Law school professor honored with KU Sustainability Leadership Faculty Award

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Center for Sustainability will recognize 10 individuals and projects with Campus Sustainability Leadership Awards on Friday, April 24, as part of KU's Earth Month festivities. The event will take place at 3:30 p.m. on the Dance Pavilion west of Potter Lake and is open to the public.

“Students, faculty and staff throughout campus are developing solutions that address challenging social and environmental issues,” said Jeff Severin, director of the Center for Sustainability. “Our annual awards program is an opportunity to show our appreciation for just a few of the leaders in our community who are helping advance society toward a more sustainable future."

The Sustainability Leadership Awards recognize outstanding leadership and creativity in addressing issues of environmental, economic and social responsibility on the KU campus and in the broader community. Award recipients are nominated by their peers and selected by a committee that includes past award winners.

The 2015 Sustainability Leadership Award recipients by category:

  • Undergraduate Student: Sarah Graves, of Denver, chemical engineering
  • Graduate Student: Katrina McClure, of Rockford, Illinois, human geography
  • Faculty: Uma Outka, associate professor, School of Law
  • Staff: Kate Meyer, assistant curator, Spencer Museum of Art
  • Student Scholarship: David Szczucinki, of Leawood, environmental studies
  • Faculty Scholarship: Dietrich Earnhart, professor, economics
  • Social Justice: Liz Anstine, graduate student from Overland Park, curriculum & instruction
  • Greek Life: Sigma Kappa, Xi Chapter
  • Project: KU Student Farm & The Roasterie, Coffee Composting Project
  • Program: Centroamérica Indígena, Geography Applied Research Project

Details about the award program and this year’s honorees can be found at

Award recipients will be honored at the Earth Day ceremony along with campus departments receiving Green Office Recognition for adopting sustainable practices in the workplace, as well as students participating in KU Stewards, a first-year sustainability leadership program.

Law alumni, faculty honored for achievements, service, careers

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Hon. Julie Robinson is inducted into the KU Women's Hall of Fame, April 7,2015LAWRENCE — Twenty women with ties to the University of Kansas were honored April 7 during the 2015 Women’s Recognition Banquet hosted by the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity.

Event organizers inducted six women into the KU Women’s Hall of Fame as well as presented honors to a number of outstanding students, faculty and staff at KU. 

“KU has such a rich history of women who lead and make our community and our world a better place,” said Kathy Rose-Mockry, director of the Emily Taylor Center. “It’s a privilege to honor these individuals and add to this growing legacy of involvement and achievement.”

The Women’s Hall of Fame has honored more than 200 exemplary KU alumnae, faculty and staff women since 1970. It recognizes those who through their significant contributions and achievements, overall effect and outstanding character, serve as role models for students as career women and community leaders.

The Hall of Fame is on the fifth floor of the Kansas Union. A complete list of Women’s Hall of Fame inductees and their accomplishments is available online. In addition to the inductees, 14 women were honored as recipients of 11 different awards.

The Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity provides leadership and advocacy in promoting gender equity and challenging gender-related barriers that impede full access and inclusion. The center raises awareness of critical issues, provides opportunities to translate awareness into action and empowers individuals to advocate for themselves and others.

About this year’s inductees and honorees recipients:

Women’s Hall of Fame inductees      

Ann M. Brill, doctorate, dean of the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications.

Brill joined the journalism school in 2000 and became dean in 2004.  Brill also serves as the president of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication (ASJMC), in addition to taking many other national leadership roles.

The school has flourished under her leadership and has received numerous grants from national foundations. She initiated significant curriculum revision for the school and oversaw the launch of its first doctoral program. Brill is dedicated to the students and has been extremely successful in raising support for the school.  She has created and endowed multiple new scholarships and awards, which greatly benefit the students, the school and the university. Her peers and colleagues describe Dean Brill as visionary.

