LAWRENCE – A learning experience for one University of Kansas law student turned into a second chance last week for a woman serving life in prison in connection with a high-profile Topeka murder.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on July 15 ruled that Kimberly Sharp was unconstitutionally convicted in the 2006 slaying of a Topeka homeless advocate. The court handed down the decision based on an appeal by KU’s Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies.
“We determine Ms. Sharp’s confessional statements following the promise of no jail time were involuntary, the state trial court erred by admitting them at trial in violation of Ms. Sharp’s Fifth and Fourteenth amendment rights, and the error was harmful,” judges wrote in a 3-0 decision.
Abby West, a 2015 KU Law graduate from Shawnee, authored the brief in the Sharp case while enrolled in Project for Innocence last summer. She spent hours poring over trial documents and prior decisions, including an unsuccessful appeal to the Kansas District Court. Project Director Jean Phillips supervised West’s research and writing.
“It was overwhelming at the beginning because I had never done any criminal defense work before,” West said. “At the same time, it was really interesting to familiarize myself with the case. I never got to meet Kim, but I read so much about what happened to her.”
In challenging the constitutionality of Sharp’s conviction, West set out to prove that her client’s rights to due process and equal protection under the law were violated when the trial court admitted statements Sharp made to police that were not freely and voluntarily given.
Sharp made those statements to police during the course of their investigation into the murder of David Owen, a self-professed homeless advocate known for ransacking homeless camps. In June 2006, he confronted Sharp and her three male co-defendants at a Topeka homeless camp.
After a brief altercation, two of the men dragged Owen into the woods and tied him to a tree, where he was later found dead. During an interview and re-enactment with police, Sharp made statements that implied she was a minor participant in the events and was subsequently charged in state court with first-degree felony murder and kidnapping.
Sharp moved to suppress her confessional statements, arguing they were involuntary because the police promised she wouldn’t go to jail and to help find shelter for her and her two young children. That effort failed in Shawnee County District Court, and a jury found Sharp guilty on both counts. The Kansas Supreme Court affirmed, and the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas denied Sharp’s petition for habeas relief.
After reviewing the interrogation videos, however, the 10th Circuit agreed that Sharp cooperated with the interviewing officer because he promised no jail time and that any statements she made after that promise should not have been admissible in court. The state now has the option to retry Sharp.
Federal habeas corpus cases are nearly impossible to win, said Phillips, a clinical professor of law at KU who presented oral arguments in Sharp’s case before the 10th Circuit. West deserves high praise for the latest victory, Phillips said.
“Our goal in the project is for students to take ownership of their cases. We don’t want them to be glorified paralegals,” Phillips said. “I’m the safety net to make sure that nothing gets missed and everything gets argued. But Abby took ownership. She did a great job with that brief.”
West, who is studying for the bar exam and finalizing her job plans, was excited to learn about the court’s favorable decision. Working on Sharp’s case and others in the Project for Innocence proved to be the best experience she had in law school.
“It was the one chance I had to work for a client who really needed my help. There are people out there who don’t have access to the justice system,” West said. “It showed me how important it is – even if you do corporate law – to try and do pro bono work or donate to people who do. As a law student, I see it as a privilege to be able to get this education. I think we have a duty to the public to give back.”
Photo: Recent KU Law graduate Abby West, left, discusses with clinical professor Jean Phillips last week’s favorable federal appeals court decision in a case that West handled as a student in KU’s Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies.
LAWRENCE — While indigenous communities have developed knowledge over centuries to manage their lands and adapt to challenges such as rising sea levels or wildfires, they are still deeply affected by climate change. Two University of Kansas professors have authored research exploring cases of indigenous communities that have had success in applying traditional knowledge to fighting climate change and how American and international law falls short in preventing exploitation of those tribes and methods.
Joseph Brewer II, assistant professor in environmental studies, and Elizabeth Kronk Warner, professor and director of the Tribal Law and Government Center at the School of Law, have published a working paper, “Guarding Against Exploitation: Protecting Indigenous Knowledge in the Age of Climate Change.” The study shares examples of tribes that have developed knowledge in how to ameliorate drastic effects of climate change on their native lands as well as indigenous communities that have developed their own laws on ways which their traditional knowledge can be used outside of their communities.
“The inspiration for this article was everyone would talk aspirationally about how we should be using traditional knowledge to help fight climate change, but none of us knew exactly how to do that,” Kronk Warner said. “Unfortunately, we came to the conclusion there really isn’t a good legal remedy in the existing categories of intellectual property law to protect traditional knowledge.”
