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Information Systems Professor Recognized with Shields Award

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Ofir Turel, professor of information systems and decision sciences, was presented with the L. Donald Shields Excellence in Scholarship & Creativity Award at the May 2 Academic Senate meeting.

The award recognizes Cal State Fullerton faculty who have a record of outstanding scholarship or creative work. For Turel, it is additional acknowledgment of his prolific and important work in the information systems and neuroscience fields, including cutting-edge research on excessive internet use.

A self-described behavioral scientist, Turel employs traditional behavioral science research with neuroscientific approaches like brain imaging to study decision-making processes related to information technologies.

Antoine Bechara, professor of psychology at the University of Southern California — where Turel is a scholar in residence — says, “When I searched for experts in the behavioral aspects of internet use, he surfaced as a prominent figure in this emerging field. Although he comes from a behavioral-computer science-business background, Dr. Turel demonstrated a remarkable ability to integrate his knowledge with functional neuroimaging. In a very short time, he introduced innovative ideas to the field and has become an invited speaker at leading conferences and universities.”

Qinghua He, chair of the International Research Center and professor of psychology at Southwest University in Chongqing, China, agrees. “The fact that someone with no formal background in neurology has risen to the level where he serves as an editor of Nature attests to the capabilities, reputation and respect he has amassed.”

Turel’s research prolificity, and the fact that his topics are at the intersection of business, communications, psychology, neuroscience and psychiatry, has enabled him to publish in a wide array of journals across disciplines.

“He has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles, mainly in prestigious journals,” says Bhushan Kapoor, department chair and professor of information systems and decision sciences at CSUF. “These papers are highly cited; the Association of Information Systems lists Dr. Turel as a top 20 researcher in the U.S. and Canada in management information systems. He also serves on the esteemed MIS Quarterly and Scientific Reports (a Nature journal) editorial boards.”

Turel’s research has generated interest beyond academia, appearing in publications from the Wall Street Journal to Seventeen magazine. Bechara explains, “Understanding the brain mechanisms behind excessive behaviors has a lot of potential applications. There is no question that his work has the potential to significantly impact society.”

Turel is also impacting the next generation of scholars.

“Dr. Turel’s work is universally recognized as the de facto standard for understanding addiction within the information technology realm,” says Merrill Warkentin, professor of management information systems and Drew Allen Endowed Fellow at Mississippi State University. “Because his work has been so influential and thought-provoking, I have assigned some of his articles to my doctoral students, and I’m sure other programs have similarly leveraged his fine scholarship.”

Isaac Vaghefi, assistant professor of information systems at Binghamton University-State University of New York, first met Turel as a graduate student at McGill University. “It’s been a privilege to know this brilliant and dedicated scientist. Turel’s work has inspired me and influenced my research and research aspirations.”