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2015-2016 New Faculty Blog Series Issue 3

Mardi Mahaffy, MLS (University Libraries)Mahaffy_M_

Ms. Mahaffy is the Head of Learning and Research Support for the UMKC libraries and also serves as the contact librarian for English, General Education, Undergraduate Research, and University College. She received a Master’s in Library Science from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Music, specializing in Harp Performance, from the University of Northern Iowa.  Ms. Mahaffy is actively involved in the American Library Association (ALA) Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) and currently serves as a member of the Organization and Planning Committee.  Her research interests relate to teaching students to find and use information effectively and critically. Ms. Mahaffy is eager to work with faculty seeking to improve their students’ library research skills, and at her happiest when consulting with students one-on-one about their research needs.


Ryan Mohan, Ph.D. (School of Biological Sciences)

MohanDr. Mohan joined UMKC in the fall of 2015 as an Assistant Professor of Cell Biology and Biophysics. Dr. Mohan’s research focuses on the molecular mechanisms that regulate protein complex function in the establishment and progression of neurodegenerative diseases. Specifically, his laboratory utilizes genomic, genetic, and proteomic approaches to identify pathways disrupted by polyQ expansion and to determine if rescue of these pathways will alleviate neurodegeneration in model organisms. Ultimately, his research aims to reveal pathways suitable for treatment in patients. Dr. Mohan received his postdoctoral training at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City from 2010-2015, where he focused on the epigenetic regulation of neural stability by large multi-protein complexes. He received his Ph.D. in Physiology from Western University in Canada in 2010.


Academic Affairs Highlights: School of Education

UntitledIn this posting on the Provost’s Blog, we highlight the major achievements and accomplishments of UMKC’s School of Education (SOE), led by interim Dean Chris Brown.

Successes in the Past Month:

  • The School of Education hosted their yearly Scholar Donor Luncheon on September 17. The event celebrated more than 60 students for earning scholarships, along with more than 40 individual, family, non-profit and corporate donors who made those scholarships possible.
  • SOE recently partnered with two charter schools (Frontier School System and Allen Village) to offer graduate students credit towards their English Language Learning (ELL) certification. Through this partnership, 18 graduate students were able to continue with their Master’s degrees.

Noteworthy Faculty Accomplishments:

  • Johanna Nilsson and LaVerne Berkel received a supplemental award of $188,075 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HHS-HRSA) for their inter-professional education program entitled, PsiCARE (Psychologists Collaborating and Advocating to Restore Equity: An Integrated Training Program in Behavioral Health Care for Underserved Urban Communities). This grant will expand their Graduate Psychology Education Program to include a focus on the military community
  • Carolyn Barber received a grant of $15,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts, Research. Her project, Arts Participation as a Form of Voluntary Association Membership, will investigate arts participation as a predictor of teenagers’ civic behaviors and attitudes
  • Etta Hollins, Kauffman Endowed Chair for Urban Teacher Education, was invited as a Keynote Speaker at Florida International University
  • Deb Woodard presented a workshop on the use of the Internal Improvement Review as an assessment tool for counselors in the Lee’s Summit School District. She has also been appointed by the Kansas Counseling Association (KCA) as the 2016 KCA Conference Registration Chair.
  • Changming Duan (former SOE faculty member) and Chris Brown recently published a textbook entitled, Becoming a Multiculturally Competent Counselor
  • Congratulations to the following faculty members for their recent journal article publications: Clare Bell, Louis Odom, Jennifer Waddell, and Connor Warner
  • Congratulations to the following faculty members for their proposal acceptances to the annual conference of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE): Julia Atiles, Clare Bell, Kindel Nash, Jennifer Waddell, and Connor Warner.

Upcoming Key Events:

  • Mid-year Graduation for SOE Students: December 19, 5:00PM at Swinney Recreation Center on the Volker Campus

2015-2016 New Faculty Blog Series Issue 2

Ahmed M. Hassan, Ph.D. (School of Computing and Engineering)

Hassan-ContactSheet-001 (002)Dr. Hassan is an Assistant Professor and the leader of the Multiscale Multidisciplinary Electromagnetics Lab (MMEL) in the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. Prior to his current position, Dr. Hassan served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland. His research interests include nanoelectromagnetics, bioelectromagnetics, nondestructive evaluation, experimental microwave imaging, and terahertz imaging.



