the university of kansas college of liberal arts & sciences magazine for alumni & friends
Tapping into Water
Collaborative efforts pool resources, perspectives to address looming issues
1 Dean Speak What can’t you do with a liberal arts degree?
2–13 Campus Briefs
News from around the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, including new programs, research highlights, faculty
and student honors, and new faculty
14 Cover Story
Tapping Into Water: Projects put power of
collaboration to work on looming issues
20 Alumni Briefs
College honors Distinguished Alumni // 20
From Kenya to Topeka, alumni are making change // 22 What’s in store at Mini College this year // 24
Giving Back: Alumni support to help students, university thrive // 26
28 Oread Encore
Alum helps others discover their Jayhawk story
KU Collegian is published for alumni and friends of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences by students and graduates of the University of Kansas. Strong Hall 1450 Jayhawk Boulevard Room 200 Lawrence, KS 66045-7535 785.864.3661 FAX: 785.864.5331 www.college.ku.edu email: email@example.com Editor Kristi Henderson, ’03 firstname.lastname@example.org ASSOCIATE Editor Ursula Rothrock, ’13 email@example.com
design Susan Geiger, ’98 firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors Rhiannon Rosas, ‘15 KU Endowment KU Marketing Communications KU News Service University Archives
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Far from Doomed What can you do with a liberal arts and sciences degree? It’s the most cringe-worthy question that deans like me hear.
I cringe not because I don’t have a good answer. Liberal arts
and sciences graduates can do nearly anything, as our alumni demonstrate every day. They go to space, write novels, build
businesses, fight disease, serve and lead communities, and much,
much more. A comprehensive list of their careers would take up far more space than I’m allotted here.
I cringe because of the mistaken perceptions that lead individuals
to ask the question. The prevailing assumption is that our degrees lead to a doomed future: that graduates won’t find jobs, won’t be able to provide for themselves, or won’t have “real-world” skills.
Those of us in the liberal arts and sciences know these assumptions are unfounded. And, we have study after study to back us up.
Dean Anderson meets with members of his Dean’s Student Advisory Council.
• Liberal arts and sciences majors make more over the long-term and are employed at similar rates as graduates from professional fields* • Three out of four business and nonprofit leaders say they would recommend a 21st century liberal education for future employees^ • Salaries are on the rise for liberal arts and sciences majors over the past few years+ Yet, study results alone are not enough. We have to do a better job telling our story. When I say “we,” however, I don’t mean just our faculty and leadership at KU. I also mean you, our alumni, who are living proof of the value of the liberal arts and sciences.
As you read this magazine, take note of the outcomes that are made possible through the liberal arts
and sciences. Then, I hope you’ll tell everyone you can about what you learned. And while you’re at it,
explain to your friends, family and co-workers how a liberal arts and sciences education helped you get to where you are today. Your personal testimonials are the most powerful tool we have.
Together, we can change the question to, “What can’t you do with a liberal arts and sciences degree?”
Danny J. Anderson
Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
* “How Liberal Arts and Sciences Majors Fare in Employment,” January 2014, Association of American Colleges and Universities and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems ^ “It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success,” April 2013, Association of American Colleges and Universities +
“January 2013 Salary Survey,” National Association of Colleges and Employers
College adds environmental assessment master’s degree The Environmental Studies Program
organizations. The environmental
master’s degree in environmental
professionals how to identify adverse
has started a new professional science assessment to address a growing industry. The program began in fall 2013 and is offered at the Edwards Campus.
assessment program will teach
environmental effects of a development project or program and propose
measures to minimize those effects.
Those pursuing the new degree will help
The field of environmental assessment
buildings through engineering firms,
degree of this kind in Kansas and the
develop the nation’s infrastructure and government positions and nonprofit
is rapidly growing. KU offers the only surrounding region.
First Foundation Professors announced The College welcomes David Roediger
and K. Christopher Beard as its first two Foundation Distinguished Professors for the 2014-2015 academic year.
Roediger, currently the Kendrick C. Babcock Professor of History
at the University of Illinois, is an
internationally recognized figure in history, the humanities and social
sciences. He joins the Departments of American Studies and History. Roediger’s scholarship on race,
ethnicity and labor has been widely
credited with transforming the field. Beard, the Mary R. Dawson Chair of Vertebrate Paleontology at the
Carnegie Museum of Natural History, will join the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Biodiversity Institute at KU. Beard
is a world-renowned paleontologist,
considered one of the most outstanding scholars in the field.
Chuck Berg and Kevin Willmott, professors of film and media studies, lead a discussion after the screening of “Carnival of Souls,” the cult classic partly filmed in Oldfather Studios. The building, opened in 1955, was commissioned by KU alumni Russell Mosser and Art Wolf, founders of Centron, a leading industrial and educational film studio.
The Foundation Professor initiative is a partnership between the university and the state of Kansas to attract 12
eminent faculty members to support the university’s strategic plan.
Professor’s novel selected as KU Common Book “The Center of Everything,” by
Laura Moriarty, assistant professor of English, was named the 2014-15 KU Common Book by Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little.
The book is set in the fictional
rural Kansas town of Kerrville
in the 1980s and follows the lead
character from childhood through
secondary education. The selection
committee highlighted the potential to connect with KU students on
issues of economic inequality and educational opportunity.
All incoming students will
Quick success brings alum back to KU Six years ago, Shannon Portillo graduated from the University of Kansas with a Ph.D. in public administration and began teaching at George Mason University. Not only did she graduate with honors and multiple activities under her belt, she was only 23 years old. Now, she is back at KU, this time as an assistant professor in the School of Public Affairs and Administration.
Portillo’s fast-tracked academic career has been fueled by her determination to succeed. From a 23-year-old graduate teaching assistant to an assistant professor and researcher at her alma mater, Portillo has forged her own path. “I love being back on the hill. Walking to and from my office, I’m still surprised that I get to work on such a beautiful campus, with supportive colleagues and in my dream job,” Portillo said. “It is wonderful to be back, giving back to an institution that gave me so much.” Her research focuses on social equity, law and public management. Much of her work explores how public employees carry out policies in the context of a multitude of legal requirements and informal norms, many of which conflict with each other. Her research embraces both the theoretical and the practical applications of these ideas. “The most important thing I learned, and continue to pursue at KU, is the blending of big theoretical questions and applied, engaged scholarship.”
receive a copy of “The Center of
Everything” and it will be used in courses across campus.
Philosophy fast-track MA A new accelerated program will
allow advanced students at KU to
obtain undergraduate and graduate degrees in philosophy in just five years. The accelerated master’s
program in philosophy is the only
such degree offering in Kansas and bordering states.
Students in the program will
complete a bachelor’s degree in
four years and a master’s degree in one year. The Department of
Philosophy developed the program in response to student interest.
American Studies celebrates 60 years School partners with Brown v. Board site The School of Public Affairs and Administration has a new partnership with the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka to offer academic
and professional development programs. Programs through the school’s Public Management Center began at the site in January.
The U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark Brown decision in 1954, which ended
the practice of racial segregation in U.S. public schools. The site is located in historic
Monroe Elementary School, which was one of four elementary schools attended by the children of the plaintiffs in the desegregation case.
Through this partnership, the halls and rooms of the beautifully restored Monroe school
will once again be filled with students seeking to improve themselves through education.
