March 2014

New Program Blends Student Projects with Private Sector Needs

Stephen Bauman, a graduate student in IGNITE, discusses solutions to a business problem in the program’s Emerging Technologies in Industry class.

IGNITE, a new interdisciplinary program at the University of Arkansas, has a three-part mission: provide an innovative educational environment for students, help Arkansas businesses solve material needs, and serve as a catalyst for economic development in the state.

“The idea is to take graduate students from engineering, agriculture, physics, biology, chemistry

and biochemistry departments and give them access to state-of-the-art facilities and equipment to address the immediate research and material needs of businesses from varied industries throughout the state,” said Cynthia Sides, director of IGNITE.

IGNITE — an acronym that stands for Industry Generating Nanomaterials, Ideas, and Technology through Education — is an initiative of the Institute for Nanoscience and Engineering at the U of A. The recently finished third floor of the Nanoscale Material and Science Engineering Building provides IGNITE students with an interactive workspace for creative ideas, Sides said.

In order to expose her students to real-world industry needs, Sides has developed a new class — Emerging Technologies in Industry (MEPH 587V) — where leaders from Arkansas industries and students from science, engineering, and business backgrounds interact in the same classroom to discuss innovative, nanoscale, design ideas and progressive business solutions.

This new class offers students a “blend of science and business,” Sides said.

While the creation of advanced materials and tomorrow’s products are the tangible goals of IGNITE, the program is balanced by a deliberate focus on economic feasibility and business communication. Students are trained in using contemporary business methods like Lean Canvas to prepare, communicate, and evaluate evolving business model iterations. The environment is designed to give students the confidence to apply and realize the practical application of their classroom-learned concepts and academic research.

“The students in our program are not only talented, but highly motivated to commercialize their knowledge,” Sides said. “We want the industry leaders we partner with to see how hard the University is working to prepare and retain its graduates to work right here in the state of Arkansas.”

Emerging Technologies in Industry (MEPH 587V) is held in NANO 105 from 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday evenings. Faculty and students who wish to attend a class can e-mail Sides at

Information Systems No. 1 for Publications in Premier Journals


Viswanath Venkatesh

Faculty in the department of information systems in the Sam M. Walton College of Business had the most publications in the two premier research journals in their field in 2013.

The ranking is based on the number of articles in the journals MIS Quarterly and Information Systems Research, which are tracked by a website affiliated with the Association of Information Systems. The department was not only number one in 2013, but also ranked in the top five in publication frequency in the two journals over the past three years and past five years (2011-2013, 2009-2013). The U of A published more frequently than other top business schools, such as the University of Texas at Austin and New York University.

Viswanath Venkatesh, Distinguished Professor and holder of the George & Boyce Billingsley Endowed Chair in Information Systems, ranked first in publications in the two journals for all three time periods. Venkatesh had papers in all four issues of MIS Quarterly in 2013, a first at the journal. Two other researchers who made all three lists are Walton College alumni: Hillol Bala (2008), Tracy Sykes (2009). Sykes is now an assistant professor in the department.


Historian Presents Two Sides of Whistler

Daniel E. Sutherland

In Whistler: A Life for Art’s Sake, a new biography by Daniel E. Sutherland, the artist James McNeill Whistler’s public personality is revealed as much different than the lesser-known life he led in private.
Sutherland presents a Whistler that was intense, introspective, complex and driven to perfection.
There have been nearly 20 biographies of Whistler since he died in 1903, but Sutherland’s is the first to make extensive use of his private correspondence.
“I’m not an art historian, so I looked at his life holistically,” said Sutherland, a Distinguished Professor of history. “I think others recognized there was a difference between his public and private lives but because they never went deeply into his private correspondence they never understood the way in which it really affected how he viewed art and the world.”
Whistler “was a very great artist, arguably the greatest of his generation, and a pivotal figure in the cultural history of the 19th century,” according to Sutherland.
“But there were really two different Whistlers,” Sutherland said. “His public persona, which is something he encouraged and nourished himself, is of this carefree, bon vivant who is more concerned with celebrity and entertaining people and making people laugh, as opposed to a serious artist, which he really was. This was a man who was driven. He was an artist who was dedicated to perfection. He was insecure at heart, and the insecurity came from this drive for perfection.”

Learn More

Office Updates List of Faculty and Staff Award Winners


Dozens of past and present university faculty and staff have been recognized with prestigious national awards sponsored by government agencies, non-profit foundations, and private institutions.

Among these awards are 23 recognized by the Top American Research Universities study conducted by Arizona State University. These include National Science Foundation CAREER awards, Fulbright Scholars and National Endowment for the Humanities grants. The office of the vice provost for research and economic development has recently updated the list of campus faculty award winners, which can be found at the link below.

Faculty and Staff Awards


New Program Blends Student Projects with Private Sector Needs

Information Systems No. 1 for Publications in Premier Journals

Historian Presents Two Sides of Whistler

Office Updates List of Faculty and Staff Award Winners


NCI Awards Grant for Development of Novel Treatment of Bladder Cancer

New Geospatial Research Program Meets Critical Need in Archaeology Research

Office Created to Study Concussions, Educate Schools, Teams, Families


The Arkansas Catalyst
Sign up for Listserv information on the following topics: arts and humanities, high-performance computing, DNA sequencing, energy and environment, food safety, health, nanotechnology, NASA-related research, RazorGrant, STEM education and sustainability

Grant Award Winners

The following is a sampling of the top grants awarded to faculty in January and February, with the principal investigator, the awardamount and the sponsor. An asterisk (*) indicates the continuation of a previous award.
• Jia Di, $589,370, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
• Kevin Hall, $222,500, University of Oklahoma at Norman
• Timothy Muldoon, $135,971, National Institutes of Health
• Xianghong Qian, $49,820, Membrane, Science, Engineering and Technology Center
• Laurent Bellaiche, $44,000, National Science Foundation
• Magda O. El-Shenawee, $44,000, National Science Foundation
• Scott H. Eidelman, $44,000, National Science Foundation


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1 University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701

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