UNCG Research

Research Excellence Awards

Accepting nominations, recognizing the 2013-2014 winners


Posted on Monday, October 6th, 2014 by UNCG Research.

Nominations for UNCG’s annual Research Excellence Awards are underway for the 2014-2015 year.

The campus-wide recognition program was established 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.

The 2013-2014 Research Excellence Award winners were Dr. Michael J. Kane and Dr. Paul Silvia.

Dr. Kane of the Psychology department earned the 2014 Senior Research Excellence Award for his research into memory and attention functions, including working memory capacity and attention control. “His theorizing about working memory has shaped much of the modern literature, impacting basic research on young adults, research on child development and aging, research on clinical populations, and research on neurological disorders,” noted one fellow researcher. On average, each of Kane’s publications have been cited over 100 times, a testament to his influence in his field. Kane’s studies are particularly novel in that they employ both experimental and correlational methods. “This is a rare approach within the field but one which adds considerable force to the power of Dr. Kane’s findings,” shared a colleague at UNCG.

But Dr. Kane is more than just a researcher. He is also an exceptional teacher and mentor to students here at UNCG. “Evidence of Dr. Kane’s excellence in research can be found in the training he has provided to the large number of undergraduate and graduate students who have worked under his mentorship over the years,” shared one peer. Several of those students, both graduate and undergraduate, have published with Kane, and two of his graduate researchers are recipients of the UNCG Outstanding Dissertation award.

Paul Silvia, the winner of the 2014 Junior Research Excellence Award, is also a member of the Psychology department. Dr. Silvia began as an assistant professor at UNCG in 2002 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2007. His social psychology research investigates curiosity, creativity, the arts, and intelligence. This work comes with many challenges, including how exactly to measure creativity, and how to distinguish between normal reasoning and creative accomplishment. “Dr. Silvia’s work shows a great deal of originality, and I find it to be most compelling when he takes a fresh perspective on important, seminal topics,” said one colleague.

Dr. Silvia is a productive and effective researcher with a total of $1.5 million in federal funding over his career, but he has also contributed to his field in many unconventional ways. He has authored three books published by the American Psychology Association, with a fourth on the way, and is an important mentor for many students at UNCG. “His students go to conferences, get papers to review, meet the top people in the field, and publish widely,” shared a fellow researcher. “Dr. Silvia provides amazing training for up-and-coming researchers.”

To nominate a faculty member like Dr. Silvia or Dr. Kane for a 2014-2015 Research Excellence Award, click on this link for a copy of the Nomination Packet which includes the nomination guidelines, selection criteria and the nomination cover sheet. All materials are to be submitted electronically. The nomination packet, including the signed nomination cover sheet, should be submitted as a pdf file and emailed to rsh_ptnr@uncg.edu by December 3, 2014.

Article by Mary McLean

Article Photo: “Research” by Neil Conway is licensed under CC BY 2.0