Indiana State University Newsroom

Dreiser Award presented to professors Shelden, Tuttle

April 28, 2011

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

Michael Shelden, professor of English, and Elaina Tuttle, professor of biology, received the award during the university's Faculty Recognition Banquet Thursday (April 28). 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.

This marks the second time Shelden, an ISU faculty member since 1979, has received the Dreiser award He is the author of four literary biographies, including the authorized biography of George Orwell, which was one of two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in 1992, when he previously won the Dreiser Award. His most recent book-Mark Twain: Man in White-was published last year by Random House and was named one of the best books of 2010 by both the Library Journal and the Christian Science Monitor. His next book is a biography of young Winston Churchill and will be published by Simon & Schuster in 2012.

"I'm especially proud of winning this award twice," Shelden Said. It's been almost 20 years since the first time I won it, and I'm grateful to ISU for supporting my work as a biographer over all these many years."

Tuttle joined the Indiana State biology department in 2000. As an evolutionary biologist, she is interested in determining the ultimate and proximate mechanisms maintaining genetic diversity in natural populations. For 24 years she has studied the white-throated sparrow, a unique species that occurs in two forms or "morphs" that are associated with variation in sexual behavior.

Tuttle's research is integrative in that she employs concepts and techniques borrowed from other scientific disciplines, including molecular biology, remote sensing/GIS, climatology, and more recently, genomics. Her dedication to the research has influenced many undergraduate and graduate researchers by providing them with hands-on scientific experiences. Tuttle recently received a research grant of more than $600,000 from the National Institutes of Health to initiate a new genomics study of the white-throated sparrow. In addition, she is a co-principal investigator on the $590,600 Noyce Phase II grant from the National Science Foundation, which is intended to help address the shortage of qualified science, technology, math and engineering teachers.

"I came to ISU because I wanted to join a leading academic institution where undergraduate teaching was valued, yet research was strong and there were ample opportunities to mentor graduate students," Tuttle said. "I value my role as an ISU teacher-scholar and I am truly honored to be recognized with this award."

Photos: - Michael Shelden - Elaina Tuttle

Media contact: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or