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Feb. 28th Event Will Honor Graesser as Inaugural Recipient of Lifetime Achievement Award for Research; 61 Other U of M Professors Will Also be Recognized for Grant Acquisitions

For release: February 27, 2012
For press information, contact Curt Guenther, 901-678-2843

Dr. Art Graesser
Dr. Art Graesser

The University of Memphis will honor 62 professors who have each brought in more than $1 million in research grant funds since 1996.  Among them Dr. Art Graesser will receive the University’s inaugural Presidential Award for Lifetime Achievement in Research.

The recognition ceremony will be held Feb. 28 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom A.  The ceremony will be followed by a reception from 4 to 5 p.m.  Both events are free and open to the public.

The 62 honorees are being recognized for their work as the ‘principal investigators’ for the research projects for which they procured the million-dollar funding.  They represent disciplines across campus, including the arts and humanities, business, public health, engineering, education, and the traditional ‘hard’ sciences.  Altogether, they have brought more than $250 million in grant funding to the University since 1996

The University will also recognize four research centers that have acquired $1 million or more per year in grant funding for each of the past 15 year:  The Center for Earthquake Research and Information (CERI), the Center for Research on Educational Psychology (CREP), the Institute for Intelligent Systems (IIS), and the Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research.  Collectively, these entities have contributed more than $100 million in external supported research funding to the University during that time.

The Presidential Award for Lifetime Achievement in Research is a new award established as part of the University’s Centennial fundraising campaign to recognize the vital role and impact of research at the University of Memphis.  It represents the highest level of research recognition available to U of M faculty and will be awarded this year to Art Graesser, professor of psychology and founding co-director of the Institute for Intelligent Systems (IIS).  Graesser is noted globally as a leader in the learning sciences, with particular expertise in the fields of text comprehension, question answering, and intelligent tutoring systems. He has worked on more than $30 million in projects funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Office of Naval Research, the Institute of Education Sciences, and other national funders.

He joined the Psychology Department at the University in 1985 and, together with Dr. Stan Franklin, established the IIS as one of the first interdisciplinary research centers on campus. Today, IIS research involves approximately 60 faculty and students representing the fields of psychology, communication sciences, linguistics, computer science, mathematics, engineering, physics, neuroscience, education, philosophy, anthropology, and business.  

Graesser has directly supervised research and chaired committees for 150 undergraduate, 30 masters, and 25 doctoral students, as well as 12 post-doctoral researchers. In addition to publishing nearly 500 articles in journals, books, and conference proceedings, he has written two books and edited 11 books. He and his colleagues have designed, developed, and tested software in learning, language, emotion, and discourse technologies. University President Shirley Raines classifies Graesser as one of the faculty’s most productive researchers, saying, “He has a significant, exemplary, and sustained record of academic scholarship, research collaboration, mentoring, and university citizenship.”

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