Letter to UMKC Staff, from the UMKC Staff Council Executive Boards

To Our UMKC Staff Community

We want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude for your understanding and patience in the face of these challenging, uncertain, and unprecedented times.

As we work to move past this crisis, we don’t have all the answers, but we are here to listen to your questions and concerns in order to advocate for UMKC Staff in several University leadership meetings we participate in to provide staff perspectives on University actions, initiatives, and policy development. Some of these committees include Administrative Council, University Budget Committee, Chancellor 1 on 1 meetings, the UM System Intercampus Staff Advisory Council and UMKC Forward. To share your perspective with us, so we may best represent you, please contact us at our email: staffcouncil@umkc.edu or at our website: https://info.umkc.edu/staffcouncil/contact-us/.

Although we recognize we face challenging times, we want to give you some resources that may bring clarity and peace of mind at UMKC:


  • Employee Assistance Program: We would like to remind you of the Saint Luke’s LIFEWISE EAP resources that are available to all staff, faculty and their dependents. Schedule your appointment today by calling 816-931-3073 or toll-free at 1-800-327-1223 during business hours: 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday.
  • Staff Ombudsperson: Staff at the University of Missouri-Kansas City have an independent, impartial, informal and confidential resource at their disposal. An ombudsperson offers a safe place for an off-the-record conversation about your work at UMKC. Our Staff Ombudsperson is available, even while we are working from home. For more information: https://info.umkc.edu/help/ombuds/


Other Resources Available

  • UMKC Rec: Swinney Rec Center continues to offer free live workouts on their Instagram page, @umkcrec. If you haven’t yet, give them a follow and check out the #StayFitChallenge. You can also find their archived workouts on YouTube by clicking HERE. 
  • UM Remote Yoga: UM System is still hosting its biweekly yoga classes via Zoom. It’s not too late to join in on Mondays at 3 pm or on Thursdays at 8:30 am. You can find the Zoom meeting information HERE, under the “Personal well-being” heading. 
  • Sanvello: The Sanvello app provides on-demand help for stress and anxiety, and offers a virtual platform where you can meaningfully connect with others. Right now, premium access is free for everyone. Try out one of their mindfulness activities, such as the “Awareness of Emotions” guided meditation.

Thank you for your honest communication, personal sacrifice, teamwork, and commitment to this campus. We appreciate you for everything you have done for UMKC, and for continuing to support student success.

In this Together.

Staff Council Executive Committees

2018-2020                                                                                           2020-2022

Roland Hemmings, Chair                                                                   Karen King, Chair
Karen King                                                                                         Alexandra Schumacher
Brittany Bummer                                                                                Brittany Bummer
Meghan Dooley                                                                                 Hannah Litwiller
Megan Gonzalez                                                                                Elora Thomas
Lona Davenport                                                                                 KC Atchinson & Emily Reeb



Staff Spotlight: Deborah Phillips

Deborah running in the Prairie Fire Marathon, October 2017

Department: Information Services/IS Administration.  I will have been at UMKC 15 years in June 2020.

What do you do at UMKC? Our department is the divisional business office for eleven different departments. We buy a lot of stuff and we pay a lot of bills.  We hire people and we make sure our people get paid.  That’s the most succinct way I can summarize what our department does. That doesn’t tell you what all we do, but it’s a good summary.

What is your favorite thing about working at UMKC? I’ve always liked the work, the people and the environment. I like serving on committees and I like leading the Walking Group. I like the flexibility I have and the excellent benefits provided by UM.

What are some things you do while you are not at UMKC? I’m a runner.  However, while I was previously sidelined with injury, I got to spend a lot of time reading books.  I don’t read fiction, unless it is accurate historical fiction or semi-fiction based in reality. I especially like history, biographies, medical and sports genres. I also like spending time with our four children and their spouses and our seven grandchildren.

What is your favorite place to eat in Kansas City? We don’t eat out much, but we really like the Salsa Grill and Johnny’s BBQ, both in Mission. We also love to bring home burrito bowls from Chipotle. Honestly, usually the company is more important than the food.

Deborah hiking in Menlo Park, California

Who inspires you?  My father-in-law, who died about ten years ago. I really miss him.  A living person who inspires me would be one of my husband’s first cousins.  She’s been a quadriplegic most of her life since a spinal cord injury when she was 13 (oh, my, how things would be different if she were to sustain that same injury today.) She has accomplished much more with what God has given her than most able-bodied people will accomplish in their lifetimes.

Do you have any favorite books, films or musicians?

Movies: (In alphabetical order) A Few Good Men, Apollo 13, Babe, Catch Me If You Can, Dances With Wolves, Driving Miss Daisy, Lincoln, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, October Sky, Quiz Show, Taking Chance, The Aviator, The Bone Collector, The Fugitive, Walk the Line

Musicians:  Building 429, Casting Crowns, Newsboys, Skillet, Danny Gokey, Chris Tomlin.

Too many! (not in alphabetical or any other particular order): The Bible, The Man from the Train, The Long Run: A New York City Firefighter’s Triumphant Comeback, Bowerman & the Men of Oregon, Working Stiff, Go Down Together, Olympic Collision, Something the Lord Made, Every Second Counts: The Race to Transplant the First Human Heart, Bodies We’ve Buried, Born to Run, 14 Minutes, The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances, Waterlogged: The Serious Problem of Over-hydration in Endurance Sports, and many, many more.