The Department of American Studies
celebrated 60 years at KU in September. The department hosted a week-
long anniversary event, Reflecting
Forward, to celebrate the department’s accomplishments while exploring the critical issues of tomorrow.
Since 1953, the Department of American Studies has been an interdisciplinary
mainstay at the university, focusing on
community, identity and social justice in American culture, politics and society.
A revolution in the classroom Sitting in a large lecture hall with hundreds of people, listening to a professor lecture for an hour is, unsurprisingly, not always the most effective way to learn for students. The College is a leader in the national movement to enrich and revitalize students’ learning in university courses with a new teaching postdoctoral fellow program. The Teaching Postdoc Program gives the College the capacity to rework how large introductory courses are taught by bringing in postdoctoral fellows. Those postdocs have experience in teaching methods that research has shown help students learn. So, rather than listen passively to a lecture, students will actively engage in learning by working with classmates, participating in activities and conducting experiments. Professors will collaborate with the postdocs, using best practices from the new methods and incorporating them into their classes. Departments compete to take part in the program. The postdoc researchers are then recruited for three-year commitments, matching up with the departments that were selected. The program started with a focus on natural sciences and mathematics, thanks to support from the Office of the Provost, but has now expanded to include the entire College. This year’s awardees include Departments of Film and Media Studies, Psychology, and Physics and Astronomy. The program’s leaders plan to continue expanding.
By changing students from passive listeners to active participants in their education, the College is revolutionizing the university experience, improving student learning and transforming the way faculty members teach.
Influential paleoanthropologist retires After a long career of examining evidence from the past, David Frayer can now reflect on the history of his own experiences and discoveries as a leader in the field of paleoanthropology. Frayer, now a professor emeritus of anthropology, retired this year. His influential research has focused largely on the relationship between Neandertal and modern populations based on dental and skeletal material. He has illuminated the past, showing that Neandertals were more alike to modern humans than previously thought, including using language. He has also discovered the evidence of the oldest tumor in the human fossil record from a 130,000-year-old skeleton. “Lately, I have been working a lot on handedness in Neandertals, based on tooth scratches, and how this relates to brain laterality and language,” Frayer said. “The best part of doing this research is the sense of discovery.” Frayer’s work has been featured in many scientific journals and national publications, including the New York Times in 2013. His research on human evolution and past human groups has greatly added to the field’s knowledge base. “Evolution is the central organizing principle about biology, so knowing something about out evolutionary past is important,” Frayer said. Since retiring, Frayer has moved from logging fossils to cataloging recipes in his cookbook “Free-style Frigo Recipes and Stories.” The cookbook comes on a flash drive and tells stories about people and their recipes.
KU commemorates WWI centennial
Departments and programs across
campus are coming together for a multiyear commemoration of the World War I centennial from 2014 to 2018. The KU
Commemoration of WWI, coordinated by
the European Studies Program, will include
programming and educational opportunities showcasing resources across the university, city of Lawrence and state of Kansas.
The programs will highlight KU and
Kansas history during WWI from 1914 to 1918. Events include lectures, art
exhibitions, conferences, tours, library
exhibitions, museum collaborations and
Eunhwa Son and Sunyoung Cheong, graduate students in the School of the Arts, won major national awards for jewelry design, depicted here. The visual art students were two of only 11 students nationwide to receive the scholarships from the Women’s Jewelry Association.
For more information on the
commemoration visit kuwwi.com.
The (applied behavioral) science of Twitter In the age of technology, connecting with students has never been easier. It has also never been more complicated. To bridge the gap between academic units and students, the Department of Applied Behavioral Science has used a variety of ways to engage their students. The department’s efforts with Twitter have been especially successful. Derek Reed, assistant professor of applied behavioral science and director of laboratory in applied behavioral economics, has used Twitter with impressive results. When Reed and his undergraduate teaching assistants realized few students were checking the class website that included a lot of important information, the TAs suggested breaking the information down to short, easily consumable messages to share on social media. “Understanding the function of students’ use of social media is key; they use media such as Twitter as a way to stay up to speed about what’s going on outside their immediate surroundings,” Reed said. “I think all professors would want their course and science to be part of that information aggregation.” Their strategies have included using FAQs from emails, popular memes and viral posts, and humor to attract students. They also promote departmental events and lectures over Twitter to draw students to attend. “I was reluctant to start a Twitter account and honestly thought it would fail; boy was I wrong!” Reed said. “Twitter provides us the opportunity to educate students on the mission of our department. We tweet about interesting applications of our science in popular culture to demonstrate the breadth of career opportunities that a degree in ABS provides.”
Follow Us Derek Reed: @AppliedBehEcon ABS: @ABSatKU College: @KUCollege
Leadership institute expands to Kansas students The Women’s
Leadership Institute at KU will for the first time invite students from
Kansas to its fourweek residency
on campus with students from
in the Middle East,
South Asia and North Africa. WLI is including Kansans to deepen the international students’ understanding of
American culture and society and for students from Kansas to gain first-hand understanding of other cultures.
Throughout the program, each participant will develop
a project through which she addresses a challenge in her home community needing stronger leadership practices.
WLI is hosted through the Department of Communication Studies and is funded through the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Military graduate degree offerings expand A new, intensive master’s degree concentration in foreign affairs studies will allow officers to deepen and diversify their expertise in a variety of regions. The concentration
was designed specifically for Army foreign area officers, who need an in-depth, regionally focused master’s level program to enhance their language proficiency and knowledge of a region.
The first concentration area available, starting in fall 2014, will be Middle East and North Africa, offered as part of KU’s master’s degree in the Center for Global and
International Studies. As the program expands, other regions will be added.
KU is among only 20 universities nationwide to offer such programs, and of those, one of just three that offers more than one regional specialty.
Don Stull (right), professor in the Department of Anthropology, practices his roping skills at the Tumbleweed Festival in Garden City. Stull spent several months in Garden City to study the ethnic diversification of the school system as the meatpacking industry changes the population of the town.
KU designated as Department of Defense Language Training Center The Institute for International Education
has awarded $775,000 from the Department of Defense to the University of Kansas to provide critical language instruction to
the military, making KU one of nine DoD Language Training Centers in the United States.
The award will allow KU to provide onsite language training to U.S. Army personnel assigned to the Command and General
Staff College at Fort Leavenworth and to U.S. Marines stationed at Fort Leonard
Wood, Mo. The award follows the three-
year Project Global Officer DoD grant KU
received in 2012, which funds scholarships
for future military officers to study strategic languages and cultures.
KU instructors will travel to Fort Leavenworth, offering language
maintenance courses in Arabic, French, German, Korean and Spanish to Army
Special Forces officers. At Fort Leonard
Wood, language courses will be offered in French, German, Japanese, Russian
U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins visited the Clinical Child Psychology Program to learn more about ways KU is addressing childrenâ€™s mental health needs. Her visit included a tour of the KU Child and Family Services Clinic. Also pictured are Yo Jackson, associate professor, and Patrick Leopold, Jenkinsâ€™ chief of staff.
and Spanish. KU instructors will teach
these courses using a blended learning model with onsite native speakers and
online course instruction. Departments,
programs and centers in the College teach all languages at KU.
Student wins Truman Scholarship Hannah Sitz, a student from Andover planning a career in the nonprofit sector, was named a 2013 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Sitz is the 17th KU
student since 1981 to be named a Truman Scholar and the only 2013 recipient from the state of Kansas.
