Crows Nest

The Crow’s Nest — March 3, 2023

Dori WoodruffWoodruff Appointed as Senior Director of Human Resources and First DEIB Officer

Park University appointed Dorice “Dori” Woodruff to serve as senior director of human resources and as the University’s first chief officer of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, effective Feb. 6.

In those roles, Woodruff maintains responsibility for all functions of the University’s Office of Human Resources, including recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training, professional development, benefits administration and compliance with laws and regulations. In addition, Woodruff will oversee Park’s diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging strategies and initiatives. In this specific role, Woodruff will collaborate with the People and Culture Strategic Impact Group to implement Park’s Vision 2025 objectives. Woodruff will also serve as the University’s Title IX officer.

Woodruff comes to Park University with 15-plus years of experience in human resources and employee relations. Prior to joining Park, Woodruff served as the director of diversity, equity and inclusion and equal employment opportunity officer with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority / Ride KC. She is also a 1998 Park grad, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in management/human resource. Read more about Woodruff at

Park University Hosting Event Focused on Women Transforming Criminal Justice

Park University will host a roundtable event featuring 11 women from the Kansas City region in criminal justice-related fields for a discussion on “Women Transforming Criminal Justice” on Wednesday, April 5, from 9 a.m. to noon. The event, which is open to the public, will be held at Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel on the University’s flagship Parkville Campus.

The program will be a communication exchange with women who “broke the rules” and have become successful within a culturally and socially non-traditional career field. Although civil rights and women’s rights have made great strides in creating inroads, the hope is that the discussion will educate attendees about the significant underrepresentation of women in criminal justice and strengthen the research that demonstrates the importance of improving the representation. In addition, the event will explore cultural strongholds that continue to predict and dictate career and academic paths for women. It will also celebrate the panel of accomplished women while unlocking the secrets to their success as professionals, family members and academic achievers. The last hour of the roundtable will provide attendees the opportunity to ask questions of the panelists.

Panelists with ties to Park University include: Carol Getty, Ph.D., professor emerita of criminal justice administration and former chair of the U.S. Parole Commission; C. Ann Mesle, J.D., retired 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County, Mo., judge and former member of Park’s Board of Trustees; and Sgt. Savana Watkins, Missouri Department of Corrections, and a junior majoring in criminal justice administration/corrections. Read more about the event at

Registration Continues for Student Research and Creative Arts Symposium

Park University’s annual Student Research and Creative Arts Symposium showcases the scholarly and creative work of students from all disciplines and campuses across the University. Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to submit course work or independent research or creative projects developed with a faculty member’s supervision, either single or collaboratively-authored that take the form of: posters presenting laboratory or other applied research findings; research papers and oral presentations (oral presentations limited to 10 minutes); visual art and graphic design installations; musical presentations; and virtual presentations (slide or video presentations uploaded to Symposium website).

This year’s Symposium will be held Monday-Tuesday, April 24-25. For more information or to register (deadline is Sunday, April 16), visit or contact Patty Ryberg, Ph.D., director of the Honors Academy and associate professor of biology, at

International Center for Music’s March, April Concerts

Park University’s International Center for Music will host three concerts during March and April as part of its 2022-23 season schedule. The highlight concert is the ICM’s signature event — the 4th annual Stanislav and Friends concert — on Saturday, March 11, starting at 7 p.m. at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Mo. This concert will feature ICM faculty, students and alumni performing, as well as the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra. For more information about this event, visit Regular individual ticket prices (before fees) range from $28.50 to $58.50, but discounts are available — $10 discount for “Grand Tier” level seats (using code “PARKSTAS”) or 50 percent discount on all other available seats (using code “VIRTUOSO”). Tickets can be purchased through the Kauffman Center at (enter discount code before choosing seats).

The two other concerts will feature the ICM Orchestra on Friday, March 31 (with guest conductor Laura Jackson), and Friday, April 28 (with guest conductor Timothy Hankewich). Both concerts will be held in Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel on the University’s flagship Parkville (Mo.) Campus, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. For information on these and other upcoming concerts, visit

Faculty, Staff, Student News

Andrea LeeAndrea Lee, Ph.D., associate professor of art and director of the Campanella Gallery, presented a Black History Month virtual lecture on “Contemporary African American Art from the Civil Rights Era to the Present” on Feb. 2 for the Mid-Continent Public Library, a Kansas City region library district. The event focused on artists who utilize visual art as a tool of communication, cultural critique and empowerment.

Steve Youngblood, associate professor of communication arts and director of the Center for Global Peace Journalism, hosted six journalists from Indonesia as part of a U.S. Department of State international visitor leadership program on Feb. 3.

