the virtual competition, which tested each team’s ability to secure networked computer systems while maintaining standard business functionality.

Southeast Launches eSports Venue

Southeast launched a new 1,500-square-foot eSports Arena this fall in the Towers Complex that has attracted both recreational and competitive Southeast players. The space features 12 ASUS gaming computers; five console gaming areas with Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo consoles; and a 70-inch wall-mounted television for a birds-eye view of live games being played in real-time in the space.

Southeast Missouri State Partners with SoutheastHEALTH for Comprehensive Student Healthcare Services

Southeast and SoutheastHEALTH announced a collaborative partnership in which SoutheastHEALTH will serve as comprehensive providers of orthopedic and sports medicine services for the University’s NCAA Division I athletics program, its intramural and club sport participants and for the University’s performing arts students. Under the agreement, SoutheastHEALTH orthopedic and sports medicine physicians will provide orthopedic, primary medical care, athletic training and physical therapy services, and will invest in the University by providing diagnostic equipment and athletic training supplies, as well as scholarships for students.

Southeast Online Expands Entry Dates

Southeast made the on-ramp to higher education more flexible this fall with online programs available to new students to begin when they are ready and when it best suits the demands of their personal and professional lives. Southeast Online is offering more than 14 different session terms to enhance convenience and degree completion for undergraduate students. The expansion is part of the University’s commitment to provide a flexible learning framework and environment that allows students to achieve their higher education goals.

Southeast Hospitality Management Students Create, Bottle, Sell University’s First Hawk Sauce

Students in Southeast’s hospitality management program have created the University’s first hot sauce – being marketed as Hawk Sauce – a fiery condiment heating up the campus and local community. The concept for producing a hot sauce began as a hands-on sales and marketing hospitality management class project during the spring 2019 semester. Students had to create a marketing plan; research recipes; taste-test and refine the final recipe; cook and bottle the sauce in the Dearmont kitchen; and create a label. This fall semester, the students made approximately 370 bottles of Hawk Sauce available for purchase at Southeast’s Catapult Creative House.

Southeast Expanding Credit for Workplace Experience in Admissions Process

Southeast made the pathway to higher education more accessible this fall through enhanced consideration of prior learning and workplace experiences in the admissions process. Assessing and awarding credit is key for non-traditional students, many of whom have been in the workforce and have acquired skills and experiences in their careers and now want or need to complete an undergraduate or graduate degree. Beyond standard credit by exam or military-related credit, academic departments and programs offer unique ways to earn credits by portfolio, performance, certification or credentials. Prior Learning Assessment (PLA ) is part of the University’s commitment to providing a flexible learning framework and environment that allows students to achieve their higher education goals.

Southeast Earns Recognition in U.S. News 2020 Best Colleges Rankings

Southeast was recognized among the top 100 best regional universities in the Midwest in U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 Best Colleges rankings. Southeast was ranked 78th among the best regional universities in the Midwest, up 12 places from its 2019 ranking. The rankings also listed Southeast as the 16th best public school among Midwestern regional universities. Southeast moved up four places in this category from the previous year and is the second highest ranked Missouri public institution on this list. In addition, Southeast is ranked 31st among top performers on social mobility for regional Midwestern universities, making it the highest ranked Missouri public institution in this category. This ranking recognizes universities that are successful at advancing social mobility by enrolling and graduating large numbers of disadvantaged students who have been awarded Pell Grants.

Southeast’s Apple Distinguished School Designation Renewed

Southeast’s College of Education, Health and Human Studies was renewed as an Apple Distinguished School through 2022, continuing its distinction as a continuously innovative school for learning, teaching and school environment. Apple Distinguished Schools are centers of innovation, leadership and educational excellence that use technology to inspire creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. They showcase innovative uses of technology in learning, teaching and the school environment and have documented results of academic accomplishment. Southeast’s EDvolution® Center is at the heart of Southeast’s recognition as an Apple Distinguished School and is the College’s premier learning laboratory where emerging technology is practiced firsthand.