The authors explore several examples of traditional knowledge: One prime example is the Alaskan village Huslia, an interior community of roughly 300 residents, mostly Native Alaskan or Koyukon Athabascan, located in the boreal forest climate system. Like much of Alaska, the area has seen drastic temperature changes in the last 15 years and intense fires in the summer. Residents have long known ways to manage types of trees in the area to build buffers around the community and suppress fire by planting and culling undergrowth at certain times. That knowledge, like flood prediction methods of other Alaskan communities, could help countless people, yet the potential for someone to commercialize the knowledge without sharing the benefits is very real.
“Alaska is the face of climate change,” Brewer said. “Many communities don’t want to see their traditional knowledge commercialized or used in a way that can damage the tribes. There are examples of tribes that will share knowledge, but it’s paramount to honor tribal protocols first and foremost in the relationship-building process on the road to sharing knowledge.”
American intellectual property law is not effective in protecting indigenous knowledge because it tends to favor a small group of innovators or one person who developed an idea in a definable time period.
Brewer, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and Kronk Warner, a citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, argue perhaps the most effective way for native communities to both protect and share indigenous knowledge is to develop their own tribal laws governing the use of traditional knowledge as it applies to climate change. The benefits would include tribes' ability to practice sovereignty, decide how traditional knowledge can be used and ensure the community benefits from its use while helping others fight and adapt to climate change. There are challenges to enacting such laws and codes, including communities often not knowing such a method is an option, lack of funding and other community problems taking priority.
Without tribal environmental laws in place, tribes are left to primarily rely on academic Institutional Review Boards to protect their interests. This is because academic researchers are often the ones who interact with indigenous communities most extensively. Researchers are often governed by Institutional Review Boards of their own universities, which can provide an ethical framework on how researchers and communities can work together, but fall short of legally preventing exploitation of traditional knowledge.
There are, however, several examples of communities that have had success. The authors point out three tribes: The Colorado River Indian Tribes, Ho-Chunk Nation and Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate have enacted laws to protect traditional knowledge while allowing for partnerships with academic researchers and sharing of valuable ideas.
“In my view, this can be a way to show policy makers that indigenous knowledge has value,” Kronk Warner said. “We have been practicing adaptation for a long time. Indigenous communities have a strong history of resiliency.”
Photo: 2005 King County Creek fire, Alaska, courtesy WikiCommons. Public domain.
By mid-March of this year, 92 percent of the 2014 class had secured positions, representing a 6 percent rise in overall employment from the previous year and a 12 percent increase since 2011. This achievement places KU Law inside the top 20 percent of schools nationally for overall employment.
Moreover, the quality of jobs obtained by graduates also continues to improve. Many regard full-time, long-term jobs that either require bar passage or where having a law degree is an advantage as the highest quality positions for new graduates. The percentage of KU law students landing these “best jobs” rose to 80 percent, a 3 percent improvement from the previous year and part of an 18 percent rise since 2011. With these results, KU Law has the highest percentage of students in “best jobs” among law schools in Kansas and Kansas City, and ranks among the top 26 percent of law schools nationally in this category.
“KU Law graduates are in high demand by a broad array of employers. Our rise in ‘best jobs’ includes traditional positions with top firms and agencies, highly coveted judicial clerkships and prestigious ‘nontraditional’ careers, such as joining consultancies like KPMG that advise international companies,” said Arturo Thompson, assistant dean of career services. “When you combine the affordability of a KU Law degree with the ability to pursue careers across disciplines and around the globe, we see a bright future for this class and those who follow.”
National Jurist Magazine ranked KU Law the 18th “best value” law school in the country, based on high bar passage rates, strong employment numbers and affordability. The law school also ranks 27th in the nation for lowest debt at graduation, up two spots from last year, according to U.S. News & World Report.
“Without the burden of excessive student loan debt, KU Law graduates are free to choose jobs that best fit their interests,” said Stephen Mazza, dean and professor of law. “To help maximize those opportunities for students, we have reduced our class size by 30 percent, amped up direct faculty and alumni involvement in job searches, and increased career-building resources through initiatives like our Traveling ‘On-Campus’ Interview program.”
Over the past five years, KU Law students and graduates have accepted summer and/or permanent employment with law firms, businesses, government agencies, public interest organizations and judges across the country, including one recipient of a prestigious Equal Justice Works fellowship. A considerable number of graduates accept judicial clerkships, including seven from the Class of 2014. Recent graduates have been law clerks at all levels of federal and state courts.
