Three faculty members honored with LAS Dean’s Emerging Faculty Leaders Award

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Bethany Gray, associate professor of English; Charlie Nagle, associate professor of world languages and cultures; and Alison Phillips, associate professor of psychology, are the 2021 recipients of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) Dean’s Emerging Faculty Leaders Award.

Funded by the generosity of LAS Dean’s Advisory Council members and friends of LAS, these awards support outstanding faculty who shape policy, define research directions for the nation, serve in prominent leadership positions and mentor the next generation of new talent. The awards fund resources not typically covered by research grants or other traditional funding.

Bethany Gray smiling, outside, headshot
Bethany Gray.

Collecting new corpora for language analysis

Gray works to uncover systematic patterns of language use through corpus linguistics methodologies (using computers to study large, principled collections of natural language), focusing particularly on academic writing and writing development. Gray plans to use her award funding to collect new corpora, or language datasets.

These sizable collections of authentic language data provide the basis for analyzing how language works in the world, Gray said.

“I am greatly honored that my work at ISU has been recognized with this award,” Gray said. “With the award, I’ll be able to fund graduate students to participate in the research, learning through hands-on experience in designing, building and analyzing language corpora.”

Investigating the motivations of language learners

Charlie Nagle smiling, headshot
Charlie Nagle.

Nagle is the director of Iowa State’s Spanish language program and studies second-language pronunciation. He plans to use the award to move forward on a research project that will examine the factors that motivate students to study a language and investigate how their language skills develop over time.

“As educators, we need to understand the factors that influence both students’ decision-making and their learning to design effective curricula,” he said. “Understanding those factors is one of the basic goals of my research, and this award will help me take another important step forward.”

Nagle also plans to use the award to invest in hiring, training and mentoring undergraduate research assistants.

“At Iowa State, we have amazing students, so I relish the opportunity to interact and collaborate with them in a research setting whenever possible.”

Nagle is the recent recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Award and will teach and conduct research at the Universidad de Murcia in Spain this fall.

Alison Phillips smiling, headshot
Alison Phillips.

Helping Iowans prevent or manage chronic illness

Phillips said she plans to use the generous donor funds to advance a new statewide collaboration that will better connect Iowans with evidence-based health programs. Her partners in the effort include Iowa State’s Translational Research Network (U-TuRN) and the Iowa-based nonprofit CHPcommunity.

“Together, we are building a statewide hub that will connect healthcare providers and their patients to community-based organizations that are running evidence-based health programs,” she said. “The hub will help address many barriers to Iowans receiving the support they need to prevent or manage chronic illness.”

Phillips will study how to make evidence-based programs more effective for patients during and after their participation in a program and for specific subgroups of individuals based on characteristics such as physical ability, age, gender and ethnic identity.

She also will work with CHPcommunity to use the new hub to study how providers communicate with patients.

Phillips is the director of Iowa State’s Healthy Habits Lab, which aims to help individuals and their healthcare providers prevent or manage chronic illness.