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Birkeland was honored in the tenure-track category. An

assistant professor in the Division of Economics and Decision

sciences in the Beacom School of Business, she teaches

macroeconomics, money and banking, and more. She has

also been the faculty coordinator of the business school’s

renowned Master of Professional Accountancy program since

January 2015. Birkeland holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree

in economics from Arizona State University, as well as a

bachelor’s degree in economics from USD (2001). In addition

to her work with students, Birkeland conducts research in

macroeconomic labor dynamics, the economics of higher

education and the scholarship of teaching.

McKeown, an associate professor in the Department of

Political Science/Criminal Justice Studies in the College of

Arts & Sciences, was honored in the tenured category. She

directs USD’s criminal justice program and, as an associate

professor, teaches courses such as juvenile justice, criminal

prosecution and defense, and more. Licensed to practice

law by the South Dakota State Bar Association, McKeown

integrates personal research regarding courtroom practices

into both her education methods and continued scholarship.

The USD alumnae graduated in 1999 with a political science

bachelor’s degree and received her J.D. from the USD School

of Law in 2002.

Birkeland, McKeown Receive

USD’s Highest Honor

The Belbas-Larson Awards were established by a 1956 graduate of USD,

Dean Belbas of Edina, Minnesota, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and his friends,

Harold W. and Kathryn Larson of Bemidji, Minnesota, and Scottsdale, Arizona.

The University of South Dakota named Kathryn Birkeland, Ph.D., and Sandy McKeown,

J.D., winners of the 2016 Belbas-Larson Awards for Excellence in Teaching, the highest

honor USD bestows on its educators.

A faculty committee chooses Belbas-Larson recipients based on a review of portfolios

submitted in support of the nominations by students and colleagues. Birkeland and

McKeown were recognized at USD’s spring commencement ceremony, where each

received a framed certificate, a commemorative medal and a $5,000 tribute.

Sandy McKeown

Kathryn Birkeland


The South Dakotan