What's New

September 11, 2017

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 10 seconds

Dear Staff and Faculty,

As a major international research institution, the University of Kansas is accustomed to defining and declaring what’s new.

Discovery, innovation, and creation are coded into our DNA. They propel our daily activities and inspire us to do and be more.

Every Monday through Friday, faculty and staff receive the KU Today email that routinely highlights some of the amazing research taking place on our university’s campuses. Regardless of our own expertise and interests, the bite-sized stories deliver KU’s breakthroughs to our in-boxes for all of us to consume and enjoy. Collectively the stories showcase the breadth, depth and strength of KU’s scholarly endeavors.

We have so much to be proud of and proclaim.

Last spring I shared highlights from the Therapeutic Particles & Biomaterials Technology Laboratory of Distinguished Professor Cory Berkland. As you’ll recall, his work in pharmaceutical chemistry and chemical engineering has led to several patents and new entrepreneurial startups. One of those companies, Savara Inc., which focuses on inhaled antibiotic therapies, is the first company with KU origins to go public on a stock exchange. Rob Neville, CEO of Savara, will be on the Lawrence campus next week to help celebrate this inaugural achievement.

Heightened awareness of the impact of climate change brings to my mind the advances led by Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Joy Ward. Ward has been at the forefront in researching changes in our global environment and the particular triggers that cause specific responses in vegetation. Her many scientific contributions led to her recognition with a University Scholarly Achievement Award in April.

Understanding Our World, Ourselves

Our exploration into the world isn’t limited to physical sciences, medicine or engineering. KU makes significant contributions in understanding our society and culture through media, the arts and design, business, education and the humanities.

Our creative gifts are strong. Faculty like Nicole Hodges Persley, associate professor and chair in the Department of Theatre, do more than research and analyze their field. Hodges Persley is contributing to the body of original work in hip-hop, African American theatre, improvisation and more.

Our rising scholars, faculty like Assistant Professor of Special Education Subini Annamma, are making their mark and elevating KU, too. Annamma received a 2017 Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association Division G for research on the social contexts of education. The award, bestowed at the end of April, recognizes her research and dedicated efforts focused on disability and race.

Supporting, Celebrating Excellence

The university is truly teeming with innovation in all disciplines.

Researchers whose work leads to entrepreneurship or commercialization are also eligible for the James Baxendale Innovation Award presented by KU Innovation and Collaboration. The award pays tribute to those who excel at moving KU research discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace. Nominations are due Sept. 26 and the recipient will be honored on Oct. 10 at KU’s Celebration of Innovation: A Start-up Showcase.

To strengthen KU’s impact, we recently added a new staff member. Becca Peterson has joined the KU team as our director of development and foundation relations. She is working to secure grant funding for a variety of research projects. She also will lead efforts to increase KU faculty nominations for the highly prestigious awards recognized by AAU. Her success will be an important contribution to KU’s prominence as an AAU institution.

Champions of our Strengths

One of the greatest services each of us can offer this institution — and the State of Kansas — is to be informed and ready with the simply stunning scholarly research and creative work our colleagues produce at KU. Every conversation we have with friends, family, neighbors and acquaintances is an opportunity to change awareness and build support.

KU’s scholarly leadership — and the individuals and teams who put their hearts and souls into discovery — are achieving the incredible and helping KU declare what’s new.



News and Notes

The KU Student Veterans of America, KU Veterans Alumni Network, the Office of Graduate Military Programs and the KU Military-Affiliated Student Center will host KU’s Sept. 11 observance. The ceremony begins at 8 p.m. today at the Campanile plaza. There will be a candle lighting commemoration following remarks by Chancellor Douglas Girod.

KU welcomed 50 new tenured and tenure-track faculty at the start of academic year. Visit the Office of Faculty Development website to learn more about the incoming faculty and administrators and be sure to welcome them to campus.

Thank you to the Office of First-Year Experience and all the campus partners who had a hand in making the signature event for the KU Common Book an overwhelming success. Claudia Rankine, author of “Citizen: An American Lyric,” presented in front of a packed Lied Center and took part in a number of other campus activities last week. Visit the FYE Common Book website to learn about upcoming events.

Faculty and staff can nominate students to take part in a special session of Leadership Lawrence at no charge to the selected students. Leadership Lawrence is a leadership development program that also helps individuals mobilize others to tackle community challenges.

The Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity is now part of the Office of Diversity & Equity. Saida Bonifield, director of strategic initiatives, policies and special programs, will serve as interim director of the SGD Center. She fills the role previously held by Vanessa Delgado who is now working on student success and support services on the Edwards Campus.

The Center for Teaching Excellence is leading KU’s portion of a multi-institution $2.8 million National Science Foundation grant to help STEM departments and programs evaluate teaching effectiveness. CTE will solicit proposals for $5,000 grants. Contact CTE Center Director Dea Greenhoot for more information.

Be sure to check out CTE’s latest blog post from Associate Director Doug Ward. It focuses on lessons learned from flipping a course from a traditional format to an active-learning design.

The 18th Annual Collage Concert with performances by students in the KU School of Music will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, at the Lied Center of Kansas. Visit the Lied Center website for ticket information.

Nominations for the fourth annual Shulenburger Award for Innovation and Advocacy in Scholarly Communication are due at noon Monday, Sept. 18. The KU Libraries selects up to two honorees – faculty and staff, and student involved in a faculty sponsored project – for their efforts to advance innovation in open sharing and advocacy for positive change in scholarly communication systems.

The annual Monarch Watch Tagging Event will be 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Baker Wetlands Discovery Center, 1365 N. 1250 Rd. There is no cost to attend and all supplies are provided for tagging monarch butterflies which are in the midst of their annual migration to Mexico.

Provost's Message Signature: 

Rock Chalk,

Neeli Bendapudi

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

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