Kansas Citians are collaborators. We have learned the value of working together to leverage knowledge and research to improve people’s lives. And as the leader of Kansas City’s university, I am proud to support our community’s collaboration on the Smart Cities project, being led by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
The IEEE Smart Cities Initiative is a global, multi-disciplinary effort launched in 2013 to help cities share knowledge, experiences and good practices in the use of technology to improve city management. The intent is to build a global network that fosters collaboration among industry, academy and government within and across cities, and to bring the expertise of IEEE members to bear on that discussion.
People at UMKC were all about collaboration long before it was trendy. More than 40 years ago, people in Kansas City decided that our community needed a public medical school to meet our health care needs. We could have created a brand-new teaching hospital to compete with the facilities already here. Instead, we reached out to the existing hospitals to create academic clinical partnerships that endure to this day.
Our faculty has partnered with the Kansas City Police Department and the Jackson County Prosecutor’s office to create a unique, data-driven anti-crime effort called the Kansas City No Violence Alliance, and its success has become a model for cities around the country to emulate. As computing and engineering grew to become large and vital components of our community’s economic base, UMKC expanded our School of Computing and Engineering to meet the growing demand for a well-educated professional workforce.
Our Law School, which has been prominent in the organization of the Smart Cities project, has been a leader in interdisciplinary entrepreneurship courses and programs for more than 14 years. The UMKC School of Law’s Technology & Public Policy course brings together students from law, business and engineering to collaborate on civic entrepreneurship and technology projects with the city, and with a wide range of local and national leaders in Smart Cities’ endeavors. Those initiatives are an outgrowth of grants from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, another force headquartered here in Kansas City that does so much to promote entrepreneurship in its many forms.
The business community depends on our Henry W. Bloch School of Management as a leading source of research and education on entrepreneurship and innovation. But at UMKC, we don’t confine those disciplines to the single silo of the business school. We have an enterprise-wide emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation that stretches to every corner of UMKC. We promote that emphasis in our school of law, our department of urban planning and design, our school of computing and engineering, even health care and the arts.
At UMKC, music majors study entrepreneurship to guide them in their future careers as self-employed musicians. Computer science and medical faculty collaborate to mine big data to develop innovative new approaches to fighting disease and saving lives.
This approach enables our graduates to contribute high value to an enterprise as employees, as well as becoming successful entrepreneurs. They become the kind of people who understand entrepreneurship, crave innovation, and know how to develop data-driven solutions. I like to think our alumni, as well as our faculty, have had a significant influence on Kansas City becoming the special kind of Smart City that we are: a collaborative and entrepreneurial Smart City.