A Message to Campus

July 26, 2017


I hope you are all enjoying your summer! The fall semester is approaching soon, and I wanted to briefly update you on the status of five university working groups that are helping us move forward with our plans to make strategic decisions for Mizzou’s future. The Capital Financing Advisory Committee; Resource Allocation Committee; Strategic Enrollment Management Committee; the Task Force on Academic Program Analysis, Enhancement and Opportunities; and MU Engagement Council have all been formed and have met or will soon be convening. You can visit here to view member lists and to stay updated on the latest progress reports.
In addition to updating you on the working groups, I want to make sure everyone knows about the upcoming, historic solar eclipse which will take place on Monday, August 21. This is an exciting opportunity; it is the first total solar eclipse in Missouri since 1869, and Columbia’s next total eclipse lies several hundred years in the future. For many viewers, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Additionally, our faculty and staff have dedicated many hours and worked tirelessly to plan educational opportunities for our campus community to engage and to learn more about the significance of the event.
Here in Columbia, the eclipse effects will begin at approximately noon and end by 3 p.m. The eclipse totality — when the sun is covered entirely by the moon — will begin at 1:12 p.m. and last for more than two minutes. While campus will remain open, and classes are not cancelled at an institutional level, I strongly encourage faculty and staff to be flexible in their class and office activities to allow those who are so inclined to experience the eclipse. Staff members wishing to view the eclipse may want to take a late lunch or break to do so, with supervisor permission. For those staff wishing to use additional time to participate in activities scheduled around the eclipse, vacation or personal time should be used, with supervisor permission.
If you are a faculty member with classes scheduled on August 21, my expectation is that classes ending before noon and beginning after 3 p.m. will not be cancelled. From 12-3 p.m., you might choose to cancel class; alternately, you might consider viewing the eclipse with students or otherwise accommodating interested viewers — for example, you might choose to adjust your attendance policy for one day only. Holding class as scheduled is also an option. Whichever route you choose, it is crucial that you communicate plans to students prior to the opening day of classes. Please include whether they will be able to view the eclipse and any relevant attendance implications or make up activities that will be expected. (If you do cancel, be sure to follow any regulations dictated by your school, college or department.)
A few logistical items to consider:

  • Large crowds are expected in Columbia for this event. You may wish to consider carpooling for the day. If you do plan to drive, allow time for extra traffic. Similarly, while MU Parking will do their best to monitor proper use of campus parking lots, with the extra crowds you may need additional time to park.
  • For those employees who eat lunch downtown, be aware that there will be extra crowds and allow more time.
  • If you have the flexibility to travel away from the main campus, Bradford Research Center and South Farm Research Center are both available for viewing.
  • Of course, wear your eclipse safety glasses. And bring water — the day will likely be a hot one!

More events surrounding the eclipse will be announced soon, and you can find additional information at http://missouri.edu/eclipse.
Until next time,
Garnett S. Stokes
Interim Chancellor and Provost