- Expert on the Middle East, successful chronicler and analyst of domestic and international conflict
- On Board of Directors for both the Palestinian Human Rights Campaign and the Human Rights Research Foundation
- Author of book One Land, Two Peoples: The Conflict Over Palestine
- Elected President of the International Studies Association
Dr. Deborah J. Gerner was a distinguished teacher, scholar, and community activist. An expert in the Middle East, this woman was described by Ronald Francisco, then an Associate Professor of Political Science and Government, as having "become the most successful chronicler and analyst of domestic and international conflict in the region." Her academic interests reflect her concern for the people of the Middle East and their rights. In addition to numerous journal articles, her book One Land, Two Peoples: The Conflict Over Palestine earned outstanding reviews from her colleagues. Her scholarly accomplishments have been recognized both at the University, where she was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure, and at the national level, where she was elected President of the International Studies Association.
Dr. Gerner arrived at the University of Kansas in 1988. She was very active in both University and community service. She sat on committees for her department and for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and she was always eager to share her knowledge of the Middle East with others at the University by giving public lectures for various living groups, student organizations, and other departments. She was a regular commentator on KANU local public radio, delivered lectures to religious and business groups in Lawrence, and gave frequent interviews for the local media. Nationally, she served on the Board of Directors for both the Palestinian Human Rights Campaign and the Human Rights Research Foundation.
As a teacher, Dr. Gerner was described by one of her colleagues as "a model for the discipline." Her energy and enthusiasm were contagious, and in a department that emphasizes teaching, she consistently received the highest marks from both graduate and undergraduate students. One of her graduate students described her as "more than a teacher. Her professional work ethic makes her a role model for all young scholars... [and] an inspiration to women entering a profession historically dominated by men."