LAWRENCE — The Kansas Board of Regents has named an accomplished economics scholar at KU as its next Regents Distinguished Professor.
Donna Ginther, Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor of economics and director of the Institute for Policy & Social Research, earned the new title at February’s Kansas Board of Regents meeting.
The purpose of the Regents Distinguished Professorship program is to attract and retain established scholars whose research projects augment the state’s economic and industrial development.
“I am honored by this distinction. Kansas has been my home for the last 20 years. Over that time, I have worked with students, colleagues at KU and leaders throughout the state on research to help us understand what policies best strengthen the Kansas economy,” Ginther said. “I am proud to serve the state in this way.”
Ginther’s research, which has led to more than $7 million in grant funding, focuses on topics including scientific labor markets, gender differences in employment outcomes, wage inequality and children’s educational attainments. Ginther currently serves as an adviser to Gov. Laura Kelly’s Council on Tax Reform, providing the council with information on the current effects of the state tax structure on Kansans and how those impacts would shift with tax policy changes. Her research addresses a broad range of topics, asking what policies and conditions contribute to healthy and vibrant communities. This work supports KU and the Board of Regents’ strategic goals to advance Kansas’ economy.
“Professor Ginther’s research findings help build a healthier and more equitable society,” Chancellor Douglas A. Girod said. “These are keys to the economic growth of our state and nation, and this professorship signals the importance of her work to the economic development of our state and recognizes her service to Kansas and our nation.”
She has also contributed recent research on the economic impact of COVID-19 and its effect on the Kansas economy. Through her research, reports and consultations with government leaders and state institutions, she has supported economic development in Kansas. Under her leadership, the Institute for Policy & Social Research has developed and maintained an online library of resources on the public health and economic implications of the pandemic.
Before joining the KU faculty in 2002, Ginther worked as a research economist and associate policy adviser at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. She has testified before Congress and consulted on equity and diversity issues in science funding with organizations like the National Academies of Sciences, the National Institutes of Health and the Sloan Foundation.
She has earned several teaching and research awards at KU, including the Byron T. Shutz Award for Excellence in Teaching and the University Scholar Award, both in 2012.