The College of Arts and Sciences' Distinguished Research Award (CASDRA)

The College of Arts and Sciences' Distinguished Research Award (CASDRA) was initiated in 1993-94 upon the recommendation of the College Council for Research and Graduate Studies. Awards may be given in four areas: Natural Sciences and Mathematical Sciences; Humanities; Social Sciences; and Engaged Scholarship, which was initiated in 2005. Faculty members may receive the CASDRA only one time.

In recognition for outstanding research achievements, each recipient receives $500.00 toward research expenses, a plaque, and recognition at our August faculty meeting.

We are very pleased today to acknowledge three of our faculty members for their outstanding research performance. Dr. Charles Crawford, Department of History is receiving the CASDRA in the area of the Humanities; Dr. Anna Kaminska, Department of Mathematical Sciences, is receiving it in the area of Natural Sciences and Mathematical Sciences; and Dr. Dorothy Norris-Tirrell, Division of Public and Nonprofit Administration is receiving it in the area of Engaged Scholarship.

Charles Crawford, History

Charles CrawfordDr. Charles Crawford, Professor, Department of History, completed his Ph.D. in History in 1968 at the University of Mississippi, and joined the faculty at Memphis State University in 1962. In 1983 he became Full Professor of History. He earlier served as a teacher and Department Chair at Lewisville High School in Arkansas and while a graduate student was a Tutor for the Football Team at the University of Mississippi.

Dr. Crawford is acknowledged as the "preeminent historian of Memphis and the Mid-South" by Dr. David Jackson, Professor of History at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. As his colleague Dr. Douglas Cupples in his nomination letter attests, "It may be in the area of oral history research that Charles Crawford has made his most lasting contributions to our university and the community it serves."

He was appointed as Director of the Oral History Research Office by the President of the University in 1967. Among the many letters of recommendation in support of Dr. Crawford's nomination for the CASDRA, several were received from former students of his who are now history professors across the Mid-South and beyond.

Dr. Judy LeForge, for example, faculty member at Union University, writes, "Of his numerous books and journal articles, perhaps two of his most noteworthy are: Tennessee: Land, History, and Government (1984) and ‘Tennessee: Three Different Divisions, One Unique State’ (2005). While the former represents the first, thorough Tennessee history textbook for secondary schools, the latter sheds much needed light on the Volunteer state’s three grand divisions.”

Department Chair Janann Sherman notes that Dr. Crawford is project director “of the World War II Veterans Oral History Project, a major research undertaking funded by the Military Order of World Wars and The Assisi Foundation of Memphis, to record interviews with several hundred area World War II veterans. These and all other oral history interview records are archived at the McWherter Library and will remain accessible to scholars conducting historical research."

Anna Kaminska, Mathematical Sciences

Anna KaminskaDr. Anna Kaminska, Professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences, received her Ph.D. in Mathematics in 1978 and her Doctor Habilitatus in 1986 from the A. Mickiewicz University Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, in Poznan, Poland.

Before joining the faculty at Memphis State University as an Assistant Professor in 1988, Dr. Kaminska was on the faculty at the A. Mickiewicz University as an Associate Professor and served as a Visiting Professor at the University of Sciences in Montpellier, France, and a Fulbright Scholar at Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan. Dr. Kaminska became Full Professor of Mathematics in 1997.

One of her many honors is the Faudree Professorship which she received in 2007. Dr. Kaminska’s accomplishments in research are demonstrated through the range of her publications and areas of expertise in mathematical sciences, in her visibility and respect in the field of mathematics throughout the world, and in her impact on graduate education at the University of Memphis.

In his nomination letter, Department of Mathematics Chair James Jamison writes, "Dr. Kaminska is one of the truly outstanding experts in the area of Orlicz and Lorentz Function spaces…Dr. Kaminska's reputation in this field of research is truly international…She has more than 70 publications…"

According to Dr. Mieczyslaw Mastylo, Institute of Mathematics of the Policy Academic of Sciences, "Dr. Kaminska is a very active member of the world of mathematicians participating in many prestigious international conferences…"

 Dr. Joseph Diestel, Director of the Banach Center, Kent State University, notes that Dr. Kaminska's work is very broad ranging, theoretically and in terms of individual and collaborative work. "It's noteworthy that Anna has published joint papers with many fine mathematicians…The point is that very strong mathematicians find it advantageous to discuss problems and work with Professor Kaminska. There's little that can be said of a scientific life that is more laudatory than that."

Dorothy Norris-Tirrell, Public and Nonprofit Administration

Dorothy Norris-TirrellDr. Dorothy Norris-Tirrell, Associate Professor, Division of Public and Nonprofit Administration, completed her Ph.D. in Public Administration at Florida International University in 1992 and joined our faculty in 1993 after serving as Visiting Assistant Professor at Florida International University.

Dr. Norris-Tirrell’s work provides a model of university engagement with the community. Since coming to the University, she has built a program of study in nonprofit administration at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

To support these programs and her research activities, she built long-lasting relationships with numerous nonprofit organizations, connecting the university to the community with substantial benefits to both. Her work has strengthened local nonprofits while providing invaluable experience to University of Memphis students. Dr. Norris-Tirrell’s work has had significant practical results and important contributions to her discipline.

Dr. Robert Montjoy, Professor at the University of New Orleans, summarizes the connectedness of Dr. Norris-Tirrell’s work: “Her record truly exemplifies the seamless and mutually supporting connection among the three university missions that should be the hallmark of engagement.”

Her work has offered important benefits to the community through improving outcome measures used by nonprofit organizations, training community volunteers to serve as board members, and bringing together nonprofit leaders both in person and through a quarterly newsletter.

She has received over $450,000 in external funding to support these projects. And her research has resulted in a rich publication record: co-author of a book entitled Immigration and Its Impact on American Cities (1996, Greenwood Press); 13 refereed journal article and chapters, 17 technical reports including one in 2006 entitled Community-Higher Education Collaboration: Exploring the Community perspective (to the Annie E. Casey Foundation/Association of Community-Higher Education Partnerships).

In her nomination letter, Dr. Joy Clay summarizes Dr. Norris-Tirrell’s accomplishments as an engaged scholar: She “embodies the mission of the urban university with a strong commitment to strengthening the Mid-South community through her scholarship teaching, and outreach.”