Wayne Vaught, Dean
Wayne Vaught is Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and professor of Philosophy, Medicine and Bioethics. He came to UMKC in the fall of 1998 and holds a joint appointment between the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Medicine. His Ph.D. in Philosophy, with a concentration in Medical Ethics, is from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
Dean Vaught’s primary research is in biomedical ethics, with a focus on ethical issues in pediatrics. He has published several papers in leading ethics journals including The Hastings Center Report, The Journal of Clinical Ethics and Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics. He is co-author of Ethics Across the Professions, Oxford University Press. Dean Vaught regularly teaches a popular anchor course “Money, Medicine and Morals” for the UMKC General Education Core.
In addition to his role as Dean of the College of Arts & Science, Dean Vaught has served as an expert consultant and advisor for ethics education for health professionals, including Truman Medical Center in Kansas City and Children’s Mercy Hospital and can regularly be heard on the radio as one of KCUR’s “Ethics Professors.” In his “free” time Dean Vaught is often sighted on the basketball court refereeing for local high schools.
John Herron, Associate Dean
As Associate Dean, Dr. John Herron oversees all faculty and graduate affairs and undergraduate student recruitment for the College of Arts and Sciences. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of History as well as Associate Director of the UMKC Honors College. His teaching reaches far beyond the History Department and includes anchor courses in the UMKC general education core, various classes in the Honors College curriculum and study abroad courses. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of New Mexico.
A social historian of 19th century America, Dr. Herron is particularly interested in the intersection between the environment and American culture. His books on the topic include Human/Nature and Science and the Social Good. Dr. Herron also maintains a research interest in regional studies with several forthcoming projects on local urban, public and environmental history.
When not managing his many demanding roles at UMKC, you might spot Dr. Herron discussing American league baseball at Crow’s Coffee Shop.
Follow Dr. Herron on Twitter: @jpherron86
Michael Kruger, Associate Dean
As Associate Dean, Dr. Michael Kruger oversees finance, research and international recruitment for the College of Arts & Sciences. He is a Curators’ Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Dr. Kruger’s teaching ranges from Sports and General Physics to Electromagnetism, Optics and Quantum Mechanics. He holds a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California-Berkeley.
In his research, Dr. Kruger specializes in experimental condensed matter physics and leads a Condensed Matter Physics Research Group at UMKC. He is widely published in his field, but has a passion for igniting interest in physics for all students. To that end he has developed a textbook with Dr. Jerzy Wrobel called Physics in Sports.
When not managing the fiscal matters for the College of Arts & Sciences or working as a faculty advisor to the UMKC chapter of the Society of Physics Students, Dr. Kruger is the Science Consultant to the Baseball Rules Committee of the National Federation of State High School Associations. In his leisure time Dr. Kruger especially delights in having his family come together for shared activities and conversation.
Kati Toivanen, Associate Dean
As Associate Dean, Kati Toivanen oversees all undergraduate affairs as well as marketing for the College of Arts and Sciences. She is a Professor of Studio Art in the Department of Art and Art History. Born and raised in Finland, Professor Toivanen came to UMKC in 1998 and has taught courses in digital imaging, computer multimedia, foundation digital design and professional practices for artists. Toivanen earned an MFA degree in Studio Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
In her creative research, Professor Toivanen explores personal history and narrative through imagery, objects and installations. She often incorporates elements of play and games into her artworks. Recently, her studio practice has expanded to include several temporary public art projects in the Kansas City region.
When not making art, teaching or managing the undergraduate programs for the College of Arts & Sciences, you may catch a glimpse of Professor Toivanen running through the streets of Kansas City training for her next marathon.
Artist website: www.katitoivanen.com
Director of CAS Scholarships and BLA Online Program
Liz Barton, Director of CAS Scholarships and BLA Online Program
As the Director of Scholarships for UMKC’s College of Arts and Sciences, Liz supports the College’s stewardship efforts by facilitating student involvement with donors and administrators. She is an advocate for scholarships and works to educate both the UMKC and Kansas City communities on the importance of financially helping students achieve their academic goals.
Liz is a proud UMKC graduate. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts as well as a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration. When she is not cheering on her beloved Roos, she enjoys travelling abroad, competing in charity races, playing with her two young children and exploring Kansas City.
Lana Burke, Sr. Receptionist
As the Senior Receptionist, Lana serves as the main gatekeeper to the Dean’s Office. She supports the Executive Assistant with matters relating to the Dean and Associate Deans and serves as the Building Liaison to Scofield Hall. Lana grew up in Southern California and attended schools in the LA region before moving to Amarillo, Texas, where she attended Amarillo College, majoring in liberal arts.
In her spare time Lana likes to read, watch movies of all kinds, take in a good concert and spend time with her daughter and grandsons.
Sr. Office Support Specialist
Jennifer Burrus, Sr. Office Support Specialist
As a Senior Office Support Specialist, Jennifer provides support to the College of Arts and Sciences Associate Deans in the areas of research and finance, faculty affairs (including promotion and tenure), awards and graduate programs. She holds a BA in Communications from DePauw University, a teaching licensure in Secondary English and Social Studies and an MA in History from UMKC.
In her spare time, Jennifer is a beekeeper and competes in triathlons. She also likes dance and theatre, cooking and scary movies. She has two teenage sons.
Emma Casey, Sr. Recruiter
As the Senior Student Recruitment Specialist for the College of Arts and Sciences, Emma manages all recruitment efforts for the College. She works primarily with transfer students and enjoys building personalized campus visits based upon student’s specific interests. She aims to be a resource and to simplify the process of applying and transferring to UMKC.