Connie Burk, 1990 KU alumna, activist and author, NW Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse

Burk’s career of advocacy and activism began while she was studying at KU. As a student on campus, Burk was a member of many organizations — such as the February Daughters and Students Against Violence Against Women — and fought for progressive change. This activism spurred Burk to work for Women’s Transitional Care Services (now the Willow Domestic Violence Center in Lawrence), where she eventually became co-director. Under her leadership, the center expanded from sheltering survivors to raising awareness and educating the community about domestic violence. Burk also served as vice president of the Kansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

In 1997, Burk moved to Seattle to direct the NW Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse (The NW Network). Since then, Burk’s vision, focus and optimism has led the NW Network to new heights. With her guidance, the network established the National LGBT Training & Technical Assistance Initiative and the National Q&A Institute. In addition to her job as the executive director of the network, Burk also is executive producer of the award-winning documentary “A Lot Like You” and co-author of the book “Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others.” 

The Hon. Karen Mitchell Humphreys, 1970 and 1973 KU alumna, juris doctor, U.S. magistrate judge

As an undergraduate, Karen Mitchell Humphreys was an honors student. She was inducted into both CWENS and Mortar Board as well as being chosen as the outstanding woman of her sorority. She was one of only 12 women admitted to the School of Law in 1970.

In 1978, Humphreys was appointed to the position of district judge for the 18th Judicial District in Sedgwick County. She remained in this position until 1993, when she was appointed as U.S. magistrate judge. KU’s Emily Taylor was on the selection committee for Humphreys’ appointment. Humphreys was the first woman to serve in this position. From 2003 to 2013, Humphreys was designated as the chief magistrate judge and led other federal magistrate judges in the area. 

In this position, Humphreys led an effort to create a specialty court, known as KAN-Trac. This program, which assists felony offenders re-entering the community, has been extremely successful. Humphreys has been referred to as the “human glue” which holds the program together. In recognition of her work on KAN-Trac and other programs, she has received many awards from the Kansas Women Attorneys Association, the Wichita Women’s Association, the Kansas Bar Association and the Wichita Bar Association.

Humphreys retired in January after more than 20 years of service to Kansas and more than 40 years in the field. 

Barbara P. Lukert, 1956 and 1960 KU alumna, M.D., professor of medicine emerita, endocrinology and metabolism, KU Medical Center

Dr. Lukert’s career at the KU Medical Center spans more than five decades, beginning with her residency in 1961. Since joining the Department of Medicine faculty in 1965, Lukert has served as the Mary F. Roberts Distinguished Chair in Nutrition, the director of the Osteoporosis Clinic, the Metabolic Laboratory and as the medical director of the Medicine Outpatient Clinic. She has lead or co-authored 96 full-length manuscripts and written 11 books or book chapters, served on the Wyandotte County Medical Society, and she serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Dr. Lukert is a nationally recognized educator, scholar and researcher. Among her many awards are the Boy Frame Award for Excellence in the Field of Bone and Mineral Metabolism, the KU Chancellor’s Teaching Award in 1982, the School of Medicine Distinguished Alumnus award in 1990 and the Honorary Health Professions Alumnus Award in 1999. Dr. Lukert is also the namesake of the Lukert Academic Society.

The Hon. Julie A.  Robinson, 1978 and 1981 KU alumna, juris doctor, U.S. district judge, District of Kansas

President George W. Bush appointed Robinson as the U.S. district judge for Kansas in 2001. A trailblazer in her field, Robinson is the first African-American woman to be appointed to this position. Robinson has served as a U.S. bankruptcy judge in the District of Kansas, a judge on the 10th Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel and an assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Kansas. 

Robinson has received numerous awards for her work, including commendations from the Secret Service, the Kansas Dr. M.L. King Jr. Memorial Committee’s Women of Distinction Award, the Baker University Trustee Medallion for Distinguished Public Service Award and the National Bar Association’s Wiley A. Branton Symposium Award. Before her current appointment, Robinson taught trial practice courses at KU. She also has served on the KU School of Law Board of Governors as president and on various committees.

Rosemarie T.  Truglio, doctorate, 1988 and 1990 KU alumna, senior vice president of global curriculum and content, Sesame Workshop

Truglio joined Sesame Workshop in 1997 as the vice president of education and research for Children’s Television Workshop, now known as Sesame Workshop.  In her current role, she is responsible for the development of the curriculum shown on "Sesame Street" and oversees all of the educational research for the show.  Truglio and her team work to enhance the educational and entertainment content of the show. She has written numerous articles, presented her work at international conferences and is the co-editor of ­“G is for Growing: Thirty Years of Research on Children and 'Sesame Street.'”

