Thursday, June 17, 2010

Our New Address

The UMKC Provost Blog - Weekly Updates has moved!
For our most recent posts go to

40 Years of Communiversity, 40 Years of Service to the Kansas City Community

UMKC’s Communiversity provides non-academic, non-credit educational opportunities to our Kansas City community. With over 300 different classes in everything from art and dance to financial management and home buying, the Communiversity attracts over 7500 students per year. Communiversity boasts being the largest adult education program in the country with all volunteer teachers with classes offered for as little as $8 each.

Opportunities for free education strengthen society. When teachers and students exchange skills and ideas, these experiences feed and benefit our community. Since 1970, Communiverstiy has provided this service and it continues to grow and change in order to serve the diverse needs of today’s learners.

If you haven’t taken a Communiversity class yet, it’s a great time to take up a new hobby or brush up on something that interests you. There are still summer classes available—sign up now.

Also, don’t miss the 40th Anniversary and Communiverity Sign-up Party, on Tuesday, September 7, from 6-8 pm at the Writers Place, 6307 Pennsylvania. Free admission and snacks plus live jazz: Read more . . .

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Tour of Turkish Culture and Education

A delegation from UMKC recently returned from a trip to Turkey. We were hosted by an organization in the KC area called the Turkish Raindrop House. This organization promotes understanding and cultural exchange between the U.S. and Turkey.

We spent a week visiting Turkish universities as well as sites of historical and cultural importance including the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace, Cappodocia, Ephesus and more. Several Turkish families hosted us in their homes giving us the opportunity to talk at length about the life, culture and the educational system of Turkey. Our host families include longtime supporters of Turkish educational programming and institutions.

Opportunity for New Partnerships
Our delegation –which also included Provost Hackett, Dean Truman and Dean Blanchett—was deeply impressed by the evident commitment to higher education and desire to develop international citizens capable of engaging in meaningful dialogue with people throughout the world. As a result of the trip, we will engage our campus community and consider ways that we might develop academic and student exchanges and programming with Turkey.

Linna Place is the Director of International Academic Programs at UMKC

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Shared Services Initiative at the University of Missouri

The University of Missouri has begun its Shared Services Initiative. The purpose of Shared Services is two-fold:

1. It reduces duplication of effort in administrative tasks
2. It increases the effectiveness and efficiency of administrative tasks

As an example, the University of Missouri System hosts our learning management system Blackboard on system servers, but we manage the application at UMKC. This avoids duplication of services—in this case, server management—across our system of campuses. A shared services approach also looks for opportunities to re-allocate resources; money that we would have used on campus-hosted Blackboard servers can pay for additional ILE classrooms instead.

One of our biggest opportunities at UMKC to utilize Shared Services is the partnership between academic units and IT staff for academic unit servers. The IT staff takes care of security patches and operating system upgrades on academic unit servers and the academic units’ staff manages the software. This improves the efficiency of server maintenance as well as overall security.

The concept or goal behind Shared Services is to operate more efficiently and to streamline services so that they are improved and/or more cost effective. Shared Services provides the opportunity for us to partner with other campuses to carry out University business, particularly in the area of procurement.

Shared Services also impacts finance, procurement and human resources. More on this come . . .

Read more about the Shared Services Initiative:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The New Bb9: Blackboard gets a facelift, new features

UMKC has upgraded to Blackboard 9. The new interface has many improved features. In fact, most of the improvements were suggested by the faculty who use Blackboard.

The latest release allows instructors to:
• customize their site through drag and drop editing, inline editing and dropdown contextual menus
• provide one grade for all members of a group or assign individual grades to each group member
• give all or specific students an additional attempt at assignments
• set up sites so that students can now belong to multiple groups, create their own groups, create a group task list and manage all group work from within one group page
• receive notification when assignments, tests and surveys have been submitted (or not) and when discussion board entries are posted
• disable system announcements within a course site
• decide which modules are displayed on course homepage and control the organization of the modules

To find out more about the new features, download the Blackboard 9 Overview Guide. To find out when you can take a Blackboard 9 Guided tour or to schedule your own workshop visit the ITS Training Opportunities website.

