Make discoveries that change the world. Here.

Meet KU's Foundation Distinguished Professors

Chris Beard

Digging up a one-of-a-kind find: Foundation Professor
Chris Beard, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Harnessing Information, Multiplying Knowledge
Chris Beard
From Dawson Chair at the Carnegie Museum, one of the nation’s top-five natural history museums, to KU Foundation Professor, Chris Beard has made his mark in paleontology. Renowned for discoveries of new primate groups that reshaped theories, Beard joins KU's proud history in the field.

William Picking

Molecules of prevention, a world of cure
William Picking, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Promoting Well-Being, Finding Cures
William Picking
When it was time to expand KU’s vaccine research, we turned to William Picking, one of the nation’s foremost experts. Among his first goals is taking potential vaccines for shigella, salmonella, and yersina from the lab to clinical trials to life-saving applications throughout the world.

David Roediger

KU's first Foundation Professor has a bright history ahead
David Roediger, Foundation Distinguished Professor of History and American Studies
Building Communities, Expanding Opportunities
David Roediger
Award-winning author David Roediger's focus on race, ethnicity, and labor, and groundbreaking work on the study of race have transformed the field. His commitment to multidisciplinary research and teaching make him an ideal addition to our outstanding departments of American Studies and History.

James Bever

Breaking down earth's secrets by breaking down earth
James Bever, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Sustaining the Planet, Powering the World
James Bever
Peers call his lab among the most exciting in the world, where James Bever has mastered the study of soil microbes and been generous in sharing his techniques. His passion for multidisciplinary work will enliven the Kansas prairie with research on climate change, agriculture, and human health.

Beth Bailey

Sex, gender, race: a military expert who rethinks all three
Beth Bailey, Foundation Distinguished Professor of History
Building Communities, Expanding Opportunities
Beth Bailey
Beth Bailey's books - 5 in all since 1988 - place her at the vanguard of New Military History and the study of 20th century sexuality. At KU, she'll join military experts like Adrian Lewis and Jennifer Weber and one of the oldest women's studies programs in the US.

Victor Agadjanian

Beyond the numbers, demographer shines a light on migration
Victor Agadjanian, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Sociology
Promoting Well-Being, Finding Cures
Victor Agadjanian
Victor Agadjanian examines health issues, such as reproduction and HIV/AIDS, not for cures but for trends and solutions. At KU, he'll join the growing Migration, Immigration, Diaspora, and Human Trafficking faculty cluster and co-lead a new research center for migration and immigration studies.

Cecilia Menjivar

Examining the social worlds of those living with violence
Cecilia Menjivar, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Sociology
Building Communities, Expanding Opportunities
Cecilia Menjivar
One of the most eminent and productive scholars in the field of Central American and immigrant studies, Dr. Menjivar will be invaluable to KU's growing Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking Initiative. She will co-lead a center dedicated to the subject with Victor Agadjanian.

Dennis O'Rourke

CSI: Ancient - Tracking early humans via molecules
Dennis O'Rourke, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Anthropology
Harnessing Information, Multiplying Knowledge
Dennis O'Rourke
One of the world's top biological anthropologists, Dennis O'Rourke tracks migration and the history of disease working at the forefront of the study of ancient DNA, metric traits like dental records, and genetic markers of the blood recovered from archaeological remains.

Christophe Royon

Accelerating discovery: Physicist captures moments in time and space
Christophe Royon
Harnessing Information, Multiplying Knowledge
Christophe Royon
Finding and characterizing the tiniest particles in the universe requires special skills, like those of world-class physicist Christophe Royon. His expertise in the detection of shattered subatomic particles will foster novel interdisciplinary and collaborative research at KU that has potential to open new worlds of discovery.


The University of Kansas is investing in 12 prestigious Foundation Distinguished Professorships to become a part of KU's history of great discoveries and current collection of outstanding faculty.

They will join KU faculty recognized annually with prestigious awards nationally and intentionally; honored locally with campus awards and distinguished professorships; and whose research has generated over $2.2 billion in expenditures during the past decade.  

Click Here to contact us to learn more or to nominate an individual for consideration.

These successful and supportive colleagues are transforming one of the nation’s great institutions into a top-tier public international research university through our Bold Aspirations strategic plan, our commitment to efficiency, Changing for Excellence, and our $1.2 billion capital campaign, Far Above.

Find cures. Power cities. Expand opportunities. Harness information. Sustain the planet. Multiply knowledge. Join us.


KU's Strategic Initiative Themes

Because a healthy society is critical to our world's future, KU promotes wellness locally and across the globe through varied research projects. These span many disciplines, including pharmaceutical science and neurological studies, age-related health needs, speech and language, cancer therapies, and more.

The University of Kansas has specific goals as we search for faculty:

  • We may hire under joint appointments or outside traditional department structure, such as research centers
  • We are willing to support economic and entrepreneurial endeavors
  • We are looking for staff who bridge historically separate disciplines
  • We may cluster our hires in areas new to KU (e.g. epigenetics)

Related projects and distinguished professors:

Jeff Aube, Medicinal Chemistry


Mabel Rice, Advanced Studies


Val Stella, Pharmaceutical Chemistry


Higuchi Biosciences Center

Established in 1989, the Higuchi Biosciences Center is a hub of centers engaged in biomedical research at the University of Kansas.

