Indiana State University Newsroom

Finch, Powers, receive Dreiser Research and Creativity Award

April 17, 2012

Two Indiana State University faculty members have been honored with the 2012 Theodore Dreiser Distinguished Research and Creativity Award.

Alfred Finch, professor of biomechanics, and Joshua Powers, professor of educational leadership, received the award during the university's Faculty Recognition Banquet Tuesday (April 17). 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.

Finch served as a research biomechanist at the 1982 National Sports Festival for, the International Track and Field Coaches Association at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, for the USA Track and Field elite hurdler development Program and at the U.S. National Track and Field Championships since 1998. He worked 10 years as the research bio-mechanist for the USA Track & field Elite Hurdle Development program, and filmed the 2003 National Collegiate Athletic Association Cross Country Championships.

Under Finch's leadership, the ISU biomechanics laboratory was the first program in the country to utilize real-time streamed data in class instruction of neuromuscular concepts. Finch evaluated the effectiveness of a new golf putter design and an angled sprint starting block prototype on running kinematics. He developed a wireless video streaming network capable of handling up to three video streams collected during a track competition

Finch developed research lines in exercise physiology early in his career and later developed a diverse research focus on sport performance, ergonomics, rehabilitation, and equipment prototype evaluation. He has conducted a series of biomechanical research studies that examined the effectiveness of an active traction prototype which had received FDA approval for rehabilitative applications.

His efforts have produced 50 refereed research publications, 51 refereed research abstracts, 97 research presentations, two internationally-published software programs for body composition determinations and computerized exercise prescription, a software program for biomechanical video analysis, and statistical post-hoc procedures, seven court litigation technical reports, 23 DVDs of elite sport technique analyses, a kinesiology laboratory workbook, and 43 grants representing an added value to the university's biomechanics laboratory of approximately $750,000.

"I am extremely honored to receive this award because of all the scholarly/creative accomplishments of the previous recipients," Finch said. "I chose to work at ISU because I wanted to join an institution that truly valued and supported the scholar-researcher model. ISU has afforded me the opportunity to build world-class motion analysis laboratories in which I can examine almost every facet of human performance and has fostered great real-world interactive learning experiences for students in my classes in order to prepare them for successful professional careers."

Finch holds a master's degree in biomechanics and a Ph.D. in exercise science, both from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Powers teaches in the Bayh College of Education's higher education doctoral program, where he specializes in higher education finance and policy, the law of higher education, and university entrepreneurship. Chair of the department of educational leadership between 2005 and 2010, Powers currently serves as a faculty fellow in the Office of Academic Affairs as special assistant to the provost for academic initiatives since his return from a year-long American Council on Education fellowship in 2009-10.

Powers' research on entrepreneurship in higher education and technology transfer have resulted in more than 60 peer reviewed articles, monographs, book chapters, and scholarly papers appearing in academic outlets such as the Journal of Higher Education, Research Policy, and the Journal of Business Venturing as well as publications such as the Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, and Change Magazine.

He has also been a visiting scholar at Harvard University, the University of Vermont, the University of Georgia, and the Max Plank Institute for Economics in Jena, Germany and been the recipient of approximately $650,000 in external grants. Powers served as chair of the Council for the Advancement of Higher Education Programs in North America and the National Science Foundation National Advisory Board for the redesign of the academic research and development survey. He currently serves on an international awards committee for scholarship in technology transfer and is co-editor of the Learning Brief Initiative, a partnership project with Inside Higher Ed to help make the scholarship of higher education more accessible to institutional and policy leaders.

"Being selected for the Theodore Dreiser Award is such an honor knowing that it comes from one's peers," Powers said. "As a scholar, it is humbling to be recognized for contribution to knowledge, a core part of what it means to be a faculty member."

Powers holds doctoral degrees in higher education administration and business from Indiana University - Bloomington.

Photo: - Alfred FinchPhoto: - Josh Powers

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