Three UMKC Faculty Named to UM System Fellows Program

Engagement program will bolster university’s commitment to the state

University of Missouri System President Mun Choi announced a new initiative, the Presidential Engagement Fellows, designed to fulfill the university’s land-grant mission by sharing research discoveries with Missouri citizens in every county.

Marshall Stewart, vice chancellor for Extension and Engagement at MU, will lead this initiative. Three distinguished members of the faculty at the University of Missouri-Kansas City are among the first class of Fellows.

“The University of Missouri is dedicated to the people of this state, and we are proud of the excellent teaching, breakthrough research and creative achievement, and meaningful engagement by our faculty,” Choi said. “We are here to serve the state by providing Missouri citizens with information about the life-changing discoveries that we uncover in our laboratories. This new program will encourage all of our faculty members to engage directly with Missouri citizens and help them improve communities across the state.”

Choi introduced the first class of the Presidential Engagement Fellows at the April 13 Board of Curators meeting. As part of this program, selected faculty members will represent the UM System at a number of speaking events throughout the state, where they will discuss their research and share how that knowledge can help Missouri citizens.

“We have fantastic faculty on every campus who want to help improve the lives of Missouri citizens, whether that is through better agriculture practices, new treatments in health care, technological discoveries or providing world-class artistic performances,” Choi said. “This new program will help us fulfill our mission as a land-grant university. We are Missouri’s university, and we owe it to every Missouri citizen to share with them what we have discovered that can improve their lives.”

UMKC-based Fellows include:

Simon Friedman is a professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the UMKC School of Pharmacy. His research focuses on the interface of chemistry and biology: understanding the mechanisms of life and using that knowledge to develop molecules that advance the treatment of disease. A major recent focus has been the development of methods to control insulin delivery with light instead of needles. He has been at UMKC since 1999, and has won UMKC’s highest honors for both research (the 2017 Trustees Faculty Fellowship Award, and the 2017 N.T.  Veatch Award) and for teaching (the 2013 Chancellors Award and the 2014 Governor’s Award, both for Excellence in Teaching).

Andrew Granade is Professor of Musicology and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. Dr. Granade is passionate about helping people connect the music they love with the stories and culture behind it. He firmly believes that music reflects and shapes culture, and encourages his students to think about the place of music in American society and what it can tell us about the things we value. He teaches courses that survey music in the Western world, focus on music in the 20th and 21st centuries, music in Asia, film music, and various aspects of American music. His teaching has been awarded at UMKC by the Chancellor’s Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching (2010) and the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Excellence in Teaching Award (2010).

Jane Greer is Professor of English and Women’s Studies at the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences. At UMKC, she teaches composition courses as well as classes on the rhetorical practices of girls and women.  She also serves as UMKC’s Director of Undergraduate Research, working to support student-faculty research partnerships and to ensure that students’ educational opportunities are intertwined with the cutting-edge research and creative activities unfolding in campus labs, archives, studios and clinics, and in community organizations. She is the editor of Girls and Literacy in America: Historical Perspectives to the Present (ABC-Clio, 2003), and with Laurie Grobman, she has co-edited Pedagogies of Public Memory: Teaching Writing at Museums, Archives, and Memorials (Routledge 2015).

The 2018-19 Presidential Engagement Fellows class also includes the following individuals:

  • Diana Ahmad, history and political science, Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Joel Burken, civil, architectural and environmental engineering, Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Jimi Cook, Missouri Orthopaedic Institute, University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Beth Huebner, criminology and criminal justice, University of Missouri-St. Louis
  • Catherine Johnson, mining and nuclear engineering, Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Rebecca Johnson, Research Center for Human-Animal Intervention, University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Rose Marra, School for Information Science and Learning Technologies, University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Melissa Mitchum, plant sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Patricia Parker, biology, University of Missouri-St. Louis
  • Chris Pires, biological sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Angela Speck, physics and astronomy, University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Todd Swanstrom, political science, University of Missouri-St. Louis

To be selected, faculty members were nominated by each campus based on their demonstrated excellence and their ability to communicate their research to the public. To request a fellow for a speaking engagement or presentation, please visit:

There is no cost for an organization or individual to host a speaker. For more information, please visit:

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