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Harris named first Budig Teaching Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Scott Harris

Debate coach Scott Harris is the inaugural recipient of a new teaching professorship established by a gift from former Chancellor Gene Budig and his wife, Gretchen.

The Budigs provided the lead gift to establish the $100,000 Budig Teaching Professorship in Social and Behavioral Sciences. The contribution brings their total giving to KU to more than $1 million.

Harris coached the KU debate team to a national championship in 2009 and was named national debate coach of the year in 2006. He was recognized as an “outstanding teacher” by KU’s Center for Teaching Excellence in 1999.

Gene Budig was KU’s chancellor from 1981 to 1994. He received the Fred Ellsworth Medallion in 1994 and the Distinguished Service Citation in 1997. He is a KU Endowment trustee. Gretchen Budig will receive the Fred Ellsworth Medallion on Sept. 10.

Since 1981, the Budigs have provided more than $1 million to support areas across KU’s campuses. Their gifts also have established two teaching professorships in social welfare; the Budig Teaching Professorship in Special Education; the Budig Teaching Professorship of Writing; the Budig Teaching Professorship in Education; and the Budig Distinguished Librarian Program.

Harris has been KU’s debate coach since 1991. His teams have qualified for the National Debate Tournament every year that he has coached at KU. They reached the final four on three occasions and the elite eight six times. His teams have finished in the top 10 of the final rankings ten times.

Harris teaches classes in the Department of Communication Studies that focus on argumentation, rhetoric and public address.

Staples named Baur professor in sociology

Bill Staples, professor of sociology, has been named the 2010-11 E. Jackson Baur Professor in Sociology. Staples will hold the title for one year and will receive a one-course reduction in his teaching responsibilities and a $5,000 stipend to support his research.

Staples received his doctorate in sociology from the University of Southern California and has been a faculty member at KU since 1989. He has served as the chair of the sociology department since 2000 and is also co-editor of the Sociological Quarterly. Staples teaches classes and conducts research in the areas of social control, surveillance and historical sociology. His books include the “Encyclopedia of Privacy” and “Everyday Surveillance: Vigilance and Visibility in Postmodern Life.”

As part of a faculty development initiative, the Baur Professorship of Sociology is awarded annually to a full professor in the Department of Sociology who has demonstrated a commitment to KU and to excellence in teaching and research. The award may be used for travel and other costs associated with the advancement of the recipient’s research.

Support for the professorship came from the estate of former KU sociology professor E. Jackson “Jack” Baur and his wife, Lillian Jacoby Baur. Jack Baur joined the faculty of KU in 1947, reaching the rank of full professor in 1959. He retired in 1987 and died in 2001, at the age of 87. His wife died in 1991. Baur’s estate plans to establish the professorship through KU Endowment took effect in 2007 after the death of his son, John C. Baur.

Wong-Cruz named ‘outstanding individual’ by music fraternity

Ketty Wong-Cruz, assistant professor of ethnomusicology, received an "Outstanding Individual" award from the Mu Phi Epsilon Professional Music Fraternity last month when she was recognized as the Faculty Advisor of the Year for her work with the Xi chapter collegiate members of Mu Phi Epsilon at KU.

In her initial year as Xi chapter adviser, Wong-Cruz was able to bring the KU chapter back from near disbandment. With increasing membership, the chapter has now reinstated the annual recital in Swarthout Recital Hall, presented community music projects, hosted receptions for student recitals and will participate in district and national conventions.

Wong-Cruz joined the KU faculty in August 2006, having taught previously at the University of Texas-Austin and in her home country Ecuador. She holds a master’s in ethnomusicology from UT Austin and a master's in musicology from the Moscow Conservatory P. I. Tchaikovsky. She received her doctorate in ethnomusicology from the University of Texas-Austin with a dissertation on how urban popular music has constructed varied perceptions of Ecuadorian national identity. Her research interests focus on Latin American art, folk and traditional music, nationalisms, identity, migration and popular music.

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