KCUMB partnership doesn’t hinge on troubles between Speck, faculty

Brennan Stebbins

A proposed osteopathic medical school on the campus of Missouri Southern moved forward today and the troubles between University President Bruce Speck and faculty don’t seem to be a factor.Three weeks before a full faculty vote on confidence in Speck is scheduled, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences President Karen L. Pletz said the partnership between both schools does not hinge on one person’s employment. “Any kind of partnership is really more contingent on the two institutions than it is on any one person’s leadership,” Pletz said after a presentation this afternoon in Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall. “I certainly think KCUMB would proceed if I were not here, so I think it’s about the meaning and substantive value of the partnership.”Pletz added that she was not concerned with a possible no confidence vote in Speck, calling it a “positive form of expressing opinion and moving through a process.”Officials with both schools outlined progress on bringing a KCUMB branch to Joplin. Speck detailed how a partnership between the schools would benefit Southern, and spoke of a plan where students could enter medical school after only three years of undergraduate curriculum. “The type of students who are going to do that are very high quality students,” he said. “They’re very competitive, and they’re going to bump up some of the activity we have in the classroom.”Speck also said a medical school located in Joplin would help attract faculty to Southern. “When we advertise for faculty, particularly in the sciences, we’ll be able to say there are possibilities of joint appointments with KCUMB,” Speck said, “and that means the faculty coming in will have to maintain currency in their fields. They’ll have to have certain qualifications, and I think that will bring then a higher quality faculty to our institution.”The University is hosting a dinner tonight for area medical professionals in order to provide information about the project. Speck said that event was not designed as a fund raiser.