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Sky’s the Limit A closer look at some of the Jayhawks making a difference around the globe


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Sky’s the Limit A closer look at some of the Jayhawks making a difference around the globe

Jenni Leiste



Christian Williams EDITOR

Jenni Leiste



Leslie Andres COPY EDITOR

Bob Cucciniello DIRECTOR

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ON THE COVER There’s a steady stream of exciting news from KU’s talented pool of professors, scholars, and students. Photograph University of Kansas/Marketing Communications | 785-864-2787

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The Editor Heading into the 2019/20 school year, there is a lot of excitement and anticipation on the Hill. The most palpable may be in Memorial Stadium, where a new era begins for the KU football program. Under the guidance of highly regarded head coach Les Miles, the Jayhawks enter the 2019 season with renewed optimism. Will Miles’ national championship experience be what the program needs to break its 11-year bowlgame drought? Jayhawk fans can’t wait to find out. Elsewhere on campus comes a steady stream of exciting news from KU’s talented pool of professors, scholars, and students. From developing early cancer detection technology to helping solve the quantum mysteries of the universe, Jayhawks are at the forefront of many remarkable discoveries and advancements in a whole host of fields. Their work is helping change lives – and the world – for the better. Tasked with spreading the word about that work is the KU News Service, which submits daily news releases to regional and national media in an effort to cast a larger spotlight on the brilliant minds at KU. Erinn Barcomb-Peterson and her five-person team of journalists often have to distill

KU Today 2019-2020 | 4

rather technical information into an easy-to-read format for general news media outlets. It’s not easy to explain in less than 1,000 words the complicated physics going on at the Large Hadron Collider, but it happens on a regular basis at the KU News Service. Considering the number of well-written and interesting articles produced by the News Service staff, we decided to use this year’s issue of KU Today to share some of their favorite stories from the last several months. Erinn and her team pored over their archives and pulled together a batch of stories that represent a cross section of the captivating and important work happening at KU every day. We’d like to thank Erinn and her team for collaborating with us on this year’s issue of KU Today, and invite you to keep up with KU News Service’s daily news releases at Here’s to another trailblazing year on the Hill!

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Contents 10

SCHOLARS REVIVE LANGSTON HUGHES REVIEW KU associate professor Tony Bolden edits respected journal on the American literary icon.

12 16 20 24

IT ALL ADDS UP Study examines benefits of teaching math in culturally responsive ways. KEEPING IT COOL New NSF grant could make lithiumion batteries safer and promote their industrial use. GETTING AHEAD OF CANCER Breakthrough ‘lab-on-a-chip’ detects cancer faster, cheaper and less invasively. QUARKS, GLUONS, & JAYHAWKS KU physicists working at the Large Hadron Collider continue to make remarkable discoveries.

KU Today 2019-2020 | 6


BEATING THE HEAT KU leading study of dehydration, heat illness injury risks to marching bands.





Journalism class provides coverage for Kansas community without newspaper.

KU Team digitally reunifies Greenlandic heritage a century later.


LES MILES WANTS TO FINISH CAREER WITH ‘CHAMPIONSHIPS’ New KU football coach is optimistic about program’s future.


STILL COOKING Digital scholarship rescues ethnographic cookbook decades after Hurricane Mitch’s destruction.

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Langston Hughes Review K U associ ate p r o f e s s o r To n y Bolden edi ts respected jour nal on the Am eri can liter ary i con.


riter and social activist Langston Hughes lived from 1901 to 1967. The Langston Hughes Society published the semiannual scholarly journal The Langston Hughes Review from 1982 to 2011. So why is it being revived now, under the editorship of Tony Bolden, University of Kansas associate professor of African & AfricanAmerican studies? “What we want to try to do is project Langston Hughes – his vision – into the 21st century, to engage his views in the here and now, and see how and where those perspectives intersect,” Bolden said.

KU Today 2019-2020 | 8

Story by

Rick Hellman, KU News Service

The first new edition of the revived Langston Hughes Review was published in April by Penn State University Press, and Bolden said he already has a couple of years’ worth of topics planned for the journal to explore. Bolden said he was pleased that the inaugural issue of the new phase of LHR had a “prestigious lineup” of contributing scholars. Wallace Best, professor of religion and African American studies at Princeton University, was the edition’s guest editor, and the issue grew out of a conference Best organized in 2017 titled “Remembering Langston Hughes: His Art, Life and Legacy 50 Years Later.” Best is the author of the 2017 book Langston’s Salvation: American Religion and the Bard of Harlem (New York University Press). Hughes biographer Arnold Rampersad (The Life of Langston Hughes, 1986, 1988, Oxford University Press) has also contributed an article. “The essays address a range of different issues related to Hughes,” Bolden said. “They’re looking at Hughes in retrospect, from the vantage point of the 21st century. … and what you find is that there are a

lot of issues have yet to be settled. For instance, his sexuality. The guest editor states flat out that this is simply unsettled, that there’s no definitive positionality, as we understand it today, that seems to fit him, other than he was sexually free. Another author, Carma Williams, discusses his autobiography, I Wonder as I Wander, and she talks about his many liaisons with women. So the writers engage a number of different things about him.” The next issue Bolden is working on will focus on Hughes’ relationship with fellow 20th-century writer and political activist Amiri Baraka. “Hughes was the elder statesman, and Baraka was the young upstart, if you will,” Bolden said. “Publicly, Hughes praised Baraka. But privately, in some of his letters, he was critical of some of the contradictions that Baraka had, particularly during his cultural nationalist phase. But there was a mutual respect. Hughes saw Baraka’s talent. That was clear to everyone. And I think as the years passed, Baraka saw the value of Hughes.” Other forthcoming editions of the journal that Bolden will edit will focus on the late black feminist writer Ntozake Shange, a collection of Chinese scholars’ perspectives on Hughes, and an issue commemorating the theme of black love in Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. Bolden said his job as journal editor is to project a vision for LHR, create new discursive forums related to Hughes and his contemporaries, and cultivate “good material” from contributors. “You have to figure out a niche forum that attracts people that have something to say,” Bolden said. “It’s been fun, but it’s a challenge.” Bolden said the review’s former editor retired a few years ago, and the society had been casting about for a new home and editor ever since 2011. He said the fact that Hughes grew up in Lawrence, that KU has –Tony Bolden respected scholars in English, American studies and African and African-American studies departments, including several who have been working on a documentary film about Hughes, made the university “a logical place.” The new edition of the journal will extend the numbering system of the old one. The first edition of the revived journal was thus Volume 25, Number 1. It will be published both in physical form and online, Bolden said.

“They’re looking at Hughes in retrospect, from the vantage point of the 21st century.”

KU Today 2019-2020 | 9

Langston Hughes lived in Lawrence until he was 13-years-old.

