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

Dr. Sarah Clark MillerDr. 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

Dr. Rick DaleDr. 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 life.

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 MurphyDr. 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

Dr. Qishi WuDr. 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 Communications.

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 and management."

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