Dr. Lisa Toms has been named as Missouri Southern State University’s next Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Toms was chosen for the position after a national search with more than 80 applicants. She currently serves as the Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at the University of Central Missouri, and will join Missouri Southern on Feb. 15.

“I am honored to join a university that provides opportunities for students of all backgrounds to improve their lives through higher education,” said Toms. “The mission of Missouri Southern is one that aligns with my desire to invest in students.”

Toms was introduced during the Board of Governors meeting held Friday, Jan. 14, during which a new degree program was also approved.

The College of Business and the Kinesiology Department will offer an interdisciplinary bachelor’s program in Sport and Recreation Management, pending approval by the HLC.

The new degree was proposed to address the increased interest and employment opportunities available in the recreation and sport industry.

“We’re very excited about this new program,” said Dr. Jeffrey Zimmerman, Dean, College of Business. “It was designed from the ground up with employability of our students in mind.”

The Bachelor of Science in Sport and Recreation Management will fit within the 120-credit-hour model and includes a 41-credit hour sport and recreation management core developed to provide students with employment-related skills in the athletics, recreation and leisure service agencies.

In other business:

  • Dr. Van Galen, university president, highlighted the Dec. 22 staff appreciation event where 56 staff members were recognized for a combined 565 years of service.
  • Van Galen also announced that Missouri Southern has been selected to host the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education’s June meeting. He said the meeting – set for June 14-15 – will be an opportunity to highlight to the board members the unique mission and opportunities available at Missouri Southern.
  • Dr. Brad Hodson, executive vice president, spoke on the success of the fall’s Lion Pride Visit Days and announced more than a dozen recruitment events planned this spring.
  • Rob Yust, vice president of business affairs, reviewed the ongoing campus improvement projects, which are paid for by the Federal Budget Stabilization Fund. The projects – which include street replacements and new crosswalks, improvements to the tunnel connecting to the residence hall side of campus, and improvements to the Oval infrastructure – should be complete around the first of April.