Topeka — Add another item to the Kansas Board of Regents' wish list from the Kansas Legislature money for its distinguished professor program.
Regents voted Wednesday to continue the program, which provides salary enhancements for professors, with an increase of $27,000 to $50,000 per professor annually.
But regents also said they realize the program may be cut, considering the state budget situation.
"We're in considerable jeopardy in this budget year," said Regent Bill Docking of Arkansas City.
The distinguished professor program was established in 1965 to attract scholars who could aid the state in economic development. Eleven scholars have been named since then, including three at Kansas University.
Currently, the state has three distinguished regents scholars, including Theodore Kuwana, a professor of chemistry and pharmaceutical chemistry at KU since 1985. Kuwana, whose research includes monitoring pollutants in wastewater and chemicals in food processing, will retire this year.
The others are James Marsden at Kansas State University, whose specialty is meat science, and Bart Hildreth at Wichita State University, whose specialty is public finance.
The distinguished professor program was one of three regents programs excluded from the budget submitted by Gov. Bill Graves to the Legislature.
The others were the Regents Honors Academy, which places high school students in a state university for a month during the summer, and funding for the Midwest Higher Education Commission, a program that allows students studying select subjects to attend out-of-state universities for 1.5 times the in-state tuition rate.
Officials at WSU and Kansas State said they would reallocate money to cover the distinguished professor program if state funding is cut.
"This caliber of person we're going to lose" without the additional money, WSU President Donald Beggs said. "Other institutions already came at him this year."
"To suddenly de-fund this program is a significant act," said Regent Janice DeBauge of Emporia.
Staff writer Terry Rombeck can be reached at 832-7145.
l University of Nebraska to eliminate 70 jobs in cutback. Page 10D