KU Today

It All Adds Up S tudy exam bene fi ts of math i n cul responsi ve

Story by

Mike Krings, KU News Service

i nes teachi ng tural l y ways.


eachers have long known that to reach learners, developing instruction that relates to those students’ experiences can be a valuable tool. That is as true for mathematics as other subjects, yet there had not been a comprehensive review of the research on teaching mathematics to culturally and linguistically diverse learners in culturally responsive ways. Two University of Kansas researchers have published a study showing that mathematics taught with students’ sociocultural backgrounds in mind has a wide range of benefits to learners from diverse backgrounds. Naheed Abdulrahim, a Chancellor’s Fellow and doctoral candidate, and Michael Orosco, associate professor, both in special education at KU, conducted

KU Today 2019-2020 | 10

a qualitative research synthesis in which they analyzed 35 peerreviewed studies in culturally responsive mathematics teaching conducted from 1993 to 2018. The study, published in the journal Urban Review, found such an approach benefits learners and teachers in seven main themes and includes recommendations for policy, teacher practice and future research. “Given that culturally responsive mathematics teaching has an established history of research, we needed to conduct a comprehensive review of the literature to describe its current implementation with students from CLD backgrounds,” Abdulrahim said. “It’s growing in terms of research and its link to promoting student learning and instructional engagement,” Abdulrahim said of culturally responsive mathematics teaching. “The research shows it enhances student mathematics performance, improves student interest and enjoyment in mathematics, persistence in problem-solving and confidence in mathematics.” Data analysis resulted in seven themes: cultural identity, instructional engagement, educator reflection, high expectations, student critical thinking, social justice and collaboration. Culturally responsive mathematics instruction capitalizes on students’ funds of knowledge — the cultural and linguistic resources they bring into the classroom. The approach situates teaching and learning mathematics within the context of students’ sociocultural experiences. It provides students with the opportunity to relate the learning of mathematics to their cultural frames of reference (i.e., background knowledge, native language) which helps develop their cultural identities and perceptions of themselves as capable learners of mathematics. That is important as many students find mathematics challenging and may develop mathematics difficulties that persist throughout their education. Numerous studies described approaches in which collaboration played a central theme. Several promoted collaboration between the students and other engaged family or community members in the teaching and learning process. Several of the collaborative approaches encouraged students to take responsibility for each other’s learning by making sure group members were on task or understood the material. Others engaged parents in the classroom to learn the concepts along with students. “The collaborative approaches described in the studies facilitated opportunities for learners to draw upon their cultural strengths and experiences to make meaningful connections to new information. Family members were valuable participants this collaboration by being role models for their children and knowledgeable mathematics resources,” Abdulrahim said.

KU Today 2019-2020 | 11

“Not only do we need to prepare teachers with the tools to become culturally competent mathematics teachers, but we must instill in them the disposition to be culturally responsive.” –Naheed Abdulrahim

Naheed Abdulrahim is a Chancellor’s Fellow and doctoral candidate

KU Today

The studies also showed that culturally responsive mathematics approaches encouraged students to use their higher-level thinking skills, such as analysis, reasoning and evaluation. For example, the studies in the synthesis prepared students to use multiple strategies to solve problems and justify their solutions. Several studies also situated mathematics problem-solving within the context of social justice issues, such as power relations, societal oppression and global poverty. “The social justice component is critically important to culturally responsive mathematics teaching as it raises student awareness of societal injustice and empowers them to become agents of social change,” Abdulrahim said. Diverse students were not the only ones who benefited from a culturally responsive approach, the analysis found. In several studies, teachers who engaged in the approach practiced ongoing critical reflection in which they examined their own beliefs, values and perceptions about race, ethnicity and culture and how they intertwine to shape their students’ learning experiences. This reflection enabled teachers to examine their own teaching practices and ensure they are culturally responsive to their learners. The analysis of the studies showed the benefits of culturally responsive mathematics teaching, yet the majority of students from diverse backgrounds do not experience such teaching. The authors recommend that policymakers recognize the significance of the research and the benefits of the approach by creating policy in favor of culturally responsive teaching. Teacher preparation and training programs should be responsible for preparing teachers with the skills and knowledge to implement culturally responsive mathematics teaching. In parallel, further research is needed to investigate its links to student achievement and sociocognitive development. “Not only do we need to prepare teachers with the tools to become culturally competent mathematics teachers, but we must instill in them the disposition to be culturally responsive,” Abdulrahim said. “This is why critical educator reflection is essential in maintaining practices that bridge the home and school divide.”

KU Today 2019-2020 | 12

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Outsmarting ‘Thermal Runaway’ New N S F gr ant coul d make l i thi um ion batteri es safer and pr omo te thei r indus tri al use.

As useful and pervasive as lithium-ion batteries have become, they also pose some risk.

KU Today 2019-2020 | 14

Story by

Brendan M. Lynch, KU News Service


ou could have a lithium-ion battery in your pocket right now, powering your mobile phone or smart watch. If you have a laptop computer in your backpack, it probably runs on a lithium-ion battery. Or you might drive a Toyota Prius, Chevy Volt or Tesla powered by a large number of lithium-ion battery cells. These batteries also have been used in everything from Boeing 787 jets to U.S. Navy ships. As useful and pervasive as lithium-ion batteries have become, they also pose some risk. Because lithium metal is highly reactive, these batteries and cells can experience “thermal runaway,” meaning they can overheat and catch fire or even explode. Though rare, these incidents — like when an aircraft’s lithiumion battery overheated last year on a flight to Paris — have earned headlines and raised public alarm over lithium-ion technology. Now, supported by a new fiveyear, $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, a researcher from the University of Kansas is developing technology to monitor and prevent overheating in lithiumion batteries. Huazhen Fang, assistant

professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and his students will develop machine-learning approaches to monitoring temperature inside the batteries. “Nowadays these lithium-ion batteries are everyplace in our society,” Fang said. “They’re popular because they have many advantages, including high energy and power density, long cycle life, high voltage compared to other batteries and a low self-discharge rate. During the past decade, lithium batteries have become the most popular batteries for energy storage. But they’re vulnerable to thermal events. They can easily catch fire or have thermal explosions when ambient temperatures are high or when some internal failures occur. That’s because the lithium metal is highly reactive, and the commonly used electrolyte is flammable.” Presently, most technologies to track the temperature of lithium-ion batteries are inadequate because sensors can read only the outside surface temperature of the batteries, according to the KU researcher. “Usually, the temperature on the surface is insufficient to tell us about the state of the cell,” Fang said. “The internal temperature would tell us more about thermodynamics. But today there are few methods to place sensors inside a battery. However, using artificial intelligence and machine learning, we can predict the temperatures inside the cell that would give us the leverage to detect its behavior. The temperature at the surface would provide abundant data –Huazhen Fang to be fed to a machine-learning approach and combined with mathematical models to predict what’s going on inside the cell.” Rather than assuming a uniform temperature throughout a battery, as is the case with a present-day modeling approach called “lumped parameter models,” Fang said his computer-learning technique could predict variations in internal temperatures inside a battery — a more accurate and realistic means to calculate a battery’s potential to undergo thermal runaway. “When charging or discharging, the temperature distribution is uneven — usually higher inside near the electrodes — but the temperature outside on the surface is lower,” he said. “Lumped models only consider even temperature

“Nowadays these lithium-ion batteries are everyplace in our society.”

