KU News Release

Aug. 24, 2009
Contact: Jill Jess, University Relations, (785) 864-8858

Four KU professors honored with Kemper fellowships

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas “surprise patrol” handed out $5,000 Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence to four more professors today.

The Kemper fellowships recognize outstanding teachers and advisers at KU as determined by a seven-member selection committee. Now in their 14th year, the awards are supported by $650,000 in gifts from the William T. Kemper Foundation (Commerce Bank, trustee) and $650,000 in matching funds from KU Endowment.

Winners today are: Kent Spreckelmeyer, professor of architecture; Leslie Tuttle, assistant professor of history; Byron Caminero-Santangelo, associate professor of English; and Todd Little, professor of psychology.

In all, 20 professors will be honored and $100,000 distributed this year as part of the Kemper tradition. Presentations for Lawrence campus faculty members will continue through Tuesday, Sept. 1. Four professors at the KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., also will be honored.

The William T. Kemper Foundation was established in 1989 after the death of the Kansas City, Mo., banking executive and civic leader. The foundation supports Midwest communities and concentrates on initiatives in education, health and human services, civic improvements and the arts.

KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment is the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

More about today’s winners:

Kent Spreckelmeyer, professor of architecture
Spreckelmeyer teaches architectural design, research and, his specialty, the architecture of health. He is an amazingly inspiring educator who has the respect of his students, advisees and colleagues. Recently, Spreckelmeyer was instrumental in creating a new capstone graduate option, Health and Wellness, in which students are placed in seven-month internships to engage in a service-learning studio. Spreckelmeyer and his students use their skills to produce real-world, impact-driven applications of architecture, which include innovative designs for medical exam rooms, an eye clinic in Bangladesh and a birthing center in rural Haiti. Keith Diaz Moore, chair of architecture, said, “The understanding he brings to students goes beyond architectural design to include research methods, cultural awareness and a professional ethic to value how the built environment impacts quality of life for all people.”

Leslie Tuttle, assistant professor of history
Tuttle “has been the most reflective and experimental teacher in our department over the last five years,” said Anton Rosenthal, associate professor of history. Since joining tenure-track faculty in 2003, Tuttle has gone above and beyond her duties and taken a leading role in assessing and improving department courses and its undergraduate experience. In 2005, she served as the department director of undergraduate studies to oversee the advising of its 500 majors and was honors coordinator at the same time. She continually experiments, reflects upon and revises her courses, which include those on historical methods, early modern Europe and other themes. Outside the classroom, last year Tuttle worked with a student and the community to list the Ecumenical Christian Ministries building on the Kansas State Register of Historic Places. “Professor Tuttle is one of the most creative and dynamic instructors in a department that prides itself in offering excellent classroom instruction,” said Paul Kelton, department chair. “Her commitment to undergraduate education is unsurpassed.”

Byron Caminero-Santangelo, associate professor of English
Caminero-Santangelo isn’t content to do things as they’ve always been done. Since he came to KU in 1997, he’s been teaching, mentoring and advocating for students, or as he says, his “future colleagues.” A friend of change, he is continually evaluating his effectiveness in the classroom, suggesting improvements within his department and creating opportunities for students — including a new study abroad program in South Africa. Dorice Elliott, chair of the department, praises Caminero-Santangelo’s work in graduate advising, for which he has won several awards. “Not only does he spend hours advising students and their careers, but he also works actively to advance those careers … his students have been exceptionally successful.” Caminero-Santangelo’s classes have themes including postcolonialism, African literature and poetry, but his students learn more than what they read in books, they learn how to make a difference in the world.

Todd Little, professor of psychology
Little’s expertise spans the disciplines of quantitative and developmental psychology. Soon after he joined the department’s graduate program in quantitative psychology in 2002, he became its only expert in quantitative methods. Since then, he has rebuilt the program from the ground up and it now boasts four full-time faculty and a national reputation. Little has advised the majority of the students involved in the program since his arrival, receiving mentorship accolades in 2006 and 2007. Little also shares his knowledge beyond KU’s borders. In 2002, he created the Summer Institute in Statistics, a series of five-day workshops that draws faculty and students nationwide to learn advanced quantitative techniques. Kristopher Preacher, assistant professor of psychology, said, “His dedication to training students and researchers, at KU and around the world, in research methodology and statistics is truly phenomenal.”

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.

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