2012 College of Arts and Sciences' Distinguished Research Award (CASDRA)

The College of Arts and Sciences' Distinguished Research Award (CASDRA) was initiated in 1993-94. Awards may be given in four areas: Natural Sciences and Mathematical Sciences; Humanities; Social Sciences; and Engaged Scholarship.

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 two of our faculty members for their outstanding research performance. Dr. Aram Goudsouzian, Department of History, is receiving the CASDRA in the area of the Humanities and Dr. Santosh Kumar, Department of Computer Science, is receiving the award in the area of Natural Sciences and Mathematical Sciences.

Aram GoudsouzianDr. Aram Goudsouzian
, Professor of History, is receiving the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Research Award in the area of the Humanities. He completed his Ph.D. in History at Purdue University in 2002 and joined the faculty here at the University of Memphis in 2004 after holding positions at Hamilton College, Suffolk University, University of Massachusetts, Boston, and Indiana University/ Purdue University at Columbus.

Professor Goudsouzian describes his research area as being focused on modern American culture and politics, with a particular emphasis on African American history. These scholarly interests are clear by the titles of his books. Three have been published already: Sidney Poitier: Man, Actor, Icon; The Hurricane of 1938; and King of the Court: Bill Russell and the Basketball Revolution. The Sidney Poitier book was reviewed in the New York Times Book Review and the Washington Post Book Review and was a finalist for the Theatre Library Association Award. A fourth book entitled The Long Road to Freedom: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Meredith March Again Fear is under review now. In addition to these book publications, Professor Goudsouzian has over a dozen refereed articles and chapters, and he has received many awards and grants to support his research. He received the College of Arts and Sciences' Early Career Research Award in 2008.

Professor Goudsouzian was nominated by Dr. Janann Sherman, Chair of the Department of History, who writes "A young, prolific scholar in his prime, Dr. Goudsouzian's scholarship has drawn numerous local and national accolades, thereby highlighting our university's ongoing research mission and exemplifying all of the qualities that characterize the honors of this award." She points out that his work has received positive attention from the national media. For example, ESPN praised his work on the Bill Russell book as being "authoritative [and] incredibly well-researched."

 Among the letters written by colleagues from other universities, one professor at Brown University writes, "First let me say that his career has been not just stellar but meteoric. A glance at his vita shows not just an enormous quantity of work….It is all very fine." In commenting on the King of the Court book, he continues, "Goudsouzian gives us a sophisticated analysis of the place of basketball in American life, and more particularly, he shows how law, business, and media shaped the game....Using the career of Bill Russell, Goudsouzian shows us how basketball was emblematic of vast changes in American society. As he implies, the story begins with racial integration—a mighty achievement—but it isn't over yet…"

Dr. Santosh KumarDr. Santosh Kumar, Associate Professor of Computer Science, is receiving the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Research Award in the area of the Natural Sciences and Mathematical Sciences. He completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering at Ohio State University in 2006. Professor Kumar joined the faculty at the University of Memphis that year. He describes his work as seeking "to establish a scientific foundation for mobile health systems. Mobile health has the potential to simultaneously reduce the cost of health care and improve our health by providing continuous monitoring…"

Nominator Professor Stan Franklin describes Professor Kumar's research productivity and accomplishments in this way: "In only five years he has published 27 papers in highly respected and selective venues….He has been awarded almost $6,000,000 in research grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Santosh's research prowess has not gone unnoticed. In 2010 he was selected as a "Brilliant Ten," (the Top Ten Scientists in the U.S. under the age of 38) by Popular Science Magazine. He also received the Faudree Professorship in 2011-12 and the College of Arts and Sciences' Early Career Research Award in 2008.

From among highly laudatory external letters, a colleague at Arizona State University describes Professor Kumar in this way: he "has shown that it is possible for a researcher to conduct high quality research in both theory and systems…Over the years, he work has retained its high-quality and depth, but has significantly expanded in its societal impact."

J. Gayle Beck, Lillian and Morrie Moss Chair of Excellence, Department of Psychology also praises Professor Kumar with these remarks: "From our first meeting, it was clear to me that Dr. Kumar was not a typical scientist. He has excelled in highly creative ways within his field…Dr. Kumar's work has essentially laid the foundation for a new field known as mHealth. MHealth refers to the development of sensitive physiological measures that can be used while people are functioning in their natural environment…."