OnStage Blog Recognizes Southeast’s Conservatory of Theatre and Dance

Theatre website OnStage Blog recognized Southeast in its 2019 edition for having the best undergraduate theatre program in Missouri and listed it among its Top 30 College Musical Theatre Programs for 2019-2020. The rankings reflect the mission of The Jeanine Larson Dobbins Conservatory of Theatre and Dance as a professional training and liberal arts program providing diverse technique training, professional quality productions, career preparation and a liberal arts education. OnStage Blog is dedicated to Broadway and Community Theatre Show Reviews and regularly highlights esteemed stage directors, actors and technicians.

Theatre Student Selected to Perform in Alabama Shakespeare Festival

Southeast senior theatre student Jay Wade landed a leading role in the Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s (ASF) production of “Pipeline,” produced Oct. 17-27 in Montgomery, Alabama. Wade played Omari in this powerful play that delved into the issue of the “school-to-prison” pipeline that can ensnare people of color. The ASF, housed in the Carolyn Blount Theatre, is among the 10 largest Shakespeare festivals in the world and one of the most ambitious theatre institutions in the United States.

Nursing Students Achieve 100 Percent Pass Rate on Licensure Exam

Southeast’s Department of Nursing announced its 2019 baccalaureate graduating class achieved a 100 percent pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN). In the last 15 years, which includes 30 graduating classes, the department’s first-time pass rate has averaged above 91 percent, and three other graduating classes have achieved a 100 percent pass rate. The key to the students’ success is having patient care and experiential learning experiences that build skills and knowledge throughout their time in the program.

Nursing Students Pilot New Tissue, Organ Donation Education Program

Southeast senior nursing students in the “Introduction to Critical Care” course spent the spring semester piloting a first-of-its-kind online program on tissue and organ donation with Mid-America Transplant (MT) in St. Louis, Missouri. “Organ and Tissue Donor Education for Undergraduate Nursing Students” is an online program that provides nurse educators with current, comprehensive information about organ and tissue donation for inclusion in nursing school curriculums. This fall, approximately 200 students at Southeast, Saint Louis University and Arkansas State University participated in the online learning platform. Next spring, seven institutions will participate, including Southeast, Saint Louis University, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Maryville University, Missouri State University, Arkansas State University and Missouri Baptist University.

Campus Health Clinic, Counseling and Disability Services Open in Southeast’s Newly Renovated Crisp Hall

Southeast students returned to campus this fall to find all their health-related services and needs under one roof in the newly renovated Rosemary Berkel Crisp Hall of Nursing. Crisp Hall, located on Academic Drive just off Pacific Street, is the new home for the University’s office of Counseling and Disability Services, joining the Campus Health Clinic in its newly reconfigured facility, and the Southeast Department of Nursing in expanded instructional and administrative space.

Spanish for the Health Professions Minor Preparing Students to be Culturally Competent

This fall, Southeast students pursuing degrees in health-related fields can now earn a new minor in Spanish for the health professions. The program is preparing students to discuss health matters with clientele in Spanish, potentially assisting a population that has been underserved due to communication issues. The 18-credit hour minor is available and complements several degree programs, including nursing, health communication, pre-physician assistant, pre-physical therapy, health management and biomedical sciences. The program helps students improve their proficiency in Spanish with the vocabulary and language understanding they’ll need to work with diverse populations

NAFSA International Student Economic Tool Ranks Southeast Among Missouri’s Top 10

National Association of Foreign Student Advisors (NAFSA): Association of International Educators annual state-by-state and congressional district 2018 analysis ranked Southeast among the top 10 higher education institutions in Missouri whose international students add academic and cultural value to the campus and local community. Southeast was ranked second in Missouri’s Eighth Congressional District and 10th statewide with international students contributing $18.9 million and supporting 108 jobs. The report quantifies and highlights how Southeast’s 631 international student impact and contribute to the campus and local communities.

Southeast’s International Village Promotes Student Success, Enhances Campus Diversity

April marked the opening of an International Village, a venue dedicated to serving international students and enhancing the University’s diverse and globally-oriented campus. The International Village at Southeast is a unique setting and one offered by only a handful of universities in the nation.

