'Invaluable' founder of research development office advances humanities at KU

Graphic with a photo of Kathy Porsch on the left and a photo of the Hall Center with the text "unsung hero; Kathy Porsch; Hall Center for the Humanities" on the right.

Kathy Porsch is the backbone of countless humanities awards earned by KU researchers.

As a longtime research development officer at the Hall Center for the Humanities, she helps principal investigators across the university successfully apply for institutional and external funding and provides post-award assistance. Porsch was the first staff member to lead the Hall Center’s Research & Grant Development Office.

“Kathy founded the RGDO, has mentored numerous graduate student employees and staff, and has overseen several substantial grants that helped fund the Hall Center and its programs. She is the institutional memory of the Hall Center,” said Brett Bias, research development specialist at the Hall Center.

A recent project Porsch led involved the U.S. Department of Education’s National Resource Centers/Foreign Language and Area Studies grants. These competitive awards help universities establish and maintain instruction in modern foreign languages and international studies. Porsch took a leading role in coordinating with grant specialists, project leads and others to submit successful applications.

Kathy has a wealth of knowledge and experience that can only come from years of dedicated work,” said Andrew Hodgson, assistant director of the Hall Center. “She has been with the Hall Center for decades and knows every aspect of the grant application process. This knowledge has proven invaluable time and again to the Hall Center and humanities researchers at KU.” 

Because the humanities encompass a wide range of fields and research methods, staff who work with humanities scholars must be organized and attentive to detail. Porsch’s colleagues have seen firsthand how she excels despite that challenge.

“Grant applications often have stringent guidelines and requirements. Kathy’s years of experience have helped her develop systems and processes to meet and exceed requirements,” Hodgson said.

“Kathy is extremely organized and brings high attention to detail to every project,” Bias added. “She frequently handles multiple funding applications simultaneously, very often with overlapping deadlines. She can make the chaos of even the busiest time of year look easy.”