April 7, 2020
K-State biology professors honored by American Society of Mammalogists
Don Kaufman, professor in the Division of Biology, and Glennis Kaufman, retired research assistant professor, adjunct research assistant professor of biology and a graduate faculty member at the university, were recognized by the American Society of Mammalogists with the establishment of a graduate student research award named in their honor.
The public announcement of the establishment of the American Society of Mammalogists' Donald W. and Glennis A. Kaufman Research Award was made at the society's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The announcement was delivered by three former graduate and undergraduate students at the members meeting associated with the 100th anniversary of the society's founding in the nation's capital in 1919.
This financial award will be given annually to support graduate student research focused on population, community or behavioral ecology of native grassland mammals in the Great Plains and Canada Prairie Provinces. It was noted that the first recipient of the Kaufman Research Award would be announced in the shortgrass steppe at the 100th annual meeting of the society at the University of Colorado in Boulder in June 2020, which has been canceled due to concern of community spread of COVID-19. The first Kaufman Research Award, valued at $2,500, will be given independently of the annual meeting to help finance the field research of the awardee during 2020-2021.
Efforts to establish the award were initiated after the society's annual meeting at Kansas State University in 2018 by former graduate and undergraduate students, friends and colleagues. Subsequently, the board of directors of the American Society of Mammalogists formally established the Donald W. and Glennis A. Kaufman Research Award in February 2019. Information for graduate students interested in applying for the award, which is based on merit and not financial need, should seek more information on the society's website. Initial contributions to create the endowment were provided by former students, friends and colleagues; the research award is supported only by returns on the endowment. Thus, the amount of the award will increase as the endowment increases. To contribute to the endowment, go to the society's website.
The focus of the Donald W. and Glennis A. Kaufman Research Award follows from these K-State ecologists' long-term research commitment to better understand community, population and behavioral ecology of small mammals — rodents and shrews — in native prairies in Kansas. Their studies include those directed at small mammals in tallgrass prairie on Konza Prairie, in mixed-grass prairie in the Smoky Hills of north-central Kansas and those associated with land-use changes following European settlement in the mid to late 1800s.
The award also continues the Kaufmans' long-standing efforts to mentor and aid graduate students in mammalogy. It is the first research award established by the American Society of Mammalogists to support research in a globally endangered ecosystem, the native prairies of the Great Plains and Canada prairie provinces. It also is the first award established by the American Society of Mammalogists board of directors to honor two people and one of only four established to honor living mammalogists.
The award recognizes and honors the Kaufmans for their numerous contributions to both the general field of mammalogy and to the American Society of Mammalogists. These activities include mentoring not only their graduate and undergraduate research students but also graduate students and young colleagues met at annual meetings. They also are Life, Patron and Founders Club members of the society and enthusiastic supporters of the "Future Mammalogists Fund" over the last 25 years.
Glennis Kaufman, as a nontraditional student, received numerous honors as a graduate student at Kansas State University and as a member of American Society of Mammalogists. After completion of her doctoral degree in 1990, she wanted to pay it forward and worked within the American Society of Mammalogists Education and Graduate Students Committee to increase communications between graduate students and prominent senior mammalogists.
In 1995, she initiated two programs for students, "Breakfast with a Scientist" and the "Honor Luncheon," at the University of Vermont's annual meeting. Both of these activities facilitated small groups of students — six to eight graduate and/or undergraduates — having face-to-face discussions with senior mammalogists during breakfast or graduate students that received premier American Society of Mammalogists awards with the executive officers of the society. Both of these successful programs have continued and the breakfast program has expanded to lunch also.
Glennis Kaufman served the American Society of Mammalogist as vice-president from 2005-2006, an elected member of the board of directors from 1997-2006 and a co-host of 1991 annual meeting at Kansas State University. In 2009, she was honored as the recipient of the Hartley H. T. Jackson Award, the premier award recognizing service to the American Society of Mammalogists. Service contributions include an associate editorship for the Journal of Mammalogy, the premier publication of the society, and almost 45 committee years in 2009 as the chair or a member of eight standing or ad hoc committees of the society. She also served as president-elect, president and past president of the Central Plains Society of Mammalogists from 2001-2007. Glennis has authored or co-authored 130 research publications in scientific journals and books, which focus mostly on the behavior and ecology of small mammals in Kansas. In 2019, she received the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, a distinction given only to recipients in the top 5% in their field. She also has been listed in American Men and Women in Science since 1992.
Don Kaufman served the American Society of Mammalogists as an elected member of the board of directors for three years and as co-host of the 1991 annual meeting at K-State. He also was recognized with the Joseph A. Grinnell Award, the society's premier award for outstanding, continuous contributions to education in mammalogy, in 2019. Service activities include more than 70 committee years as chair or a member of nine different standing committees of the society. Important to Don, was the 26 years spent on the Human Diversity Committee as he wrote the initial mission statement for what has become an extremely important committee of the society. He also served on the board of governors of the Central Plains Society of Mammalogists and as president of the Kansas Chapter of The Wildlife Society. He has authored or co-authored more than 180 research publications, which focus mostly on ecology and natural history of small mammals in Kansas. He was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2013. He also received an Alumni Achievement Award from Fort Hays State University in 2005 and the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.