Employment data for KU and all ABA-approved law schools can be viewed on the ABA website and analyzed at Law Jobs: By the Numbers. Find an infographic with complete Class of 2014 employment data on the KU Law website.
Pictured: Cassandra Dickerson, left, and Christopher Shelton, both 2014 graduates of the KU School of Law, speak with employers during Legal Career Options Day in 2011. Dickerson is now director of student-athlete development at KU Athletics, and Shelton is an attorney at the Law Offices of Roderick H. Polston PC in Oklahoma.
LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas School of Law honored Class of 2015 graduates at a hooding ceremony May 16. During the ceremony, nine students received awards for distinguishing themselves in scholarship, leadership and service to the law school and the community.
- Zak Beasley, Kansas City, Kansas, Class of 1949 Leadership Award
- Paige Blevins, Great Bend, Robert F. Bennett Award
- Jordan Carter, Topeka, Samuel Mellinger Scholarship, Leadership and Service Award
- Tamara Combs, Salvador, Brazil, Janean Meigs Memorial Award
- Jason Harmon, Orem, Utah, Justice Lloyd Kagey Leadership Award
- Jacob McMillian, Kansas City, Kansas, Walter Hiersteiner Outstanding Service Award
- Paul Mose, Emporia, Janean Meigs Memorial Award
- Hillary Nicholas, Atchison, Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement
- Abby West, Overland Park, Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement
Banner carrier Genevieve Hursh, Shawnee, was also recognized during the ceremony. The banner carrier is a student who has excelled academically and who carries the highest grade-point average by the end of the fall semester in the third year of law study.
The award winners were part of a class composed of 136 recipients of the Juris Doctor, four Doctor of Juridical Science graduates and two Master of Laws in Elder Law graduates.
Funds for the awards are managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.
Student award recipients are listed below by hometown.
Hillary Nicholas received the Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement, which goes to the graduating student(s) selected by the faculty as having made the most significant contribution toward overall legal scholarship. Nicholas served as editor-in-chief of the Kansas Law Review during her third year of law school. Even with all of the responsibilities accompanying this leadership role, she maintained an outstanding class rank. She represented state and federal prisoners in appellate and post-conviction litigation through the Project for Innocence & Post-Conviction Remedies. She also served as treasurer of the Public Interest Law Society and, in her first year, was a member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Board. As a Rice Scholar, Nicholas attended KU Law on a full-tuition scholarship. She is the daughter of Cathy Coronado and George Nicholas and a graduate of Atchison High School and New York University.
From Great Bend
Paige Blevins received the Robert F. Bennett Award, recognizing a graduate whose undergraduate degree is from a Kansas university or college and who has demonstrated leadership qualities through public service. As symposium editor for the Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy, Blevins planned and executed a highly successful symposium on access to justice, which featured, among other expert speakers, a judge from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. She mentored incoming students as a Dean’s Fellow for two years, including as head Dean’s Fellow during her third year of law school. Blevins served as events coordinator for the Public Interest Law Society, planning the primary fundraiser to offer stipends to law students working in non-paying, public interest jobs. She also assisted low-income patients in need of legal assistance through the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic. Her paper highlighting a cutting-edge Medicare topic was published in the Law Journal, and she excelled as a member of KU Law’s Moot Court Council, finishing third in the in-house competition. Blevins is the daughter of Ralph and Laura Blevins and a graduate of Great Bend High School and KU.
Abby West received the Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement, which goes to the graduating student(s) selected by the faculty as having made the most significant contribution toward overall legal scholarship. West was one of the top students in her class by grade-point average and earned the highest grade in several of her law school courses. She selected and edited articles for the Kansas Law Review in her role as articles editor. Her own comment, “A Meaningful Opportunity to Comply,” which addressed the use of discovery in China during litigation in the United States, was selected for publication in volume 63 of the Law Review. West also wrote many briefs for KU’s Project for Innocence & Post-Conviction Remedies and participated in the Guardianship Assistance Program, helping Wichita residents apply for guardianships for adult children with disabilities. West is the daughter of Gretchen and James West and a graduate of Blue Valley North High School and KU.
Paul Mose received the Janean Meigs Memorial Award, given to students who have demonstrated a caring spirit in service to the students of the law school or the community at large. Mose served as a tutor for the KU Law Academic Resources Program. In accepting that role, he expressed gratitude for the opportunity to give back, explaining that “he had been helped by so many people that he wanted to return the favor.” He also helped students in Professor Lou Mulligan’s jurisdiction class hone their oral argument abilities and tighten their brief-writing skills, as a teaching assistant. He served as a Dean’s Fellow and a note and comment editor for the Kansas Law Review. Mose swept the awards in KU’s in-house moot court competition – winning both best brief and best oral advocate – and was known in moot court circles for showing up at 6 a.m. to help coach other teams. He also teaches an introduction to law course at Emporia State University as an adjunct instructor. Mose is the son of Susan Vargas and a graduate of Emporia High School and Emporia State University.
