Kansas University has announced the names of three professors being honored with this year’s Steeples Service to Kansas Award, for their contributions to the people of the state through teaching and research.
This year’s recipients are Paul Atchley, professor of psychology; Shannon Criss, associate professor in the School of Architecture, Design and Planning; and Heather Getha-Taylor, associate professor in the School of Public Affairs and Administration.
Atchley is known for research on distracted driving, including texting and visual deficits of elderly drivers, according to KU. He has received Kansas Department of Transportation grants focusing on dissuading drivers from texting, and his research has been translated into media and public presentations aimed at helping law enforcement, politicians and the public understand the risks of driving while distracted.
Criss researches spatial relationships affecting healthy food choices and walkability for Kansans, particularly through her work documenting and developing prototypes to help a neighborhood in Wyandotte County, according to KU. Her research aims to build partnerships with faculty and students — across disciplines including public health — to improve access to healthy food and promote active lifestyles, which are essential to combating obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Getha-Taylor frequently shares her public affairs research with Kansas leaders, civic groups, nonprofits and government, according to KU. She offers guidance on collaborative thinking, leadership development, recruiting and sustaining a strong municipal workforce. Entities she has worked with include the city of Olathe, Kansas Department of Corrections and Kansas Department for Children and Families.
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences confers the Steeples awards. Don Steeples, professor emeritus of geology, and his wife, Tammy, established the award in 1997 to honor Don Steeples’ parents, Wally and Marie Steeples. Recipients are awarded $1,000 and an additional $1,000 base adjustment to their salaries.