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Two academic mergers within UMKC

Not one, but two mergers of academic departments have recently taken place at UMKC. The Department of Theater has joined together with the Conservatory of Music and Dance, and the Department of Chemistry has merged with the Department of Biological Sciences.

Chancellor Mauli Agrawal revealed this development in a letter sent to all staff and students in late March. Voting on the unification of the two pairs took place in May of last year.

According to the chancellor’s letter, these mergers will strengthen the departments involved.

“In each case, natural partners are aligning,” said Agrawal.

Vice Chancellor and Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer, a strong advocate for the mergers, outlined the benefits by coupling the four departments.
For the biology and chemistry programs, Bichelmeyer listed the ways in which consolidation would improve collaboration and efficiency. Along with these reasons, she emphasized the role of the departments as “the primary feeder programs” of the Hospital Hill campus.

As to the merging of the theater department with the conservatory, Bichelmeyer said, “​A unified performing arts school would enhance the scope of creative activity in the performing arts, allow the faculty to grow new cross-disciplinary programs and link existing programs, provide new opportunities for students, new research areas for faculty and enhance our productivity.”

Though the official start date of the departmental consolidations will be July 1, the mergers have already taken place.

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