February 19, 2018
By Greg Peters
Robert Klein, Ph.D., vice chancellor for academic affairs and Chancellors Club Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Kansas Medical Center, has been selected as a 2018 Icon of Education by the editors of Ingram's magazine. Klein joins Barbara F. Atkinson, M.D., former executive vice chancellor, as the only other honoree from KU Medical Center in the 10-year history of the awards. Klein was honored by Ingram;s along with faculty colleague Moya Peterson, Ph.D., APRN, FNP-BC, who was named as one of the magazine's Heroes in Healthcare 2018.
"Working with our students and my team in the Office of Academic and Student Affairs pushes me on a daily basis to do the best for our students, faculty and staff at KU Medical Center," Klein told Ingram's. "After four decades it remains tremendously rewarding to mentor and teach as well as being a mentee and learning from the brilliant colleagues who surround me."
"Bob is the epitome of the modern educator/administrator," Professor Glendon Cox, M.D., MHSA, MBA, wrote in his nomination letter. "He has been, and will continue to be, an advocate for strong education programs and for the development of an exceptionally strong and dynamic academic community within our institution and at the national and international levels."
Klein, who earned a Doctor of Philosophy in anatomy from New York University School of Medicine, attributes his career in teaching to his parents who saw education as essential to happiness in life and a solid foundation for career success. Klein's mother was an admired elementary school teacher in New York for nearly 40 years and his father ran a taxation department for New York City, while teaching night school on the side.
Klein recalls his father quoting William Butler Yeats to him on the occasion of a phone call home lamenting a particularly rough mid-term exam. "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."
After graduating from NYU, Klein completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Marquette University and the Medical College of Wisconsin where he taught and did research. Klein arrived on the faculty at KU Medical Center in 1975 and earned his professorship in 1987. The recipient of numerous honors and accolades, including two Kemper Teaching Awards and being named an honorary alumnus of the KU School of Medicine, Klein is as enthusiastic about teaching today as he was four decades ago.
"It is still exciting now after being a member of the School of Medicine faculty for 42 years to actively participate in the growth of our learners from the first-year medical students, to medical residents, to independent medical practitioners," he said.
Other members of the 2018 Icons in Education class are Roger Goldman, St. Louis University; Linda Harrelson, Summit Christian Academy; Cindy Lane, Kansas City Kansas Public Schools; Mark Lombardi, Maryville University; Alan Marble, Missouri Southern State University; Debbie Mercer, Kansas State University; Ron Slepitza, Avila University; John Tomblin, Wichita State University; and Ken Weaver, Emporia State University.