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K-State Today

August 26, 2019

Biology professor receives Joseph Grinnell Award from American Society of Mammalogists

Submitted by Michi Tobler

Don Kaufman (fourth from left) after the award ceremony with nominators as well as mentees that were in attendance.

Don Kaufman, professor of mammalian ecology in the Division of Biology, was recognized with the Joseph Grinnell Award from the American Society of Mammalogists. The award was announced at the recent annual meeting of the society in Washington, D.C., in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the society's founding in the nation's capital in 1919.

The Joseph Grinnell Award is the premier award given each year to a member of the American Society of Mammalogists who has made outstanding, sustained contributions to education in mammalogy. According to the society's president, Kaufman was nominated for the award by former students and colleagues in recognition of his "mentoring students, guiding colleagues, and promoting mammalogy in every conceivable way." He has been invited to share his ideas on teaching and mentoring of students and outreach to the general public during the plenary session at the society's 100th annual meeting in 2020.

Kaufman has been a life member of the American Society of Mammalogists since 1969 and a patron member since 1990. He served three years on the board of directors of this national-international society and co-hosted the 1991 annual meeting at K-State. He also served six years on the board of governors of the Central Plains Society of Mammalogists and two years as president of the Kansas Chapter of The Wildlife Society.

Kaufman is well-known nationally/internationally as a mammalian ecologist who has worked with small mammals for more than 50 years. Since joining the Division in 1980, research has included projects focused on impacts of fire and grazers on rodents and shrews on Konza Prairie and of agricultural activities on these small mammals in the Smoky Hills of north-central Kansas. He also played a key role in the development of the National Science Foundation-funded Konza Prairie Long-Term Ecological Research Program in the 1980s and served as principal investigator during 1984-1990.

Kaufman has mentored and guided research efforts of 12 graduate students, more than 20 undergraduate research students, and two postdocs who worked on mammal projects. He has served as a committee member for more than 20 other graduate students studying mammals at K-State and other universities. Of Kaufman's more than 180 peer-reviewed publications, which focus mostly on mammals in the Great Plains, nearly 20 were co-authored with undergraduate research students and more than 50 with graduate students.

At K-State, Kaufman has trained more than 1,200 undergraduates in mammalogy and more than 700 undergraduates in wildlife management, which focuses in part on conservation and management of mammals. He also has advised more than 400 undergraduates in regard to careers in mammalogy and conservation and wildlife biology.

Among his honors and recognitions, Kaufman is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and received an Alumni Achievement Award from Fort Hays State University. He also was honored with the Kansas Chapter of The Wildlife Society's Snipe Award in recognition of his research and undergraduate education efforts focused on wildlife conservation, especially in Kansas.

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