KU Today 2019-2020 | 15

Huazhen Fang, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and his students will develop machinelearning approaches to monitoring temperature inside the batteries.

KU Today

According to Fang, lithiumion technology increasingly could be used in massive electrical grids to store and discharge electricity generated by sustainable technologies like solar and wind.

KU Today 2019-2020 | 16

distribution, but our method provides spatial-temporal reconstruction of the temperature.” Fang said data from a lithium-ion battery fed into artificial intelligence to deduce internal temperatures could be processed in the device powered by the battery, or linked to cloud computing. If a battery undergoes thermal runaway, the device would be programmed to shut down or disconnect the battery before it becomes hot enough to catch fire or trigger an explosion. With these innovations, lithium-ion batteries could be scaled up to more industrial levels via cells that bundle hundreds of batteries together. According to Fang, lithiumion technology increasingly could be used in massive electrical grids to store and discharge electricity generated by sustainable technologies like solar and wind. “The problem is more pressing for large systems as they face higher vulnerabilities,” he said. “In large systems, if one cell catches fire, then a domino effect will devastate the entire system. Nowadays, people across the industry are thinking of developing larger-scale energy storage based on lithium-ion systems. But the thermalsafety issue could slow the pace of the use of lithium-ion batteries for future grid energy systems. If successfully accomplished, our project can help address this challenge and widen the deployment of lithium-ion battery technology to make our society more sustainable.” As part of the work under the new grant, several KU students will be trained in the battery modeling, data analysis and machine learning to develop the desired models and methods that could push the thermal safety of batteries to new heights. More than that, Fang will continue his partnership with the Youth Services Department of Douglas County to bring well-designed outreach to kids and teens incarcerated in juvenile detention, providing them an additional avenue to STEM education and training that’s entertaining and stimulating. “I want to do that because there are many young people in detention in the U.S.,” Fang said. “According to the Department of Justice, there are about 60,000 young people between ages 10 to 18 incarcerated every day across the country. Some studies show they have less access to high-quality education, even though it’s so important to their future life. In particular, they are generally underserved in STEM education compared to their peers in public schools. I hope to inspire students’ interest in education and even careers in STEM areas and help them get prepared for a brilliant future.”

KU Today 2019-2020 | 17

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Getting ahead of Cancer Breakthrough ‘lab-on-a-chi p’ detects cancer f aster, cheaper and less i nvasi vel y. | Pg 18

Story by

Brendan Lynch, KU News Service


new ultrasensitive diagnostic device invented by researchers at the University of Kansas, The University of Kansas Cancer Center and KU Medical Center could allow doctors to detect cancer quickly from a droplet of blood or plasma, leading to timelier interventions and better outcomes for patients.

“Basically, tumors send out exosomes, packaging active molecules that mirror the biological features of the parental cells.” –Yong Zeng

The “lab-on-a-chip” for “liquid biopsy” analysis, reported in Nature Biomedical Engineering, detects exosomes — tiny parcels of biological information produced by tumor cells to stimulate tumor growth or metastasize. “Historically, people thought exosomes were like ‘trash bags’ that cells could use to dump unwanted cellular contents,” said lead author Yong Zeng, Docking Family Scholar and associate professor of chemistry at KU. “But in the past decade, scientists realized they were quite useful for sending messages to recipient cells and communicating molecular information important in many biological functions. Basically, tumors send out exosomes, packaging active molecules that mirror the biological features of the parental cells. While all cells produce exosomes, tumor cells are really active compared to normal cells.” The new lab-on-a-chip’s key innovation is a 3D nanoengineering method that mixes and senses biological elements based on a herringbone pattern commonly found in nature, pushing exosomes into contact with the chip’s sensing surface much more efficiently in a process called “mass transfer.” “People have developed smart ideas to improve mass transfer in microscale channels, but when particles are moving closer to the sensor surface, they’re separated by a small gap of liquid that creates increasing hydrodynamic resistance,” Zeng said. “Here, we developed a 3D nanoporous herringbone structure that can drain the liquid in that gap to bring the particles in hard contact with the surface where probes can recognize and capture them.” Zeng compared the chip’s nanopores to a million little kitchen sinks: “If you have a sink filled with water and many balls floating on the surface, how do you get all the balls in contact with the bottom of the sink where sensors could analyze them? The easiest way is to drain the water.”

KU Today 2019-2020 | 19

The new labon-a-chip’s key innovation is a 3D nanoengineering method that mixes and senses biological elements based on a herringbone pattern commonly found in nature, pushing exosomes into contact with the chip’s sensing surface much more efficiently in a process called “mass transfer.” Credit:Yong Zeng

KU Today

Tumor cells under microscope labeled with fluorescent molecules. Photograph Getty Images

To develop and test the pioneering microfluidic device, Zeng teamed with a tumor-biomarker expert and KU Cancer Center Deputy Director Andrew Godwin at the KU Medical Center’s Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, as well as graduate student Ashley Tetlow in Godwin’s Biomarker Discovery Lab. The collaborators tested the chip’s design using clinical samples from ovarian cancer patients, finding the chip could detect the presence of cancer in a minuscule amount of plasma.

KU Today 2019-2020 | 20

“Our collaborative studies continue to bear fruit and advance an area crucial in cancer research and patient care — namely, innovative tools for early detection,” said Godwin, who serves as Chancellor’s Distinguished Chair and Endowed Professor in Biomedical Sciences and professor and director of molecular oncology, pathology and laboratory medicine at KU Medical Center. “This area of study is especially important for cancers such as ovarian, given the vast majority of women are

diagnosed at an advanced stage when, sadly, the disease is for the most part incurable.” What’s more, the new microfluidic chips developed at KU would be cheaper and easier to make than comparable designs, allowing for wider and less-costly testing for patients. “What we created here is a 3D nanopatterning method without the need for any fancy nanofabrication equipment — an undergraduate or even a high school student can do it in my lab,” Zeng said. “This is so simple and low-cost it has great potential to translate into clinical settings. We’ve been collaborating with Dr. Godwin and other research labs at The KU Cancer Center and the molecular biosciences department to further explore the translational applications of the technology.” According to Zeng, with the microfluidic chip’s design now proven using ovarian cancer as a model, the chip could be useful in detecting a host of other diseases. “Now, we’re looking at cell-culture models, animal models, and also clinical patient samples, so we are truly doing some translational research to move the device from the lab setting to more clinical applications,” he said. “Almost all mammalian cells release exosomes, so the application is not just limited to ovarian cancer or any one type of cancer. We’re working with people to look at neurodegenerative diseases, breast and colorectal cancers, for example.” On KU’s Lawrence campus, Zeng worked with a team including postdoctoral fellow Peng Zhang, graduate student Xin Zhou in the Department of Chemistry, as well as Mei He, KU assistant professor of chemistry and chemical engineering. This research was supported by grants from National Institutes of Health, including a joint R21 (CA1806846) and a R33 (CA214333) grant between Zeng and Godwin and the KU Cancer Center’s Biospecimen Repository Core Facility, funded in part by a National Cancer Institute Cancer Center Support Grant (P30 CA168524).

