Two longtime members of the Missouri Southern faculty were approved for emeritus status during Thursday’s Board of Governors meeting.

Dr. Conrad Gubera, professor of sociology, retired in 2021 after 54 years of service to the university’s Social Science Department. Dr. William Kumbier, professor of English, retired in 2020 following 31 years at Missouri Southern.

“They were giants in their departments,” said Dr. Chad Stebbins, director of the Institute of International Studies, who spoke about the impact the two professors had on Missouri Southern.

“Dr. Gubera taught more than 30 different courses in Social Sciences, advised hundreds – if not thousands – of sociology majors, and drove countless numbers of students in university vans to conventions in the United States,” he said. “Dr. Kumbier was regarded as the heart and soul of the English and Philosophy Department. He was a passionate teacher, a dedicated scholar, and loved watching students flourish.”

Along with Dr. Paul Teverow, a retired history professor, Stebbins said Gubera and Kumbier were among the strongest supporters of the university’s international mission.

“Their contributions were insightful and impactful,” he said. “They designed and taught international studies courses, they led study abroad trips, and they made notable contributions to the themed semesters.”

Faculty emeritus status is granted as a result of commendable service to the university, including significant contributions in the areas of teaching, job performance, and scholarly and creative activities. To be eligible, a faculty member must hold the rank of associate or full professor for a minimum of 15 years. It is typically not awarded until retirement or, in some cases, posthumously.

Nominations begin in the individual academic department and must be approved by the dean of each school, the provost and university president, and then the Board of Governors.

During Thursday’s meeting, the board also unanimously approved recommendations for tenure and/or promotion to 13 faculty members:

  • Diana Allan, Music Department, tenure
  • Alla Barry, Biology, promotion, full professor
  • Christine Bentley, Art & Design, promotion, full professor
  • Otto Borchert (posthumous), CIS, tenure
  • Will Delehanty, International and Political Affairs, promotion, full professor
  • James Donelson, Chemistry, promotion, full professor
  • Amy Gates, English, promotion, associate professor
  • Katie Kilmer, Biology, promotion, associate professor
  • David Penning, Biology, promotion, associate professor
  • Victoria Rhodes, Biology, tenure
  • David Sharlow, Music, promotion, full professor
  • Carla Smith, Kinesiology, tenure and promotion, full professor
  • Zak Watson, English, promotion, full professor

“The group of individuals who were awarded tenure and/or promotion today have demonstrated that they are committed to their students and MSSU in teaching, scholarly activity and service,” said Dr. Lisa Toms, provost and vice president of academic affairs. “We are proud of their accomplishments and look forward to their continued success.”