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Strategic Plan Implementation Advances; Listening Sessions Begin

November 20th, 2012 · No Comments · Mission and Goals

[The following was provided by the Office of Public Relations.

Implementation of UMKC’s Strategic Plan, “Strategic Plan 2010-2020: A design for the future of Kansas City’s University,” is proceeding with several final reports by implementation committees filed and others in progress. Last week was the first in a series of presentations and listening sessions designed to give the campus community updates on the implementation process, and hear their reactions.

Six groups presented to a sizable audience of more than 60 people Thursday at Pierson Auditorium:

  • Advising Task Force
  • Common Course Schedule
  • Student Success Center
  • Transfer Student Task Force
  • Undergraduate Research
  • University College

The next session is set for Nov. 29 at 3 p.m., with a discussion of the findings of three additional committees: Carnegie Classification, Diversity and Emeritus College. This session – initially scheduled to take place in Pierson Auditorium – will be held in the Student Union, Room 401 B and C.

Additional sessions for the other work groups will be scheduled for the spring semester.

At Thursday’s session, Provost Gail Hackett noted that UMKC’s strategic plan also is in the process of being merged with an umbrella strategic planning effort now underway across the University of Missouri System.  She stressed that the process will not require UMKC to deviate from its existing plan.

Hackett also directed audience members to a new web landing page where all final reports and updates on plan implementation are collected.

Doug Swink, registrar, presented on the Common Course Schedule. The task force was charged with making course scheduling more efficient to maximize use of space and help ensure students can progress toward a degree in a timely manner. The task force’s work included surveys of both students and faculty, and an analysis of classroom utilization and capacity. The new course scheduling program will be implemented to coincide with the opening of new classroom space in the Miller Nichols Library and Learning Center.

Mel Tyler, vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management, presented on the Atterbury Student Success Center. He said the design of the remodeled building was driven by a philosophy of avoiding walls and silos in favor of “a building full of professionals ready to address student needs.” The center is already delivering on its mission, he said. “It will take continuing cooperation to keep this facility running, but we’re excited, the students are excited, and great things are happening here.”

Kim McNeley, associate vice provost, presented on University College. She noted that the program, designed to help exploring students decide on an appropriate major, serves a wide variety of students. ACT scores of University College enrollees range from 13 to 32, she said, and 43 percent are under-represented minorities. Enrollment is dynamic, as students move into and out of declared majors.

Nancy Wilkinson, director of academic advising for the Henry W. Bloch School of Management, presented on Advising. That task force examined how to make advising more effective in terms of student success, how to evaluate advising performance, and how to provide recognition and professional development for advisors. Their recommendations included scheduling more time for students and advisors during orientation; improving technology support for advising; implementing intrusive advising and increasing the number of advisors. The group also recommended creation of an advising resource position and an advising website.

Kati Toivanen, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, presented on transfer students. She noted that the task force included representatives from several community colleges that are significant sources of transfer students, and was charged with recommending more effective processes in transfer student recruitment, retention and bachelor’s degree completion. Recommendations included hiring a full-time Transfer Coordinator to oversee development and maintenance of transfer agreements, serve as a liaison to feeder schools and serve as an advocate for transfer students and as a resource in advising issues related to transfer students.

James Murowchick, associate professor of geosciences and director of SEARCH (Students Engaged in Artistic and Academic Research), presented on undergraduate research. He summed up the group’s charge as “finding a way to expand opportunities without a significant increase in costs.” The group surveyed students about the current undergraduate research program and reviewed programs at 44 other universities, and found that the UMKC program is on the right track. Recommendations included creating an Office of Undergraduate Research with faculty and student advisory boards; and to implement a research program for 1st- and 2nd-year students allowing them to earn course credit or work-study money for assisting faculty research.

A Question and Answer session followed the presentations.

For additional details, visit the new web landing page.