We Are Listening

Susan Wilson, PhD, MBA

By Dr. Susan Wilson, Vice Chancellor, Division of Diversity and Inclusion

I want to thank personally everyone who participated in UMKC’s focus groups in February. As a follow-up to the climate survey, the focus groups were designed to get more detailed information from students, staff, and faculty.  We wanted to know how to create a better sense of belonging and campus experience for various groups of students. We also wanted to learn from staff how we can address concerns that made them consider leaving UMKC.  The climate survey also revealed ongoing concerns from underrepresented faculty that we wanted to explore further.

You spoke, and we are listening. The sentiment “Enough surveys, now let’s do something” was heard loud and clear.  Here are some examples. A concern from international students was addressed immediately. A student group for Asian American students is being developed, given concerns expressed in the focus groups. Staff Council developed proposed action steps to improve the staff experience that are currently under review. In addition, Provost Bichelmeyer and Faculty Senate are developing a plan to improve the experience of underrepresented faculty.

Beyond these examples, there is much more work to be done.  Some issues and concerns you identified are complex and will take time to achieve full resolution. Working with you, we plan to roll up our sleeves. Together, we can make UMKC’s climate for a living, working, learning, and welcoming place that allows all to reach their fullest potential.