Jordan Carter received the Samuel Mellinger Scholarship, Leadership and Service Award, given to the graduate who has most distinguished him or herself in the combined areas of scholarship, leadership and service. Carter was among the very top students in her class and has maintained an outstanding grade-point average while serving as a student ambassador, a teaching assistant for lawyering skills and a Shook, Hardy & Bacon Scholar in KU Law’s academic success program. She also served as a student member of the faculty Curricular Innovation Committee. Carter writes a guest blog for Ms. JD that discusses law and life, and she also authors blog entries for KU Law’s Office of Admissions. She served as executive note and comment editor for the Kansas Law Review, overseeing each of the scholarly pieces written by fellow law students. Carter also volunteered with Boys & Girls Club in Lawrence. She is the daughter of Vincent Carter and Lisa Hecht, and a graduate of Topeka High School and Washington University in St. Louis.
Zak Beasley received the Class of 1949 Leadership Award, given to the student who has contributed most significantly to the overall experience of students in Green Hall. Beasley led the Student Bar Association as class president during his first and second years of law school before taking on the role of SBA executive president his third year. With a nod to KU Law’s history, he revived back Fun Day, a year-end social event that brought together law students, faculty, staff and alumni. A 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, Beasley founded the KU Military Law Society, served as a student ambassador and wrote articles for the online news blog the Kansas Law Free Press, all while earning a joint degree in law and journalism. He also taught 100-level courses to undergraduate students as a graduate teaching assistant in the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications. Beasley is the son of Stephanie Sandelich and Mark Beasley, and a graduate of St. Pius X High School and KU.
Jake McMillian received the Walter Hiersteiner Outstanding Service Award, given to the graduate whose service to his or her fellow students demonstrates the greatest promise for contribution to the legal profession and society. McMillian served on Chancellor Gray-Little’s Sexual Assault Task Force, a group composed primarily of faculty, assigned to study sexual violence on the KU campus and propose methods to better handle and reduce such cases. As a member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Board, he advised Dean Stephen Mazza on pressing law school issues. He served two years as an officer of OUTLaws & Allies, playing an instrumental role in planning the 2015 Diversity in Law Banquet and delivering moving remarks at the event about the importance of inclusivity to law schools and KU in particular. McMillian has promoted KU Law to current and prospective students as the diversity and outreach coordinator for KU Law’s Office of Admissions and in his role as a student ambassador. He has also written about diversity in the Journal of the Kansas Bar Association and The Federal Lawyer. McMillian is the son of Jan and Kay McMillian and a graduate of Bishop Ward High School and Ottawa University.
Jason Harmon received the Justice Lloyd Kagey Leadership Award, given to the graduate who has most distinguished him or herself through leadership in the law school. Harmon ranked among the top students in his class academically. He served on the Kansas Law Review, and his comment, “Procedural Misjoinder: The Quest for a Uniform Standard,” appeared in Volume 62, Issue 5 of the Review. He and teammate Paul Mose won KU’s in-house moot court competition during their second year of law school. Harmon served as a teaching assistant for lawyering skills and a Dean’s Fellow, advising and counseling first-year students. When the team on which he was competing at the National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition unexpectedly bowed out early, he immediately switched from participant to coach, selflessly and enthusiastically supporting and encouraging his fellow competitors as they advanced to the final phase of the competition. Harmon is the son of Phillip and Janet Harmon and a graduate of Timpanogos High School and Utah Valley University.
Tamara Combs received the Janean Meigs Memorial Award, given to students who have demonstrated a caring spirit in service to the students of the law school or the community at large. Combs was an officer in KU’s Black Law Students Association during her first year of law school. She later became a Shook, Hardy & Bacon Scholar, helping first-year students improve their study habits and promoting their academic success. She worked extensively with international students who were writing dissertations, especially students for whom English was not their first language. Combs served as symposium editor for the Kansas Law Review, organizing experts from across the country to talk about issues of human migration and oppression. Combs is the daughter of Inalva Valadares Freitas and a graduate of Colegio Dois de Julho, Armstrong Atlantic State University and Clemson University.
LAWRENCE – Students at state universities across Kansas will have an opportunity to accelerate their legal education and save a year of tuition through an expansion of the 3 Plus 3 Program at the University of Kansas.