Sitz, a senior in psychology in the College and strategic communication in the journalism school, will receive up to $30,000 for graduate school. She plans to pursue a Master of Public Administration after graduation.
Students commissioned for KC Fed artwork The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and the Department of Visual Art have begun working on a sculpture to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the KC Fed, established in 1914.
The visual art department will offer four classes through fall 2014,
“Special Topics in Art: The Federal Reserve Commission,” with the
objective of conceiving, designing and executing a sculpture. Matthew
Burke, associate professor of visual art, and employees of the bank have been planning the project since 2012.
The sculpture will be partially composed from items contributed by current and past employees at the bank.
Professor named top scientist A national listing of the top 100 influential analytical scientists includes a
professor of chemistry who researches methods to improve the efficiency of drugs in treating a variety of diseases. Susan Lunte, Ralph N. Adams Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Chemistry,
was named to The Analytical Scientist Power List 2013 by the Analytical Scientist. Lunte was one of only eight women selected for the list.
The Analytical Scientist highlighted Lunte’s efforts in training the next generation of scientists, including her mentoring and scholarship.
Researcher honored as namesake of ancient mammal A KU professor recently became namesake to an ancient insect-eating
mammal. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
and Denver Museum of Nature & Science published a description of the
fossilized 50-million-year-old creature, about the size of a shrew or small hedgehog, naming it Nyctitherium krishtalkai after Leonard Krishtalka, director of the Biodiversity Institute at KU.
Krishtalka is a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. His
research focuses on the evolution of mammals. Krishtalka worked for many years with Richard Stucky of the Denver Museum of Nature &
Science, who named the mammal.
New directions at University Honors Program One of the nation’s best programs for academically talented students, the University Honors Program at the University of Kansas, is growing by leaps and bounds. The fall 2013 class of 400 new students was the largest the program has admitted. The previous capacity was 275 new admits per year. The program is popular among the top applicants to KU, with demand typically exceeding the space available for new admits. The expansion will allow the program to accommodate far more students and turn away fewer academically talented students. The growth was made possible by a tuition increase supported by a student advisory committee. In addition to changing numbers this year, the program also changed leadership. Danny Anderson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which houses the program, announced that Jonathan Earle would take on the post as director, starting Jan. 1. Earle, an associate professor in the Department of History, has served in various capacities across the university to enhance student and public engagement with KU. “Jonathan Earle’s enthusiasm for student success at KU is unmistakable. He has actively sought opportunities to serve the needs of students across the university, whether serving as the undergraduate director in a highly enrolled department or developing courses to appeal to majors and nonmajors alike,” Anderson said. Earle is eager to build upon his longtime involvement with the honors program. Since 1997, he has taken on a variety of
(Public University Press, 2012). The study evaluated programs on factors such as curriculum; prestigious awards (Rhodes, Truman and Goldwater); retention and graduation rates; and study abroad programs. A Legacy to Build On
duties, including advising and teaching honors students, and serving on advisory committees. “The University Honors Program is one of the absolute jewels of this great institution, one I’ve been proud to be a part of since I arrived in Kansas,” he said. “Giving our most talented students— who, after all, have a wide range of choices of where to go to college — an outstanding public education is a chief reason I became a teacher in the first place.”
The new honors program director succeeds Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett, who retired at the end of the fall 2013 semester, after five years of leadership. A professor of psychology at KU since 1985 and Honors professor since the 1990s, she has seen countless students propelled into careers and disciplines by their interactions with faculty and the honors program. McCluskey-Fawcett led several initiatives to enhance the University Honors Program, including the increase in new student admission; development of a student opportunity fund to support academic and professional development experiences; and positioning the program as an incubator for new academic initiatives that could be implemented universitywide.
In recognition of McCluskey-Fawcett’s service to the program, the University Honors Program Advisory Board created the Kathleen McCluskeyFawcett Outstanding Contribution Award. The purpose of the award is to recognize Honors students who demonstrate leadership, innovation and engagement in the Honors Program. The fund in part reflects a learning experience McCluskey-Fawcett had as an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, studying child psychology. At that time, most of the advising by faculty was focused on graduate students, so she and some of her classmates developed a peer advising program for child psychology majors to provide personalized guidance for their academic paths. “Early on, I realized that undergraduates can have a lot of impact on a program,” she says. “The honors program is a good place for students who understand they have a great idea and can make it happen.” For more information visit honors.ku.edu.
The honors program ranked second in the nation in “A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs” by John Willingham
Kathleen McCluskeyFawcett with Murray and Distinguished Alumna Rosemarie Truglio (center). An award fund has been established in honor of her legacy.
College Research in Review Team researches at Large Hadron Collider A team of KU particle physicists earned
female minorities may actually have an advantage in political success.
a three-year, $1.78 million grant from the
“The Latina Advantage” by Christina
research at the Large Hadron Collider.
science, showed that while Latinas
National Science Foundation to continue The team is part of a complex
organization that includes scientists from all over the world, working together
to push forward their understanding of the “Standard Model” of physics,
which predicted the existence of the
Higgs boson. Ultimately, the work of the team from the Department of Physics and Astronomy could contribute to
technological breakthroughs based on the discovery of the Higgs boson and other new understanding of the subatomic structure of the universe.
Five flirting styles identified Is there anything more mystifying than flirting and attraction? Jeffrey Hall,
associate professor of communication studies, has made strides to solve the puzzle of heterosexual flirtation with
his new book “The Five Flirting Styles:
Use the Science of Flirting to Attract the Love You Really Want.”
Research into flirting styles led Hall to
write this book defining the five styles— physical, polite, playful, sincere and
traditional. Hall said readers will come
away not only with a better understanding of their own flirting style, but also may better understand why some flirting
techniques work for some, but not others.
Latina advantage challenges assumptions Although minority women often face assumptions that gender and racial stereotypes will keep them out of
elected office, new research indicates
Bejarano, associate professor of political remain underrepresented in office
compared to their population, their
recent increases in U.S. political office
outpaced growth of Latino and female representations. Bejarano says Latina women benefit from identifying with
multiple groups. Latina candidates also
may work to ensure they are as qualified as possible for political office under the
assumption they will face many obstacles to get elected.
Exploration of US surveillance culture
in the College: the Sierra Madre
Ground-Warbler, in the Philippines, the
Cambodian Tailorbird, in Cambodia, and the Junin Tapaculo, in Peru.
Researchers partially attribute KU’s
success to the ample opportunities for
field research around the world. Graduate
Although recent national attention
students, doctoral candidates and faculty
surveillance by the NSA, a second edition
small-scale surveillance that surrounds
Opposition to female rulers has deep roots
Staples, professor of sociology, examines
Women have been trying to overcome
surveillance that are increasingly present
world, to convince others they can rule
has largely focused on government
of a KU researcher’s book explores the
us. In “Everyday Surveillance,” William the relatively mundane techniques of in the workplace, school, home and
community. He shows how public and
private organizations track us through the
Internet, cell phones, video cameras, credit cards, loyalty shopping cards and more.
Staples’ book explores how these methods
of surveillance can have real consequences in our lives, from personal privacy to data archiving to everyday behavior.
KU leads in bird species discoveries In a typical year, very few new bird
species are discovered. Remarkably,
three of the new birds discovered in
2013 were discovered by researchers
members have all contributed to these
gender bias for centuries, all over the
and lead, according to a new book by
Keith McMahon, professor of East Asian
studies. “Women Shall Not Rule: Imperial
Wives and Concubines in China from Han
to Liao” shows female rule was an absolute last resort in early Chinese dynasties, although it did sometimes happen.
