Six honored with 2016 Distinguished Dissertation Awards

Six recent Auburn University graduates have been selected as winners of the Graduate School’s 2015-16 Distinguished Dissertation Awards.

Award winners are David Adams, Kim Gregson and Hans Saint-Eloi Cadely in the Social Sciences category and Hasan Babaei, Xunfei Jiang and Fang Yu in the Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering category. Babaei and Saint-Eloi Cadely will go on to compete for the Council of Graduate Schools/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards.

The Distinguished Dissertation Awards recognize the scholarship of doctoral graduates whose dissertations make an unusually significant contribution to their respective disciplines. Auburn’s colleges and schools nominate students for the awards, and an award committee composed of graduate faculty selects the award winners.

This year’s winning dissertations are:

  • “The Environmental Outcomes of Collaborative Natural Resource Institutions” by David Adams (dissertation embargoed). His dissertation committee consisted of Auburn faculty members Kathleen Hale (chair), M. Mitchell Brown, Linda F. Dennard, Gerard Gryski and Elise Irwin. Adams graduated in May 2016 with a doctorate in public administration and public policy and will join California State University, Fullerton this fall as an assistant professor of public administration.
  • Distinguishing Behavioral and Cognitive Dimensions of Parental Social Coaching: A Focused Examination of Parents’ Social and Psychological Influence During Early Adolescence” by Kim Gregson. Her dissertation committee consisted of Auburn faculty members Stephen Erath (chair), Gregory Pettit, Mona El-Sheikh, Margaret Keiley and Christine Totura. Gregson graduated in May 2015 with a doctorate in human development and family studies and works as a research associate with the Peer Relations Lab at Auburn University, while she also stays home full time with her two children and awaits the arrival of her third child. She is ultimately seeking a research or teaching position at a college or university.
  • The Development of Interpartner Aggression from Adolescence to Young Adulthood” by Hans Saint-Eloi Cadely. His dissertation committee consisted of Auburn faculty members Joe F. Pittman Jr. (chair), Gregory S. Pettit, Jennifer L. Kerpelman and Amy Rauer. Saint-Eloi Cadely graduated in August 2015 with a doctorate in human development and family studies and is now an assistant professor at the University of Rhode Island.
  • Molecular-Level Modeling of Thermal Transport Mechanisms within Carbon Nanotube/Graphene-based Nanostructure-enhanced Phase Change Materials” by Hasan Babaei. His dissertation committee consisted of Auburn faculty members Jay M. Khodadadi (chair), W. Robert Ashurst and Rik Blumenthal and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute faculty member Pawel Keblinski (co-chair). Babaei graduated in August 2014 with a doctorate in mechanical engineering and is now a postdoctoral associate with the University of Pittsburgh.
  • Thermal Modeling and Management of Storage Systems” by Xunfei Jiang. Her dissertation committee consisted of Auburn faculty members Xiao Qin (chair), Cheryl Seals, David Umphress and Saad Biaz. Jiang graduated in August 2014 with a doctorate in computer science and software engineering and is now an assistant professor at Earlham College.
  • Ag Sintering Die and Passive Components Attach for High Temperature Applications” by Fang Yu. Her dissertation committee consisted of Auburn faculty members R. Wayne Johnson (chair), Michael C. Hamilton, John L. Evans and Dong-Joo Kim. Yu graduated in May 2016 with a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering and is now a research associate at the University of Arkansas.

Award winners receive an honorarium of $500 and a certificate.

The two categories for the Distinguished Dissertation Awards rotate each year. The Graduate School will solicit nominations in the fall for the 2016-17 categories: Humanities/Fine Arts and Biological/Life Sciences.

Position Announcement: Auburn Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) Institutional Leader

Position Announcement: Auburn Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) Institutional Leader

The Office of the Provost welcomes applications for Institutional Leader for the Auburn Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL).

The Institutional Leader of the local CIRTL learning community leads Auburn University’s involvement in the CIRTL Network. A key role of the Institutional Leader is to inspire faculty, staff, and administrators to join and contribute to the local learning community (to be fully established Spring 2017). The successful Institutional Leader will be a change agent on campus, leading and encouraging others to prepare graduate students not only as researchers but also as future teachers in the STEM disciplines. To advocate effectively with peers and to successfully grow the nascent learning community, the Institutional Leader must be well-positioned to cultivate respect among both research-active STEM faculty and administrators as a means to build institutional regard for evidence-based teaching. This is an annually-renewable 25% position (based on performance and funds availability). This position reports to the Associate Dean of the Graduate School.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Associate or Full professor and graduate faculty member with demonstrated experience in evidence-based teaching.
  • A colleague whose home department is in a STEM discipline.
  • A colleague with a robust research agenda.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience recruiting and leading interdisciplinary faculty or graduate student groups in research, teaching, or service endeavors.
  • Previous experience at CIRTL institutions and/or knowledge of the CIRTL core ideas.
  • Interest in pursuing evidence-based teaching research.
  • Experience supporting graduate students on externally-funded grants.
  • Evidence of a sustainable research agenda.
  • Associate or Full Professor rank.


  • Lead and be an advocate for Auburn’s CIRTL program and contribute to our local learning community.
  • Recruit faculty, staff, and administrators to join the CIRTL leadership team, program team and local learning community.
  • Educate faculty and administrative colleagues regarding the CIRTL core ideas: Learning Communities, Learning Through Diversity, and Teaching as Research.
  • Coordinate faculty and graduate student teams to pursue external grants for evidence-based teaching research.
  • Recruit and work closely with additional personnel assigned to the CIRTL project.
  • Coordinate Auburn’s contributions to the larger CIRTL network.
  • Represent Auburn at twice yearly CIRTL network events.
  • Document the impact of AU CIRTL Learning Community.
  • Oversee the preparation of annual reports and budget.

The search committee will begin reviewing applications July 6, 2016.

Application package should consist of:

  • A letter of interest documenting how your experience aligns with the position description and the CIRTL core ideas;
  • A current CV; and
  • A one-page integration of teaching and research philosophy

Application materials should be combined into a single PDF and sent electronically to George Crandell, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, at

2016 NCAA Graduate Student Research Grant Program

The NCAA has released a call for proposals for its 2016 Graduate Student Research Grant Program. The NCAA Research Committee invites research proposals within the general topic areas of student-athlete psychosocial well-being and college athletics participation. Graduate students studying topics of specific interest to the NCAA and its membership, while demonstrating the competencies necessary to successfully complete the proposed study, will receive the highest consideration.

The research grant is a one-time award set at a maximum of $7,500. Proposals are due by 4 p.m. CT on August 12, 2016. Please see the PDF on for full eligibility and submission requirements.