The program will allow high-ability students at participating Regents universities to maximize their undergraduate coursework, earning a bachelor’s degree and a KU law degree in six years instead of seven. Students will spend three years on requirements for the bachelor’s degree from their undergraduate institution and three years on requirements for a KU law degree. They will graduate with a bachelor’s degree after their fourth year and already have one year of law school under their belt.
“We are excited to expand this opportunity to students across Kansas in collaboration with our Regents partners,” said Jeffrey S. Vitter, provost and executive vice chancellor. “It saves students a year of study and undergraduate tuition, and in addition it helps ensure that high-achieving students interested in legal careers earn their law degrees in Kansas. We know that students who graduate from a Kansas institution are more likely to stay in the state after graduation to work and serve the people of Kansas.”
The 3 Plus 3 Program is entering its third year at KU with growing enrollment each year since its inception.
Known as the LEAD (Legal Education Accelerated Degree) Program, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the School of Law collaborated on the degree track to provide a new opportunity for high-ability students to maximize their coursework at KU.
“We at the Board are always happy to see collaboration among the state universities,” said Kenny Wilk, chairman of the Kansas Board of Regents. “The ability to move as seamlessly as possible throughout the public higher education system in Kansas is a top priority, and the 3 Plus 3 Program at KU is a perfect example of how working together improves our system in a meaningful way.”
To be considered for the program, incoming freshmen at participating institutions must meet minimum academic standards, currently a GPA of 3.5 or higher and an ACT score of at least 26. Accepted students are guaranteed admission to KU’s law school after their junior year as long as they maintain a 3.5 cumulative GPA and obtain a specified score on the LSAT exam, currently 157.
The KU law school anticipates that Kansas State University will become its next 3 Plus 3 partner. The expansion will be offered to all other state universities, which include Fort Hays State University, Emporia State University, Pittsburg State University and Wichita State University.
“KU Law is at the forefront of changing the way students gain a legal education,” said Stephen Mazza, dean of the law school. “Through this expansion of the 3 Plus 3 Program, Kansas will become the first state with a statewide, guaranteed-admission accelerated law degree. Not only will Kansas students benefit from a great legal education at less cost and in less time, but the university and the state will also benefit by being able to recruit the best and brightest prelaw students nationally.”
LAWRENCE — The common perception of human trafficking might be that of young people forced into prostitution or substandard working conditions. The ways in which attorneys, and even law students, can help prevent and respond to human trafficking might not make the headlines, but a new class at the University of Kansas School of Law is helping those on the front lines fight human trafficking and serve victims.
Katie Cronin, clinical associate professor at the law school and in the Department of Family Medicine, taught Human Trafficking Law and Policy for the first time this semester. Cronin, who also directs the law school’s Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic, said she wanted to teach this new class to help law students understand that attorneys in many different specializations will likely encounter this issue at some point in their careers. The course introduced students to international protocols and domestic laws that are designed to prevent human trafficking, protect victims and prosecute perpetrators and those who benefit from human trafficking. The students, in turn, wrote papers that speak to a particular facet of human trafficking or produced projects that will provide resources to attorneys, health care workers, police and shelters who assist human trafficking victims here in the state of Kansas.
“Human trafficking has been viewed as a coastal problem. People don’t always grasp that its victims originate in the Midwest as well,” Cronin said. “There are victims of all ages, both male and female, and it’s a problem both foreign and domestic. Sex trafficking often garners most of the media attention, but, statistically, labor trafficking is happening at a much higher rate, and there can be sexual victimization happening in the labor trafficking context. To think of sex and labor exploitation as always being two very distinct things is false.“
In addition to learning about laws like the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the class produced projects specifically designed to assist attorneys, victim advocates, police and health care workers in helping trafficking victims. The projects included a manual for pro bono attorneys working T visa cases, an immigration remedy available to foreign national victims, prepared with the help of the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. Lauren Bavitz prepared a Know Your Rights brochure for trafficking victims served by the Willow Domestic Violence Center. There are a host of legal issues for victims to consider, from protection orders to immigration issues to housing matters.
“I was interested in the class to understand the legal nuances in combating the issue. For example, I wanted to learn the different legal remedies between non-citizen versus citizen victims and the most effective way to prosecute perpetrators,” Bavitz said. “My project connects a victim-centered approach with practical legal resources, because often, legal remedies are unattainable for those who do not know where to look. I hope that in distributing the brochure throughout Kansas, I can connect a few victims and families to the legal remedies they need.”