According to McMahon, women’s status
has improved in many parts of the world
over time, allowing more possibilities for female leaders; yet female leaders have emerged in unexpected places, such as
Pakistan, while the U.S. has never had a woman president.
Below: Don’t Deny My Voice summer poetry institute Right: “Chosen People” by Jacob Dorman Far right: Sierra Madre GroundWarbler, art by Junin Tapaculo
Poetry institute focuses on African-American poetry KU hosted a three-week summer institute focused on black poetry for college and
university teachers and graduate students. “Don’t Deny My Voice: Reading and
Teaching African-American Poetry” was
funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and directed by Maryemma Graham, distinguished professor of
English and director of the Project on the History of Black Writing.
The institute was planned in response to
the resurgence of interest in contemporary poetry and its expanded production and
wide circulation. It focused on the history, changes and modal transformations of
African-American poetry in the cultural
and social landscape, considering critical periods in history.
Exploring the rise of black Israelite religions
Blame won’t solve inequality
“Chosen People: The Rise of American
Recent research examines why people
Dorman, assistant professor of history
injustice, what constitutes injustice and
Black Israelite Religions” by Jacob
and American studies, explores the
history of African-Americans and Judaism in America.
The book follows the journey, from
African-American’s interactions with white Jews during slavery to the rise
disagree on the causes of economic
whether society is obligated to respond to
it. Psychology professor Nyla Branscombe
and philosophy and law professor Derrick Darby concluded that dwelling on the
causes of inequality and focusing on blame will not help solve economic inequality.
of black Israelite synagogues to a
For historically disadvantaged groups,
group of African-Americans to attempt
goal than it is for more advantaged
black nationalist movement that led a
resettlement in Ethiopia in 1930. Dorman also explores the tensions between
African-Americans and Jews in recent
history. “Chosen People” is one of the few scholarly works on black Jews.
equality is generally a more important
groups. Yet, even if everyone agrees about
what constitutes inequality and its causes, group membership has its own powerful
effect on whether inequality is seen as fair or unfair.
“The Handbook of Civil Society in Africa”
Separate studies by researchers in the
of African scholars. It demonstrates the
oversharing and disclosing details about
includes 26 chapters written by a variety
considerable shift, over the past 20 years, from military regimes to democratic processes in many African nations.
Most distant lensing galaxy discovered Gregory Rudnick, associate professor of physics and astronomy, is part of a team that has discovered the most
distant lensing galaxy known to science, 9.5 billion light years away. These
extraordinary “lensing galaxies” can enhance light like a telescope from
even deeper reaches of the universe,
brightening and magnifying background galaxies up to 30 times.
This farthest lensing galaxy could bring new understanding of the way galaxies are born. The discovery could help
scientists infer the mass of dark matter in
the lensing galaxy. Scientists will continue gaining valuable information about the
galaxy using the Hubble Space Telescope and the Arizona-based Large Binocular Telescope Observatory.
The effects of civil society organizations in Africa The concept of civil society, including
nonprofit and volunteer organizations, religious groups and labor unions,
has shaped the continent of Africa in
modern human life in
many ways, but what if it could change what it means to be human? “Technology and
Shifting Values and
Meanings,” a new book by F. Allan
Hanson, professor of anthropology, explores that question.
The book covers many recent
technological developments including
fertility treatments, DNA technology and artificial intelligence. Hanson examines how these and other technological advances change culture, values
and social models, along with larger philosophical questions that arise.
Politics and oversharing on Facebook Want to seem funnier on Facebook and
keep your romantic partner happy? If so, KU researchers have the answer for you.
unique ways. A book edited by Ebenezer
A study by communication studies
explores how this concept has affected
about personal anecdotes and daily life
Obadare, associate professor of sociology, African politics.
Can technology change what it means to be human?
researchers showed that users who post are more likely to be viewed as humorous than those who post political matter.
psychology department found that
your relationship might ruin a romantic relationship. The researchers concluded that those in a relationship expect a
certain amount of privileged information from their partner, so such public disclosure can harm romances.
Who knew using Facebook was so nuanced?
Two win prestigious NEH fellowships Two professors in the College have won
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowships to support their
research. Arienne Dwyer, professor
of anthropology, received a grant for
“Narrative and Metanarratives of the Silk
Road,” and Iris Smith Fischer, professor of English, for “Charles Peirce and the Role of Aesthetic Expression in 19th Century U.S. Philosophy and Semiotics.”
Dwyer, a linguistic anthropologist, will use her NEH Fellowship to produce a book, “Camel Spring: Narratives and
Meta-Narratives of the Silk Road,” which explores the stories told by and about Central Asians.
Smith Fischer will complete her study on the 19th century American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce. His interests in
both theater and semiotics, or the study of how phenomena attain meaning, led him to develop a mode of inquiry that
combined scientific study with acting and performing methods.
More research online,
l rola c ll
New faculty members in the College
Nazli Avdan (Department of Political Science, assistant professor) – Avdan’s research explores territoriality and international relations, including visa policies, international immigration, border management and reconceptualizing border salience.
Bradley Lane (School of Public Affairs and Administration, assistant professor) – Lane researches travel behavior, focusing on the effects of cost to modal choice and the implications for transportation sustainability.
Zongwu Cai (Department of Economics, Charles Oswald Professor of Econometrics) – Cai’s research includes theoretical and applied econometrics, financial econometrics nonlinear and non-stationary time series modeling, and panel data analysis.
Patrick Miller (Department of Political Science, assistant professor) – Miller’s research includes public opinion political psychology; campaigns, elections and voting behavior; political communication; and racial politics.
Mariana Candido (Department of History, assistant professor) – Candido specializes in the history of West Central Africa during the era of the transatlantic slave trade. Josie Chandler (Department of Molecular Biosciences, assistant professor) – Chandler focuses on how bacteria communicate to carry out complex group behaviors by studying quorum, a cell-cell communication system. Vitaly Chernetsky (Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, associate professor) – Chernetsky’s research interests include Russian, Ukrainian, and East and Central European literatures and cultures. Michael Clift (Department of Chemistry, assistant professor) – Clift researches synthetic chemistry, focusing on the development of new reactions and total synthesis. Richard Glor (Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology/Biodiversity Institute, associate professor/associate curator) – Glor researches what processes contribute to the formation of new species and what factors underlie macro evolutionary patterns of diversity.
Lynn Murphy (Department of SpeechLanguage-Hearing, clinical assistant professor)– Murphy’s research focuses on assessing and treating patients with neurogenic and other disorders of speech, language, voice, cognition and swallowing. Paul Nahme (Department of Religious Studies, assistant professor) – Nahme focuses on modern Jewish thought, modern Jewish intellectual history, and method and theory in the study of religion. Eileen Nutting (Department of Philosophy, assistant professor) – Nutting’s areas of specialization include philosophy of mathematics, logic and epistemology. Shannon Portillo (School of Public Affairs and Administration, assistant professor) – Portillo’s research explores formal structures, such as rules and laws, and informal structures, such as social status. Andrea Quenette (Department of Communication Studies, assistant professor) – Quenette’s research focuses on political news use and the influence of news framing on political attitudes, affect and behavior.
