UA Professors Honored for Research

Honorees at the 2017 Faculty Research Day included, from left, Rebecca Salzer, Dr. Brian Jordon, Dr. Paul Allison, Dr. Benjamin Kozuch, Dr. Andrew Lemmon, Dr. Aaron Kuntz, Paul Horwitz, Dr. Andrew Billings, Dr. Kimberly Genareau, Dr. Michael Picone, Dr. Jingping Sun and Dr. Gregory Starr. Honorees not pictured include Dr. Jason Bara, Dr. Adam Knowlden, Dr. Stephen Rushin and Dr. Lesley Jo Weaver.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Six professors from across The University of Alabama were selected for the President’s Faculty Research Award and honored at a ceremony on campus.

The ceremony at the Bryant Conference Center April 12 was part of Faculty Research Day, established to highlight and celebrate excellence in research and scholarship by bringing together faculty from across the campus.

The annual event aims to increase awareness and generate enthusiasm for scholarship among faculty at UA as the University moves to advance its research enterprise.

“At The University of Alabama, we are working to increase and expand our research and discovery base and encourage a culture for high expectations in these fields,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell, who recognized the work of the faculty in opening remarks. “The research we perform today affects tomorrow’s quality of life, and we want to be on the leading edge of that.”

Sponsored by the offices of the President and Vice President for Research and Economic Development, the award goes to outstanding faculty researchers from across UA’s Colleges and Schools.

The winners include a senior and junior investigator from each of three groupings: physical and biological sciences, mathematics and engineering; social and behavioral sciences; and arts and humanities.

The faculty-led Research Advisory Committee chose the winners of the 2017 President’s Faculty Research Award from 16 finalists. They are:

Physical and Biological Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering

Senior Investigator:

  • Dr. Gregory Starr, associate professor of biological sciences, focuses on understanding the role humans play in shaping ecosystems across the globe and how this alters their biogeochemical processes. He is particularly interested in how ecosystems sequester or release greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

Junior Investigator:

  • Dr. Kim Genareau, assistant professor of geological sciences, studies the field of volcanology, with a focus on the hazards that volcanic ash poses to water quality and electrical infrastructure. Her research combines different analytical and experimental tools to analyze volcanic deposits, assess eruption dynamics, and evaluate eruptive hazards.

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Senior Investigator:

  • Dr. Aaron Kuntz, associate professor of educational research, is head of the UA department of educational studies. His research agenda focuses on developing “materialist methodologies” – ways of producing knowledge that take seriously the theoretical deliberations of critical theory, postmodernism, and poststructuralism that have emerged in social theory over the past 50 years.

Junior Investigator:

  • Dr. Jingping Sun, assistant professor of educational leadership, is committed to understanding educational leaders. She researches leadership model development and policy evaluation, and she has conducted the most comprehensive meta-analysis on transformation school leadership to date.

Arts and Humanities

Senior Investigator:

  • Dr. Michael Picone, professor of French and linguistics and graduate director for the UA department of modern languages and classics, studies an assortment of lexicological, phonological and language-contact topics, as well as contemporary and historical profiles of language use in Louisiana, Alabama and elsewhere.

Junior Investigator:

  • Rebecca Salzer, assistant professor of theatre and dance, is a collaborative and multi-disciplinary art-maker whose work transcends disciplinary labels. Her collaborative projects have been supported by private and corporate donors across the country, and her stage work, films and videos have been seen internationally.


Adam Jones, UA media relations, 205/348-4328,

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.