Strong Hall standing proud on the KU campus

University Scholarly Achievement Awards

The University Scholarly Achievement Award is a marquee award for our university and a way to recognize standout researchers who embody our mission to make discoveries that change the world.

Congratulations to the 2023 winners!

The University Scholarly Achievement Award recognizes outstanding scholarly or research contributions, with one award given each year in each of four categories: arts and humanities; medicine and clinical sciences; science, technology and mathematics; and social science and professional programs. This year’s winners in each category are:

•    Erik Scott, Department of History (arts & humanities)
•    Sandra Billinger, Department of Neurology (medicine and clinical science)
•    Timothy Jackson, Department of Chemistry (science, technology, and mathematics)
•    Jeffrey Hall, Department of Communication Studies (social science and professional programs)

These four winners — along with winners of other annual research awards — will be honored at the University Research Awards ceremony April 25. All faculty and staff are invited to attend.

Program Overview

Each year, the University of Kansas recognizes up to four mid-career faculty members as recipients of a University Scholarly Achievement Award. This $10,000 award recognizes a significant scholarly or research contribution, creative work (an exhibition, performance, composition, article or book, or major collaborative project) or a series of closely related contributions. This award covers all fields of scholarship represented at the University of Kansas, including, but not limited to, Arts, Humanities, Architecture and Design, Music, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, Clinical Science, Pharmacy, Social Sciences, Social Welfare, Education, Journalism, Law, and Business.

Selection Process

All nominations were evaluated by a panel of eight individuals, representing the following areas:

  • Arts and Humanities
  • Science, Technology, and Mathematics
  • Medicine and Clinical Science
  • Social Science and Professional Programs

Members of the selection panel are appointed by the chancellor.


Contributions will be evaluated using the criteria below:

  • Advances the field of scholarship;
  • Exhibits novelty and originality;
  • Promotes scholarly and research activity or creative works at KU; and
  • Enhances the university’s national and international reputation.


To be eligible for consideration, the faculty member must hold the rank of Associate Professor or Full Professor; be within 10 years of appointment as an Associate Professor at the time of the current nomination; must have completed three academic years at KU; and must not have received a prior major KU award for this body of work.

Nomination Process

Individuals may self-nominate or be nominated by others. Departments may nominate more than one individual for the award.

Past Winners


  • Misty Schieberle, English
  • Soumen Paul, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and Obstetrics & Gynecology 
  • Amy Burgin, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Kansas Biological Survey & Center for Ecological Research
  • Brian Boyd, Applied Behavioral Science
  • VIDEO: Watch the 2022 University Research Awards ceremony 



  • Sarah Finocchario Kessler, Family Medicine and Community Health
  • Stuart Macdonald, Molecular Biosciences
  • Laura Mielke, English
  • Karrie Shogren, Special Education


  • Dale Dorsey, Philosophy
  • Kirsten Jensen, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, KU Biodiversity Institute
  • Paul W. Popiel, Music 
  • Franklin (Feng) Tao, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering 
  • VIDEO: Watch the full 2019 awards ceremony.



  • Nancy Brady, Speech-Language-Hearing
  • Kimber Richter, Preventive Medicine and Public Health
  • Dave Tell, Communication Studies
  • Joy Ward, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • VIDEO: Watch the full 2017 awards ceremony.


  • Christie Befort, Preventive Medicine, Public Health
  • Wen-Xing Ding, Pharmacy, Toxicology, Therapeutics
  • William Elliott, Social Welfare
  • Peter Grund, English
  • Greg Rudnick, Physics and Astronomy


  • Gregory Cushman, History
  • Wonpil Im, Molecular Biosciences
  • Andrew Torrance, Law
  • Atanas Stefanov, Mathematics


  • Michael Detamore, Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
  • Michael Engel, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • Allen Greiner, Family Medicine
  • Steven Spooner, Music


  • Sally Cornelison, Art History
  • Don Haider-Markel, Political Science
  • Mikhail Medvedev, Physics and Astronomy
  • Thomas Prisinzano, Medicinal Chemistry


  • Jeffrey Moran, History
  • Russell Swerdlow, Neurology, Molecular and Integrative Physiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Jeffrey Burns, Neurology
  • Cory Berkland, Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, and Pharmaceutical Chemistry
  • Donna Ginther, Economics


  • Brian Blagg, Medicinal Chemistry
  • Derrick Darby, Philosophy
  • Patricia Hawley, Psychology
  • Bangere Purnaprajna, Mathematics


Four researchers named winners of University Scholarly Achievement Award for 2023(03/28/2023)

Four researchers named recipients of the University Scholarly Achievement Award (03/21/2022)

KU recognizes University Scholarly Achievement Award winners via Zoom (04/30/2021)

Four researchers receive University Scholarly Acheivement Awards honoring midcareer faculty (04/13/2020)

Chancellor to present four University Scholarly Achievement Awards on April 24 (04/03/2019)

Chancellor Girod to recognize five University Scholarly Achievement Award winners (03/15/2018)

Chancellor to present University Scholarly Achievement Awards (03/15/2017)

Chancellor to present University Scholarly Achievement Awards (04/18/2016)

Chancellor to present University Scholarly Achievement Awards (04/09/2015)

Chancellor to present University Scholarly Achievement Awards (04/08/2014)

Four researchers named recipients of University Scholarly Achievement Awards (04/16/2013)

Five researchers named recipients of University Scholarly Achievement Awards (3/27/2012)