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UMKC Alumna Bequeaths $1 Million Gift to UMKC’s New Honors College

Courtesy of UMKC foundationThe University of Missouri-Kansas City Foundation announced a $1 million gift from UMKC alumna Dr. Linda Hood Talbott to endow and name the deanship of UMKC’s new Honors College. Dr. Talbott, who holds several degrees from UMKC, has long been a tremendous support to the UMKC community. Her generous philanthropy throughout the years has contributed to numerous educational opportunities for distinguished students who have gone on to make a significant impact in their professions and in their community.

The current UMKC Honors Program will become the UMKC Honors College on July 1, 2015. The new Honors College will offer an education program that includes specialized academic enrichment and honors courses as well as opportunities for leadership development, study abroad, and access to a number of other support services. Students that are enrolled in the current honors program will automatically become a part of the new Honors College. Selected students that enter in Fall 2015 will become the inaugural class of Honors College students at UMKC.

Dr. James McKusick is the founding dean of the new Honors College and is currently appointed as a professor in UMKC’s English Department. Over the next five years, the Honors College aims to increase enrollment, expand the curriculum, hire an academic adviser, and increase the number of honors faculty members. In accordance with UMKC Strategic Plan, the honors college will draw high-achieving undergraduate students who can serve as role models for success in the UMKC community.

Updates from Undergraduate Research @ UMKC

Undergraduate Research @ UMKC welcomes all faculty and staff to attend the Undergraduate Research Symposium (formerly known as the SEARCH Symposium) in the Pierson Auditorium on Thursday, April 16, from 2:00-7:00 p.m. Judging will take place from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. and the awards ceremony will be held at 6:15 p.m. Staff and faculty are encouraged invite prospective students and other appropriate constituencies to this year’s symposium.

Undergraduate Research is also pleased to announce the launch of UR-Linked, a database website that allows faculty members to create profiles and describe specific projects that they are working on.  Modeled after a robust database at the University of Texas-Austin, UR-Linked allows faculty to also list specific criteria or skills undergraduate students will need to have if they wish to work with faculty in labs, studios, clinics, archives, or other research spaces.

Undergraduate students can use UR-Linked to enter key terms into a search field to locate faculty members who share their interests and can potentially serve as appropriate mentors.  The database will also provide students with expectations for becoming an undergraduate researcher, guidance about professional communication strategies, and information regarding additional work that should be completed prior to contacting professors.

Faculty can access UR-Linked at  The website includes a short (4-minute) video with more detailed instructions about creating a faculty profile and describing research projects.

For further questions and concerns, please feel free to contact Dr. Jane Greer, Director of Undergraduate Research,, or visit the Undergraduate Research Web page at

-Dr. Jane Greer, Director of Undergraduate Research

Assessable Roo Newsletter, March 2015

I am pleased to share with you the March 2015 edition of The Assessable Roo.  Special thanks go to Melita Belgrave for her article on the evolution of assessment in the music therapy programs and to David Ta for his discussion of course-level assessment approaches.  I greatly appreciate these authors’ willingness to share examples of good practices in assessment and I encourage all of you to submit articles highlighting the assessment activities in your programs.  If you have suggestions for topics for inclusion in future newsletters, please let me know.  Thanks also go to Dan Stroud for his continuing role in editing the newsletter, as well as for his article on the university’s new survey instrument, REDCap.

The newsletter can be viewed here.

-Dr. Ruth Cain, Director of Assessment

An Invitation to Provost “Listening Sessions”

Faculty, staff and students are invited to attend an all-campus “Listening Session” to discuss the search for the next UMKC Provost. Three identical sessions will be held, two on the Volker Campus and one on Hospital Hill.

Chancellor Leo Morton will be joined by representatives of the Search Committee who will be on hand to discuss logistics and to hear everyone’s thoughts.  Individuals are encouraged to bring questions as well as comments on the background, qualifications and leadership skills desired in the next provost.

Volker Campus

  • Monday, March 30 Henry W. Bloch School of Management, BEH 218 2 – 4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 31 Student Success Center, Pierson Auditorium 3 – 5 p.m.

Hospital Hill Campus

  • Wednesday, April 1 School of Medicine, Theatre C 2 – 4 p.m.

Faculty and Staff Awards Ceremony


The annual awards ceremony recognizing the achievements of faculty and staff at UMKC will be held Thursday, March 19, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. in Pierson Auditorium of the Atterbury Student Success Center.  This event is open to all and will include faculty and staff 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!