Lynn Hancock (Department of Molecular Biosciences, associate professor and Murphy Scholar) – Hancock’s research interests include microbiology, pathogenic microbiology and prokaryotic genetics.
Christian Ray (Center for Bioinformatics/ Department of Molecular Biosciences, assistant professor) – Ray’s research interests include evolutionary biology, computational biology, biological physics and system biology.
YunFeng Jiang (Department of Mathematics, assistant professor) – Jiang’s research interests include the area of algebraic geometry and mathematics physics.
Sarah Robins (Department of Philosophy, assistant professor) – Robin’s research focuses on the intersection of philosophy and psychology with memory and implicit learning and conceptual development.
Megan Kaminski (Department of English, assistant professor) – Kaminski’s areas of research include creative writing, poetry and poetics, and nonfiction. Rachel Krause (School of Public Affairs and Administration, assistant professor) – Krause researches issues of urban sustainability, particularly motivations, implementation and consequences of local-level greenhouse gas abatement efforts.
Armin Schulz (Department of Philosophy, assistant professor) – Schulz’s areas of specialization include philosophy of science, philosophy of mind and philosophy of social science. Benjamin Sikes (Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology/Kansas Biological Survey, assistant professor/assistant scientist)– Sikes focuses on soil ecology, how arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi communities change over time and the functional consequences of those changes.
New faculty Nazli Avdan and Patrick Miller talk with Shade Little, the chancellor’s husband.
Wm. Leo Smith (Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology/Biodiversity Institute, assistant professor/assistant curator) – Smith researches the evolutionary biology of fishes, particularly the large-scale phenomena that shaped fishes’ history and diversification geographically and geologically. Maya Stiller (Department of Art History, assistant professor) – Stiller’s research incorporates many disciplines to introduce a new and interdisciplinary methodology to the study of religions in East Asia. J. Daniel Tapia Takaki (Department of Physics and Astronomy, assistant professor) – Takaki researches ultra-peripheral heavy-ion collisions, quarkonia production in protonproton collisions, central exclusive production in proton-proton collisions and heavy-ion physics. Antonio Luciano de Andrade Tosta (Department of Spanish and Portuguese, assistant professor) – Tosta’s research includes 19th and 20th century Brazilian literature, Brazilian cinema, contemporary Portuguese literature, and ethnic literatures of the U.S. Benjamin Uchiyama (Department of History, assistant professor) – Uchiyama specializes in Modern Japan, particularly mass culture and war mobilization in the 1930s and 1940s. James Walters (Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, assistant professor) – Walters researches Heliconius butterflies, with an emphasis on understanding the role that sexual selection plays in patterns of genetic diversity. Peter Zazzali (Department of Theatre, assistant professor) – Zazzali specializes in acting, actor training and theory, directing, performance history, and sociology of theatre.
Tapping into Water
Collaborative efforts pool resources, perspectives to address looming issues The issue of water cannot be solved from one perspective. In fact, it canâ€™t really be considered a single issue at all. Dozens of faculty, students and alumni in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are involved in projects looking at anything from aquifer levels in Kansas to preserving ancient water systems in Afghanistan. Their work is helping the University of Kansas build a leading research community to find solutions for the grand challenge of water. 14
“Aquatic ecosystems are very important to study, especially as we start adding pollutants to them.” —Holly Lafferty, senior in ecology and evolutionary biology
“The water in these rivers helps support all of the terrestrial
Water makes life possible. It allows species and communities to
and affects the marine ecosystem,” she said.
thrive. Understanding the intricacies of water-based ecosystems can provide answers not only in how pollution affects the
balance of life in bodies of water; it can also provide insight into new ways water can power communities.
»» Holly Lafferty won an undergraduate research award to
support research on aquatic ecology in the Kansas River.
Lafferty is a senior in ecology and evolutionary biology who is interested in how one change in one ecosystem can affect other ecosystems. Specifically, she is studying starvation
among minnows in the Kansas River. She wants to know
whether they are experiencing starvation, and if so, what impact it has on their tissues. It’s an important subject to
explore, she said, because fish are an important food source.
ecosystems around it … eventually [it] ends up in the ocean »» When it comes to algae, Val Smith is an expert. Smith, a
professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, wrote one of the most influential research papers on the subject,
explaining that these highly undesirable algae were rare in lakes that had a high ratio of nitrogen to phosphorous. In Smith’s view, however, algae aren’t always a nuisance. In
fact, he’s exploring ways to use algae to our benefit. He is
focused on efforts to develop algal biofuels as part of KU’s multidisciplinary Feedstock to Tailpipe Initiative, part of
KU’s Transportation Research Institute. Smith said that algae
have many advantages as a biofuel source: They grow quickly and can be grown in closed “photobioreactors” or in shallow
ponds on marginal lands that don’t compete with food crops or take up valuable farmland.
Potter Lake, Lawrence, KS Ogallala aquifer, Haskell County, KS
“If kids can’t change something here with what they learn, how can they go out and do that in a corporation?” — Chris Brown, director and professor of environmental studies
Looking Locally In just a short walk or a few hours’ drive, researchers can study ecosystem pollution, aquifer levels, or centuries of drought. Students and faculty have taken advantage of
several nearby opportunities to understand how better to manage water resources.
»» Hunter Harlow, master’s student in geology, was part of
a team that made history. The Kansas Geological Survey retrieved the first-ever intact drill core of the subsurface
Ogallala aquifer, taken from Haskell County in southwestern Kansas. The Ogallala aquifer, which accounts for over 30% of all groundwater withdrawals in the United States, has made
the news lately as reports show the water levels are declining at a worsening rate. The core sample is made up of layers of
rocks. Understanding how the rock layers can control water
levels and help or restrict flow from one layer to another can
lead to more precise predictions. “The end goal of this project
is to improve the groundwater models so we can better manage the groundwater we have left.” Harlow said.
»» To understand drought in Kansas beyond modern memory,
Anthony Layzell looked to trees for answers. Layzell, doctoral student in geography and research assistant with the Kansas Geological Survey, surveyed data on tree rings going back a thousand years. A tree
grows more and generates a thicker ring in a wet year, versus a thinner ring in a dry year. If you think the ongoing Kansas drought that started in 2010 is bad, you should have been around here
between the years 900 to 1,300 A.D. that saw slightly higher global temperatures and resulted in
harsher dry spells in Kansas than the notorious Dust Bowl years.
He said such information could be helpful in planning for inevitable
“Photographers have a knack for storytelling. Mobilize enough of them around a common story, and the capacity to do good in this world is limitless.” —Whitney Chang, KU alumna, on the River to Well project “Magic Water” by Joao Coutinho of Portugal, winner of a River to Well photo competition.
drought conditions in Kansas and managing vital water resources such as the Ogallala Aquifer.
»» On any warm day, Potter Lake is a site for relaxation and scenic portraits. It’s also a site for hands-on
application of classroom lessons several
times a year. Chris Brown, director and professor in the Environmental Studies Program, describes
Potter Lake as a “living lab” for students. The lake is plagued by pollution.
Students have taken the
lead on cleaning up and
restoring the lake. Their efforts over the past
several years have led to a cleaner lake and
a major dredging and
Going Global Water sustainability isn’t just a local or regional issue. It’s
a global one. Efforts led by KU researchers and alumni are making changes from Africa to Afghanistan.
