College of Liberal Arts & Sciences welcomes new faculty

Thursday, September 08, 2016

LAWRENCE – The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences will welcome its new faculty members with a reception at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, at The Commons at the University of Kansas. All faculty and staff are invited to attend.

The reception recognizes faculty starting their careers at KU in the 2016 calendar year. The group includes 23 faculty, four of whom were hired as Foundation Distinguished Professors. The College also recruited faculty to one named professorship: the Hall Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Culture.

The program will include the presentation of the 2016 Career Achievement Award to Elizabeth Schultz, professor emeritus of the Department of English. The $1,000 award honors a retired faculty member in the College who has a distinguished career through excellence in teaching.

The faculty to be recognized are named below:

Folashade Agusto, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, assistant professor. Agusto studies the use of mathematical and statistical modeling approaches to gain insight into the epidemiology and ecology of some emerging and re-emerging human (and zoonotic) diseases of public health importance.

James Bever, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Foundation Distinguished Professor. Bever is considered a world leader in microbiology, especially plant-soil microbial interactions.

James Blakemore, Department of Chemistry, assistant professor. His research focuses on developing sustainable catalytic technologies for producing fuels and useful chemicals from renewable feedstocks.

Holger Brandt, Department of Psychology, assistant professor. Brandt’s research interests include latency variable models, modeling of heterogeneous growth patterns and development of a test for the measurement of basic numerical skills.

Amy Jo Burgin, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and the Environmental Studies Program, associate professor. Burgin is an aquatic ecologist and studies aquatic ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry, the effects of global change on biogeochemical cycles and microbial metabolic diversity.

Geng Chen, Department of Mathematics, assistant professor. Chen’s research interests include applied mathematics, analysis, partial differential equations, fluid dynamics, mathematical physics and mathematical modeling.

Julie Gatts, Department of Speech-Language-Hearing, clinical assistant professor. Areas of interest include teaching and applied research with adults with acquired communication disorders (augmentative communication, cognitive communication, aphasia, dysarthria and head and neck cancer).

Daniel Hernandez, Department of Mathematics, assistant professor. His research interests include singularities and invariants in positive characteristic commutative algebra defined using the Frobenius morphism.

Margaret Kelley, Department of American Studies, associate professor. She is a specialist in the sociological investigation of the role of natural mentors in adolescent development.

Ian Michael Lewis, Department of Physics & Astronomy, assistant professor. His research focus is in theoretical high energy physics.

Terrence Loecke, Environmental Studies Program, assistant professor. Loecke studies qualitative ecology, biogeochemistry, agroecology and global change ecology.

Ben Merriman, School of Public Affairs & Administration, assistant professor. His research centers on state-federal and interstate conflicts in policy areas such as immigration, voting, environmental protection and health care.

Agnieszka Miedlar, Department of Mathematics, assistant professor. She studies numerical methods, computational mathematics and scientific computing.

Ana Paula Mumy, Department of Speech-Language-Hearing, clinical assistant professor. Her specialized interests include articulation disorders, stuttering, language and literacy, and bilingualism.

Dennis O'Rourke, Department of Anthropology, Foundation Distinguished Professor. He is considered one of the foremost experts in the United States on the use of ancient DNA to reconstruct human settlement in the Americas.

Panying Rong, Department of Speech-Language-Hearing, assistant professor. His research interests include motor speech disorders, speech physiology and computational modeling of normal and disordered speech production mechanism.

Christophe Royon, Department of Physics & Astronomy, Foundation Distinguished Professor. Royon is a world leader in forward and diffractive physics, working at the major particle accelerators, including most recently the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Switzerland.

Steven Soper, departments of Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering, Foundation Distinguished Professor. He is a leading international researcher in developing new technologies that have important applications for diagnosis of cancer and other serious diseases.

Justin Stachnik, Department of Geography & Atmospheric Science, assistant professor. He studies clouds, climate and precipitation with a focus on tropical meteorology and climate variability and change.

Shuai Sun, Department of Chemistry, assistant specialist. Sun earned his doctorate from the University of Alberta in theoretical & computational chemistry.

Rob Unckless, Department of Molecular Biosciences, assistant professor. His research interests include the evolutionary genetics of host pathogen interaction.

Robert Warrior, departments of English and American Studies, Hall Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Culture. His research interests include Native American and indigenous literature and literary criticism, American Indian intellectual history and tradition, and the modern Native American movement.

Aimee Wilson, Humanities Program, assistant professor. Wilson specializes in modern British and American literature, reproductive rights and feminist theory.

The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences is home to more than 50 departments, programs and centers, as well as the School of the Arts, School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures, and School of Public Affairs & Administration. It is the broadest, most diverse academic unit at KU.