Joah Williams, Ph.D. (College of Arts and Science)
williamsDr. Williams is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and also serves as the Director of the Stress and Trauma Evaluation and Prevention Science (STEPS) Lab. Dr. William’s research focuses on the psychological and health consequences of trauma exposure across the lifespan. More specifically, his interest lies in the development and evaluation of traumatic stress prevention and early intervention programs. Dr. Williams completed a postdoctoral fellowship in child and adult trauma research and treatment at the Medical University of South Carolina’s National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, where he received the 2015 Robert Magwood, Jr., Outstanding Service to Crime Victims Award. His most recent publication “Restorative Retelling for violent death: An investigation of treatment effectiveness, influencing factors, and durability,” was featured in the January 2015 edition of the Journal of Loss and Trauma. Dr. Williams received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Memphis in 2013.


UMKC Cheers Champion Royals But Won’t Close on Tuesday

Dear UMKC Faculty, Staff and Students:

Our beloved Kansas City Royals electrified the country with their extra-innings victory over the Mets late Sunday night. On Tuesday, the entire community will celebrate the team’s homecoming with a parade and rally – and at UMKC, we’re excited and happy to add our congratulations.

We have received several questions on whether tomorrow’s festivities will cause us to alter the schedule of work and classes. As Kansas City’s university, we provide essential services to the campus and community that are critical and can’t be easily cancelled or rescheduled. So here’s where we landed:

  • For faculty and staff: We will leave this decision to department supervisors to set the guidelines for allowing staff to take their paid time off tomorrow. We urge supervisors to be as flexible as they reasonably can be.
  • For coursework, exams or other academic matters: Deans will work with department chairs and faculty to make decisions regarding cancellations and make-up assignments or exams and to communicate those decisions clearly to students.

Otherwise, UMKC offices will be open for business tomorrow and classes will be held as scheduled. Whether or not you are physically present at the parade and rally, we know you all be cheering for the Royals tomorrow as we welcome home the 2015 World Series Champions!

Forever Royal,

Chancellor Leo E. Morton
Provost Barbara A. Bichelmeyer

“Live Roonited” Campaign Scheduled for November 2-6

Live UnitedUMKC’s 2015 United Way Campaign, “Live Roonited” will take place from November 2-6! Throughout the week, you will have opportunities to take part in rewarding campus-wide and department-led events to give to those who need it most in Kansas City. Your contributions will aid in United Way’s key causes:

  • Today, there are more than 45,000 households in our community that live on less than $28 a day. United Way initiatives provide case management and financial services for low-income families and those at risk for becoming homeless.
  • Nearly 145,000 people in Kansas City have significantly limited reading and writing skills. United Way targets the issue by fostering early language programs in the city, helping adults enroll in post-secondary education or credential programs, and equipping parents with the skills needed to help their children learn.
  • Over 200,000 people in Kansas City struggle with physical and mental health issues. United Way advocates and programs provide shelter, support, and therapeutic services to senior citizens, veterans, and other community members in need of health and human services resources.
  • 22% of our city’s youth are not prepared for a career in the workforce. At-risk youths benefit from United Way by participating in community-based out-of-school programs where they can be mentored by positive adult role models and gain important life skills for the future.

Visit the “Live Roonited” Website and like the UMKC United Way Facebook page to learn more about the week’s events and how you can make a potential investment in our community. For more information regarding the United Way of Kansas City’s initiatives and programs, please visit their website at

2015-2016 New Faculty Blog Series Issue 1

We are excited to introduce our new UMKC faculty members to our campus community with our New Faculty Blog Series!  Over the next few months, we will feature short biographies from two or three new faculty members.  This week we are pleased to present Heather Taylor, Pharm. D., of the School of Pharmacy, and Connor Warner, Ph.D., of the UMKC School of Education.  Check back weekly to get to know our new faculty!

