October 2, 2019 - Monthly Message to the UMSL Community

Dear UMSL Community,

As I settle into my new role as your Interim Chancellor, I’ve noticed the view is quite different – literally. From the Chancellor’s Office window, I can see our new shuttles picking up students in Alumni Circle, impromptu study groups forming on the front lawn of the Thomas Jefferson Library, and the frequent comings and goings between North and South Campus. It’s both lovely and inspiring.

I was appreciating this recently when it occurred to me that it’s also a great metaphor for the transformational power of education. When our students are fully supported, when we’ve done our best to keep their success as our top priority, they too have the power to achieve a new view. Maybe it’s a fresh outlook for their future, a new passion they didn’t know they had or a reaffirmation of an interest in research or community service. Many times for UMSL students in particular, it’s a new trajectory for themselves and their families.

U.S. News and World Report recently recognized this fact by including UMSL in its inaugural “Top Performers for Social Mobility” ranking. Knowing we were one of only two schools in Missouri to rank in the top 100 makes me even prouder. This is an achievement I want each of us to keep in mind – always. Our students begin to transform their own lives by choosing UMSL. We transform lives by doing everything we can to help them succeed on their journey.

May we all keep this most important of goals in view.

Gratefully forward, 

Kristin Sobolik
Interim Chancellor and Provost




Notes of Note

Engagement Week: Mark your calendar for Engagement Week: October 21-25. This is a week-long celebration with events on all four UM System campuses that highlight the impact our universities make in improving Missouri's economy, health and education. Join UM System President Mun Choi as he launches the week right here at UMSL with a kickoff reception on October 21.

Common Read: Our 2019-20 Common Read selection is James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk, first published in 1974. There are numerous events throughout the month of October surrounding the Common Read including a Signature Lecture on October 24 with Dr. Farah Griffin of Columbia University who will discuss the book and its meanings today.

Degrees When Due: UMSL has been selected to join Degrees When Due, a national three-year initiative of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, to promote degree completion for students with some college credit who have paused or stopped their studies. This initiative provides strategies to reengage these students and build a clear pathway to graduation.

UMSL Cultural Center: Among the actions outlined within our strategic plan is the development of an UMSL Cultural Center to provide a framework for programming and support for our diverse populations. A draft report with recommendations from the UMSL Cultural Center Committee was distributed in September. There is still time to share your voice with the committee by providing your feedback online.  

UMSL Month of Community Giving: Throughout October, UMSL will participate in the United Way of Greater St. Louis and the Community Health Charities community campaigns. This is one effort to create a stronger community through collaboration, investment and service. UMSL is a community engaged university, and we work in many ways to strengthen and support the great work being done by our community partners to create a region where people can thrive.