Charles Linn
School of Architecture, Design & Planning

Professors recognized with SADP Research Impact Awards

Fri, 02/01/2013

LAWRENCE — The work of two School of Architecture, Design and Planning faculty members was recognized recently when they received the School’s first-ever Research Impact Awards. 

“Even in a relatively small school like ours we felt we could do a much better job of recognizing our peers,” said KeithGreg Thomas, left, and Kirk McClure Diaz Moore, the school’s associate dean for graduate studies. “So last year we started the Research Impact Award. We wanted to make our own faculty and students appreciate the great work that is done right here.”

Professor Kirk McClure of the Department of Urban Planning (right in photo) was recognized for his affordable housing research. Greg Thomas, director of the Center For Design Research and professor of design (left), was recognized for a variety of projects that use design to improve such things as driver safety and the way health care products are used.

Nominations were solicited from the faculty and vetted by the School’s Graduate Studies and Research Committee. 

“Issues like affordable housing and the design of products that attack diabetes and make driving safer somehow touch the lives of almost everyone,” said Diaz Moore. “The dedication to high-quality inquiry that Greg and Kirk have displayed demonstrates the societal importance of what we do at the School of Architecture, Design and Planning.”

McClure explained that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds much of his affordable housing research. HUD and members of Congress consider his assessments of whether the billions of dollars spent on affordable housing create positive outcomes.

“Congress is no longer interested in supporting housing programs that just provide shelter,” McClure said. “If we are helping someone gain affordable housing, are they also locating so they can gain access to safer neighborhoods? If they have kids, are they getting in better schools? If they are unemployed, do they have access to equal opportunity?”  

Thomas presented outcomes from a wide variety of projects he and his students have been doing at the Center for Design Research. In the past year alone he has partnered with Voice Assist, Bayer HealthCare and Garmin International.

Center for Design Research is on KU’s West Campus. It is composed of the Chamney Farm’s recently renovated house and barn, and a conference center built by Studio 804, went into full operation last year. “In the past year the CDR has done even more than we anticipated it would do,” Thomas said.

“Our students are using these spaces as a laboratory to work on health and wellness initiatives, smart grid building technology, vehicular transportation safety, connected vehicles, adaptive information displays and distracted driving.

“Ford even provided the front half of a car for the project we’re doing this semester, so we can conceptualize new internal controls, which is in the Chamney Barn,” he said.

The event was last month at the Center for Design Research.

Tears. Smiles. And hugs. That’s what Match Day brought as KU Medical Center’s first Salina class learned where they would go for their residencies — the next step in their medical training. See the Salina Journal’s report and photos: Tags: #KUworks #KUmatch #Match2015 University of Kansas Medical Center Salina Journal KU School of Medicine-Wichita

Get outside & #exploreKU like these KU students who are making the most of the beautiful day. (Image via @Jhawk96 .)
Lauded race and class historian becomes KU Foundation Professor David Roediger’s award-winning research and writing has already transformed how historians view the growth of social freedoms in America though the intersection of race, class, ethnicity, and labor. Now Roediger, as KU’s first Foundation Distinguished Professor of History (, will continue to break new ground in those fields as he leads KU’s departments of American Studies and History. Roediger likes to study historical flash points — where one particular change brings a cascade of wider cultural changes. His latest book, “Seizing Freedom, Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All,” makes the point that as slaves began freeing themselves across the South during the Civil War, their emancipation inspired and ignited other cultural movements for freedom — such as the women’s movement for suffrage and the labor movement for better working conditions and an eight-hour day. Understanding the individual stories of average people who wanted to make their lives better, including slaves or factory workers, is important to understanding the wider political movements and elections, Roediger said. “It's tempting to think that all the important political questions have been decided,” he said, “but actually people are constantly thinking about what freedom would mean for them.”

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times