UMKC recognized for leadership in service learning and community outreach for sixth consecutive year
Reflective of its longstanding commitment to service learning and community outreach, the University of Missouri-Kansas City has been named to The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for 2012. This marks the sixth consecutive year that UMKC has been named to the Honor Roll and the third time the university has received the designation “With Distinction.”
The distinction is awarded by the Corporation for National and Community Service and is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service learning and civic engagement.
UMKC’s community service has historic roots: founded in 1933 by civic leaders, the university was created to be a community resource. Today, UMKC faculty, staff and students engage in hundreds of examples of service activities campus-wide and throughout the community. UMKC has created a variety of committees, advisory bodies and task forces, partnered with community organizations and institutions, and formalized agreements to enhance the university’s capacity to reach the community and share resources.
Among the programs and community service initiatives cited in UMKC’s 2012 Presidential Honor Roll recognition are:
* UMKC Child and Family Services Clinic
* School of Law Entrepreneurial Legal Services Clinic and the Tax Clinic
* Conservatory Community Music and Dance Academy: Musical Bridges
* College of Arts and Sciences, Architecture, Urban Planning + Design / Kansas City Missouri School District Repurposing Project
Development of a Strategic Plan and Implementation Guidebook to reconnect Kansas City, Missouri School District schools and repurposed facilities to the community they serve.
In the spring of 2010, theKansas City,Missouri School board voted to close 24 schools in an unprecedented attempt to meet a projected $40 million budget shortfall and consolidate a dwindling student population in fewer buildings to maximize the capacity of existing facilities. All the remaining middle schools were closed and grades 6, 7 and 8 redistributed to elementary or high schools; historic Westport High School was closed, 17 elementary schools were closed and several hundred more teachers and building staff were recently terminated. Patrons, neighborhood residents, and parents have expressed great concern about the sweeping changes being attempted in a 6 month period and concern about vacant buildings being left to deteriorate in neighborhoods already challenged by poverty, crime and inadequate housing. At least fifteen of the district’s buildings were closed in previous years, leaving almost 40 vacant buildings in the community.
The urban planning + design studio examined a comprehensive and strategic approach to the challenge of repurposing the closed facilities and solutions for reconnecting all the KCMSD facilities, both open and closed to the neighborhoods they serve. By studying the history of the District, its relationship to the central core of the city, and relevant data and analysis, the studio produced a Guidebook, including a community engagement process to assist the District in strategic decision-making about the future of its facilities and their impact on the community.