»» Water sustainability has drawn a multi-disciplinary KU
research team to a project in southern Afghanistan funded by U.S. Army grants. The researchers have recently completed a three-year project to map and help preserve the karez
water systems there. The system of underground tunnels and canals for thousands of years in the Middle East and
Africa have supplied water to villages near the mountains,
but many became endangered in Afghanistan due to the war, drought and the installation of wells in the region that has changed the social landscape. The Army will receive the
report and supply commanders on the ground with the maps to hopefully prevent damage to the karez systems as the
military leaves Afghanistan. The team includes John Hoopes
and Rolfe Mandel, anthropology; Phil Stinson, classics; and a group of graduate students.
“…The promise of algal biofuels could potentially be helped along by using wastewater. It provides a convenient source of water, and it also provides nutrients that otherwise would be released.” — Val Smith, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology
»» From thousands of miles away, a group of KU graduates has improved access to well water in Africa. The organization, River to Well, holds an international photo competition,
which raises funds through entry fees, sales of photo prints and donations. The winning photos were shown just in
Lawrence the first few years; now they are also on exhibit in Denver and Minneapolis. River to Well partners with
nonprofit Vox United, which uses the proceeds to repair and construct wells in Africa. Ken Chang, B.S. (’05) and M.B.A.
(’08) in business, launched the initiative after a trip to South Africa in which he saw firsthand the great need for potable water there. River to Well has since grown to include other
KU alumni, several of whom have degrees from the College: Kelsey Hall, B.A. in speech-language-hearing (’10) and M.A.
in speech-language-pathology (’12); Shannon McNeal, B.G.S. in communication studies (’10); and Whitney Chang, B.S. in English (’08).
»» As military leaders consider their missions around the
world, environmental security has become an increasingly
important factor over the last 20 years. For Shannon O’Lear, associate professor of geography, and Mike Denning,
director of KU’s Graduate Military Program, it’s a crucial
area of study, particularly the role of water. It’s a concept that encompasses anything from clashes over resources to the
complexity and balance of interconnected systems, such as how drought in one country could produce food shortages and uprising in another. A recent report by the research
team, published in the journal Environment in September with a colleague who is a consultant in D.C., makes a case specifically for combining military and civilian efforts on
water, a broad and complex issue that would benefit from
having multiple perspectives and resources focused on it.
Map and lake images are from “Atlas of Kansas Lakes,” published by the Kansas Biological Survey. It covers nearly 80 reservoirs.
“If you stop and think about something that has so many ties that can bring us (researchers) together, it’s water.” — Edward Martinko, director of Kansas Biological survey; professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and environmental studies
Cultivating Collaboration Coordination among offices and centers with interests in water research has resulted in conferences and workshops, which
have drawn participation from several faculty in the College of
Liberal Arts and Sciences. The goal is to encourage collaboration and new thinking by bringing together a diverse set of faculty, from sciences, humanities, arts, social sciences, international
»» Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, biennial national conference hosted at KU. More than 700
scholars interested in intersections of environmental studies
and the humanities explored the renewed relevance of the old adage “everything is connected to everything.” Paul Outka
and Byron Caminero-Santangelo, both associate professors of English, are active leaders in the organization.
studies, and beyond.
»» Water Research Workshop, a gathering of more than 100
KU faculty and staff. The workshop was a first step toward
building an ongoing community of water researchers at KU. »» Global Water: Drought, Conservation and Security in the 21st Century, a conference hosted by the five international area
Resources KU Water Research
studies centers and the Environmental Studies Program in
River to Well
social, political and environmental issues associated with the
Atlas of Kansas Lakes
the College. The conference addressed resolving the technical, use and sustainability of water.
rivertowell.com Published by the Kansas Biological Survey, $25, 785-864-3965, or email@example.com 19
alumni // distinguished alumni
Endless possibilities Our Distinguished Alumni exemplify the diversity in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, truly living up to the motto “learning without boundaries.” The most recent recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award have proven that a degree in the College gives the foundation for success in any endeavor.
Learn more about our Distinguished Alumni »» Read full individual profiles on our blog: blog.college.ku.edu »» Get bios of all past and current Distinguished Alumni on our website: college. ku.edu/alumni/change
›› Retired four-star general, U.S. Air Force
›› Award-winning paleo-artist
›› B.G.S. (`75), M.A. (`76) in Latin
›› B.A. (`74) in geology, M.A. (`79) in
›› Decided to major in Latin American
›› Gurche’s recreations are so renowned
Studies after learning Spanish as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He
learned about 2,700 words, basic verb conjugation, pronunciation and more
through a tap code with a prisoner two cells away. He learned it all tap by tap. ›› Boyd retired from the military in
1995, but has yet to slow down. He
is currently the Starr Distinguished
National Security Fellow at the Center for the National Interest.
“The process of educating a man or a woman is one in which the specifics of what they learn is less important than the process by which they learn and then to act upon what they’ve learned.” —Charles Boyd 20
that he was called on to consult for the film “Jurassic Park” and his paintings
were used for the 1989 dinosaur stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service.
›› Gurche recently published a book,
“Shaping Humanity: How Science, Art, and Imagination Help Us Understand Our Origins,” on his process for
creating figures of ancient human
ancestors. His prehistoric recreations
are so highly detailed that they can take a year to create.
Upcoming Events B. Lynn Pascoe April 24, 2014, at Union Station in Washington, D.C. John Gurche May 1, 2014 at the Linda Hall Library in Kansas City, Mo. To receive invitations for Distinguished Alumni events, email Jessica Beeson, director of alumni and community engagement, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’m much more of a nurturing mentor than if I went to a different type of academic institution [than KU]. There was this collaboration that was at the core of the department’s mission. I think because of that collaboration I have a much more respectful working relationship not only with my colleagues but with my staff.” —Rosemarie Truglio
“I think my liberal arts background at KU, and particularly the diverse set of experiences I got, has really done a lot to make me a more analytical thinker, given me better problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, interpersonal skills. And I also think done a lot to really make me a more creative person and a more creative artist.” —Chris Martin
B. Lynn Pascoe
›› Emmy Award-winning visual effects
›› United Nations and U.S. Foreign
›› Senior executive at Sesame Workshop
›› B.A. (`03) in film ›› Martin’s resume reads like a list of the hit TV shows of the past few years,
including “The Walking Dead,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Office,” “24” and
“Heroes,” for which he won an Emmy. ›› Martin and a fellow film alum created new awards to reward KU film
students’ accomplishments and raise awareness of their respective fields
within the film industry. The Chris Martin Visual Effects Award has
been awarded to three students, two of whom now work with Martin at Stargate Studios.
›› B.A. (`64) in East Asian studies,
international studies and mathematics
›› Pascoe has held numerous posts
with the United Nations and the U.S.
Foreign Service over the last 40 years,
including Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Ambassador to the
Republic of Indonesia and Malaysia, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the federal Bureau of European
and Eurasian Affairs and U.S. Special
Negotiator for Regional Conflicts in the former Soviet Union.
›› M.A. (`86) in human development and
family life; Ph.D. (`90) in developmental and child psychology
›› If your kids (or you) have learned
anything from Sesame Street recently, you can thank Truglio. She heads
the development of the curriculum
supporting one of the most influential children’s shows on TV.
