The Interdisciplinary Research Center (IRC) was established to encourage collaboration and facilitate interdisciplinary opportunities between faculty and outside agencies. 

The IRC strives to energize the faculty base in each member’s discipline by actively engaging faculty interested in doing research. The IRC also works to connect faculty with internal opportunities and external funding agencies that support projects in the different areas of study at the University and to encourage collaboration efforts within the departments, colleges, and university. IRC directors strive to create and nurture relationships with other institutions in Arkansas and the region and to engage with ATU faculty and mentor them in the grant writing process

Meet the Directors 


Dr. Turaj Ashuri
Director of ENGINEERING and Applied Sciences

Dr. Turaj Ashuri is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of Research in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He received his Ph.D. from Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands), followed by a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His research is focused on theoretical and applied physics-based design optimization using high-performance computing, uncertainty quantification and optimal controls. He is a Technical Committee in International Energy Agency (Task 37), a Senior Member of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and a Technical Committee in AIAA Aerospace Design and Structures Group.


Dr. Newton Hilliard
Director of Natural and Health Sciences

Dr. Newton Hilliard arrived at Arkansas Tech University in the fall of 2014 as Associate Professor of Chemistry and primarily teaches Biochemistry I and II lectures and associated lab. His academic interests include lecture and lab pedagogy development, bioenergetics and metabolic regulation in bacteria from extreme environments and involving undergraduate students in high impact research/scholarly engagement activities. Interests outside of the academic arena include hiking, canoeing and DIY electronics.


Dr. Stephen Jones
Director of Business

Dr. Stephen Jones is a Professor of Management at Arkansas Tech University where he has taught since 2005. Dr. Jones received his Ph.D. in Management from the University of North Texas. His teaching and research focus on strategic management issues and on entrepreneurship and small business. He has particularly been interested in how American small manufacturers find their way on to major retailers’ shelves. Until 2012 he served as an advisor for student groups competing in the Arkansas Governor’s Cup business plan competitions, and he has consulted for local small firms on various projects. He is also involved with two local nonprofit organizations in Russellville: the Rotary Club of Russellville and Equestrian Zone.


Dr. Jay Hudkins
Director of Arts and Humanities

Dr. Jay M. Hudkins is an Associate Professor of Communication in the Department of Communication and Journalism. He received his Ph.D. in Rhetoric from Texas A&M University. His research focuses on presidential rhetoric, the rhetoric of Supreme Court opinions, and communication and popular culture. His teaching interests include Business and Professional Speaking, Communication Research Methods, and seminars on the intersection of music, communication, and politics and how popular culture impacts communication.