Indiana State University Newsroom

Theodore Dreiser Distinguished Research/Creativity Awards presented

April 29, 2010

Three Indiana State University faculty members have been honored with the 2010 Theodore Dreiser Distinguished Research and Creativity Award.

Arthur Halpern, professor of chemistry, Charles Roberts, professor of mathematics and computer science, and Tom Sawyer, professor of recreation and sport management, received the award Thursday. Named for the early 20th century author who grew up in Terre Haute, the Dreiser Award recognizes full-time ISU faculty members who have made outstanding contributions to their disciplines.

An ISU faculty member since 1990, Halpern was chair of the chemistry department and interim chair of the physics department. He is currently interim chair of the biology department. His research interests concern computational chemistry applied to physical chemistry education. Halpern is on the editorial board of the "Journal of Chemical Education" and has published more than 100 scholarly works, inclulding several editions of a physical chemistry laboratory text. He has earned professional recognition as an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, NATO Senior Scientist Fellow, as a member of a National Research Council Advisory Panel, and as a participant on review panels for the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health. He has also worked with undergraduate students and several of them have become co-authors on publications.

"For many years I have been interested in combining scholarly research interests with educational outcomes in physical chemistry. I am proud that my work has been recognized by my peers through the Dreiser Award," Halpern said.

Roberts graduated from Indiana  State College in 1964 with a bachelor's degree. He has served on the faculty of his alma mater since 1971. Math and computer science department colleagues who nominated him said he is especially noted for his work with Latin squares, tables of symbols that have applications in designing experiments and in error correcting codes. He has published 32 peer reviewed papers and four books, including two textbooks in 2009 and 2010,

"Introduction to Mathematical Proofs" and "Ordinary Differential Equations: Applications, Models and Computing."

"I am very pleased to be honored for my scholarly contributions to the discipline of mathematics, since mathematics is my vocation and avocation," Roberts said. "Special thanks go to my departmental colleagues for nominating me for this prestigious award and to all of those individuals at ISU and other universities who collaborated with me on mathematical research. I greatly appreciate the assistance of my colleagues who used preliminary copies of my last two texts in their classes and offered constructive criticism prior to publication. ISU has many talented, creative scholars. I am proud to be among them and proud to receive this award."

At Indiana State since 1984, Sawyer was recognized for his significant contribution to the sport and recreation management field through his published works. He has authored more than 170 articles published in professional journals and has written, co-authored or edited 12 textbooks and more than 30 book chapters in sport management and faculty design. One of his books, "Facility Planning and Design for Health, Physical Activity, Recreation and Sport," is considered the decisive text for planning, designing, constructing, and managing activity based facilities. Sawyer was also selected for the Caleb Mills Distinguished Teaching Award in 1995 and the Faculty Distinguished Service Award in 1997.

"I came to ISU as a department chair because it was important for me to make a contribution to the quality of academic life within the academy," Sawyer said. "I had the goal of helping to provide an enriching and rewarding teaching/learning/scholarly environment for students and colleagues. I am honored to have been selected for this prestigious award from among so many excellent scholars, including those who are honored with me this year at ISU, because I think many of my colleagues are deserving of such recognition. ISU has many fine scholars, and it feels good to be counted among them. Finally, I am humbled to have had the privilege of working with so many friends - faculty, staff, and students over the years."

Photos: - Arthur Halpern - Charles Roberts          - Tom Sawyer