Gavin Young
KU Office of Public Affairs

KU announces seventh Kemper Fellowship winner of 2011

Fri, 08/26/2011
2011 Kemper Awards

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas “surprise patrol” today presented a professor with another 2011 $7,500 Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence, the seventh and final 2011 fellowship to be awarded on the Lawrence campus.

Today’s winner is Chris Depcik, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. Professor Depcik joins this year’s previous winners: Jorge Pérez, Anna Neill, Andrea Herstowski, Robert Ward, Arvin Agah and Joey Sprague.

The Kemper fellowships recognize outstanding teachers and advisers at KU as determined by a seven-member selection committee. Now in their 16th year, the awards are supported by an annual gift of $37,500 from the William T. Kemper Foundation (Commerce Bank, trustee) and $37,500 in matching funds from KU Endowment.

The William T. Kemper Foundation was established in 1989 after the death of the Kansas City, Mo., banking executive and civic leader. The foundation supports Midwest communities and concentrates on initiatives in education, health and human services, civic improvements and the arts.

KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment is the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

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PROFESSOR PROFILE: Chris Depcik, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Depcik joined the Mechanical Engineering faculty in 2008, but as one student wrote, “In his short time at the University of Kansas, he has accomplished a culture shift in the mechanical engineering department through the proposal and implementation of the Eco-Hawk senior design program and club.”

The EcoHawks have grown out of Depcik’s ME 645 capstone design course and have been recognized in local and national media for their work on sustainable design for automobiles. has highlighted the students’ work designing and building a biodiesel hybrid Beetle and a solar powered charging station. Depcik has brought a commitment to sustainable design and an interdisciplinary approach to his research. Students have worked closely, for example, with Chemical Engineers on biofuels. Depcik has led a Center for Teacher Excellence Summit workshop on sustainability education.

Students have also praised Depcik for matching his commitment to research with an enthusiasm for advising. Graduates who have gone on to positions at employers ranging from Black & Veetch to the Johnson Space Center credit Depcik for connecting theory and research to real world applications.

Depcik has been honored by the School of Engineering with the Henry E. Gould Award for undergraduate engineering advising and the Wesley G. Cramer Outstanding Faculty Award.

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