Academics

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Faculty Notes

Peter Baran, associate professor of chemistry, gave an invited lecture on "How to Maintain Competitive Coordination Chemistry Undergraduate Research at a Liberal Arts College" at a national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Salt Lake City, Utah in March.

Jack Barlow, professor of politics, led a session on "Cicero on Property and Citizenship" at a seminar on "Cicero on Citizenship and His Medieval and Renaissance Interpreters" at the Center for Thomas More Studies at the University of Dallas in June.

Bethany Benson, assistant professor of art, had an artwork "Blue Stein," featured in the March issue of Ceramics Monthly to illustrate an article on the "2009 History In The Making" exhibition at Genesee Pottery in Rochester, N.Y. Benson also had solo exhibition, "Intimate Interactions," at Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh from March to September.

Don Braxton, Good Professor of Religion, is working on a grant from the U.S. Air Force with Greg Link '02, assistant professor of computer engineering at York College of Pennsylvania to develop a portable device measuring the impact environments have on test subjects.

Vince Buonaccorsi, associate professor of biology, received a $13,000 grant/contract from National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration to study population genetics in rockfish, Sebastes paucispinis." Buonaccorsi also was invited to be "Education Speaker" at the Allegheny Branch American Society for Microbiology meeting in November at the College, and gave a talk about gene sequencing.

So What?

Juniata magazine: When you’re asked to be a speaker at a meeting of scientists, what kind of presentation are you aiming for? Informative? Entertaining? Entertaining and informative?

Buonaccorsi: I’m never entertaining (laughs). I’m a mechanisms man—I’m about how things work. My object for the talk was to present these technologies and talk about how they can be integrated into the undergraduate (biology) curriculum.

JM: If you are presenting to both scientists and students do you make any allowances for the level of detail or information in the talk?

VB: You really make an assumption about the general level of biology knowledge. Most of the students at these meetings can understand what I would be talking about. The real story of the talk is the technologies. There’s really an incredible leap in sequencing DNA. Essentially you can sequence the human genome in about 15 minutes for about $100. At the talk, only one person fell asleep. If two fall asleep I usually try to tell a joke to wake everybody up.

JM: What was the weirdest follow-up question to your talk?

VB: This may have been the strangest question I’ve ever been asked. Some biologists asked if it was possible to DNA-sequence cat dung. Evidently they were doing a study on blue birds and their bluebirds were disappearing. They did find some cat dung in the area and wanted to test the dung to see if there was any bluebird DNA in it.

Celia Cook-Huffman, Burkholder Professor of Conflict Resolution, was a panelist for "Divided Societies and Conflict Resolution: Does Theory Meet Practice?" at the BCA International Student Conference on Divided Societies in Londonderry, Northern Ireland in November 2009.

Doug Glazier, professor of biology, received recognition for a paper (written with two co-authors) on metabolic rate scaling as a "must read" paper by the Faculty of 1000, an organization of top biologists reporting the best current papers in biology. Glazier was previously recognized by the group in 2006. Glazier, also (with two co-authors published a paper on metabolic rates in fishes in Ecology Letters. He also was invited to be a plenary speaker at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Experimental Biology in Prague, Czech Republic, in June.

Richard Hark, professor of chemistry, published a paper (with two co-authors) on analyzing medieval and Renaissance manuscript cuttings using X-ray fluorescence and a Raman microscope in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Hark also published a paper (with two co-authors) on work he did at the Victoria & Albert Museum entitled "The Bourdichon Nativity: a masterpiece of light and colour," in the 2010 V&A Conservation Journal. Hark also presented research done with students Alyssa Kress '10 and Kristen Beiswenger '10 at the 5th Euro-Mediterranean Symposium on Laser-induced Breakdown Spectroscopy in Tivoli Terme, Italy, in September 2009. Hark also recently completed his third term of service on the American Chemical Society's Division of Chemical Education Examinations Institute, where he helped create three nationalized standard examinations for organic chemistry. In addition, he presented a paper on analyzing pigments on fake and authentic medieval miniatures at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in Washington, D.C. in August 2009.

Jay Hosler, associate professor of biology, was invited to be a panelist for an online symposium sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences called Visual Culture and Evolution: An Online Symposium and is is co-sponsored by Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences; the Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture (University of Maryland, Baltimore County); and Johns Hopkins University's Master of Arts in Museum Studies Program.

Dennis Johnson, professor of environmental science and assistant provost, published a paper (with two co-authors) modeling several dam failures in the Proceedings of the 2010 American Water Resources Association GIS Specialty Conference in Orlando, Fla. in March. He also created an online web module on Distributed Hydrologic Modeling Concepts for the National Weather Service.

Pat Kepple, manager, Juniata College Press, in November 2009 was named to the Home Nursing Agency Huntingdon Advisory Committee for a three-year term. In January 2010 she was asked to rejoin the board of Huntingdon Area Habitat for Humanity and serve as co-chair of the Habitat's fundraising committee for a two-year term. She previously served on the board from 2000 through 2007. She also co-presented at the Council of Independent Colleges Presidential Spouses Conference on the topic "Building Relationships with Alumni" in Marco Island, Fla.

Debra Kirchhof-Glazier, professor of biology, has a poster, "Sophomore Progress Checkpoint," accepted for display at the meeting of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions, held in Atlanta, Ga., in June.