Emma holds a Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance from the University of Kansas and a Master of Music in Flute Performance from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. When she is not cheering on the Jayhawks, Roos or Kansas City Royals, Emma enjoys mentoring student musicians and being involved in Kansas City’s performing arts scene. She runs a private flute studio and is also an active freelance and chamber musician.
Marion During, Marketing Specialist
As the Marketing Specialist, Marion oversees all marketing efforts for the College of Arts and Sciences, but mainly works on projects involving student recruitment and retention. She also manages the College’s social media accounts and weekly student newsletter. She enjoys the diversity on campus and learning about UMKC’s rich history as Kansas City’s university.
Marion attended the University of Alabama where she received Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism and American Studies and a Master’s Degree in American Studies. She is an avid nature lover and enjoys hiking, running and exploring Kansas City with her husband, young daughter and two French Bulldogs.
Director of Development and Gift Planning
Jason Elliott, Director of Development and Gift Planning
As Director of Major Gifts for the College of Arts and Sciences, Jason Elliott works to increase support for the College by connecting and building relationships with CAS alumni and donors. He enjoys being able to help alumni give back in an impactful way, particularly those whose lives were changed because of UMKC. Jason has worked at UMKC for just over two years and holds a BA in Mass Communications and Broadcasting from Winona State University.
When he’s not cheering on his beloved Minnesota Twins or Minnesota Vikings, you can find Jason running, spending time with family or rocking out to Bruce Springsteen.
Director of Advancement
Karen English, Director of Advancement
As the Director of Advancement for the College of Arts and Sciences, Karen oversees all things “alumni.” She also works with Special Events for community and constituent outreach events and assists in fundraising and scholarships. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Kansas and has been with UMKC for almost two decades.
In her spare time, Karen likes to socialize with friends and family, read and make crafts. She is inspired by people who treat others with respect and who will do anything to make a project or event successful.
Sr. Executive Assistant
Susan Hankins, Sr. Executive Assistant
As the Senior Executive Assistant, Susan serves as Dean Vaught’s assistant. She also provides support for the College’s three associate deans, the Council of Chairs and all CAS faculty. She is a staff liaison between the departments, the Dean’s office and the Administrative Center for many processes. She works with search committees when hiring new full-time faculty and plans many events for the College.
Susan has been with UMKC for nearly a decade. She loves the diversity of campus and the energy students and faculty exude as they work together in classrooms, in research and in the community.
Sr. Office Support Specialist
Alicen Lundberg, Sr. Office Support Specialist
As a Senior Office Support Specialist, Alicen supports the CAS Associate Deans, primarily in the areas of curriculum development, academic affairs, online education and student retention efforts. She enjoys working with students on using their personal strengths to promote academic success and integrity. She attended Truman State University, where she received BAs in Philosophy/Religion and English and an MA in English.
Alicen spends much of her time outside of work in the imaginary worlds and pillow forts made by her two small children. She also enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, binge watching television and dancing like no one is watching.
Kevin Miller, Sr. Recruiter
As a Senior Recruitment Specialist, Kevin is the face of the College of Arts and Sciences to high school students and at various events around the Kansas City metro. He helps facilitate student’s admission to UMKC and enjoys showing off this beautiful campus. He has a passion for helping students continue their quest for knowledge and grow as individuals and professionals. He attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston where he received a Bachelor of Music in Contemporary Writing and Production.
When he is not touting the benefits of a liberal arts education, Kevin enjoys reading historical nonfiction, playing guitar, taking his dog Franklin on walks around the city and spending time with family and friends.
Hea Kyung Shoemaker
HR Business Partner
Hea Kyung Shoemaker, Sr. Business Support Specialist
As a HR Support Partner, Hea Kyung serves as the Human Resources Facilitator for the College of Arts and Sciences. She acts as a liaison between Human Resources, Academic Units and all CAS Departments and Programs regarding HR policies and procedures. She also assists with training administrative support personnel and oversees and processes HR related issues for all CAS faculty and staff.
Hea Kyung has been with UMKC for over 10 years and holds a BA from South Korea. In her spare time she loves to read and ride bikes with her family.
Business Support Specialist II
Jordan Simpson, Business Support Specialist II
As a Business Support Specialist, Jordan Simpson supports the financial and human resources operations of the College of Arts and Sciences and assists with training and budget planning. He holds a MA in Theological Studies from Nazarene Theological Seminary and BA in Political Science and History from Olivet Nazarene University.
Jordan is an avid reader and correspondingly spends excessive amounts of time at libraries and used bookstores. When he’s not reading he escapes to the outdoors for long hikes and camping trips.
Web and E-Communications Specialist
Linda Smitka, Web and E-Communications Specialist
As the Web and E-Communications Specialist, Linda oversees the College of Arts and Sciences websites and provides IT support to faculty and staff in the College. She has worked at UMKC for over three decades and has been in the Dean’s Office for the last two.
Linda holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree from UMKC. In her spare time she enjoys doing home-improvement projects, spending time with her grandkids and traveling.
Director of Business Affairs
Jim Utech, Director of Business Affairs
As the Director of Business Affairs, Jim oversees all fiscal responsibilities for the College of Arts and Sciences, including budgeting, forecasting, analysis and fund reviews, as well as oversight of financial transactions, audits, credit cards, systems access and funding allocations. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance from Emporia State University and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Tulsa.
Jim has been with UMKC for two years and enjoys the diversity of the faculty, staff and students on campus.