Erinn Barcomb-Peterson
KU News Service

Biology faculty members honored by Class of 2023 with HOPE Awards for teaching

Mon, 11/21/2022

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas senior class has honored two faculty members who teach undergraduate biology with 2022 HOPE Awards — to Honor an Outstanding Progressive Educator. 

The HOPE Award was established by the Class of 1959. Today, the award remains the only honor given to faculty by the senior class through the Student Alumni and Endowment Board. Thanks to successful fundraising efforts, 2022 marks the second year that the award has been given to two recipients. 

Josephine Chandler, associate professor of molecular biosciences, and Eileen Hotze, associate teaching professor of molecular biosciences, were recognized Nov. 19 during the Senior Day football game between KU and Texas.

As a researcher, Chandler studies how bacteria interact with one another and respond to stress in complex communities. Her research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and has included upending assumptions about how dangerous pathogens respond to acidic environments in the host. Chandler is also part of the leadership team of a recently renewed NIH-funded program to help Native students bridge from Haskell Indian Nations University to KU and prepare for careers in the biomedical sciences. 

One student who nominated Chandler noted how she goes “above and beyond” to help each student succeed and how she can accommodate each student’s needs, even in a large class. Another nominator noted that without Chandler, they wouldn’t have been able to continue their journey at KU. “More importantly, I would not have discovered my passion for microbial genetics,” they wrote.

“It is amazing to receive this award and be recognized for my efforts to make science inclusive and exciting, especially during a time when science has become so important to all of us,” Chandler said. “I feel extremely lucky to be able to work with such exceptionally talented students at KU.”

Chandler joined KU in 2013. She earned a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Minnesota after earning a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from the University of Iowa.

Hotze teaches undergraduate biology courses in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, including classes on molecular and cellular biology, fundamentals of microbiology and the laboratory component to courses on bacterial infectious disease.

Students who nominated Hotze noted how she wants her students to succeed in class and in the future —  and how Hotze provides resources to make that happen. One student wrote how Hotze helped them with their degree path.

“She gives great advice and got me in contact with really helpful people,” the nominator wrote.

Hotze spent more than 15 years as a research scientist at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center prior to joining KU as a full-time teaching faculty member in 2018. She earned her bachelor's degree and doctorate in microbiology from the University of Oklahoma.

“KU is a fantastic place to work because our students are so enthusiastic and eager,” Hotze said. “Each one of them has a unique experience that they bring with them to KU to make this campus so special. I enjoy getting to know their stories and am fortunate to walk with them during their academic journey.”

“To be awarded the HOPE Award is very humbling,” Hotze said. “I am overwhelmed. They have made such an impact on my life. I am not sure they know this."

Photo cutline: Eileen Hotze, associate teaching professor of molecular biosciences; presenter Haley Berger, vice president and awards chair of the Student Alumni and Endowment Board; and Josephine Chandler, associate professor of molecular biosciences, at the Nov. 19 KU-Texas Senior Day football game, where they received HOPE Awards from the senior class.

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