2004 – Research

Coskun Bayrak, Associate Professor of Computer Science

Coskun Bayrak’s cutting-edge research in software systems engineering is used today by industry and government agencies across the nation including the Internal Revenue Service, National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the U.S. Department of Education.

His research in the area of Software Process Modeling and Design Methodologies for Engineering Systems helped him develop the first prototype of VALPRO, a software cost analysis tool used by the IRS.

His current outside research grants – totaling $1.75 million – include a model used to monitor low-level activities of the uterus during pregnancy. This research project, in collaboration with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences with support from the NIH, has tremendous implications for human safety and health since studies indicate that premature delivery accounts for 10 percent of all births in the United States and is the leading cause of prenatal mortality.

Dr. Bayrak is also working with the U.S. Department of Education to form a consortium of universities in Europe dedicated to advancing the use of technology in education.

He has published more than 40 articles in scientific conferences and journals and served on program committees for numerous international conferences and symposiums. His articles have appeared in internationally known journals such as Communications of ACM, Journal of System Integration, IEEE Computing Futures, SDPS Transactions: Journal of Integrated Design and Process Science, ACM Software Engineering Notes, and the International Journal of Computational Intelligence. Dr. Bayrak also serves as a reviewer for many industry and scientific journals and has published numerous book and journal paper reviews.

Professor Bayrak received his Ph.D. in computer science from Southern Methodist University.

James A. Karrh, Associate Professor of Marketing and Advertising

While still early in his academic career, James Karrh has already made a substantial impact with his research in the marketing and advertising fields, specifically the area of product placement – advertisers obtaining permission to put products in television shows and movies, not as an advertisement but as part of the set or plot.

Dr. Karrh’s product placement research has been cited in academic journals such as the Journal of Advertising, Journal of Consumer Affairs, Lancet and the American Political Science Review. Professors and students from across the world contact him regularly for advice and guidance on the subject. He also continues to publish articles about his research in journals, including the Journal of Advertising Research, International Journal of Advertising, and the Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising, and has made more than 20 presentations at national and local industry conferences.

In 2002, Professor Karrh was recognized by one of the top scholarly organizations in marketing – the Marketing Science Institute of Cambridge, Mass. – in a worldwide competition on “Linking Marketing to Financial Performance and Firm Value.” He received an honorable mention for his proposal and $5,000 in research funding. In 1998, the Institute of Interactive and Direct Marketing named his co-authored case study, “LRC Publishing, Inc.,” as one of the three best case studies in its annual writing competition.

Dr. Karrh currently serves on the research committee of the American Academy of Advertising and is the immediate past president of the Central Arkansas chapter of the American Marketing Association. He was also a board member of the Arkansas Advertising Federation

He received his Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Florida.

Robert L. Kennedy, Professor and Program Coordinator of Educational Foundations

Rob Kennedy is known among his colleagues for his ability to effectively communicate his theoretical and practical educational research to a diverse audience, ranging from doctoral students to accomplished researchers.

During the last five years, Dr. Kennedy has authored one book and two book chapters and co-authored five articles in traditional and online journals, 18 publications in five conference proceedings, and 11 papers that were accepted for inclusion in the ERIC database. He has also made 27 presentations at professional conferences. He currently serves on the editorial boards of The Professional Educator and Educational Research Quarterly. Dr. Kennedy is a past-president of the Mid-South Educational Research Association and was recently re-elected president of the Mid-South Educational Research Foundation.

On the local and regional level, Professor Kennedy has used his statistical knowledge to evaluate the effectiveness of magnet schools, aspects of K-12 school and district leadership, current and proposed curriculum in K-12 schools, and regional economic development.

Professor Kennedy has also worked with Arkansas school districts on the use of research for program evaluation and improvement and has assisted the Arkansas Department of Education by conducting data analysis on desegregation, curriculum programs, and effective learning strategies. As part of the desegregation research, he studied the school districts in Pulaski County to determine gaps in performances among different ethnic groups and presented his findings to school principals so they could initiate changes to narrow the gaps.

Dr. Kennedy is also dedicated to encouraging research among aspiring education professionals, and has chaired approximately 25 completed doctoral dissertations and served as research methodologist on more than 150 doctoral dissertation committees while at UALR.

Dr. Kennedy received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri.

Philip D. Oliver, Ben J. Altheimer Distinguished Professor of Law

Philip Philip Oliver is playing a significant role in educating the next generation of tax lawyers and tax policy makers with his extensive research on tax law that is used in legal education programs across the nation.

He recently published the second edition of Tax Policy, a collection of articles, essays, commentary, and helpful questions that is used as a text in legal programs at leading universities including Duke, University of Florida, University of Oklahoma, and the University of San Diego. Dr. Oliver is currently drafting the Teachers’ Manual for the text.

