Check out UMKC Today’s profile on Keichanda Dees-Burnett, our Director of Multicultural Student Affairs and Co-interim Dean of Students. Anyone who has worked with Keichanda knows what a great source of support she is for students, especially underrepresented minorities. Her drive and passion are evident in her work, as she truly embodies our Culture of Care. Many kudos and thanks to Keichanda!
- What do you currently do at UMKC?
My current position is Manager of Infrastructure Services, (formally Telecommunications). We are responsible for installation and maintenance of the campus network cabling, both inside the buildings and the outside plant servicing them.
- How long have you worked here and what did you do when you first started working here?
I have worked for the University for 18 ½ years, 3 ½ years as a contractor for the School of Dentistry and 15 years working in the Networking and Telecommunication Department. I began my career as an installer of low voltage cable and components.
- How did you choose UMKC?
I choose UMKC for the stability of an educational institute and the benefits it had to offer my family, both medical and educational. The opportunity to help with the education process was a huge factor – it feels good knowing the service we provide makes a difference in the lives of so many. Finally, the ability to retire someday is very appealing.
- Does the workload increase in the summer or as we approach the start of the fall semester?
The summer allows us to catch up on any outside work that was postponed due to weather or climate changes. The start of the fall semester is one of our busiest times of the year – lots of moves, adds, and changes to our network architecture. This is also the time of the year when the university usually completes a major project, adding to the work load. It’s good, keeps us sharp and focused.
- Is there anything about your job that you think the campus population in general doesn’t know about?
Maybe the miles of cable under their feet as they walk around the campus. We have an extensive underground network of conduits and cable. It’s because of this elaborate series of pipes, tunnels and manholes we are able to provide service to some many buildings. Some very forward thinking individuals made that possible many years ago.
- I understand you like to participate in Extreme Sports. Which sports specifically do you do and which one(s) do you like most?
I am into the extreme sports. I enjoy skateboarding, snowboarding, wakeboarding, bmx, mountain biking, and motocross. My favorite was always skateboarding, with snowboarding a close second.
- Do you do these events on weekends and/or vacations?
I typically ride with friends; same friends I have been riding with for years. We try to get together on nights and weekends; that may be a street session downtown or meet up at a local skatepark, or trails, depending on what we are riding. A group of us go out to Colorado every year to snowboard, weather permitting we hit the skatepark in Denver every chance we get. We have been known to take road trips to different locations; taking bikes, boards, ATV’s and the boat all in one trip.
- When did you begin participating in Extreme Sports and what drew you to them?
I got my first board when I was 5 or so, not sure where it came from. It was a cheap plastic knockoff of a Zephyr board, but I rode it until the wheels fell off. It was my first mode of transportation, and love at first ride.
- Do you have specific goals in these sports?
Not to fall, I’m getting older and not so easy to recover. Seriously, I just enjoy the excitement. I’ve always been fascinated with fear and facing mine. No better way to test your abilities.
- Do you train and participate in competitions?
Generally skateboarding and bmx take place on the streets, skateparks or a track. The metro area has several locations to choose from – Pleasant Valley, Penn Valley, Hill Park, Pink Hill, Raytown BMX just to name a few of my favorites. Snowboarding is a little harder to accomplish here in the Midwest but we get it done. We have Snow Creek up in Weston, MO. to tune up for Colorado.
- Where do you go to participate in Extreme Sports?
I’ve ridden at Keystone, Breckenridge, Copper, and A-Basin in Colorado. Our plan is to keep adding to that list each year.
The Advocacy Committee is planning a series of articles to spotlight the complex issues and situations staff members face in their work and personal lives. Some planned topics include:
- Staff as Parents
- Staff as Caretakers
- Staff and Professional Development
- Staff as Students
If you have any issues that you would like to see addressed, within or outside of the topics above, please email the committee or use the contact form on the right side of this screen.