Wednesday, April 29, 2009

UMKC's Worldwide Classroom

The world is our classroom, and the International Academic Programs (IAP) Office serves UMKC’s students and faculty by coordinating a variety of international initiatives. These include Study Abroad, Exchange Student partnerships, nationally competitive fellowships, and community outreach.

IAP oversees Study Abroad programs, the extraordinary opportunity enjoyed by an increasing number of UMKC students who elect to live and study in another country for periods of time ranging from a few weeks to a semester or even full academic year. Many of our returning Study Abroad students now participate in a Speakers Bureau, sharing their experiences with groups across campus. Each September we hold a Study Abroad Fair, inviting the entire campus to learn about the many programs that will be offered that year.

IAP administers exchange student agreements with other countries, and oversees those students who come to study for one or two semesters at UMKC. These students soon become valued members of our campus community, contributing to international discussion and understanding.

International partnerships to further student and faculty exchange and promote research collaboration are created through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The IAP office is charged with the responsibility of drafting MOUs which are approved and signed in the Provost’s office. These international partnerships are vital components of UMKC’s outreach and internationalization efforts. The office assists faculty who want to do research and teach abroad, and works with visiting faculty, such as Fulbright Scholars, from other countries.

IAP extends outreach efforts to the campus and the greater Kansas City community as well. Several years ago we initiated a series called Global Conversations as part of the FaCET programming. This is an informal brown bag gathering held several times each semester in which faculty and students come together to discuss topics such as international research, classroom programming, and experiences teaching abroad. The office actively participates in community groups such as the International Relations Council, the Edgar Snow Memorial Fund, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Truman Library Foundation.

Another major function of the IAP is oversight and coordination of UMKC student applications for nationally competitive fellowships including the Fulbright, DAAD, Rhodes, Truman, NSEP-Boren, the Jack Kent Cooke and many other prestigious awards. The office also manages a number of Study Abroad scholarships that assist our students who participate in Study Abroad programs.

The International Academic Programs office is one component of a rich partnership across all disciplines and units on our campus. We work closely with the International Student Affairs Office, the Applied Language Institute, SEARCH, and the Honors Program in our ongoing efforts to strengthen international initiatives at UMKC.

-Written by Linna Place, Ph.D., Interim Director, International Academic Programs

Monday, April 27, 2009

University of Missouri Enhances Security of Social Security Numbers

COLUMBIA — April 14, 2009 — The University of Missouri is enhancing its security policies by storing Social Security Numbers (SSNs) that are mandatory for business purposes in a centralized database and purging those that are unnecessary.

The ultimate goal of the initiative is that SSN will only be collected by authorized areas. Printed materials will be imaged and shredded. When SSNs cannot be removed, they will be physically secured with restricted access.

The University of Missouri Division of Information Technology (IT) will work with those offices still needing to collect Social Security Numbers to store them in the centralized database. This database generates an Alternate Identification (AltID) number for application use. AltID looks and acts like a SSN, but without the risk of identity theft. AltID is translated back into a SSN to fulfill mandatory reporting requirements.

During this university-wide initiative, faculty and staff are reviewing business practices concerning the collection, use, and storage of SSNs to determine if every instance has a mandatory function. The University of Missouri Division of IT staff succeeded in securing SSNs and purging those that are unnecessary from several key data repositories, including Alumni at all four campuses; Single Sign-On (SSO); Remedy Help Desk; the Vendor Registration application used by Procurement; the Minority Business Development Office; and Design and Construction. SSN use in the PeopleSoft systems is currently under review.

According to Dr. Gary Allen, Vice President for Information Technology, “protecting the personal information of our employees, students, business associates, and friends is a top-most priority for the university. This project will take everyone’s cooperation.”

Contact your Campus Information Security Officer to register your applications that use SSNs and to discuss strategies to secure your data.

For more information on the SSN Project please visit

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

UMKC Leads Research Efforts in the Internet of the Future

Are we ready for the future? More specifically, are we ready for what lies ahead in the future in networking technology? Our society has come a long way in communication technology in the past two hundred years; first it was telegraphy, invented in the first half of 19th century, then the telephony, invented in the second half of 19th century, and then the Internet, almost a hundred years later, in the second half of the 20th century. Each technology has pushed the boundary on the mode and what we can communication over a long distance. So, are we ready for the future?

As great as the Internet is in changing how we communicate, the fundamental technology is now about forty years old. It was developed as an experimental concept, which originally connected only academic institutions. The early applications on the Internet were file transfer, remote terminal login service, and email. With the introduction of the Web in the early 1990s, the entire picture of the Internet changed as its popularity grew almost overnight.

There are many fundamental issues that were not part of the original design of the Internet. For example, consider security -- this is only an afterthought as problems arose. Secondly, can we continue to send information efficiently and quickly if the number of connected devices grows exponentially, and so on. While we're tempted to make incremental improvement to the Internet's initial basic concept, it is also important to re-think everything from ground-up if we were to design a network of the future.

