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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

Director of Undergraduate Research Position Announcement

Greer I am pleased to share that Dr. Jane Greer, Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, will serve as the Director of Undergraduate Research.  Dr. Greer also served as the director of UMKC’s 2014 Summer Undergraduate Research Program.

Dr. Greer has mentored over a dozen undergraduate researchers and for the past six years served as the editor of Young Scholars in Writing:  Undergraduate Research in Rhetoric and Writing Studies.  She is co-chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication’s Committee on Undergraduate Research.  Dr. Greer is currently collaborating with researchers from the University of Arizona, Widener University, and Albion College in a multi-institutional investigation of how colleges and universities can best support faculty in mentoring undergraduate researchers.  This research is being supported by Elon University’s Center for Engaged Learning.

Dr. Greer’s primary focus in her new role will be to substantially expand the number and type of undergraduate research opportunities available for students at UMKC.  These experiences will be designed to support undergraduate student success as part of the implementation of the UMKC Strategic Plan.  Please welcome Dr. Jane Greer into this important university leadership role.

Dr. Greer brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and passionate commitment into this position.  She will be working closely with faculty, staff and students to provide excellent developmental experiences in the area of undergraduate research.   Please support Jane in her new role as we all work to support our students in pursuing their undergraduate education at UMKC.


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

UMKC Foundation Elects New President


Photo courtesy of MD Anderson Legacy

The UMKC Foundation has announced the appointment of Steven P. Norris as its new president effective January of 2015.  The UMKC Foundation, a separate but affiliated institution of UMKC, is responsible for endowments and other philanthropic investments made to UMKC.

Norris earned his master’s in public administration from UMKC in 1999 and is returning to Kansas City after 18 years of experience in the fund development field.  He was previously the Director of Planned Giving for the Salvation Army Southwest Division and has most recently served as the Executive Director for Gift Planning at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.  Norris was elected after a nation-wide search with hundreds of applications.

Norris will be replacing Murray Blackwelder, who has played an instrumental role in the founding and development of the UMKC Foundation since its inception in 2009.  Under Blackwelder’s guidance, the UMKC Foundation has raised more than $231 million for expanded scholarships, additional faculty positions, and new facilities throughout the university.  Blackwelder will be retiring but will remain in a consulting role to the foundation until June 2015.

UMKC’s Online MSN Program Ranks in Top 30 for Low Student-Faculty Ratios

A recent article for “Best Master of Science in Nursing Degrees” ranked UMKC’s Online Nursing Program as one of the top 30 programs for low student-to-faculty ratios.  Increased opportunity for student-to-faculty interactions positively impacts a student’s professional and personal development, intellectual growth, and subject matter competence.  Methodology for developing this list divided the total number of students enrolled by number of faculty members.  The ratio was multiplied by an overall score from US News Report, which took into account factors such as admissions decisions, faculty credentials, student support, and so forth.

This ranking provides significant information for individuals searching for an accredited online MSN program.  UMKC’s online graduate nursing program was previously ranked in the Top 10 of the nation’s overall online graduate nursing programs.  The program has been recognized as a campus leader in education via distance technology methods since its inception in 1989.

Fundraising for the UMKC Downtown Arts Campus Builds Momentum

Picture courtesty of the Kansas City Star

Picture courtesy of the Kansas City Star

The UMKC Foundation announced an additional $5.6 million in gifts to support the development of a Downtown Arts Campus for

UMKC’s Conservatory of Music and Dance.  The new gifts include the following:

  • $3 million from an anonymous donor for endowed scholarships
  • $1 million from the Sunderland Foundation
  • $500,000 from the Kirk Family
  • $400,000 from Burns & McDonnell
  • $250,000 from JE Dunn
  • $250,000 from Tom and Jean McDonnell
  • $100,000 from Greg and Deanna Graves
  • $100,000 from Charles and Mary Kay Horner

Including a matching $20 million grant from the Murial McBrien Kauffman Foundation, the private fundraising total for the Downtown Arts Campus has reached more than $30 million.  Private fundraising must reach $48 million before the Foundation is able to approach the state of Missouri for matching funds.  The entire project’s first phase is proposed to cost a total of $96 million.

The Downtown Arts Campus is set to cover a full city block located directly south of the Kauffman Center for the Performing ArtsKansas City’s Helix Architecture + Design Inc. and the Minneapolis-based HGA will design the conservatory.  The potential relocation of the Conservatory’s 600+ students will no doubt infuse the downtown arts scene with a sense of vibrancy, creativity, and enthusiasm.

Open Presentations for Honors College Dean Candidates

Interviews have been scheduled for each of the three Honors College Dean Candidates.  Faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend the open presentations as follows:


Monday, October 6, 2014chamberlain
10:45-11:45 AM, Student Union Room #301
Dr. Jeffrey Chamberlain

Curriculum Vitae




gustafsonWednesday, October 8, 2014

10:45-11:45 AM, Student Union Room #301

Dr. Kevin Gustafson

Curriculum Vitae



mckusick Thursday, October 9, 2014

10:45-11:45 AM, Student Union Room #301

Dr. James McKusick

Curriculum Vitae