›› Education at the Sesame Workshop goes beyond counting on TV. For
example, after Hurricane Sandy, Truglio was a guest on WNYC with Elmo to
talk about the disaster. The spot was to help children in affected areas
understand and address the hurricane and its aftermath.
alumni // best of the blog
Checking in with alumni Our new blog, blog.college.ku.edu, is where we share stories of our alumni and students. These are some of our favorite alumni stories from the last year. Providing support in a crisis Jomana Qaddour ›› B.A. (’06) in human biology and international studies; J.D. (’09) ›› Non-profit founder; Brookings Institution research assistant and publications manager
›› Noteworthy: Jomana Qaddour started a non-profit with
celebrating Jayhawk basketball victories
with fellow revelers in downtown Lawrence.
›› “KU professors
her father, Syria Relief & Development, and works there as
with their example
Palestine/Israel, Egypt, and Syria in her research work. Her
showed me the
solid research projects could bring to society. I am very
and motivating them to have similar experiences. I value the
set up four
pass them on to my students now.”
well as at the Brookings Institution, where she focuses on
and their teachings
great impact that
than $9 million
excited about sharing these experiences with my students
aid and has
teachings that I received from KU professors and I hope to
›› “This work has enabled me to
help my country
of birth, and the country where the majority of my family
resides, at a time when most Syrians feel helpless. The truth
is, everyone has a moral obligation to leave this world a better state than the way they found it – and for me, assisting my
fellow Syrians in a crisis unparalleled in recent history allows me to do that.”
Bringing Jayhawk spirit back home Angela María Páez Murcia ›› Ph.D. (2013) in public administration ›› Law professor at Universidad de La Sabana in Colombia ›› Noteworthy: Until she moved to Lawrence a few years ago
Living in France by way of chance Jesse Haug ›› B.A. (’07) in economics, French, and mathematics ›› Owner of S.T. Prep (standardizedtests.org), based in Paris ›› Noteworthy: Jesse Haug didn’t have Paris in mind as his future home when he took French classes as an
undergraduate; in part, he learned the language to extend his
time at KU. He has lived there now since 2007. All three of his KU majors help him in day-to-day operations of his test-prep company.
›› “It’s funny how sometimes you end up using knowledge that you never thought would come in handy. I studied
French because I liked the language and because I didn’t
want to graduate early. I never thought that I would end up
using it every day. Also, some of the general principles, and
for her doctorate in public affairs and administration, Angela
even more importantly, the way of thinking that came with
Páez looks forward to passing on what she learned at KU
ability that came with studying math helps me use data
María Páez Murcia lived all her life in Bogotá, Colombia.
studying economics is quite useful. Finally, the analytical
to her students in Colombia. She also returned with fond
and analyze certain situations that would otherwise remain incomprehensible.”
best of the blog // alumni
More profiles online, blog.college.ku.edu
Helping families find their way back Jennifer Foster ›› B.A. (’03), M.A. (’10) in religious studies ›› Family Reunification Specialist for the Resettlement Support Center Africa (RSC Africa). She is based in Nairobi, Kenya
›› Noteworthy: Jennifer Foster has lived in Nairobi, Kenya, since summer of 2012. Kenya is the first location where she has ever
lived abroad. There she helps refugees, individuals with asylum, and their immediate families resettle in the U.S.
›› “My favorite KU memory has to be study sessions that went
into the wee hours of the morning with two of my good friends. We were taking a course that was particularly challenging in
the religious studies department, but we all loved the professor and the work. One night, we were sitting in my apartment on the floor, eating grapes, and discussing varying perspectives of God’s role in the world for an exam. I’ll never forget the conversation, or the company.”
Clockwise from top: Haug, Foster, Rowan and Arnold-Burger.
Giving back to others in need
Learning is constant as a judge
›› B.G.S. (’08) in political science and African and African-
›› B.A. (’79) in personnel administration, political science and
›› Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Porter County, Indiana
›› Kansas Court of Appeals judge
›› Noteworthy: Rowan was drawn to a legal career because it
›› Noteworthy: Individually, Kansas Court of Appeals judges
afforded him the opportunity to help others and advocate for those in need. He wants to contribute to the greater good of society.
›› “A majority of students enter into the legal profession for
the earning potential and the prestige of becoming a lawyer.
However, many underestimate the investment and burden law school and the practice can place on your time, finances, and
relationships. My advice … write down and consider your pros and cons for going to law school and becoming an attorney.”
psychology, J.D. (’82)
are involved in the decision in more than 300 cases a year
and each write about 100 memorandum opinions a year. As
the issues in each case vary broadly, she said her liberal arts education has been invaluable.
›› “In any given day or week, I may have a contract case that
requires I learn about how a construction project works and
the agreements made that govern that work. Next I may have a medical malpractice case that requires I learn about some
medical ailment and its treatment. Then I am required to turn to a criminal case where I must apply the constitution and
examine the intent of our forefathers and its historical context.
So I have the privilege and the honor of having an opportunity to learn something new with each and every case.”
alumni // mini college
Shape your story at Mini College Mini College 2014 is quickly approaching. Relive some of the best moments from Mini College 2013 and Winter Mini College in San Antonio to gear up for the sixth Mini College this summer. Lifelong learners
Join Mini College 2014
Susan Kemper, the Roberts Distinguished Professor of Psychology, has taught at Mini College 2010, 2012, 2013 and Mini College Phoenix. Her course “Use It or Lose It” focuses on interventions for maintaining skills and abilities throughout life.
June 2–5 $225 Register now at www.minicollege.ku.edu.
Having attended every Mini College
since it began in 2009, Marcia and Richard Chesney are Mini College pros with advice and experiences to share.
Registration includes all classes, light breakfasts, all lunches and two dinners. Contact Jessica Beeson at 785-864-1767 or email@example.com
They’ve taken classes they knew nothing about, like ballet, and those they had
experience with, such as the tours of oncampus museums.
As a College alum, Richard has a unique perspective on returning to campus for Mini College. When the deans of the
schools at KU presented, it gave him insight into the changes since he was a student.
“I was amazed hearing how they engage
students today and the research that they do. Very impressive,” Richard said.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about Mini College?
A: I enjoy the questions - I have never
yet gotten through my prepared remarks because the Mini Collegians have asked
so many and such interesting questions.
While I haven’t always known the answer, I have really enjoyed the questions!
Q: What’s the difference between a Mini College classroom and a regular student classroom?
A: Mini Collegians bring with them a
perspective about the long-term value
of education and scientific research for
how they live their lives. We try to instill this in the regular undergrads, but they
are focused on a different set of realities
There are more than just classes, though.
- getting a job, paying off their loans,
an exciting perk.
Q: What keeps you coming back to
Meeting people at Mini College has been “We enjoy the people, hearing their
stories, what they do, and how they became involved,” Marcia said.
Their final advice for those considering Mini College? Sign up!
“I think there’s something for everybody,” Richard said. “I would suggest anybody
who hasn’t, take the opportunity to do it.”
Meet the faculty
starting their lives.
teaching at Mini College?
A: One of the few things we know that
does help maintain cognition as we age
is engagement. Mini College is the very
embodiment of engagement. I feel it helps keep me sharp, as well as providing a bit of a boost for the Mini Collegians.
Build your schedule A sample of what Mini College 2014 offers »» Building a Baseball Library »» When Harlem Was in Vogue »» The Law of Targeted Killing: Drones, Presidential Power, and International Law
Bill Gamm in a painting class with Associate Dean Liz Kowalchuk.