National Science Foundation has recognized the need for such a new and fresh thinking so that it is time to envision and put the fundamental concepts together on how the network of the future is going to be. Among its new initiatives includes the GENI (Global Environment for Network Innovations) program . As a part of this effort, UMKC is one of the first set of institutions nation-wide funded by the GENI Phase-One project that was announced in the summer of 2008. Noteworthy is that UMKC is the only public university in the state of Missouri that was funded in the GENI Phase one funding. UMKC's project "GpENI" (Great Plains Environment for Network Innovation) is a partnership among four institutions: University of Kansas, UMKC, Kansas State University, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

So, what is GpENI? GpENI is a three-year project that aims to create a new experimental networking testbed connecting these four institutions that will provide a dedicated environment for networking scientists to try out new concepts for networks of the future. It may be noted that GpENI is one of the only two experimental tesbeds funded in the first phase of GENI funding. The basic part of GpENI experimental testbed is recently connected and now the excitement begins. In particular, UMKC's effort in this project is to lead and explore programmable router functionalities so that routing mechanisms in the core of the network of the future can be thought through in a number of new and innovative ways. UMKC's researchers involved in this project are Deep Medhi (Professor, Computer Science & Electrical Engineering Department, who heads the Networking & Telecommunications Research Lab at UMKC) as principal investigator and Baek-Young Choi (Assistant Professor, Computer Science & Electrical Engineering Department) as co-investigator. UMKC maintains a project page for its GpENI effort: It is also worth noting that Deep Medhi was one of the leads in organizing a US-Japan Future Networks Workshop held last fall in California that was supported by the National Science Foundation; he'll also serve as the scientific program co-chair of an International Workshop on FutureNet to be held in Hawaii in December 2009.

UMKC's GpENI effort has a far reaching goal. It plans to connect international institutions to its testbed in the near future as well as many US institutions. Stay tuned!

-Written by Deep Medhi, Ph.D., Professor, Computer Science & Electrical Engineering Department

In picture UMKC team members: (front) Ramkumar Cherukuri, Baek-Young Choi, Xuan Liu; (back) Deep Medhi and Haiyang Qian [not in picture - Can Kanli & Jim Schonemann]

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


NCEES (National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying) announced that the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of Florida A&M University–Florida State University was the $25,000 grand prize winner of the 2009 NCEES Engineering Award for Connecting Professional Practice and Education. NCEES is the body which controls the licensing exams for engineers.

Additionally, a second tier of five projects were awarded $7,500, one of which was our own civil engineering capstone design team. The second tier included: University of Missouri–Kansas City, Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering; University of Arizona, Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics; Seattle University, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Department of Civil Engineering; and, Virginia Tech, Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. NCEES will travel to present the award to UMKC on April 30, 2009.

The NCEES Engineering Award recognizes engineering programs that demonstrate meaningful partnerships between professional engineers and students. All EAC/ABET-accredited engineering programs were invited to enter projects that demonstrated such a partnership.

UMKC’s award-winning civil engineering capstone class grew out of campus discussions about service-learning in 2002. Deb O’Bannon, Ph.D., P.E. (associate professor of civil engineering) approached the Kansas City Department of Public Works to see if they had any right-sized projects appropriate for civil engineering seniors. “Right-sized” is a challenge for civil engineering: civil engineers usually design large, civic structures that are far too large and complex for students. At that time, Public Works had a backlog of small projects suitable for UMKC seniors. Tom Kimes, P.E. (UMKC alumnus, 1987) was given release time from the City to help the students negotiate the design project. The projects (2003-present) have been two-lane, traffic-bearing bridge replace-ment projects over water in Kansas City, MO. These small projects bring a great deal of complexity for the students, which include managing construction within a real site, easements and rights-of-way, traffic, environmental permitting, hydrology and bridge hydraulics.

The participation of Kimes, now working at HDR, and Erich Schmitz of TranSystems (UMKC alumnus, 2005), is essential to the success of the civil capstone class. Kimes and Schmitz, both adjunct professors, have the experience of producing engineering designs and O’Bannon manages the class and its educational outcomes. Kimes, Schmitz and O’Bannon have presented the effectiveness of this capstone experience on preparing our students for the profession at several national conferences, and wrote an invited paper for a new public works journal in 2008. NCEES has recognized our program for this significant and sustainable teamwork between industry practitioners, the municipality and the university which provides a meaningful educational experience for our students.