Truglio’s leadership of the Sesame Workshop creates an incredible legacy. Research has shown that high school students who watched the program when they were in preschool receive better grades in their classes and read more books than the average student.  Truglio, who was only 20 when she began graduate school at KU, has received the Annenberg Public Policy Award for her innovative development process.

Danica Hoose receives the 2015 Outstanding Woman Student in Community Service Award.2015 Award Honorees 

Jo Hardesty, juris doctor, Outstanding Woman Staff Member Award

Hardesty currently serves as the director & managing attorney for KU’s Legal Services for Students (LSS). She has been with LSS for 35 years and has served as director for 29 years. In her time with LSS, Hardesty has demonstrated exemplary passion and leadership. Not only is she dedicated to the office’s mission of providing KU students with legal services and workshops, but she continues to inspire and mentor those around her, both students and colleagues. In addition to her work with KU, Hardesty also has been recognized for her work with the National Legal Aid & Defender Association for her service to the legal community and her commitment to social justice and equality, as well as her work with the IRS’ low-income taxpayer clinic program.

The award honors a female unclassified or classified staff member who, through outstanding work performance, has contributed to the academic and personal growth of KU students.

Danica Hoose, Outstanding Woman Student in Community Service Award

Hoose is a junior studying accounting and economics and a graduate of Parsons High School. She is a senator in KU Student Senate, works in the Office of the Provost and serves as the president for Omega Phi Alpha, KU’s only service sorority. She was elected president of her sorority after only one year as an active member, and the sorority has been very active under her leadership. 

The award honors a woman student who has made outstanding contributions to off-campus organizations or agencies.

Kellyann Jones-Jamtgaard, Outstanding Woman Student in Leadership Award

Jones-Jamtgaard is a doctoral student at the KU Medical Center and graduate of Duke University. She is president of Students Educating and Advocating for Diversity, vice president of the Student Governing Council and former president of Graduate Student Council. In addition she is involved in creating and collaborating on numerous projects and groups at KU. Jones-Jamtgaard also spearheaded the creation of the KUMC Childbirth Accommodation Policy, which is now used as a template at universities across the state. 

The award honors a woman student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills by taking an active role in campus or community organizations, developing a new project or addressing a current need.

Sharmin Kader, Outstanding International Woman Student Award

Kader is a doctoral candidate from Bangladesh studying architecture health & wellness with a focus on gerontology. She received her master's degree from Texas A&M University and her bachelor's degree from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology. Through her short career, Kader has already earned an international reputation for her academic and professional work. Most recently she received the International Fellowship by the American Association of University Women and the American Institute of Architects’ Arthur Tuttle Jr. Graduate Fellowship in Health Facility Planning and Design. She also presented at the Capitol Research Summit in 2014. Kader served as the founding president of the Bangladesh Student Association at KU, developing community support systems and organizing events in the area. In this role and in her personal life, Kader has served as a mentor and inspiration to many students.

The award honors an international woman student who has demonstrated academic achievement and has made a contribution to the campus and/or community through her involvement.

Jennifer Marcinkowski, Outstanding Non-Traditional Woman Student Award

Marcinkowski is a senior majoring in women, gender, and sexuality studies with a minor in history. She received her G.E.D. in 2001. Marcinkowski has faced many obstacles in her path to receive her degree, but she has persevered and will graduate this spring. Marcinkowski works as an accommodation specialist for the university and serves as the president of AbleHawks and Allies. AbleHawks is a student group dedicated to raising awareness, advocating for accessibility and promoting disability as multicultural issue. Marcinkowski is a passionate advocate and an effective leader. Through her work and her leadership of AbleHawks, KU has become a better place. 

The award honors a nontraditional woman student who has demonstrated academic achievement and has made a contribution to the campus and/or community through her involvement.

Erin McHale, Marlesa & Hannalesa Roney Student Success Mentor Award

McHale is a second-year graduate student at KU pursuing a master’s degree in higher education administration. She is a graduate of Iowa State University. McHale is the higher education graduate assistant for the Student Involvement and Leadership Center.

