Focus of Missouri River Institute is on research, education, outreach on research, education, outreach by M. Jill Sundstrom The Missouri River Institute (MRI) was created earlier this year to develop and promote scholarly research, education and public awareness related to the natural and cultural resources of the Missouri River basin.
USD Biology Professor Bruce A. Barton and Professor of Anthropology Brian L. Molyneaux are co-directors of the institute, under the direction of Dean of Research and Graduate Studies Royce Engstrom.
�We�re very excited about the possibilities,� Barton said Monday night prior to Senator Tim Johnson�s inaugural address for the MRI�s lecture series. �The train�s on the track, there is a lot of interest and we�re moving forward.�
�We want to rediscover the river that has been so central to the lives of so many people over the thousands of years of its existence,� Molyneaux added. �Our research and education projects will bring a renewed focus on the Missouri River.�
University of South Dakota President James Abbott Monday night praised the development of the Missouri River Institute for the benefits it will bring to USD.
�The Missouri River Institute idea has been a long time in coming,� he said. �As a native South Dakotan, I believe it�s almost a certainty that our lives would not be the same without the river on which we live. The Missouri River Institute will provide us with a unique opportunity to make use of a broad spectrum of experts and emphasize teaching, research and service that will help bring an area of focus in which the university can achieve national prominence.�
The MRI�s goals include:
? Incentives to focus research on the Missouri River (biology, archaeology, political science)
? Grants for short-term research and scholarly activities
? Seed money for large-scale research projects
? Travel grants for collaborative studies or conferences
? Proposed Master of Integrated Studies on the Missouri River basin
? Degree minor in Missouri River studies
? Accreditation courses for teachers
? Applied environmental programs (such as water quality monitoring) with area schools
? K-12 education and elderhostel programs
? Public discussion and debate on policy issues
? Visual and performing arts programs
The lecture series is also a major focus of the MRI. Future lectures include:
�The Documentary Heritage of Lewis and Clark,� by Dr. Gary E. Moulton, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, on Jan. 26, 2000, and �Wildlife and Fishery Resources of the Missouri River,� by Dr. Charles R. Berry Jr., South Dakota State University, on March 21, 2000.