Justin Cordova

Mark Buhler

Tracy Cullers

Tom Karasek

John Catlin

Mike Willoughby | Pg 21

Chris Hutchens

Norman John

KU Today

Quarks, Gluons, & Jayhawks K U physi ci sts worki ng a t th e La rge H adron Col l i der contin u e to m ake rem arkabl e di scove rie s .

Story by

Brendan M. Lynch, KU News Service


team of high-energy nuclear experimental particle physicists from the University of Kansas has earned a two-year, $400,000 Department of Energy (DoE) grant to investigate strong interactions between quarks and gluons — building materials for the protons and neutrons that make up an atomic nucleus. Their work will be carried out using a calorimeter, called CASTOR, which the team recently helped install in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)— the world’s most powerful atom smasher located in a 17mile tunnel buried under the border of France and Switzerland. The CASTOR calorimeter can detect particles produced at very small angles relative to the beam direction, making it a unique piece of equipment with no parallel in other experiments at the LHC. Christophe Royon, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Physics & Astronomy at KU, is leading the research. He said his team is interested in better grasping a phenomenon called “gluon saturation,” where the standard equations describing the internal structure of the proton do not apply. Indeed, the proton is

KU Today 2019-2020 | 22

a composite particle made up of quarks and gluons, the fundamental elementary particles associated with strong nuclear interactions. In a first approximation, the proton is composed of three valence quarks (two up quarks and one down quark). These valence quarks are glued together by the exchange of gluons, the mediator of the strong nuclear force. Gluons are one of the key ingredients for our understanding of how nuclear matter is formed. “We want to study a new kind of dynamical regime for protons in which the density of gluons can become much larger,” he said. “You can imagine the subway in New York at rush hour when you have all these people squashed together. You can’t consider each person independently — if something happened to the subway, then it will happen to the full crowd. That’s what happens to heavy ions — collections of about 200 protons and neutrons bound together. You can’t consider all the constituent gluons and quarks to be free inside the ion, but they behave as one.” When protons or heavy ions collide at the Large Hadron Collider, the actual collisions occur between their constituent quarks and gluons. The researchers will hunt for evidence of gluon saturation by looking at production of jets, collimated sprays of particles produced in these collisions. “This is the fraction of the proton momentum carried by the quark or gluon that interact,” Royon said. “When x is very small it means the number of quarks or gluons are getting very large inside the proton, and it means it’s a very dense gluonic object. There are many, many gluons inside — so the smaller the x, the larger the more intense the saturation. This what we want to see.” According to the researchers, “making a first clear observation at the LHC of gluon saturation would be an outstanding milestone in nuclear physics.” Indeed, Royon’s investigation will contribute to better understanding how nucleons and nuclei form using a theory called “quantum chromodynamics,” or QCD, which is concerned with the strong interaction between quarks and gluons. In this theory, quarks and gluons have the intrinsic physical property of color charge. Color charge in nuclear interactions is analogous to the electric charge in electromagnetic interactions. While quarks and gluons are charged under color, stable particles like the proton are colorless particles. “This is a way to study how all constituents of matter are interacting together,” he said. “We’re all made of quarks and gluons. The table where I’m sitting, the computer I’m using, all are made of the same constituents. We’re studying the way quarks and gluons interact together because these are the building blocks of all matter. What we study is a special domain not very well known, but it’s important to better understand the structure of protons.”

KU Today 2019-2020 | 23

Christophe Royon, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Physics & Astronomy, is leading a team tasked with investigating the strong interactions between quarks and gluons — building materials for the protons and neutrons that make up an atomic nucleus.

KU Today

A Closer Look at the Sun With a recent three-year, $1.4 million grant from NASA, a research team from the University of Kansas will help design and build a particle telescope to launch into orbit aboard a satellite. The Advanced Energetic Ion Electron Telescope, dubbed “AGILE,” will analyze charged particle energization, loss and transport throughout the heliosphere, the immense bubble of charged particles emitted by the sun that extends roughly triple the distance to Pluto. Until now, technological approaches have failed to accurately measure electrons in the heliosphere’s inner zone due to the overwhelming presence of penetrating protons. “One of the major objectives for NASA is to get a better understanding of the sun and a lot of the particles emitted by the sun,” said Christopher Royon, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Physics & Astronomy at KU. “If we want to detect all the particles that are emitted, we need to be outside Earth’s atmosphere before they’re absorbed in the atmosphere — that’s why we need this kind of satellite.” Royon and his team at KU will collaborate with Shrikanth Kanekal at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Quintin Schiller with NASA’s Sciences and Exploration Directorate. The KU team’s role will center on development and tests of a specialized waveform sampling chip and its amplifier, as well as provide expertise on digital processing. The team also will work on a full simulation of the detector to define the best possible version to be sent into space.

(From Top) Christophe Royon’s KU research team. From left to right: Federico Deganutti (Italy), Christophe Royon (France), Cristian Baldenegro (Mexico), Justin Williams (U.S.), Zachary Warner (U.S.), Cole Lindsey (U.S.), Tommaso Isidori (in front) (Italy), Georgios Krintiras (Greece) and Guillaume Biagi (France). Photograph Christopher Royon; The CASTOR calorimeter can detect particles produced at very small angles relative to the beam direction, making it a unique piece of equipment with no parallel in other experiments at the LHC. Photograph DESY CMS Group; The CASTOR detector was integrated into the Large Hadron Collider’s Compact Muon Solenoid. Photograph CERN

Royon and his KU team already have collected data at the Large Hadron Collider using the CASTOR detector, and they now are combing the data to search for evidence of gluon saturation. The KU researcher said his team is the largest of the groups from the heavy ion community in the U.S. working at the European particle accelerator. In addition, Royon’s group is interested in a special kind of reaction where large angular regions are void in radiation, known as diffractive reactions. In most collisions at the LHC, due to the exchange of color charge between the colliding quarks and gluons, a lot of radiation is present over large angles in the detector. However, in some cases, multigluon exchanges in colorless configurations can take place, leading to large angular regions void of radiation. These reactions can provide complementary insight into the internal structure of the proton and are a good testing ground of predictions by QCD.

