Tuesday, June 30, 2009

UMKC’s New Web Site: A Collaboration and a Work in Progress

On Wednesday, July 1, 2009 the UMKC homepage and main audience pages will transform into a vibrant new look and feel. You may have noticed that some departments’ and schools’ web sites have a new layout already. Eventually all of the UMKC sites will have facelifts and updated content. The changes are part of a campus wide effort to improve our image among prospective students, parents, donors and the public and to make the website more useful for UMKC students, faculty, and staff. This week’s launch is the first phase of an ongoing project --every 90 days new layers of the site will be launched.

The new UMKC web site is a result of an across campus collaboration. Representatives from every academic unit, University Communications, Student Affairs, Public Relations, and Information Services have been working since last fall on this critical project. Input has been sought from Dean’s Council, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Advisory Council, Faculty Senate, Student Government Association, and Staff Council. In March, all students, faculty, and staff were asked about the design of the new UMKC homepage in a campus wide survey (see the results). Best practices were researched as were other urban serving universities’ web site design and content. The web site is not only our first impression to future students, future faculty, and future funders; it is a tool we all utilize on daily basis.

See the progress—sites that have already been redesigned:
-Financial Aid and Scholarships
-Human Resources
-Institute for Urban Education
-School of Education

For more information visit: http://www.umkc.edu/website/default.asp

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Green Commute Challenge: Are You Up for It?

Along with other Kansas City metro organizations, UMKC is participating in the Green Commute Challenge contest. The purpose of the contest is to encourage commuters to use alternative forms for transportation to get to and from work, and to find other ways to reduce miles driven, like telecommuting or staying in for lunch. The Green Commute Challenge is in line with the larger campus goal to reduce the number of cars on campus, and participating in the contest will be fun too.

The contest will run from July 6 through August 28, 2009, and is sponsored by MARC. UMKC participated last year, but we’d like to build on last year, and encourage employees who are commuting green already to get credit for their miles. Those who log in miles receive points, and prizes are awarded to people weekly and monthly. At the end of the challenge, there is an award for the employers having the most points.

Ways to earn 4 points (and become eligible for prizes):
• Carpool
• Vanpool
• Bus
• Bicycle
• Walk
• Telecommute

Ways to earn 1 point:
• Stay in for lunch
• Flex day off (for employees on alternative schedules only – paid time off days do not count)

Learn more about the program at http://www.marc.org/rideshare/challenge/index.htm and be sure to read about the prizes.

If you would like to participate or to find-out more you can contact Jane Allen or Gaile Johnson in Human Resources. The Green Commute Challenge is a way for UMKC get involved and have a presence among the KC metro employers.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

UMKC'S New Road Maps Will Help Undergraduate Students Achieve Their Academic Goals

In April 2009, the Registration & Records Office under the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management partnered with the Provost’s Office, the Academic Units and University Communications to create a new tool called Major Maps. The Major Maps website is designed to provide prospective and currently enrolled undergraduate students with the tools they need to navigate the academic planning process.

Each of the Academic Units developed a four-year degree plan for each of its undergraduate degree programs as an overview of the suggested path of study for students. These templates provide students with a time-line, degree requirements, and other important information on completing a particular degree plan within four years. These major maps can be used by prospective students to decide on a major and by current students to keep their studies on track or to explore other majors.

As the Major Maps page was created, the technical developers spent a great deal of time providing added functionality to the site. The site organizes Major Maps by the catalog year to match the catalog year a student entered a particular program at UMKC and features links to all of the Academic Units on campus. Additionally, users of the site will find degree information sheets by clicking on the individual majors. These degree sheets provide students with a comprehensive overview of admission requirements, prerequisite courses, fast facts, student organizations, faculty information as well as career opportunities related to that degree program.

Additional tools for students, staff and faculty that are available on this new site include information and links to Academic Advising, the Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs, Academic Calendar, Registration Quick Guide, Transfer Credit Resources, Career Services, and the new Degree Audit system (DARS). It is hoped that the functions and tools at the Major Maps site will allow students greater flexibility in setting their academic goals, providing the resources to help achieve these goals, and open the path for more developmental advising for students in the Units.

Please take time to visit the Major Maps site. If you have questions or would like to provide feedback on the site contact Doug Swink, Registrar, by emailing swinkd@umkc.edu or by calling 816.235.1215.

-Written by Doug Swink, UMKC Registrar

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Nursing School Putting Stimulus Dollars to Work in the Classroom

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon recently visited the UMKC Hospital Hill Campus and the School of Nursing to announce the “Caring for Missourians” initiative, which will invest $40 million during fiscal year 2010 to help Missouri’s public colleges and universities increase their capacity to train students to work in critical-need health care positions.

By some estimates, we are facing a shortage of nearly 150,000 nurses in this country right now and, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, that shortage could reach as high as 500,000 by the year 2025. Missouri's hospitals alone are currently facing a shortage of more than 7 percent, or more than 1,500, of the registered nurses they need to serve their patients.

