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Dr. Edna Grover-Bisker, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, pours her love for her family into her role at Missouri S&T. Her daughter, Eden, passed away from cancer in 2015.
“I learned more from her in her 12 short years than I ever would have in my own lifetime,” Edna says. “She wanted to attend S&T to be a scientist. I channel my love for her into my work. Therefore, I have extra to give. Every student is someone’s child who reminds me of my own. What I can’t give to her, I give to our students.”
Edna, known as Eddie by many, joined Missouri S&T’s admissions team in 2005. She worked in career opportunities and employer relations (COER) for nine years, including six years as the director, and she accepted her current role as assistant vice chancellor for student affairs in 2017. Student affairs is responsible for the student experience outside the classroom.
“I love learning about the talents and passions of the faculty, staff and students I come in contact with,” she says. “I learn something new every day, and I am constantly blown away by the knowledge that abounds here.”
Her current areas of responsibility include testing and student disability services, parent and family relations, Miner Wellness, COER, and the Chancellor’s Leadership Academy. She serves on several teams and committees, including the Student Affairs Division Leadership Team, Corporate Development Council, University Assessment Committee and Student Success Committee.
When Edna worked in COER, she earned her certification for international protocol, corporate and dining etiquette from The Protocol School of Washington in Washington, D.C. She continues to give presentations about dining etiquette during S&T’s annual Etiquette Dinner for students.
“I am constantly humbled by the accomplishments of our students, before they come to us, while they’re here and after they are gone,” she says. “They are in the thick of their education here and are still very inquisitive about their field of interest. I am also proud to be considered a colleague of the accomplished faculty and staff of this campus. The examples set by the faculty, staff and students make me continually strive to do more, be better and reflect on what I could be doing to improve my field and the programs and services we offer.”
Hometown: Beulah, Missouri
Family: Daughter, Eden, passed away from cancer in 2015 at age 12; son, Wade, age 7; husband, Scott Bisker; parents, Wilferd and Freda Grover
Favorite food: “Anything my mom cooks”
Education: Ed.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Missouri-Columbia, master’s degree in public administration from MU, and bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Missouri.
People are surprised to learn: Edna drives a pulling truck competitively. “My dad drove one for a while when I was a kid. I was always the girl in overalls and baseball caps, hunting, fishing, farming, etc., hence the nickname Eddie. Fast forward and my son got interested in pulling trucks and tractors. We were taking him to watch them a lot. Next thing you know, he wanted one. I told him that if he would be my crew chief and top mechanic, then I would drive it for him until he is old enough to do it himself. We bought an old truck and it took us a couple of years to get it competition ready. It’s an interesting hobby that we can do together. I’d do anything to keep my kids happy. I’m hoping to feed his interest in how things work. I’m hoping to raise a future Miner!”
Favorite memory: Edna recalls the first time she took her family to a show at Leach Theatre:
“It was a Christmas show. We were seated very near the top back row when Dr. James Murphy, my boss’s boss, walked in. I discreetly pointed him out and whispered to my husband that he was my boss’s boss. My 4-year-old daughter, Eden, jumped up and started waving and yelling across the entire theater. ‘Dr. Murphy! Dr. Murphy! Hey! Hi! There’s a seat right here by us! I’ll save it for you!’ He politely waved back and gave her a nod and then went to his seat. She turned to me and shrugged and said, ‘I guess he’s meeting somebody and can’t sit with us?’
Later, after the show had started there was a famous painting depicting Jesus’s birth in the stable, projected on a large screen. There was a dramatic pause in the live classical music the orchestra played. Eden, in her sweet little Texas County twang said very loudly, ‘Wowee! Jesus and them sure had a heap of dawgs.’ I shusshed her. My dad leaned over the five people between them and said ‘WHAT?!’ She yelled back at him, ‘I SAIIID, PA, JESUS’N THEM SURE HAD A WHOLE HEAP OF DAWWWWGS!’
Everyone in the theater heard my sweet child yelling in her pronounced drawl about ‘Jesus n’them’s dawgs.’ Many turned around to look for the Beverly Hillbillies, probably wondering how this fit into the Christmas show. Others were polite and didn’t stare but I could see row after row of the theater patrons’ shoulders visibly shaking with laughter. Dr. Murphy, my boss’s boss, turned around and gave us another nod. I did my best mom yell/whisper through clenched teeth, ‘THOSE. ARE. SHEEP! SHUSH!’ I thought I might die of mortification.
Monday morning, I met Dr. Murphy in the hall, all he said was, ‘I assume your family enjoyed the theater.’ I mumbled yes, red faced and walked/ran away from him. Note to self: You can take your family out of Beulah, but you can’t take the Beulah out of your family.”
Advice to other employees: “Be creative. Working here affords us the opportunity to try new things and implement new strategies for success. We have ample opportunities to improve our jobs, programs and services. Every single one of us plays a role in crafting this magnificent institution into something that works for us and our students. No matter what your job is you have a chance to meet students and talk with them on a deeper level about what they want and what they would like to see happen. We can help them get there.”
Missouri S&T’s Staff Council launched the staff spotlight feature in February 2019 as a way to highlight staff members throughout the university. Legends Bank, Au Bon Pain and the S&T Store are sponsors. The articles are published in eConnection and shared on Staff Council’s Facebook page.
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