-Written by Deb O’Bannon, Ph.D., P.E, Associate Professor, Civil Engineering

*Pictures: Deb O'Bannon (1st on left), Thomas Kimes (on right side), and Erich Schmitz (2nd on left)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Discover SEARCH

The first Students Engaged in Artistic and Academic Research (SEARCH) event of the academic year is the Kick-Off event for eager students to meet with faculty and student alumni of the program. They share enthusiasm for inquiry and learn about research opportunities and training offered through SEARCH. The Kick-Off is followed by a “Brain-Storming” session where students at discipline specific round-tables speak with faculty mentors and other students about ideas for projects and how to go about finding a mentor. Students can also get help finding a mentor at the SEARCH web-site or by talking to the SEARCH director, Dr. Jim Murowchick. Next a workshop on “How to Write a Proposal” helps students to promote their project, develop a budget, and understand the proposal review process, including the view from the reviewer’s perspective. In the Spring Semester, workshops include presentations like, "Using the UMKC Libraries’ Research Tools." Leading up to the SEARCH Symposium, workshops are offered on writing an informational Abstract, Preparing a Poster Presentation, giving a PowerPoint-Based Oral Presentation, and importantly, what to expect during judging at the Symposium. The culmination of the year is the upcoming 9th Annual Symposium!

The 9th Annual SEARCH Symposium is Friday, April 17, in Pierson Auditorium. This year’s symposium exhibits the results of academic and creative endeavors of 51 UMKC undergraduate students supported by their dedicated faculty mentors. UMKC students, faculty and staff, student family members, and the general public are invited to come and support the researchers’ accomplishments and to be part of the celebration. The best times to view the poster and model displays and to listen to the reading of papers are 10 am-2 pm.

Any student in any discipline who has completed or is working on an undergraduate research project, whether funded by SEARCH or not, was encouraged to present at the Symposium. The projects will be described in an Abstracts volume; posters and models will be displayed, and papers will be read. The presentations will be judged by faculty members and local professionals, and winners in each category will receive a certificate and a prize. The Awards Ceremony begins at 4:00 pm with a presentation by Dr. Bibie Chronwall on “SEARCH: From Project to Profession” highlighting SEARCH alumni, followed by the announcement of the award winners.

SEARCH also organizes UMKC's participation in the UM System Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol
(URD@C). Student Research Ambassadors are selected for this special honor from candidates nominated by faculty mentors. Students from all four UM campuses
present their research to state legislators and staff members in a 1-day poster session in the capitol’s Rotunda in Jefferson City. The event provides a showcase for the cutting-edge research in all disciplines being conducted by undergraduates at Missouri’s research university. Emphasis is placed on projects that benefit the people and state of Missouri, including the arts, engineering, sciences, health fields, economics, urban planning, and many others. Because space is limited, up to 10 students may be selected from each campus.

Undergraduate research experiences available at UMKC have proven to be valuable educational experiences for students. Any student at UMKC who is interested, should visit the SEARCH website ( or contact Dr. Murowchick ( ).

-Written by Bibie Chronwall and Jim Murowchick

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pharmacy School Program Receives National Award for Community Service

The UMKC School of Pharmacy was recently selected to receive the “Student Community Engaged Service Award” by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). UMKC was one of only four pharmacy schools in the nation to receive this inaugural award recognizing student-led community engagement projects. Sponsored by Teva Pharmaceuticals, this annual award program is intended to encourage pharmacy students and faculty to design and build programs of community-engaged service learning, deliver consumer education about medication use, expand access to affordable medications and improve the public’s health.

The School of Pharmacy program selected for this honor is the “Patient Assistance Program” (PAP) operating out of the Jackson County Free Health Clinic in Independence, MO. The program has been in operation for over eight years and serves a diverse indigent patient population representing over 20 zip codes in the Kansas City metro area. The program provides assistance to low income patients who would otherwise go without needed medications to manage their chronic illnesses. Volunteer students at the clinic are responsible for obtaining the patient’s medical history and helping them to complete the proper paperwork for medication assistance. Since the program’s inception, over 350 patients have received more than $2,000,000 worth of medication donated by pharmaceutical suppliers (as of December 2007). Student pharmacist volunteers train junior pharmacy students how to interact with patients, interpret medical records, make therapeutic substitutions, practice troubleshooting skills, and integrate with other health professionals.

UMKC School of Pharmacy faculty advisor, Cameron Lindsey, Pharm.D., and pharmacy student/team leader Kristen Fish (Class of 2010) joined Dean Robert Piepho on February 23rd at the AACP Interim Meeting in Arlington, VA for the awards presentation. Other student members of the project included Michelle Campbell, Kara Miller, Danielle Nagel and Cassie Peters. AACP presented a check to UMKC for $10,000 to be used for expansion of the project and an additional stipend of $5,000 for student program and travel support.

The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) is a national organization whose mission is to serve the 105 pharmacy schools in the United States and their faculties by acting as their advocate on a national level.

-Written by Jana Boschert, Director of Alumni & Development, UMKC School of Pharmacy

In picture: Kristin Fish, Pharmacy Student (left) and Dr. Cameron Lindsey (right)