Faculty Kudos (Fall 2023 - Spring 2024)

For more Faculty Accolades, visit the CAS Accolades website. 


Mar - Dr. Michael Perez an associate professor of Anthropology had his recent article, "Living as Stateless Palestinians in Jordan" published in Sapiens Anthropology Magazine.

Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change

Oct - The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change, committed to sharing stories of Civil Rights heroes through documentaries, will produce a new work that shines a light on in U.S. history: the James Meredith March Against Fear of 1966. Full Article

Nov - Daphene R. McFerren, executive director of the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change, was selected as a community leader by the Memphis Business Journal for its inaugural Diversity in Business Awards. The awards ceremony was held at the National Civil Rights Museum on November 9.

Center for Information Assurance (CfIA)

Oct - Dr. Dipankar Dasgupta , professor of Computer Science and director for the Center for Information Assurance, recently gave two talks in South American that were well attended and generated interest in the IEEE DL program. His talk in Ambato, Ecuador, was on "AI vs. AI: Viewpoints" and he presented on the topic "Generative AI from Historical Perspectives" at the National University of Colombia, Bogota.

Oct - Dr. Dipankar Dasgupta, director of the Center for Information Assurance and professor of Computer Science, was a keynote speaker (virtually) at the 22nd International Conference on Cyberworlds (CW2023) (ieee.tn) in Sousse, Tunisia, on Oct. 4. Dasgupta is an IEEE CIS Distinguished Lecturer. His topic was "Artificial Immune Systems and their Applications." He is considered one of the founding fathers of Artificial Immune Systems (AIS), also known as Immunological Computation. He has many publications, including two books, on this topic. Dasgupta became a Fellow of IEEE in 2015 for his contributions to Immunological Computation and Bio-Inspired Cybersecurity.

Sept - Dr. Dipankar Dasgupta, director of the CfIA, gave a panel presentation on Sept. 14 at the monthly session of CAE-CD Community of Practice — Meet Your Fellow CAE-CD's. He presented to attendees the details regarding the course/degree offerings, current research projects and CfIA updates happening at the University of Memphis. In closing, he answered questions and welcomed any NCAE members who are interested in collaborating to reach out to him or any center's co-PI. These initiative presentations/events are intended to build connections within the NCAE-CD community.

Aug - Dr. Sajjan Shiva, First Horizon Foundation Distinguished Professor of Computer Science, participated in the International Conference on Educational Data Mining held in Bangalore, India, and delivered invited talks on the Development Life Cycles of Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Systems at the Indian Institute of Science, BABA Institute of Science and Technology and APS Institute of Engineering.

Computer Science

Dec - A Novel Education Technology (iCODE: Adaptive Training of Students' Code Comprehension Processes)
Dr. Vasile Rus, Jack and Jane Morris Professor in Computer Science and PI for the project, has been awarded $1,999,595 to develop iCODE, an advanced adaptive education technology meant to monitor, model, and scaffold students' code comprehension processes. The three-year project combines design-based research with randomized controlled trials supporting CS majors, non-CS majors, and students from underrepresented groups (females, students of color, first-generation status) to engage in code comprehension activities. Read full details: https://www.memphis.edu/research/impact/newsletter_2023/december_stories/novel_education_technology.php

Nov - Dr. Myounggyu Won, Computer Science assistant professor, attended the "Getting to Know Your Fellow CAE-R" event on Oct. 26, where he presented his paper, "Cybersecurity Summer Camp for High School Students Using Autonomous R/C Cars." His research showcased an innovative method of integrating cybersecurity with computer science for K-12 education. He also shared insights from the hands-on projects and activities that he developed for a cybersecurity summer camp, which he hosted in summer 2023.


Sept - Dr. Kathy Lou Schultz, professor of English, has published two recent articles — “‘Oh Say Can You See’: Seeing and the Unseen in Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric” appears in The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century American Poetry and Politics and “Love as Revolutionary Practice in Askia Touré’s Songhai!” was published in a special issue of the University of Maine’s Paideuma: Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, dedicated to this important Black Arts Movement poet and activist.

Sept - Dr. J. Elliott Casal, Assistant Professor in the Department of English Applied Linguistics program, has co-written an article that has garnered 900+ reactions, 80 reposts, and over 40,000 article downloads on LinkedIn. Read more about it.

Mathematical Sciences

Feb - George Anastassiou, professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, presented a paper at the Annual Meeting of the American Mathematical Society in San Francisco earlier this month.

Oct - George A. Anastassiou, PhD, Department of Mathematical Sciences professor, recently had his new book, "Parametrized, Deformed and General Neural Networks," published.

