Skip redundant pieces
KU Home  :  KU News

KU News Release

More Information


University Relations

p (785) 864-3256
f (785) 864-3339
Aug. 19, 2005 | Kemper Day 2
Contact: Dan Lara, University Relations, (785) 864-8855

Day 2: Six professors surprised with $5K Kemper Awards; eight more left

LAWRENCE -- Six more University of Kansas professors were given $5,000 Kemper Awards by KU's "Surprise Patrol" this morning in recognition of their excellence in teaching and advising. KU Chancellor Robert E. Hemenway and Mark Heider, Commerce Bank president in Lawrence, led the patrol.

So far, 12 professors have received Kemper Awards. Twenty professors in all will be honored and $100,000 in total distributed. The patrol will give out more awards on Monday through Thursday, Aug. 22-25, and Monday, Aug. 29.

The W.T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence recognize outstanding teachers and advisers at KU as determined by a seven-member selection committee. Now in the 10th year, the awards were established by a $500,000 fund from the William T. Kemper Foundation-Commerce Bank, Trustee, and $500,000 in matching funds from KUEA.

The William T. Kemper Foundation was established in 1989 after Kemper's death. It supports Midwest communities and concentrates on initiatives in education, health and human services, civic improvements and the arts.
Names and biographies of today's winners are:

Nancy Baym, associate professor of communication studies
Baym has been teaching communication studies courses at KU for six years. She has gained a reputation among students as a fun and energetic professor with a passion for teaching. Baym's passion is fueled by her drive to help students understand communication within the world and how it is changing. It is not uncommon for students to take her courses based solely on her reputation. "This is the only class I have ever taken largely because of the reputation of the instructor," is a comment that routinely appears on her student evaluations.

Dave Besson
, professor of physics
In 13 years at KU, Besson has gained a reputation among students for having an exceptional sense of humor, which has helped many of these students learn and enjoy physics. Underneath the humor is a professor who does whatever it takes to teach and guide his students. His undergraduate research advising is where Besson's talents really shine. He has had seven students nominated for Goldwater scholarships, with six of them winning.

Ted Juhl, professor of economics
After six years at KU, Juhl commonly is described on student evaluations as "the best teacher I have ever had!" or "Ted Juhl for president!" While he may not be running for office, he does have a knack for making hard, technical material easy and understandable for his students. Juhl's students have come to appreciate his dedication to making sure that they can grasp the difficult concepts. As a result of his dedication, he routinely receives the highest ratings on student evaluations in his department.

Lorin Maletsky, assistant professor of mechanical engineering
Maletsky has been a member of the KU faculty for five years. He takes pride in being not only an instructor for his students but also a leader and, if need be, an entertainer. Maletsky is not afraid to go the extra mile for his students and will do whatever it takes to help them succeed, including helping them in classes besides the ones he teaches. This dedication to students is why he often is described on student evaluations as a "great instructor with a passion for the students."

Bangere Purnaprajna, associate professor of mathematics
Purnaprajna has been a member of the KU faculty for six years. He credits his self-described passion for teaching to his upbringing in a family of teachers. Purnaprajna's teaching philosophy is to let his students learn from their mistakes. His students are actively involved in his lectures, helping work out example problems and then listening to his lecture to learn why an answer is right or wrong.

James Sherman, professor of applied behavioral science
Sherman's passion for the past 38 years at KU is to teach students how to improve the human condition. His students are greatly benefited by having easy access to Sherman's years of research experience and his willingness to make sure that his lectures and assignments prepare them to face human problems.


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus. | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045