UMKC Center for Midwestern Studies Awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

Chair and Professor, Department of History, and Director, UMKC Center for Midwestern Studie

The UMKC History Department is pleased to announce that the Center for Midwestern Studies, under the directorship of Diane Mutti Burke, has been awarded a $170,000 Landmarks of American History and Culture Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The Landmarks program funds “workshops for K-12 educators that enhance and strengthen humanities teaching.”  The NEH Landmark’s program funded 16 workshops throughout the nation.

Educators from throughout the nation will travel to UMKC in Summer 2020 to attend a week-long workshop called Wide-Open Town: Kansas City during the Jazz Age and Great Depression.  Guided by a team of historians and museum professionals, the Wide-Open Town teachers will gain a deeper understanding of the important role that Kansas City played in the transformation of America in the decades between the two world wars.  The teachers, who will be selected through a competitive application process, will visit museums and cultural institutions, including the National WWI Museum, the Truman Library and Museum, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Thomas Hart Benton State Historic Site, the 18th and Vine Historic District, the Country Club Plaza, and the Guadalupe Centers that illuminate this history.

At the crossroads of American transportation networks and cultural norms, Kansas City in the 1920s and 1930s typified broad trends in American history. The decades bounded by the world wars were marked by intense political, social, and economic change as the United States reluctantly took its place on the world stage while simultaneously struggling with significant challenges at home. The upheaval of World War I, the massive migration of people of color into urban America, the entrance of women into both the labor force and electoral politics, resistance to Prohibition and changing social mores, and an economic collapse and near revolution in national politics all redefined the national character. Understanding how these changes influenced Kansas City—and how the city responded—reveals how citizens of the age adapted to the rise of modern America.  Original research produced for an UMKC Office of Research Services-funded public symposium and published scholarly volume that focused on Pendergast Era Kansas City will serve as the intellectual foundation of the project.

Building upon the success of a previous workshop that focused on Missouri-Kansas region in the Civil War, the Wide-Open Town workshop will mark the sixth time that UMKC’s Center for Midwestern Studies has hosted a Landmarks of American History and Culture teacher program.  Program director Diane Mutti Burke believes the NEH’s support for this new program reflects both the agency’s confidence in the UMKC team to deliver an excellence educational experience for the teachers and an acknowledgement of Kansas City’s important role in US History.  “My colleagues and I believe that understanding this city’s history is crucial to understanding the history of the early 20th century United States. We are excited to share this important history and the city’s wonderful historical landmarks with primary and secondary school educators from throughout the nation.”

For more information, please contact Diane Mutti Burke at

Research by the Numbers

The Office of Research Services supports the scientific, scholarly and creative endeavors of the faculty and staff at UMKC. As of August 15, 2019, our work included:

  • 42 new awards totalling $6,310,788 (FY20 to date)
  • 52 new proposals (FY20 to date)
  • 18 invention disclosures and 12 patents (FY19)

Important Message from National Institutes of Health Leadership

Dear Colleagues:

We are writing to bring to your attention a matter of great importance for the biomedical research community.  As leaders of institutions that are currently receiving funding from the National Institutes of Health, we are asking for your assistance in combatting a serious problem in our workforce that threatens the health of our enterprise.  Late last month, NIH leadership released an important statement outlining actions NIH is taking to become part of the solution to address sexual harassment in science.  This statement was intended to send a clear message to the institutions we are funding and researchers who lead the research that sexual harassment is simply unacceptable.  NIH has not and will not just look the other way when accusations come to our attention.  We are now sending you this letter to ask our grantee institutions to intensify your own efforts in partnering with us to address this serious problem.

We recognize sexual harassment is about power.  The goal of the perpetrator, most commonly but not exclusively a man, is to objectify, exclude, demoralize, diminish, and coerce the victim, most commonly a woman, to exert power over her.  It’s morally indefensible, it’s unacceptable, and it presents a major obstacle that is keeping women from achieving their rightful place in science.

