KU News: KU renames Institute for Sustainable Engineering after The Wonderful Company

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KU renames Institute for Sustainable Engineering after The Wonderful Company

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas’ Institute for Sustainable Engineering has a new name — Wonderful Institute for Sustainable Engineering-KU (WISE-KU). The naming builds on the university’s relationship with The Wonderful Company, a global agricultural company. Along with the rebranding comes a $5 million commitment to promote sustainable engineering initiatives. In the last five years, The Wonderful Company has worked in collaboration with KU researchers to find ways to repurpose 50 million pounds of pistachio shells, which until now went to carbon-neutral fuel outlets or accumulated in piles on fallowed farmland.

KU Debate teams qualify for National Debate Tournament

LAWRENCE — Two University of Kansas debate teams composed of seniors Graham Revare, Shawnee, with William Soper, Bucyrus, and sophomores John Marshall, Lawrence, with Jiyoon Park, Topeka, were selected as automatic qualifiers for the 2024 National Debate Tournament. The tournament will take place April 4-8 in Atlanta. Only 16 teams from across the country can automatically qualify for the tournament, based on season-long performance.

KU Libraries host journals in open access space, making scholarship available worldwide

LAWRENCE — Journals from around the world have found new partnerships or homes with University of Kansas researchers and KU Libraries. More than 50 academic journals are now hosted through KU Libraries as part of its ongoing open access initiatives, with nearly a dozen moving away from a paywall model.

 

A box of Barnes: Group records all professor’s symphonies

LAWRENCE — A University of Kansas professor emeritus has a boxed set of all nine of his symphonies, which was performed and recorded last year and released this year by the Osaka Shion Wind Orchestra. The 70-piece group was rehearsed and performed for a month under the direction of the dean of the KU School of Music, Paul Popiel.

 

Full stories below.

 

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Contact: Michelle Keller, KU Endowment, 785-832-7336, [email protected]; @KUEndowment

KU renames Institute for Sustainable Engineering after The Wonderful Company

 

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas’ Institute for Sustainable Engineering has a new name — Wonderful Institute for Sustainable Engineering-KU (WISE-KU). The naming builds on the university’s deep relationship with The Wonderful Company, a global agricultural company co-founded and led by Stewart and Lynda Resnick.

The Wonderful Company is one of the largest privately held companies in the U.S. whose iconic brands include Wonderful Pistachios, POM Wonderful, FIJI Water, JUSTIN Wines and others. Along with the rebranding comes a $5 million commitment to promote sustainable engineering initiatives.

“Complex problems require new and novel approaches in order to arrive at workable solutions,” said KU Chancellor Douglas A. Girod. “The Resnicks are prime examples of how creative use of philanthropy can drive university research and discoveries. We’re grateful they’ve chosen to work with our talented faculty and students to solve some of today’s thorniest issues. Their investment, combined with the opportunity to work on real-world challenges, will benefit generations to come.”

The Resnicks have a long history of supporting leading research universities in driving research solutions to solve the world’s most critical environmental challenges across energy, water, food and the climate. To date, the Resnicks, along with their foundations and The Wonderful Company, have invested nearly $2.6 billion in philanthropy and corporate social responsibility investments globally — in education, wellness, housing and the arts — with more than $850 million pledged to universities for research and technologies around sustainability.

“Environmental sustainability must be one of the priorities for our planet and is a primary focus of our company’s operations. Succeeding in our efforts to care for our world requires research and innovation – everything from renewable energy and responsible water usage to rethinking pistachio waste,” said Eric Johnson, senior vice president of Capital Projects at The Wonderful Company and KU alumnus. “The Institute of Sustainable Engineering at KU has taken a novel approach towards exploring new technologies and creating cutting-edge outputs that align with Wonderful’s mission to make our world a safer, healthier and better home for generations to come.”

In the last five years, The Wonderful Company, which is one of the world’s largest nut processors, has worked in collaboration with WISE-KU researchers to find ways to repurpose 50 million pounds of pistachio shells, which until now went to carbon-neutral fuel outlets or accumulated in piles on fallowed farmland. Researchers have found multiple ways to use them, including as an ingredient in animal feed.

