Wednesday, January 28, 2009


College rankings are extremely popular these days. In a society fascinated with top-10 lists, it makes perfect sense people would want to know which educational institutions are the “best.” Thus, there are now an abundance of college ranking lists available for potential college students, and their parents, to review to help determine where they should apply to go to college. Unfortunately, there are no completely objective college ranking systems, and though they might be inherently appealing, they can also be confusing because publishers use vastly different criteria, calculations, and weights when determining academic status.

Like most other academic institutions, UMKC’s administrators have been examining where the University resides in several national rankings. More specifically, three ranking systems have been reviewed in detail: the U.S. News and World Report rankings, the rankings, and the Center for Measuring University Performance rankings. These ranking systems cover a wide range of data metrics from entering student characteristics to graduation rates to the quality of faculty measured by research productivity and awards.

In recent weeks, the Provost has been sharing detailed information about these rankings with various groups across the University, including the Strategic Planning Committee, the UMKC Trustees, and the Deans’ Council. The main focus of these presentations has not been on the rankings themselves, but rather on the metrics being utilized and, where appropriate, on the areas UMKC needs to focus on to improve the quality of the education and experiences provided at the university. This information was intended to serve as a starting point for moving forward strategically to provide the best possible education to UMKC’s students.

Individuals interested in reviewing the Provost’s presentation are encouraged to go to the strategic planning website and click on College Ranking Metrics – Where Does UMKC Fit in the Rankings.

-Written by Larry Bunce, Ph.D., Director of Institutional Research

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Instructional Technology Conference

The UMKC Information Access - Instructional Technology Services department held its first Instructional Technology Conference this month. Faculty members were given the opportunity to collaborate across schools and to increase their knowledge and experience with the latest online learning technologies. The 2-½ day conference provided hands-on technology training sessions and workshops provided by faculty members who demonstrated their experiences with online learning. Some of the topics included virtual classrooms, coursecasting, improving departmental communication and implementing authentic tasks in web-based learning in addition to blogs, voice tools and online assessment.

We would like to thank the following UM System faculty members for presenting at the conference:
· Keynote Speaker: Robert Keel, Professor-UMSL Department of Sociology
· Cindy Amyot, Professor/Director of Distance Education & Faculty Development-UMKC School of Dentistry
· Kim Bray, RDH MS, Professor & Director-UMKC School of Dentistry, Division of Dental Hygiene
· Laura Gayle Green, MA MLS, Librarian IV, Head of Music/Media Library-UMKC Miller Nichols Library
· Molly Mead, Coordinator of Information Technology, UMKC School of Education
· Rebecca Power, Reference Librarian-UMKC Miller Nichols Library
· Robert Riggs, Lecturer-UMKC College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Physics
· Donna Russell, Assistant Professor of Learning Technologies, Educational Psychology and Curriculum and Instructional Leadership-UMKC School of Education

Due to positive feedback and a high demand for the first conference, a second conference is being planned at this time. An announcement will be sent through the Information for UMKC Blackboard Instructors Blackboard site in the near future with details about the next conference.

-Written by Erica Schurter, Instructional Technology Services

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Renaming Hospital Hill

Last fall a list of issues was sent by the Hospital Hill faculty and staff [see the post here]. One of the issues was a proposed name change for the Hospital Hill Campus that would more clearly reflect UMKC’s presence and mission. Hospital Hill is a location, but does not say anything about what we do there. Out of preliminary discussions a proposal has emerged to change the name of the campus to “The UMKC Health Sciences Campus at Hospital Hill.”

The process to complete the official naming involves a wide campus distribution of the proposed name with opportunity for discussion and feedback. We would like to hear from you about this issue. Here is some of the feedback we have received so far.
  • Many at UMKC support the name change and like the new name because it uses wording that not only indicates the location but also reflects all the schools on the campus (Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy) and their educational focus.

  • Some think the name (UMKCHSCHH) is too long and cumbersome. They proposed:
    “Health Sciences Campus”
    “UMKC Health Sciences”
    “UMKC Health Sciences Campus”
    “UMKC Health Sciences Center”
    “UMKC Bio-Health Campus”
    “Allied Health Center”

  • Others suggested “Hospital Hill Health Sciences Campus at UMKC” or “UMKC Health and Biomedical Sciences Campus”

  • Some have asked if this new name reflects Children’s Mercy and Truman Hospital as part of the campus.

  • Some are concerned about financial impact of a name change and wonder if this is a priority for UMKC in light of the current budget cut expectations.

We invite you to send your comments on the proposed name change. Just click on the “comments” link below. We ask you to reply by January 30th.