Report- Out Reflects on Campus Community, Plans for the Future

A variety of plans to ensure that everyone on campus has a voice were announced by Chancellor Leo Morton and Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer at a UMKC Report-Out Forum Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Report-Out Forum was the final meeting in a series of listening sessions designed to improve the climate of diversity and relations in the UMKC community. The session summarized the work that a committee of campus leader had been working on in the last few months.

“Ultimately, when we looked back at time, we wanted to ensure that we had taken action, but it was important to do it together,” Chancellor Morton said regarding collaborating with campus community members on concerns and ideas.

As a result of past meetings, actions already taken include the installation of Muslim prayer rooms on campus. To further assess concerns, a climate survey is in the works. The survey will be administered in the fall and results are expected by spring of the next year.

A one-step web page for a collection of resources such as reporting on bias, climate, the workplace, and resolving other issues is also being planned.

The changes are expected to provide more privacy and security for anyone reporting issues. In addition, a “graduate student task-force” will be formed to address issues that are particular for graduate students.

One of the major concerns expressed during the session was that faculty feel as though they don’t have a voice. A lot of the committee’s work has been in addressing that issue and ensuring that everyone has avenues in which they can feel heard. Another concern is hiring more diverse staff.

“We have to be continually thinking about diversity and inclusion and continually improving in that,” Bichelmeyer said.

Although this was the final listening session following four previous meetings, improvements to the campus community and gathering of ideas will continue.

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