Five faculty members earn distinguished professor status
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Sara Rosen has appointed five University of Kansas faculty members to be university distinguished professors. The appointments for professors Alice Bean in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Monica Biernat in the Department of Psychology, Chuck Epp in the School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rodolfo Torres in the Department of Mathematics, and Steve Warren in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing: Sciences and Disorders will be effective with the start of the fall 2016 semester.
“The university distinguished professors truly have a celebrated record of teaching and scholarship,” Rosen said. “These prominent faculty members have made major contributions to their field of research while also inspiring undergraduate and graduate students to pursue new levels of learning and discovery. Their achievements at KU are testimony to the power of higher education to transform lives and build better communities.”
Nominations of current KU faculty members for these distinguished professorships come from academic departments and schools on the Lawrence campus. Major criteria for selection include record of scholarship, participation in university affairs and professional organizations, service to community and the success of their students, colleagues and institutions. University distinguished professors may be from any discipline, although special consideration is given to candidates from disciplines that have limited representation among current distinguished professors at KU. The University Committee on Distinguished Professorships reviews nominations and forwards its recommendations to the provost for final approval.
“The selection of university distinguished professors is an ideal opportunity to recognize some of our more influential faculty members at KU,” said Carl Lejuez, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. “All have been longtime contributors to the body of knowledge generated at the University of Kansas and are outstanding educators and mentors. Their new titles reflect innovative thought, hard work and commitment to the university and the state. Congratulations are in order for each of them.”
About the 2016 University Distinguished Professors
Alice Bean, professor of physics and astronomy
Bean has a remarkable record of scholarship, teaching and service, with a substantial range of accomplishment in each category. As an experimental particle physicist, her research record is extensive, gaining her admission as a fellow of the American Physical Society. One of her strengths is her ability to bring researchers together to successfully complete complex projects. Bean has affected the design and construction of unique instrumentation, studied a diverse range of analysis topics involving heavy quarks and their decays, advised many undergraduate researchers, created new outreach opportunities and established new avenues for affecting policies on climate change. She is an author on more than 1,100 publications in refereed journals in the fields of experimental particle physics, science education and undergraduate research. Her publications have more than 85,000 citations. She is a member of the Compact Muon Solenoid collaboration, which hosts the particle physics detector at the Large Hadron Collider in CERN near Geneva. The group discovered a Higgs-like boson in 2012. During the last five years, her efforts as a principal investigator or co-PI have brought about $10 million in federal grant money to KU.
In addition to being named a Jefferson Science Fellow and an APS fellow, she has earned numerous other distinctions, including selection as a KU Woman of Distinction, and receiving the Steeples Award for Service to Kansas and the Gould Award for Undergraduate Engineering Education. Bean earned bachelor’s degrees in physics and computer science from the University of California, Irvine; and a master’s degree and doctorate in physics from Carnegie Mellon University. She’s been on the faculty at KU since 1993 and also has experience as a visiting professor or researcher at Harvard University, Paul Scherrer Institute, Fermilab and the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Monica Biernat, professor of psychology
Biernat is an important and innovative scholar of stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination. She has published extensively on the effect of race and gender stereotypes on categorization, judgment, behavior and communication processes. Her research record is internationally recognized for development of the “shifting standards” theory of stereotypes and prejudicial judgments. Her work is widely cited and has delivered sustained effect on research and academic literature. It also has led to changes in practices within the legal profession, human resources departments and U.S. Army training. Her research has enjoyed continuous support from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Science Foundation and other granting agencies. She has served on many editorial boards during her career, served as an associate editor of several journals, including Psychological Bulletin, the most influential journal in psychology, and she is currently editor of Personality and Social Psychology Review.
She has been a member or leader of numerous departmental, college and university committees and professional organizations. She is currently executive officer of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology. Through her teaching and research she has earned several honors, including a William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence, the American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contributions to Psychology in the area of Social Psychology, the Association for Women and Psychology Publication of the Year Award, and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Award for Distinguished Service to the Society. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and communication, a master’s in psychology and a doctorate in psychology from the University of Michigan. She joined KU in 1992 after beginning her career at the University of Florida. During her career she has also been a visiting scholar at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada; and the University of Washington. In 2015 she was an honorary fellow at the University of Wisconsin.