KU Today 2019-2020 | 24

In addition, the group has recently started searching for the presence of top quark production in heavy ion collisions. The top quark is the heaviest elementary particle observed in nature — the top quark has the same weight as a gold atom nucleus. This particle has not been observed in heavy ion collisions. The top quark has the potential of providing an additional tool to study the quarkgluon plasma, a state of matter of nearly free quarks and gluons. “Normally, I have seven doctoral students working with me, and five are members of the CMS collaboration,” Royon said. “Three of them — Cristian Baldenegro, Zach Warner and Cole Lindsey — are working on these pressing problems, and I have one postdoctoral researcher working on heavy ions. Some will spend the summer at CERN, and I will go there three or four times for meetings and conferences per year.” The KU researcher said his team’s work at the Large Hadron Collider will help guide planning for the ElectronIon Collider (EIC), a new supercollider planned for the U.S. (either at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, or Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Virginia) outlined in the DoE’s Long-Range Plan for Nuclear Science. “The work under this grant is complementary because some of the goals are to do the same kind of physics at the future Electron-Ion Collider — looking for gluon-saturation kind of effects,” Royon said. Royon’s work at the frontier of nuclear physics recently earned him the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Research Award in Germany. This is the highest prize in that nation for work in science or the humanities. Along with the honor and a cash award, the Humboldt will open doors for research opportunities with collaborators in Germany. “The award is granted in recognition of a researcher’s entire achievements to date to academics whose fundamental discoveries, new theories or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future,” according to the Humboldt Foundation. “Professor Royon is a world expert on the high-energy scattering of quarks and gluons and the dynamics of their interactions. His achievements range from the development of ultrafast detectors to important theoretical contributions to the understanding of diffractive processes.” Royon said the award would support his research at colliders in Europe and the U.S. as well as possibly provide support for postdoctoral researchers on his team. “The Humboldt Award will allow us to develop new tools in order to study this gluon saturation regime both for the Large Hadron Collider and the ElectronIon Collider in collaboration with Professor Michael Klasen, my host in Münster, Germany,” he said.

According to the researchers, “making a first clear observation at the LHC of gluon saturation would be an outstanding milestone in nuclear physics.”

KU Today 2019-2020 | 25

KU Today

Beating the Heat K U leadi ng study of dehydr ati on, heat ill ness injur y ri sks to marchi ng bands.

Dawn Emerson, assistant professor of health, sport & exercise science, is leading a pilot study into dehydration and heat illness risks to marching bands.

KU Today 2019-2020 | 26

Story by

Mike Krings, KU News Service


t the end of every summer, football teams take to the field while temperatures still reach triple digits. And seemingly just as often, tragic stories about an athlete suffering from heatstroke and even dying make the news. Marching bands also return to action the same time every year, and many might not realize the musicians are prone to all the same injuries, dehydration, heat illnesses and risks as athletes. A University of Kansas researcher is leading a study to examine the risks marching band members face and what can be done to treat and prevent problems so often associated with performing or competing in the summer heat. The importance of hydration in athletics is well-established. But few headlines are devoted to band members collapsing in the heat after marching in heavy wool uniforms, carrying instruments and expending massive amounts of energy. Dawn Emerson, assistant professor of health, sport & exercise science at KU, is leading a pilot study with Toni Torres-McGehee and Susan Yeargin of the University of South Carolina. They will take a battery of measurements from 10 members of each school’s marching band to see how well they hydrate, if they are at risk for heat illnesses, disordered eating and a host of other risks. A former high school and college clarinet and bassoon player, Emerson saw the injuries band members suffered then and as an athletic training professor now.

“Having gone through that and knowing the intensity of band camp and knowing people often think, ‘They’re not athletes, why should we care?,’ I wanted to research this topic more,” Emerson said. “Just like with athletes in other sports, heavy uniforms and equipment reduce their ability to stay cool and hydrate.” Emerson and graduate research assistants are taking measurements from 10 KU band volunteers over the course of several practices and two football game performances. The volunteers are wearing activity monitors around the clock that measure heart rate, amount of sleep, steps taken and other measures. They also take a pill six hours before activity that can send data from the individual’s small intestine to a handheld radio unit about core temperature. Researchers in South Carolina will also apply patches to volunteers’ skin to measure skin temperature during activity. And all volunteers are completing surveys about their diet, amount of liquid they drink per day, type of liquids they drink, gastrointestinal issues, medications and more. The researchers are also collecting urine specimens from volunteers to measure how hydrated they are during band activity. The pilot study will provide preliminary data on the rates at which band members are dehydrated, if they suffer heat illness, are at risk for disordered eating and other risks. The researchers hope that data will be able to inform further studies into the risks of band participation, especially in the heat. Many bands do not have a dedicated athletic trainer. South Carolina does, while KU does not, for example. The number of college bands with dedicated athletic trainers is growing, but thousands of participants still do not have them. –Dawn Emerson Those who do not are forced to look elsewhere for care when needed, Emerson said, such as campus health services.

“Just like with athletes in other sports, heavy uniforms and equipment reduce their ability to stay cool and hydrate.”

KU Today 2019-2020 | 27

The number of college bands with dedicated athletic trainers is growing, but thousands of participants still do not have them. Those who do not are forced to look elsewhere for care when needed, Emerson said, such as campus health services. Photograph Andy White, KU Marketing Communications

KU Today

Local Journalism

Photograph Meg Kumin, KU Marketing Communications KU Today 2019-2020 | 28

High school bands rarely have the personnel or funding to provide dedicated athletic trainers for band. Earlier this year, several high school band members in Oklahoma and Texas were hospitalized for severe dehydration, heat stroke and heat exhaustion after practicing in extreme temperatures. Despite the lack of dedicated care, Emerson said band participants are at risk for many of the same injuries as athletes in other sports. Musicians commonly suffer concussions from being hit by flags, instruments or collisions with other members, lower back and extremity injuries or joint injuries from practicing on pavement. Practice surface can pose other risks as well, as asphalt, concrete and pavement can increase the temperature and reflect heat in addition to increasing risk of joint injuries. Researchers will be measuring temperatures volunteers participate in, measuring the “wet bulb globe temperature,” which includes radiated heat, giving a more precise measurement of the true temperature bands participate in than heat index. KU and South Carolina researchers will compare the data they collect and share their findings with the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and other sports medicine professionals. If they are able to establish levels of risk and further research is needed, they plan to study the issue further and examine additional questions, including if playing certain instruments presents a greater risk, and further delve into how an individual’s physical characteristics can influence potential risk. “Ideally we want to have the information to say, ‘This is what you should look for in this population, and here’s how you can manage these risks, and prevent them with policy,’” Emerson said. “I’m excited to do this work with a group of individuals I can relate to and to point out that they deserve the attention and care as well.”

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KU Today

News Desert No More Journalism cl ass prov ides co verage for Kansas com m uni ty without newspaper.

