Category: Academics

The 3-Minute Thesis

By , December 1, 2015 9:32 am

3 min thesisOften, it is difficult to impart the significance and value of research studies and graduate education to the public at large – and to policymakers in particular.

Recently, the U.S. Council of Graduate Schools has encouraged the establishment of a new program, referred to as the Three Minute Thesis, to address this issue. This program, adopted by other major universities worldwide, originated from the University of Queensland in Australia and is being brought to UMKC by the School of Graduate Studies.

The major goal of the program is enhanced oral communication. Essentially the Three Minute Thesis is a three-minute-maximum oral summary of a student’s dissertation or thesis research, aimed at educated lay people.

A three-minute thesis is not as simple as one would think. Students need to identify the most critical findings of the research and relay them to individuals unfamiliar with the technical subject matter. They need to state only the major take-home message they want to convey, without using technical jargon.

Student competitions are helping to popularize the concept. At UMKC, approximately 28 students have volunteered to take part in a Three Minute Thesis contest to be held in early February. Contestants are only allowed to use one PowerPoint slide in their presentation. The first and second place winners will receive cash prizes. Members of the audience will be asked to select a People’s Choice winner. The first place winner will be invited to present at the regional competition within the Midwest Association of Graduate Schools in April in Chicago.

You can see examples of winning presentations from other universities at:

UMKC’s 4th Annual TEDx on Dec 5th

By , November 10, 2015 11:51 am

TEDx2015The TEDxUMKC event, “Big Challenges, Small Solutions,” will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5 at the WWI Museum at Liberty Memorial. Speakers include a UMKC School of Pharmacy student who has developed a health app, faculty innovators, and Kansas City Mayor Sly James.

Tickets typically sell out quickly and are now available for purchase at They are $5 for UMKC students with valid student IDs and $10 for the general public. They include access to the live performances, T-shirt, gift bag and light refreshments.

The TEDxUMKC organizing committee, headed by co-curators Rahul Maheshwari and Ryan Sieli — both fourth-year UMKC Medical students — selected the speakers because of their diverse backgrounds and ideas worth spreading that are focused on solving global challenges with small solutions:

  • Reza Derakshani, associate professor of computer science and electrical engineering at UMKC and Chief Science Officer of EyeVerify
  • Terri Friedline, associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare
  • Mark Hoffman, director of the Center for Health Insights and associate professor for biomedical and health informatics at the UMKC School of Medicine, and director for translational bioinformatics at Children’s Mercy
  • Kansas City Mayor Sly James
  • Dakota Rosenfelt, UMKC School of Pharmacy student and creator of HemoTool, an app used by those with bleeding disorders that allows them to track and record their treatment, order new medications and locate Hemophilia Treatment Centers (HTCs) on the go in the event of an emergency.

The event, now in its fourth year, also will feature a performance by local contemporary jazz band AM Trio, led by singer Alyssa Murray, with drummer Joshua Blythe and bassist Joel Stratton, all of whom are UMKC students or alumni.

The theme for this independently organized event, “Big Challenges, Small Solutions” is described by the organizing committee:

“Although our society has made much progress, there are still major challenges facing us today. Some of these challenges are well known, while many are not. However, there are those among us that recognize, react, and resolve those problems. These pioneers, acting in the spirit of ingenuity and altruism, have paved a path to help make the world a better place. They bring awareness to unseen obstacles, and offer creative solutions to tackle them. Innovational in nature and quick in thinking, these individuals strive to expand our horizons by breaking the facade for others to follow and demonstrating that one individual can make a difference.”

For more details about TEDxUMKC, follow on Twitter and like on Facebook.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TEDlike experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event.


What does a Physicist do? At the South Pole?

By , October 15, 2015 12:41 pm

PhysicsLinda Hall Library is sponsoring two free programs Thursday Oct. 22 featuring Dr. Naoko Kurahashi Neilson, Assistant Professor of Physics at Drexel University.

At 1:30 p.m. in the Linda Hall Library Auditorium, Dr. Neilson will host “How Do I Become a Physicist?” She will answer student questions such as “How do I select a graduate program?” “How do I land a cool post doc?” and “What jobs can I get with a physics degree?” Students can register to attend for free at A link to a live stream of the event is also available on the registration page. Students can also ask questions via live stream by following @lindahall_org on Twitter and using the hashtag #lhlphysicist.