Life Span Institute

The Life Span Institute at the University of Kansas is a nationally recognized, mutli-disciplinary research and development center on translational neuroscience, child development, aging, independence and disability.

Ralph N. Adams Institute for Bioanalytical Chemistry

Adams Institute
The institute, whose director is Susan M. Lunte, the Ralph N. Adams Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, develops enabling technologies necessary for expanding the capabilities of high throughput screening, whole cell assays for drug discovery, and new approaches for the study and early detection of diseases including cancer, stroke, AIDS and neurodegenerative diseases.

KU is determined to take an active role in creating a sustainable environment and making affordable energy more available. As we strive to be good stewards of our environment, we are working on both the global and local level on advances that will promote economic growth, create new sources of energy, conserve resources, and more.

Specifically, the University of Kansas is interested in:

  • Climate scientists
  • Social scientists and environmental scientists studying impacts of climate change on economic systems and landscape dynamics
  • Alternative power and transportation scientists with a multidisciplinary focus, as well as senior managers employed by the U.S. Department of Energy multi-purpose national laboratories

Related projects and distinguished professors:

Joane Nagel

Joane Nagel portrait

Dan Rockhill

Bala Subramaniam

Judy Wu

Biodiversity Institute

Biodiversity Institute
The paleontology collections are part of a $600,000 NSF effort to digitize thousands of fossils housed at the KU institute. Information about the fossils' temporal and geographic distribution in deep time will be shared with other institutions to complete a fossil record that will more accurately show how climate change could impact species on Earth going forward.


KU's remote sensing research program, CReSIS (Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets) builds on a 50-year-old tradition that began with a NASA program at KU in the early 1960s.

Feedstock to Tailpipe

This Transportation Research Institute's initiative began as a student-driven effort to clean up tailpipe emissions from outdated campus buses by utilizing waste cooking oil to convert to biodiesel.

Studio 804

Studio 804
This design/build program for architecture graduate students has won national awards for its LEED Platinum projects. Its mission is continued research and development of sustainable, affordable, and inventive building solutions.

In an effort to build stronger communities that provide better opportunities to everyone, KU strives to identify obstacles to human rights and development and to find sustainable solutions to these problems. Already, we are researching migration patterns to be better informed of the dynamics behind the development of civic communities. We are studying the economic, educational, social, public health, and developmental problems facing America's children. We are focusing on ways to strengthen our cities and build stronger leaders.

As a part of this effort, KU is searching for research faculty, particularly as we create a Joint Center on Inequality and Social Justice.

Related projects and distinguished professors:

Stephen Fawcett

Don Deshler


Donna Ginther

Donna Ginther
  • Director, Center for Science Technology & Economic Policy

MaryEmma Graham


Beach Center on Disability

The center, led by the Ross & Mariana Beach Distinguished Professors Ann and Rud Turnbull, seeks to make a significant and sustainable difference in the quality of life of families and individuals affected by disability.

Institute for Policy & Social Research

The institute's affiliated faculty represents such disciplines as economics, environmental studies, geography, political science, social welfare, and sociology.

Juniper Gardens Children's Project

Since 1964, the Juniper Gardens Children's Project has grown from humble beginnings into an internationally recognized research center on child development in low-income communities.

Innovation in an array of areas is critical to our future, which is why KU is dedicated to harnessing information in ways that will positively affect individuals' health and well-being while also protecting their privacy and security. Today, KU research is helping create advances in digital technology, nanotechnology, infrastructure, and more.

Our goal is to push our research even further by hiring faculty who:

  • Are highly experienced in scientific computing; handling and processing massive data; and scientific visualization
  • Will allow us to expand upon our existing expertise for information privacy, social media, and ethics
  • Have a well-rounded expertise of all avenues of information technologies

Related projects and distinguished professors:

Arienne Dwyer

Joe Evans

Prakash Shenoy

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology for Kansans is a statewide program, coordinated by KU, that connects people who have disabilities with the assistive technology they need to learn, work, play, and participate in community life safely and independently.

Biodiversity Institute

Biodiversity Institute
The paleontology collections are part of a $600,000 NSF effort to digitize thousands of fossils housed at the KU institute. Information about the fossils' temporal and geographic distribution in deep time will be shared with other institutions to complete a fossil record that will more accurately show how climate change could impact species on Earth going forward.


The Information and Telecommunication Technology Center advances knowledge and creates innovative technologies in telecommunications, information systems, bioinformatics, and radar. ITTC researchers are helping shape not only national policy but also the technology leaders of tomorrow.

Large Hadron Collider

A five-year, $2.5 million National Science Foundation award allows students and faculty from the University of Kansas to help to monitor crashes between subatomic particles in order to create conditions that existed during the fraction of a nanosecond after the "Big Bang" that created the universe.


KU ScholarWorks, a digital repository for scholarly work created by faculty and staff at the University of Kansas, provides long-term preservation for your materials by managing backups, and ensuring that your work remains accessible at a stable location. By faculty request and consent, KU became the first public university to adopt an open-access policy.

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times