Story by

Mike Krings, KU News Service


s the media landscape continues to change across the country, more communities are finding themselves in news deserts, without the coverage where they once had thriving newspapers. Meanwhile, journalism students are looking to learn their craft and gain real-world experience. In Kansas, one community is close enough to campus for the two to partner to provide coverage and lessons in today’s media realities. University of Kansas students from the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications are providing news coverage for Eudora, a city of roughly 6,300 residents about 10 miles from campus. The project began as a way to give students social media experience with a professional client and has grown into a news site providing coverage of events, local businesses, sports teams, schools and people. Teri Finneman, assistant professor of journalism, is leading the project. In previous teaching experiences, she had students conduct social media management projects for clients. After learning that the community no longer had a local newspaper, she asked to work with Eudora’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to revamp the Facebook page Eudora Events after learning that the community no longer had a local newspaper. “I couldn’t believe it. I immediately decided I wanted to do something about it, so I ended up reaching out to the city to see what we could do to get something off the ground,” Finneman said.

KU Today 2019-2020 | 30

The result has been students in both social media and reporting classes providing coverage through the Facebook page and a newly launched Eudora Times news site. When the social media class began overseeing the Eudora Events page in the fall, numbers of likes, shares and other metrics increased. “It became apparent very quickly how much people in the city wanted to see coverage of what’s going on there,” Finneman said. “The numbers were good, so I decided to bring in the reporting class, too.” The class has written and published features on local businesses such as a new coffeehouse and food truck specializing in desserts; school events, including a class building a house in the community and students traveling to Ecuador to learn about conservation; and community topics such as a fundraising campaign for a new library and the local Scout troop’s anniversary. The pieces are all featured on both the news site and Facebook. Nearly 1,000 people have liked the page, and others receive push notifications when new content is published. Every story includes photography, video or other multimedia. While the project is part of a class, students said it’s meant more than turning in an assignment for a grade. Riley Wilson, a reporting student, said the idea of covering Eudora reminded her of her hometown of Wamego. “I think small towns have a lot of interesting aspects that people don’t know about because there’s not good news circulation, and I think small towns are really interesting and have –Riley Wilson good stories to tell,” Wilson said. “The experience of writing for the Eudora Times is the first time a story I wrote has been seen by people other than my professor. What I like most about the project is really just talking to the people of Eudora. They’ve all been so excited to talk and tell their story. It really is fun every time I go to Eudora to do a story.” While the project started as a class trying its hand with social media management for a client, the positive reception and success have led to discussions on how it could be expanded. Finneman said she hopes to bring on more students and expand coverage into city government

“I think small towns have a lot of interesting aspects that people don’t know about because there’s not good news circulation”

and other areas while simultaneously providing unique real-world learning opportunities. “This has been a more immersive experience than what I’ve had in other classes. I feel like with this experience, I’ve had the opportunity to learn more by doing,” said Lucie Krisman, a reporting student. “I’m getting valuable hands-on experience that will help me a lot in the future, and I’ve been learning how to work around obstacles that I didn’t know how to overcome as recently as last semester, which is awesome.” Community newspapers can provide a record of what’s happening and insight into local governance. A loss of local coverage can lead to a lack of news literacy, which can contribute to distrust of media, fostering a negative climate in which news is distrusted or considered “fake news,” and uncertainty of which news sources are legitimate, Finneman said. A community-university partnership can address those issues and be beneficial to both parties. “The Kansas Press Association has always valued our partnership with the William Allen White School of Journalism. The real-world experience that can be gained by students working with communities to provide coverage is valuable to both the students that are doing the work and the communities they serve,” said Emily Bradbury, director of the Kansas Press Association. “The KPA is excited and supportive of the new and innovative ways that Dr. Finneman and her class are using to cover Eudora, and we are always learning from our members — and this will be no exception.” Journalism professors have always encouraged their students to get out of the classroom and off campus to learn how to tell stories, meet sources and hone their craft. As more newspapers fold, that has led to increased opportunities for students to get that learning experience while also seeing the realities of the media industry. “What’s great about this for students is I’m somebody who hates canned exercises in class and am a proponent of getting off campus and doing the job. And employers want to know students really can do the job,” Finneman said. “Journalism professors tend to see gaps and want to help while giving their students experience, but I also think we’re in an era of media entrepreneurship. We’re seeing more interest in that, and this is a way to show there can be a future with it.”

KU Today 2019-2020 | 31

KU Today

Filling in the Gaps K U Te a m digital l y r euni fi es Greenl andi c her i tage a cent ury l ater.


bjects made by Greenland Inuit people and collected by the so-called “Dashing Kansan,” naturalist and adventurer Lewis Lindsay Dyche, in the 1890s will return to their place of origin – or at least threedimensional copies of them will – as the result of a visit in April by Greenlandic researchers to the Spencer Museum of Art. Two graduate students from the University of Greenland, Aka Bendtsen and Randi Sørensen Johansen, accompanied by curator and archaeologist Hans Harmsen of the Greenland National Museum and Archives, arrived April 14

KU Today 2019-2020 | 32

Story by

Rick Hellman, KU News Service

and spent a week making 3D digital images of a group of objects, including dolls dressed in authentic and highly detailed miniature Inuit clothing, points from harpoons and lances, and a knife with a stone blade known as an ulu. The national museum has only a single stone-bladed ulu, Bendtsen said. “I almost cried to see these objects,” Bendtsen said. “To me, they are rare. Before, I had not seen any arrows, real ones, in one piece like this.” Harmsen explained that the two students began a project to digitally reunify Greenlandic objects held in museums around the world in 2016. Other than the Smithsonian, the Spencer Museum is the only North American institution with which they have collaborated. Harmsen said the first goal of the project – called Ersersaaneq, meaning “creating knowledge through images” in Greenlandic – was to create 3D images of objects from the famous collection of 19th-century Danish explorer Gustav Holm. Holm visited the east coast of Greenland at about the same time that Dyche traveled to the west coast. Holm’s collection was split among museums in Denmark, Greenland and the Smithsonian Institution.

“They originally wanted to do this because the collection was split among various institutions, and they wanted to digitally reunite them in a context that was unavailable before – in three dimensions,” Harmsen said. Bendtsen and Sørensen Johansen have taught themselves to make detailed 3D images using some fairly basic photographic techniques and software that knits the images together into what look like 3D copies of the originals. They’ve obtained grant funding to support the work, which also has the backing of Greenland’s government through its national museum. “We are just there to support them when they need it,” Harmsen said. It was Harmsen’s connection to Jay Johnson, professor of geography & atmospheric sciences and an affiliate of KU’s Indigenous Studies Program, that brought the Greenlanders to Lawrence. Harmsen met Johnson while attending a National Science Foundation conference in Nuuk, Greenland’s capital, last year. They discussed the existence of the Dyche collection and later learned that officials of the two museums had corresponded about it – Aka Bendtsen decades ago. Dyche is the namesake of Dyche Hall on the KU campus, which houses objects from his collection in the Biodiversity Institute & Natural History Museum. His life was the subject of the 1990 biography titled “The Dashing Kansan” (Harrow Books). Dyche donated his collection to the university, which once held part of it in the former Museum of Anthropology and, since 2007, in the Spencer.

“I almost cried to see these objects...”