Articulation Agreements to Ease Transfer of TRC Students to Southeast Programs in Business, Agriculture

Officials with Southeast Missouri State University and Three Rivers College (TRC) signed articulation agreements to assist in the seamless transfer of TRC students with associate degrees in business administration and agriculture into Southeast bachelor’s degree programs in these academic areas. The 2+2 agreements provide TRC students with convenient completion locations at Southeast campuses in Cape Girardeau, Kennett, Sikeston, Southeast’s Poplar Bluff Delivery Site at the TRC University Center and via Southeast Online.

Southeast Awarded $228,400 NSF Grant to Acquire Powder X-ray Diffractometer

Southeast was awarded a $228,400 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to purchase a powder X-ray diffractometer (PXRD) for students and faculty to analyze the structure of and identify unknown solid materials. The equipment enhances Southeast’s structural science capabilities and is used by students and faculty in chemistry, physics, agriculture and historic preservation.

$35,000 ITC Grant Paves Way for Visualization Lab 


new visualization laboratory in Magill Hall is providing a vital resource for students and faculty to analyze large sets of data. The heart of the laboratory includes a new visualization wall comprised of nine 4K Samsung 65- inch TVs mounted in a three-by-three matrix configuration. The wide screens allow for complex data sets and computational models to be displayed. The new technology will help support current research and projects, including Computerized Tomography (CAT) scans, confocal microscope images and computational simulations. In the future, projects such as remote sensing, Geographic Information Systems and emergency management coordination may use the visualization wall.

KRCU to Expand Service Region to Bring NPR Coverage to Poplar Bluff Area

KRCU Public Radio at Southeast announced plans to expand its service region to include Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and the surrounding area. KRCU will acquire the FCC license and equipment from KBIY 91.3 FM in Van Buren, Missouri, and then lease tower space and move the station to Ellsinore, Missouri, in order to expand broadcasting beyond Van Buren to Butler County. The addition of KBIY 91.3 FM will expand National Public Radio (NPR) coverage to the southern portions of the University’s service region, an area currently without access to public radio.

‘What’s Up SEMO’ Videos Earn Arrow First Place National CMA Pinnacle Award

Southeast’s student newspaper, the Arrow, brought home numerous awards at the Fall College Media Association (CMA) National College Media Convention Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in Washington, D.C. The Arrow earned the first place Advertising Pinnacle for Best Social Media Strategy, recognizing it for its innovative use of social media in an advertising or marketing campaign. In addition, the Arrow placed third in Design Pinnacles in the Best Newspaper Feature Page/Spread category, and in Newspaper Pinnacles, it earned honorable mention in the Four-Year Less-Than-Weekly Newspaper of the Year category.

Business Students Qualify for 2020 NIBS Worldwide Case Competition Championship Round

Four Southeast business students have qualified for the Championship Round of the 2020 Network of International Business Schools (NIBS) Worldwide Case Competition March 1-6 in Künzelsau, Germany. Southeast is among 16 teams that have qualified for the championship round after presenting a business case during a November qualifying round. The 2020 Southeast team continues a proud tradition of the University being a steady qualifier over the past nine years in championship rounds. In February, Southeast finished fifth out 16 qualifying finalist at the Championship Round of the 2019 NIBS Worldwide Case Competition in Prince Edward Island, Canada. The competition is a test of problem-solving ability, business acumen, cultural insight, communication skills and teamwork. It is the oldest and leading undergraduate business case competition in existence.

Southeast Greek Week 2019 Shatters Records, Expands Local Impact

Southeast’s Greek Week 2019 was a tremendous success, raising more than $40,000 to support the local community, the largest philanthropic effort in Greek Week history. During the week, Southeast Greeks raised $40,331 to benefit a number of organizations, including One City, Hope for One More, the Honorable Young Men’s Club, SEMO Network Against Sexual Violence, Voice for Children/CASA, Community Caring Council and Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Missouri.


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