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The ROI for Faculty Dedication

December 4, 2017

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 10 seconds

Dear students, staff, and faculty:

Just before Thanksgiving, the University of Kansas was able to share great news with the campus community. The American Association for the Advancement of Science named three of our many accomplished KU faculty members AAAS Fellows

Professor Sue Lunte, second from right, with members of her research group.Susan Lunte, the Ralph N. Adams distinguished professor of chemistry & pharmaceutical chemistry; A. Townsend Peterson, university distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; and “Franklin” Feng Tao, the Miller associate professor of chemical and petroleum engineering and chemistry, all join a group of more than 40 current and retired KU faculty members selected to receive this exceptional international recognition.

Recognition of their scholarly vision and leadership is truly deserved. I hope you will join me in acknowledging our newest fellows and encouraging and supporting others as they continue to craft similar careers of distinction. If we pause we will see we are surrounded by exceptional talent embodied in our peers and professors.

The dedication and drive that produces these accolades also delivers benefits that extend far beyond individual careers. In fact, when our faculty do great things, we all benefit, we all grow.

  • Faculty – you are part of an elite group that is shaping and defining the world’s body of knowledge
  • Staff – you craft an environment where excellence can thrive, be celebrated, and continue long into the future
  • Students – you study at an institution where innovation is born, and you learn from faculty members who are responsible for these advances
  • Residents of Kansas – This state has so much to be optimistic about. Higher education at KU is an economic engine that develops an educated and skilled workforce as it delivers product innovations, systems advances, new approaches, cures, solutions, and creative works in design, the arts and literature for all segments of society.

Our newest American Association for the Advancement of Science fellows are simply one example of our exceptional faculty.

Student leaders recognized a select group of instructors at events on November 17 and 18. The Board of Class Officers announced Amii Castle, a lecturer in the schools of Law and Business, as this year’s Honor for an Outstanding Progressive Educator (H.O.P.E.) Award recipient. Mortar Board leaders also presented their annual Outstanding Educator awards to five faculty members: Yvonnes Chen, Journalism and Mass Communications; Andrea Herstowski, Design; Beverly Mack, African and African American Studies; Shannon Portillo, Public Affairs & Administration; and Susan Williams, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering.

In November we also learned of a new honor for a faculty member in the humanities. Assistant Professor of English Kij Johnson won the 2017 World Fantasy Award for her novel “The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe.” It’s the latest in a long line of accolades. Her work also was a nominee for a host of other awards and honors, including the Hugo Awards, the Nebula Awards, and National Public Radio’s Best Book of the Year. 

Earlier this semester Professor of Business Raj Srivastava received the 2017 James Baxendale Innovation Award from KU Innovation and Collaboration for his work on SeekEdgar and SeekiNF. These tools offer low-cost search services for financial and non-financial information of public companies’ SEC Filings. Srivastava is one of many who’ve found KU to be an environment where their ideas can flourish and succeed. Other standouts include our fellows in the National Academy of Inventors: Distinguished professors R.V. Chaudhari, Val Stella, and Bala Subramaniam.

Higher education, as a profession, asks much of faculty – teaching and mentoring, research, service, and, quite often, recruitment activities. KU faculty succeed despite the varied give-and-take of the role. They are winning accolades and additional support for being passionate about their discipline and their students and for displaying dedication in their approach.

As the semester rushes head first toward its conclusion, I must express how fortunate I believe we are to be in the midst of such knowledge, originality, and talent. Thank you! There’s no place like home.



News & Notes

The heavy lifting of KU’s Financial Systems Transformation has its moment of truth today. Glitches and hiccups are to be expected with any project of this magnitude. Individuals experiencing challenges can share them here. Faculty and staff who need training for the different modules can sign up here.

Nominations for the University Scholarly Achievement Awards for mid-career faculty members are due in the Chancellors’ Office by Friday, Dec. 15. The award recognizes a faculty member for a significant scholarly or research contribution, creative work, or series of closely related contributions.

Students are invited to a free late-night breakfast before finals. The Finish Strong breakfast will be from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 10, at both Mrs. E’s and the Kansas Union Ballroom. Be sure to bring your KU ID.

KU’s United Way campaign comes to a close on Friday, Dec. 8. Employees who would like to arrange a payroll deduction can use this online form and indicate their office in the “Department / School” field. Thank you.

The University Core Curriculum Committee is accepting nominations for the annual Christopher Haufler KU Core Innovation Award. The $5,000 award honors academic departments for developing or transforming outstanding core courses, assessing outcomes, and sharing models of excellence. Submit the nominations to kucore@ku.edu by 5 p.m., Jan. 19, 2018. Visit the KU Core website for complete nomination details and a list of past winners.

Congratulations to student Sara Li who was recently honored with a 2017 Webby Award for her work with a Toronto-based ad agency to amplify her inspirational efforts on Project Consent, which aims to end sexual assault.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs is accepting applications from interested faculty and staff for the 2018 cohort of Social Justice Fellows. The program offers a rigorous presentation of issues related to social justice, inclusion, and systemic oppression. Apply by Friday, Dec. 8.

The Final Community Table of the fall semester will begin at 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6, in the Anschutz Library. Students are encouraged to stop by for a free lunch from Ramen Bowls and stay for casual conversation with classmates and faculty and staff. This month’s sponsors include the College and the schools of Business and Engineering. Thanks also to KU Libraries.

The Spencer Museum of Art offers a number of exhibits to showcase its collection. Two exhibitions currently on display are “Civic Leader and Art Collector: Sallie Casey Thayer and an Art Museum for KU” and a companion display “Race, Gender and the ‘Decorative’ in 20th Century African Art: Reimagining Boundaries.” The Thayer exhibit closes on February 4, while the African Art show is open through May 7.

The KU Edwards Campus will show a live stream of 1 Million Cups, where early stage start-up entrepreneurs present about their companies to peers, mentors, educators and advisors. The program will be streamed from 9 to 10 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6, in Room 156 Regnier Hall.

The Dole Institute of Politics offers two programs on Tuesday, Dec. 5. Drs. Joshua Freeman and Josh Umbehr will present during “Single Payer: The Future of Healthcare?” at 7 p.m. and Reed Galen of Serve America Movement will discuss his organization’s work at “Beyond Red and Blue: Creating a New Political Party,” at 3 p.m.

Provost's Message Signature: 

Rock Chalk,

Neeli Bendapudi

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

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