2016 Thomas W. Briggs Foundation Award

Dr. Denis Grélé
Associate Professor of French, Foreign Languages and Literatures

Born, raised, and educated in France, Denis Grélé started his teaching career in the French Army. He came to the United States Denis D. Greleafter completing his Master's degree in French Literature at the University of Caen. He received his Ph.D. from New York University where he served as language instructor. He taught for several years in New England before coming to the University of Memphis nine years ago. He is now Associate Professor of French in the Department of Foreign Language where he enjoys sharing his love for France and his native language.

His research interests are French utopias in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. He is the author of Travailler en utopie : Les Condamnés du Bonheur (1675-1789) (2009), and of numerous articles on Lesage, Bernadin de Saint-Pierre, Madame de la Guette, and utopia in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in academic journals, such as Les Cahiers du XVIIème siècle, Neophilologus, Seventeenth-Century Studies, and SVEC.


Ms. Joanne Rhodes
Instructor, Physics and Materials Science

Joanne RhodesJoanne Farley Rhodes graduated from the University of Memphis with a BSEE and a BS in physics. While an undergraduate student she did solid state research in the Dept. of Physics and began publishing at that time.

After graduation she did research in advanced optical signal processing techniques for DOD. A patent was awarded for her invention developed there with a colleague. The Optical Adaptive Filter was the first real time optical feedback system. The invention and experimental results have been included in two books on optical electronics.

Still at DOD, she returned to solid state research with applications in radiation dosimetry. After several years of publishing in the this field she returned to the University of Memphis and completed her Master of Science degree in the Dept. of Physics.

She began teaching in 1990 and enjoyed it so much that her interests shifted toward math and physics education.

She has taught in the Dept. of Physics and/or the Dept. of Mathematics at several colleges and universities in Memphis and in St. Louis. She has been teaching astronomy and introductory physics in the Department of Physics and Materials Science since 2009 and joined the faculty full time in 2013.

She incorporates the use of technology into her classroom in ways which are intended to improve the educational experience of students. Online homework with interactive feedback and wireless device usage for class participation are a couple of examples that engage students and assist in the learning process.

As either a student and/or alum of the University of Memphis Dept. of Physics and Materials Science since 1976 when she took the astronomy class she now teaches, Prof. Rhodes has seen many changes and events in the Dept. of Physics. A favorite was the 1979 Einstein Centennial spearheaded by the Dept. of Physics and produced in conjunction with other university departments and the greater Memphis community. With an avid historical and current interest in the Dept. of Physics and Materials Science, she coordinated its 2011 Einstein Birthday celebration and its 2012 University of Memphis Centennial event and Marchini Scholarship fundraiser. Most recently she organized the new Lois McGlothlin Donaldson Endowed Lecture in Physics, which is intended to reach an audience of the general public with engaging speakers presenting topics in physics and astrophysics.

She continues to enjoy sharing her passion about physics and astronomy with her students and highly values increasing student science literacy in the process.