Research center joining Life Span Institute

Wed, 06/18/2014

LAWRENCE — Two prominent and successful University of Kansas research centers with complementary missions are about to join forces.

The Center for Research on Learning (CRL) will become part of the Life Span Institute (LSI) on July 1. As one of 13 centers under the LSI umbrella organization, CRL will retain its identity and continue its mission of “solving the problems that limit individuals’ quality of life and their ability to learn and perform in school, work, home, or the community.” Researchers affiliated with CRL focus on basic and applied research and advocacy involving disabilities, instructional practices, practitioner training and the development of teaching materials and technologies.

Mike Hock, associate director of CRL, has been named interim director of CRL. He will report to John Colombo, director of LSI. Hock has been at KU since 1990 as an associate research scientist. He succeeds Don Deshler, the Williamson Family Distinguished Professor of Special Education. Deshler came to KU in 1974 and has been director of CRL since 1978. He will resume his faculty role this fall. Kathleen Lane, professor of special education and co-director of CRL for the past year, will also resume her faculty role this fall.

Currently, both LSI and CRL report to the KU Office of Research, along with such organizations as the Hall Center for the Humanities, the Higuchi Biosciences Center and the Biodiversity Institute. As of July 1, CRL will report directly to LSI.

“The valuable research taking place at CRL complements LSI’s strengths in human health and development,” said Rodolfo Torres, associate vice chancellor for research. He noted that faculty in KU’s top-rated Department of Special Education already conduct research under the auspices of CRL and LSI. “It makes sense to bring these centers together, and I am looking forward to the synergy that will be created. With the growing uncertainties of federal funding for research, streamlining administrative structures – while ensuring researchers have the resources they need – is also vitally important.”

LSI, also known as the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, is the oldest KU research center and, with the addition of CRL, will be the largest in terms of annual research expenditures. Its existing research centers include the Beach Center on Disability, the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project, and the Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training. CRL will have a status equivalent with the existing LSI centers.



Travel to New York and perform on one of the greatest stages in the nation? KU's Wind Ensemble did just that. In March 2013, the University of Kansas Wind Ensemble made the trip of a lifetime to perform the world premiere of composer Mohammed Fairouz’s Symphony No. 4, In the Shadow of No Towers at Carnegie Hall. http://bit.ly/1nXMXr9 Tags: University of Kansas Wind Ensemble KU School of Music Carnegie Hall #KUdifference #music #symphony
Journey to Carnegie Hall
One of America’s most esteemed concert bands, the University of Kansas Wind Ensemble, came to Carnegie Hall to introduce a commissioned work with the potential to resonate well beyond the usual college circuit... - New York Times review

Boy with autism benefits from KU student’s undergraduate research Two-year-old Mark’s first haircut in a salon was pretty traumatic. He screamed. He cried. His dad had to restrain him – Mark has autism and a haircut wasn’t part of his routine. But there’s a happy ending. The experience led KU senior Kristin Miller to seek an Undergraduate Research Award (see http://bit.ly/1xod9VT) to develop ways for children with developmental disabilities like Mark to learn how to accept routine health care treatment, such as going to the dentist — or even getting a buzz cut. Watch the video to see why it has been especially rewarding for Miller to help children like Mark.


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
1 of 9 public universities with outstanding study abroad programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
$260.5 million in externally funded research expenditures
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times