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SPAA Professor Shannon Portillo on Panel Discussion

Thursday, October 25, 2018

LAWRENCE — Recent research indicates that women are still underrepresented in leadership roles in higher education. Join the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity to hear the stories and strategies of women who have established themselves as leaders in their chosen field. This upcoming panel discussion at the University of Kansas is based on the book “Women in the Academy: Learning From Our Diverse Career Pathways,” edited by Nichola Gutgold and Angela Linse.

The panel discussion is free and open to the public. It will take place from 6-8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29, in the Burge Union, Forum B.

The event will focus on women navigating a career in academia (faculty and/or administrative roles), including choices they are often called upon to make, challenges they have encountered, including bias and a chilly climate, and ways they have navigated the path to find success. Panelists will discuss the role of mentoring in influencing and shaping their career and personal paths.


  • Nichola Gutgold, professor of communications and speaker, Pennsylvania State University
  • Kala Stroup, former university president, former Missouri commissioner of higher education and contributor to “Women in the Academy”
  • Shannon Portillo, assistant vice chancellor, undergraduate programs (Edwards Campus) and associate professor, School of Public Affairs & Administration, KU
  • Joy Ward, associate dean for research, College of Liberal Arts & Science, and Dean’s Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, KU
  • DeAngela Burns-Wallace, vice provost for undergraduate studies, KU.

The moderator will be Diana Carlin, associate provost emerita and professor emerita of communications, Saint Louis University, and contributor to “Women in the Academy.”

More information about the panelists and moderator is below:

Nichola Gutgold is a professor of communication arts and sciences at Pennsylvania State University, Lehigh Valley campus, and former associate dean of academic affairs of Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College. Her research has been featured in The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, PBS and U.S. News & World Report. Her research focuses on the rhetoric of women in male-dominated fields. Books include “Women in the Academy: Learning From Diverse Career Pathways” (2016); “The Rhetoric of Supreme Court Women: From Obstacles to Options” (2012); “Almost Madam President: Why Hillary Clinton ‘Won’ in 2008” (2009); “Seen and Heard: The Women of Television News” (2008); and “Paving the Way for Madam President” (2006). With Molly Wertheimer she co-authored “Elizabeth Hanford Dole: Speaking from the Heart” (2004). With Ted Sheckels and Diana Carlin, she co-authored “Gender and the American Presidency: Nine Presidential Women and the Barriers They Faced” (2012). 

Kala Stroup has had a 60-year career in higher education and the nonprofit sector (National Nonprofit Leadership Alliance). Stroup was one of the first female college presidents at two universities (Murray State University and Southeast Missouri State University), the first woman vice president of academic affairs in the Kansas Regents system (Emporia State University), one of a few women who have been president of two universities and state commissioner of higher education (Missouri). She began her journey at KU in student affairs, transitioning to the faculty and academic affairs and overall university administration. Stroup has provided leadership to universities, states and national policy makers in education reform, collaboration across systems, strategic planning, athletics, Title IX regulations and educational access. She has been elected to the KU Women's Hall of Fame, the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Hall of Fame, received five honorary degrees, the Distinguished Alumni Award (KU), ICON of Education (Ingrams Magazine), KU Distinguished Service Award, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Mortar Board, ACE Fellow, AASCU Fellow and Who's Who in America and the World. Stroup is a widow who was married to Joe Stroup for 53 years, with two grown children and four grandchildren.

Shannon Portillo is assistant vice chancellor of undergraduate programs at the KU Edwards Campus and an associate professor in the School of Public Affairs & Administration. She completed her undergraduate degree and doctorate at KU before serving on the faculty at George Mason University for five years. Portillo returned to KU in 2013. She takes an interdisciplinary approach to her work, pulling on organizational theories rooted in public administration and law and society to explore how rules and policies are carried out within public organizations. To date she has done work in a broad array of organizations, including the military, problem-solving courts, probation, policing, higher education and city management. Using a variety of methods, she collects empirical data to assess how social, cultural and legal factors influence the day-to-day operations in these organizations. Teaching and research interests include social equity, social justice, organizational theory, and law and public management. Her work has appeared in academic outlets like Law & Policy, Administration & Society and Law & Social Inquiry, as well as popular outlets like NBC Latino and the Huffington Post. 

Joy Ward is associate dean for research, College of Liberal Arts & Science & Dean’s Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. She has made major advances in understanding plant responses to a rapidly changing global environment. Her papers are published in the top journals in her discipline, and she has had long-term funding from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Energy. She has received many prestigious awards, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) (the highest government honor for scientists early in their research careers), the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the KU University Scholarly Achievement Award, the Thelma and Edward Wohlgemuth Faculty Scholar Award, the K. Barbara Schowen Undergraduate Research Mentor Award, and she was named a KU Woman of Distinction. She also served as chair for the Frontiers of Science Symposium in Japan and Saudi Arabia that is sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences, and she has served as a U.S. State Department science delegate to Uzbekistan. She is also a current candidate in the national Food Systems Leadership Institute and was a KU Senior Administrative Fellow. She also served as a mentor and instructor for the KU IGERT program that provided doctoral training that integrated approaches from the natural and social sciences.

DeAngela Burns-Wallace is the vice provost for undergraduate studies at KU. Prior to moving to KU, she held the role of assistant vice provost for undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri as well as the assistant vice provost for enrollment management and director of Access Initiatives. She has also held the position of assistant dean in the Office of Undergraduate Admission at Stanford University. Prior to her work in higher education, Burns-Wallace served as a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State, where she worked in Guangzhou and Beijing, China; Pretoria, South Africa; and in Washington, D.C. Burns-Wallace holds a dual bachelor’s degree in international relations and African-American studies from Stanford University, a master’s degree in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs at Princeton University and a doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on issues of access and success for students of color and low-income students throughout higher education as well as equity-minded leadership. Burns-Wallace holds a courtesy associate professor appointment in KU’s Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies in the School of Education, as well as the Department of African & African-American Studies in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. She is originally from Kansas City, Missouri.

Diana Carlin, associate provost emerita and professor emerita of communication, Saint Louis University, and contributor to “Women in the Academy,” was former dean of the Graduate School and International Programs and professor of communication studies at KU. Carlin also served as Dean in Residence at the Council of Graduate Schools in Washington, D.C. She is known for her work centering on political debates and women in politics. Carlin has authored multiple scholarly articles and book chapters, and she has co-authored several books, including “Gender and the American Presidency: Nine Presidential Women and the Barriers They Faced.” She is a member of the 2018 class of the Central States Communication Association Hall of Fame and a 2018 recipient of a University of Nebraska-Lincoln Alumni Achievement Award.


Ruth DeWitt, Communications Manager
KU School of Public Affairs and Administration
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