Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity Honors Boyce and Rayner
Nine professors were honored with the Chancellor's Award for Research and Creative Activity at the Faculty Convocation in September. Among them are James K. Boyce, professor of economics and director of the Political Economy Research Institute’s Program on Development, Peacebuilding, and the Environment, and Keith Rayner, Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and director of the Eyetracking Laboratory.
Boyce's research on the economics of conflict and peace has broadened understanding of how economic development is influenced by the distribution of power and other political, social and legal forces. The Ford and MacArthur foundations and the United States Institute of Peace have awarded him major grants to support his research, which currently focuses on strategies for combining poverty reduction with environmental protection, and on the relationship between economic policies and issues of war and peace.
Boyce, who received his Ph.D. in economics from Oxford University, is author of Investing in Peace: Aid and Conditionality After Civil Wars (Oxford University Press, 2002), The Political Economy of the Environment (Edward Elgar, 2002), The Philippines: The Political Economy of Growth and Impoverishment in the Marcos Era (Macmillan, 1993), and Agrarian Impasse in Bengal: Institutional Constraints to Technological Change (Oxford University Press, 1987), and co-author of A Quiet Violence: View From a Bangladesh Village (with Betsy Hartmann, Zed Press 1983). He is the co-editor of Natural Assets: Democratizing Environmental Ownership (with Barry Shelley, Island Press 2003) and editor of Economic Policy for Building Peace: The Lessons of El Salvador (Lynne Rienner 1996).
Rayner has taught at UMass since 1978. The Eyetracking Laboratory is used by nearly all members of the Cognitive Processes Area of the Psychology Department together with their collaborators from the Linguistics, Computer Science, and Engineering Departments. Researchers in the laboratory study a wide variety of cognitive processes, ranging from language comprehension and scene perception to visual search and eye movement control. Rayner himself is primarily interested in the process of skilled reading and uses eye movement data to make inferences about perceptual and cognitive processes. He also studies various issues in psycholinguistics (resolution of ambiguity, discourse processing) and in scene perception and visual search.
Rayner, who received his Ph.D. from Cornell, is recipient of many awards ranging from the Creative Talent Award from the American Institute for Research, Outstanding Psychology Dissertation in 1974 to Distinguished Faculty Lecturer at UMass Amherst in 1991 to Outstanding Scientist Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading in 1996. Currently editor of Psychological Review, Rayner has an extensive list of publications that have appeared in many professional journals over the course of his career. His book The Psychology of Reading (Prentice-Hall, 1989), coauthored with A. Pollatsek, was reprinted in 1995 by Erlbaum. His current research projects are supported by major grants from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Unilever Corporation, and Microsoft.
The other recipients this year of the Chancellor's Award for Research and Creative Activity are Seshu B. Desu, electrical and computer engineering; Lila M. Gierasch, biochemistry and molecular biology; Arthur F. Kinney, English; Bing Liang, finance and operations management; David J. McLaughlin, electrical and computer engineering; Barbara A. Osborne, veterinary and animal sciences; and James E. Young, Judaic and Near Eastern studies. This is the second year the awards have been presented.
September 22, 2006