Provost discusses University College, downtown arts campus

Nathan Zoschke

What goals do you have in mind for the University College? Is there a timeline associated with these goals?

University College will enroll its first students in the fall semester of 2012.

It is designed to help incoming undeclared/exploratory students, and continuing students in transition between majors, make purposeful decisions regarding their academic plans.

Its physical location in the Student Success Center will facilitate student interaction with key support services. Cross-college advising and participation of faculty from across the university will facilitate students’ exploration and ultimate connection to the academic unit of their major.

The University College mission is to offer every exploratory student the opportunity for success through engagement with faculty and staff, the development of educational plans and the clarification of career and life goals. The University College will facilitate a UMKC connection with faculty and staff in a purposeful way, which has been proven to positively affect student persistence and degree completion.

The University College program will include UNIV 101, the cornerstone course required of all incoming students. The course is based on guidelines established by the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience. Students will pick from UNIV 101 seminars with variable content based on their interests. Through the study of this topic of interest, students will develop key academic skills, connect with a potential faculty mentor and move toward declaration of an academic program.

This University College model aligns with a national trend toward providing more intervention and assistance to first-year students, particularly those who have not yet declared their major. The concept has been successful at numerous campuses including Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Arizona State.


How will this impact current and future students?


 Exploratory students will receive a hi gher level of support to help them identify their skills and interests, explore a variety of opportunities and develop an appropriate educational plan. The end result is expected to be a higher level of overall student success.

Would general education requirements be different for students in the University College? How so?

Students in University College will receive advising according to their developing interests and plans. Every effort will be made to help students plan coursework to keep their options open until they have chosen a major.

How was the University College envisioned?


University College was envisioned as a program that would emulate existing programs at other universities that have produced positive results for undeclared or exploratory students. As the Founding Dean of University College at Arizona State, I was able to review the research and develop a best practices model focused on “high touch” counseling that leads students through purposeful exploratory activities leading to an informed and considered decision on a course of study. However, there are many universities that have established a University College or a unit that may have a different name but that is essentially an academic unit designed to serve exploratory students.

What is the expected outcome of the feasibility study of the proposed downtown arts campus?

We are anxiously awaiting the results of three key studies that will help us decide whether this is the right move for us tomake. We can’t know what specific details the studies will reveal, but in very broad terms we expect they will show that the proposal will require a substantial investment, but also yield substantial rewards for students, and for the community.


How is UMKC financing existing and proposed capital projects in light of the current budget situation? Will gifts and grants fund the development of a downtown arts campus?

UMKC utilizes a variety of funding sources for the various capital projects on campus. Since the state has not funded capital construction since fiscal year 2008 when MOHEALA funds were used to complete the Health Sciences Building, UMKC has been resourceful in combining revenue-funded bonding and private gifts to complete projects key to the UMKC strategic plan.

As examples, the Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the ongoing Miller Nichols Library Renovations will utilize private gifts. The Miller Nichols Learning Center and the Student Success Center are using revenue-funded bonds, with the revenue coming from enrollment growth that is forecast for UMKC over the next five years. The projects provide the capacity to increase enrollment by providing a single stop for student recruitment and retention and providing new state-of-the-art large lecture hall spaces for the campus. The new Cherry Street Parking Structure is also using revenue-funded bonds, with the revenue coming from the parking fees paid by faculty, staff and students.

It is anticipated that a Downtown Arts Campus, if implemented, would rely almost exclusively on private gifts and partnerships with other public or private entities. The potential funding for the Downtown Arts Campus is one of the issues being pursued as a part of the feasibility study process.

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