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Addressing the Cost of Higher Education: Open Educational Resources reduce costs for students, enhance learning

Male student wearing UMKC shirt with laptopThe cost of higher education is an issue, and one the University of Missouri-Kansas City is addressing.

As part of the four-campus University of Missouri System, UMKC has had one of the lowest rates of tuition increase in the U.S. during the past decade. And despite this year’s tuition increase of 1 percent, efforts to keep the overall cost of education are continuing, and are working.

For example, in June 2017, the University of Missouri-Kansas City joined UM System in the Affordable & Open Educational Resources (A&OER) program to save students money on textbooks and other course materials. Continue reading

CAS Alumnus and Kauffman School Founder/CEO to receive UMKC Bill French Alumni Service Award

Hannah Lofthus poses for a headshotHannah Lofthus, who received Bachelors of Arts in Philosophy and Political Science from UMKC in 2007, has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the UMKC Bill French Alumni Award. Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes individual alumni and one family with top honors.

UMKC will honor Lofthus and other outstanding alumni at the 2018 Alumni Awards event on Friday, June 15. The reception is one of UMKC’s largest events, with proceeds going to support student scholarships. In the last decade, the Alumni Awards event has garnered more than $1 million in scholarships and immediate aid for students. Continue reading

CAS Director of Student Services Receives 2018 UMKC Staff Council Award

Becky Bergman poses for a picture with her 2018 staff award in her officeRebecca Bergman, Director of Student Services for the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences, is the 2018 recipient of the UMKC Human Resources Staff Excellence Award. Bergman received the award on Thursday, April 26, 2018, during the Staff Awards Reception.

CAS Associate Dean and Studio Art Professor Kati Toivanen nominated Bergman for the competitive award because of her ongoing service to the entire UMKC community, specifically the College of Arts and Sciences. Continue reading

Christopher D. Harris receives College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Award

UMKC Alumn Chris Harris speaks during the Spring 2018 Graduation with Distinction LuncheonFor more than 20 years, Chris Harris has devoted his time to transforming urban land into green spaces and recreation areas.

He developed the Harris Park Midtown Sports and Activities Center in the late 1990s, which turned a vacant lot in urban Kansas City, Missouri, into a beautiful park with a playground and basketball court. Since then, Harris has built the park into not only a recreational facility, but also an educational environment that helps youth and adults cultivate basic life skills, self-esteem, and respect for others and property.

He is also working on building a state-of-the-art, nine-hole putting green as a way to bring golf to the urban area. At UMKC, he was awarded the Bernard Osher Reentry Scholarship, which gave him the opportunity to advance his philanthropic initiatives and his career. Harris currently serves as a housing locator at Truman Medical Center.

His career achievements led him to be named the 2018 Alumni Achievement Award winner for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Continue reading

Dr. Joseph Hartman Receives Graham Foundation Grant

Graphic of the names of the Graham Foundation's 2018 grant recipientsDr. Joseph Hartman, Assistant Professor in the UMKC Department of Art and Art History and Latinx and Latin American Studies program, recently received an internationally competitive grant from the Graham Foundation, one of the most significant funders in the field of architecture. Hartman was one of only 74 proposals selected out of over 600 applicants worldwide.

“This award will surely go down as one of the proudest moments of my career,” Hartman said. “To gain recognition from a world-renowned architectural organization like the Graham is affirming not only to the quality of my research but also to the rising visibility and importance of Caribbean, Latin American and Latinx communities.” Continue reading

Hadara Bar-Nadav Publishes New Collection of Poetry

Book cover for Hadara Bar-Hadav's collection of poems The New NudityEnglish Professor Hadara Bar-Nadav recently published a new collection of poetry, The New Nudity, which shocks everyday objects to life. In these chiseled, electrically-charged poems, a ladder, a wineglass and a spine ignite into being. With a nod to Francis Ponge, Gertrude Stein and Pablo Neruda, Bar-Nadav’s poems have a heartbeat all their own, small miracles that haunt and heave. Continue reading

Kansas City Philanthropist and Children’s Health Advocate Receives Honorary Doctorate, Gives Commencement Address

David Westbrook gives the commencement address during Spring 2018 College of Arts and Sciences Commencement CeremoniesUnhindered by juvenile glaucoma that took his sight at age 17, David Westbrook (B.A. ’71) has proven that vision has nothing to do with one’s ability to see. He founded Corporate Communications Group, a communications and public relations firm he sold before taking his talent and dedication to longtime client Children’s Mercy.

Westbrook attributes his lifetime of success to his parents and to the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His alma mater awarded him with an honorary doctorate at the 2018 College of Arts and Sciences commencement ceremony, and he gave the address to the graduating class at Swinney Recreation Center on campus.

“This is not a defining moment, this is a moment of celebration,” said Westbrook, who holds bachelor’s degrees in English and psychology from UMKC. “Defining moments are with your professors and your friends.” Continue reading

LGBTQ-Themed Student Exhibit Receives National Council on Public History Award

In 1966, the NACHO planning meeting was held in the State Hotel, visible on the left in this view near 12th and Wyandotte. Courtesy: Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri.A University of Missouri-Kansas City student-produced LGBTQ-themed exhibit, currently being displayed at the UMKC Miller Nichols Library, has received a Student Project Award from the National Council on Public History. The exhibit can be viewed on the third floor of UMKC Miller Nichols Library through April 8, and is available online.