In her two years at the university, McHale has had an effect on the greek community and the campus community as a whole. She has served on numerous committees, developed programs, taught classes and facilitated retreats. She has been credited with showing passion and care for the students she serves.  McHale has demonstrated noteworthy dedication to sexual violence prevention and education. She has served on the Title IX roundtable, worked with the greek sexual assault task force and developed a program focused on the effects of overconsumption of alcohol and sexual violence. 

The award recognizes a woman graduate or undergraduate student who has contributed to the success of another student.

Shannon Portillo, doctorate, Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett Woman Mentoring Women Award.           

Portillo currently serves as an assistant professor and the undergraduate program coordinator for the School of Public Affairs and Administration. Women who’ve learned with, through and alongside Portillo point out that she teaches not just directly, but also by example. She is credited with showing deep care for her students through her accessibility and willingness to offer career advice and guidance. Moreover she offers inspiration and encouragement to overcome self-doubts and build confidence among her students.

The award honors a woman student, staff, or faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to the support and mentoring of women at KU.

Jessie Pringle, Outstanding Woman Student in Partnership Award

Pringle is a junior majoring in history and environmental studies and graduate of Chanute High School.In addition to her academics, Pringle is involved in a sorority and has served as an orientation assistant and as the chairperson for the Finance Committee of KU Student Senate. Within Student Senate, Pringle has impressed her peers and mentors with her ability to lead effectively and to bring people to the table.

The award honors a woman student who has made outstanding contributions to students through her collaborative work and interactions with campus departments, services or organizations.

Monica Saha, Sally Mason Woman Student in Science Award

Saha is a second-year pharmacy student at KU, set to graduate in May 2017. She is a graduate of Blue Valley Northwest High School. Saha co-authored an article titled “Loss of GluN2A-Containing NMDA Receptors Impairs Extra-dimensional Set-Shifting,” which was published in Genes, Brain and Behavior, a notable scientific journal. Saha recently received a travel award through the Harvard Medical School to present at the New England Science Symposium in April. Saha also works with Hawk Link tutoring, is on the executive board for Kappa Psi, the professional pharmaceutical fraternity, and writes for the University Daily Kansan.

The award honors a female undergraduate or graduate student in the sciences who has demonstrated academic excellence, involvement in campus activities, and leadership in her academic department.

Melanie Wilson, juris doctor, Outstanding Woman Educator Award

Wilson currently serves as a professor and as the associate dean for academic affairs for the School of Law. An expert in her field, Wilson has served as an assistant attorney general in Georgia, co-authored four books and many scholarly articles, and she has won numerous awards and commendations for both her work as an attorney and as a professor. In addition to her other roles, Wilson is also the director of diversity and inclusion for the law school. Wilson continues to make sure students feel safe and empowered in every space. Wilson was recently selected to become the next dean of the University of Tennessee College of Law. 

The award honors a female professor, instructor, or student teaching assistant who, through outstanding teaching skills, has contributed to the academic and personal growth of KU students.

Four students were selected to receive the Alma Poehler Brook Memorial Award. The award honors Brook, who served as director of Corbin Hall from 1929 to 1944. Upon her death, friends established the Brook Memorial Fund to recognize worthy and deserving students living at Gertrude Sellards Pearson and Corbin Hall. Hall staff selected these recipients:

Nicole Johnson, sophomore in human biology from Lenexa

Rebekah Navarro, freshman, Holton

Marianne Rogers, freshman, Albuquerque

Victoria Peterson, freshman, Olathe.

KU law school to host nation’s leading annual patent scholarship conference

Thursday, April 09, 2015
LAWRENCE — Infectious diseases kill more than 10 million people each year, most of them in the developing world. The high cost of life-saving drugs is one barrier to treatment. Should strong patent protection, which drives up pharmaceutical prices, keep people from getting the medicine they need to survive?

It’s one of many questions that scholars will explore during the fifth annual Patent Conference on April 10-11 at the University of Kansas School of Law. Patent scholars from nearly a dozen countries and four continents – in law, economics, management science and other disciplines – will share the latest research on patent law, policy and business. The program is free, and registration is not required.

Plenary speakers include Colleen Chien, Santa Clara law professor and former senior adviser to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Eric von Hippel, economist and professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management; and A. Christal Sheppard, director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office satellite branch in Detroit.

