KU News Release

Aug. 25, 2011
Contact: Gavin Young, Office of Public Affairs, 785-864-7100

Chancellor surprises another 2011 Kemper Fellowship winner

2011 Kemper Awards

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas “surprise patrol” today presented a professor with the sixth $7,500 Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence for 2011.

Today’s winner is Joey Sprague, Professor of Sociology. Professor Sprague joins this year’s previous winners Jorge Pérez, Anna Neill, Andrea Herstowski, Robert Ward and Arvin Agah.

The Kemper fellowships recognize outstanding teachers and advisers at KU as determined by a seven-member selection committee. Now in their 16th year, the awards are supported by an annual gift of $37,500 from the William T. Kemper Foundation (Commerce Bank, trustee) and $37,500 in matching funds from KU Endowment.

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.

For more information, visit www.news.ku.edu/kemper_awards.

PROFESSOR PROFILE: Joey Sprague, Professor of Sociology

Sprague’s student evaluations demonstrate how a committed instructor can teach difficult subjects, as her students consistently rate her classes as being both one of their favorites and one of the toughest.

Department of Sociology chair Bill Staples says there is a reason students are drawn to Sprague, despite her well earned reputation as a demanding teacher.

“She is able to gauge each student's level of understanding and how to move that student to the next, deeper level,” writes Staples. “Sprague embraces teaching excellence in all of its dimensions–undergraduate and graduate, classroom and advising, campus and beyond.”

Since 2005, Sprague has served as Director of Undergraduate Studies and is credited with implementing a number of innovations to both the curriculum and organizing the program and serving the students. Sprague’s commitment to advising has earned her recognition as Mentor of the Year by Sociologists for Women in Society and she is a past recipient of CLAS’s J. Michael Young Academic Advisor Award. Her past teaching awards include the Committee on the Status of Women’s Outstanding Woman Educator award, KU’s Archie and Nancy Dykes Award for Excellence in Teaching, and a CTE Teacher Appreciation award.

A member of the KU faculty since 1984, Sprague was inducted into the KU Women’s Hall of Fame in 2009.

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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