[A special thanks to Instructional Technologies for sharing this information.]

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kansas Students in Eleven Counties Pay the Same Rates as Missouri Students

UMKC is Expanding its Metro Rate for Neighboring Counties

Beginning with the summer semester 2010, Kansas residents of Atchison, Douglas, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami, Osage, Shawnee and Wyandotte counties in eligible programs will now pay the same rates as Missouri residents.

Graduate students in eligible programs will also benefit from the new metro rate. Students pursuing majors or professional programs in the School of Dentistry, School of Law, School of Medicine or the School of Pharmacy are not eligible for the Metro Rate.

The Metro Rate applies to current students and will continue to be an attractive incentive for future students.

For more information see the Metro Rate website or contact UMKC Admissions

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Video and Slides from the Strategic Plan Implementation Town Halls

If you missed the Town Halls last week or would like to review the presentation on the Strategic Plan Implementation, the video is now posted on the Provost’s and Strategic Plan websites. We have also added the presentation slides from the Town Halls on the Strategic Plan website.

Join the discussion!
We encourage you to share your comments and questions about the Strategic Plan Implementation by clicking on the comments link below or by using the “Suggestions” box in the column on the right.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Celebrating Commencement

In May we honor and celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates. The first commencement ceremony at the University of Kansas City was held in 1936; 80 students and their guests attended the first commencement exercises. Today an estimated 2,238 students will be graduating at 12 different ceremonies.

I encourage faculty to participate in these commencement ceremonies. We all play an important role in ensuring student achievement—it is fitting that we be present to celebrate their success.

Commencement Schedule:
Thursday, May 6, 2010
5:00 p.m. School of Nursing Commencement Ceremony (Swinney Recreation Center)
6:00 p.m. Reception
7:00 p.m. School of Nursing Pinning Ceremony (Swinney Recreation Center)

Friday, May 7, 2010 (all in Swinney Recreation)
Computing and Engineering, Arts and Sciences and Business
10 a.m.: School of Computing and Engineering
1 p.m.: College of Arts and Sciences—Mathematics through Theatre;
4 p.m. : College of Arts and Sciences— Urban Planning + Design though Liberal Studies.
7 p.m.: Henry W. Bloch School of Business and Public Administration

Saturday, May 8, 2010
Education, Conservatory, Pharmacy, Biological Sciences, Law and Dentistry
10 a.m.: School of Education (Swinney Recreation Center)
10 a.m.: Conservatory of Music and Dance (White Recital Hall)
1 p.m.: School of Pharmacy (Swinney Recreation Center)
1 p.m.: School of Biological Sciences (White Recital Hall)
4 p.m.: School of Law (Swinney Recreation Center)
7 p.m.: School of Dentistry (Swinney Recreation Center)

Friday, May 28, 2010
4 p.m.: School of Medicine (Music Hall)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

UMKC Strategic Plan Implementation - Ideas and Suggestions Needed

The UMKC Strategic Plan provides a guide for all to follow as UMKC moves into its next decade as Kansas City's University. Creation of the plan involved a year of self-study by UMKC, faculty, staff, students, community members and friends, and is now at a point where the first phase of the plan’s implementation has been developed.

The implementation of the Strategic Plan will be presented at two Town Hall meetings :

• April 28, 8:00 – 9:30 a.m., Room 4307 HSB, Hospital Hill
• April 29, 8:00 – 9:30 a.m., Plaza Room, Administrative Center, Volker campus

At these meetings, the University community will have the opportunity to offer ideas and suggestions and to be involved in the next important steps in the process. We invite you to come, participate and give us your feedback.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Be a Donor

Mel Tyler, UMKC Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, was diagnosed with stage 3 multiple myeloma in April 2009, and wants to increase awareness about the need for bone marrow donors. His physicians have indicated he will likely need a donor stem cell transplant in the future and at the present time there is no match for Mel in the national registry. Registry members from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds are especially needed. Mel was told that because he is African American, there was only about a 15% chance that he would find a match.

