Student Programs

Patriotic Education Travel Program

In 2009, College of the Ozarks began the Patriotic Education Travel Program, designed to provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences for students and veterans from World War II, the Cold War, the Korean War, and soon the Vietnam War. The program pairs College of the Ozarks students with the veterans, taking them back to the battlefields where they fought. This program honors veterans and helps educate the younger generation, instilling an appreciation for the sacrifices of American soldiers.

The College recognizes these trips as a powerful opportunity to reinforce one of the five goals of the College, patriotic education. The rich educational journey provides a life-changing experience for College of the Ozarks students, who not only learn volumes of history from the firsthand participants but grow to love and appreciate them as well. Participating students return with renewed respect for veterans and dramatically increased love for their country.

Travel destinations have included England, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Germany to visit sites from D-Day, Operation Market Garden, the Battle of the Bulge, and Berlin, as well as Pearl Harbor, Okinawa, Hiroshima, Iwo Jima, and Tokyo, the Philippines, Guadalcanal, and the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Theatre. A special Holocaust trip took students, veterans, and Holocaust survivors to Germany, Poland, Austria, the Slovak Republic, and the Czech Republic. Most recent trips include China, focusing on the Cold War; Korea; and soon Vietnam.

Students are selected from a pool of applicants who submit essays describing their desire to learn from the veterans. The highly competitive process has produced student-veteran pairings who share not only experiences, but more importantly, a bond between two very different generations that is cherished by both.

The Patriotic Education Travel Program is funded completely by College of the Ozarks and generous donors, allowing students and veterans to travel at no personal cost. For more information about participation or support of the Patriotic Education Travel Program, please contact the Character Education Office at (417) 690-2242.

Character Curriculum

The Character Curriculum at College of the Ozarks invites students to examine character through great works of literature, philosophy, theology, and most importantly, the Bible. The Curriculum is comprised of five classes: Biblical Ideals of Character, Classical Ideals of Character, Medieval/Renaissance Ideals of Character, Reformation/Modern Ideals of Character, and the capstone class, American Ideals of Character. The courses substitute for courses offered in the General Education Curriculum, and students may take as many of the classes as they like. The goal of the program is that students will have a well-grounded and well-integrated understanding of character as the West has traditionally understood it. The Character Curriculum seeks to recover a love and appreciation of humane letters while preparing students to live as free and responsible citizens.

Character Camp

A special orientation prior to the beginning of each semester called Character Camp introduces all new students to character development and how vital it is to their success at College of the Ozarks and after college. Two upperclassmen serve as "Mom and Pop" to each small group of incoming students. They spend ten days with their "family" teaching them about the expectations of the college, locating buildings, how to use services on-campus, and visiting their work stations.  

Laws of Life

In 1987, Sir John Templeton initiated the Laws of Life Essay Contest in his hometown of Winchester, Tennessee. Through the contest, students are encouraged to search deep within themselves and write about their own "laws of life."  Organizations concerned with the moral ideals of youth may sponsor a contest, and College of the Ozarks is proud to do so. Each semester, entering freshmen participate in the contest during Character Camp. The student authors of the winning essays receive book scholarships from the College and the John Templeton Foundation.

The Frances C. Berger Citizens Abroad Program

As an enrichment of the classroom experience, students have the opportunity to study in other cultures. They can experience first-hand how good citizenship impacts our world. The program aims to provide students with an awareness of the world while fostering an appreciation of America and what it represents.

It was the philanthropic desire of the late H.N. and Frances C. Berger to help young men and women, and the foundation continues to operate under this philosophy, as evidenced through its generous contribution to the Citizens Abroad Program. The goal is to give as many students as possible the opportunity to have a travel abroad experience. Recent trips abroad have included Rwanda, The Passion Play in Oberammergau, London and Oxford, Spain, and China.

First PLACE!

College of the Ozarks has taken a leadership role in establishing a character education initiative for the public schools and communities in Stone and Taney Counties.  There are 12 school districts and 500 First PLACE! partnering organizations, businesses, and individuals who are committed to supporting this effort through visibly demonstrating the trait of the month each month.  First PLACE! is focused on decreasing disciplinary issues, increasing standardized test scores, and increasing attendance, as well as creating a more positive climate in the area schools, and is being used as a model throughout the State of Missouri.

Stone and Taney Counties Character Traits
(click on each trait to see the pdf file of the First PLACE! artwork for that trait)

September Respect - treating others with courtesy and honor
October Responsibility - taking ownership of what you say and do
November Citizenship - being loyal to your country
December Compassion/Kindness - caring for others
January Commitment - being true to your word
February Honesty - being truthful in what you say and do
March Cooperation - working together toward a common goal
April Perseverance - demonstrating persistent determination
May Self-discipline - training and control of yourself
June Patience - waiting calmly
July Patriotism - showing love for one’s country
August Courage - facing difficulty with bravery

S. Truett Cathy Poverty Summit

The Poverty Summit provides programming for teachers, ministry leaders, church staff members, and government officials who want to be more effective in helping struggling individuals by revealing the "hidden rules" of class and by providing practical tools for reaching those in need.  The Summit is named in honor of Mr. Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A and friend of College of the Ozarks.


Previous Poverty Summits Topics:

  • A Framework for Understanding Poverty (Dr. Rita Pierson)
  • What Every Church Member Should Know About Poverty (Karen Best)
  • The Hidden Rules of Classes at Work (Dr. Rita Pierson)
  • A Framework for Understanding Poverty (Dr. Rita Pierson)
  • Learning Structures for Classroom Teachers (Dr. Rita Pierson)
  • The Bridges Out of Povery (Jody Pfarr)
  • Applying Bridges Concepts (Jody Pfarr)
  • Bridges Out of Poverty, and Applying Bridges Concepts for Individual, Organizational and Community Change (Terie Dreussi-Smith)
  • Under-Resourced Learner Workshop and Research Based Strategies Workshop (Dr. Rita Pierson)
  • Working with Parents (Dr. Bethanie Tucker)

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