UM System to invest in Missouri S&T humanities research

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On November 19, 2020

Aerial shot of the Missouri S&T campus in fall. Photo by Terry Barner/Missouri S&T

Two research projects involving faculty at Missouri University of Science and Technology are among the research and creative works projects in the areas of arts, humanities, and social and behavioral sciences announced this week by the University of Missouri System.

In all, 23 research projects will receive funding from the UM System with matching support from their university. One funded research proposal supports Dr. Justin Pope, assistant professor of history and political science at Missouri S&T, who is writing a book that examines the first island-wide slave insurrection in the western hemisphere in Saint John, which is now part of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The $20,000 grant will support Pope’s writing of the book in spring 2021 and traveling to the islands to gather archival research.   

“I appreciate the support of the UM System,” says Pope. “The 1733 revolt on Saint John is a rare opportunity to reconstruct the experience of early modern African people inventing their own nation in the Americas. By supporting this project, the UM System is helping to create a more inclusive history of the struggle for liberty in America.”

A second $35,000 grant is an interdisciplinary project led by Dr. Laura Cole, assistant professor of architectural studies at MU, to develop, pilot and evaluate a water literacy unit for fourth-grade science classrooms.

As part of Cole’s grant, Missouri S&T’s Dr. Joel Burken, Curators’ Distinguished Professor and chair of civil, architectural and environmental engineering, and Dr. Beth Kania-Gosche, professor and chair of teacher education and certification, will help students build connections between the water cycle and green roof technologies. Kania-Gosche will help design the unit and deliver the professional development to teachers.

“We will create virtual tools and online modules using real-time data from the green roof on Emerson Hall here at S&T,” Kania-Gosche says. “This project connects the green roof on S&T’s campus to a foundational educational concept: the water cycle. This curriculum emphasizes green buildings and sustainability for elementary students.”

Kania-Gosche will also assist with the creation of instruments used for data collection. She says the group hopes this interdisciplinary project will serve as a pilot for a larger grant submission in the future.

“As a land-grant university, research is at the very core of our mission,” says UM System President and University of Missouri-Columbia (MU) Chancellor Mun Choi. “Despite the financial challenges presented by the pandemic this year, we’re proud to make these strategic investments in the kinds of projects that delve into the intellectual and cultural ideals that help us better engage in and improve our society.”

About Missouri University of Science and Technology

Founded in 1870 as the University of Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy, Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of 7,600 students and part of the four-campus University of Missouri System. Located in Rolla, Missouri, Missouri S&T offers 99 different degree programs in 40 areas of study, including engineering, the sciences, business and information technology, education, the humanities, and the liberal arts. Missouri S&T is known globally and is highly ranked for providing a high return on tuition investment, exceptional career opportunities for graduates, and an emphasis on applied, hands-on learning through student design teams and cooperative education and internship opportunities. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit   

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