Skip to Main Navigation | Skip to Content

Parents as Parents Logo

May 2015

Previous Editions


A great place to keep track of what is going on at UCM is through our university calendar found at  
A few of the many important dates for the spring semester include the following:

May 4-8 Final Exams (see the schedule)
May 4-8 Textbook buybacks and rental returns at the University Store
May 8 Housing facilities close, 6 p.m.
May 8-9 Commencement Ceremonies
May 14 Spring Semester final grades posted online
May 18 Summer Sessions begin
August 17 Fall Semester begins

August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014

December 2014
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015

Additional information regarding payment and registration dates can be found on MyCentral.


Do you have trouble remembering all of those campus dates and deadlines? Add "UCM MoInfo" to the Facebook pages that you "like" and you will receive updates from the Office of the Registrar. These announcements will include information regarding course enrollment, graduation, refund dates and other important deadlines. The Registrar's Office also tweets. Check out their Twitter account at "UCMRegistrar".

April Fools Day Joke Pokes Fun at ‘Unofficial Mascot’
Unofficial Mascot

While the Mules and Jennies mascots continue to play a prominent role in the University of Central Missouri’s campus culture, staff members in University Relations took advantage of April 1 to play a practical joke aimed at engaging its social media audience. The April Fools Day announcement fictitiously named the Squirrel as the university’s new mascot – at least for one day.

“Of course the university has no intention of changing the name of its current mascot,” said Courtney Tripp, manager of new media and communication. “This time of year, the squirrel gets a lot of attention because the population is so thick around campus. You see them everywhere. So, we used April 1 as an opportunity to poke fun at what has become an ‘unofficial mascot.’ It’s simply a way to engage our growing social media audience.”

She noted that the April Fools activity also provided an opportunity for student designers and writers to use their creativity, and get some hands-on experience. They created special logos and other special marks that incorporated a cartoon-like squirrel into the design. Those items were shared via Facebook and Twitter, which linked to an online news release that announced the new mascot, while dropping hints to let readers in on the joke.

“From the byline by ‘April Furste’ to references to ‘April Fools Day,’ and other winks to the reader, we wanted to make it clear this was just for fun,” Tripp said. “Mules and Jennies mascots are beloved and here to stay.”

UCM’s proud tradition of Mules and Jennies mascots celebrate the animal’s role in Missouri, once used to farm the state’s land, harvest timber, work mines, build roads, take people to church and to serve in times of war.

Following a campus contest that received 80 different entries, and promised a three-year post-graduation subscription to the school newspaper to the winner, the Mule mascot was officially announced and accepted at a convocation Feb. 15, 1922. A similar competition in 1974 led to the selection of the “Jennies” as the name for women’s athletic teams, rather than using the gender non-specific Mule mascot to represent all teams.

UCM Students Develop Tactile 3-D Campus Map to Assist the Blind

For Holly Carneal, a social work major at the University of Central Missouri, college life presents the daily challenges faced by many college students. However, as a blind student, Carneal and her guide dog, Stella, face the additional challenge of learning to navigate campus without the benefit of being able to read a traditional printed campus map.


Tactile Map of UCM Main Campus
Holly Carneal demonstrates the use of
the three-dimensional tactile map of the
UCM main campus.

Carneal was a student in Professor Jim Loch’s Introduction to Geology class during spring semester. As the semester progressed, Loch began to look for methods to adapt the concepts from the curriculum for his course to Carneal’s abilities. With the knowledge that the study of maps would be coming later in the semester, Loch knew there would be a need for a tactile map with key elements identified by raised surfaces and text written in Braille.

Intrigued by the possibility of creating such a map of the main UCM campus, Loch contacted the UCM Office of Accessibility Services. Services coordinator Cathy Seeley in turn contacted Kyle Palmer, professor of drafting and design in the UCM School of Technology, about taking on such a project using the three-dimensional printing technology available in the school’s Design and Drafting Technology CADD program.

Palmer contacted two students in the CADD program, Alix Calon and Simon Misener, about taking on the project. They were joined by two student Braille specialists in Accessibility Services, Rachel Gibbs and Tyler Carpenter, and with Carneal they formed a student team that took on the task that resulted in a functional 3-D map of the campus.


Palmer, Loch and Dick Kahoe, associate professor of professional photography in the School of Technology, provided support as needed, but Palmer noted that the students completed the project through their own diligence and problem solving, in addition their full-time academic responsibilities.

