UNCG Research

2012 Research Excellence Awards honor Kilcup and Leerkes

Posted on Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 by Sangeetha Shivaji.
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Karen Kilcup, Professor, English

The Office of Research and Economic Development is proud to announce our 2011-2012 Research Excellence Award winners, Dr. Karen Kilcup and Dr. Esther M. Leerkes.

Professor Karen Kilcup in the Department of English receives this year’s Senior Research Excellence Award for her work in 19th- and early 20th-century American literature. Dr. Kilcup is a nationally and internationally recognized authority who is, according to a peer, “one of the most productive scholars currently working in American literature.” Her research encompasses American women’s literature and gender studies; literature and the environment; poetry and poetics; multicultural literatures, with an emphasis on Native American; romanticism; regionalism; and humor.

“As a writer and scholar, Karen Kilcup has established an enviable reputation for groundbreaking work. As an editor of rediscovered texts and of books that focus scholarly attention on crucial issues in the profession, she simply has no equal. She is the best there is,” another colleague states. “She richly deserves to be recognized as one of the most important and groundbreaking scholars in American literary studies.”

Esther M. Leerkes, Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies

Associate Professor Esther M. Leerkes of Human Development and Family Studies receives the Junior Research Excellence Award for her work on parent-child relations in infancy and early childhood. Dr. Leerkes’ research centers on maternal sensitivity and how it relates to child outcomes. She attempts to identify factors contributing to sensitive maternal behavior, particularly in response to negative child emotions, and she examines links between specific types of maternal sensitivity and subsequent child outcomes, with an emphasis on emotional well-being.

“Dr. Leerkes has been a rising star in the field of developmental psychology since her initial appointment at UNCG in 2003,” says one colleague. In the short time she has spent at UNCG, she has excelled in terms of funding, publications, and professional development. Over the last seven years, she has contributed to approximately $3 million in external funding. Over the last nine years, she has published 35 peer-reviewed journal articles, many in cutting-edge and highly competitive journals. She reviews manuscripts for all of the leading journals in her field and is on the editorial board of two. As another colleague asserts, “Rarely does one see such a large output in a young investigator… Any university would be proud to have her – she is a star!”

UNCG established the campus-wide Research Excellence Awards in 1988 on the principle that “creating and diffusing knowledge is a formal obligation of the University.” Work by Research Excellence Awardees “contributes in an exemplary fashion to this end.” Each year, a scholar at the rank of professor receives the Senior Research Excellence Award and a cash honorarium of $7,500, while a scholar at the rank of assistant or associate professor receives the Junior Research Excellence Award and $4,500. UNCG will formally bestow the 2012 awards on Oct. 5. Join us for the ceremony at 9 a.m. in Room 114 of the School of Education Building!