Four Professors Receive SEC-Supported Grants

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas has awarded four travel grants to faculty who plan to conduct research at other institutions in the Southeastern Conference.

The SEC Visiting Faculty Travel Grant Program is intended to enhance faculty collaboration that stimulates scholarly initiatives among the conference’s 14 member universities. It gives faculty from one SEC university the opportunity to travel to another SEC campus to exchange ideas, develop grant proposals, and conduct research.

The travel grants — funded by the SECU academic initiative — are available to each university for faculty to use during an appropriate period, such as a sabbatical leave, the summer or a designated university break. The visiting faculty member may consult with faculty and/or students, offer lectures or symposia, or engage in whatever activities are productive for the visitor and host campus.

All areas of research and scholarly activity were eligible for support.

The U of A faculty selected for travel grants are: Richard Coffman, Department of Civil Engineering; Pearl Dowe, Department of Political Science; Moon-Sook Park, Department of Music; and Michael Pierce, Department of History.

Coffman, associate professor of civil engineering, will visit Texas A&M University and the University of South Carolina. At Texas A&M, he will meet with Marcello Sanchez, associate professor of civil engineering, to discuss common research interests in thermo-hydro-mechanical modeling of soils. At the University of South Carolina, he will meet with Inthuorn Sasanakul, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, to finalize revisions to a journal article they have co-authored. He will also present seminars at each institution.

Dowe, associate professor of political science and interim director of the African and African-American Studies program, will visit the University of Florida, where she will conduct interviews and hold focus groups for her forthcoming book, Sister Strength: The Political Behavior of African American Women. She will also access the African American Collection in the George A. Smathers Libraries at the university.

Park, a soprano and assistant professor of music, will visit the University of Mississippi, where she will present, along with pianist Amanda Johnston, associate professor of music at the University of Mississippi, a recital of Korean and Canadian art songs. The program will represent lesser-known composers of their respective native countries and is an opportunity to introduce this rarely performed repertoire to an American audience.

Pierce, associate professor of history, will visit the University of Mississippi, where he will access the archives and special collections in the university’s libraries. He will also discuss Southern labor history with graduate students.

Each of these projects has the potential to become a fully supported research collaboration.

The SEC Visiting Faculty Travel Grant is one of several programs of the SECU academic initiative. SECU, headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., sponsors, supports and promotes collaborative higher education programs and activities involving administrators, faculty and students at its member universities.

The U of A is also hosting eight visiting faculty members through the grant program this year. They are:

  • Tim Davis, professor and senior scientist of horticulture, Texas A&M University
  • Suniti Karunatillake, assistant professor of geology and geophysics, Louisiana State University
  • Tim Murphy, professor of agricultural leadership, education, and communications; Texas A&M University
  • Elizabeth Payne, professor of history, University of Mississippi
  • Amy Pollard, associate professor of bassoon, University of Georgia
  • Douglas Shadle, assistant professor of musicology, Vanderbilt University
  • Irina Voro, professor of piano, University of Kentucky
  • Matthew Wood, assistant professor of low brass, Auburn University

Chris Branam, research communications writer/editor
University Relations


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