Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Initiatives at the Women’s Center Support Women and Girls in STEM Fields

During the current academic year, the UMKC Women’s Center is working on a variety of projects to help promote the recruitment and retention of women and girls in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. Current initiatives began when planning for the 2009 Starr Symposium in fall 2008. As the committee was commencing its work, an article in the New York Times highlighted a study that noted that girls with exceptional talent in math are rarely identified in the United States, helping
to lead to a shortage of qualified scientists and engineers. Partly in response to that study, the Starr committee decided to bring former astronaut Mae Jemison to campus to talk about how to get women and girls interested in STEM careers, and also developed the Starr Women Leaders Program, to help support UMKC and high school students studying STEM fields.

At about the same time, the local branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) was discussing setting up a program focusing on women and girls in STEM as part of the national AAUW’s “Breaking through Barriers in STEM for Women and Girls” initiative and approached the UMKC Women’s Center about a possible collaboration, the result of which was the development of the Women in Science and Engineering Program (WISE). Slated to begin in Spring 2020, the mission of WISE will be to foster the personal, academic, and professional development of women graduate students in math, engineering, technology, science and the health sciences at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Finally, the Women’s Center was approached by two outside groups looking for partners on their programs for women and girls in STEM – Sally Ride Science is bringing their Sally Ride Science Festival to UMKC on Sunday, November 8 and the Women’s Center is a key partner. Earlier this month, we also took part in a Community Conversation on Girls in STEM fields, co-hosted by the Girl Scouts,Science Pioneers, the Women’s Foundation of Greater Kansas City, KU Med, Project Lead the Way, and other groups – and we will be working on designing follow-up projects based on the information and suggestions collected from the community conversations.

While the timing of some of the current programs has been serendipitous, the goal behind all of them is to increase the number of women and girls pursuing careers in STEM fields. We do so because, in the words of the AAUW, “The lack of women and girls in STEM fields has significant implications for women’s economic security as well as the overall economy and America’s global competitiveness . . . If women and members of other traditionally underrepresented groups joined the STEM workforce in proportion to their representation in the overall labor force, the shortage of STEM professionals would disappear” (source). While the UMKC Women’s Center and UMKC cannot hope to entirely solve these problems, I am hopeful that we can make a significant contribution through programs and partnerships such as the ones described above.

-Written by Brenda Bethman, Ph.D., Director, UMKC Women’s Center

Monday, October 19, 2009

In the Spotlight

Founded in part by the Henry W. Bloch School of Business and Public Administration at UMKC, KCSourceLink was the first implementation of the U.S.SourceLink model and served as the incubator for further network development. U.S.SourceLink’s affiliate, AKSourceLink (Alaska SourceLink) just won the top prize at the University Economic Development Association's (UEDA) 2009 Awards of Excellence Competition for Excellence in Partnership Development.

The Kansas City Repertory Theatre won three Pitch “Best Of” 2009 awards:
  • Best Theater for Artistic Director, Eric Rosen’s, risk taking productions like Clay and Winesburg, Ohio, for supporting local talent and for maintaining first-rate technical and design standards.
  • Best Play for The Glass Menagerie, directed by Obie winner, David Cromer, and praised for the production’s use of art, technology and tough emotional truth.
  • Best Director for Kyle Hatley’s versatility on Hamlet, The Death of Cupid and The Borderland

Monday, October 12, 2009

National exhibit celebrating Women in Medicine comes to KC

UMKC is currently co-hosting the national traveling exhibition “Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America’s Women Physicians.” Our city is one of only 61 sites nationwide to host this exhibit, which runs through Nov. 11. The exhibit is a collaborative effort of the four libraries of the three Kansas City-area medical schools: Dykes Library and Clendening History of Medicine Library of the University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences Library, and the UMKC Health Sciences Library.

The National Library of Medicine (NLM), Bethesda, Md., and the American Library Association, Chicago, IL, organized the traveling exhibition with support from the National Library of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women’s Health, and the American Medical Women’s Association. The traveling exhibition is based on a larger exhibition that was displayed at the NLM from 2003–2005. The local exhibit received additional support through grants from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine and the Health Sciences Library Network of Kansas City.

Along with the exhibit, which is housed at the Dykes Library on the KU Med campus, there will be a number of special events highlighting the evolving role of women in medicine. UMKC will host a special Changing the Face of Medicine lecture at noon on Tuesday, October 20, in the UMKC School of Law Courtroom. The event will feature Dr. Diane Buckingham, an adolescent psychiatrist featured in the national exhibit and current faculty member at the UMKC School of Medicine. The topic of Dr. Buckingham’s presentation will be “Opening the Doors to Multicultural Diversity and the Changing Faces of Color: Patient and Women Empowerment.”
For more information about the Changing the Face of Medicine exhibit and related events, view the UMKC news release.

Submitted by: Amrita J. Burdick, MALS, MA Ed., AHIP
Clinical Medical Librarian, UMKC Health Sciences Library

Monday, October 5, 2009

Construction and the UMKC Master Plan

UMKC’s new Student Union was “Topped Off” with placement of the final steel beam in the structure at a ceremony on September 28, 2009. The steel structure of the 110,000-square-foot building located between the administrative building and Cherry Street is now in place. In an estimated one year’s time, Fall 2010, the new Student Union will be fully equipped with a food court, coffee house, student organization and meeting rooms, open stage area, lounge seating, game room, student radio station, atrium and extended parking lot.

It is exciting to see the new construction taking place all over UMKC as described in the campus Master Plan. This progress moves us toward the fulfillment of our strategic goal of creating a vibrant learning and campus-life experience. The new Stanley H. Durwood Soccer Stadium and Recreational Field and the Herman and Dorothy Johnson Hall are both testaments of our hard work to become an urban campus that enhances the student experience.

The Master Pan web site is a comprehensive resource for learning more about completed, current, and future construction endeavors. If you missed the Toping-off Ceremony you can still view the progress of the Student Union on the construction Webcam.