Jul 19, 2024  
2008-2009 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2014 
2008-2009 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2014 [Archived Catalog]

General Information

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The disciplinary major provides a focus for applying and for concretely developing the skills, knowledge, and values initiated in the Liberal Studies Program and reinforced throughout the curriculum. The major is the means to study a field in depth, to integrate the knowledge, methods, and values of the discipline with real-world practice, and to foster the further development of individuals capable of succeeding in the nation’s best graduate and professional programs as well as securing outstanding career opportunities. The majors are characterized by curricula that engage students in rigorous study of the breadth and depth of the discipline. Meaningful academic advisement, small communities of learning, research activity, honors programs, and integrative capstone experiences in each major enrich the student’s study of the major and help achieve the University’s liberal learning objectives.


An emphasis on undergraduate research and cooperative student/faculty scholarly activities distinguishes the Truman curriculum. Undergraduate students are encouraged to participate in research activities, in professional inquiry with instructors, in the creation of original art forms, and artistic performance. Stipends are available to assist students with their research. Intellectual discovery on all levels is stimulated by teacher-scholars of high caliber and by study within a stimulating intellectual environment. Students are given an opportunity to present the results of their work at Truman’s annual Student Research Conference and at numerous national and regional research conferences.


To assist students in the integration and synthesis of knowledge, each major plans a “capstone,” or culminating experience, for seniors. The capstone experience primarily prompts seniors to reflect on the knowledge they have gained throughout their learning experiences and to integrate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of liberal learning with an in-depth understanding of the major. Such unified understanding characterizes the educated person, able to apply academic learning to real life situations.


Truman encourages students to participate in study abroad programs to enrich their knowledge acquired on campus. Such study dramatically enhances understanding of cultural similarities and differences and contributes substantially to a liberal arts and sciences education. Some 200 summer, semester, or year-long programs are offered through Truman in over 50 countries. Participating students learn about other cultures, philosophies, religions, and about themselves. They return transformed with a different outlook on the world, for while we are all different we are also all the same. (For specific information, see the Center for International Education section of this catalog.)


The internship program is designed for promising junior and senior students as a practical application of their academic work, as an exercise of the liberal arts skills and perspectives, and as a bridge between college and career. Student applicants for internship positions are individually screened by their academic advisor, their Dean, and an Associate Provost. A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.75 is required to be eligible for an internship. Internship packets are available from the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, McClain Hall 203.


At Truman, faculty, students, and administrators work closely together to create a liberal arts educational environment that reaches beyond the classroom. Key components of this effort are the New Student Programs office and the University’s extensive co-curricular offerings. By intentionally fostering increased faculty-student interactions, the New Student Programs office promotes integrative learning communities which seek to make a liberal arts education personally vital and engaging. In addition, Truman provides a rich co-curricular environment that features over 200 student organizations. These activities provide students with the opportunity to make purposeful connections with their academic goals and to foster the development of both personal and intellectual competencies. The integrated living/learning environment at Truman is centered in its liberal arts values and reinforces the campus’s intellectual life.

The Academic Program: General Information



Truman’s Liberal Studies Program (LSP) provides each student with a strong liberal arts education of requisite knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Regardless of a student’s academic major, the LSP commits Truman to enhancing students’ a) essential skills needed for life-long learning; b) breadth across the traditional liberal arts and sciences and their modes of inquiry; and, c) interconnecting perspectives that stress interdisciplinary thinking and multiple cultural perspectives. Each undergraduate major is designed to build on and be integrated with the University’s liberal arts objectives, especially with respect to furthering students’ higher order thinking skills and fostering opportunities for independent research and exploration. The major should provide students with such mastery of disciplinary concepts, knowledge, skills and attitudes so that they have the potential to compete nationally and internationally to enter the best graduate and professional schools in the nation or to pursue a challenging career immediately after graduation. (Additional information is available in the “Liberal Studies Program” section of this catalog.)


The entire Truman curriculum involves active and ongoing practice of both basic and higher order intellectual skills. Such skills as writing, quantitative analysis, computer usage, problem solving, and critical thinking can atrophy if not constantly reinforced in the curriculum. Hence, coursework is carefully designed to require cumulative exercise of these intellectual skills.


The Assessment Program is conducted University-wide to measure student progress toward educational goals, to determine academic progress, to improve teaching and learning, and to evaluate institutional effectiveness. The Assessment Program includes the systematic testing and surveying of students, a senior test, and a progressive portfolio collection of course projects by students.


Nationally-normed standardized exams measuring selected components of the Liberal Arts and Science Core subject material are a required component of assessment for all degree-seeking students who have completed 75 credit hours. Students must take this measure prior to registering for a JINS class. A grace period of one semester exists for transfer students.


All students are required to take a comprehensive examination in their major during the senior year prior to graduation.


Survey instruments add a valuable component to Truman’s Assessment Program. Surveys provide information from students at every level of their progress through the University. Truman’s required survey is the Graduating Student Questionnaire (GSQ). All undergraduate students must complete the GSQ in order to be cleared for graduation.

