Blue Tiger Bio: Kurt DeBord

For the past 27 years, Dr. Kurt DeBord has been a welcome fixture as a professor of psychology in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. In that span he has left an indelible impression among his many students, but he very nearly didn't get the opportunity.

DeBord had wanted to find a local job given he was finishing his Ph.D. at the University of Missouri, he was in a long-term relationship, and his partner was still finishing grad school. He had heard that Lincoln's psychology department would not consider hiring any MU graduates because they'd had a bad experience with one. He applied anyway -- and ended up getting hired.

"One of my professors at the University of Missouri told their psych department, "You really need to consider this person!" So they did," DeBord said. "I got the interview and came (to Lincoln). I met some really good people, and they invited me to come, and it all worked out well."

DeBord, who also has a private psychology practice, credits his students and colleagues as the main reason he has continued his career at LU. One relationship in particular that started his first day on campus has since blossomed into one of DeBord's closest friendships among his fellow professors.

"I started the same day that Mara Aruguete started at Lincoln University," DeBord said. "We just became fast friends. We talked every day carpooling from Columbia to Jefferson City about what that whole first year of teaching was like, how we could make it better, and we both motivated each other to really improve our teaching and make it fun."

Although those car rides to and from campus together have been scarce in recent years, DeBord and Aruguete are still finding ways to motivate each other toward self-improvement. Given they both love to exercise and enjoy the outdoors, they walk together nearly every other day -- and always talk about teaching.

"(Dr. Aruguete) motivates me to keep walking. Because otherwise, I might just stay home and watch TV," Dr. DeBord said. "Even during COVID, we didn't want to be near each other (to keep each other safe), so instead we'd just put on our earbuds and walk at the same time."

In addition to his friendship with Dr. Aruguete, DeBord said he has been fortunate to be surrounded by other outstanding faculty and staff members who have helped him in his success as a professor.

"The people who hired both Mara and myself were really good colleagues," DeBord said. "I'm still in communication with all of them. My department chair was Tony Holland, my dean was Rosemary Hearn. We just had a lot of really good people. We still do; I've always had good experiences with my colleagues."

In terms of the ways he has mentored his students over the years, DeBord said it's hard to come up with one notable moment. Instead, he is proud of the many times he has been able to help Lincoln students achieve their educational and professional goals.

"Seeing students present and have professional accomplishments or the number of students I've helped get into grad school, it's just really fun," DeBord said. "(I love) when a student comes back and talks about how their life's good or even shares about it on Facebook these days. I'll see posts that this person got a job as a therapist, or this person has gone into this line of work. It's just really fun to see (my students) grow up and enjoy life."

Throughout his time at Lincoln, DeBord has noticed many changes. Technological advancements, especially the advent of widespread internet use, are among the changes he has witnessed since starting at LU in the mid-'90s. These advancements, DeBord said, has brought unique challenges to teaching that has required adaptation.

"Because you don't want (students) on their phones, but you do want them engaged in conversation, it takes more effort now," he said.

As in many other fields, psychology requires the ability to engage others in conversation. DeBord has found that cultivating discussions in the classroom has been instrumental in his success.

"If you can start students off at the beginning of class by having them talk to each other, they are then much more likely to talk to me and to the whole class," DeBord said.

As a result of his willingness to continue learning so he can help his students learn, DeBord continues to serve as a mentor to generations of Blue Tigers.

State and Federal Safety and Security Officials Share Insight During Lincoln University of Missouri Public Safety Career Day

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Bringing public safety and a call for community engagement to the forefront, Lincoln University hosted Public Safety Career Day on campus April 14. The event, which was open to the public, featured a daylong Public Safety Career Expo and an afternoon panel discussion on security challenges in Missouri for the next decade.

Featured speakers for the event included Col. Stephen Ruth of the Army Cadet Command Strategic Officer Recruiting Detachment, LU Police Chief Gary Hill and Kansas City FBI Special Agent in Charge Charles A. Dayoub. The afternoon panel discussion, titled "Security Challenges in Missouri for the Next Decade," featured Missouri Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten, Missouri Office of Homeland Security Director Kylie Dickneite, Missouri Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Eric Olson and Missouri National Guard Director of the Joint Staff Brig. Gen. Charles Hausman.

"Part of preparing for emergency response and management is looking forward and understanding not just the events in front of you but also the events on the horizon that you need to prepare for," LU Interim Dean of Admissions and Enrollment Dr. Darius Watson said in his introduction to the discussion.

Panelists covered their agencies' roles in preparing for and responding to a variety of public safety concerns, including natural disasters, extremism, gun violence, cybersecurity and health safety. Although each panelist discussed the importance of recruiting the right people for the job, they also emphasized how public safety involves everyone.

"It's a team sport," says Missouri National Guard Director of the Joint Staff Brig. Gen. Charles Hausman. "No matter where somebody's at, if they're in academia, their community, if they're outside on a public safety team, we need that engagement and that willingness to step up and volunteer or join one of these organizations.