  • Chancellor’s Award for Career Contributions to the University ($5000) -Lynda PlamannAssociate Dean for Academic Affairs & Director of Curriculum, School of Biological Sciences
  • Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Community Engagement ($1500) -Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Diversity ($1500) (first of two awards) -Robert RiggsAssistant Teaching Professor of Physics & Astronomy, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Diversity ($1500) (second of two awards) – Donna Davis and Shirley Marie McCarther, Associate Professors of Educational Leadership, Policy & Foundations, School of Education


  • Missouri Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching – Larry Garrison,Kemper Missouri Endowed Professor in Accountancy, Henry W. Bloch School of Management
  • Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching ($1500) – John Rapley,Professor & Chair of Periodontics, School of Dentistry
  • Chancellor’s Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching ($1500) -Nathan MauckAssistant Professor of Finance, Henry W. Bloch School of Management
  • Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring ($1500) – Michael PlamannProfessor of Cell Biology and Biophysics, School of Biological Sciences
  • Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching ($1500) – Andrea Drew-Gounev,Teaching Professor of Chemistry and Ogranic Chemistry Labs Coordinator, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Award in Business – Nathan Mauck,Assistant Professor of Finance, Henry W. Bloch School of Management
  • Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Award in Dentistry – Kimberly Bray,Professor & Director of Dental Hygiene, School of Dentistry
  • Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Award in Law – Robert Downs, Law Foundation Scholar & Professor, School of Law
  • Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Award in Medicine – Michael Wacker, Associate Teaching Professor of Basic Medical Sciences, School of Medicine


  • Chancellor’s Education First Staff Award ($1500) – Jane PoeExecutive Assistant to the Dean, School of Pharmacy
  • Chancellor’s True Unsung Hero Staff Award ($1500) – Beci Edmundson,Faculty Affairs Specialist, Provost Office
  • Human Resources Campus Collaboration Staff Award ($1500) – Keichanda Dees-BurnettDirector of Student Support Services, Multicultural Student Affairs
  • Staff Council Dedication Award ($1500) – Jacqueline HawkinsOffice Specialist for Community & Public Affairs, Alumni & Constituent Relations
  • Student Affairs Student Mentor Staff Award ($1500) – Jennifer TuftsAcademic Advisor for Biomedical and Health Informatics, School of Medicine


  • N.T. Veatch Award for Distinguished Research and Creative Activity ($1000) – Yugi LeeAssociate Professor of Computer Science, School of Computing & Engineering
  • Trustees Faculty Fellowship Award ($15,000) – Anil KumarProfessor of Pharmacology & Division Chair, School of Pharmacy
  • Trustees Faculty Scholar Award ($5000) (first of two awards) – Mark Brodwin,Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Trustees Faculty Scholar Award ($5000) (second of two awards) –Massimiliano Vitiello, Assistant Professor of History, College of Arts & Sciences


Announcements from the Provost’s Office

I am pleased to share that Dr. Jennifer Friend, Assistant Dean in the School of Graduate Studies will serve as Interim Deputy Provost beginning February 1, 2015.

Dr. Jennifer Friend brings to this position over 20 years of educational experience in both higher education and preK-12 public school settings. A member of the UMKC School of Education (SOE) faculty since 2005 and as an Associate Professor in Educational Leadership, Policy & Foundations, she led program redesign and assessment efforts that resulted in state and national accreditation, and the first nationally recognized status for these programs. Jennifer has most recently also served as the Interim Director of Assessment at UMKC since August 2014.

As the Interim Deputy Provost, Dr. Friend’s portfolio will include oversight for FaCET, UMKC-UM Faculty Scholars, undergraduate research, student learning outcome assessment, University College, and course redesign. She will review all undergraduate course and undergraduate academic program proposals/modifications and work closely with faculty on the continued implementation of the General Education program. Dr. Friend will also be involved supporting projects and initiatives implemented by the Provost’s office and the UM System as needed, including the University’s Strategic Plan and UMKC Student Success initiatives, as well as other duties as assigned.

We are looking forward to Dr. Friend’s leadership and expertise in continuing the work of the university and academic affairs. We want to express our appreciation to her for, again, stepping up to meet this leadership need for the university.

Dr. Lora Lacey Haun will be serving as a Special Assistant to the Provost working with Dr. Denis Medeiros in the School of Graduate Studies. Her position will be on a half-time basis. Dr. Lacey Haun is no stranger to either UMKC or the School of Graduate Studies. Dr. Lacey-Haun is the former Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Studies, retiring less than 2 years ago. She also served as the UMKC Associate Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. According to Dr. Denis Medeiros, Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, “Lora accomplished much as Associate Dean of the Graduate School prior to her appointment as Dean of Nursing. We are excited that she is able to help us fill the gaps in serving our students during this transition”. Dr. Lacey Haun will advise Interdisciplinary PhD graduate students as she helps them progress toward degree completion. She will also be a key figure in the ongoing development of the Graduate Student Writing Initiative.

Dr. Pat Hovis-French will also return to UMKC to direct the Preparing Future Faculty program that she pioneered here. Dr. Hovis-French left UMKC in August 2014 and was surprised to be back so soon after her departure!