Other surveys at Truman commonly include: 1) the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP), administered every other year during Truman Week to all incoming first-year students; 2) the College Student Expectations Questionnaire (CSXQ), administered every other year in rotation with the CIRP to all incoming first-year students; 3) the College Student Experience Questionnaire (CSEQ), administered each fall and spring to those students taking the CAAP junior test; and 4) the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), administered to a sample of first-year and senior students every other year in conjunction with Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) schools.  Each of these surveys is administered on a rotating basis every other year.


Undergraduate students are required to maintain a portfolio containing representative pieces of work from their in- and out-of-class experiences at Truman. The purpose of the portfolio is fourfold: (1) to provide students with a record of their academic growth and achievement; (2) to encourage self-reflection on what has been learned; (3) to give advisors useful information about what their advisees are learning; and, (4) to allow the University to ascertain what knowledge and skills are promoted by a variety of courses and University experiences across the curriculum. Completion of the Portfolio is a graduation requirement.


The Student Interview Project focuses on topics of current interest to the University. Recent topics include student leadership, service learning, and engagement in college life. Each spring, volunteers from randomly selected pools of students discuss their experiences with faculty, staff, and student interviewers. Participation in the Student Interview Project is not required.

Historical Overview


Truman State University, Missouri’s highly selective public liberal arts and sciences university, began September 2, 1867, when Joseph Baldwin opened the North Missouri Normal School and Commercial College. Truman bears a long history of name changes, each reflecting a new institutional mission. On December 29, 1870, as a result of persistent leadership by Baldwin and Adair County citizens, Missouri’s General Assembly acted to make Baldwin’s private college the First District Normal School, the first Missouri-supported institution of higher education established for the primary purpose of preparing teachers for public schools.

Nearly fifty years later, through an act passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor on May 20, 1919, the normal school became Northeast Missouri State Teachers College. Throughout its history, Truman has steadily provided leadership and reflected a spirit of innovation in response to need. Programs other than teacher education were implemented to better serve the people of Missouri. In 1967, the Board of Regents recognized the institution’s wider mission and acted to change the name first to Northeast Missouri State College, and then in 1972 to Northeast Missouri State University.

Truman historically has welcomed change. To better serve the needs and actualize the potential of its students, the University has met challenges creatively but realistically. The signing of House Bill 196 on June 20, 1985, changed Truman’s mission from an open enrollment, regional, multipurpose university to the statewide, public, liberal arts and sciences institution with highly selective admission requirements. Truman was chosen to assume this unique role because the institution had already begun moving away from a multipurpose curriculum toward a competitive liberal arts curriculum. The state’s goal was to provide a public institution that could compete with the nation’s finest undergraduate liberal arts colleges, and stem the flow of Missouri’s best and brightest students to other states. In March 1993 Truman became Missouri’s only public university opting to achieve the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education’s highly selective mission category. The University’s name change to Truman State University on July 1, 1996 was part of the logical progression of its new mission.

Today, almost 6,000 young men and women come to Truman annually to gain a high-quality liberal arts and sciences education at an affordable price. Truman now offers 47 undergraduate and 6 graduate degree programs, 49 minors, and several additional areas of specialized study. Each year, graduates seeking admission to graduate and professional schools around the world enjoy a very high acceptance rate. Of the academic year 2007 graduates reporting placement, over 50% went on to attend graduate and professional school, and over 48% went on to full-time employment.

Over 35 years ago in another innovative venture, Truman initiated a comprehensive student assessment program to measure the quality of education at Truman. During recent years, Truman has continued to build its assessment program, the purpose of which is to ensure that each of its students receives the highest-quality liberal arts and sciences education, tailored to his or her needs, and an academic degree of integrity. Numerous institutions, authors, and leaders in higher education have cited the program as a viable model to emulate in efforts to ensure educational accountability.

A continuity of purpose is evident in the growth and changes of Truman. The University has consistently been committed to academic excellence and has espoused the belief that a strong education is the best means of preparing for a life of continuing personal growth and service. Moreover, its historic mission to improve the preparation of teachers has prompted the University to be among the nation’s leaders in making education more professional. Commitment, unity of purpose, and concentration on student learning – putting first things first – have brought Truman to its present mission and academic excellence.

Joseph Baldwin   1867-1881
William P. Nason   1881-1882
Joseph Blanton   1882-1891
William D. Dobson   1891-1899
John R. Kirk   1899-1925
Eugene Fair   1925-1937
Walter H. Ryle   1937-1967
F. Clark Elkins   1967-1969
Eli F. Mittler   1969-1970
Charles J. McClain   1970-1989
Robert A. Dager   1989-1990
Russell G. Warren   1990-1994
Jack Magruder   1994-2003
Barbara Dixon   2003-




Truman State University has been accredited since 1914 by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Truman has maintained full accreditation for all of its programs through the years since then. Contact the Higher Learning Commission at http://www.ncahigherlearningcommission.org  or (312) 263-0456. Various agencies also fully accredit specific programs. They are

AACSB International–The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
American Chemical Society
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
National Association of Schools of Music
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education