The Student Project Award is given to an outstanding public history student venture initiated as academic coursework and implemented and recognized beyond the classroom for its contribution to the field of public history. “Making History: Kansas City and the Rise of Gay Rights” was submitted by UMKC students Taylor C. Bye, Kathryn B. Carpenter, Samantha Hollingsworth, Leah Palmer (now an alumna), Kevin Ploth and Jennifer Tufts. Continue reading

Researching Saints: English Department Chair Receives NEH Grant

National Endowment for the Humanities New Grant Recipients photo collageDr. Virginia Blanton, professor and chair of the UMKC Department of English Language and Literatures, recently received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is the only 2018 recipient in the state of Missouri.

“I have a big job ahead,” said Blanton, who joined the UMKC faculty in 2002. Her awarded project is a book-length study on the lives of saints in medieval England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Continue reading

Students Chime in on Hot Topic Discussion: Urban Planning Seniors Present Comprehensive Study on Affordable Housing in Kansas City

Spring-2018-Senior-StudioAffordable housing has been a hot topic in the Kansas City community for decades, and more recently due to new downtown housing developments and the continued revitalization of Troost Avenue. As city officials develop new housing policies, students from the University of Missouri-Kansas City have played a significant role in the community conversation.

A group of seven urban planning undergraduates spent the spring semester researching the city’s housing affordability issues as part of their final project in professor Stephanie Frank’s planning and design studio class. Seniors Sean Thomas, Dave McCumber, Billie Hufford, Thomas Kimmel, Taylor Vande Velde, Rawya Alrammah and Alexander Gilbertson put together a comprehensive planning study on housing affordability in Kansas City. Each student researched and wrote one chapter in the study. They recently sat down to discuss the background and recommendations included in their study. Continue reading

Two CAS Alumni Receive Fulbright Awards

Fulbright US Student Program logoTwo College of Arts and Sciences alumni have been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program Award to continue their research and scholarship. Sydney Harvey, who received her Bachelors of Arts in Philosophy and Film from UMKC in 2016, will study in the United Kingdom; and Marc Reyes, who received his Master of Arts in History from UMKC in 2014, will study in India.

Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has given more than 380,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, professionals and scientists the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Continue reading

Two UMKC French Alums Receive Fund for Teachers Grants

Three teachers in Independence, Missouri, hold signs about their 2018 Fund for Teachers grantsTwo UMKC French alumni, Katy Foudree Owens and Brandi Pruente have been awarded Fund for Teachers Grants to attend the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) congress in Martinique this summer.

The AATF convention is an immersion opportunity allowing educators to work on their French language skills while learning more about teaching practices.

“We in the Foreign Languages and Literatures Department, particularly in French, are thrilled for their success,” said UMKC French professor Dr. Kathy Krause. Continue reading

UMKC Art History Professor named a Visiting Fellow at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

Courtesan (after Eisen) Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), Paris, October-November 1887Professor Frances Connelly, Ph.D., a professor in the UMKC Department of Art and Art History, will serve as a Visiting Fellow at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in June 2018. While there, she will lead a seminar as part of the “Van Gogh Museum Visiting Fellow in the History of Nineteenth Century Art” program.

The Van Gogh Museum’s program, now entering its 12th year, brings foreign scholars annually to the Netherlands to teach a seminar in 19th century art to graduate students and professionals. Connelly’s seminar is entitled The Grotesque in Late Nineteenth-Century Art. It will explore the workings of the grotesque in this unsettled and unsettling period and explore why it is a particularly powerful means to grapple with its social upheavals and cultural shifts. Continue reading

UMKC Galaxy Evolution Group Assists with Planned Observations with Next Great Space Observatory

UMKC Galaxy Evolution GroupThe James Webb Space Telescope, the scientific successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, is scheduled to launch in the spring of 2020. It is expected to make history as the largest astronomical observatory ever sent into space, and University of Missouri-Kansas City scientists and students will be among those getting the earliest access to it. Continue reading

UMKC’s Conservatory of Music and Dance and Department of Theatre Re-Envision New Home for all UMKC Performing Arts Programs

UMKC Theatre PerformanceFaculty in two nationally recognized performing arts programs at the University of Missouri-Kansas City have voted in support of a merger of the Conservatory of Music and Dance and the Department of Theatre.

The proposed merger is designed to strengthen both programs by opening up new and expanded opportunities for performance, composition and research at the University that for decades has been designated as Missouri’s Campus for the Visual and Performing Arts by the University of Missouri System. Continue reading

UMKC’s Urban Planning + Design Program Earns National Recognition

Urban Planning + DesignThe Urban Planning + Design program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City has earned accreditation from the Planning Accreditation Board, which accredits university programs in North America leading to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in planning.

“We are very pleased that the Planning Accreditation Board has recognized the quality of teaching and learning in our program,” said Michael Frisch, Ph.D., AICP, associate professor and director of the program. “It signifies that our program has been rigorously reviewed by national experts in urban planning, and found to produce graduates who meet the expectations of the planning profession.” Continue reading

VFW puts more “ease” into UMKC’s At Ease Zone

Lynn Roth, III, Nick Lopez and Ethan Alexander pose for a photo on the new couch in the UMKC At Ease ZoneThe National Headquarters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars has put a little more “ease” into the UMKC At Ease Zone. The VFW recently presented student veterans with a much-desired couch for the space, along with a new coffee maker and a networked printer.

The UMKC At Ease Zone, located on the second floor of Cherry Hall on UMKC’s Volker Campus, supports UMKC student veterans as they transition into community and campus life. The At Ease Zone is a collaboration between the College of Arts and Sciences’ School of Social Work and the UMKC Dean of Students.

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