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Chancellor Agrawal’s Vision for UMKC

UMKC’s chancellor outlines plans to deepen connections with Kansas City and propel the university.

  With five years behind him, Chancellor Agrawal looks forward to growing community connections, increasing research funding, and developing UMKC’s campus for future Roos in his next half decade with the university. 

Community Connections 

  The recent Chiefs partnership, UMKC’s involvement with the Kansas City Zoo and Aquarium, Royals and Sporting KC, led Agrawal to seek even more ways to strengthen the bond with the Kansas City community.  

  He mentioned a potential partnership with women’s sports organizations as they grow in KC, as well as working on the branding of existing connections. 

  The chancellor said he also hopes to grow the university by making physical changes that will encourage students not only to live on campus but for commuter students to stay on campus for longer.

  Closing 51st Street from Miller Nichols Library to the Student Union is one effort to make UMKC more pedestrian-friendly and enjoyable to walk through. 

  In the future, Agrawal said UMKC will make the Streetcar station an area that promotes community and prioritizes student needs. 

  “Whatever is there will be the first impression of UMKC for people,” Chancellor Agrawal said. “This can become a very important destination point and gives us the opportunity to develop the western gateway to UMKC.”

Brookside Project

  While the Chancellor said he would prioritize the university’s needs for the 51st Street plot development, the Board of Curators and stakeholders like the students and faculty will determine which needs the plot will meet.   

  The Brookside project is still in its proposal stage, and the chancellor said they are considering a student-friendly retail center, on-campus housing, and an arena. The administration is hoping to make significant progress in the next five years to stay in line with the Streetcar development. 

  However, more on-campus housing is not needed yet according to Agrawal since the dorms are not at full capacity. Once there is a consistently high rate of occupancy at the existing residencies, he said he will consider providing more housing.

  According to the chancellor, dorm evacuations are due to HVAC issues and residents flushing items down the toilet and smoking. Some improvements are still being funded to improve dorms, but new housing is not a priority. 

  An arena, however, is needed to elevate our D1 athletics while also providing a space for graduations and the bi-annual campus concert. 

Research Priorities

  One of the greatest achievements that Chancellor Agrawal has accomplished for UMKC is the growth of research. His projected goals for ten years were completed in five, and he said he hopes to keep the momentum going.

  UMKC is currently an R2 university which indicates research is important to the university but does not receive funding or produce graduates like an R1 college. The chancellor said UMKC is close to earning an R1 classification but the requirements change each year. 

  While no research topic is discouraged at UMKC, STEM fields are making the most progress. 

  “We will focus on some areas that we can see emerging,” Agrawal said. “But we don’t restrict any faculty member from doing any kind of research. It is their choice.”

  Currently, AI, mental health, pharmacy and biomedical topics are arising as some of the strongest research fields at UMKC according to Agrawal. However, the humanities are still supported and needed to achieve an R1 status. 

  Outside of research, the chancellor is also prioritizing retention by supporting programs like First Generation Roo and Escalators. A greater focus on graduate students and community building will help both priorities. 

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    AustinSep 27, 2023 at 12:46 pm

    cool to see the streetcar station expand to UMKC. think that will give positive results to commuters in the area!