Charles “Chuck” Epp, professor of public affairs and administration and courtesy professor of African and African-American studies
Epp is an international leader in research on the sources and effects of legal change, particularly regarding rights and racial discrimination. His scholarship pioneered a field of comparative cross-national research on rights litigation and constitutional change, and his work is among the most widely cited, nationally and internationally, in that area. He is author of three award-winning books, the latest of which, “Pulled Over: How Police Stops Define Race and Citizenship,” co-authored with KU professors Steven Maynard-Moody and Don Haider-Markel, is a landmark study that has transformed the scholarly agenda on racial discrimination in police stops. His research has been supported by a number of grants from the National Science Foundation, and he is author of numerous articles, book chapters and columns, and a frequent invited lecturer at universities. He has served on a number of editorial boards and is a founding associate editor for the Journal of Law and Courts.
Epp has been recognized with a William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence and other teaching awards. His research has won the Edward S. Corwin and the C. Herman Pritchett awards from the American Political Science Association, and, in 2015, his research received the Lasting Contribution Award of that association’s Section on Law and Courts as well as the Best Book Award from the American Society for Public Administration Section on Public Administration Research. Two of his books have been given the Outstanding Academic Title award by the American Library Association. His service has ranged widely across the university, community and state. He has held a number of leadership roles in the American Political Science Association and has twice served on the Board of Trustees and on the Executive Committee of the international Law & Society Association. Epp earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Bethel College, a master’s degree in political science from KU and a doctorate in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Indiana University before joining KU in 1996.
Rodolfo Torres, professor of mathematics
Torres is one of the leading experts on the theoretical and applied aspects of harmonic analysis. His theoretical mathematical work is internationally recognized for its contributions to decomposition techniques and the study of singular integrals. Torres has used his expertise to collaborate with researchers in other fields. His most celebrated applied research endeavor is his work with former KU biology Professor Richard Prum, revealing the mechanics of structural coloration in the feathers of birds. His strong scholarship has resulted in eight National Science Foundation research grants as well as numerous other grants to support conferences, equipment and international collaborations. He maintains a very active research career while also taking part in high-level service and leadership. Among his many activities, he has served as president of KU’s Faculty Senate, chaired the Mission and Integrity subcommittees for the recent Higher Learning Commission accreditation process at KU, and he currently holds an administrative position as associate vice chancellor for research and vice president of KU Center for Research.
He is an inaugural fellow of the American Mathematical Society and a highly regarded author, reviewer and editor of prestigious peer-reviewed publications. He has been an invited speaker at many conferences and workshops in the United States, Canada, Argentina, Spain, Austria, Scotland, Italy, China, Australia and other countries around the world. His teaching and mentoring have been recognized with multiple awards, including the G. Bailey Price Teaching in Graduate Mathematics Award from the KU Department of Mathematics and a William T. Kemper Excellence in Teaching Award. Torres earned a licenciatura in mathematics from Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Argentina; and a master’s degree and doctorate in mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis. He joined the KU faculty in 1996 after post-doctoral experiences at the University of Michigan, New York University and Washington University.
Steve Warren, professor of speech-language-hearing: sciences and disorders
Warren’s scholarship on language and language interventions in the area of intellectual and developmental disabilities has influenced views of how family and social environments significantly affect language development. He has produced seminal work on language development and interventions in intellectual and developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome and autism spectrum disorders. Based on his work and that of his colleagues, language interventions for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities increasingly target parent responsiveness to their child’s language attempts. Since 2000, his research efforts as a principal investigator or co-PI have brought more than $25 million in grant funding to KU.
Warren has been honored numerous times for his contributions, and he has received the Edgar Doll Award from the American Psychological Association Division 33 in 2013 and the Lifetime Research Achievement Award from the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in 2008. He is an active member of numerous professional societies and civic agency boards, and he has also provided leadership to directors of the NIH Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers network. He has held major research leadership roles at Vanderbilt University as well as at KU. Between 2001 and 2008 he served as director of the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies and more recently, from 2007 to 2014, served as vice chancellor for research and graduate studies and president of KU Center for Research. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and human development, a master’s degree in human development and a doctorate in child and developmental psychology, all from KU. He returned to KU in 2000 after 18 years as a faculty member and administrator at Vanderbilt University.