Jerry Kruse, associate professor of mathematics and computer science, was featured (with two other math professors) in the March issue of Change magazine in an article on Performance Task Academies. Kruse also took part in a web conference sponsored by Change in March.

Lynn Cockett, associate professor of communication, published "Territory, Identity, and Conflict in a Public Meeting: A Natural History Approach" in Special Issue: The Practice of Public Meetings issue of the International Journal of Public Participation.

So What?

Juniata magazine: This is an online journal. Do you think online is the wave of the future for academic journals?

Cockett: I don’t think so. I think there is still an academic bias toward print in that it is perceived as being more prestigious.

JM: Why did you opt to publish your piece in this online publication?

LC: My article is one of eight authors, all of whom are writing from their own perspective on the same piece of video. The online journal allows (readers) to click on the YouTube (source) video so you can clearly see what we are writing about. It’s a great venue for people who do analysis of live communication.

JM: As more and more people read online do you think eventually most academic journals will make the leap into the digital age?

LC: I’m coming at this as a former librarian. I like books, bricks-and-mortar and papers. I do think it eventually has to change, though.

Monika Malewska, assistant professor of art, exhibited artwork in the following shows: "Works on Paper," at the 3rdWard Gallery, Brooklyn, N.Y.; "Between Realities," Principle Gallery, Alexandria, Va.; "Mid Atlantic New Painting 2010," J. Ridderhof Martin Gallery, University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, Va.; "NURTUREart," Claire Oliver Gallery, New York, N.Y.; "Invented Memories," Anton Art Center, Mount Clemens, Mich.; and "22nd September Competition Exhibition," Alexandria Museum of Art, Alexandria, La. Malewska also published artworks in Direct Art Magazine in the Fall/Winter 2009 issue.

Alexander McBride, professor emeritus of art, exhibited his paintings based on images from the Hubble Telescope at the State Theater in State College, Pa in March.

Jennifer Streb, assistant professor of art history, received a Marshall Fishwick Travel Grant to Popular Culture Studies/American Culture Studies Research Collections to travel to Denver, Colo., to develop a traveling exhibition of the American artist Minna Citron's paintings and prints. She also traveled to Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash. to attend a Chemistry and Art Workshop funded by the National Science Foundation.

William Thomas, associate professor of information technology, received the First Place Award in the poster competition for "Using Virtualization in the Computer Lab to Solve Sticky Problems" at the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges Eastern Conference at Villanova University. He also organized a workshop on Teaching using Virtualization Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education's National Conference in Milwaukee in March.

Belle Tuten, Long Professor of History, presented "Crepuit medius: Privy Death and Justice in Medieval Monastic Literature," at the 2010 International Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo, Mich., in May. Tuten also co-edited a volume of essays, Feud, Violence and Practice: Essays in Medieval Culture in Honor of Stephen D. White (White was Tuten's adviser at Emory University).

Dominick Peruso, associate professor of accounting, business and economics, presented a paper, "Financial Condition of Private Colleges," with Steven Liong Wee Kwong '10 at the Social Challenges of the 21st Century Conference in February at Lebanon Valley College. The paper examined trends in tuition rates, tuition discount, tuition dependency, liquidity, leverage, operating results, and asset efficiency. The paper investigated differences by level of prestige and region using publicly available data from nearly 400 colleges during 1998-2007.

So What?

Juniata magazine: How did this project come about?

Peruso: Steven was looking for an independent study project and I had a bunch of data from my doctoral research on higher ed finance. I’m looking at the relationship between tuition and financial condition.

JM: How many colleges did you look at?

DP: We used publicly available data from nearly 400 colleges during 1998-2007, which was right before our current financial downturn.

JM: Did you find out trends that were interesting or odd?

DP: Yes. All colleges took on more debt during that time, which we thought was because colleges were in a more competitive environment and they were “keeping up with the Joneses” by improving campuses and building new buildings. The tuition discount also increased slowly over time. Juniata’s had been pretty high at the beginning of that period and the rest of the colleges caught up with us. All colleges became more tuition dependent over that time. That means they relied more on incoming tuition for their operating budgets.

JM: Do you think having Steve work on a project on colleges made the assignment more interesting?

DP: Steve worked in the finance office on campus and I do think it made things more tangible for him.

James Tuten, associate professor of history, published " 'Don't Want to see no more... like that:' Climate Change as a Factor in the Collapse of Lowcountry Rice Culture, 1893-1920," in the book Historical Climate Variability and Impacts in North America.

Jamie White, Book Professor of Physics, and Kathy Jones, assistant professor of education, presented "Professional Development Should Begin at the Undergraduate Level: Preparing Future STEM Teachers for the Challenges and Rewards." at the national meeting of the Physics Teacher Education Coalition in Washington, D.C. in February. White also published a paper (with two co-authors), based on research by alumni Dan D'Orazio '09, Justin Schultz '08, Dan Sidor '07, Michael Best '06 and current student Kenneth Goodfellow '11, of Duncansville, Pa., on measuring the speed of light using a specific type of laser in the May issue of The American Journal of Physics.

David Widman, professor of psychology, published a paper, with two students Rachel Nagy '10, of Nazareth, Pa., and Katherine Corcoran '09, "Belonging to the Same Religion Enhances the Opinion of Others' Kindness and Morality," in the December 2009 Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology.

Dave Witkovsky, chaplain, was elected to the Board of Trustees of Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., representing the Brethren Colleges.

Notes from the Winter '10 magazine