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Thirteen KU professors honored with teaching awards

The winners were recognized at inaugural University Teaching Awards event.

by Steven Hill
Michelle Heffner-Hayes, f’91, professor of theatre & dance, with Chancellor Doug Girod. Heffner-Hayes was among the recipients of the 2023 William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence.

Each year in April, top researchers from the Lawrence and Medical Center campuses are recognized at the University Research Awards. This fall, the top teachers got their turn in the spotlight, Nov. 7 at the inaugural University Teaching Awards, an event organized by the chancellor’s office to begin a new tradition of convening all the winners of KU’s annual teaching awards to be recognized at a single yearly celebration.

“As we think about the vision and mission of the University, we know the academic learning experience here at KU is top of the line,” says Mary Banwart, c’90, an associate vice provost in the Office of Faculty Affairs, which coordinates the nomination and selection process for the teaching awards. “Celebrating and elevating in a very public way the instructional excellence that we have at KU is very much a part of what we’re doing with this new event.”

Thirteen professors from Lawrence and KU Medical Center were recognized for excellence in teaching with six awards, including one that marks the return of an old favorite.

The KU Medical Center awards and recipients are:

Chancellors Club Teaching Professorship

  • Jeff Radel, associate professor of occupational therapy education; associate dean for academic and student affairs

Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Awards

  • Dorothy Hughes, g’09, PhD’19, assistant professor of population health; assistant dean of student affairs, Salina campus
  • Stephen Jernigan, d’98, g’01, PhD’11, associate professor of physical therapy, rehabilitation science and athletic training
  • Albert Buddy Poje, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences
  • Jo Wick, professor of biostatistics and data science

The Lawrence campus awards and recipients are:

Bob & Kathie Taylor Excellence in Teaching Award

  • Trevor Rivers, assistant teaching professor of ecology & evolutionary biology

Chancellors Club Career Teaching Award

  • Kent Spreckelmeyer, a’73, professor of architecture

Ned Fleming Trust Award for Excellence in Teaching

  • Ann Rowland, associate professor of English

William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence

  • Ali Brox, c’02, j’02, PhD’14, assistant teaching professor of environmental studies
  • Michelle Heffner-Hayes, f’91, professor of theatre & dance
  • Sheyda Jahanbani, associate professor of history
  • Joshua Miner, associate professor of film & media studies
  • Jeremy Shellhorn, f’99, professor of architecture & design

The Kemper Fellowships, which are sponsored by Commerce Bank, were originally awarded from 1996 to 2011 at KU, and their delivery is done with flair: The “Prize Patrol,” an entourage headed by the chancellor, provost, deans and other campus VIPs, pops by the instructor’s classroom unannounced to break the good news, which comes with a $7,500 award.

“It was a big surprise to have the chancellor walk into your classroom in front of all of your students, to celebrate you as an outstanding instructor at KU,” says Banwart, who was among the merry band bearing happy news when the winners were announced last May. “One of our favorite moments was after the provost had delivered the award, our group left the classroom and then we heard the students give the instructor another round of applause and cheers. So there’s something really special about those.”

Steven Hill is associate editor of Kansas Alumni magazine.

Photo by KU Marketing

Issue 4, 2023


Faculty, Faculty honors
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