by Kelly Rogge
While Mary Grunke has enjoyed the people, she has met and worked with at Kansas City Kansas Community College, she felt like now was the time to begin a new phase of her life.
“I want to have more time to pursue my own interests, hobbies, talents and relationships,” she said. “I have many pleasant memories of working with faculty and students in the active and energetic Social Science Division under Henry Louis and with my valued colleagues in the Research Center and throughout the college.”
Grunke came to KCKCC in 1981 after spending two years as an assistant professor in psychology at the College of Charleston (now the University of Charleston) in Charleston, S.C.
She taught psychology full-time until 1999, including a two-year period as the interim director of the Honors Program. She served as president of the Faculty Senate and head of the Professional Negotiating team, for the Faculty Association. In 1999, she became a founding member of KCKCC’s Center for Research and Community Development, along with Morteza Ardebili.
For the last 15 years, she has been the director and associate director of the Research Center, conducting research and performing data analysis to provide the foundation for data-driven decisions.
“When I came to KCKCC in 1981, typewriters were used for word processing and mimeograph machines for reproduction. Eight instructors in our office complex shared one phone (land-line and corded),” she said. “There was no Honors Program, no Intercultural Center, no Wellness Center, no College Senate, no Research Center or Institutional Research, no Continuing Education Building, no Flint Building, no Jewell Center (Paul Jewell was teaching economics), no Leavenworth Center, no email, no MyDotte. Since then, I have not known a time when KCKCC has not been innovating and undergoing change.”
Grunke received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, and a master’s and doctorate in general experimental psychology from the University of Iowa. Her research emphasis was on human learning, memory and cognition.
Now that she is retired, she plans to remain in Kansas City for a few years, but eventually wants to move to St. Paul, Minn. where she still has family.
“KCKCC was such a good place to work because of the many talented, dedicated and kind-hearted people who work here,” she said. “We provide invaluable opportunities and services to our students and the community.”
Kelly Rogge is the public information supervisor at Kansas City Kansas Community College.