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MU Professor Awarded 2012 Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence

April 4th, 2012

Story Contact: Nathan Hurst, 573-882-6217,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Deputy Chancellor Mike Middleton and Commerce Bank Chairman Jim Schatz of Commerce Bank today awarded one of the 2012 William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence to Stephen Ball, an associate professor in the department of nutrition and exercise physiology in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences and MU Extension fitness specialist.

Middleton, Schatz and a group of professors, administrators and staff surprised Ball by honoring him with the Fellowship, which includes a $10,000 check. Kemper Fellowships are awarded to five outstanding teachers at the University of Missouri each year.

The William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence were established in 1991 with a $500,000 gift. Kemper, a 1926 MU graduate, was a well-known civic leader in Kansas City until his death in 1989. His 52-year career in banking included top positions at banks in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Commerce Bank manages the trust fund.

Stephen Ball Bio

Stephen Ball has been an associate professor in the department of nutrition and exercise physiology in the College of Human Environmental Sciences since 2002. He teaches undergraduate level courses in exercise and fitness and serves as an MU Extension fitness specialist. His students say Ball is able to engage his students in his lectures with a variety of teaching styles.

“Physical fitness has always been a passion of mine, but Dr. Ball was able to extend on that passion and help me to understand the real world concepts of nutrition and fitness,” Ryan McDannold, a former student, said. “Dr. Ball’s interactive teaching style encouraged me to go above and beyond to seek out more information regarding course discussions.”

Ball engages his students by integrating auditory, visual, and hands-on styles of learning into his large lecture classes. He often shows short video clips and poses questions about the videos, which motivate students to participate during class discussions. Along with his variety of teaching styles, Ball integrates his research findings into his classes, illustrating the importance of testing principles of exercise and nutrition. By doing this, his fellow faculty members say he is not only teaching important principles, but also showing undergraduate students the importance of research.

“He uses evidence-based research to inspire life-long learning and a passion for healthy living,” Victoria Shahan, Student Services Director for the College of Human and Environmental Sciences, said. “Students meet with me regularly to change their major to Nutrition and Fitness because they took Dr. Ball’s course and are inspired by him to work in a profession that is focused on helping people of all ages.”

In addition to his classroom teaching Ball also is an MU Extension state fitness specialist and provides outreach to Missouri residents. Through extension, Ball travels the state training teachers how to help the youth of Missouri become more physically active. Ball leads a variety of programs that promote physical activity such as, “Jump Into Action,” “Smart Moves,” and the “Active and Healthy School Program” that have reached more than 40,000 youth across Missouri.

“Rarely do we see a teacher so capable and dedicated to the task in so many varied instructional venues,” Stephen Jorgensen, Dean of the College of Human and Environmental Sciences, said of Ball.

Ball received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Missouri in exercise physiology and a doctoral degree from Arizona State University in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in exercise and wellness.