Marci Mauch, a student in the class and a former MLP Clinic participant, produced training materials to help police officers and health care professionals at the University of Kansas Hospital recognize signs of human trafficking and appropriate ways to ask questions, respond and offer help. Trafficking victims often come into contact with police or medical professionals, and it is not always immediately clear that they may be involved in a trafficking situation.
“While working at (KU’s) Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic, I learned that health care providers are in an excellent and unique position to identify victims of trafficking. I hope it will make a difference for all those that use it – for the health care providers to be able to identify the victims, the victims to receive the help they need to escape or overcome their situations and attorneys and law enforcement to be able to identify the traffickers, build a case against them and help the victims,” Mauch said. “Trafficking victims can be hidden in plain sight. If something seems off, it is better to say something than to ignore it. So many trafficking victims are rescued by good Samaritans that noticed something was wrong and reported it to the authorities.”
Students also researched and wrote about a range of topics, including:
- Human trafficking and connections to the U.S. military
- Ensuring multinational corporations are accountable and their supply lines are free from trafficking
- LGBT youth and trafficking
- Victims who are minors
- Immigration and trafficking.
The value of examining the topic of human trafficking in a broad legal sense lies in the fact that the problem touches so many areas of law, Cronin said. Whether the students go on to work in immigration or corporate law, prosecution, victim services or numerous other specialties, they’ll be able to make a difference.
“We have this cohort of law students who will graduate and pursue a range of legal work but who will now have awareness of this complex problem,” Cronin said. “Knowing students have that awareness at the beginning of their careers excites me.”
Providing services and resources to those already working in the field also gives students valuable experience while proving they can help address societal problems while they are still students.
“I think the class was solution-focused. Of course, we started by gaining an understanding of what the problem is and its basis in the law, but then we looked at ways to use the law as a tool to tackle it,” Cronin said. “That corresponds with my understanding of what KU Law students are truly capable of achieving, and I think it corresponds with the abolitionist values of our state and university.”
LAWRENCE — Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little has approved promotion and the award of tenure where indicated for 67 individuals at the University of Kansas Lawrence and Edwards campuses and 46 individuals at KU Medical Center.
Chancellor Gray-Little, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter, who chairs the University Committee on Promotion and Tenure on the Lawrence campus, and Dr. Douglas Girod, executive vice chancellor at KU Medical Center, issued a joint statement of congratulations.
“Congratulations to the outstanding faculty and researchers who’ve reached the next milestone in their careers. KU’s dedicated scholars and educators are addressing the challenges of our changing world and propelling this university forward as a major research institution. Their enthusiasm and contributions further our mission of educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world. The commitment they have to ensure students succeed is inspiring.
“As always, the University Committees on Promotion and Tenure on both campuses did an excellent job evaluating the many eligible candidates. We hope the entire university will join us in recognizing these educators who uphold the institution's ideals through research, teaching and service.”
KU Lawrence and Edwards campuses
To full professor
- Glenn E. Adams, psychology
- Ronald M. Barrett-Gonzalez, aerospace engineering
- Henry Bial, theatre
- Sharon A. Billings, ecology & evolutionary biology, senior scientist Kansas Biological Survey
- Chris Brown, geography
- Nathaniel A. Brunsell, geography
- Byron Caminero-Santangelo, English
- Andrew N.K. Chen, business
- Dorothy M. Daley, public affairs & administration/environmental studies program
- Dale Dorsey, philosophy
- Ben Eggleston, philosophy
- Jin Feng, mathematics
- Kenneth J. Fischer, mechanical engineering
- Truman C. Gamblin, molecular biosciences
- Wonpil Im, molecular biosciences, bioinformatics
- Yolanda Jackson, psychology, applied behavioral science, clinical child psychology program
- Ted P. Juhl, economics
- Paul T. Kelton, history
- Audrey L. Lamb, molecular biosciences
- Jennifer S. Laurence, pharmaceutical chemistry
- Scott B. Murphy, music
- Diane C. Nielsen, curriculum & teaching
- Shannon O'Lear, geography, environmental studies program
- Scott Reinardy, journalism
- Emily E. Scott, medicinal chemistry
- Sean J. Smith, special education
- Joy K. Ward, ecology & evolutionary biology
- Elizabeth A. Kronk Warner, law*
- Tara S. Welch, classics
- Stacey S. White, urban planning
To associate professor with tenure
- Mizuki Azuma, molecular biosciences
- Justin P. Blumenstiel, ecology & evolutionary biology
- Mariana P. Candido, history
- Yvonnes Chen, journalism
- Jerry Crawford II, journalism
- Alexander C. Diener, geography
- Florence DiGennaro Reed, applied behavioral science
- Heather Getha-Taylor, public affairs & administration
- Nicole Hodges Persley, theatre
- Sheyda Jahanbani, history
- Kyoungchul Kong, physics & astronomy
- Yan Li, East Asian languages & cultures
- Amy N. Mendenhall, social welfare