Finally, Ms. Colleen Kelly will advise the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Student Council as they plan the annual Community of Scholars celebration of graduate research that will take place on April 23, 2015. The School of Graduate Studies believes it can continue its mission of serving our graduate students with minimal disruption during this time of transition.

-Amy R. Watson, Office of the Provost/Academic Affairs

UMKC Online and Online Learning Consortium Regional Conference

UMKC Online and the Online Learning Consortium have partnered to present a regional conference in Kansas City on February 24, 2015 at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center.  The theme of the conference is “The Changing University: A Regional Discussion” and will focus on current and emerging trends and challenges in online learning. The official conference agenda can be found here and will include keynote talks on learning analytics, competency-based assessments, and evolving state and federal regulations as well as facilitator-led small group discussions.

In order to elicit interest in the event, the University of Missouri Academic Affairs is offering funding to cover the cost of registration for three attendees from each institution.  For more information regarding these scholarships, please contact Brandie Elliott.

Launching EUReka! Courses: Embedding Undergraduate Research in the Curriculum

Congratulations to the eight faculty from across the university who have successfully proposed 100- and 200-level EUReka Courses (Experiences in Undergraduate Research) for beginning students at UMKC.

Supported by strategic investment funds from the UM-system, Rebecca Davis (History, A&S); Sheila Honig (English, A&S); Debra Leiter (Political Science, A&S); Joan McDowd (Psychology, A&S); David Thurmaier (Conservatory); Henrietta Rix Wood (Honors College); Majid Bani-Yaghoub (Mathematics, A&S); and Marilyn Yoder (School of Biological Sciences) will be offering courses that exemplify the four keys characteristics of undergraduate research:

  1. Students will experience a mentoring relationship with faculty;
  2. Students will be engaged with research methodologies widely recognize in the field of study;
  3. Students will make a contribution to knowledge, however modest; and
  4. Students will disseminate their work beyond the classroom.

In Dr. Yoder’s newly proposed course, beginning biology students with use specialized tools related to different biology disciplines to characterize a specific gene or cell system under the guidance of a faculty members. Students enrolled in the interdisciplinary course proposed by Drs. Davis and Wood will explore archives through Kansas City and work on local history projects. And Conservatory students studying with Dr. Thurmaier will not only compose their own original music but also research living composers. Students in all the EUReka courses will be encouraged to share their work beyond the classroom, including presentations at UMKC’s Undergraduate Research Symposium, submissions to local and national journals of undergraduate research, and community forums.

By more tightly intertwining their own robust research agendas with their teaching responsibilities, these talented faculty members are helping to ensure that the newest members of our academic community are engaged in undergraduate research–a high impact educational practice that can help the university achieve its recruitment and retention goals.

Stay tuned for calls for additional 100- and 200-level EUReka course proposals in Spring 2015 and opportunities to propose upper-level EUReka courses in 2016. EUReka courses do not impact general educational or other degree requirements, and they can be located in PATHWAY via the “Course Attribute Value” function.

Questions about EUReka courses and about undergraduate research in general can be directed to Jane Greer, Director of Undergraduate Research, at

Appointment for the Director of Assessment

Cain We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Ruth Cain as the Director of Assessment at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  Prior to her appointment as the Director of Assessment at UMKC, Dr. Cain served for five years as the Assessment and Accreditation Coordinator at Indiana State University.  Dr. Cain worked with academic and co-curricular programs to assess student learning achievement.  She served as the team leader for ISU’s HLC Assessment Academy project, which focused on assessment of the general education program, and as the institutional lead for ISU’s participation in the Multi-State Collaborative to Advance Assessment of Student Learning.  Dr. Cain is a member of the peer review corps for the Higher Learning Commission.

Dr. Cain has a long association with UMKC and the Kansas City area.  She received a master’s degree in theatre design and technology from UMKC and worked for a number of years with the then Missouri Repertory Theatre and as a free-lance lighting designer with area theatres.  She also worked in various academic and administrative roles at Rockhurst University.  She holds a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Kansas.  Dr. Cain will be on campus beginning February 2, 2015 and can be contacted in the Administrative Center, Rm 351.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Ruth Cain to the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

- Amy R. Watson, Office of the Provost/Academic Affairs

Open Presentations for School of Education Dean Candidates

Interviews have been scheduled for each of the four School of Education Dean Candidates. Faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend the open presentations as follows:
Dr. John Romans
Thursday, December 11, 2014
2:00-3:00 PM, Plaza Room/Administrative Center
Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Mary F. Howard Hamilton
Dr. Mary Howard Hamilton
Monday, December 15, 2014
2:00-3:00 PM, Plaza Room/Administrative Center
Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Anita Thomas
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
2:00-3:00 PM, Room 401A/Student Union
Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Marius Boboc
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
2:00-3:00 PM, Room 401A/Student Union
Curricum Vitae