“One of the most exciting aspects of PatCon is the opportunity not only to share bleeding-edge patent research but also to hear the debates this research spurs among the leading patent experts who attend,” said Andrew Torrance, professor of law and co-founder of the conference. “For example, one of the hottest topics in patent law today involves so-called ‘patent trolls’ and how they either promote or harm innovation. In fact, many of the scholars at PatCon have signed one of two competing letters sent to Congress just two weeks ago raising serious concerns about trolls.”

Other topics will include the role that patents play in inequality, international patent issues, patent policy, how to value complicated property rights like patents, whether patents promote or crush innovation, and exploding interest in design patents.

“Another exciting phenomenon is the rise of ‘big patent data,’ which scholars are increasingly using to answer fundamental questions about the patent system and even to challenge long-accepted legal doctrines,” Torrance said. “Some of the leading ‘big patent data’ experts will be presenting their latest, often surprising, results at PatCon.”

The School of Law hosted the inaugural Patent Conference in April 2011. Affectionately known as PatCon, the conference has snowballed into the country’s leading annual patent scholarship conference. It rotates among the law schools of its founding professors: Torrance; David Olson, Boston College Law School; David Schwartz, Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law, and Ted Sichelman, University of San Diego School of Law.

The program is co-sponsored by the KU School of Law, Hovey Williams LLP and Lathrop & Gage LLP.

Preview the schedule and speakers.

KU Law students’ brief wins second place at national moot court competition

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas placed second in the Best Brief category at the 2015 Federal Bar Association’s Thurgood A. Marshall Memorial Moot Court Competition, which was March 26-27 in Washington, D.C. Emily Barclay, third-year law student from Andover, and Gretchen Rix, third-year law student from Fremont, Nebraska, represented KU.

“We improved tremendously throughout the process of preparing for the competition,” Barclay said. “It was rewarding to see our scrupulous editing culminate in an award for our brief.” 

The FBA’s moot court competition provides a simulated courtroom experience for aspiring lawyers. This year’s competition centered on two issues: the constitutionality of a police search under the Fourth Amendment and a defendant’s right to present a defense under the Sixth Amendment. Students spent a month researching and writing their brief, then prepared for oral arguments with practice rounds coached by faculty members.

“The writing skills I learned through this process will be beneficial to my future litigation practice,” Rix said. “Our coaches, Alice Craig and Quinton Lucas, as well as many other faculty members, provided invaluable advice.”

“Our goal was that they really understand the law and issues surrounding the case,” said Craig, staff attorney for the Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies. “I think they achieved that and were one of the most knowledgeable teams I saw at the competition.”

The FBA team’s success comes on the heels of the school’s strong showings at three moot court competitions earlier this year. KU students came in second and achieved a Sweet Sixteen finish at the National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition; won top brief and finished in the semifinals of the Transactional LawMeet Regional Competition; and brought home a top-five speaker award at the Jessup International Law Rocky Mountain Regional Competition. 

Photo: From left, Gretchen Rix and Emily Barclay.

KU law team finishes second in national Indian law moot court competition

Thursday, March 12, 2015

LAWRENCE – A University of Kansas School of Law team brought home second place after rising to compete in the final round of one of the largest National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competitions in history.

KU law students Corey Adams, of Wichita, and Maureen Orth, of Prairie Village, placed second in the NNALSA competition at the University of Arizona March 6-7. Two additional KU teams competed at the event, including Annette McDonough, of Phoenix, and Samantha Small, of South Haven, who advanced to the Sweet 16 round; and Grant Brazill, of Las Vegas, and Jason Harmon, of Orem, Utah.

The NNALSA competition tests students’ knowledge of Indian law by evaluating their legal writing and oral advocacy skills. Students submit written briefs and participate in a simulated courtroom experience.

“This year’s moot court problem focused on the extent of a tribe’s jurisdiction over a non-member Indian,” said Professor Elizabeth Kronk Warner, team coach and director of KU’s Tribal Law and Government Center. “The hypothetical non-member Indian sold important cultural property of the tribe to non-Indians, and the students were asked to consider whether the tribe could attach its adjudicatory and regulatory jurisdiction to her actions.”

Teams prepared for the competition by researching and preparing their written briefs, participating in practice rounds, and receiving feedback from faculty judges and teammates.

“All the KU teams contributed to our success in the final competition,” Orth said. “All six of us worked outside of practice to try new themes, new arguments and to give each other feedback.”