- Utako Minai, linguistics
- Andreas Moeller, geology
- Shannon K. Portillo, public affairs & administration
- Derek D. Reed, applied behavioral science
- Shenqiang Ren, chemistry
- Kathryn A. Rhine, anthropology
- Rebecca L. Rovit, theatre
- Frederic Sellet, anthropology
- Andrew Short, ecology & evolutionary biology, associate curator, Biodiversity Institute
- Leigh A. Stearns, geology
- D. Alan Street, music
- Zsolt Talata, mathematics
- Annie Tremblay, linguistics
- Xuemin Tu, mathematics
- Anne Williford, social welfare
- Alesia Woszidlo, communication studies
- Hui Xiao, east Asian languages & cultures
- Kyoim Yun, east Asian languages & cultures
- Pamela Keller, law, to clinical professor
- W. Matthew Gillispie, speech, language, hearing: science & disorders, to clinical associate professor
- Kristin Pedersen, speech, language, hearing: science & disorders, to clinical associate professor
Office of Research
- Amy Gaumer Erickson, Center for Research on Learning, to associate research professor
- Jean P. Hall, Center for Research on Learning, to research professor
- Fernando Rodriguez-Morales, Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets, to associate research professor
KU Medical Center campuses
To professor (previously tenured)
- Sandra Bergquist Beringer, School of Nursing
- Christine Daley, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Family Medicine
- Timothy Fields, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
- Philip Johnson, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Radiology
- Kenneth McCarson, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutics
- Jianming Qiu, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Microbiology
Tenure awarded (at current rank of professor)
- Mazen Dimachkie, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Neurology
To professor (affiliate track, Mid-America Cardiologist, nontenure track)
- Kamal Gupta, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Internal Medicine
To professor (affiliate track, Stowers Institute, nontenure track)
- Michael Washburn, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
To professor (clinical track, part-time nontenure track)
- Jacqueline Osland, School of Medicine-Wichita Campus Department of Surgery
To clinical professor (clinical track, full-time, nontenure track)
- Katherine Fletcher, School of Nursing
Tenure awarded (at current rank of associate professor)
- Mazin Alkasspooles, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Surgery
- Francisco Diaz-Ceballos, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Biostatistics
- Tomoo Iwakuma, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Cancer Biology
- Susana Patton, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Pediatrics
- Shahid Umar, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
To associate professor with tenure
- Sandra Billinger, School of Health Professions Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science
- Joshua Broghammer, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Urology
- Vargheese Chennathukuzhi, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
- Jill Hamilton-Reeves, School of Health Professions Department of Dietetics and Nutrition
- Megha Ramaswamy, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Preventive Medicine
To associate professor on clinical scholar track (nontenure track)
- Omar Aljitawi, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Internal Medicine
- Wei Cui, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
- Mirsad Dupanovic, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Anesthesiology
- Tuba Esfandyari, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Internal Medicine
- Clinton Humphrey, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Otolaryngology
- Christopher Larsen, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Otolaryngology
- Angela Mayorga May, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science
- Prakash Neupane, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Internal Medicine
- Madhuri Reddy, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
- Matthew Sharpe, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Internal Medicine
- Kerri Weeks, School of Medicine-Wichita Campus Department of Pediatrics
- Sri Yarlagadda, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Internal Medicine
- Jana Zaudke, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Family Medicine
To clinical associate professor (clinical track, full-time, nontenure track)
- Yvonne Colgrove, School of Health Professions Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science
- Janet Hudzicki, School of Health Professions Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences
- Mary Meyer, School of Nursing
To clinical associate professor (clinical track, part-time, nontenure track)
- Kent Bradley, School of Medicine-Wichita Campus Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
- Robert Kraft, School of Medicine-Wichita Campus Department of Family and Community Medicine
- Zachary Kuhlmann, School of Medicine-Wichita Campus Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
- Jane Sosland, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Pediatrics
To clinical associate professor (clinical track, volunteer, nontenure track)
- Debra Desilet-Dobbs, School of Medicine-Wichita Campus Department of Radiology
- Steve Hwang, School of Medicine-Wichita Campus Department of Pathology
- Pavan Reddy, School of Medicine-Wichita Campus Department of Internal Medicine
- Stephen Thornton, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Emergency Medicine
To research associate professor (research track, full-time, nontenure track)
- Kathleen Gustafson, School of Medicine-Kansas City Campus Department of Neurology.