You can provide financial assistance or be a bone marrow donor by joining the registry or making a donation in Mel’s name. Joining the registry is as simple as getting a cheek swab to see if you may be a match. UMKC will be hosting two upcoming “cheek swab clinics”:

Friday, April 23, 2010 (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) at the UMKC School of Dentistry, Room 434, Health Sciences Campus
• Tuesday, April 27, 2010 (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) in the University Center, Room 106, Volker Campus

(Please bring personal identification and contact information for two family members or friends who would know how to reach you.)

To meet registry guidelines you need:
• To be between the ages of 18 and 60
• To be in overall good health and meet medical guidelines
• Live in the US or Puerto Rico
• Not be in the US military

Thursday, April 15, 2010

University of Missouri South African Educational Program

24 years ago, the University of Missouri System began a relationship with the University of the Western Cape (UWC) located just outside of Cape Town, South Africa. Although started as a school only for “colored” students during apartheid, UWC became one of the intellectual centers of the anti-apartheid movement. Almost one third of President Mandela’s initial cabinet were faculty members of UWC. Over the past 24 years there have been 437 faculty exchanges between our two schools involving over 40 academic disciplines. UWC has made remarkable progress and is now the 7th ranked university in all of Africa and 5th in South Africa in terms of rated researchers.

Every year 8-10 faculty members travel either to one of the Missouri campuses or to Cape Town to participate in this faculty exchange. Although there have been numerous teaching collaborations over the years, increasingly most of the recent grants have been given to fund research collaborations. The grants run up to $10,000 and are awarded by the University of Missouri South African Education Program(UMSAEP) committee consisting of 3 representatives from each of the UM campuses. A fuller description of the application process and reports of past grants can be found at our website. The application must be submitted to the campus international director by July 15th and awards are generally made by Sept.

We hope that you might come to a TelePresence session at the Administration Center 210 on April 22nd at 2:00 where we will explain the application process and answer any questions you might have about the UM/UWC faculty exchange program or the SA Partnership Program.

UWC has achieved excellence in a number of research areas. In particular, UWC:
• Is the only place in Africa undertaking comprehensive work on the hydrogen economy, researching the use of hydrogen instead of fossil fuels as an energy resource.
• Is the African leader in bioinformatics. The South African National Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI) is one of a small group of comparable top-level centers worldwide, and hosts Africa’s only Cray supercomputer. SANBI conducts cutting-edge research in key diseases facing Africa.
• Is a leader in biotechnology, with a special interest in the genetics of life forms that thrive in extreme conditions, and their implications for our understanding of microbial molecular ecology. UWC’s newly completed Life Sciences building is Africa’s finest.
• Holds the UNESCO Chair in Geohydrology and plays a leading role in networks across Africa in water resource research and training.
• Has the largest and most productive School of Mathematics and Science Education in Africa.
• Is home to The International Centre for Indigenous Phytotherapy Studies (TICIPS), a UWC-University of Missouri project exploring the interface between Indigenous Knowledge systems and empirical science.
• Has three World Health Organization (WHO) collaborating centers for capacity development, teaching and research in Dentistry, Pharmacology and Public Health.
• Has a Center for Humanities Research exploring humanities theory about social and cultural transformation in Southern Africa and the continent.

For more information about UWC and a description of its faculty departments, see

The UMSAEP committee also sponsors the South Africa Partnership Program. Each year, the committee awards 3 or 4 grants a year to UM faculty members who want to engage in a research project with a South African partner or partners. If there are a multiple partners for the project, then one of them can be a faculty member at UWC.

-Rodney J. Uphoff, Elwood Thomas Missouri Endowed, Professor of Law, University of Missiouri & Director, University of Missouri South African Education Program and Linna Place, Director, International Academic Programs, UMKC

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Summer or Fall Textbook Orders, Submitt by April 15th

With the end of the spring semester quickly approaching, the UMKC Bookstores are asking that any outstanding summer or fall textbook order(s) be submitted by April 15th.