Participating in the competition helped students prepare for their future legal careers, Adams said. “I feel like I am much better at articulating a coherent legal argument. I see both sides of an issue and am better at making my arguments as concise and persuasive as possible.”

“Exceptional legal writing and oral advocacy skills are necessary to succeed in moot court competitions,” Kronk Warner said. “Students’ success in this competition is proof of their extraordinary skills, which are the foundation of the legal profession.”

With more than 70 teams, this year’s competition was one of NNALSA’s largest ever. KU students defeated teams from Columbia University in New York City, Hawaii and Seattle. The final rounds were judged by accomplished Indian law scholars and judges, including the chief justice of the Navajo Nation Supreme Court and a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. 

Photo: From left, Annette McDonough, Corey Adams, Grant Brazill, Professor Elizabeth Kronk Warner, Maureen Orth, Samantha Small and Jason Harmon.

KU tribal law conference to explore future of Indian education

Friday, March 13, 2015

LAWRENCE – Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn and experts from across the country will discuss the status quo of Indian education and how it might change in the future based on President Obama’s recent commitment to reform during the University of Kansas School of Law’s 19th annual Tribal Law & Government Conference today in Lawrence. 

The conference will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, March 13, at the Burge Union, 1601 Irving Hill Road. The conference is open to the public, but registration is required.

The federal government began rolling out plans last summer to overhaul the Bureau of Indian Education. Through reform efforts, the administration hopes to increase educational and employment opportunities for Native people across the country.

“This is a significant time for Indian education within the United States, as the Obama administration is committed to improving upon the status quo,” said Elizabeth Kronk Warner, associate professor of law and director of KU’s Tribal Law & Government Center. “Given the recent push for reform, this topic is particularly relevant to Indian country and legal communities throughout the United States. Further, given Lawrence’s historic connection to Indian education and Haskell Indian Nations University, it is particularly appropriate that the University of Kansas host a conference on this important topic.”

Washburn will open the conference with a survey of Indian education and the federal government’s role, along with an exploration of proposed reforms. Panel presentations on the history of Indian education at the collegiate and K-12 levels, and a nationwide survey of proposed legal reforms to Indian education will follow. Kronk Warner will close the conference with an examination of the ethical quandaries that typically face tribal lawyers and judges.

Panelists include:

  • Dawn Baum, senior attorney and Indian Education team leader, U.S. Department of Interior, Office of the Solicitor, Bureau of Indian Education
  • Mandy Smoker Broaddus, director of Indian Education, Montana Office of Public Instruction
  • Venida Chenault, president, Haskell Indian Nations University
  • Jill Eichner, attorney, Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Department of Education
  • Melody McCoy, staff attorney, Native American Rights Fund
  • William Mendoza, executive director, White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education
  • Connor Warner, instructor for Urban Teacher Education, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Two-and-a-half hours of CLE credit are approved in Kansas and Missouri. Register and preview the schedule on the conference website.

KU rises for third consecutive year in law school rankings

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

LAWRENCE – The 2016 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools” rankings confirms that for breadth and quality of graduate programs, the University of Kansas is unmatched in the state.

Forty-four KU graduate programs appear in the “Best Graduate Schools” rankings, more than all other Kansas universities and colleges combined. Ten KU programs appear in the top 10 among public universities nationally, and 38 are in the top 50.

“We want scholars from around not just the nation, but the world, to come to Kansas because they want to be a part of our teaching and research, either as faculty members or as graduate students,” said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little.

“Our graduate programs educate leaders who will go on to make contributions in essentially all disciplines, in both the private sector and academia, and those contributions directly benefit the people of Kansas and our society. This breadth and depth of excellence is just one example of what a flagship research university can bring to the state it serves,” she said.

The schools of Engineering and Law both saw their rankings rise for the third consecutive year. KU’s special education program held its top spot among public university programs, while the largest gains for an individual program were for the part-time MBA program, which rose 10 places to be tied for 39th among public university programs. City management and urban policy maintained its top overall ranking, as public affairs-related disciplines were not re-ranked this year.

In health-related fields, nursing rose four places to enter the top 20 among public university programs, while family medicine, an area of focus for the university given the state’s shortage of physicians, rose to 13th overall and kept its 12thplace ranking among public universities.