The 2018 National Academies report on sexual harassment of women in science shined a troubling light on the prevalence of sexual harassment in medicine and biomedical science.  The report also stated that “federal agencies may be perpetuating the problem of sexual harassment.”  In recognition of this, NIH is committed to becoming part of the solution and taking appropriate action toward ensuring a safe working environment conducive to high-quality research.  We have recently established a Working Group of the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD), which is charged with tackling the underlying culture that enables sexual harassment and anticipates swiftly assisting the ACD to develop recommendations to that end.

But NIH cannot tackle this problem alone.  Through this letter, NIH is clarifying expectations that institutions and investigators ensure a safe workplace and keep the agency well-informed.  We expect that institutions will embrace their responsibilities to end all harassment in their own scientific workplace.  To this end, we are reminding you that:

  • If a principal investigator or other key personnel named on an NIH grant award is no longer able to fulfill their obligations to conduct research because they have been removed from the workplace because of sexual harassment concerns, NIH requires institutions to notify the agency of this change.
  • NIH expects all NIH-funded institutions to have disseminated and implemented policies and practices that:
    • foster a harassment-free environment;
    • maintain clear, unambiguous professional codes of conduct;
    • ensure employees are fully aware and regularly reminded of applicable laws, regulations, policies, and codes of conduct;
    • provide an accessible, effective, and easy process to report sexual harassment, and protection from retaliation; and
    • respond promptly to allegations to ensure the immediate safety for all involved, investigate the allegations, and take appropriate sanctions.
  • We can and will take action if there are concerns that sexual harassment is affecting NIH-funded research.  For concerns related to NIH-funded research, an email can be sent to  We are working to create additional channels intended for confidential sharing of such information and hope to make those available in the next several weeks.
  • While communication to NIH, including through the email address above, does not constitute or substitute for a report of sexual harassment for legal action or investigation, the NIH Office of Extramural Research will follow up with the relevant applicant/grantee institution on all concerns related to NIH-funded research.
  • NIH appreciates your support in strongly encouraging people to report allegations of sexual harassment or assault to the appropriate authorities, which may include your local police department or your organization/institution equal employment opportunity or human resources offices.  We have reminded the extramural community of that and emphasized that individuals may contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights to obtain additional information and file a complaint.  Please see NIH’s Anti-Sexual Harassment website for more information and resources.

We thank you for your support in our efforts to assure that all NIH-funded work occurs in an environment that is safe, that is free from harassment, and that is conducive to our critically important efforts to conduct high-quality research.


Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director, NIH

Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., Principal Deputy Director, NIH

Carrie Wolinetz, Ph.D., Acting Chief of Staff, and Director, Office of Science Policy, NIH

Michael S. Lauer, M.D., Deputy Director for Extramural Research, NIH

Hannah A. Valantine, M.D., Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity, NIH


We’re Here to Help: Arminta Brown

Portrait of Arminta Brown

My Focus:

As a Senior Post-Award Administrator my focus is customer service.  I accomplish this by establishing and maintaining good relationships with all stakeholders.  I set realistic expectations to give them assurances that their needs are heard and will be met timely.  Always asking for their input maximizes successful outcomes to reflect the highest professionalism of our department.

Where did I come from

I received my BSBA degree in Accounting from Rockhurst University.  My introduction to grant awards came when I worked as the Grants Accountant at the Kansas City Area Transit Authority. From that position I was promoted to General Accounting Supervisor. I spent thirteen years with KCATA.  From there I spent four years in corporate America at Great Plains Energy or what’s better known to the public as KCPL.  I was their Generation Accountant and Delivery Accountant.  I came to the University in September 2005 with ATTC.   It was in February 2006 that I began my journey in Research Administration at the Office of Sponsored Programs.

