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KU announces recipients of Keeler Intra-University Professorships for 2022-2023

Wed, 10/12/2022

LAWRENCE – Four University of Kansas professors have been selected to pursue special projects designed to develop their scholarship in a field while also fostering collaboration at KU during the 2022-2023 academic year.

The following faculty members were awarded Keeler Intra-University Professorships this academic year:

  • Jay T. Johnson, geography & atmospheric science
  • Kyoungchul “KC” Kong, physics & astronomy
  • Corey Maley, philosophy
  • Kyoim Yun, East Asian languages & cultures

Keeler Intra-University Professorships provide faculty members an opportunity to strengthen their knowledge of an academic specialty, to broaden or achieve greater depth in a defined field of study, or to achieve competence in a new area of scholarly endeavor. Their work should also lead to increased collaboration and synergy across disciplines.

Keeler Professorships have supported faculty development for tenured KU faculty since the 1980s. Faculty members apply for the professorship with the endorsement of their department and dean. Selected faculty are relieved of departmental responsibilities for one semester, and their departments receive financial support to assist with meeting instructional needs. The Center for Faculty Development & Mentoring reviews applicants and selects recipients.

“The center’s mission is to help faculty develop rewarding careers at KU,” said Lou Mulligan, interim vice provost for faculty affairs. “The Keeler Professorship is central to building new and lasting interdisciplinary connections that fuel groundbreaking work after acquiring tenure. This year’s recipients fully embody the center’s mission.”

The program is possible through a gift of the Keeler family in memory of W.W. Keeler, petroleum engineering alumnus and former president of the KU Alumni Association. Keeler served as president and chief executive officer of Phillips Petroleum Co. from 1967-1973, and he was principal chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1949-1975, a position he was originally appointed to by President Harry Truman.

About the recipients

Jay T. Johnson

Jay T. Johnson, University of Kansas Jay T. Johnson, professor of geography & atmospheric science, will spend the spring 2023 semester learning from the Spencer Museum of Art issues related to public practice and engagement within the curatorial world to aid in his community-engaged scholarship with Kaw Nation and the Lawrence community surrounding the future of Iⁿ ‘zhúje ‘waxóbe and Robinson Park. His Keeler Professorship will support the practical effort of moving Iⁿ ‘zhúje ‘waxóbe, facilitated workshops and site visits in partnership with the Kaw Nation, and community engagements in Robinson Park in collaboration with Sydney Pursel, curator of public practice at the Spencer Museum of Art.

Johnson joined the KU faculty in 2008.

“Our project opens an unprecedented opportunity to document the unfolding of a reparative process between Kaw Nation and the City of Lawrence,” Johnson wrote in his application. “Understanding its significance, we plan to capture all significant events and record interviews with all core participants and community members to produce a series of edited stories and potentially a feature-length documentary film. We will also be collecting and preserving all relevant documents and photos produced during the project for archiving purposes for publication.”

Kyoungchul “KC” Kong

KC Kong, University of KansasKC Kong, professor of physics & astronomy, will spend the spring 2023 semester collaborating with faculty in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science to study quantum Shannon theory, solidify theoretical backgrounds on quantum computation and develop teaching materials and research related to quantum computation. He will work with Taejoon Kim, assistant professor of electrical engineering & computer science, and other faculty members at EECS. His Keeler Professorship will support curriculum development for physics classes, including quantum computing and quantum information science; weekly discussion sessions with his collaborators – including Hyunsoo Kim, assistant professor of physics at the Missouri University of Science & Technology – and a research project with Taejoon Kim.

Kong joined the KU faculty in 2010.

“Quantum computation and quantum information are in the intersection of engineering, physics and mathematics,” Kong wrote in his application. “They bring a new dimension into classroom teaching and research. They are important for students’ job perspectives as well. Both engineering and physics and astronomy will gain from the outcome of this proposal. My group and professor Taejoon Kim’s group will benefit from the increased collaboration and synergy in terms of research and potential funding opportunities.”

Corey Maley

Corey Maley, University of Kansas professorCorey Maley, associate professor of philosophy, is spending the fall 2022 semester working with Michael Branicky, professor of electrical engineering & computer science, Jonathan Brumberg, associate professor of speech-language-hearing. Maley’s Keeler Professorship is examining non-digital computation, particularly in the context of contemporary computer science and engineering and furthering the development of an interdisciplinary course in non-digital computation.

Maley joined the KU faculty in 2014.

“Non-digital computation is becoming increasingly important,” Maley wrote in his application, “both as it can be applied in emerging technologies and for understanding the theoretical basis of computation in neural systems. In addition to building computers inspired by the brain, we also need to understand what kind of computation the brain performs.”

Kyoim Yun

Kyoim Yun, University of Kansas professorKyoim Yun, associate professor of East Asian language & cultures, will spend the spring 2023 semester developing her book project “Templestay for All: A Wellness Journey amid a Happiness Crisis in South Korea” and a related course titled “Happiness in East Asia.” Yun will work with Kathryn Rhine, associate professor in geography & atmospheric sciences. With additional support from the Hall Center for Humanities and the Center for East Asian Studies, she will explore how the South Korean Buddhist establishment has partnered with the government to address social-emotional well-being through Templestay, a short-term retreat program held for laypersons at Buddhist monasteries, during the global pandemic.

Yun joined the KU faculty in 2007.

“Given the increasingly precarious conditions of life that human beings are collectively facing in the 21st century, grief, anxiety and depression may well be a global condition for which there is no easy remedy,” Yun wrote in her application. “Both my research and teaching projects are particularly timely and relevant given the added stresses caused by two years of the global pandemic.”



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