The success of the end of semester textbook buyback program is completely contingent on faculty submitting textbook orders on time. The textbook buyback campaign starts April 26th and runs through May 7th. During this time, the Bookstores pay our students 50% of the new textbook price on any title that is being reused by a faculty member for the summer or fall semester. These textbooks are then sold as used copies which save the students 25% or more compared to buying a new copy. If we don’t have an order submitted for a title, we can’t buy that book from our students. The early part of May is also the time that our textbook wholesalers’ inventories of used books are at their highest levels. Every day we don’t have a textbook order is another lost opportunity for us to purchase used copies for our students.

Over the past two academic years we’ve been able to save the students over $1.8 million on their textbooks because of the increase in buyback and used book sales vs. buying new textbooks.

Please help us continue to save our students the most money possible on their summer and fall course materials by submitting your textbook order(s) now.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Graduate Education Week at UMKC

Governor Jay Nixon has designated April 19-24, 2010 as Graduate Education Week in Missouri. UMKC will be hosting several events that celebrate excellence in graduate education:

Saturday, April 10 – Preparing Future Faculty Seminar: “Faculty Roles Seminar”
Presenters will represent a variety of types of institutions of higher education in 201 Haag Hall.

Friday, April 16 – Community of Scholars
The Interdisciplinary Doctoral Student Council will bring together faculty and students to celebrate a “Community of Scholars,” a culminating annual activity where the outstanding faculty member nominated by interdisciplinary Ph.D. students and selected by the IDSC governing board is announced and honored.

Monday, April 19, 5pm to 6:30pm - School of Graduate Studies Awards Convocation
Last year, 10 types of awards were given presenting more than 50 graduate fellowships with a total value of over $700,000. Learn more about the awards.

Wednesday, April 21 – Health Sciences Research Day

Kay Barnes, former mayor of Kansas City, will be the keynote speaker, Noon to 1:00 pm. Students and faculty of the schools of Pharmacy and Nursing will showcase their research with poster presentations from 1:00 to 4:00pm in the Health Sciences Building.

Saturday, April 24, 9:00am to 2:00pm - UMKC Health Sciences Wellness Fair

The Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy are teaming up to deliver a variety of health screenings at the new Health Sciences Building on the UMKC campus. All services are free!

School of Graduate Studies Awards Convocation – Monday, April 19, 5pm to 6:30pm

2010 will be the 21st year of the School of Graduate Studies fellowship program. Last year we gave ten types of awards, presenting more than 50 graduate fellowships with a total value of over $700,000.

Superior Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards:
The School of Graduate Studies gives an award recognizing superior graduate teaching assistants. Faculty and departments are asked to nominate outstanding graduate teaching assistants. There are normally about six recipients each year. They are recognized at our Annual Awards Celebration and receive a small monetary award.

Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award:
One thesis is chosen each year to receive this award. Each academic unit offering the master’s degree with a thesis option may nominate one thesis for the annual competition. There are usually around 60 theses completed each year at UMKC and anywhere from 5 to 10 of those are nominated for the award. The selection is made by a group of faculty representing the Graduate Officers committee and the Graduate Council. The winner receives a $250 award and their thesis is then nominated for consideration in the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Distinguished Thesis competition. This competition is held in the fall to meet the deadlines of the MAGS award. Brittney Scarborough from the department of Criminal Justice and Criminology is the winner for 2009 for "Assessing the Relationship Between Neighborhood Structure, Perceived Disorder and Fear of Crime." Her thesis advisor was Toya Like, Ph.D.

Outstanding Dissertation Award:
One award will be given this year. In some years we have given up to three awards to dissertations representing research in Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and the Humanities. This year there were 36 dissertations eligible for the award and 5 were nominated for the award. The winner of the Outstanding Dissertation Award for 2009 is Dr. Rebecca Seyferth an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. graduate from English and History, for "Experimentation and Transformation: The Dramas of Percy Bysshe Shelley Reconsidered." Her dissertation advisor was Stephen Dilks, Ph.D.

The fellowship categories and their awards are as follows:

Minority Master’s fellowship:
Up to six each year. The award is a 6-hour fee remission for the following Fall and Spring semesters.

Minority Doctoral fellowship:
We give 4 or 5 each year. The award is an 18-hour fee remission for the academic year and a $11,500 stipend.

