John Colombo began his tenure as interim dean of the College on July 1, 2019.
Colombo is a professor of psychology, director of the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, and has served as interim vice chancellor for research at the University of Kansas. He also serves as the director and principal investigator of the NIH-funded Kansas Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center. Along with being an active participant in the brain, behavior, and quantitative science doctoral program within the Department of Psychology, he is affiliated with three interdisciplinary doctoral programs: child language, clinical child psychology, and neuroscience.
His research has been focused on the measurement and evaluation of neurocognitive development in infancy and early childhood, and in recent years he has worked on numerous clinical trials evaluating the effects of nutrients and micronutrients on the development of cognitive function in infants and children. He has published over 120 peer-refereed articles and six books/monographs, has presented his work on five continents, and has generated more than $30 million in external research across his career. His work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, private foundations, and industry. He is past associate editor for the journal Child Development (2007-2013) and past editor of the journal Infancy (2013-2018). He has served on the Developmental and Learning Science panel at the National Science Foundation, and various study sections at the Institute of Education Science and at the National Institutes of Health; he is a current member of the CCHD Study Section (Eunice Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development).
Along with leading the Life Span Institute since 2007, he has served as a graduate director in two departments, acting chair of the psychology department (2005-2006), associate dean of the Graduate School (2000-2004), and interim vice chancellor for research (2017-2018). He is the recipient of the 2001 J. Michael Young Outstanding Academic Advisor Award for the Social Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the 2002 Outstanding Graduate and Professional Mentor, Graduate and Professional Student Association; and the 2002 Chancellor’s Award for Graduate and Professional Mentoring, Graduate and Professional Student Association. He was also recognized in 2005 for Excellence in Graduate Teaching by the Center for Teaching Excellence. He has placed predoctoral students and postdoctoral trainees in academic positions at the University of Wisconsin, the University of Arizona, the University of Georgia, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Baylor University, Loyola University (Chicago), Indiana State University, and Eastern Carolina University.