Oct - Irena Lasiecka, a distinguished professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, has been elected an International Federation of Information and Processing (IFIP) Fellow. The most prestigious IFIP technical distinction, the IFIP Fellow is conferred by the IFIP General Assembly in recognition of outstanding contributions in the field of information processing.

Oct - George A. Anastassiou, PhD, Department of Mathematical Sciences professor, published an article "Approximation of Brownian Motion on Simple Graphs" for MDPI Mathematics. Read the Article

Aug - George A. Anastassiou, PhD, Department of Mathematical Sciences professor, participated in several speaking engagements during the summer, including the main speaker at the MDPI webinar in Zurich, Switzerland; joint invited speaker at the 1st International Statistics Conference in Athens, Greece; main speaker at ICOMSS23 in Selcuk, Turkey; Invited speaker at ICNSC 2023, Istanbul, Turkey; and invited speaker and honorary chair at ICMMAAC-23 in Jaipur, India.

Political Science 

Dec - New Faculty Researcher Spotlight (Emmy-nominated documentary film producer, Wellman, joins Political Science Department)
Dr. Elizabeth Iams Wellman recently joined the University of Memphis as an assistant professor in Comparative Politics at the Department of Political Science. Wellman does research exploring how international migration is reshaping electoral politics and citizenship, particularly in the Global South.
Full Details


Jan - Roger J. Kreuz, associate dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and professor of Psychology, authored the articles “Plagiarism is not always easy to define or detect” and “'Thirst trap' and 'edgelord' were recently added to the dictionary – so why hasn't 'nibling' made the cut?” that were recently published in The Conversation.

Dec - Self-Change in Drinking Behaviors (Social and behavioral processes associated with an existing cohort of black and white emerging adults)
Professor of Psychology Dr. James Murphy, along with Psychology Research Professor Dr. Ashley Dennhardt and colleagues from McMaster University, Florida State University, and Yale University, recently received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) titled “A Qualitative Analysis of Social and Behavioral Processes Associated with Self-Change in Drinking in an Existing Cohort of Black and White Emerging Adults.” This study will extend our previous NIH-funded study (Project BETA) that allowed us to recruit and follow a diverse community-based cohort of 601 Memphis area emerging adults beginning in 2017. Project BETA participants are now approximately 30 years old, and they reflect the racial/ethnic and economic diversity of the Memphis community. UofM Media Release

Dec- Delayed Punishment Decision-making Task (Brain regulates sensitivity to delayed punishment to improve treatments for substance use.)
Dr. Nicholas Simon,  associate professor of Psychology, and his graduate student colleagues developed the novel “Delayed Punishment Decision-making Task”, which reveals that rats, like humans, underestimate the negative value of delayed punishment during decision-making. Furthermore, the Simon lab observed that this “discounting” of delayed punishment is dependent on a brain region called the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). The Simon Lab in the Department of Psychology was recently awarded a grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse that uses cutting-edge chemogenetic manipulation to investigate the neurochemical brain circuits that mediate decision-making guided by delayed punishment. Read More about the research

Oct - Dr. Roger Kreuz, associate dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and professor of Psychology was recently featured on  The Academic Minute talking about his recently published book on language and identity. 

Religious Studies

Feb - Dr. Kevin Taylor, director of Religious Studies and assistant professor of Teaching in the Department of Philosophy, has published an article titled “Spiritual Exercises in the Rinzai Zen Tradition: Imminence and Disruption in Ikkyū Sōjun and Hakuin Ekaku” in the journal Religions.

Aug - Assistant Professor of Teaching Dr. Michael Hundley participated in the Society of Biblical Literature International Conference at the University of Pretoria in Pretoria, SA from July 3-7. He presented "High Gods and Their Monsters." He also published an article in the Spring: "Divinized Instruments and Divine Music: A Study in Occasional Deification," Journal of Near Eastern Studies 82 (2023): 119-32. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/toc/jnes/current

Aug - Assistant Professor of Teaching Dr. Kevin Taylor participated in a month-long NEH workshop at the University of Hawai'i East-West Center with the topic, Women in Buddhism: Religion, Politics, and the Arts. Dr. Taylor is currently in-process co-editing a volume based on this workshop tentatively titled Women and Representation in Buddhist Asia: Innovative Pedagogies, Alternative Narratives, and Reimagined Philosophies, edited by Antoinette DeNapoli, Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox, and Kevin Curtis Taylor with SUNY Press.