Chancellor’s Doctoral fellowship:
This is a 2-year award and we give 10 new ones each year. Each unit offering a doctoral degree and each discipline in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program may nominate one student for this award. Of those nominated, only 10 will be selected. The award is an 18-hour fee remission for the academic year and a $11,500 stipend.

Preparing Future Faculty fellowship:
This is a 3-year award targeted toward exceptional students who aspire to become college or university professors. We give up to 5 new ones each year. The award is an 18-hour fee remission for the academic year and a $11,500 stipend. PFF fellows are paired with a faculty mentor and participate in a wide variety of teaching excellence seminars and mentoring activities throughout their 3-year fellowship tenure. These seminars and activities are also open to all other doctoral students at UMKC.

Arthur Mag Graduate fellowship:
This award was established in the early 1980s through a generous contribution from the Edward Swinney Trust of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. The selection criteria include high academic achievement, evidence of good citizenship and commitment to public service.

These criteria were established to reflect traits possessed by Mr. Mag who was a long-time community leader and benefactor of the University.

There are three new Mag scholars each year. The award is open to doctoral students from the College of Arts and Sciences, law students in the LLM program, and master’s and doctoral students in the Bloch School of Business and Public Administration.
Recipients receive a $15,000 stipend and up to 18 hours of fee remissions.

Dissertation Research fellowship:
Between 5 and 10 of these awards are given each year to students who are the final stages of their doctoral programs. These fellowships carry a stipend of $15,500 and up to 18 hours of fee remissions.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

In Appreciation

Since it is Staff Appreciation Week at UMKC, we thought it would be important for our Provost and Vice Provosts to say a few words:

“Staff play a significant role in making UMKC the dynamic and active urban university that it is by providing seamless support. Their efforts are apparent in working towards a campus that places students at the center, advances the sciences and the arts, and embraces diversity, research and economic development. I greatly appreciate staff’s continual input and accomplishments, and have the privilege to see how their hard work benefits faculty, students, and the greater community each day.”
Gail Hackett, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

“When we look at what keeps the University running and able to serve and educate students, the staff are the linchpin. Without the staff at UMKC, I could not do my job. Thank you all so very much!”
Mary Lou Hines Fritts, Vice Provost and CIO

“I feel very fortunate to work at UMKC and that good fortune is due to the outstanding staff members with whom I have the privilege to work. Their knowledge, dedication and hard work makes UMKC a great place to work and a great university for our students.”
Ronald A. MacQuarrie, Vice Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies

“I appreciate our staff because they are willing to seek ways to improve in how they support our faculty, students and colleagues and will ‘go the extra mile’ to help!!”
Cindy Pemberton, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

Thursday, March 25, 2010

FaCET Annual Symposium April 9: Strategies for Student success in a Changing World

Featuring Keynote Speaker Michael Wesch
The keynote speaker at the FaCET Annual Symposium, Michael Wesch, assistant professor of Cultural Anthropology and Digital Ethnography at Kansas State University, will be talking about Strategies for Student Success in a Changing World.

Register by April 7 for this event
The symposium is Friday, April 9, 2010, 8:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Kauffman Conference Center, 4801 Rockhill Road; all faculty are welcome. Visit the FaCET Web Site for the full schedule of events. The symposium is free of charge but advance registration is required. Register online by April 7, 2010.

About the speaker
Michael Wesch has developed several popular YouTube videos. He studies the effects of social media and digital technology on society, and believes that digital media will require changes in teaching. His video titled “Web 2.0 – The Machine is Us/ing Us,” has been viewed by billions of individuals around the world and can be watched on the FaCET Web site. The video illustrates that the Web changes everything from identity, to authorship, to governance, privacy, family and ourselves.

Professor Wesch has received numerous awards including the 2008 CASE/Carnegie U.S. Professor of the Year for Doctoral and Research Universities. He was recently named an Emerging Explorer by National Geographic, a program that recognizes and supports uniquely gifted and inspiring young adventurers, scientists, photographers, and storytellers – explorers who are already making a difference early in their careers.

