Woodyard International Educator Award

Pictured left to right, Dr. Megan Greene, Dr. Charles Bankart, Dr. Mehrangiz Najafizadeh and Mrs. Eleanor Woodyard.

The George and Eleanor Woodyard International Educator Award recognizes KU faculty members who have provided outstanding leadership in international education at KU. Previously known as the Provost's Award for Leadership in International Education, this award is now supported by a generous endowment from Dr. George and Mrs. Eleanor Woodyard. Professor Woodyard joined the faculty of KU in 1966, and he was named KU's first Dean of International Studies in 1989. The award includes $1,000 in funding for professional activities. Award recipients will be invited to give a campus talk on their work in the spring semester. Previous award recipients are not eligible for nomination.

Nominations will be solicited at the beginning of the fall 2024 semester.

  • Playing a creative role in developing a significant aspect of the international curriculum at KU, including study abroad programs; visiting international educators, scholars, artists, performers, or researchers; new internationalized programs and certificates;
  • Assuming a lead role in developing an active KU collaboration with international partners;
  • Collaborating with international colleagues or students in significant research and publications;
  • Mentoring faculty and students in international development.


All documentation and letters of support should be specific to this competition. A faculty committee appointed by the Senior Internationalization Officer will review nominations. Previous nominees are encouraged to update their files. If you have nominated someone in the past, please send an updated statement of nomination and an updated CV for that individual.

The following materials are required for new nominations:

  • A one- to two-page letter of nomination including a description of the activities that qualify the candidate for this award.
  • A résumé or vitae.
  • Up to six statements of support from KU colleagues, students, and/or partners abroad.

Recipients of the George and Eleanor Woodyard International Educator Award

Mehrangiz Najafizadeh, Associate Professor of Sociology

Mehrangiz Najafizadeh, associate professor of sociology at the University of Kansas, is the recipient of the 2023 George and Eleanor Woodyard International Educator Award.

The award recognizes Najafizadeh’s extensive collaboration and connection with international scholars in Eurasia and Central Asia, including two Fulbright Scholar awards to Azerbaijan, and her efforts to build institutional partnerships in that region. In addition, the award honors Najafizadeh’s 30-year association with the Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies and her work with the centers for Russian, Eastern European & Eurasian Studies and Global & International Studies as well as her excellence in teaching and her commitment to incorporating international and cross-cultural perspectives into the classroom.

Read more about her work in international education.

Pictured above: Elizabeth MacGonagle, center, stands with Eleanor Woodyard and Charles Bankart, senior internationalization officer, at the 2022 Award Ceremony in April. 

2022: Elizabeth MacGonagle, History and African & African-American Studies

2021: Kapila D. Silva, Architecture

2019: Virginia Harper Ho, Law

2018: Glenn Adams, Psychology

2017: Mahasweta Banerjee, Social Welfare

2016: Brent Metz, Anthropology

2015: Christopher Brown, Environmental Studies, Geography

2014: Megan Greene, History

2013 Jon Havener, Visual Art

2012: Erik Herron, Political Science

2011: Raj Bhala, Law

2010: Peter Herlihy, Geography and Latin American Studies

2009: Elizabeth Kuznesof, History and Latin American Studies

2008: Ed Canda, Social Welfare

2007: Bill Tsutsui, History

2006: John Head, Law

2005: Anita Herzfeld, Latin American Studies

2004: Marsha Haufler, Art History

2003: Garth Myers, Geography and African-American Studies

2003: Robert Timm, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

2002: Melissa Birch, Business

2002: Diane Fourny, French and European Studies

2001: Judith McCrea, Art & Design

2000: Leo Villalon, Political Science and African & African American Studies

1999: Tom Mulinazzi, Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering

1999: Charles Stansifer, History

2022 Award Presentation

Elizabeth MacGonagle, associate professor of history and African and African-American studies, accepted the 2022 Woodyard Award at the award presentation on April 19, 2023. This is a recording of the event.


For questions about the Woodyard International Educator Award, contact Whitney Denning, manager of internationalization initiatives and events.