(Joplin, MO) – A small, landlocked country in Central Europe will take the spotlight as Missouri Southern State University (MSSU) celebrates the Czech Semester this fall.
The 26th themed semester — an annual tradition that began at Missouri Southern with the China Semester in 1997 — will celebrate the country’s history, food, literature, music, and film.
Events will begin with “Five Stars,” an exhibit that opened on Monday, August 15 in the Spiva Art Gallery. It features creative works by students who spent eight days studying the art and culture of the Czech Republic during a study abroad trip. The exhibit features artwork by Erin Poor and Emaline Stapleton, both bachelor of fine arts-studio majors; mass communications major Lydia Carlson; Honors students Reagan Alsbaugh, psychology; Elizabeth Martin, biology; and faculty trip leader Frank Pishkur.
The exhibit, which will run through September 1, will be open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Thursday, and 8:00 am to 4:00 pm on Fridays.
This year’s themed semester will offer 38 events that are open to the campus and community.
“For the Czech Semester, we’re taking full advantage of our partnership with the University of Hradec Králové (UHK) in the Czech Republic,” said Dr. Chad Stebbins, director of the Institute of International Studies. “We only signed an agreement with them in 2018, but we’ve come a long way in a short period of time.”
Three classes this semester will be team taught by faculty from Missouri Southern and UHK, he said. Dr. Rebecca Shriver, assistant professor of history, will be teaching in Czechia during the fall semester; Dr. Zdeněk Beran, an associate professor and director of the Institute of History at UHK will be at Missouri Southern for three weeks this fall. Students from both universities will have the opportunity to travel abroad to visit their partner school.
“It’s an attempt to personalize the themed semester by giving students and faculty direct experiences with their counterparts in the Czech Republic,” said Stebbins.
Among the Czech Semester offerings will be “A Taste of Czechia” from 4:00 to 7:30 pm on Tuesday, September 6, where for $13, diners can enjoy a full meal prepared by the executive chef of Fresh Ideas, the campus food service provider; “Searching for Ghosts: A Journey through the History, Mysteries and Haunted Places of Prague” by author Michele Patrick on October 31; and a presentation on the iconic Bernard Brewery on November 8.
The Czech Semester Book Club will discuss Milan Kundera’s novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis this fall, and the MSSU Wind Ensemble will perform the music of composer Antonín Dvořák on October 4.
All events except for “A Taste of Czechia” are free and are open to the public. For a full list of Czech Semester events, visit www.mssu.edu/czech.
Dr. Chad Stebbins, Director of the Institute of International Studies
Missouri Southern State University