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Chronwall to lead new Emeritus College

Dr. Bibie Chronwall has been named Dean of the new Emeritus College at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Chronwall retired in March 2009 as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs and Faculty Development, ending a 20+-year academic career at UMKC. She has agreed to become the founding Dean of UMKC’s Emeritus College, an organization for emeritus faculty designed to enable its members to continue contributing their creative, intellectual and scholarly talents to the mutual benefit of the university, the members of the college, and the community.

In addition, according to its mission statement, “The Emeritus College will promote social relationships among emeriti/ae faculty and enhance the intellectual growth of its members.”

In 1988, Dr. Chronwall began her work at UMKC as an Associate Professor of cell biology and biophysics. She was Assistant Dean and Director of Curriculum and Undergraduate Programs in the School of Biological Sciences and in 2003 was named Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. During her academic career, she has published nearly 100 scientific papers and edited three books, and obtained grants totaling more than $1,000,000. As an administrator, she led efforts to develop the New Faculty Teaching Scholars program, the Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching (FaCET), and the Students Engaged in Artistic and Academic Research (SEARCH) program.

“The Emeritus College is going to be a significant enhancement to the scholarly environment at our university,” said Dr. Gail Hackett, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. “I am profoundly grateful to Dr. Chronwall for her willingness to donate her time as a volunteer to lead this important effort.  I also want to thank Nancy Mills and all of the members of the Emeritus College working group who have spent a huge amount of time and energy researching similar bodies at other Universities and developing a plan for this unit that fits the UMKC culture and our needs.” 

The working group included Dale Neuman (College of Arts and Sciences), Reaner Shannon (School of Medicine), Merton Shatzkin (Conservatory of Music & Dance), Charles Wurrey (College of Arts and Sciences), Linda Edwards (School of Education), and Leon Robertson (Henry W. Bloch School of Management).

“While no students will be enrolled in the Emeritus College, I expect it to be a valuable resource for students, and for faculty as well,” Hackett added. It will play an important role in keeping one of our most valuable resources, our emeritus faculty, more fully engaged in the intellectual life of the university.”

In November 2010, Hackett established an Emeritus College Working Group to “study Emeritus College models at other universities and to propose a model for UMKC that leverages the participation of emeritus faculty in the intellectual life of our campus.” The working group was charged to articulate the benefits of an Emeritus College at UMKC and to prepare a proposal for a UMKC Emeritus College. Establishing an Emeritus College at UMKC is a part of UMKC’s Strategic Plan, and Hackett indicated that the Emeritus College would play a crucial role in transforming UMKC into a model urban research university. The working group’s final report is available here.

Nancy Mills, who served as Chair of the Emeritus College Working Group, will serve as the transition coordinator as the Emeritus College is moved from proposal to a reality. Dr. Mills, who formerly served as Dean of the School of Nursing and Interim Dean of the School of Dentistry, currently chairs the UMKC Retirees Capital Campaign developing resources for the Emeritus College.

Dr. Mills’ career at UMKC spanned almost three decades. During her 11 years of leadership as dean, the School of Nursing doubled its enrollment, tripled the size of its faculty, increased the number of students from underrepresented populations, boosted federal grant receipts and established an undergraduate program to award a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

The Emeritus College will be housed in office space in the Miller Nichols Library. The college’s Advisory Board members include Betsy Beasley, Charles Cobb, Linda Edwards, Patricia Hovis-French, Denis Medeiros, Jenea Oliver, Bonnie Postlethwaite, Leon Robertson and Peggy Ward-Smith; more members will be added.

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