Weather intervened on my visit to Maryville University, so I didn’t have a student tour and I missed some department presentations. I did hear presentations by student life staff, including the Dean of Students, as well as the Art & Design department and several departments within the college of Arts & Sciences.
Maryville’s campus is in suburban St. Louis, about 15 minutes outside of the downtown area. The university is working hard to move its reputation from a regional university to a national one. About 27% of Maryville students are from outside Missouri, though a number of those are from Illinois, right across the Mississippi River.
The campus looks a bit like a corporate campus, and in fact is immediately adjacent to Rawlings, the maker of baseball and football equipment. Rawlings sponsors the Sport Business Management program’s experiential learning component, giving students real-workplace experience as employees at this major corporation, just steps away from the campus.
The education program at Maryville is strong, with students having the opportunity to do student teaching in local elementary schools from their freshman year. The criminal justice and criminology program and the legal studies program both prepare students for internships and jobs with law enforcement agencies, including local police as well as federal agencies such as the FBI.
The science facilities are new; Maryville has a dedicated health professions advisor as well as relationships with several hospital systems in the area. Students are given the opportunity to have s mock graduate school interview as early as their sophomore year, with faculty and advisors reviewing transcripts, letters of recommendation and preparing students for entrance to medical, dental, veterinary, optometry and other graduate school admissions processes. Music therapy, only offered at a few colleges, is included in the school of health professions.
Students interested in forensic science (a la CSI) are fortunate to have Professor Tom Spudich as their program director. Spudich is frequently clad in his tye-dyed lab coat, helping these students develop an understanding of chain of custody, valid methods used in evidence collection, critical thinking and communication. All students get hands-on experience through a ride-along with the St. Louis police department.
Maryville is more of a commuter school than residential; one of the dorms used to be a Courtyard Marriott. Administrators say it’s hard for students to fall through the cracks with the school’s small size, small classes and involved professors.