Access and Leadership Development

The Office of Access and Leadership Development enhances MU’s ability to engage and impact students from underrepresented and underserved populations throughout the various stages of the K-20 pipeline; thereby positively affecting student access, development and educational and career outcomes.

Current Initiatives

BackTALK was created to provide a platform for young people to voice their experiences of victory and oppression and share positive examples of community building. Using an asset-based approach to learning and sharing, students are challenged to focus more on how to critically examine one’s own experiences, their surrounding environment, and society through the arts.

Emerging Leaders Conference is a four-day campus experience for Missouri high schools students, representing the combined efforts of IDE and the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus Foundation. Divided into two parts, this conference extends the opportunity for high school students to build a foundation for success as leaders in their schools and communities by fostering leadership and advocacy skills.

Graduate Scholars of Excellence (GSE) was created to help streamline efforts of graduate student organizations serving underrepresented graduate students. These efforts include retention and success resources, and the provision of programming that furthers professional development and community building among underrepresented graduate students committed to inclusive excellence. This initiative also seeks to engage, support, mentor and guide current and prospective underrepresented undergraduate students who have expressed an interest in attending graduate school.

Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), sponsored by the National Science Foundation, seeks to significantly increase the number of underrepresented minority students in Missouri who complete undergraduate and advance degrees in STEM fields. LSAMP weaves in integral pieces for creating well-rounded academic and professional experiences, including internships, opportunities to conduct research, and networks with other STEM student and working professionals.

Men of Color, Honor and Ambition (MOCHA) is a one-year initiative open to all undergraduate MU students between their second and fifth academic years of study who identify as men, but is specifically designed through the lens of male students of color. Students participate in a series of monthly workshops offered by faculty, staff and community leaders that foster a sense of community and bonding with each other and other role models of color through social outings and wellness activities.

Mizzou Inclusive Early Start Program (MIESP) is a guided student success initiative open to all incoming first-year undergraduate students at MU. The program, which is specifically designed through the lens of underrepresented students, offers an opportunity to enhance knowledge of campus and the university through an intentional pathway of exploration through six topics: wellness and well-being, spaces, involvement, faculty interaction, finances, and resilience.

Women of Color, Honor and Ambition (WOCHA) is a one-year initiative open to all undergraduate students who identify as women between their second and fifth academic years of study. The program, which is specifically designed through the lens of students of color, aims to positively impact academic efforts and develop successful leaders of tomorrow. Selected students participate in a series of monthly workshops offered by faculty, staff and community leaders. These workshops aim to provide personal, academic, cultural, social, professional and leadership support.

McNair Scholars prepares students from traditional underrepresented groups and first-generation students for academic and professional success throughout their undergraduate careers. A main focus of the program is to provide enriching experiences, such as research opportunities, that prep students for graduate and professional programs.

STEM Cubs was created as a free engineering day camp that serves students in grades K-5. The program emphasizes the importance of exploratory and experiential learning. STEM Cubs seeks to engage elementary-aged students from underrepresented and low-income backgrounds in STEM activities. A collaboration between the College of Engineering, College of Education & Human Development, and the Office of Access & Leadership Development, STEM Cubs takes place three times per year: summer, fall and spring.

Mizzou Black Men’s Initiative (MBMI) is a one-year leadership & identity development undergraduate program that aims to articulate the benefits of higher education, expectations and values of the university while promoting a sense of belonging and engagement in the curricular and co-curricular life for students who identify as Black men at Mizzou. MBMI provides a foundational environment that enhances growth, development, and opportunities that can lead to the retention and persistence of participants to pursue their educational goals.

Mizzou Black Women’s Initiative (MBWI) is a one-year leadership & identity development undergraduate program designed to assist new and returning students who identify as Black women in making a successful transition to Mizzou, both academically and personally. MBWI aims to foster a sense of belonging, promote engagement in the curricular and co-curricular university life, encourage critical thinking, and seeks to help students develop and apply essential skills, explore interest, abilities, and values that are essential to student success.