Webcast available
For those unable to attend the live session, Michael Wesch’s keynote will be on the Web Friday, April 9, at 9:00 a.m. The webcast will be archived online at:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New Faculty Ombudsperson Position

UMKC is working to recruit a faculty ombudsperson. An ombudsperson facilitates communication when issues arise for faculty at the University.

An ombudsperson:
• acts as a neutral agent
• assists in resolving concerns about faculty rights, responsibilities and working environment
• seeks to secure expeditious and impartial resolutions
• recommends changes to existing policies or the development of new policies as needed

Position Description
Under the principles of fairness, equality and mutual respect, this person will serve a two-year term, receive at least a 25 percent release time from other responsibilities and will be acting independently from administrative offices and Faculty Senate.

The Ombudsperson must be a full-time, tenured UMKC faculty member or a retired UMKC faculty member who held a tenured, full-time position. The Ombudsperson must be familiar with UMKC policies and exhibit the highest ethical standards.

Application/Selection Process
Applicants/nominees must submit the following information to the Provost:
• Background, qualifications and outlook the applicant would bring to the position
• A comprehensive vita
• The names and contact information of at least three references

A search committee consists of three faculty senate representatives and three members appointed by the Provost. The finalist will be appointed by the Provost upon the approval of the Faculty Senate.

Applications are due March 29, 2010.

>>Read full position description and application process

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

UMKC in the spotlight as Kansas City hosts international conference this summer

UMKC hosts nearly 1,000 international students and scholars who give our campus a global flavor and contribute to our rich, intellectual community. UMKC sends approximately 300 students abroad to study in 49 countries. 11 of our students have won the prestigious Fulbright Award (we have six applicants this year) and 35 faculty members have also won this award. International education and scholarship contributes to the richness of our campus and our community.

Kansas City will be the host city for the NAFSA 2010 international conference
NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the leading organization for international education, selected Kansas City to host its 69th annual international conference this summer, May 30-June 4, 2010.

World-class keynote speakers
Plenary speakers are Salman Rushdie, celebrated and controversial author, and Nicholas Kristof, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and human rights activist. 8,000 participants from around the globe are expected to attend this conference.

Mark your calendars
Mark your calendars for this conference—especially Monday, May 31 for the campus-wide reception. This year’s NAFSA Conference provides UMKC with a unique opportunity to showcase our campus and programs to international advisors, sponsors, and ambassadors.

- Linna Place, Ph.D., Interim Director, International Academic Programs and Sandy Gault, Director of International Student Affairs

Learn more about the annual conference in Kansas City. For more information about UMKC’s involvement in the conference please email

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Growing and Expanding Research at UMKC

In order for UMKC to build and strengthen our research portfolio, we must build on our existing strengths. One of our greatest strengths at UMKC is having four health science schools (Medicine, Dental, Nursing, Pharmacy) on one campus--there are only 30 other universities in the nation that have this asset. Our urban setting is also a strategic asset; this setting gives us access to a large patient population.

Building upon our current research priorities is threefold:

1. A Translational/Clinical Research Center will serve our urban community, train graduate students and medical personnel, and further create collaboration with other hospital and research institutions in the area.

2. A Center for Technology Transfer is also necessary as a vehicle to move research out of the academic world and into the eyes of the public, move research from the “test tube to the patient”.

3. We need to further identify areas of expertise and excellence to form UMKC Centers of Excellence in order to enhance productivity and sources of funding in order to accelerate discovery, support graduate education, and the university as a whole.

-Lynda F. Bonewald, Interim Vice Chancellor for Research, Curator's Professor, Lee M and William Lefkowitz Professor, Director of the Bone Biology Research Program, and Director of the UMKC Center of Excellence in Mineralized Tissues

Thursday, February 25, 2010

School of Pharmacy Awarded Transformative Community Service Award

On February 8, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) recognized our School of Pharmacy for their depth and breadth of community service. At the award ceremony held in Washington D.C., the School of Pharmacy received a Steuben glass Beacon of Light and a $5000 financial stipend in recognition of their outreach in the Kansas City community.

