Three Women Faculty Members Named Distinguished Professors at the University of Kansas

The University of Kansas has announced that five faculty members have been elevated to the rank of Distinguished Professor. “These outstanding faculty members are some of the best minds at KU and across the globe,” said Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, provost and executive vice chancellor. “Each new distinguished professor has a demonstrated record of excellence in discovery and education that has profound impact in lifting up individuals and advancing society. They have all stretched the boundaries of their fields and contributed meaningfully to our understandings of the world around us.”

Three of those appointed Distinguished Professors are women.

Sharon Billings is dean’s professor and senior scientist in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology. Dr. Billings is known nationally and internationally for working across disciplines to understand how whole systems – terrestrial ecosystems in a diversity of biomes – function and respond to environmental change. She joined the faculty in 2003 as an assistant professor. Professor Billings earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of New Hampshire. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in ecosystem ecology from Duke University.

Marta Caminero-Santangelo is a professor of English at the university. She came to the university in 1997 as an assistant professor and was promoted to full professor in 2009. She will become chair of the department of English this fall. Professor Caminero-Santangelo also serves as the director of the Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies. She is the author of three books including Documenting the Undocumented: Latino/a Narratives and Social Justice in the Era of Operation Gatekeeper (University Press of Florida, 2016). Dr. Caminero-Santangelo earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Yale University and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in English from the University of California.

Lisa Wolf-Wendel is an associate dean and professor of higher education in the department of educational leadership and policy studies. A member of the faculty since 1995, Dr. Wolf-Wendel’s research focuses on faculty issues, including studies of the academic labor market, particularly mobility of international faculty, factors affecting women faculty members, faculty from historically underrepresented groups, and faculty at midcareer as well as several recent research projects on the policy response of academic institutions in the wake of demands for dual-career couple accommodations and work-life balance. Professor Wolf-Wendel earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and communications from Stanford University. She holds a master’s degree in higher education and a Ph.D. in higher education from Claremont Graduate University in California.

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