Toyota Aids Continuing Ed at Computing & Engineering

New space planned for Flarsheim Hall

A new Continuing Education Learning Center in the School of Computing and Engineering is expected to open this summer, thanks to a $150,000 grant to the University of Missouri-Kansas City Foundation from Toyota Motor Corp.

When the continuing education center opens on the fifth floor of Flarsheim Hall, it will give the school a better way to connect with professional engineers in the Kansas City community, Computing and Engineering Dean Kevin Z. Truman said.

“We hope the Continuing Education Learning Center will become the professional gateway to the School of Computing and Engineering,” he said. “It gives us a meeting space where we can bring professionals and give them an environment for learning and collaborating that is much more like what they would see in the corporate world.”

Until now, the School of Computing and Engineering has held its continuing education programs in other buildings around the UMKC campus or off campus in corporate conference rooms. Having a quality, state-of-the-art space inside the school will allow more professionals in Kansas City to see the good work being done there, said Christina S. Davis, the school’s director of continuing education.

“We hope that it gets people on campus and gets them invested in UMKC,” Davis said. “We want to say, ‘When you’re thinking of computing and engineering, think of us.’”

When completed, the continuing education center will provide space for between 40 and 50 people. Davis said the multi-purpose room will support meetings, professional seminars, continuing education classes, student events, and any number of other activities.

Among other features, the high-tech space will include in-ceiling microphones and cameras so that lectures or engineering review courses can be recorded and shared with engineers in outlying locations.

The gift is the second major project that Toyota has funded at the school. In 2011, the company invested $194,500 in the school’s Social Justice in Energy Using SmartGrid Technology Initiative.  As part of that initiative SCE launched its innovative “Smart Energy Lab,” to develop smart energy solutions particularly targeted for underrepresented communities.

The UMKC Foundation, launched in 2008, is an independent, nonprofit organization that serves as the official fundraising and fund management organization for UMKC.

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