Now, invited guests from the community can have first-hand experiences, such as drilling mannequin teeth in a dental training simulator, landing a plane in an FAA-approved flight simulator and being dazzled by the capabilities of an augmented-reality headset.

These experiences are the essence of Insider Academy, a new program designed to provide influential Kansas Citians with an intimate, experiential and memorable look into the most impactful UMKC programs and initiatives. Guests experience how Kansas City’s university is expanding knowledge, improving health, opening avenues for economic development and driving artistic creativity and expression.

In his recent State of the University address, Chancellor Mauli Agrawal said it is time for UMKC to stop being the community’s “hidden gem.”

“It’s time to remove the covers and reveal our excellence,” he said, and that’s why the Division of External Relations and Constituent Engagement developed and launched Insider Academy.   

Nate Addington, the division’s director of community engagement and outreach, said the program brings civic, business and neighborhood leaders, along with government officials, in to see the full breadth and depth of the UMKC experience. Recent guests visited the Plaster Free Enterprise and Research Center, Conservatory facilities, the School of Law, Bloch School of Management, Swinney Center, the School of Dentistry and the School of Nursing and Health Studies.

The experience goes far beyond just technology.

In addition to doing computerized dissection on a 3-D virtual cadaver, guests were judges at a “Shark Tank” style student entrepreneur competition, observed a ballet class and met with law school faculty, students and clients of the Expungement Clinic, designed to clear the offenders’ records so they could re-enter the job market.

“The core of the UMKC experience is the ability to explore the new,” Addington said. “New ideas, values and perspectives expand our appreciation beyond the familiar and help us all to better understand and appreciate the world in which we live. This is a reality that our students live every day at UMKC, but that the average Kansas Citian may only catch an occasional glimpse.”