“This substantial commitment by The Wonderful Company and Stewart and Lynda Resnick brings together researchers and students from multiple disciplines with industry partners to advance global sustainability through transformational engineering, science and entrepreneurship,” said Foundation Distinguished Professor Mark Shiflett, founder and director of the institute. “We are honored to name our institute after our partners at Wonderful for their major investment in our engineering students and university, as well as our ongoing collaboration to create solutions to today’s real-world issues promoting the societal, economic and environmental benefits of sustainable engineering.”

Ana Rita Morais, assistant professor of chemical & petroleum engineering and deputy director of the institute, said, “This convergent, inclusive approach fosters and supports innovation resulting in developing, inventing and patenting novel processes and products that sustainably utilize food, water and energy by recycling valuable resources while reducing our impact on the environment and protecting our planet.”

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The official university Twitter account has changed to @UnivOfKansas.

Refollow @KUNews for KU News Service stories, discoveries and experts.

 

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Contact: Scott Harris, KU Debate, 785-864-9878, [email protected], @KansasDebate

KU Debate teams qualify for National Debate Tournament

 

LAWRENCE — Two University of Kansas debate teams composed of seniors Graham Revare, Shawnee, with William Soper, Bucyrus, and sophomores John Marshall, Lawrence, with Jiyoon Park, Topeka, were selected as automatic qualifiers for the 2024 National Debate Tournament.

The tournament will take place April 4-8 in Atlanta.

The top 16 teams in the country — based on season-long performance — are selected by the NDT National Committee to receive automatic qualification to the national tournament. This is the 57th consecutive year that KU Debate has qualified teams for the National Debate Tournament.

In 1973 the National Debate Tournament began recognizing the top 16 teams in the country as automatic qualifiers for the 78-team field. KU has now had 47 teams receive top 16 automatic qualification to the tournament. It is the second consecutive year that KU has had two teams selected as automatic qualifiers and the eighth time KU has had two teams in the top 16.

Joining KU as automatic qualifiers are California State University at Long Beach, Dartmouth College, Emory University (two teams), Georgetown University, Harvard University (two teams), the University of Kentucky, the University of Michigan (two teams), Michigan State University, Northwestern University, the University of Texas and Wake Forest University. The rest of the field will be filled through regional qualifying tournaments and second-round at-large selections over the next few weeks.

KU has finished in the top four at the NDT in six of the past eight seasons including winning the national championship in 2018.

“We are very proud of the achievement of the debaters as they build on the legacy of past generations of KU debaters. We are grateful for the hard work of the coaches who contributed to their success,” said Brett Bricker, the team’s head coach, who won the NDT as a KU debater in 2009.

The coaching staff is led by Bricker along with assistant coaches Azja Butler, Allie Chase, Nathan Davis, Jyleesa Hampton, Derek Hilligoss, Ned Gidley, Nyx Moore, Max Reese, Michael Scott, Jesse Smith and Alaina Walberg. Scott Harris is the David B. Pittaway Director of the debate program.

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Contact: Mike Krings, KU News Service, 785-864-8860, [email protected], @MikeKrings

KU Libraries host journals in open access space, making scholarship available worldwide

 

LAWRENCE – The world of academic journal publishing can be tenuous. Anything from an editor’s untimely death to a loss of funding to a professional society’s changing priorities can terminate even highly respected journals.

Journals from around the world have found new partnerships — sometimes an ocean away — with University of Kansas researchers and KU Libraries, allowing them to continue producing high-quality scholarship and preserve archives.

More than 50 academic journals are now hosted via KU Libraries and available online. In almost a dozen cases, those journals switched from a paywall model to an open access format.

A new home

Olga Pombo of the University of Lisbon is editor of Kairos: Journal of Philosophy & Science. The research center in which she created the online journal dedicated to the philosophy of science could no longer support it.

However, Pombo had worked with Irina Symons, multiterm lecturer of philosophy at KU. Symons offered to speak to Marianne Reed, digital publishing and repository manager in KU Libraries’ Digital Publishing Services program, and the journal became the most recent to be hosted and preserved via KU’s open access format.

For the past several years, KU Libraries have added 3-5 journals per year to its Journals@KU offerings. Last year, those journals had more than 1 million downloads. The result is access to knowledge created by scholars around the world and high-quality research that is available in a more open and equitable system that costs nothing to journals, authors or readers.