"We all need good talent," he continues, "but the big takeaway is, there are some really challenging and weighty issues that we've talked about today that pose some challenging and difficult problems, and we need great folks that are willing to jump in and assist us with getting after that. And you can do that in many different ways, but the key is you have to be involved."

Sandy Karsten, director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety, agrees that engagement is key.

"We're a varied department as state governments vary, and there's a place for everyone to serve," she says. "We need good people in the future. We need public servants who are willing to subordinate their needs for the needs of the greater good."

For more information on Public Safety Career Day, contact Darius Watson at 573-681-5216 or For military or security-specific inquiries, contact Lt. Col. Nick Bell, head of the LU military science department, at 573-681-5350 or 573-587-1544 or

The Q&A event was live streamed on LU's Facebook page and can be viewed below.

Lincoln University Professor Receives Fulbright Award


Political scientist Dr. Brian Norris will research local governments in Colombia and Mozambique.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Dr. Brian Norris, an associate professor of political science at Lincoln University, has won a Fulbright Global Scholar Award from the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. He will join more than 800 other American citizens conducting research and/or teaching abroad for the 2022-2023 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.

Norris will use his award to fund research in Colombia and Mozambique over the next three summers. He will study rural local governments and hopes to document the success of local communities as they work to provide basic services and infrastructure in their areas.

"Many people in rural areas of Colombia and Mozambique lack basic services that most Americans take for granted, such as running water, electricity, in-ground sewer, paved roads and more," Norris says. "The governments of Colombia and Mozambique have granted more power and autonomy to rural local governments that are often in a better position to provide services than the national government. In practice, though, it is very difficult to decentralize power in geographically large and sprawling countries of 50 million and 30 million populations, respectively; some rural local governments have done well with their new responsibilities while others have not. I want to know how the successful ones did it, and my Colombian and Mozambican colleagues and I want to document and publish those lessons."

Norris, who was a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia and an international aid worker in El Salvador, says he wants to learn more about how people are helping themselves in rural places with great needs. "Most successful decentralizations aren't just a case of the central government giving rural people resources or power," he adds. "In my experience, the successful local communities worked very hard, had good local leadership, and were pretty innovative in overcoming novel challenges."

The three-year grant will take him to Colombia in 2022 and 2024 and to Mozambique in 2023, and he will collaborate with colleagues in six universities there. Norris chose these two countries on two separate continents specifically for this research project.

"Colombia and Mozambique are both developing countries, similar to about 44% of the world's population" he explains. "Colombian and Mozambican governments struggle to make services available to all their citizens, and this common struggle unites these countries in a fundamental way. Both Colombia and Mozambique suffered devastating civil wars in their recent history. Their shared desire for peace and reconciliation runs parallel to the development challenges they face."

Still, he adds, there is a good chance for these local governments to succeed as those in other developing countries have. "People are people everywhere," he says. "My experience over 25 years working in foreign countries as different as Bolivia, Zambia and India is that there is a common human horizon of hopes and emotions."

Norris sees added benefits of his Fulbright work for Lincoln University faculty and students. "I hope to foster lasting institutional relationships between mid-Missouri and these two countries," he says. "This is consonant with Lincoln University's existing goals that support developing our students' international perspective through an understanding of diverse cultures and beliefs as well as an appreciation of similarities and differences among cultures."

He looks forward to other doors opening for collaboration, citing opportunities in agriculture, business, nursing, political science, history, natural sciences, education and other programs. "There are lots of possibilities, and I am actively reaching out to academic units across all of LU to give information about the opportunities that the Fulbright program brings and answer questions that they might have," Norris says. "I think that some might be surprised to learn about how much autonomy and institutional freedom they might have to design an international component to their existing technical areas."

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government's flagship international educational exchange program, funded through an annual appropriation from Congress to the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the program. Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided 400,000-plus participants from more than 160 countries the opportunity to study, teach, research and find solutions to shared international concerns. Fulbright alumni include 61 Nobel Prize laureates, 88 Pulitzer Prize recipients and 40 who have served as a head of state or government.

Lincoln University of Missouri Recognizes Top Academic Students During 2022 Honors Convocation

JEFFERSON CITY, MO -- Lincoln University of Missouri (LU) students, faculty, staff, family and friends celebrated the achievements of the university's top academic students at the 2022 Honors Convocation at 11 a.m. on April 21 in Richardson Fine Arts Auditorium on the LU campus.

Held annually in the spring, the Honors Convocation recognizes students' top academic achievements of the year. Each school and department honors Lincoln's best and brightest for their work and awards scholarships to encourage and support students as they continue fulfilling their academic mission at Lincoln.

During the convocation, on behalf of the LU Board of Curators, Board President Victor Pasley recognized the students' drive for excellence and willingness to work hard. "Becoming an honors student is first and foremost a personal choice, not an inherit trait," he said. "You are Lincoln's best and brightest and very deserving of the honors you are receiving."