The team, admitting that they had no firsthand experience in the use of tactile mapping, consulted with Carneal about how to use available technology and Braille to transform the campus map on the UCM website into a three-dimensional replica of the main campus that would be functional for the blind.

“We had to develop our own resources with the software and technology we had available,” Misener said. “We were able to research similar projects, and it was both fun and frustrating.” They used Autodesk Inventor software to complete the model, staying up through the night. The actual 3D printing of the map took approximately 50 hours of printing time, and the entire project, from beginning to end, was completed in month.


Following Carneal’s recommendations, the heights of all buildings on the map are the same instead of to scale, allowing full tactile contact with all elements on the map. Doorways are marked with stars, and distance coordinates are marked with grid lines for reference. All text on the map is in Braille, with building names linked to the coordinates.

The students agree that the experience was rewarding in a variety of ways, offering an important addition to the academic opportunities provided in the classroom.

"We learned more about the Inventor software that we hadn’t accessed before,” Misener said. “We had to figure out how to create the sidewalks that curve and replicate irregular angles and shapes.”

“We threw ideas back and forth, and after trial and error, we learned a lot” Calon said.  “It was good to work on a real project for real customers with real deadlines. We had to develop our own resources and research the work of others. It was an incredible experience.”

She also noted that Carneal’s feedback was vital to the success of the project.

3D Map Team
Teamwork by UCM students resulted in the creation of a three-dimensional
tactile map of the main UCM campus for the visually impaired. Working in
the project were, left to right, faculty advisor Jim Loch, students Alix Calon,
Simon Misener, Holly Carneal, Tyler Carpenter, Rachel Gibbs and faculty
advisor Kyle Palmer, joined by Carneal's guide dog, Stella.

“We don’t have her experiences,” she said. “She shared her world with us and helped us create a product that is functional and will serve the purpose it was intended to serve.”

“We weren’t just working on a project for class,” Gibbs added. “This is usable, not just for Holly, but for anyone who comes to our campus.”

For Carneal, the result is the ability to find her away around the campus, increasing her independence and awareness of her surroundings and allowing her to participate as a member of the campus community.

“I’m grateful that they all were willing to take their own time to make this a reality,” she said. “It will not only help me get around better, but provide a valuable tool for any blind person visiting campus.”

For now, the tactile map will be stored in the Office of Accessibility Services in the Elliott Student Union for use by their staff in assisting students and campus visitors. However, Palmer said completion of the project has created interest in generating the funding to develop a much larger tactile map of the entire campus for the Office of Accessibility Services, a project Seeley said would be very beneficial.

“At any given time we have about 25 to 30 students on campus who are low vision or blind,” Seeley said. “When they arrive on campus, we offer assistance by walking the campus with them and helping them find classrooms and key locations on campus. But a large version of this map, perhaps mounted on the wall in the Elliott Student Union, would be very beneficial for them and any visitors to campus.”

  Foundation Grant Provides Technology Advancements for Students

Photography Students
From left, UCM students Amanda Luttrell, Nicole Sifers,
Michelle Blubaugh, Brandon Bowman and Ashlie Love
surround Professor Dick Kahoe.

Professional photography student, Brandon Bowman, is learning about the latest developments in camera equipment thanks to the UCM Foundation Opportunity Grant program. Utilizing two grants, faculty members, Dick Kahoe and Tom Mitchell, have expanded their students’ experience in photography by upgrading equipment students use in the classroom and conducting research on the advancing technology for incoming students.

With an opportunity grant he received in 2013, Kahoe purchased a Nikon D7100 Camera, adapter and camera controller for his project “Wireless Camera Tethering.” With the equipment he went into the classroom and demonstrated the fast-paced process of wireless camera tethering, a technique that allows students to review a picture, test different settings, see the resulting image and repeat the process until they attain the best photograph.


The equipment that grant purchased was used by 120 students, giving them a better understanding of the tools and principles of digital photography. Watch the YouTube video explaining his project here.

“Wireless camera tethering has prepared me for the future by placing my camera in places that I could not stick around for and captures the moment I seek,” said Bowman of St. Robert, Mo., whose dream job is to work for “National Geographic.” “Say I had a future assignment to photograph a pack of lions. Instead of being their first meal, I can use the wireless tethering to take the shot and live to see the results.”

Bowman currently is a photography intern for the UCM ROTC department and plans to study abroad in Florence, Italy.

Mitchell received an Opportunity Grant in 2014 for his project to improve student learning opportunities by testing mirrorless camera sensor technology. His hope is to find a mirrorless camera with hybrid electronic viewfinders and advance image sensors that is physically smaller, lighter and less expensive for incoming students.