The School of Pharmacy works with the Kansas City Free Health Clinic, Truman Medical Center, Western Missouri Mental Health Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center, and Kansas City VA Hospital, and they have also been involved in community service programs in St. Joseph and Columbia, Missouri. The School has assisted over 17,000 patients with low and no-cost prescription coverage, health screening, resources and education, immunization information and drug abuse prevention.

By caring for the underserved, establishing programs for disadvantaged and isolated communities, reaching out to traditionally underrepresented groups, and developing leadership that organizes prevention, health education, care and services for the community, the School of Pharmacy is a model in transforming a community. The School of Pharmacy’s dedication to our community exemplifies UMKC’s mission and goals to lead in life and health sciences, embrace diversity and advance in urban engagement.

To read more about the School of Pharmacy’s award see the UMKC November News Release.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Student Experiences and Feedback and at UMKC

The National Survey of Student Engagement, or NSSE, is a national survey sent to a sample of first‐year and senior students to determine their relationship with the academic, social, and environmental aspects of the college or university they are attending. UMKC has participated in the survey eight times out of the past nine years, and in 2009, a random sample of 930 freshman students participated in the survey.

The information derived from NSSE data is a reflection of student experiences and offers a comparison of student responses from peer institutions. NSSE data is helpful to inform strategies or initiatives that improve student success at UMKC. It is also used in various other settings for discussions about student experiences and feedback, for example, in regard to studying, faculty standards and interactions with students, assignments, community-participation, application of education, and enriching educational experiences.

In order to inform your own work you can read about student experiences at UMKC in the reports:

Student Experience in Brief: UMKC
Executive Snapshot 2009

You can also learn more about NSSE national findings and general information at the UMKC Institutional Research Web site.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Student Success and Retention Workshop with ACT

On February 24th, we will welcome Dr. Steve Robbins, Dr. Wes Habley and Mr. Charles Ramos from ACT, Inc. to UMKC. They will be presenting at the Student Success and Retention Workshop, a follow-up to last spring’s Student Retention Retreat and to the work the academic units have been doing on their unit specific enrollment management and student retention strategic plans.

The Student Success and Retention Workshop with ACT will be an opportunity for faculty and staff to learn more information related to student success, student retention, and how ACT scores and skills impact enrollment, advising, and student support.

It is UMKC’s mission to create a vibrant learning and campus life experience for UMKC students. This means placing student success at the center. The Student Success and Retention Workshop will provide an opportunity to share ideas focused on supporting our students.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Implementing Strategic Initiatives and Promoting Collaboration

UMKC’s Office of the Provost and Division of Academic Affairs promotes collaboration across the University and oversees policies and initiatives that shape the academic life of the University as a whole. In doing so, the Provost Office sees a need to improve on our ability to more openly and clearly communicate with faculty and staff and create a better system in which we implement strategic initiatives to achieve student outcomes. Therefore, Jake Kupiec joined the Provost Office to aid in these endeavors.

Jake Kupiec has worked in higher education and has focused her work on the effectiveness of Web communications since 1995. Before coming to UMKC, she served as the executive director of digital initiatives at the University of Nevada, Reno and prior to that she was the director of Web communications at Arizona State University. Her expertise includes the strategic use of the Web to achieve university goals; Web governance and organization in universities; and the use of social networking to enhance student recruitment and improve student success, student retention and graduation. She is currently pursuing an advanced degree in geography; her area of research is focused on the geography of online communities and leveraging online community membership to improve student outcomes.

The Provost Office is pleased to have Jake join our team. Our campus community has already benefited from her talent and drive for constant growth and improvement.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Faculty Leave of Absence Request

Leaves of absence provide faculty with an opportunity for reflection, research, and professional development essential in a scholarly community. Tenured, tenure-track, and full-time, ranked non-tenure track research faculty members with established scholarly, artistic or research records are eligible to apply for a research leave, which may be taken for a period of time up to a full year. Tenured, tenure-track and full-time, ranked non-tenure track faculty members are also eligible to apply for a development leave to pursue personal, professional, instructional, or administrative development. Development leaves may be taken for a period of time up to a full year. Tenured faculty members are eligible to apply for a sabbatical leave after six or more years of service, and can reapply for subsequent sabbatical leaves six years after the prior sabbatical leave. Sabbatical leaves may be taken for a period of time up to a full year. A faculty member on a sabbatical leave will receive up to one-half their regular annual salary.