“You have these journals behind paywalls, and what that does is make the work less visible because only those readers or institutions that can afford to pay can see it,” Reed said. “Essentially, this program is one more way KU Libraries is making excellent research more available to the world.”

Journals become collaborators through a number of ways. If a faculty member or KU researcher is an editor, on an editorial board or connected to the journal in some way, KU Libraries is open to conversations about potentially hosting the journal, and if the journal has the rights to previously published material, hosting archives.

If those conversations result in a partnership, the parties sign a memorandum of agreement, and the journals have a new home.

“Each situation is different in terms of why journals want to do this,” Reed said. “Funding can play a big role. There is a dirty little secret in academia that, sometimes if you’re publishing commercially, the journal has to pay the company to publish. In those cases, the journal is publishing excellent research, but it just isn’t a model that all journals can afford. In a lot of fields, that content is foundational to the discipline and can be the basis for ongoing research, or is an important part of its history, so journals where funding is precarious are often motivated to try new models of publishing to survive. The Libraries’ model allows journals to transition to open access publishing without cost to the journals, authors or readers.”

Serving “citizen scholars”

When a journal partners with KU, it has access to Open Journal Systems (OJS), open-source software designed to support the workflow of academic journal publishing from submission through peer review to publication. OJS is designed to make journals more visible through Google and other search engines.

This enables people all over the world to discover the research, Reed said.

“People who find this information are not only academics. There are a lot of armchair herpetologists, for example, who are fascinated by snakes or turtles,” Reed said about readers who can find information in the journal Reptiles & Amphibians among the offerings. “I like to call them ‘citizen scholars.’”

The open access aspect was appealing to Pombo when considering how to continue the Kairos: Journal of Philosophy & Science.

“We live today in a world where science becomes more and more open each day. Openness inside and outside academia. Openness inside scientific communities who are increasingly international and globalized, openness between disciplines that increasingly need to establish interdisciplinary crossovers,” Pombo said.

“Now, open access of publishing, by approaching distant readers and removing financial barriers, is a fundamental way of promoting the scientific exchange between researchers from the same discipline, from different disciplines, from areas of diverse human activity, as well as an essential means for disseminating the scientific objectives, problems, methods and results among all interested people outside academia,” Pombo said.

Open access

Academic research is often funded by government grants or other forms of public money. A central argument of open access advocates has long been that findings of any research supported by public money should be available to everyone, not only those who can afford a journal subscription. Symons, who is also a vice editor of Kairos: Journal of Philosophy & Science, said that was an important factor in deciding to publish the journal via KU Libraries.

“I think that it is very important to have open access to quality research in all fields because the people who most need access to this kind of knowledge, more often than not, do not have resources to pay for it. I’m thinking primarily of students, be they in the U.S. or otherwise, and of academics who don’t live in wealthy countries,” Symons said. “I grew up under Communism and then went to college and joined academia in a country where libraries and universities could not afford to subscribe to prestigious journals or to purchase the latest academic books.

“To be a successful student, or scholar, nowadays is to meet global standards and be competitive in the global research and academic world,” Symons said. “To put the results of research behind a paywall amounts to setting up unequal opportunity to knowledge and securing an unfair path towards success for the affluent.”

While the Journals@KU program is now home to many existing journals, it can also host journals as they are created. Reed encourages any member of the KU community with interest in a journal to contact her if they feel it might be a potential fit.

For her part, Pombo said she is looking forward to the new arrangement and all that will come with it with its next issue, the first published under the agreement.

“We don’t hesitate to say that KU Libraries are offering the scientific communities a fantastic service. And the journal Kairos is going to benefit from the accurate and generous KU Libraries policy of scientific support. ‘Kairos’ is the ancient Greek word for timely time, right time, good time, appropriate opportunity. And I believe that KU Libraries constituted the ‘Kairos’ for our journal.”

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Don’t miss new episodes of “When Experts Attack!,”

a KU News Service podcast hosted by Kansas Public Radio.

 

https://kansaspublicradio.org/when-experts-attack

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Contact: Rick Hellman, KU News Service, 785-864-8852, [email protected], @RickHellman

A box of Barnes: Group records all professor’s symphonies

 

LAWRENCE — Like thespians who refer to “Macbeth” as “the Scottish play,” classical music composers have a superstition about the number of symphonies they may write. Beethoven and Mahler died shortly after completing their respective ninth symphonies.