At 7 p.m. on Oct. 22 in the Library’s Main Reading Room, Dr. Neilson will lecture about her experience at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the geographic South Pole. Scientists at the observatory study the universe in a new way, using neutrinos (small elementary particles) as the messenger. The study of neutrinos recently earned scientists the Nobel Prize in physics, and Dr. Neilson’s lecture will highlight her experience with this new way of looking at physics, while living in extreme conditions. This evening event is also free, but e-tickets are required and can be found at

The Saudi Arabian Woman’s Identity – MA Thesis Art Exhibit

By , October 15, 2015 12:39 pm

Women's RightsThe Saudi Arabian Woman’s Identity – MA Thesis Art Exhibit of Fawziah Al-Thobaiti

Thursday, October 29—Friday, November 13, 2015

Opening Reception: Thursday, October 29, 5:00—7:00pm

The Saudi Arabian woman has been seen as a mysterious figure draped in black. She is known to be mistreated, to have her rights stolen, and to be the subject of other hurtful depictions. Unfortunately, these images are limited in scope – focusing only on the negative aspects of life in Saudi Arabia. Fawziah Al-Thobaiti was born and raised there, and while studying in the United States, she has witnessed her culture from a critical distance.

Al-Thobaiti combines contemporary typography, illustration and photography with Arabic calligraphy as a means to create works – both digitally and by hand – that depict the real life of today’s Saudi women. These images form a cultural portrait offering viewers insight into the ongoing successes and challenges of Saudi women at present such as: women’s rights, marriage, driving laws, education, achievements abroad, and the misconceptions of some issues that have negatively affected their lives.

Through her M.A. thesis exhibition, Al-Thobaiti has set out to highlight the changes that have assisted Saudi women to gain their rightful positions in society. Al-Thobaiti hopes that her works will continue to give voice to these women via print media and online networks.

Shown at the UMKC Gallery of Art, Thursday, October 29 through Friday, November 13, 2015.

Visit our website:

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Call us: 816-235-1502

Fall 2015 Hours

Monday 9am—noon, Tuesday 10:30—6:00, Wednesday 9am—4pm,

Thursday 10:30—6pm, Friday noon—5pm

*Image shown above: Women’s Rights, Digital Print, 2015

Debate on Public Education and Social Justice

By , October 15, 2015 12:31 pm

Education DebateAs part of the Social Justice Series, the UMKC Debate Team will interrogate current education policy and weigh future options from 6:30 – 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 21, Royall Hall, Room 111.

The debate, “Education Policy Debate,” is hosted by the UMKC Debate Team and Debate KC. The teams will mostly focus on privatization.

According to Malcolm Gordon, UMKC research assistant in the department of communication studies and assistant director of the UMKC Debate Team, public education is a hot topic.

“Public education has become a vital battleground in fights for social justice. It helps shape the values, norms and beliefs of future generations,” said Gordon. “It is the gateway to what is left of the American dream – social mobility and equality of opportunity are inextricably linked to our educational opportunities. The UMKC debate team is proud to contribute to a public discourse on this topic by doing what we do best – developing arguments using peer-reviewed, scholarly research, and analyzing the ideological assumptions behind many public stances on education policy.”

For more information or if you have questions, email Matt Vega or the UMKC Debate.

RooWriter Reminders for Fall Graduation and Spring Enrollment

By , September 15, 2015 3:31 pm

RooWriterIf you are an undergraduate and plan to enroll for Spring 2016 in a Writing Intensive course or any class that lists the RooWriter Writing Assessment as a prerequisite, be sure to take the assessment at least one month before your registration appointment so that you are not blocked by Pathway.

If you plan to graduate in December and have not already taken the Written English Proficiency Test (WEPT), you need to take the RooWriter Writing Assessment by October 15, 2015.

For complete information, see the RooWriter web site at .

The RooWriter is a writing assessment tool that allows you to write a 750-1,500 word essay on your choice of six topics in a 72-hour-period anytime and anywhere you have access to a computer and the Internet.  After you submit your essay, it will be assessed by two trained evaluators and you will receive a report of their responses and a copy of your essay through the online system.

Everything that you need to know and do is located at the RooWriter web site, including the essay guidelines and expectations.  You can also preview the six Reading Packets to decide which one you want to write about.  The current Reading Packets address topics ranging from women in STEM to dental deserts to public art.  When you choose your Reading Packet you will be assigned a prompt or question to respond to.  You then have 72 hours to complete your essay, which means you can work on it, return to it, and get help from the Writing Studio.  After you submit your essay, two evaluators will assess it in six areas, including “Point-Purpose-Idea,” “Clarity and Cohesion,” and “Support-Evidence-Citations.”  Evaluators will also provide comments about the strengths of your essay and any aspects of your writing that you should concentrate on in the future.  To see a sample evaluator report, please click here.

To help you develop your writing and reading skills, you are encouraged to take the RooWriter Writing Assessment more than once during your UMKC undergraduate career.  The RooWriter is a requirement for graduation, and to fulfill that requirement, you should take the RooWriter after you have completed Discourse II or its equivalent and before you have earned 90 hours of undergraduate credit.  It also is required for Writing-Intensive classes and may be required for other classes.

Undergraduate students who already have earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution are exempt from the RooWriter requirement.  The first time that you use the RooWriter Writing Assessment, your student account will be billed $15, but you will not be charged for subsequent assessments.  For more information, contact the Coordinator of Writing Assessment at

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