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Furman professors awarded research grants

Furman professor Christopher Blackwell

Furman University professors Christopher W. Blackwell, Ph.D., (Classics) and Jeanine Stratton, Ph.D., (Business & Accounting) have been awarded Faculty Research Grants through The Furman Standard program.

The grants are valued at $3,000 annually over three years and are designed to support faculty in their ongoing quest to remain leaders in their fields.

The Furman Standard is a program whereby donors may honor one or more faculty members by pledging $25,000 (payable over five years) or by establishing a $100,000 planned gift. Contributions to The Furman Standard are pooled to assist professors in procuring the materials, training, development and other needs associated with their research endeavors.

Since its inception in 2010, The Furman Standard program has garnered nearly $2.4 million toward the goal of $3 million. To date, 39 current and former faculty members have been honored by 29 donors.

A faculty member since 1995, Dr. Blackwell is the Louis G. Forgione University Professor of Classics at Furman. His academic interests include Homer and  Greek Epic, Digital Library Infrastructures, Greek History (Athenian Democracy, Alexander the Great), Ancient Scholarship, Collaborative Research,  and  Historical Botany.

Blackwell is receiving the research grant for his project titled “Shoots and Leaves: A Canonical Graph Services Protocol.”  The goal of this project is to create a generic protocol for canonical citation of graphed data.

Says Blackwell, “A Furman Standard grant, in addition to being a very great honor, will help me spend three years having conversations with scholars in the United States and Europe who work with complex relationships and who care about methods for citation. Scholarship is the business, first, of knowing what you are talking about and, second, being able to say what you are talking about, precisely. This is harder than it sounds when you are talking about complex relationships among words or living things. It’s even harder when your goal is to be clear enough and precise enough for a literal-minded computer to understand.”

Blackwell, who holds a bachelors from Marlboro College (Vt.) and a doctorate from Duke University, says, “The grant will also allow me to do what I enjoy doing most—finding real problems of language and literature that have waited until the 21st century to be solved, and working with Furman students to find ways to solve them.”

Stratton b&w, croppedDr. Stratton, Robert E. Hughes Assistant Professor of Business & Accounting, was honored with a faculty research grant for her project titled “LiveWell Greenville on the Menu: Healthy Food Choices Initiative.” Stratton, a member of the faculty since 2005, says, “The goal of the project is to examine the impact of various food labeling practices, menu positioning, and in-store point-of-purchase advertising functions to help promote healthier eating choices in the Greenville community.” Stratton credits LiveWell Greenville and Furman Health Sciences Professor Alicia Powers, Ph.D., for their support in applying for the grant.

Says Stratton, “I am thrilled that Furman, a liberal arts institution, recognizes and supports interdisciplinary work and engagement with our local community. As a business professor with training in behavioral psychology, my scholarship is, by nature, interdisciplinary and applied.” Stratton, who uses a scientist-practitioner model in her scholarship and teaching, says, “I am excited to work with local businesses to help explore real-world practical problems that advance our understanding of human behavior and consumer decision-making  processes …The three-year grant structure encourages faculty to explore unique research opportunities and to also provide them for our student scholars.”

Stratton holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from Florida State University, and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Her scientific interests reflect the application of behavioral principles to socially significant topics such as consumer behavior, incentives, strategy, systems thinking, and corporate social responsibility.

For further information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at (864) 294-3107.

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