The Early Career Research Award was initiated in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1989. Annually, the College
confers the Early Career Research Award to faculty members who are in the early stages
of developing their research programs.
Candidates for the ECRA must have been employed full-time by the University of Memphis
for no more than five academic years and be not more than eight years beyond receiving
the terminal degree, prior to the semester of application.
Nominations are made and awardees recommended to the Dean of the College by the Graduate
Council for Research and Graduate Studies during the spring semester.
In recognition for their research achievement, each recipient of the ECRA receives
$250 that can be applied toward research-related expenses, a plaque, and recognition
at our August faculty meeting.
This year we are very pleased to announce that four faculty members are receiving
an Early Career Research Award: Dr. Sarah Clark Miller, Department of Philosophy; Dr. Rick Dale, Department of Psychology; Dr. James Murphy, Department of Psychology; and Dr. Qishi Wu, Department of Computer Science.
Dr. Sarah Clark Miller, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, completed her Ph.D. in Philosophy
at SUNY Stony Brook in 2003, and joined our faculty in 2003. She was also a Fellow
with the Transatlantic Collegium of Philosophy (2001-2002) in Germany and a Visiting
Professor at Trinity College at the University of Toronto (2006-2007).
Dr. Miller describes her primary research efforts as being in "the areas of moral
philosophy, applied ethics, and social and political philosophy….Philosophers have
often disregarded certain undesirable aspects of the human condition—our present vulnerability,
abiding dependence and inevitable neediness, for example…" In her letter of nomination,
Philosophy Chair Deborah Tollefsen writes, "Dr. Miller's research challenges a traditional
approach in moral philosophy…Rather than starting with an ideal, Dr. Miller starts
with the reality." Since arriving at the University of Memphis, Dr. Miller has published
ten peer reviewed articles, presented 40 papers, and at the time of her nomination
was completing two book manuscripts.
In addition, she received an American Association of University Women Educational
Foundation American Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship. In one letter of reference
Professor Miller's research accomplishments are described, "Her hard work and keen
intelligence show in her scholarship and all her professional activity….Her professional
energy is evident in the large number of talks and presentations she has given at
this early stage of her career…Her work is innovative, scholarly and very well argued.
It is hardly a wonder that she is very much in demand."
Dr. Rick Dale, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, completed his Ph.D. in Psychology
at Cornell University in 2006 and joined our faculty at the University of Memphis
in 2006. Professor Dale describes himself as a cognitive psychologist specializing
in language, especially with respect to how language is learned and used in everyday
Professor Roger Kreuz who nominated Dr. Dale describes him in this way: "Rick's work
is quite innovative: he has pioneered new techniques, such as examining arm movements
and visual attention, that have led to important discoveries concerning underlying
cognitive processes." In the three years he has been on the faculty at the U of Memphis,
Professor Dale has written 15 peer-reviewed journal articles (in journals such as
Cognitive Science, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, and Memory and Cognition), contributing
to over 50 publications in his career so far. He has also received two NSF grants
with funding of approximately 1 million dollars for his research.
His research lends itself to interdisciplinary collaborations at the U of Memphis
and elsewhere. To summarize his accomplishments, Dr. Kreuz wrote, "In my 20 years
at the University of Memphis, I have never seen a colleague who has been as productive
or as successful at this point in his career."
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Dr. James Murphy
Dr. James Murphy, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, completed his PhD in Clinical Psychology
at Auburn University in 2003 and joined the University of Memphis faculty in 2006.
He describes his research interests as being primarily in "substance abuse and addictive
behaviors. I am particularly interested in research that attempts to understand how
substance abuse patterns develop, change, andon remit during young adulthood."
Professors James Whelan and Robert Neimeyer nominated Dr. Murphy and wrote "Jim has
already demonstrated himself to be an exceptional scholar. To date, he has accumulated
an impressive record of 40 publications or in press peer reviewed journal articles,
book chapters, or abstracts….Several of his papers have been widely cited in the scientific
literature." Examples of journals where his research has been published include Psychology
of Addictive Behaviors and Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
Professor Murphy was awarded the Young Investigator Award by the Research Society
on Alcoholism in 2006. Since coming to the University of Memphis, Dr. Murphy's research
has been supported by grants from such agencies as the National Institute on Alcohol
Abuse and Alcoholism and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In one letter of reference,
Dr. Murphy is described as "a great example of a very well-founded clinical researcher.
He shows his strengths in conceptualization and development of empirical questions
and has creative and interesting ideas that challenge the field…"
Dr. Qishi Wu, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, completed his Ph.D. in Computer
Science from Louisiana State University in 2003 and joined our faculty at the University
of Memphis in 2006. He is also a member of the collaborative research staff at Oak
Ridge National Laboratory.
Before coming here, Dr. Wu worked as a Research Associate and Research Fellow in the
Computer Science and Mathematics Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory under funding
from Department of Energy and the National Science foundation. Dr. Wu describes his
research areas as being in high-performance networking, high-performance transport
protocols, distributed computing and remote visualization, wireless sensor networks,
and computer security.
Professor Dipankar Dasgupta nominated him, noting that Dr. Wu "has published more
than 70 research articles in top-tier conference proceedings, premier specialized
journals, and mainstream technical books….He is proving to be a great mentor for both
undergraduates and graduates." Examples of the journals in which he is published are:
Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology and Computer
In one of his letters of reference, Dr. Wu's research accomplishments are described
as, "He has creatively developed cutting-edge network technologies to overcome transport-related
problems common in wide-area and wireless networks. These novel technologies have
tremendously enhanced the networking capabilities of existing sensor networks and
significantly improved the overall effectiveness and efficiency of network implementation
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