When team members from Greenland arrived in April, they set up their photographic equipment in Spencer’s photography studio and went to work, aided by curators, collections and photography staff.

“Photogrammetry is a very time- and labor-intensive process with the cameras and methods they are using,” Harmsen said. “Each object can take an hour to an hour and a half, depending on its complexity.” The group was hoping to create at least five and hopefully more complete 3D images of Dyche collection objects to take home with them. Those images will eventually reside on a web-based platform designed using a content management system called Mukurtu. Mukurtu calls itself a “free mobile open-source platform built with indigenous communities to manage and share digital cultural heritage.” The Greenlanders said they were pleased to be able to bring knowledge of their nation’s heritage home in this way. “It’s absolutely an important collection and one that the Greenland National Museum has little knowledge about,” Harmsen said. “It’s actually filling in some important gaps for us in terms of understanding during this period of exploration.”

KU Today 2019-2020 | 33

University of Greenland graduate student Randi Sørensen Johansen looks at objects collected by Lewis Lindsay Dyche in 1895. Photograph Ryan Waggoner, Spencer Museum


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Digital scholarship rescues ethnographic cookbook decades after Hurricane Mitch’s destruction. Story by Rick Hellman, KU News Service


ultural anthropologist Laura Hobson Herlihy is from New Orleans, so she knew a thing or two about Caribbean cuisine and culture before she traveled to Honduras on an academic research trip in 1997. Now, thanks to digital technology and KU Libraries’ open-access publishing program, Herlihy’s 20-year-old research on Honduran food, folkways and language has been saved from the ravages of time and nature. Hauks, Chip, Grate, and Squeeze: Recipes of the Honduran Bay Islands, a revised and expanded edition of Herlihy’s 1997 research, has just been digitally published in KU ScholarWorks, KU’s online institutional repository of work by faculty, staff and students. Anyone with an internet connection may download it free of charge for noncommercial use. Herlihy, a lecturer in the Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, did not travel to Honduras intent on writing an ethnographic cookbook. Rather, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to do fieldwork there for her doctoral dissertation on gender, sexuality and money on the Miskito Coast. Herlihy had finished her research and was staying in Honduras with her husband and fellow KU faculty member, Peter Herlihy, professor of geography & atmospheric science, while he completed a mapping project. That’s when Laura Herlihy received a call from her mentor, Anita Herzfeld, professor of Latin American studies and KU’s specialist in Caribbean forms of English. Herzfeld asked if she would do some research for the Honduran Ministry of Education about bilingual education and Creole English in the country’s Bay Islands. Laura Herlihy was tasked with searching out Bay Island cooks and recording them as they spoke in the local dialect about the foods they made for their families, including iguana, cow-foot soup, pop drink and more. “The tapes were to go to linguists who would write it out in IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) style and then analyze it to understand more the structure of the language,” Laura Herlihy said. By 1998, she had produced a written report and handed over it and her audio tapes to the ministry in Tegucigalpa. On Oct. 29 of that year, mega-storm Hurricane Mitch struck Honduras, causing widespread flooding. It destroyed the office where Herlihy’s report was stored. Laura Herlihy heard about the destruction, then mostly forgot about the project for 20 years. That’s when she began working with Josh Bolick, scholarly communications librarian, and Marianne Reed, digital initiatives coordinator in the KU Libraries, on the 2017 publication of two books: Green Man, Blue Woman: A Miskitu Operetta Set in the Nicaraguan Rainforest

KU Today 2019-2020 | 36

and Yamni Balram (Welcome!): A Miskitu Grammar and Workbook, both of which were made freely available through KU ScholarWorks. “Marianne Reed said, ‘Is there anything else you have (to publish)?’ and I thought of it,” Laura Herlihy said. “I had the only copy, but it was 90 to 100 pages, and I was not inclined to retype it. But now we could scan it automatically and start making a book out of it.” Laura Herlihy obtained permission from the Honduran government to expand the report into a book. She then set to work with Reed and publishing specialist Pam LeRow, illustrating the book with related photographs taken by Herlihy and friends. Laura Herlihy wrote an introduction, added a glossary of Bay Island English words used in the recipes and their English translations, and indexed the recipes, grouping them by island. Since the book was published in KU ScholarWorks, Laura Herlihy has been invited back to Honduras by the University Pedagógica in Tegucigalpa and Roatan to share copies of her book with the people of the Bay Islands, whose warm hospitality made the research possible. And while Laura Herlihy hesitates to compare herself to the late multimedia star Anthony Bourdain, she said that, like him and other “cultural geographers and anthropologists,” her ethnographic cookbook, with its descriptions of a people and their cuisine, is an attempt to “use food as a vehicle to learn about a culture.” The title comes from the steps for processing raw coconut – one of the primary foodstuffs in coastal Honduras — into oil, milk or other forms. Herlihy said her favorite recipe is the “rundown” stew — not so different from New Orleans gumbo. “They say when it runs down ya arm, it’s so good ya lick it up,” Herlihy said.

H au ks, c h i p, g r at e , a n d squeeze Hauks, Chip, Grate and Squeeze is an ethnographic cookbook based on field research Laura Herlihy completed in the late 1990s in the Honduran Bay Islands. Herlihy worked as part of the Honduras Subcomponent of Bi-Lingual Inter-cultural Education project to describe and promote Bay Islands English (BIE). Her research assignment was to collect speech events on a specific theme – Island cuisine – and highlight language use in the traditional context of cooking. What resulted was a cookbook of recipes in BIE, collected from women (and some men) in Roatan, Guanaja, and Utila. The book also includes maps, pictures of the Bay Islands and of the people she interviewed, a section on fieldwork and ethnographic methods, an index organized by food groups, and a glossary that provides translations of BIE terms to standard English. This is a revised and expanded version of the 1998 publication, Hauks, Chip, Grate, and Squeeze: Recipes of the Honduran Bay Islands. The original work was published through the Honduran Government’s Subcomponente de Educación Bilingüe y Intercultural as part of the Proyecto Mejoramiento de la Calidad de la Educación Basica (PROMEB). Download the cookbook at

KU Today 2019-2020 | 37

KU Today

Beans and Rice Dinner w i t h M e at a n d Breadkind Ingredients beans salt rice breadkind (green plantain or Irish potato) onion ham or chicken or beef flour tomato paste or barbecue sauce oil (coconut)

Directions Well, how I does my bains (beans) and rice up? I pressures my bains (beans) and rice with water, about 3 or 4 cups of water, or a “½ mug” a water. I pressures dem til dey get soft soft and I season em wit my onion. I fry my onion in a lil oil, an den I brown my flour in oil afta I take my onion out. Den I dump my flour in my bains (beans) and den I story (stir) dem, den I put my black peppa, my salt, and if ya got season salt, I put some of dat in it, and a pinch a sugar (about spoon or spoon and a half). Den, we wash and fry our rice, we fry it wit da oil (ail), put da ail in da pot and wash rice. Dump it in and stir rice til it comes cook and I tink put about 3 cups (or 2 and ½) of water to a pound of rice. Let dat bail (boil) til da water comes right out, ‘til it dry dry. Ya gotta keep ta feelin ya bains (beans) til der cooked. When ya feel em cook soft den der cooked. An dats how we do our rice and beans. If we got coconut oil, dats what we fry our bains (beans) wit or dis oil we buys in da shop – we fries it wit da oil. We put da oil in da frying pan and fry da onion and den put da beans in. You fry da onion before ya put it wit da bains (beans). We fry coconut wit da rice too, but usually around here we don’t get the coconut oil. We usually use fabla – oil out de shop.

