diversity

Donnelly College / Facebook

Faculty, staff and students at Donnelly College, a small, private Catholic college in Kansas City, Kansas, are celebrating their ranking this week by U.S. News and World Report as the most ethnically diverse college in the Midwest.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

University of Missouri-Kansas City leaders on Monday acknowledged the mixed results of a survey about the atmosphere on campus. 

The majority of UMKC students, faculty and staff rated their campus “comfortable” or “very comfortable” in the most recent climate study.

But 17 percent of those who took the survey last October said they personally had experienced “exclusionary, intimidating, offensive and/or hostile conduct” because of their ethnicity, age, gender or gender identity.

And 34 percent of respondents said they had seriously considered leaving UMKC.

Yassie / Wikimedia Commons

As Mun Choi approaches six months on the job as president of the University of Missouri System, the challenges keep coming.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' state budget for fiscal year 2017 included a $37 million cut to the university system and the potential for $57 million more in permanent cuts in 2018.

Public Domain / Detroit Free Press

Five decades ago, social unrest gripped cities across the country, at one point even spilling into the streets of Kansas City. Today, we find out what the "long, hot summer" of 1967 can teach us about race relations and cultural diversity in present-day America. Then, host Steve Kraske brushes up on his Shakespearean script-reading skills with veteran acting coach and director Ian Wooldridge.

Ten years ago this month, a massive tornado nearly wiped Greensburg, Kansas off the map. KCUR's Frank Morris joins us to share how the town's efforts to rebuild became "a laboratory experiment in re-engineering the classic American small town."

Plus, a conference last month brought thousands to Kansas City to talk about "white privilege." We discuss what our local communities are doing to address and respond to the concept. 

Guests:

File photo / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City needs to do a better job investigating and documenting employment discrimination complaints.

Kansas City Auditor Doug Jones says his office initially set out to audit the Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity (EEO) office because it was told that complaints take too long to resolve.

A recent study from the Brookings Institution suggests that the vast majority of our country's high-tech jobs are clustered in just a handful of cities. Local tech experts argue Kansas City, Missouri is on its way to the center of that cluster. 

Is Kansas City a tech hub? What factors are influencing the "rise of the rest" in our region?

Guests:

Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences students Liz Hada, left, and Melissa Garcia Rodriguez say they have experienced racial tension in some of their classes, despite feeling generally welcomed by most students and faculty.
Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Farmers in the U.S. like to point out that their products feed people all over the world. And while this is a diverse country, the people working on farms and elsewhere in agriculture often don’t reflect the nation’s demographics. Changing that is becoming a priority, in hopes new people will bring fresh ideas to meet some of our food system’s greatest challenges.

Wylie "Cyote" C / Wikimedia Commons

In such a divided era in America, is respect for different faiths critical to the country's success? A former member of President Obama's Faith Advisory Council answers that question. Then, trout season begins on March 1 and there's no better place in Missouri to ring it in than Bennett Spring State Park, outside Lebanon.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

We often hear and read about the need for diverse sources in the media, particularly when it comes to news. The question of who is given voice is critically important to understanding what informs our view of the world.

Along those lines, I wanted to understand which voices are given opportunity to share their perspective on the program I’m responsible for producing — KCUR’s Central Standard. So I started surveying our on-air guests in early January 2016.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The relationship between schools and the communities to which they belong is crucial.

NPR

In conjunction with NPR's A Nation Engaged, we're asking people from across the region what they want the new president to know about themselves and their communities. Then, we preview an upcoming Conversation at the Square about the relationship between education and neighborhoods.

Queen Yuna / Flickr - CC

Figure skating competitors are in Kansas City this week for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Sprint Center. It’s the first time the figure skating national championships are in Kansas City since 1985. That was a breakthrough year for diversity in the sport, the figure skating nationals have struggled since then to match that diversity.

Phil Hersh, a former writer for the Chicago Tribune who covered 30 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, calls Tiffany Chin’s performance at the 1985 championships an “absolute revelation.”

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Over the last few years, the country’s tech giants — Google, Twitter and Facebook — have all been called out for their mostly white and mostly male staffs.

Diversity has become a top priority in Silicon Valley. 

Vewiser Dixon, an area entrepreneur, wants to help Kansas City avoid the image plaguing Silicon Valley — by building a tech space from the ground up, with diversity hardwired into its core.

In Kansas City, there is a connection between where people live and the economic realities of their lives. Today, we air a conversation hosted by American Public Square that looks to understand how poverty, race and place interact to affect the people who live in urban neighborhoods. 

