Indiana University Bloomington presents Outstanding Junior Faculty Awards

  • March 12, 2014


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Faculty members in education, informatics, business, chemistry and public affairs are recipients of Indiana University Bloomington's Outstanding Junior Faculty Awards for 2013-14.

The awards, presented by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs, honor tenure-track faculty who have begun to develop nationally recognized research or scholarship programs and devoted productive time to teaching and service, but who have not yet achieved tenure.

"Since developing this program in 1990 with then-Dean of the Faculties Anya Peterson-Royce, I have always delighted in acknowledging the solid contributions of our junior faculty," said Sarita Soni, IU Bloomington vice provost for research. "This year’s award winners join a group of nearly 100 award recipients since the inception of this program, and my colleagues and I take great pleasure in supporting their academic success."

"All five recipients of the Outstanding Junior Faculty Awards have achieved stellar accomplishments and shown exceptional promise," said Tom Gieryn, vice provost for faculty and academic affairs. "These awards will provide additional encouragement at a critical stage of their careers, and I'm confident that all five of these faculty members will continue to build successful and widely recognized careers."

Recipients, all of them assistant professors, are Kylie Peppler in the School of Education; Selma Šabanović in the School of Informatics and Computing; Scott Shackelford in the Kelley School of Business; Steven Tait in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences; and Anh Tran in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. The honor carries with it an award of $15,000, which faculty members may use to support their programs of research, scholarship or creative activity.

Kylie Peppler

Peppler has been an assistant professor in the Learning Sciences Program at the School of Education since January 2008. She completed her Ph.D. at UCLA and continued postdoctoral research at UCLA and the University of California, Irvine. Her research integrates the arts, the study of learning, and elements of programming and computation to study how new technologies support learning.

She designs learning environments and applications that engage students through online communities, wearable electronics and other approaches. Last fall, the National Science Foundation awarded Peppler and two other IU researchers $1 million over three years for the BioSim project, which studies how children learn about complex systems using technologies such as electronically enhanced "e-puppets."

Selma Šabanović

Šabanović has a Ph.D. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and has been a faculty member since 2009 at IU Bloomington, where she is also an adjunct professor in the Cognitive Science Program. Her research explores how robotic technologies are designed, perceived and used in different cultures and social contexts and how human-robot interaction research can be used to study human social cognition. 

She founded and directs the R-House Lab, where researchers study human-robot interaction in everyday environments. Her cross-cultural research on social robotics has been funded by the NSF. She also leads a project documenting the history of robotics development with funding from the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society.

The award will help her expand a cross-cultural study of socially assistive robot use in Denmark, Japan and the United States. She is also developing methods to expand the participation of marginalized populations, such as older adults, in robot design and application.

Scott Shackelford

Shackelford, a faculty member in the Kelley School's Department of Business Law and Ethics since 2010, teaches cybersecurity, international business law and sustainability; and he is a senior fellow at the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research as well as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the University of Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study. He has a J.D. from Stanford Law School and a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. Shackelford has written and spoken extensively about cybersecurity and cyber war to both academic and general audiences.

His research focuses on the sustainable management of common-pool resources. It includes lines of inquiry concerning the sustainable development of the global commons, including international spaces such as the deep seabed and Antarctica, outer space and the atmosphere; and the enhancement of cybersecurity. His interdisciplinary work brings together law, international relations, economics and ethics literatures with the conceptual framework of polycentric governance propounded by the late IU scholar Elinor Ostrom and others leading to a forthcoming book from Cambridge University Press, "Managing Cyber Attacks in International Law, Business, and Relations: In Search of Cyber Peace."

Steven Tait

Tait began his appointment in the Department of Chemistry at IU Bloomington in 2008 and received an adjunct appointment in the Department of Physics in 2012. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Washington and was an Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart, Germany. His interdisciplinary research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, focuses on the self-assembly of molecular building blocks at surfaces to develop greater energy efficiency in hydrocarbon catalysts and in functional organic thin films.

His research proposal addresses the development of highly ordered films of oriented organic layers that can achieve excellent electronic performance. The Tait research group and its collaborators have developed a set of molecules capable of optimal self-assembly. The research program will test the limits of these new film growth strategies and the gains they can achieve for next-generation electronic devices.

Anh Tran

An IU Bloomington faculty member since 2009, Tran has a Ph.D. in public policy from Harvard University. For the past 10 years, he has worked with other researchers to overcome challenges to studying corruption and other barriers to democratic governance in developing countries.

He plans to start two related research projects in 2014. One will study the effect of traffic surveillance cameras on bribe-taking behavior by police in Hanoi City, Vietnam. Tran asks if cameras will deter police from patrolling important roads, leading to more traffic problems. The second project will examine the potential for a United Nations convention requiring members to conduct fair and transparent elections. He posits that some democratizing countries would join such a convention to gain credibility, which can lead to real reforms and more widespread democratization.

The Outstanding Junior Faculty Awards were established in 1985 by the Dean of the Faculties Office (now the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs) and the Office of Research and Graduate Development (now the Office of the Vice Provost for Research). The awards were first bestowed in 1986. For more information, email

Related Links

Kylie Peppler

Kylie Peppler

Print-Quality Photo

Selma Sabanovic

Selma Sabanovic | Photo by Ann Schertz

Print-Quality Photo

Scott Shackelford

Scott Shackelford

Print-Quality Photo

Media Contacts

Steve Hinnefeld