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2014 New Faculty Orientation

The 2014 New Faculty Orientation is scheduled for Friday, August 22, 2014 from 7:45 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.  It will be located in the Plaza Room of the 2nd Floor Administrative Center.  Please complete and submit the registration form by August 11th so that we may have an accurate count of attendees! This year’s agenda can be located here.  For further information regarding the orientation, or an overview of UMKC and Kansas City resources, please visit our New Faculty Resources Blog.

Registration Open for August 22 FaCET Symposium

Registration is now open for the Fall 2014 FaCET Symposium! This semester’s conference is entitled “Stellar Student Support: Enhancing Learning through Supplemental Instruction, General Education, and Online Education.” The conference will be held on August 22nd, from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM at the Kauffman Conference Center.  Lunch will be provided for those who register by noon on Friday, August 15th.  Please be sure to email Peggy Ward-Smith with any dietary restrictions.

The official program can be located here, and will include a keynote address by Saundra McGuire, Director of the Center for Academic Success at Louisiana State University, as well as afternoon breakout sessions regarding online writing and supplemental instruction, anchor/discourse courses, RooWriter, and much more.  For additional information, please visit the official FaCET blog.

June 2014 Issue of Assessable Roo

I am pleased to present the tenth issue of the Assessable Roo, which has several wonderful articles that I hope that you will review:

  • Diane Hunter writes about her team’s successes in assessing information literacy in the Discourse classes
  • Kathy Hale describes the assessment of an excellent student affairs program that helped students “find their passion”
  • Jennifer Friend highlights the findings and action plans from a well-designed survey and focus groups on improving graduate students’ writing
  • Dan Stroud explains how the library is “hearing the students’ voice” and responding to their feedback
  • I provide an overview of resources that are available for you about assessment

As we complete this last newsletter, I want to thank Dan Stroud for his outstanding work on all 10 of these newsletters.  His creativity and terrific design skills have been the driving force behind these publications.

The newsletter can be found here.

-Nathan K. Lindsay, Ph.D., Assistant Vice Provost for Assessment

A Smoke-Free UMKC

On August 1, 2014, smoking and the use of tobacco will be prohibited on UMKC’s Volker and Hospital Hill campuses.  The change in policy is the result of a student-led initiative that indicated that the majority of employees and students at UMKC value a smoke- and tobacco-free environment.  In addition, a smoke- and tobacco-free UMKC falls in line with the university’s overall vision to provide a safe and healthy environment for all students, faculty, and other individuals associated with the campus.

“Smoking”, as defined by the new policy, includes but is not limited to, tobacco, cloves, all cigarette products (cigarettes, bidis, kreteks, e-cigarettes, etc.) and all smoke-producing devices (cigars, pipes, hookahs, etc.). The smoke-free policy will apply to:

  • All outdoor common and educational areas; inside all university owned or leased buildings
  • Campus sidewalks and parking lots
  • Recreational areas
  • Outdoor stadiums
  • University-owned and leased vehicles

Tobacco use will be allowed in personal vehicles, with the windows completely closed, located in designated parking areas on the two UMKC campuses. The smoking ban does not extend to public settings/streets governed by the City of Kansas City.

For more information about the policy change or on how to potentially quit smoking, visit the smoke-free UMKC website.

In Remembrance of Dr. Connie Drisko

Drisko Dr. Connie Drisko, recipient of the 2014 UMKC School of Dentistry’s Alumni Achievement Award, died Sunday after a short battle with acute myelogenous leukemia.

Dr. Drisko earned her DDS degree from the UMKC School of Dentistry in 1980 and later joined the faculty as an associate professor.  Throughout her time at UMKC, Dr. Drisko distinguished herself with numerous research grants, teaching awards, and acts of community service.  From 2003 through July 2013, Dr. Drisko served as dean and Merritt Professor at the College of Dental Medicine at Georgia Regents University.  She oversaw the construction of a $112 million, five-story clinical facility, one of the largest of its kind in the country.  Additionally, Dr. Drisko led university-wide initiatives to develop student diversity programs that prepared under-represented minority and low-income students for dental practice.  The college’s achievements were nationally recognized by the American Dental Association.

Dr. Drisko is survived by her husband, Dr. Richard Drisko; a step-daughter, Julie Gardner, and her husband, Marc, of Frisco, Texas; a sister, Carol Barr of Wichita, Kan.; two granddaughters, Kristin Longstaff (husband, Travis) and Cara Gardner, all of Frisco, Texas; and five nieces and nephews. A private memorial service for friends and extended family is being planned for September.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made in Connie Drisko’s memory to the Georgia Health Sciences Foundation, 1120 15th Street, FI-1000, Augusta, GA 30912. The funds will be used to support pediatric dentistry outreach programs for the College of Dental Medicine.

Online Boot Camp Returns August 2014

In the month of August, UMKC Online will be presenting another intensive one-week basic boot camp for faculty members and instructors interested in teaching online at UMKC.  Participants can look forward to learning the basic technological tools necessary for delivering an online course on Blackboard and gaining an understanding of how to effectively teach and assess for learning in an online format.  Those with little to no experience with online teaching would benefit most from this course.  However, online instructors who desire to get certified or become more familiar with online teaching best practices are also highly encouraged to attend.

In order to be eligible for this training, participants must be teaching a for-credit course at UMKC or wish to develop a course online.  Workshops will be held on August 4-7, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on August 8, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in room 121 of the Miller Nichols Library.  Interested parties can receive more details or register at UMKC Online.  Spots are limited so be sure to register in advance!

Hall Family Foundation Gifts $5 Million to KC Repertory Theatre and UMKC Theatre Department

The Hall Family Foundation has pledged the Kansas City Repertory Theatre a total gift of $5 million, the largest in the theatre’s history.  Of that gift, $3 million will be used to support lobby renovations in the James C. Olsen Performing Arts Center, which houses the Spencer Theater.  Additionally, $2 million will be granted to the UMKC Department of Theatre for student scholarships, and $600,000 will be gifted to support the high quality plays the Kansas City Repertory Theatre produces for the Kansas City community.

The Hall Family Foundation’s endowment comes in recognition of the significant impact of the Repertory Theatre’s live performances on its audience, specifically members of the younger generation.  Representatives at the Repertory Theatre have praised the foundation for its investment, which will further its prominence as a nationally acclaimed regional theater and Kansas City’s standing as a nationally known theater community.  The generosity of this gift highlights UMKC as an institution that develops world-class artists and performers and provides rich artistic resources for the community.

2014 Scholarship/Fellowship Recipients

This year was outstanding in the areas of scholarships and fellowships for UMKC students and faculty! Students and faculty secured awards from seven different highly competitive national and international scholarship programs.

Student Awards:

  • DAAD (The German Academic Exchance Service) Study Scholarship:
    • Christopher Beaudoin (Arts & Sciences, Chemistry and Biology)
  • DAAD: RISE (Research Internship in Science and Engineering) Professional Internship:
    • Elliott Goff, declined in favor of the Whitaker International Fellows and Scholars Program
  • Fulbright U.S. Student Program:
    • Annie Fischer, 2012 alum, MFA in Creative Writing
  • Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship:
    • Summer 2014:
      • Benjamin Bachwirtz (Argentina, $3,500)
      • Victoria Clark (Argentina, $3,000)
      • Christenio Collins (Argentina, $3,500)
      • Maritza Gordillo (Argentina, $2,500)
      • Araba Kuofie (Argentina, $3,000)
      • Taylor Smith (Costa Rica, $4,000)
      • Coleen Solomon (Argentina, $3,000)
      • Alia Wheeler (alternate, France)
    • Fall 2014
      • Christopher Blair (Costa Rica, $4000)
    • Academic Year 2014-2015
      • Terrance Hughes (Malta, $5000)
  • Jack Kent Cook Graduate Arts Award:
    • Zoe Melcher (Conservatory of Music and Dance, up to $50,000 for a maximum 3 years of study)
  • Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship:
    • Amy Grace Johnson (School of Biological Sciences, $5,000)
  • Whitaker International Fellows and Scholars Program:
    • Elliott Goff (School of Computing and Engineering, $10,000 plus substantial benefits)

Faculty Awards:

Congratulations to all!

UMKC Secures Downtown City Block Near Kauffman Center

An anonymous kauffman4donor has gifted UMKC an entire city block just south of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The land is located between 17th and 18th streets as well as Broadway and Central Avenue. Its proposed use is for the new Downtown Campus for the Arts, specifically the Conservatory of Music and Dance. Conveniently located next to the Kauffman Center and close to the Crossroads Arts District, Chancellor Leo Morton has referred to this acquired land as UMKC’s “dream site.”

In 2013, UMKC received a $20 million donation for the Downtown Campus for the Arts from the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation, with the caveat that another $70 million in funds would need to be raised in the next three years for the project. The state will finance up to 50 percent of the cost of the new higher education facilities, and UMKC is currently halfway to meeting its funding goals.

To learn more about the Downtown Campus for the Arts, visit the website.

UMKC Scholars Chosen for Fulbright Awards

Two UMKC instructors can now add “Fulbright” to their resumes.

Aidan Soder, Conservatory of Music and Dance Associate Professor of Vocal Studies, was selected for a Fulbright Scholar award. She will travel to West Bengal, India. Soder’s field of concentration is the work of Rabindranath Tagore, winner of the 1913 Nobel Prize for Literature. Tagore’s work, which ranges from poems to song compositions to paintings, is widely known in his native India. Over time, his work has grown in popularity; and many Western composers have set his poems to music, known as art songs.

Soder has studied and performed Tagore’s work in English, German, Polish, French, Italian, Spanish and Russian. But it occurred to her recently, as she was preparing an all-Tagore recital and recording project, that the people of India might not be aware of Tagore’s global influence. “My hope is that people will receive these art songs as the homage to their countryman that they are meant to be,” Soder said.

Annie Fischer, a UMKC 2012 MFA Graduate in Creative Writing and Media Arts, will go to Budapest on a Fulbright research grant in creative writing. One of her projects is researching the life of a renowned classical pianist, also named Annie Fischer. Fischer’s other project is to draft a novel about contemporary digital life, drawing on the Annie Fischer Festival in fall 2014 as a point of departure. Because she is not presently enrolled in an academic institution, Fischer applied for the Fulbright as an At Large candidate. However, her success in securing the Fulbright grant was tied to her UMKC MFA studies. Since graduation, Fischer has maintained an active teaching schedule at UMKC and Rockhurst University, and is writing a book about the Grand Arts gallery in Kansas City.

-Sandra Beaty, Executive Writer, UMKC Strategic Marketing and Communications