Heather Taylor, Pharm. D. (School of Pharmacy)

TaylorDr. Taylor is a Clinical Assistant Professor for the UMKC School of Pharmacy at MSU. She earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, Arkansas. She completed a PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Her clinical practice site is at Mercy Hospital in Springfield where she is a clinical pharmacist in internal medicine with a special focus in transitions of care. She serves as the co-advisor for APhA-ASP, Phi Lambda Sigma, and Public Health Organization. Dr. Taylor’s research interests include transitions of care, medication safety, public health, and education

Connor Warner, Ph.D. (School of Education)

WarnerDr. Warner is an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies in the School of Education (SOE). He received his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Kansas in August 2015. His research interests include teacher education policy, curriculum, and assessment; middle & secondary school curriculum (particularly literacy, English language arts, and social studies); and Native American education. Prior to his current position, Dr. Warner served as an adjunct professor at UMKC and has taught numerous face-to-face, blended, and online courses. Before transitioning to higher education, Dr. Warner was the English Department Chair at Stevensville Public Schools in Montana. Dr. Warner currently serves as the contact person for the SOE Teacher Education Coordinating Council in relationship to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). He is also a member of the SOE Climate and Culture Team. In the Fall of 2015, Dr. Warner and several co-investigators were awarded the SOE Dean’s Small Grant for $19,991. Their research is titled Investigating Learning to Teach as an Interpretive Process. His most recent article, “State Social Studies Standards for American Indian Education,” was published in September of 2015 in Multicultural Perspectives.

Division of Diversity and Inclusion Fall Training for Faculty and Staff

In collaboration with the UMKC’s Diversity Training Workgroup, the Division of Diversity and Inclusion is offering face-to-face training opportunities for those interested in creating a more culturally aware, inclusive campus life. To register, please visit For more information, contact Jennifer Coldiron at or 816-235-1727.

Diversity & Inclusion 101
Volker Campus: Oct. 21, 1-3PM
Hospital Hill: Nov. 11, 1-3PM

Participants will:

  • Learn the basics of UMKC’s 2014-2018 Diversity Strategic Plan and related UMKC statistics.
  • Become familiar with diversity and inclusion strategies based on various cultural competency models.
  • Identify related resources and opportunities.

Goal: Participants will better understand UMKC diversity and inclusion efforts and commit to at least one action step to continue to explore diversity and to increase cultural competencies for a more inclusive UMKC.

The Science of Unconscious Bias and its Professional Implications
Volker Campus: Oct. 22, 9-10:30AM
Hospital Hill: Nov. 11, 9-10:30AM

Participants will:

Learn about unconscious bias

  • Discuss implications on professional judgment and the professional environment
  • Review resources to further identify unconscious bias and ways to reduce unconscious bias

Goal: Participants will have an increased capacity to recognize biases and prevent or reduce unintended consequences in order to create a more inclusive campus and climate.

Communicating Respectfully in a Diverse World
Volker Campus: Nov. 17, 11-12:30PM
Hospital Hill: Nov. 19, 1-2:30PM

Participants will

  • Understand the impact of stereotypes and bias statements, even when casually said
  • Identity the most common reasons people sit silent in the face of bias and stereotypes
  • Enhance skills for speaking up against stereotypes and bias without blame or guilt

Goal: Participants will explore communication skills for promoting inclusion and respect in the workplace.


Search Committee for the Dean of the School of Education

The University of Missouri-Kansas City has announced the search committee for the Dean of the School of Education. The new dean will succeed Dr. Chris Brown, who has served as the Interim Dean of the School of Education since September 2014.

Dr. Cindy Pemberton, Deputy Provost, will chair the committee. The committee also includes students, faculty members, and administrators from the School of Education; administrators and faculty members from other academic units; a former SOE Alumni Association Board President; and a community leader with a long history of support for the school. The search process is underway, with campus interviews tentatively scheduled for the week of February 8th, 2016. The full search committee schedule can be found on the Provost’s website.