What I love about working in Research Administration

From my heavy accounting background, I love the versatility.  Research Administration is ever changing. Whether I’m working on federal awards, or with public/ private corporations, not for profits, or various universities, domestic or foreign institutions; I’m continuing to learn and grow professionally. Those transitional skills that I’ve gleaned from my prior work experiences mesh perfectly with Research Administration.  Instead of the monthly accounting cycle or as I call it “the accounting groundhog days”, I’m challenged daily in the areas of compliance, contract terms, proper internal controls and subcontract agreements.  Work life is never dull.

Some of my favorite things

I value my relationships with family and friends.  I enjoy entertaining and cooking.  I consider myself a novice foodie.  I enjoy exercise and maintaining a healthy life balance.  No, I’m not a fanatic – just working to stay young at heart and in body. I’m fascinated by what our city has to offer – theater, movies, restaurants and music. Lately, I’m obsessed about learning to paint and crafts.   Loud cheers can be heard from my home all year long because I love sports.  I’m a big baseball, college basketball and football fan.

The Ride of My Life

Since July of 2012, I have served UMKC as the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development.  To say that this has been a fulfilling time in my career at UMKC would be a gross understatement!  These past 6-years have been the most privileged of my 28 years at UMKC and of my entire career as a university faculty member/administrator.  As an administrator, there is no greater fulfillment than to see those you serve be successful in their endeavors.  As a Chief Research Officer that means, assisting faculty with their research, grant applications and awards, assisting deans to advance their unit research initiatives, and promoting UMKC within the UM System, the region and at the national level.

Over the course of the last few years there are a number of accomplishments that I can take pride in, but one that stands out for me is the creation of Explore, the UMKC Research magazine.  Until 6 years ago we had no publication that spotlighted research at UMKC.  Perhaps this was emblematic of a past UMKC; we simply didn’t voice our story loud, and often, enough.  When volume 1 of Explore came out in print, I hoped that we would have enough great stories to sustain the expectations created by such an outstanding effort.  Five volumes later, and a 6th in the works, and we are still spotlighting world-class faculty scholars and the pipeline continues to grow.   This fact,along with a rejuvenated effort to invest in research bodes well for the future of research at UMKC.

As for me, I won’t be riding off into the sunset just yet!  My new role as Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Research Support will leverage my years of research experience and administration in promoting faculty research success, primarily for junior and newly hired faculty members. This will include, but not be limited to, assisting faculty members in navigating the extramural application process, developing proposal writing skills, expanding networks for collaborations, and mentoring them in research and career development activities.  In a sense, the totality of my career has prepared me for this position and I look forward to the new challenge that lies ahead.

As I transition into my new role, I would like to acknowledge the outstanding work performed by the staff of the Office of Research Services, Research Compliance, and Technology Commercialization.  Those of you who work regularly with the ORS know what I am talking about!

To my Colleagues at the Office of Research Services: It has been my sincere honor and privilege to have worked closely with all of you. Your dedication, professionalism, hard work, and “can do” spirit inspires me to be better at all that I do!  


Mark Your Calendar

1Data Conference

1Data is the result of a unique partnership formed between Kansas State University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, which leverages the strengths of our region to develop a platform to share human and animal health research data.

This one-day conference focuses on a One Health approach to data sharing and brings together professionals from animal, human, and environmental health sectors to explore the ways in which data can be jointly used for mutually beneficial purposes, such as accelerating drug development, enhancing regulatory processes and decreasing animal testing. The speakers will discuss the 1Data platform for data sharing, local efforts for improving human and animal health using analytical tools and how collaboration can promote change resulting in enhancing the lives of both humans and animals.

8:30a.m. to 4:30 p.m. | Feb. 7 | K-State Olathe campus

Register at:

Key 2019 BioNexusKC Conference Dates

Mark your calendars for the new year. Here’s the full list, but here are a few that might be of interest:

  • Collaborate2Cure (monthly): Jan. 14, Kauffman Foundation
  • Midwest Bioinformatics Conference: April 11-12, UMKC
  • One Health Research Symposium: Aug. 25-26, Kansas City Convention Center