Gokhan Umutlu, Ph.D., adjunct instructor of fitness and wellness, co-authored the article “The Effects of Lower Extremity Muscle Strength Characteristics on Grab and Track Start Performance in Young Competitive Swimmers” for the journal Isokinetics and Exercise Science published in January. The article concluded that incorporating lower body strength training into a swimming training schedule may improve swim start performance variables during grab start and track start techniques.

Park in the News

A story related to vandalism at Washington Chapel C.M.E. Church in Parkville, Mo., appeared on the KCUR-FM (Kansas City) website on Feb. 1. A large stained-glass window that displayed the name of Park University’s co-founder and first president John A. McAfee was damaged.

On Feb. 2, WDAF-TV in Kansas City aired a follow-up story to the church vandalism as the piece of the window that displayed McAfee’s name was returned to the church.

A story focused on Jayla Reliford, a sophomore point guard on the Park University Gilbert (Ariz.) Campus women’s basketball team, appeared in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder on Feb. 2. At the time of the story, Reliford was leading the NAIA in assists.

Kay Barnes, senior director for university engagement, participated in a taped program that aired on KCPT-TV (Kansas City PBS) on Feb. 3. The event, “Hindsight Insight: Four Former Mayors Appraise KC,” brought together the last four mayors of Kansas City, Mo., to take a look at the city today, what each administration was able to achieve while in office and what each hoped to accomplish, but couldn’t. Barnes served as KCMO mayor from 1999-2007.

Matt Harris, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science, was interviewed for stories that aired on KSHB-TV in Kansas City on Feb. 3 related to a suspected Chinese balloon that traveled over the U.S.

An article published in April 2022 in the Des Moines (Iowa) Register that focused on the Valor Medals Review Project being conducted by Park University’s George S. Robb Centre for the Study of the Great War, was part of a package that earned the author of the article, Courtney Crowder, a first place award as the 2023 Master Columnist by the Iowa Newspaper Association on Feb. 2

The Valor Medals Review Project was the focus of an “On Point” article that appeared in the February edition of The American Legion Magazine.

Park University’s International Center for Music was featured in a “Sounds of America” column published in the February edition of Gramophone magazine.

A story related to Danielle Burg, St. Joseph (Mo.) Central High School senior, signing a letter-of-intent to play women’s soccer at the flagship Parkville (Mo.) Campus, aired on KQTV in St. Joseph on Feb. 6. Burg is also one of 16 recipients of the University’s McAfee Scholarship, which provides full tuition for four years, as well as the opportunity for a study abroad semester.

Casi Joy (McCall) Lankford, ’12 (who goes by the stage name Casi Joy), sang the “National Anthem” during the Kansas City Chiefs victory parade and rally in Kansas City, Mo., on Feb. 15, days after the team’s win in Super Bowl LVII (57). The event was televised on all Kansas City stations, including KMBC-TV, which posted the video of Joy singing. Joy was also the subject of a story that appeared in The Kansas City Star as a number of people questioned who sang the National Anthem as she was not introduced prior to the song.

The Park University International Center for Music’s Stanislav and Friends concert was highlighted on KCTV in Kansas City on Feb. 20 and Feb. 23 as part of sponsored segments to promote the March 11 concert at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The segments included comments by the show’s namesake, Stanislav Ioudenitch, ICM artistic director.

Upcoming Events

(All events are Central time and on the flagship Parkville [Mo.] Campus unless noted)
          •  March 5 — Spring I Term Ends
          •  March 6-12 — Spring Recess (all University offices open regular business hours; no classes nationwide)
          •  March 11 — International Center for Music Concert: Stanislav and Friends, 7 p.m., Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Mo.
          •  March 13 — Spring II Term Classes Begin
          •  March 13-April 21 — “Aura” Ceramic Exhibit by Elaina Michalski, Campanella Gallery (Norrington Center); Reception: March 24, 4-6 p.m., Campanella Gallery
          •  March 31 — International Center for Music Concert: ICM Orchestra, 7:30 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
          •  April 5 — Women Transforming Criminal Justice Roundtable, 9 a.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel and Virtual
          •  April 12 — Dr. Doris A. Howell Leadership Awards, 5 p.m., David Theater (Alumni Hall); reception to follow in Norrington Center
          •  April 19 — Honors Convocation, 7 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
          •  April 24-25 — Student Research and Creative Arts Symposium, Parkville Campus and Virtual
          •  April 28 — International Center for Music Concert: ICM Orchestra, 7:30 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel

To view a comprehensive schedule for all events, including athletics and student life, visit



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Park University is a private, non-profit, institution of higher learning since 1875.