KU Today 2019-2020 | 38

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Les Miles


CHAMPIONSHIPS New KU football coach is optimistic about program’s future.

Story by Benton Smith, Lawrence Journal-World | Photos by Nick Krug | Pg 40

KU Today 2019-2020 | 41

KU Today

Les Miles

“I think the fan base has reached out in any number of ways to make it clear that this is a special place ... I would like to finish a career with championships.�

KU Today 2019-2020 | 42


wo weeks after Jeff Long first stood in Hadl Auditorium and detailed what he hoped to accomplish in his Kansas football coaching search, the first-year athletic director returned with an old colleague in tow. Just as the buzz over the past several days indicated he would, Long introduced Les Miles as KU’s 39th football coach, presenting his new high-profile employee with one of Miles’ signature white baseball caps — except this one came with a KU logo. After thanking Long and KU’s chancellor, Douglas Girod, in his first public appearance as the Jayhawks’ head coach, Miles, who had been out of the industry since LSU fired him four games into the 2016 season, spoke of a brief five-minute introduction he made to KU’s players earlier in the afternoon and how that made it a “wonderful” day for him professionally. “When I walked in, I saw that familiar smile, the enjoyment that they are having in college football,” Miles shared. “They’re buddies, looking at each other like, ‘Who is this guy?’” he joked. “I enjoyed it greatly.” At the press conference, Long, the man who sought out Miles and lured him to Lawrence with a five-year deal that will pay him $2.775 million a year, said turning the program over to Miles (142-55 in 15-plus seasons at LSU and Oklahoma State) “immediately and dramatically” improved the football program’s national profile. “But more importantly, behind all this national recognition there’s a leader that loves the game of football, believes in what the game does to build character in our young men, and has prepared men for life after football,” Long said of Miles, whom he first worked alongside at

the University of Michigan in the 1980s. “His record of success on the field is only matched by his love for the student-athletes that play the game for him. The combination of a leader of young men, a detailed and driven football coach, a man with an infectious personality who cares deeply about the young men he coaches, will be a combination that will surely lead to breaking the cycle and bringing football success to the University of Kansas.” Miles left LSU as the school’s second-winningest coach, going 11434 overall, with a 7-4 record in bowl games. The Tigers averaged 10 wins a year and won more games from 2005 to 2015 than any other SEC program during that span. Following a 13-0 regular season in 2011, Miles was named National Coach of the Year by the Associated Press and others. Prior to his time in Baton Rouge, La., Miles worked in Big 12 country, as the head coach at Oklahoma State, from 2001 to 2004. During his time there, the Cowboys went 28-21 and reached three bowl games, going 1-2. A two-time conference titlewinning coach in the SEC and a national champion during his 11-plus seasons at LSU, Miles left behind semiretirement, and is now charged with reviving a staggering program that has failed to win more than three games in a season since 2009. RETIREMENT DIDN’T SUIT LES MILES Asked why he dove back into working nonstop when he could be out golfing or relaxing, Miles explained the allure of coaching for him and other FBS head coaches in his age demographic who couldn’t give up the profession.

HEAD COACHES AT KU Entering 2019-2020 School Year

Ray Bechard

Volleyball (22nd Season)

Stanley Redwine

Track & Field / Cross Country (20th season)

Mark Francis

Soccer (20th Season)

Ritch Price

Baseball (18th season)

Clark Campbell Swimming & Diving (18th season)

Bill Self

Men’s Basketball (17th season)

Erin O’Neill

Women’s Golf (16th season)

Jamie Bermel

Men’s Golf (8th season)

Brandon Schneider Women’s Basketball (6th Season)

Todd Chapman Tennis (6th season)

Carrie Cook-Callen Rowing (3rd Season)

Jennifer McFalls Softball (2nd Season)

Les Miles

Football (1st season)

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“I think it’s the experience that you’ve had developing young players, making sure that they get their degree and bringing them to the field,” Miles said on the Big 12 coaches’ spring media teleconference. “I think that experience would draw a lot of people to it.” Miles, who will turn 66 during his first season in charge of KU football, joked his line of work is “a little bit more fun” than going fishing. “Maybe a little bit more fun than golf,” Miles noted, before adding, “not as fun as eating a lot. But I think the draw to that relationship with a team is tough to let go by.” BANKING ON A BRIGHT FUTURE On the day he arrived in Lawrence, Miles, who has led two far more prominent programs, insisted his newest job is a “great” one. “I think the fan base has reached out in any number of ways to make it clear that this is a special place,” Miles said, “and I would like to finish a career with championships. The guy sitting to my left (Long), that’s who he is and that’s who I am. So we would like that opportunity to continue and to play championship-style football.” Whether KU will be able to attain that level of success remains to be seen. As of now, Miles is on board through the 2023 season. Per his five-year deal, If another school were to lure Miles away from Kansas before his contract expires, or if Miles decided to terminate his employment with KU for another reason, the coach (or the hypothetical school that wants to sign him) would owe KU the remaining sum of the contract. Should KU decide to fire Miles and terminate the contract without just cause, the university would owe the coach the sum of his money left on the deal. KU’s new coach first visited Lawrence when he worked as an assistant at Colorado from 1982 to 1986, and came through as an assistant (1995-1997) and head coach (2001-2004) at Oklahoma State. “We drove down into the stadium and I looked around and I said, ‘Man, it’s beautiful.’ I said, ’It’s green, it is a spectacular place.’ I said, ‘Why aren’t they more successful?’ And I promise you,” Miles added, “I looked at that and carried that thought with me as we went. I can tell you that as I researched this opportunity, I wanted to represent a school that had a great academic background. In other words, that they would offer to a student a great curriculum and an opportunity to graduate with a credential that would power their career.”

INCENTIVE PAYMENTS IN LES MILES’ CONTRACT: National championship game appearance

$1,000,000 CFP game participant

$350,000 New Year’s 6 game participant

$100,000 Other Bowl game

$75,000 Big 12 Championship game appearance

$100,000 Win 6 games in a season one-year one-time rollover extension Coach of the Year (AP, USA Today, Sporting News, Home Depot, AFCA)

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$50,000 Big 12 Coach of the Year

$50,000 Broyles Award for Assistant Coach

$15,000 Team GPA 2.65 or higher


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KU Today 2019-2020  

KU Today 2019-2020