»» Algal Biofuels: Are They Real, or Just a Dream?
Swimming with the big fish
»» Exclusive screening of “The Jayhawkers” film
Bill Gamm is no stranger to Mini College, but his experience will be a little different this summer. After taking classes at Mini College with his wife, Penny Gamm, for several
»» Take the Camera and Run
Gamm will present on his work and career as an illustrator, which included contributing
»» One Brain, Two (or More) Languages
years, Gamm will debut a new role this summer: Mini College presenter.
to the artwork used for the classic 1975 film “Jaws.” He worked with the creative team
that designed the posters and promotional material for the film and its sequels. Gamm
will discuss how the team created some of the most iconic posters and images of all time for “Jaws,” and how the field changed during his career.
»» Plastic Electronics – How this New Technology Can Change Our Daily Living
Gamm is a KU alum, graduating from KU in 1964 with a bachelor of fine arts in
commercial art. To catch his presentation and many more, register for Mini College today.
alumni // giving back
The gift from Gene Feaster will support, in part, a new scholarship in physics. Shown left is Alice Bean, professor of physics and astronomy, working with students.
Gymnasium, a clerk in the physics library and a busboy in Corbin Hall.
His determination and work paid off. In 1940, he walked down
the hill with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, and in 1953, with a doctorate in physics.
Students in the Department of Physics and Astronomy
will benefit from his legacy with a scholarship fund created
through Feaster’s gift. Additionally, his support will establish a scholarship and a professorship in the School of Nursing. The latter, the Ida Johnson Feaster Professorship, is named for his late wife, who attended graduate school at KU.
“I hope that somebody doesn’t have to work quite as hard as I did to make it from point A to point B,” said Feaster, who
lives in Leawood. “It might even allow them time enough to be inventive or care giving, to help other people.”
As a youth growing up during the Depression, Feaster knew his father’s job of selling farm equipment didn’t allow for
extras. His parents, Ethel and George Dewey Feaster, stressed the importance of an education. “Going to college was always
a given for me,” said Feaster. “But I knew I would have to have
Alumnus pays it forward with scholarship, professorship gifts
Feaster led a two-pronged career, the first in radiation physics. He began at the Radio Corporation of America and continued
at Westinghouse and Corning Glass. At Westinghouse, he was
As the inventor of Superflab, a medical device used in radiology
twice named “Inventor of the Year”; he holds 10 U.S. patents.
improvement in the field of health care. As a University of
physics at the University of Virginia. This led him in 1977 to KU
a professorship and two scholarships, he also has created a
in nursing and radiology until his 1992 retirement.
clinics across the country, Gene Feaster made a lasting
He began the second part of his career by studying medical
Kansas alumnus who has made a $2 million gift to establish
Medical Center, where he taught radiation therapy to students
lasting legacy for KU students and faculty.
Danny Anderson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and
It has been nearly eight decades since 17-year-old Gene Feaster hitched a ride from his hometown of Winfield to look for work
in Lawrence so that he could afford to attend KU. After hitting up KU faculty, including Professor Phog Allen, for work, he
landed three part-time jobs — as a lifeguard in the old Robinson
jobs to relieve the stress on my family.”
Sciences, expressed his appreciation for the physics scholarship. “This gift ensures we can recruit and support future
generations of talented physics majors, while his story of
dedication to the pursuit of education serves as an example to us all. I am grateful for his generosity,” Anderson said.
Make a Difference The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is in the midst of an ambitious campaign to make a great university even better. We invite you to take pride in all that KU has achieved and join with us to build our future. Give online at www.kuendowment.org/college Barbara Werbe Meek with her daughters, Sheryl Lee (left) and Mindy Piontek.
Jayhawks through and through
Call 800-444-4201, ext 316 By mail, use the envelope included in the magazine
Honoring her late husband’s wishes, University of Kansas
alumna Barbara Werbe Meek, of Baton Rouge, La., made a $1 million gift commitment to provide unrestricted support for
Our KU Endowment Team
KU. The gift will create the endowed Richard M. and Barbara Werbe Meek Memorial Fund.
Barbara Meek earned a bachelor’s degree in education from KU in 1960. Her husband, Richard Meek, also graduated from KU,
where he earned two degrees in geology — a bachelor’s in 1958 and a master’s in 1962. They met at KU at a sorority/fraternity dance, and he called her for a date later that evening. The
couple were married nearly 40 years before his death. Barbara passed away in October, a few months after making the gift commitment.
Nancy Jackson, Development Director and Team Leader
Brian Friedman, Development Officer
Jenna Goodman, Senior Development Director
LaRisa Lochner, Development Director
A geophysicist, Richard had a long career with Exxon as a
technical exploration manager, traveling the globe to work on oil and gas discovery projects.
Shortly before his death in 1999, Richard Meek was in the
hospital facing a serious medical procedure. He asked Barbara to make estate plans to leave a gift for KU.
“Richard made it very clear that this is what he wanted to do,” Barbara said. “He felt very strongly that an unrestricted gift
was the most beneficial way to give to KU, because it gives the university the flexibility to decide how to best use the funds.” Their Jayhawk legacy continues through their family. One daughter, Mindy Meek Piontek, of Baton Rouge, earned a
bachelor’s degree in English from KU in 1991. Their other
daughter, Sheryl Meek Lee, of Boise, Idaho, has a son, Robert Lee, who currently is a sophomore at KU.
Jayhawk story is one worth repeating Michael Chavez is an admissions representative for the University of Kansas. He received his B.A. in communication studies in 2011. On a cold, brisk morning, I walked up to the Kauffman
Each time I tell a student about my KU experience, I have
desk. A staff member walked me over to my table where I set up
student. It was not until I became a peer advisor that I began
Foundation in Kansas City, Mo., and checked in at the front
for a college fair. I unpacked and put the following on my table: blue tablecloth, crimson overlay with the University of Kansas logo and the Jayhawk front and center, stacks of contact cards, my business cards, pencils, our Become a Jayhawk brochures and finally my two small stand-up banners displaying the
stunning Mount Oread and Allen Fieldhouse during a raucous basketball game. I was ready to recruit future Jayhawks!
The doors opened and students began to flood the corridors
and rooms, searching for that one school — their dream school. After a few seconds, a student spotted my table and made
eye contact with me. The student walked toward me and I
introduced myself. After some initial conversation, she hit me with the question, “Why KU?”
I usually know what I need to say since I have been an
admissions representative for the KU Office of Admissions
for more than three years. Except this time, I had a different response. I simply answered, “Because it changed my life.”
I reflect back to my undergraduate career at KU and I never had an
inclination that I would be working in admissions and finishing up my master’s degree in higher education administration.
a smile on my face. I started out as an indecisive and quiet
to change. I decided on my major of communication studies, which also led to a minor in leadership studies. I quickly
became more involved than I had ever been, attending Colors of
KU, LeaderShape, and Blue Prints Leadership Conferences. It all planted a seed for my future career in higher education.
KU not only provided me a solid education and outstanding
experiences; it became an essential part of me. It is about being a Jayhawk for life. And it is only fitting that the first words
one reads when opening up our Become a Jayhawk brochure
are “We Will Change Your Life.” I can vouch to the students I
recruit that the University of Kansas changed my life and it will do the same for them.
Are you a CLAS graduate with a story about how your KU experience helped get you where you are today? Send column ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The KU Collegian is the annual alumni magazine of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Kansas.