LAWRENCE — A retired attorney and devoted community servant, an international criminal law expert and a Kansas Supreme Court chief justice will receive the University of Kansas School of Law’s highest honor at a private ceremony this week. John W. (Jack) Brand, Class of 1959; Nicholas Kittrie, Class of 1950, and Chief Justice Lawton Nuss, Class of 1982, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes graduates for their professional achievements, contributions to the legal field and service to their communities and the school.
John W. (Jack) Brand completed his bachelor’s degree in history at KU before receiving his law degree in 1959. His career with the Lawrence law firm Stevens & Brand, co-founded by his father in 1925, spanned nearly 48 years. Brand represented Commerce Bank and its Lawrence predecessors, serving as bank director for 38 years, and assisted the Kansas Department of Insurance with receivership litigation. In 1997, the Kansas Supreme Court appointed him to the Kansas Justice Initiative, a comprehensive study of the Kansas court system. He has served as Douglas County Bar Association president, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and Kansas Bar Foundation, a member of two governmental ethics commissions and as Legislative Committee chair and Ethics Committee chair of the Kansas Bar Association, receiving the KBA Outstanding Service Award in 1999. A community leader, Brand has served as president of the Lawrence United Way fund, the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and the Lawrence Rotary club as well as moderator of Plymouth Congregational Church. He taught trial practice at KU Law and served on the school’s Board of Governors.
Born in the United Kingdom, Nicholas Kittrie is a distinguished University Professor of Law and former dean of the American University Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C. In addition to his A.B., LL.B. and M.A. from KU, Kittrie studied at the London School of Economics and the universities of Cairo and Chicago, served as a Visiting Fellow at Yale University Law School and earned an LL.M. and an S.J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. An expert in American and international public and criminal law, Kittrie has served as counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and is past president of the American Society of Criminology and chair of the United Nations Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. Kittrie has authored and edited more than 15 books and numerous articles, and he is often consulted as an expert on political offenders, terrorist activities, war crimes, drugs and alcohol, extradition, penology and criminal sentencing. He travels extensively and is fluent in multiple languages, lecturing at universities and congresses in Europe, Asia and Africa. Kittrie has been a legal consultant to several foreign governments and to the United States Vice-President’s Commission on Terrorism.
A fourth-generation Kansan, Chief Justice Lawton Nuss serves on the Kansas Supreme Court. He graduated from KU in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in English and history before serving as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. After his discharge in 1979, he returned to KU for law school, graduating in 1982. Nuss began his career with Clark, Mize & Linville in Salina, spending 20 years representing corporations, individuals, defendants and the government in civil and criminal cases. Nuss served as chairman of the Board of Editors of the Journal of the Kansas Bar Association, president of the Saline-Ottawa County Bar Association, mediator for the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas and president of the Kansas Association of Defense Counsel, which also awarded him the Distinguished Service Award and Defense Research Institute Exceptional Performance Citation. Gov. Bill Graves appointed Nuss to the Kansas Supreme Court in 2002, and Nuss became chief justice in 2010. He is currently the Supreme Court liaison to the Kansas District Judges’ Association. He has served as chairman of the Kansas Judicial Council and as Supreme Court liaison for the Kansas Board of Law Examiners, the Client Protection Fund Commission and the Kansas Board of Examiners of Court Reporters.
View previous Distinguished Alumni Award recipients on the law school’s website.
Distinguished Alumni Award recipients will be honored along with James Woods Green Medallion honorees and members of the Dean’s Club. Named after the school’s first dean, the Medallion recognizes the school’s major financial supporters. This year’s honorees include the Bever Dye LC; Walter L. Cofer, L’81, and Nicola R. Heskett; Janice Miller Karlin, L’80, and Calvin J. Karlin, L’77; Matthew, L’84, and Lori Keenan; Jennifer Johnson Kinzel, L’78; Bradley G. Korell, L’97; Teresa M. Meagher, L’79 and T. Bradley Manson; Deborah Cawley Moeller, L’91, and Michael Moeller, L’91; Eric, L’84, and Tracy Namee; Mike, L’84, and Elaine Riggs; Sen. John Vratil, L’71; Steve, L’83, and Sandra Walton; Larry, L’57, and Beverly Worrall, Michelle Worral Tilton, L’88; and Rachel Worrall Smith, L’90.
The awards will be presented at an invitation-only dinner Saturday, May 2, in Lawrence.