Social Work

Dec - Behavioral Health and the Underserved (Improving behavioral healthcare for the Latinx community in Memphis)

Drs. Elena Delavega, professor and DSW Program Director, and Susan Neely-Barnes, professor, director, and chair from the University of Memphis School of Social Work, have received a $60,000 grant for one year to enhance behavioral health services to the underserved and largely uninsured Latinx community in Memphis. This collaboration will involve Latinx social workers to serve the needs of the Latinx community at Church Health. The goals of the project are as follows:  

  • To increase access to behavioral health services for the Latinx community in Memphis.
  • To improve the mental/emotional health of clients who seek behavioral health services at Church Health.
  • To increase University of Memphis student engagement at Church Health through internships and service learning.
  • To develop a course in integrated, community-based behavioral health that can be taught onsite at Church Health and provide community engagement with the programs and services at Crosstown.

Learn More

World Languages and Literatures

Nov - Michael Vicente Perez, professor of Anthropology, authored the article "Gaza boming adds to the generations of Palestinians displaced from their house" in The Conversation and LA Times

Oct - Dr. Brianna Butera published "Acoustic Variability of /ptk/ and /bdɡ/ in Spanish: A Pilot Study." Languages 2023, 8(3), 224. 

Oct - Dr. Cosetta Gaudenzi presented "Buongiorno notte, Esterno notte: Political Engagement in Italian Film and TV Series" at the AAIS Conference, Texas Christian University, 18-20 May, 2023.

Oct - Dr. Yuki Matsuda, along with Dr. Hironori Nishi and Ms. Akemi Sommer, was invited to a meeting on industry-academia-government collaboration hosted by Consul General Matsumoto of the Consulate General of Japan in Nashville at his official residence, where the participants exchanged views with Japanese business executives and state officials. At the meeting, Matsuda gave a lecture on case studies from the Memphis area and spoke about the importance of understanding the value of foreign language majors in the development of next-generation industries.

Oct - Dr. Hironori Nishi published his article “Using Online Videos in Japanese Culture Courses Taught in English” in the Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Teachers of Japanese (2023), pp. 51-59.

Oct - Dr. Errol M. O'Neill presented “Quelle place pour les traducteurs en ligne dans les cours de Français Langue Étrangère ?” ("What is the role of online translators in French as a Foreign Language courses?") at the Annual Convention of the American Association of Teachers of French in Trois-Rivières, Québec, July 26, 2023.

Oct - Dr. Iván Ortega-Santos’ volume Language Contact in Theoretical Syntax, co-edited with Dr. Edita Gutiérrez Rodríguez (Universidad Complutense) appeared in the Catalan Journal of Linguistics 22.

Oct - Dr. Brianna Butera published the following article co-written with Rajiv Rao and Maryann Parada: "A Preliminary Exploration of Declarative Intonation in the Chilean Diaspora of Sweden." Languages 2023, 8(4), 228. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8040228Oct - Dr. Cosetta Gaudenzi presented "Bellocchio's Buongiorno notte and Esterno notte: Caring for Legacy in Italian Film and TV Series," at the NECS conference in Oslo, Norway in June.Oct - Dr. Robert Kelz gave a presentation to students of the Pestalozzi School (Argentina) and the Fürstenfeldbruck School (Germany) entitled,  "Deutschsprachige Künstler*innen im Exil, der Vertreibung und der Emigration am Río de la Plata (1933-)."Oct - The research project Syntactization of discourse: Information structural features in the sentence peripheries and their contrast in natural languages , lead by the PI Dr. Ángel Luis Jiménez-Fernández (Universidad de Sevilla) and which includes Dr. Ivan Ortega-Santos as a collaborator, has been funded by the Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades, Spain.Sept - On Monday Sept 18th, Dr. Diana Ruggiero presented at the UTHSC's “Conversations on Health Disparities” series.

Sept - Dr. Errol M. O'Neill presented “Online translators: Developing informed policies for on-ground and online instruction" at the biennial conference of the International Association for Language Learning Technology in New Orleans, LA, June 16, 2023.

Sept - The Governor's School for International Studies, held on the UofM campus over the summer for top high school students in the state of Tennessee, had a strong World Languages and Literatures presence. Dr. Will Thompson served as director of the program, and Dr. Hironori Nishi taught the Japanese language and culture class.

Aug - Dr. Denis Grélé presented a paper entitled “La Nouvelle Clarice : utopie feminine et chrétienne” at the Journée Perry Gethner, Femmes-Thé­âtre-Religion organized by Oklahoma State University in July.
Aug - Dr. Hironori Nishi presented his paper, entitled “Using Online Videos in Japanese Culture Courses Taught in English” at the 38th Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Teachers of Japanese (SEATJ) hosted by Duke University on May 20, 2023.
Aug - Dr. Will Thompson presented “Portrayals of the French Creole Communities of the American Midwest” at the Annual Convention of the American Association of Teachers of French in Trois-Rivières, Québec, July 25, 2023.