Teacher-scholar Michael Shaw, PhD, professor of chemistry in the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville College of Arts and Sciences, has achieved the rank of Distinguished Research Professor for his contributions to electrochemistry.
The distinction is the highest academic rank a faculty member at SIUE can achieve. It is awarded to a prestigious group of tenured faculty members in recognition of significant contributions to research and creative activities.
“Dr. Shaw’s contributions to the theory and application of electrochemistry have been recognized by his peers nationally and internationally,” said Jerry Weinberg, associate provost for research and dean of the SIUE Graduate School. “His record of publications, his multiple National Science Foundation awards and patents, and the success of his students are a testament to the quality and significance of Dr. Shaw’s work. He raises the reputation of SIUE as a premier teacher-scholar institution where students can receive an education that integrates cutting edge scholarship.”
Shaw’s research contributions are in the areas of exploring metal-mediated transformations, developing experimental data collection methods, developing and curating strategies for data collection in the electrochemical field, and devising programs for data analysis. His impressive publication and product output includes 32 peer-refereed journal articles and two patents.
Shaw has also received funding as principal investigator or co-principal investigator on six National Science Foundation grants totaling more than $2.15 million in funding, with just over $1.4 million to SIUE to enrich the student research environment.
“Every tool that is developed to study chemistry opens up a new world of discoveries,” Shaw said. “In my own training, I always found that deeper knowledge of how chemistry and electricity interact yielded insight into the behavior of molecules. For me, the further down the electrochemical rabbit hole I go, the more I can find new, interesting and potentially useful chemistry.
“A practical consideration is that one can use electrochemistry to use inexpensive durable equipment to study reactions which are so fast as to be at the limits of possible rates, rather than approaches which require millions of dollars of equipment. Electrochemistry equipment is a reasonable investment for SIUE, while the other approaches are not. The tradeoff is that the results need careful and thoughtful analysis with a practiced eye. These practical considerations mean that my training and background allow my group to compete for external funding from a niche to which other groups do not have great access.”
Whether in theory, methodology or applications in chemistry, the researcher’s contributions to his field are notable. Equally noticed by colleagues is his inspiring dedication to collaboration and the teacher-scholar philosophy.
“In all my years as a professor, I have never seen someone so dedicated to providing research opportunities for students,” one colleague said.
“There is strength in diversity of thought,” Shaw explained. “Other individuals have skills, perspectives and ways of looking at the world that I lack. A team approach can complement an individual’s weaknesses, provide validation and support, and give critical feedback.”
Shaw considers himself a curator and promoter of the body of work he has produced with students, collaborators and colleagues throughout his nearly 20-year tenure with SIUE.
“I am delighted that the mutually beneficial efforts of all these individuals have been recognized, and I want to clearly thank them for their support,” Shaw said. “I have found SIUE to be a supportive environment for teacher-scholars to be able to contribute to science at a national level.”
“Teaching and research are mutually supportive goals,” he concluded. “A teacher-scholar includes students in the research world, so as to benefit from their energy and drive to accomplish the dual goals of training technically qualified individuals and fulfilling research objectives.
Recipients of the Distinguished Research Professor honor are provided one semester of time devoted to research, along with a $1,000 increase in their academic year base salary. They also receive a medallion to be worn with their academic regalia, and their name is placed on a plaque displayed in Rendleman Hall.
— From the Illinois Business Journal via SIUE