The University of Kansas An Official Employee Publication From the Office of University Relations
 

 

Cover story    

Dec. 12, 2003
Vol. 28, No. 8

KU researchers aim to prime oil pumps
Governance, administration discuss unauthorized "Women of KU" calendar
Sundance summons filmmakers
Campaign gives KU ‘Better Bites’
Classes help Edwards staff embrace Hispanic community
H.O.P.E. Hooray
KPR schedules holiday broadcasts
National Hispanic magazine picks KU
Festive feast
KU research helps to restore endangered minnow

Projects promise improved services, better technology by next summer
KU professor’s book receives critical acclaim
Employees of the month
Tuition assistance helps staff expand language skills

Donations still accepted

KU wins $915K grant to study effect of Human Genome Project

Scientists seek to simulate spine for surgery
Holiday ’Hawk
Military Science celebrates 60th
Exhibit reveals science history in Dyche Hall

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Classes help Edwards staff embrace Hispanic community

From left: Dawn Strickland, Spanish instructor for Kansas City Kansas Community College Workforce Development, works with Angela Johnson, director of graduate recruitment, and Robert Clark, vice chancellor and dean of the KU Edwards Campus, during a Spanish class for employees at KU’s Edwards Campus. Doug Koch/University Relations

In an effort to expand outreach to northeast Kansas’ Hispanic community, a group of Edwards Campus employees are learning a language they can now refer to as Español.


Eighteen people—including administrative staff, advisers and a librarian—have undertaken the Spanish class, which is focused on specific phrases that are commonly used in an office or academic setting.


“I’ve really wanted to learn Spanish so I could better communicate with the increasing number of Spanish-speaking students and community members in the Kansas City area,” said Dan Mueller, an academic adviser for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “So when the Edwards Campus administrative staff opened the class to other staff on campus I was eager to participate.”


The classes, which were sponsored by Kansas City Power and Light, are a first step toward the Pathways Project, a partnership between the Edwards Campus and Kansas City Kansas Community College to help show young Hispanic students in the region that college is attainable.


According to Elaine Warren, director of public relations on the Edwards Campus, the Pathways Project will target eighth- and ninth-grade students in the Kansas City, Kan., school district. The project is slated to begin next spring and will be implemented one school at a time in the district.


Robert Clark, vice chancellor for the Edwards Campus, said learning Spanish was a “primary stage of building relationships” with the Hispanic community.


“As we work with the KCK school district, KCK Community College, and as our population in Olathe and surrounding areas grows in that regard, we need to be ready for these residents,” he said. “They hope to improve their quality of life by having access to the educational resources we will provide for them or their children. They are an important part of the population we serve.”


Michelle Santee Bird, administrative assistant with the Edwards Campus, said she already had encountered situations where having a basic understanding of Spanish would have been useful.


“I am the primary person who answers incoming calls and sees visitors on the campus,” she said. “I have encountered a couple of Spanish-speaking prospective students and visitors coming to our campus. I wanted to take this class so that I would be able to communicate effectively to native Spanish-speaking students and the general public coming to seek information.”


Participants in the Spanish class said that spending three hours a week with their co-workers had an unintended benefit as well.


“The class has provided a fun way to get to know my co-workers at the Edwards Campus,” Mueller said. “I feel like I know them better and developed some additional rapport and understanding with all of them. It’s been a team-building experience for the Edwards Campus.”

 

   
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