KU News Release

Aug. 19, 2010
Contact: Todd Cohen, University Relations, (785) 864-8866

First two Kemper fellowships of 2010 awarded

2010 Kemper Awards

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas “surprise patrol” this morning presented two professors with $7,500 Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence.

The Kemper fellowships recognize outstanding teachers and advisers at KU as determined by a seven-member selection committee. Now in their 15th year, the annual awards have been supported by gifts totaling $650,000 from the William T. Kemper Foundation (Commerce Bank, trustee) and $650,000 in matching funds from KU Endowment.

This morning’s winners are Judith McCrea, professor of visual art, and Gary Reich, associate professor of political science.

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.

Judith McCrea, professor of visual art

McCrea has been recognized for her teaching excellence many times over at KU, displayed her art in galleries across the country and chaired her department, yet colleagues and students are still impressed by the fact that she doesn’t mind tidying a studio or cleaning a clogged drain. She teaches classes such as life drawing, special topics in painting and painting the figure and advises art students on their thesis projects. McCrea’s teaching prowess has been recognized with a Center for Teaching Excellence Faculty Fellows Grant in 2003, a Provost’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to International Education in 2001 and a Governors’ Art Award for Achievement in Visual Art in 2000. She also was named an Outstanding Woman Educator at KU. McCrea has led the painting program for the past four years and chaired the Department of Visual Art for 12 years before that. McCrea has shown her work in dozens of exhibitions in prestigious galleries across the country since her arrival at KU in 1980. “Judy is always ready to and willing to lead, to listen, to recreate herself, to try harder, to help, to let others shine, to tidy a studio, to support her community to engage in discussion, to share her own good fortune,” said Dawn Marie Guernsey, professor and chair of the Department of Visual Art.

Gary M. Reich, associate professor of political science

Reich regularly receives high marks from students during class evaluations. But that doesn’t mean he’s ready to rest on his laurels. In recent years, Reich revamped his course Introduction to Comparative Politics and created an upper-level course titled Justice and Public Policy in Democratic Societies. “The intellectual content of the new course is truly excellent,” said Elaine Sharp, chair of the Department of Political Science. “This material provides upper-division undergraduates with a suitably sophisticated repertoire of grounds for the arguments they will make later about specific public policy issues.” For the new course, Reich incorporated an online class network to supplement in-person discussion. He also eschewed the traditional textbook, which did not reflect the teaching methods needed in the introductory course, in favor of free online journal articles and other Web content that better fulfilled students’ needs. “Sometimes there is a fortuitous congruence between pedagogical priorities and saving a buck,” said Reich. He earned his doctorate in political science from the University of North Carolina and has taught at KU since 1995.

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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