The University of Memphis honored five faculty members with its 2012 Alumni Association
Distinguished Research Award during Faculty Convocation April 20. Four of the recipients
are Arts & Sciences faculty and are featured in this page. The recipients were Beth
Edwards, Distinguished Achievement in the Creative Arts; Dr. Emily Thrush, Distinguished
Achievement in the Humanities; Dr. Margaret Vandiver, Distinguished Research in the
Social Sciences, Business and Law; Dr. Sanjay Mishra, Distinguished Research in Science,
Engineering and Mathematics; and Dr. Joy Clay, Excellence in Engaged Scholarship.
Distinguished researchers: (from left) Dr. Sanjay Mishra, Professor Beth Edwards,
Dr. Margaret Vandiver, Dr. Emily Thrush and Dr. Joy Clay. (Photo by Susan Prater)
Dr. Sanjay Mishra, a professor in the Department of Physics, is a highly recognized researcher in magnetic
nanomaterials and biomaterials as evidenced by more than 80 peer-reviewed journal
articles in national and international journals, his strong interdisciplinary and
collaborative research program, and his exemplary record of extramural funding. Mishra's
research has important applications in the development of novel magnetic nanomaterials
for targeted drug delivery, high-performance magnets for energy-saving devices, nanoscale
microwave devices, materials for wound healing, polymers for implants, and nanoparticles
for detecting early cancer cells. In addition, he has established a rigorous materials
science research program and was instrumental in the development of a material sciences
concentration at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in physics.
Dr. Emily Thrush, a professor in the Department of English, has established a remarkable and highly
influential research agenda in the areas of professional communication and the teaching
of English as a Second Language/applied linguistics. She has authored or co-authored
influential textbooks on second language acquisition and has 26 refereed publications.
She has received more than $2 million in research funding to support her research.
Thrush is a highly respected figure in the field of intercultural communication. Her
1993 essay, "Bridging the Gap: Technical Communications in the International and Multicultural
World," had been called "a pioneering article – a revelation for the field in making
the case for multilingual and multicultural sensitivity and adaptation in technical
Dr. Margaret Vandiver, a professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, is an outstanding
scholar who is widely respected for research focusing on violence at multiple levels.
Her work spans individual, collective and government violence, leading her to evaluate
homicide, legal execution, lynching and genocide. Vandiver has published two books,
has more than 45 peer-reviewed publications and has received extensive extramural
funding. Her research is heralded as being "rich in theory and supported by the painstaking
collection and rigorous analysis of data." Vandiver is described as a "compassionate
scholar" and recognized as speaking in her writings for those who do not have a voice
of their own.
Dr. Joy Clay is a professor in the Division of Public and Nonprofit Administration in the School
of Urban Affairs and Public Policy and is associate dean for Interdisciplinary Studies
in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is a highly accomplished and engaged scholar.
Her commitment to engaged research is demonstrated by sustained and cultivated partnerships
across communities, and communities of practice, as well as through her impressive
publication and grantsmanship record. The spirit of engagement is at the heart of
Clay's professional life. She has invested in, built and sustained significant and
meaningful partnerships with local and state government, community organizations,
and nonprofit agencies. Through her teaching, research and outreach, she "embodies
the mission of the engaged urban university."