LAWRENCE — Four faculty members at the University of Kansas will receive 2017 University Scholarly Achievement Awards, which recognize significant scholarly or research achievement for scholars in the middle of their careers.
Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little will host a reception for the four winners at 4:30 p.m. April 10 at The Commons in Spooner Hall. The event will be open to the public.
The awards recognize achievement in four areas: arts and humanities; clinical sciences; science, technology and mathematics; and social science and professional programs.
This year’s winners:
- Nancy Brady, associate professor of speech-language-hearing sciences and disorders (social science and professional programs)
- Kimber Richter, professor of preventive medicine and public health (clinical science)
- Dave Tell, associate professor of communication studies (arts and humanities)
- Joy Ward, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology (science, technology and mathematics)
Research colleagues submitted the winners for consideration. The award recognizes either a truly outstanding scholarly or research contribution, or a series of closely related contributions.
“These four impressive scholars are contributing outstanding research in their respective fields and have embraced our duty as a flagship research university to pursue discoveries that change the world,” Gray-Little said. “Their work helps the University of Kansas improve lives and drive economic growth while contributing to a better understanding of our planet and our society.”
This is the seventh year KU has presented the awards.
More information about this year’s recipients is below.
Brady began work on the faculty at KU in 2000. Through her work at the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies at KU, she has established a vigorous research program on the communication strategies by children with severe disabilities, leading to more than 60 peer-reviewed articles and $18 million in grant funding. Her research is described as ground-breaking and innovative by her colleagues, and she is a leading scholar on a national and an international level. Among her foremost achievements is the development of a standardized assessment tool for evaluating expressive communication in children with substantial communication problems.
Tell, who joined the KU faculty in 2007, is completing a book on the commemoration of Emmett Till’s murder in the Mississippi Delta. He has been published widely, and he has received numerous fellowships, grants and awards from organizations like the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mississippi Heritage Trust. His work deals with racism, poverty, politics, ambition, goodwill and greed, though most significantly in how we remember important people and events. In the case of Emmett Till, a black teenager who was lynched in Mississippi at the age of 14, Tell has worked with relatives, ordinary citizens, politicians and journalists to demonstrate how the memory of Till has itself become a living thing. He is currently applying for funds to digitize his project.
After joining the faculty at KU Medical Center in 1998, Richter’s research has expanded the population-wide reach of tobacco treatment in hospitals and substance use treatment facilities. Her patient-oriented research has been funded by a wide variety of institutes, centers and foundations. She has conducted studies among many underserved, high-risk populations including people with substance use disorders, the homeless and rural smokers. She is the founder and clinical director of UKanQuit at the University of Kansas Hospital, a bedside smoking cessation service that serves more than 1,000 smokers each year. She challenges the notion that health care providers should assess a smoker’s willingness to quit before offering to treat their tobacco dependence. Her research team is putting this to the test in an innovative trial that provides tobacco treatment medications and counseling to smokers unless they opt out, similar to how providers treat other medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.
Ward joined the faculty in 2003 and has made major advances in understanding plant responses to a rapidly changing global environment. By incorporating the fossil record, she has also provided insights into how plants have responded to long-term environmental changes since the last Ice Age. Her papers are published in the best journals of her discipline, and she has had long-term funding from the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy. She has received many prestigious awards, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the Thelma and Edward Wohlgemuth Faculty Scholar Award, the K. Barbara Schowen Undergraduate Research Mentor Award, and she has been named a KU Woman of Distinction. She also served as chair for the Frontiers of Science Symposium in Japan and Saudi Arabia that is sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences and has served as a U.S. State Department science delegate to Uzbekistan.