Several regional schools have seen intense, sometimes violent protests focused on social and civil divisions, but the UMKC campus has largely been spared. Today, we find out what makes the metro institution different. Then, a futurist shares her strategies for predicting trends in technology, business and more.

The University of Missouri should emphasize diversity in its recruitment, train professors in the importance of diversity in their courses and increase outreach to improve diversity among faculty and staff, a systemwide task force recommended on Wednesday.

Those proposals were among priority items included in the task force’s report. It was responding to a comprehensive audit of diversity, equity and inclusion practices at the university conducted by the consulting firm IBIS.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Each year in the fall, nearly 1,700 people enjoy Ailey II modern dance performances presented by the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey. But besides being the official second home of the famed New York-based Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the local organization has another year-round mission: to create social change by encouraging diversity.

And then there was one.

Lewis Diuguid, a longtime member of The Kansas City Star’s editorial board, will be departing the paper along with veteran Yael Abouhalkah, who was laid off this week.

Diuguid has told friends that he intends to step down on Oct. 7, Abouhalkah’s last day at The Star.

Technically, that would leave The Star’s editorial board with only one member: newly minted publisher Tony Berg.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

The blame game was on full display after last week’s mass shooting in Orlando, and it was on the minds of Kansas City students who attended a “Unity Fest” Saturday. 

The event is the conclusion of the American Friends Service Committee’s Social Change Institute, a summer program where teens learn and practice non-violent social change.

ProjectManhattan / Wikimedia--CC

Children’s literature is becoming more and more diverse, but choosing which books to share with children can still be difficult. 

KCUR’s Central Standard recently welcomed Kansas City authors Christine Taylor-Butler and Traci Sorell to a discussion of how representations of race in children’s literature have changed over time.

Here are their recommendations for books with diverse and nuanced characters and storylines.

Christine Taylor-Butler, children’s book author:

Neighborhood Radio

Apr 12, 2016

Two local organizations are gearing up to start low-power FM stations to broadcast to specific communities within a 3-5 mile radius of the broadcast location. One of them, broadcasting from the Mutual Musicians Foundation, will focus on local jazz, gospel and soul at 18th and Vine. The other has an educational and community service mission. What's the story?

Guests:

  • Lewis George Walker, co-founder, KUAW 98.5 FM
  • James McGee, general manager, KOJH 104.7

KOMU News / Flickr

Why do some graduating high school students, in 2016, consider historically black colleges or universities (HBCUs) over PWI (predominantly white institutions)? Hear how these schools struggle to match the resources of their competitors, and why they continue to have a distinct appeal for many students nonetheless.

Guests:

More companies are beginning to worry about diversity in their offices as the American workforce experiences a huge demographic shift. As Kansas City's entrepreneurial community continues to grow, it has the opportunity to avoid the same inclusion problems that plague Silicon Valley. 

Guest:

Chiluba Musonda

Every year, thousands of young people leave their home countries to study in the United States. 

Some come here because they want to pursue opportunities they wouldn’t have at home, some are simply looking for adventure. And some wind up in Kansas City without even knowing where it is on a map.

Chiluba Musonda can thank the Yahoo search engine for his home in Kansas City.

When he was researching colleges from his home country of Zambia, he typed the following words into the search queue: mid-size colleges, affordable, in the U.S.

COD Newsroom / Flickr

First-generation college students head to campus saddled with hopes and dreams, but not necessarily the same resources as their peers. With rigorous academic demands, responsibilities to their families, rising college tuition and increased focus on experiences like study abroad, students breaking through the higher-ed barrier face a unique set of challenges. 

Guests:

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

The University of Missouri-Columbia made national headlines over the past few weeks amidst rising racial tensions and resulting protests on campus.

As the conversation unfolded, a handful of terms have taken the spotlight online and in the media. Like safe space, systematic oppression and the First Amendment, to name a few.

Paul Sableman / Flickr

Demographic shifts in the Kansas City metropolitan area tell us the suburbs are becoming more diverse, while downtown has seen an influx of white people. But it doesn't necessarily feel more integrated.

Shambresha Roland, a native Texan who has lived in Overland Park, Kansas, and Independence, Missouri, has found being an African American woman in those majority white communities awkward.

Confidence in the media to report news fairly and accurately is at an all-time low, according to a 2014 Gallup poll and events at the University of Missouri last week made it clear that protesters did not want journalists on the scene. We examine how Americans view the media.

Guests:

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