RECAPP: Research & Creative Activity at Appalachian Awardees

Chancellor's and Provost's Awards for Excellence in Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity

The Chancellor's and Provost's Awards for Excellence in Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity honor faculty members for superior achievement in their fields. Recipients are either nominated by faculty, Chairs, Deans, and/or self-nominated, and are chosen by a committee of faculty members. Two awards will be given in this category per year.

2020 Awardees

Chancellor's award for Excellence in Reserach, Scholarship, and Creative Activity
Dr. Curtis R. Ryan
Department of Government & Justice Studies

Dr. Curtis R. Ryan is a Professor of Political Science in the Department of Government and Justice Studies. His scholarship on Middle East politics is remarkable and notable both inside and outside of the academy.  The review committee was impressed at how Dr. Ryan’s scholarship has moved from theory into action: “He is called to Washington, DC 4-6 times a year to brief State Department officials and military leaders regarding crises in the Middle East.  Following the publication of his most recent book on Jordan and the Arab Uprisings, Dr. Ryan was invited to Jordan by the Crown Prince for his views on how the uprising would impact U.S. foreign aid and other policy decisions.” One nominator said, “Dr. Ryan is a thought leader and influences (or at least informs) our government’s decisions in one of the most important and volatile regions of the world.” Dr. Ryan has written extensively on international relations in the Middle East, on inter-Arab relations, alliance politics, and on Jordanian domestic politics and foreign policy. He has published extensively in first tier journals and is the author of three books most recently, Jordan and the Arab Uprisings: Regime Survival and Politics Beyond the State. Professor Ryan served as a Fulbright scholar at the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. He is a past president of the Southeast Regional Middle East and Islamic Studies Society (SERMEISS) and currently serves as the organization’s program director. He is a member of the Executive Board of the Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS) and a member of the Editorial Board of the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) and its quarterly journal, Middle East Report.   

Provost's Award for Excellence in Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity
Dr. Alecia Y. Jackson
Department of Leadership & Educational Studies

Dr. Alecia Y. Jackson is Professor of Educational Research in the Department of Leadership and Educational Studies – where she is also affiliated faculty in the Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies program. One of Dr. Jackson’s references described her as “inventing, creating a different kind of research,” and, “She is in the vanguard of those inventing new educational and social science inquiry for the next generation of researchers.”  “She is known for her fine and risky intellect, her determination and focus, and her generosity of spirit and energy.  She sets a very high standard for her work and challenges pedestrian work with pedagogical acumen.”  Her book, Thinking with Theory in Qualitative Research (2012), is a required text in research methodology courses, and she has published in the best journals in her field. Dr. Jackson's research interests bring feminist, poststructural, and posthuman theories of power/knowledge, language, materiality, and subjectivity to bear on a range of overlapping topics: deconstructions of voice and method; conceptual analyses of resistance, freedom, and agency in girls’ and women’s lives; and qualitative analysis in the “posts.” Her work seeks to animate philosophical frameworks in the production of the new, and her current projects are focused on the ontological turn, qualitative inquiry, and thought. 

2019 Awardees

Inaugural Chancellor's award for Excellence in Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity

Dr. Ellen Cowan
Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences

The recipient of the Chancellor's award has had a long and illustrious career at Appalachian. Her main research focus is glacial sedimentology and glacial processes. She studies how glaciers have responded to past climate variations to understand how current changes in climate will affect glaciers. This individual is known as one of the best glacial sedimentologists in the US. In 2018, she was inducted as a fellow to the Geological Society of America, an honor given to only about 1% of the members of the society. Over her distinguished career at Appalachian, she has run an exceptionally successful research program and had numerous high-profile publications. And she has achieved this with no post-docs, no doctoral students, and not even master's students, but rather only with undergraduate research students. To quote from one of her reference letters, "She has been a trailblazer for women in science at Appalachian, has been extremely productive in her scholarly output and in the breadth of her work, and has spread this knowledge to the next generation of Earth scientists".

Inaugural Provost's award for Excellence in Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity
Dr. Baker Perry
Department of Geography and Planning

The recipient of the Provost's award is a prominent, world-class researcher in the area of climate science. His research interests include precipitation, glacier-climate interactions, and climate change primarily in the mountains, with a focus on the Himalayas, Andes and the Appalachians. He joined the faculty in 2006 and has built a very productive research program that has extensively integrated undergraduate and master's level students as well as the Watauga county K-12 school system. In 2019, this individual was part of the National Geographic Life at the Extremes expedition to Mount Everest where his team installed the world's two highest world-record breaking weather stations on Mt. Everest. Currently, there is very little known about the climate at this altitude. These weather stations will close this gap in our knowledge by providing real-time climate data at these high altitudes and may even save lives by improving weather forcasting on Mt. Everest. To quote from one of his reference letters, this individual has been "blending new science with frontier exploration and adventure. It has engaged millions worldwide in the excitement, drama, and serious environment change to be found on the roof of our planet." I'll end with another quote form the reference letter, "World records are not broken without excellence!"