The first edition of Tax Policy was cited by prestigious journals such as the Virginia Tax Review, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, and Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy. Colleagues describe the text as “the only up-to-date tax policy book available” and “the leading book in the field.” According to the book publisher Thomson West, the first edition was the most widely adopted tax policy book in the country and the second edition is also expected to be a success.

In addition to his books and articles on tax policy, Professor Oliver has written numerous law review articles in other areas, particularly tort law, and published many articles in national media ranging from the Wall Street Journal to the Los Angeles Times. He wrote several articles analyzing proposed amendments to the Arkansas Constitution that were published statewide by members of the Arkansas Press Association. Professor Oliver also is a member and serves on various committees of the American, Arkansas, Georgia, and Pulaski County Bar Associations.

Bruce L. Plopper, Professor of Journalism

For more than 25 years, Bruce Plopper’s research in the area of student press law has inspired his colleagues and scholars across the nation to evaluate related court and legislative decisions in new ways.

His landmark research led to the passage of the Arkansas Student Publications Act in 1995, which made Arkansas one of only six states to protect First Amendment rights for the high school press.

The director of the national Student Press Law Center says, “Dr. Plopper deserves special credit for examining a subject that many journalism educators are content to ignore. By sharing the practical applications of his research, a growing number of educators, professional journalists, and foundations are beginning to recognize the importance of student press law in preparing students to become journalists and creating the next generation of citizens who appreciate the values of a free society.”

In 2002, Dr. Plopper published the third edition of his book, Mass Communication Law in Arkansas, which is used by many college journalism professors in Arkansas. The fourth edition of the book will be released in June. High school teachers across the nation continue to use his book, The Problem-Solving Handbook for High School Journalism Advisers as a resource. He has also published articles in regional and national peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Communication Studies, Southwestern Mass Communication Journal and Journalism and Mass Communication Educator, and presented numerous papers at regional and national conferences. Professor Plopper continues to accept invitations to speak to regional high school and journalism advisers and students about media law.

As coordinator of the UALR journalism graduate program, Dr. Plopper encourages his students to pursue independent and collaborative research projects. Under his direction, many students have presented their research in peer-reviewed forums. He also recognizes students who work with him on research by giving them co-authorship of the project.

Dr. Plopper received his Ph.D. in journalism from Southern Illinois University.

Zabelle Stodola, Professor of English

Through her groundbreaking work in Indian captivity narratives – texts by and about people captured by Native Americans – Zabelle Stodola has established herself internationally as one of the premier scholars in early American studies.

Professor Stodola has researched and recovered many of these lost voices, many of them 17th and 18th century women. Highlights of this research include the book Women’s Indian Captivity Narratives published by Penguin Classics, nine articles in key journals and books published by Cambridge and Oxford University Presses and Modern Language Association Press, and numerous national and international presentations. She also served on the editorial boards of Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers and Early American Literature. The National Endowment for the Humanities recognized her achievements by awarding her two competitive research grants, one in 1997 and most recently in 2003.

Dr. Stodola continues to use her research to develop new courses and texts on early American women writers and Indian captivity narratives. She also uses her expertise to educate the public about literature with her “Speaking Volumes” series, a local National Public Radio show she developed highlighting authors, literary genres, and literary terms.

With her record of scholarship and her new position as president of the Society of Early Americanists, the leading professional organization in her field, Professor Stodola is a driving force in the advancement of understanding and significance of early American studies in today’s world.

Dr. Stodola received her Ph.D. in English from Pennsylvania State University.

Wei Zhao, Associate Professor of Chemistry

Wei Zhao is an internationally-known analytical chemist who collaborates with colleagues worldwide on research projects, most recently in nanotechnology – the science and technology of building electronic circuits and devices from single atoms and molecules.

Throughout his career, Dr. Zhao has worked with researchers from the Naval Research Laboratory, Duke University, DuPont Company, Argonne National Laboratory, and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology to advance the field of nanotechnology.

In only five years at UALR, Dr. Zhao has received major external funding from the Research Corporation, the Defense Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (DEPSCoR), and the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP). The funding allowed him to set up a laser spectroscopy laboratory, making UALR one of a few universities worldwide with this state-of-the-art technology for analysis of new materials in a multidimensional setting. Dr. Zhao has developed an active research group for the lab, including both graduate and undergraduate students from UALR. Their work has already resulted in more than 10 invited presentations at national and international meetings and more than five peer-reviewed journal articles co-authored by students.

One of his colleagues from the University of Wisconsin-Madison says, “Dr. Zhao’s work has been a driving force in the rapid expansion of multidimensional vibrational spectroscopy in physical and analytical chemistry communities around the world.”

According to his colleagues, his invitation to speak at the 2nd International Conference on Advanced Vibrational Spectroscopy in the United Kingdom last year signified that he has become an international leader in his field.

Professor Zhao has published more than 70 papers in scholarly journals and books and regularly presents his work at national and international scientific meetings. The Science Citation Index indicates that his research has been cited internationally in more than 300 articles.

He received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Peking University in Beijing.