The UCM Foundation Opportunity Grant Program was established two years ago in support of faculty and staff who have ideas but insufficient funding for entrepreneurial projects that strengthen the university’s learning environment and students’ academic experience. The UCM Foundation is the university’s official nonprofit arm, founded in 1979 to help make a college degree more affordable, accessible and beneficial. To find out more about the Opportunity Grant program and other grant-funded projects, visit
To track the latest news and exciting events at UCM link to


With summer close at hand, it's time to think about the Fall 2015 semester by enrolling for classes. Fall registration is currently open for students who have not yet registered. Approximately 70% of the first-year class has registered for next fall. We encourage students to register for classes prior to departing for the summer in order to ensure an appropriate mix and amount of classes.

Fall move-in day is Sunday, August 16, in time for classes to begin Monday, August 17. For more information, visit the Academic Calendar on our web site.


Grades for the Spring 2015 semester will be available on the MyCentral Portal beginning May 14th. Spring semester probation, suspension and dismissal notifications will be sent electronically to students UCMO email accounts as well as through the MyCentral portal. If your student finds themselves on academic probation, please have them contact their academic advisor for assistance in developing an academic recovery plan designed to get them back in good standing academically at the university. If they have been suspended, Central Missouri policy indicates the student will be suspended for one semester (summer not included). Again, the academic advisor can provide information regarding steps the student can take to regain good standing at the university. If they have been dismissed, dismissal is for the period of one calendar year. Reinstatement after suspension and dismissal is not automatic or guaranteed.


Your student is nearing the end of the semester and may be returning home soon for the summer. You and your student may be anxiously awaiting the reunion, excited to celebrate, and “get caught up.” Yet as your student returns home to reunite with family and old friends, they are also bidding farewell to new friends and relationships they have developed at Central. Coping with loss and separation is a natural process that can take many forms. Some of the common indicators of grief include: sadness and tears, irritability, frequently thinking and talking about these friends, loss of appetite and disrupted sleep. Some grieve by throwing themselves into other activities or relationships while they adjust. Keep in mind that what might seem like a small loss to you may be huge for them.

Here are some DOs and DON’Ts to help you support your student as they adjust to these losses.

Recognize your student may have mixed feelings about the end of the semester.
Name it as grief. For example: “I wonder if you’re sad because you miss your friends at Central?”
Validate and affirm their grief and pain. For example: “It hurts so much because they are important to you.”
Encourage your student to invite a friend to visit during the summer as a way of bridging their home life with their college life.
Realize that there is no one best way to grieve. Some people talk about their losses; some cry; some exercise; some get a job.
Minimize your student’s sense of loss. For example: “You only knew him/her for a few months…or you’ll get over it…you have lots of friends here at home.”
Assume that you know what they need from you. Ask: “Would anything help?” Often simply having our grief listened to is the “best medicine.”
Miss the opportunity to help them identify their experience as grief. Grief and responding to a loss is one of the most common and painful of human experiences. Having a word for these feelings will help them cope with future losses. Grieving smaller losses is good practice for the bigger losses we all must face.


Whether it is your student’s first year at college, graduation, or anywhere in between, students change in many ways over the course of their college career. You have undoubtedly been noticing the changes in your student as the years go by, seeing some you like and some you wonder about.

Students will have new friends, new ideas, and maybe even a new appearance (clothes, hairstyle, tattoos, piercings). They will also have had the experience of a different type of freedom than they may have had at home prior to leaving for college. Students may chafe at the idea of curfews or other expectations that existed when they were in high school.

You probably also changed as you experienced home life without your college-age child living with you. While feeling proud and excited about your student’s new phase in life you may also feel an understandable sense of loss over how life used to be. And now you may have to figure out how to get along together for the summer.

Some tips for dealing with this situation:


This is our last online Parent Newsletter for the year. If you would like to continue receiving these periodic updates, do nothing and we'll keep you on the mailing list. However, if you'd like us to remove your name from the list, just click the link at the bottom of the e-mail to be removed from the list, and we'll take care of the rest. We appreciate your continued level of involvement and support of your student and hope the newsletter provided you with information that helped you during the course of the year. If you have comments or suggestions, please send them to We continue to look for new and better ways to communicate with parents and your feedback is particularly helpful as we review and improve the newsletter for next year.


If you would like to sign up to receive this newsletter via email, click here.