Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Benefits of the Articulation Agreement between JCCC and UMKC

Since our goal in the Academic Affairs/Provost Office is to improve the scholarly endeavors and the scope of degree programs available at UMKC, we are proud to be a part of the new partnership between UMKC and Johnson County Community College (JCCC) and see the relationship as a continual movement towards progress at UMKC.

The move to transfer students after earning an associate degree from JCCC to UMKC will benefit the community residents of Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami, and Wyandotte counties in Kansas as well as UMKC. Not only will this increase the number of students at UMKC, but will help in student retention and provide opportunities for people to stay and develop their skills within the community. Given that around 30% of the undergraduate population at UMKC is composed of nontraditional students or students over the age of 25, UMKC is in a position, by opening our doors to students who have completed work at JCCC, to attract more of this population. The College of Arts and Sciences, the Bloch School of Business, the Conservatory of Music and Dance, the Schools of Biological Sciences, Computing and Engineering, Education, Dentistry, Nursing, and Pharmacy will be able to provide over fifty undergraduate bachelor’s degrees for traditional and nontraditional students transferring from JCCC to UMKC.

As part of the vision of UMKC is to continue to become actively engaged in our community, the articulation agreement is another step that will provide meaningful community connection. The agreement especially fulfills the goal of Urban Engagement in the Strategic Plan which states that, “The urban mission of UMKC is to engage the Greater Kansas City community in partnerships that foster opportunity, innovation, and sustainable development.”

If you would like to learn more click here for the UMKC External Affairs press release on the articulation agreement ceremony that took place June 10th. Also, see the Articulation Agreements web site where students can find out which classes and degree programs transfer from Johnson Community College, Metropolitan Community College, or Kansas City Kansas Community College to UMKC.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pervious Concrete Pavement, It Rains, It Pours, and Runs Right Through

Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink. Drive past Brush Creek during a rainstorm and notice one minute it is dry and the next full of raging dirty water. Water probably dirtier than you would like to because the rainfall often overwhelms the sewer system causing a discharge of extra stuff into aptly nicknamed Flush Creek. The extra water comes from our urban environment where impervious roofs, parking lots, and roads prevent moisture from infiltrating in the ground and is rapidly conveyed to our storm sewer system. Well everything would be much better if that water just went through the pavement, right? Luckily that technology has reached Kansas City and is called pervious concrete pavement.

Pervious concrete has the same basic ingredients as your standard sidewalk with the exception of a single-sized coarse aggregate to create pores for the water to flow, imagine a harder less-tasty rice krispy treat. Typical permeability values for pervious concrete range from 500 in./hr to over 2,000 in./hr, values that well exceed any possible storm. The stormwater runs through the pavement and is stored in an aggregate layer beneath until it soaks into the ground or evaporates. Even sites with low permeability clay around Kansas City can experience significant infiltration. Other benefits of pervious concrete include cleaning stormwater through filtration.

The most common concerns for the public are freeze-thaw durability, clogging, and excessive cost. Much of the research in the last couple years has focused on freeze-thaw durability. We now have pervious concrete mixtures more durable than traditional concrete. Although it turns out that no pervious pavement has ever experienced freeze-thaw deterioration. Pervious concrete is a filter and can become clogged if not maintained. Normal routine street sweeping keeps the pores open and if clogging occurs (usually from nearby open soil), permeability can easily be restored by pressure washing and vacuuming. While the pervious concrete itself costs more from additional chemicals in the mixture, overall project can save money by reducing the size of detention ponds and the amount of stormwater pipes required.

On-going research at UMKC's Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering is investigating the mitigation of the urban heat island effect (heat build-up around cities from dark and impervious surfaces) with pervious concrete and improved winter safety from reduced potential for black ice.

The largest pervious concrete installation in the Kansas City area can be seen at Oregon Trail Park in Olathe, KS. For more information on pervious concrete in Kansas City download a podcast discussing pervious concrete here.

-Written by John T. Kevern, Ph.D., LEED AP, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, UMKC

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Whiteboard to Boardroom

New educational systems, new medical devices and new forms of drug delivery. Every day faculty, students and staff at UMKC create, build and assess new innovations that have the potential to change the world. It is widely known that universities with large research expenditures, like MIT and Stanford, use robust infrastructures to transfer technologies to the market in the form of licensing agreements and spin out companies. But what can UMKC do to transfer its rich research to the market where it can do public good?

UMKC has a wealth of resources that work to support new business development. The UMKC Innovation Center, through its Small Business and Technology Development Center, specializes in technology commercialization and provides technical assistance to early stage businesses through one-on-one consulting and training and access to early-stage capital. The Bloch School’s Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation gives students the skills needed to start and run early-stage companies. UMKC’s Office of Research Services assists faculty in identifying new innovations. At the system level, the University of Missouri is increasing its resources to support technology transfer by adding additional market research and legal expertise to evaluate new ideas.

In addition, UMKC is working within the community to establish Kansas City as a major center for innovation and for building economic growth through the development of entrepreneurial ventures. UMKC’s KCSourceLink connects a network of more than 140 nonprofit organizations across the region including incubators, angel groups and technical assistance providers that support business growth.

Whiteboard to Boardroom (W2B) is a new program that will align and coordinate current internal and external efforts to build businesses from university research. The program joins a partnership of UMKC resources with KU, William Jewell College, Johnson County Community College and local business support groups to explore and develop a technology commercialization process that will maximize the ability of institutions like UMKC to create spin-out companies. The program will start this fall and is expected to generate two to five new companies per year when fully operational. If you would like help starting a business, call the UMKC Innovation Center at 816-235-6063.

-Written by Maria Meyers, Director, UMKC Innovation Center and Network Builder, KCSourceLink