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2011 Distinguished Research Professors

Allison Funk, English Languages and Literatures
Edward Sewell, Mathematics and Statistics

Allison Funk, Distinguished Research Professor of English Languages and Literatures
Allison Funk, the 2011 Distinguished Research Professor of English Language and Literature, was promoted to Professor at SIUE in 2001, and since then has produced a catalogue of poetry that earned her an honored place among Midwestern poets, and among noteworthy American female poets. Throughout her career, Allison has maintained the highest level of professional development. She steadfastly pursued her creative research independently and through externally-funded prestigious awards, including fellowships to two international writing residencies, such as the Dora Maar house in France in 2009 and in 2001 to the Hawthornden International Writers Retreat near Edinburgh, Scotland. In the U.S. she was awarded residencies at the prestigious Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, NY and three separate times at the Ragdale Foundation. Dr. Funk also received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in 1988. These are enormous accomplishments that speak to the excellence of her work and the high regard of colleagues.

During the period since her promotion, Dr. Funk has published more than thirty-one (31) poems in poetry journals of the highest rank in the U.S. and abroad. These include Poetry, Poetry Review, Shenandoah, and Prairie Schooner. She has also been selected for inclusion in a total of ten (10) poetry anthologies, including two significant volumes. Most notably, Allison has published two (2) books of poems: The Knot Garden in 2002 the Tumbling Box in 2009, and she is currently working on a new book. Poems in these volumes, especially The Tumbling Box, have established Dr. Funk as a poet of searing personal emotion that is nevertheless situated within poetic and artistic traditions. John Burnside, Professor of English at St. Andrews University in Scotland writes of her work: "The Tumbling Box is a work of astonishing intimacy and power: subtly crafted, yet emotionally raw, honest and deeply felt, yet never merely confessional... Allison Funk's journey is both profoundly moving and genuinely uplifting." Betsy Sholl, Poet Laureate of the State of Maine, has written that Allison Funk's work is "gracefully poised, perfectly balanced between grief and transformation. These poems are luminous as the painting and sunlit prairie grass they observe, and piercing as the ancient tales of entrapment and release they re-imagine."

Please join us in congratulating Allison Funk, Distinguished Research Professor of English Languages and Literatures!

Edward Sewell, Distinguished Research Professor of Mathematics and Statistics

The 2011 Distinguished Research Award recognizes Edward Sewell for his contributions to the field of operations research, particularly in the area of combinatorial optimization. As Dr. Sewell has explains it, "the primary goal of operations research is to use existing resources and technologies more efficiently, and its primary tool is mathematics…A combinatorial optimization problem is one in which one selects the best solution from a finite number of possible solutions." Dr. Sewell's specialties lie in the areas of pediatric vaccine economics, the maximum stable set problem, and production planning. Ed's work in these areas has earned him national recognition among his peers and brings prestige to the University and to his department.

The quality of Dr. Sewell's research is characterized by his sustained productivity and a consistent presence in national journals and grant agencies. Since 2003, he has produced 26 total publications, including 16 journal papers, many of them in top journals; 2 book chapters; 6 conference papers; and 2 professional papers. He pursued support for his research through internal and external sources, receiving three significant grants from the National Science Foundation. He has further contributed to the development of a web site used for several years by public health workers to design pediatric vaccine formularies.

As testified by his dossier, Dr. Sewell's research has had a significant impact on his field, his students, and the public. As one external reviewer notes, Sewell's work has drawn "significant national attention across academia, government, and industry." Most recently, for example, Dr. Sewell, together with his collaborator, received the prestigious 2010 Award for Technical Innovation in Industrial Engineering from the Institute of Industrial Engineers for longstanding research contributions on Pediatric Vaccine Economics. Furthermore, Ed has twice been a finalist for the Pierskalla Best Paper Award. Dr. Sewell's collaborator testifies, "Edward is the best discreet optimization algorithm designer that I know, and in my experience, one of the five best such innovative researchers in the nation." In fact, Edward's work shows no sign of slowing down. As evidenced by his dossier, his productivity for journal publications has increased since promotion to Professor, and his current work on the development of the Cyclic Best First Search (CBFS) strategy may have his largest impact yet on the discipline of operations research.

It is for the record of work found in Dr. Sewell's dossier and the promise of his work that is suggested in his recommendations that he has been named the 2011 Distinguished Research Professor of Mathematics and Statistics. Please join the SIUE Graduate School in congratulating Dr. Sewell in this momentous accomplishment!

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