Search Committee Members:

  • Cindy Pemberton, Deputy Provost, Committee Chair
  • Amy Watson, Sr. Executive Assistant, Committee Coordinator
  • Julia Atiles, Associate Professor, Teacher Education & Curriculum Studies, School of Education
  • Theo Coney, EdD Program Student
  • Juana Hishaw, Past School of Education Alumni Association Board President
  • Etta Hollins, Professor and Kauffman Endowed Chair for Urban Teacher Education, Teacher Education & Curriculum Studies, School of Education
  • Michelle Maher, Professor, Educational Leadership & Policy Foundations, School of Education
  • Jacob Marszalek, Associate Professor, Counseling & Educational Psychology, School of Education
  • Megan Mills, Pre-Elementary Education Program Student
  • Ramon Murguia, Chair of the Greater Kansas City Hispanic Development Fund Advisory Board
  • Uzziel Pecina, Assistant Clinical Professor, Educational Leadership & Policy Foundations, School of Education
  • Alice Reckley, Associate Professor, Foreign Languages & Literatures, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Michael Strohschein, Director, Continuing & Professional Education, School of Education
  • Christine Timmerman, Assistant Dean for Student Services & Enrollment Management, School of Education
  • Mel Tyler, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management
  • Laurel Watson, Assistant Professor, Counseling & Educational Psychology, School of Education
  • Wayne Vaught, Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Connie White, Assistant Dean for Community Relations and Communication, School of Dentistry

Academic Affairs Highlights: UMKC Bookstores

UMKC BookstoreIn this posting on the Provost’s Blog, we highlight the recent achievements of UMKC’s Campus and Health Sciences Bookstores. We especially thank manager Pete Eisentrager and his support staff, whose hard work and efforts have provided enormous assistance to UMKC’s students and faculty members.

The UMKC Bookstores, which operate through a shared services model as a part of the University of Missouri Campus stores, oversee a number of initiatives that reflect its dedication to students’ learning and academic success:

  • The UMKC Bookstores are dedicated to reduced costs and price transparency. The bookstores offer online price comparisons, which allow students to compare store textbook prices to competitor prices. So far this year, 94% of online customers chose UMKC bookstores after comparing prices.   In the last three years, UMKC students have saved $2.7M through the stores’ rental, used, and digital programs.
  • The bookstores regularly collaborate with students to gather feedback regarding technology/departmental sales and digital textbooks. They currently employ 25+ UMKC students and support various campus events through donations and volunteered time. Since 2006, student wages at the UMKC Bookstores have totaled $904,312 to assist with the cost of education.
  • Services and options are tailored to fit the needs of a growing student population. Incoming students can easily reserve rentals and used textbooks online or order online for easy in-store pick up options.

Additionally, the UMKC Bookstores provide a number of noteworthy programs and resources for faculty members:

  • Currently, 42% of UMKC’s combined course materials sales contain a digital component. In 2014, the bookstore launched AutoAccess, a partnership with our stores, publishers, and faculty that provides course content via the Learning Management System (LMS) at a reduced cost. Students enrolled in this programs have saved $706,941.32 since the program began.
  • The UMKC Bookstore also offers an online textbook adoption program that offers multiple tools to assist faculty in selecting course materials. Faculty members are able to easily explore book selections and select custom publishing or course supplies in addition to texts.
  • UMKC Publishing (formerly known as Roo Print) offers a copyright clearance and custom publishing service. Faculty members can save time and students’ money by producing custom-made course packets through the store.

Fulbright Scholar Program Presentations

fulbright-scholar-programThe Fulbright Scholar Program provides approximately 800 grants in more than 125 countries to support U.S. academics and researchers in a wide variety of disciplines. These individuals have established new global programs and engaged in collaborative work with colleagues around the world, including at the international community college level.  To meet the changing needs of U.S. academics and professionals, Fulbright is proud to offer a number of postdoctoral/early career awards and short-term, multi-visit grants.  Over the years, UMKC has had a number of faculty members receive these awards.

The Fulbright Scholar Program will be offering local workshops and presentations for faculty members and administrators interested in pursuing overseas work and scholarship.  Fulbright Alumni Ambassador Dom Caristi, a professor of telecommunications at Ball State University, will lead the discussion and will also give a presentation describing his 2009 work as a Fulbright Scholar in Athens, Greece.  Details of the workshops, including instructions on how to RSVP, are as follows: