Out with the old, in with the new! UMKC is implementing a new math placement exam, ALEKS (Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces), which will be used as a tool to guide incoming freshman and transfer students to enroll in the correct math courses based on their performance on the assessment. Dr. Nathan Lindsay, Assistant Vice Provost for Assessment, is leading a multidisciplinary team to implement the new assessment and to disseminate information about ALEKS. The ALEKS placement assessment differs from the older exam in its format, but results from the placement assessment will be used in the same manner to determine readiness for math courses.
The official ALEKS launch will be the week of Monday, March 3, 2014, at which time the new Math Placement website will be available for viewing. The Math Placement website provides general information about ALEKS, guidance for students to determine if they should take it, a link to the exam, and how to proceed once the results are available. If students have any questions about ALEKS, please direct them to the website.
The Black Family Technology Awareness Association of Kansas City awarded Chancellor Leo E. Morton with its prestigious African American STEM Pioneer Award. The association has recognized outstanding African Americans in STEM for 10 years in the greater Kansas City area. Morton received a certificate and plaque at the association’s 10th annual awards program. The event kicked off Black Family Technology Awareness Week 2014, and includes the Kansas City Youth Technology Fair and VEX Robotics Competition at Southeast Community Center.
Morton received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Tuskegee University and a master of science degree from MIT. Through most of his professional career, he has held high-level corporate positions in the field of STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Prior to serving as UMKC Chancellor, Morton served management positions in a wide range of engineering and manufacturing positions with Aquila Inc., AT&T Microelectronics, Bell Laboratories, General Motors, Rust Engineering Company and Corning Glass.
Congratulations to Chancellor Morton for this honor!
Former first daughter and Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation Chelsea Clinton will be speaking at UMKC for the kickoff luncheon of the newly-formed Starr Women’s Hall of Fame. The event will take place February 24, 2014, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Swinney Recreation Center, and is expected to draw in over 1,000 people from UMKC and the community. Tickets to the event are currently sold out, but you may sign up on the waiting list if you would still like a chance to attend.
The Starr Women’s Hall of fame is an organization named in honor of Martha Jane Phillips Starr, one of the first women to serve on UMKC’s Board of Trustees. Starr passed away in 2011, and the organization was created in her memory to preserve the history and accomplishments of women across the Metropolitan Kansas City Area. It also provides women with networking opportunities.
To learn more about Clinton, Starr, or the Hall of Fame, visit the Starr Hall of Fame website.
Winter is upon us! UMKC campuses were closed for two days this past week due to snow. We’ve had several days of single digit temperatures and negative wind chills, and it looks like winter weather is here to stay! Here are some tips for dealing with cold temperatures and potential weather closures:
- Be flexible with your course syllabus. Bad weather events cannot usually be planned for far in advance, but try to create your syllabus with some room for change because of these events. As soon as you are able to revise your syllabus, provide an updated version to your students via email or Blackboard so that they know what to expect. Many students will be concerned about changes in the syllabus with regard to tests and project dates, so the sooner you can provide the revised syllabus, the better.
- Consider using Tegrity technology to post podcasts for your class. This is a great way to continue to provide lectures even when you cannot be physically present in class if you are concerned about missing too many classes due to weather closures and/or emergencies. You can create and upload these at any time. More information is available at the Tegrity website.
- Prepare for extra travel time. In severe winter weather, you will need extra time to travel to and from UMKC. Giving yourself a little less than double the time it normally takes you is a good rule of thumb.
- Wear extra layers. A thin layer of wool or synthetic fibers under your usual daily wear will help you stay warm!
- Keep emergency gear in your vehicle trunk. A blanket, water, flashlight, and food items are invaluable in cold weather (in addition to jumper cables), particularly if you experience car trouble and must wait for assistance in subzero temperatures!
- Have UMKC contact information on hand at all times. If you have car issues or weather causes delays for you, make sure you have a point of contact who can relay the information to colleagues and/or your students.
- Most importantly, drive safely!
Save the date! The annual awards ceremony recognizing the achievements of faculty and staff at UMKC will be held Tuesday, March 11, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. in Pierson Auditorium of the Atterbury Student Success Center. This event is open to all and will include several awards for excellence in teaching, service and engagement, research and creative activity, and staff commitment to excellence, among others. Refreshments will be served before and after the program. Don’t miss out!
U.S. News & World Report has ranked UMKC’s School of Nursing and Health Studies as having the 10th best online graduate nursing program in the nation. This ranking is the highest of any public university in Missouri or Kansas, and marks a jump in ranking from last year’s number 15 spot.
The UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies has been offering online graduate programs since 2002. The online nursing program is designed to offer quality instruction with the convenience of web-based learning. Technology allows two-way communication in real time via multiple modes, including webcams, microphones and text chatting. Students also experience on-site learning through summer institutes where they are required to attend clinical trainings, complete dissertation work, and deliver presentations to classmates and faculty.
To learn more about UMKC’s online nursing program, visit the School of Nursing and Health Studies website. To learn more about the ranking, visit U.S. News & World Report.
We are pleased to announce the launch of UMKC Online, a new website to serve as a focal point for online learning at UMKC! The site has a number of resources for faculty, staff and students and will help promote community discussion related to online education. Look to the website for training and learning opportunities, eLearning news and highlights related to teaching and learning online. In addition, the Faculty and Administrators sections of the site contain several resources relevant to policies and procedures, obtaining online certification for a course, and links to support for educational technologies. Stay informed by visiting the site regularly for new tips and tricks for Blackboard use, course design, and news related to online learning.
We welcome your input on the types of resources you would like to see on the UMKC Online website in the future. If you have any suggestions, please contact David Ta.
-Devon Cancilla, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Online and Distance Learning
Don’t miss this year’s Instructional Technology Conference! The event focuses on next generation technology to assist instructors in teaching students, and highlights efforts to bring together innovative ways to teach and learn by those who have tested different methods in their own classrooms. The following topics will be covered:
- New and Innovative Technologies
- Teaching with Technology
- The Intersection of Technology and Pedagogy
- Online Course Materials and eTextbooks
The conference takes place January 16, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Student Union. Please register online by Friday, January 10. For a detailed schedule of events, please visit the event webpage.
I am proud to present our quarterly assessment newsletter, which Dan Stroud and I have enjoyed creating. The featured article comes from Sabrina Madison-Cannon, who describes the intricacies of assessing dance in a fun article entitled “How to Assess a Swan.” Another great article provides an introduction to Barb Glesner-Fines, our new FaCET Assessment Mentor who is anxious to meet with any of you next semester as you take the next steps on your assessment plans.
This issue also includes important information about Writing Intensive (WI) Course Guidelines, upcoming assessment initiatives, and FaCET workshops for 2014.
Again, I send my gratitude for everyone’s hard work on their assessment reports, curriculum maps, and assessment narratives. Our university is in good shape because of your diligence. If you haven’t already received the University Assessment Committee’s review of your assessment report, you will receive this over the break.
The newsletter can be found here.
-Nathan K. Lindsay, Ph.D., Assistant Vice Provost for Assessment