LU President Dr. John Moseley also offered his congratulations and recognized LU faculty and staff, plus friends and family, for supporting the honors students' achievements, noting that they didn't get to this point alone.

He also recognized the students for elevating the level of achievement for their peers. "Today we recognize you for making excellence the norm," Dr. Moseley said in his address. "Excellence has to be the norm and not the exception."

Octavia Ailsworth, Lincoln University Class of 2023, served as the featured convocation speaker. From Memphis, Tennessee, Ailsworth is currently pursuing a B.S. in Chemistry with a minor in Mathematics. In her address, she shared her internship experience at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, hosted by the Hudson Lab of Nephrology and Hypertension, and how she has found success at Lincoln by focusing on her purpose and through the support of her friends, organizations such as the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, and faculty and staff.

"Lincoln has helped me grow personally and professionally," Ailsworth said. "I would not have had this experience if not for my professors."

She encouraged her fellow students to have a fearless mindset. "Failures and obstacles are steppingstones on the way to success," she said. "In life, we grow when we don't back down from our fears."

After graduation, Ailsworth plans to attend medical school to become a nephrologist and help fight against health disparities. She also aspires to launch a nonprofit organization that provides STEM exposure to young students.

View the 2022 LU Honors Convocation below. A list of the honorees is available online.

Offering more than 35 different degree programs for associate, undergraduate and graduate degrees, Lincoln University is known for a supportive academic environment, including academic coaching and small class sizes to ensure students receive personalized attention and support. Lincoln also offers flat-rate tuition, financial aid and scholarship support to help students succeed.

For more information on academic life at Lincoln University, please visit

Lincoln University of Missouri is a historically Black, 1890 land-grant, public university that provides excellent educational opportunities to a diverse population within a nurturing, student-centered environment. Lincoln is known for its innovative undergraduate and graduate programs in agriculture, business administration, criminal justice, elementary education, nursing, business administration, guidance and counseling, and natural science. Located in Jefferson City, Missouri, Lincoln University was founded in 1866 by the men of the 62nd and 65th United States Colored Infantries and their white officers for the benefit of freed African Americans. The university boasts an exciting residential life and a full slate of NCAA Division II athletics.

Lincoln University of Missouri Selects New Vice President for Administration and Finance/Chief Financial Officer


JEFFERSON CITY, MO -- Following a nationwide search, Lincoln University of Missouri has named Jeff Barlow as its vice president for administration and finance/chief financial officer (VPAF/CFO).

In the role of Lincoln University VPAF/CFO, Barlow will be responsible for providing executive level direction and management oversight for financial planning, budgeting and budget analysis, accounting and business operations, and finance controls and reporting at Lincoln. In addition, he will provide direction and management oversight for campus maintenance and development, risk management and insurance, space planning and construction, facilities and grounds operations, purchasing and contracts, and auxiliary enterprises.

Barlow is currently the director of fiscal and budget at the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development (DHEWD), where he provides administrative oversight for the department's $1.4 billion budget and works closely with the state legislature and the Office of Administration's division of budget and planning. Among his professional accomplishments, he successfully worked with the legislative branch to transition the legacy Department of Higher Education from an unsustainable funding source to more than $6 million in ongoing general revenue support. His DHEWD career has also included coordination and training for higher education chief financial officers, procurement officers, facility directors, chief technology officers and cybersecurity officers. 

Throughout his more than 20-year professional career, Barlow has held leadership roles in the legislative, executive and judicial branches of Missouri State Government.  His resume also includes serving as administrator of the Grants Division in the Missouri Office of Homeland Security, where he provided budget, fiscal and grant programmatic oversight for millions in public safety and emergency management programs; as resource development director for Missouri Community Action Network; and as U.S. public sector grants director for Polycom Inc.

In 2000, he founded the Hawthorn Institute, a venture he led for nine years, which provided consulting and education at the national, state and local government levels for performance-based budgeting, strategic planning, grant writing, fiscal administration, performance measurement, program evaluation, performance-based contracting, project management and federal fiscal reforms.

Barlow will join Lincoln University on May 1, replacing the current VPAF Sandy Koetting, who will retire in June. Koetting has served the University in that leadership capacity since 2018 and has served the Lincoln University Office of Administration and Finance in various capacities for more than 20 years in total.

Lincoln University of Missouri is a historically Black, 1890 land-grant, public university that provides excellent educational opportunities to a diverse population within a nurturing, student-centered environment. Lincoln is known for its innovative undergraduate and graduate programs in agriculture, business administration, criminal justice, elementary education, nursing, business administration, guidance and counseling, and natural science. Located in Jefferson City, Missouri, Lincoln University was founded in 1866 by the men of the 62nd and 65th United States Colored Infantries and their white officers for the benefit of freed African Americans. The university boasts an exciting residential life and a full slate of NCAA Division II athletics.

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