So for 74-year-old James Barnes, professor emeritus of music at the University of Kansas, his Ninth Symphony will be his last, he said. He doesn’t want to tempt fate.

Now, though, Barnes has a boxed set of all nine of his symphonies, performed and recorded last year and released this year by the Osaka Shion Wind Orchestra. The 70-piece group was rehearsed and performed for a month under the baton of the dean of the KU School of Music, Paul Popiel.

Barnes, then still recovering from gallbladder surgery, couldn’t make the trip himself, but said Popiel “knows my music better than anyone else.” The two men have worked together for the past 14 years, since Popiel joined the music faculty.

Barnes has been a fixture at KU for more than 50 years, arriving as a tuba-playing junior high music camper from Oklahoma in 1963. Beginning in 1967, he attended undergraduate and graduate school here, receiving two degrees in music composition. He then began teaching and leading various bands at KU in 1975. He took emeritus status in 2015 but is still a familiar figure in Murphy Hall.

Popiel said there is an uncanny connection between Barnes and the Japanese classical music community.

“In Japan, he almost can’t walk down the street without being recognized,” Popiel said. “He’s very well known. His compositions really appeal to their classical music sense.

“There’s a pretty famous story of his Third Symphony, which is his best known,” Popiel said. “It was commissioned by the United States Air Force Band. Just before it was to be premiered in 1996, Newt Gingrich shut down the government. Therefore, the Air Force Band couldn’t travel to Roanoke, Virginia, for the premiere of this symphony at the Virginia Music Educators Convention … so the piece sat on a shelf for a year.

“Jim happened to be in Japan in the fall of 1996 and ran into the conductor of Osaka Shion, who asked, ‘Can we take a look at the piece?’ So it ended up getting premiered by what was then known as the Osaka Symphonic Band, later renamed Osaka Shion Wind Orchestra. So that piece has sort of an aura around it, particularly in Japan, because they know his most famous symphony has deep ties to Japanese bands.”

In 2018, Popiel led a consortium of more than two dozen academic and other music leaders who came together to commission Barnes’ Ninth Symphony, which was premiered by the KU Wind Ensemble at the Lied Center of Kansas before being performed nationwide by other college music groups.

Popiel said Barnes’ music could be called neo-romantic for its “beautiful, memorable, singable melodies.”

“That is not where a lot of classical music has been in the last 20 or 30 years,” Popiel said. “Some critics may say Jim’s music is dated because it has melody. But I’m not sure that’s a good criticism.

“I think Barnes’ music’s most shining attribute is how likable it is the first time you hear it … He is very contemporary,” Popiel said. “You can hear jazz harmonies, complex counterpoint. There is considerable dissonance. … It’s certainly 21st century modern music but in a way that’s very marketable and audience friendly.”

Popiel said when he came to KU in 2010, “I had the opportunity to do a lot more of Jim’s music. It’s the symphonies in particular that are really challenging pieces, and before I came to KU, I didn’t have a band that could play a lot of his music. So over the last 14 years, I have been one of the champions of his music.”

Popiel said he had to coax Barnes into giving Osaka Shion permission to record his First Symphony, written as Barnes’ master’s thesis, because in retrospect Barnes considered it an “early, immature work.” But the boxed set would not be complete without it, Popiel said, and so Barnes relented and, in fact, rescored and improved the First Symphony in the summer of 2022.

Popiel said the recording project was conceived as part of Osaka Shion’s centennial anniversary celebration.

“They got a grant and some crowdfunding to take on one of the most ambitious projects in our field — recording all nine of Jim’s symphonies,” Popiel said. “That’s never been done before, and it’s epic — huge forces, big orchestras and almost six hours of music. They performed a series of four concerts to record all nine symphonies live.”

In December 2023, Osaka Shion traveled to Chicago for the convention called the Midwest Clinic, the largest annual band and orchestra convention in the world. There were 18,000 attendees in 2023, and Barnes was invited to guest conduct Osaka Shion at its formal concert.

Popiel said it was a thrill for the KU delegation attending the clinic to see the esteem in which Barnes is held by peers worldwide.

A five-CD boxed set of the recordings was released in January by Osaka Shion in Japan. In addition, the set should be available soon through Keiser-Southern Music. A possible global release to streaming music services is still being negotiated.

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Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, director of news and media relations, [email protected]

 

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