KU graduate programs ranked in the top 50 nationally among public universities:

1.      City Management & Urban Policy
1.      Special Education
2.      Occupational Therapy
3.      Public Management Administration
4.      Public Affairs
5.      Clinical Child Psychology
6.      Speech-Language-Pathology
7.      Audiology
9.      Physical Therapy
9.      School of Education
12.    Medicine - Family Medicine
12.    Public Finance & Budgeting
15.    Printmaking
15.    Social Work
17.    Clinical Psychology
20.    Medicine - Primary Care
20.    Nursing
20.    Pharmacy
23.    Psychology
25.    Healthcare Management
26.    Aerospace Engineering
27.    History
31.    Political Science
36.    English
36.    School of Law
37.    Medicine - Research
37.    Earth Sciences - Geology
38.    Biological Sciences (see: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Molecular Biosciences)
38.    Fine Arts
39.    Civil Engineering
39.    Part-time MBA 

41.    Mathematics
43.    Sociology
44.    Chemistry
45.    Economics
46.    Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering
47.    Electrical Engineering
50.    Mechanical Engineering

Additionally, in the U.S. News and World Report rankings of online programs, KU’s nursing master’s degree program ranks 16th among public university programs.

KU students win top writing prize at transactional law competition

Thursday, March 12, 2015

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas School of Law made a strong showing at the recent Transactional LawMeet Regional Competitions in Kansas City and Chicago.

The draft agreement, written by Paul Budd of Deephaven, Minnesota; Kerry Hillis of Austin, Texas, and Chris Keyser, Lee’s Summit, Missouri, was deemed the best at the competition hosted by Northwestern University School of Law, while students Maria Caruso of Leawood, Trevor Jennings of Olathe and Dylan Long of Overland Park were named regional semi-finalists of the competition at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The Transactional LawMeet offers a “moot court” experience for aspiring transactional lawyers.

“The competition gave me hands on-experience with transactional law by simulating an asset purchase deal between a buyer and seller,” said Caruso, a third-year law student. “I had to go through the steps of understanding my client's interests and positions, drafting those interests into a contract, marking up a contract drafted by another team on the other side of the deal and then negotiating to come to some agreement while upholding my client's interests.” 

To prepare for the competition, team members interviewed their client, conducted research, then drafted an agreement that followed legal precedent, yet was still tailored to the client’s individual needs, Keyser said.

“I was able to work on a large, complex business transaction from beginning to final negotiations,” Budd said. “As a 3L looking to work as a transactional attorney, I think this is an experience that very few law students receive.”

Team coach Kenneth Lynn, adjunct law professor, was impressed with the students’ effort.  

“Their collective performance throughout the competition was outstanding,” he said.

The team also benefited from the expertise of alumni Stan Woodworth, L’78, Craig Evans, L’85, and Kelley Sears, L’74, who served as advisers.

“It was the first chance I've had to interact with attorneys representing an opposing party's interests in a business deal, which is a great deal different from drafting or analyzing a contract from one side,” Hillis said. “That was a very valuable experience for me.”

The National Transactional LawMeet tests students’ contract and negotiation skills. This year’s case simulation involved the sale of a family-owned business to a publicly traded international corporation.  Eighty-four teams participated in seven regional competitions.

Last year, KU brought home Best Draft Agreement from the Kansas City competition and advanced one team to the final rounds in New York.

Photo: Pictured from left are Paul Budd, Kerry Hillis and Chris Keyser.


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Why KU
  • One-third of full-time faculty have written casebooks used at U.S. law schools
  • 2 KU law faculty were U.S. Supreme Court clerks
  • KU’s Project for Innocence: 33 conviction reversals since 2009
  • 7,300+ alumni live in all 50 states and 18 foreign countries
  • #18 “best value” law school in the nation — National Jurist Magazine
  • 12 interdisciplinary joint degrees
  • 27th nationwide for lowest debt at graduation. — U.S. News & World Report
  • 70 percent of upper-level law classes have 25 or fewer students
  • Nearly 800 employment interviews at law school, 2012-13
  • Top 25% for number of 2013 grads hired by the nation’s largest law firms
  • 20th: for number of law alumni promoted to partner at the 250 largest law firms