UMKC announces more than $50M in planned investment, eight program eliminations, department restructuring

UMKC announces more than $50M in planned investment, eight program eliminations, department restructuring

Connor Stewart

Chancellor Agrawal announced that UMKC will invest over $50 million in the next three years on Tuesday as part of the UMKC Forward initiative. The plan also calls for the elimination of eight programs and restructuring of multiple departments. 

The university plans to invest the $50 million into additional student support and advising, increasing the school’s research capacity, and expanding opportunities for student engagement in internships and volunteer work. 

As part of the initiative, the following eight programs and certificates will be eliminated:

  • B.S. in Public Health
  • Master of Arts in Liberal Studies
  • Master of Arts in Sociology
  • Master of Arts in Studio Art 
  • Counseling E.D.S.P. 
  • Urban Affairs L.L.M.
  • Entrepreneurship Ph.D. 
  • Theatre M.A. 
  • Gerontology Certificate

In addition to the eliminated programs, seven are still under review, including the B.A. in Urban Studies, the M.A. in Art History and the 2 year Architectural Studies programs. 

Several departments will merge into three new schools: The School for Science, Engineering and Technology, the School of Education and Applied Behavioral Sciences and the School of Arts, Culture and Social Sciences.

The university plans to spend an additional $5 million to hire new tenure and tenure-track faculty. As part of the department mergers, UMKC is also anticipating needing to search for additional deans for all new units.

Agrawal stated that the money for the UMKC Forward initiative will come from a budget realignment and increased revenue from enrollment and philanthropy, including a future capital campaign. 

While enrollment at UMKC has decreased for the past 5 years, Director of Strategic Communications John Martellaro stated that tuition rates would not increase as part of the projected increase in revenue from enrollment. 

Agrawal stated during Tuesday’s announcement that there will be no large-scale layoffs as part of UMKC Forward. 

“I must make it clear that none of this is going to be based on any organized layoffs for faculty or staff,” Agrawal said.

UMKC has, however, eliminated multiple administrative positions, which can be found on the initiative’s progress checklist.

The university is planning to replace FaCET, a resource center for faculty, with the Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence (CAFE). This program will launch in the summer of 2021.

“UMKC has a long tradition of providing valuable teaching support to our faculty through FaCET,” said Provost Jenny Lundgren. “CAFE will build on that foundation, offering expanded programming and resources to support all pillars of faculty life: teaching and learning, research and creativity, service and engagement, career progression and leadership development.”

Multiple students received the news of the initiative with enthusiasm, including SGA President Mahreen Ansari 

“We took COVID-19 as an opportunity to reimagine how our campus works,” Ansari said. “UMKC Forward is going to be the initiative that continues to push the university into the future, even further than we previously thought.”

UMKC Men of Color President Nabil Abas also showed their enthusiasm for the strategic initiative on Twitter.

“Taking COVID-19 as an opportunity to reimagine how to move forward!” Abas said. “This plan is a result of just that!”