The UMKC School of Nursing will receive $1.7 million of the Caring for Missourians funds, which will be used in several different areas. We have already begun working to initiate and recruit for our new accelerated BSN program. This program allows students who already have a bachelor’s degree in another discipline to earn their BSN in 18 months. We anticipate accepting students this fall to begin nursing course work Spring Semester 2010.

Earlier this year, the School of Nursing received funding to launch our Rural Nursing Initiative, a program designed to increase the numbers of baccalaureate prepared registered nurses serving populations in rural areas where the nursing shortage is particularly severe. We’ve integrated the Rural Nursing Initiative into our RN-BSN distance education program and are currently enrolling students for the 2009 fall semester.

As we, along with nursing schools across the country, continue to expand our efforts to graduate more nurses, we will need more educators, so we will also be committing some of the Caring for Missourians funds to enhance and expand our nurse educator program. Students can receive the MSN degree with the nurse educator focus or a doctoral degree with additional course work in education. All these programs, MSN Nurse Educator, PhD in Nursing and the Doctorate of Nursing Practice are on-line programs and will prepare nurse educators to employ cutting-edge teaching strategies in didactic, on-line and clinical settings.

All of these programs depend on the School of Nursing’s state-of-the-art distance learning or simulation technology, so we will dedicate a portion of the funds we receive to enhancing and maintaining the school’s clinical simulation center and enhancing our on-line courses and our computer networking capabilities.

This one-time infusion of funding from the Caring for Missourians initiative offers the School of Nursing an immediate and much-welcomed opportunity to implement new programs and further strengthen our current ones. But the nationwide shortage of health care professionals is a long-term problem that will continue to require state funding. We at the School of Nursing, along with our colleagues at the UMKC Hospital Hill Campus, support Governor Nixon’s commitment to find ways to continue state funding in 2011 and beyond.

-Lora Lacey-Haun, RN, PhD, Dean, UMKC School of Nursing

*In picture: Governor Jay Nixon (left), Lora Lacey-Haun, Dean, UMKC School of Nursing (center-right), and Leo E. Morton, UMKC Chancellor (right)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Student Essays Reveal Appreciation for UMKC Libraries’ Faculty and Staff

UMKC Friends of the Library recently pledged $20,000 over the next 5 years to endow an annual scholarship open to degree seeking students from any school or discipline. For 2009, applicants were asked to submit a 500-1000 word essay responding to the phrase “What UMKC’s Libraries mean to me.” 49 essays were received from undergraduate, professional, graduate, and doctoral students representing ten schools and as many varied disciplines.

The scholarship committee was expecting to hear things about the Libraries as a home away from home, where students meet, study, eat, and sleep before and between classes. They also thought there would be testimonials to how a particular book or database contributed to the student’s education and understanding of a topic. While each of these topics certainly were mentioned in the essays, another, often taken for granted, theme recurred in almost every one of the papers: the helpfulness of UMKC Libraries’ faculty and staff. The following excerpt is from a student who even went so far as to mention several folks by name.

“After finishing my master’s degree, I moved back to Kansas City and decided to get a doctorate with an emphasis in linguistics and history of science through the university’s Interdisciplinary PhD program. The collection in these subjects provided a good starting basis for my research. I soon made friends with the wonderful staff, David Bauer, Darnell Williams and Cynthia Thompson in the interlibrary loan department. Whatever was not in the collection, they could get. I would sometimes put in the most seemingly odd and rare requests, such as a group of color card swatches from 1829, and lo and behold, the wonderful interlibrary loan people would track them down! I can’t express enough admiration for the hard work this staff has done on my behalf. They have not only been great at finding rare history of science and linguistics texts, but have also helped me keep track of the due dates and get things returned or renewed on time. The interlibrary loan staff has really gone beyond the call of duty…For my research into journals, on-line sources and microfilm Diane Hunter, in reference services, has been most helpful. She knows just where to look for things and has always made an extra effort to help me find articles, operate the microfiche machines and generally guide me around all the possible and diverse resources the library has to offer...The Music Media department is also wonderful! I often check out compact discs for my own listening pleasure. The Music Media department has many rare old jazz and classical recordings. Laura Gayle Green has done a great job training the staff there. They always find what I’m looking for. Chuck Haddix at the Marr archives at Miller Nichols also provides a wonderful service. His radio program and rare music collection are world class.” - Tanya Kelley, IPhD student studying English and History

While Dean Bostick and the Friends of the Library board always knew how critical hardworking, user-focused librarians and staff members are to providing high-quality library services, it was both a surprise and treat to learn that our students recognize and appreciate what an asset the Libraries’ staff are to their education. The winning essay can be read in its entirety online at http://friends.library.umkc.edu/.

-Written by Mark Mattison, Advancement Officer, UMKC Libraries