The UMKC Faculty Leave of Absence Request process is now posted on the Provost Website on the Policies and Procedures page. It is important to emphasize that:

• Leave of absence requests must be submitted to the Provost for approval at least 90 days before the leave of absence.
• The Provost Office suggests a minimum period of seven years between professional leaves.
• The unit’s Human Resources Facilitator (HRF) must review all Leave of Absence Request Forms prior to submission to the Provost.
• Medical leaves are subject to Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guidelines and approval; contact UMKC Human Resources (816-235-1621) for guidance through the FMLA process.

Simply click on “Leave of Absence – Faculty” on the Policies and Procedures page to find everything you need to know about the application, approval and processing of faculty leave requests. The site also includes links to the official Faculty Leave Policy (CRR 340.070) and Leave Request Form, as well as brief definitions of the different types of leave available to faculty and other handy tips.

For additional information regarding Faculty Leave of Absences, contact Beci Edmundson (

Thursday, January 21, 2010

General Education Advisory Task Force at UMKC

In a September 2009 presentation at UMKC, the President of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), Carol Geary Schneider asserted the need for general education to better prepare students for “global interdependence, innovation in the workplace and a diverse democracy.” The General Education Advisory Task Force at UMKC began meeting November 2009 in order to review the current status of our general education program, review the national approaches to general education, and make recommendations to the provost regarding revising or our campus wide general education program. The task force has been charged with developing a strategy and plan for the creation and implementation of a general education program tied to the UMKC mission focusing on student success and student retention. This new general education program will need to include a premier student learning assessment component and an ongoing review and revision cycle.

The task force is currently:

• Studying national trends and emphasis areas in general education
• Reviewing general education programs that have undergone revision
• Reviewing the processes aspirational peer institutions and exemplary programs have used in their general education program revision processes.

As part of the process, the General Education Advisory Task Force plans to submit a proposal to be considered as a participant in the 2010 AAC&U Institute on General Education.

Learn more about the General Education Advisory Task Force charge and responsibilities, recent happenings, members, and meetings at the General Education Advisory Task Force Web site.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The New Student Email System

As you may have heard, the University has partnered with Microsoft to provide a new e-mail system for students. The new system, called Outlook Live has much to offer, including a larger 10GB inbox, a Skydive with 25GB of online storage, as well as collaboration and social networking tools.

As students migrate to the new platform, they will have a new e-mail address: After students opt-in to the new system, any new e-mail sent to their old Exchange accounts at will be automatically forwarded to their new Outlook Live accounts. Students will be able to login to their old Exchange e-mail accounts so that they have a chance to move e-mail from the old system to the new Outlook Live system throughout the Spring 2010 semester. Students should continue to use their current SSO ID and password to login into Pathway, Blackboard, lab computers, etc.

The deadline for opting in to the new Outlook Live e-mail system is February 12, 2010. After that date all student e-mail accounts will be automatically migrated to Outlook Live. Students can find more information about the process and how to opt-in to Outlook Live before the deadline by visiting the IS website at Please visit the IS website for more information on Outlook Live. The UMKC IS Call Center is available at (816) 235-2000 to help answer questions about Outlook Live and other technology resources at UMKC.

-Written by Marilyn Reisenbichler, UMKC Information Services, Director, Support Services

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Shifting the Focus for the New Year

The Office of the Provost’s mission is to work in concert with the academic units to provide a vibrant intellectual community for UMKC’s faculty and students. We hope to expand our efforts in 2010 and have created a communications plan for Academic Affairs outlining specific goals.

We would like to better utilize the blog to facilitate an ongoing dialogue between the provost office and the faculty, with more posts coming directly from the Provost, Vice Provosts, and other academic leaders. The posts will be more concise and hopefully communicate more information that faculty need and want to know.

We want to have greater variety and volume of communication coming from our office, and in order to do so we depend on your feedback and ideas. If you have suggestions, please let us know.

You can provide suggestions by clicking on the comment box below, using the suggestion box to the right, or emailing us at