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February Spotlights

Recent News from the College of Arts and Sciences

Campus Event: The Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and Congregation Achduth Vesholom's Holocaust Education Committee are co-sponsoring a week long symposium in May 2016 on the IPFW campus. The symposium is geared towards preservice middle and high school teachers interested in learning more about the Holocaust.

Faculty Presentation:  A panel of COAS faculty members led a discussion at the Cinema Center following the free screening of Nostalgia for the Lighta documentary about the Chile's Atacama Desert, where astronomers study the cosmos near where others search for the remains of people dumped there during General Pinochet's regime. The panel featured Rick Sutter, professor and chair of anthropology; Rick Weiner, professor and chair of history; Nancy Virtue, professor of French; Ximena Torres, limited term lecturer in Spanish; and Charlene Elsby, assistant professor of philosophy.

Student Research: Two IPFW Honors Program students with mentors from the College of Arts and Sciences presented their research projects at the 2015 Fall Honors Showcase in December. Elementary education undergraduate Kira Witte gave a presentation on strategies for combatting bullies (mentor: Lewis Roberts, English and linguistics). Sara Jackson, an undergraduate English and French double major, gave a presentation on the Magna Carta (mentor: Suzanne LaVere, history).

Faculty Grants: Four College faculty members were selected for COAS 2016 Summer Grants. The faculty members will receive stipends of $8000 to aid their summer research plans. The recipients were Punya Nachappa, assistant professor of biology, with “Factors Determining Vector Competence in Three Thrips Species Ability to Transmit Soybean Vein Necrosis Virus; Vamsi Nalam, assistant professor of biology, with “Evaluation of Soybean Transgenics Expressing a Host Defense Regulatory Gene, PHYTOALEXIN DEFICIENT4 (PAD4) for Enhancing Resistance to Soybean Aphid; Abe Schwab, associate professor of philosophy, with “Rethinking Conflicts of Interest; and Lachlan Whalen, associate professor of English, with “Ireland Unfree: Contemporary Irish Republican Prison Writing.”

Faculty Responses: Several COAS faculty members have published responses to the recently released Legislative Services Agency (LSA) report on IPFW's governance. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Carl Drummond (geology) wrote “IPFW Has Thrived on Change” for the Journal Gazette. In it, Drummond explains that IPFW has persevered through the many internal and external changes it’s undergone. He emphasizes IPFW’s continued “commitment to discovery and innovation” regardless of the university's governance model.

Janet Badia, professor of women’s studies; Andrew Downs, associate professor of political science; and Mark Masters, professor of physics, wrote the Journal Gazette op-ed, “Realignment Raises Serious Questions.” The authors respond to the proposal presented by Purdue boardmember Mike Bergoff and IU trustee Mike Mirro with a list of disadvantages and unanswered questions.

Finally, Michael Wolf, associate professor of political science, wrote an op-ed for the Journal Gazette entitled “Study, Report Misinterpret IPFW Mission.” In it, Wolfe analyzed the LSA report’s assertion that IPFW has had “less than optimal progress.” Wolfe argues that the LSA report used flawed data and counters many of its claims regarding regional campuses, including IPFW.


Faculty in the News: Professor Lawrence Kuznar (anthropology) was featured in a Journal Gazette article entitled “IPFW Prof Using Words of ISIS to See Inside Its World.” Kuznar discussed his analysis of the rhetoric and language of ISIS, and his participation in Pentagon war games by representing ISIS forces. Kuznar was also featured in the article “How the Attack in California is Different than the Attacks in Paris.” In this article, Kuznar explains that the California attack last year was an act of terror, but that it was an entirely different form of attack than the Paris attacks. He believes that an organized attack like the one on Paris would be difficult to accomplish in the US and that the couple in California were self-radicalized “lone wolves.”


Community Outreach: The IPFW Environmental Resources Center made a joint announcement with the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo and the Little River Wetlands Project about plans to open a Nature Discovery Zone in the spring. The project, part of the Families4Nature initiative, was featured in the News Sentinel article “Nature Play Area to be Built Near Fort Wayne Children's Zoo.”

Faculty in the News: Robert Gillespie, associate professor of biology, was mentioned in the IPFW Student Media articles “Plans for New Tunnel to Reduce Sewage Overflow in Rivers” and “Riverbank Erosion and Transmission Corridor Project Delay Rivergreenway Trail Completion.” In the first article, Gillespie explained that he and his students have been monitoring water quality during intense water events and that, once the proposed overflow tunnel is completed, the rivers could noticeably improve after a single season. Construction of the tunnel is expected to begin in 2017 and last four to five years. The second article concerns the need to stop riverbank erosion near IPFW before the Rivergreenway trail is completed. Gillespie commented on the hazardous effects erosion could have on aquatic life.

Alumnus Update: An article in IPFW's Communicator highlighted Brett DeGregorio (M.S., ’08), a wildlife biologist for the Army Corps of Engineers, who returned to campus to share his research on snakes that prey upon birds with current students, faculty, and guests. Bruce Kingsbury, professor and chair of biology, was also quoted in the article about the need for better funding of conservation efforts and the importance of undergraduate research.

Faculty in the News: Punya Nachappa, assistant professor of biology, was featured in the Purdue Today article “Purdue Profiles: Punya Nachappa.” She was interviewed about her work at IPFW and her research on soybean diseases and pests.


Faculty Publication: Associate Professor of Chemistry Steve Stevenson, COAS students Kristine Arvola and Muska Fahim, and Homestead High School graduate Benjamin Martin were part of a research team whose work was the cover article in the January 4, 2016, issue of the scholarly journal Inorganic Chemistry. Working with researchers from the University of California, Davis, the IPFW team studied molecules containing the metal gadolinium, which can be used as MRI contrasting agents. The published research describes a new purification method the team developed.


Faculty Appointment: Marcia Dixson, assistant vice chancellor for teaching and learning and associate professor of communication, was elected to the leadership of the National Communication Association's Scholarship of Teaching and Learning initiative. She will serve as secretary in 2016, program planner in 2017, and chair in 2018.

Department Initiative: The Department of Communication has established a student newsroom called IPFW Student Media to provide real-world journalism opportunities for multimedia communication students. The newsroom's faculty advisor Daniel Tamul, assistant professor of communication, hopes that the student-driven and -managed newsroom will grow quickly to help more students gain valuable experience. This new facility was also mentioned in an article by Business Weekly.

Alumnus Update: Chris Treft (B.A., ’14), was featured in the article “Local Broadcaster Defies Naysayers” in the Journal Gazette. The article concerns Treft’s dream of becoming a professional broadcaster, and his struggle overcoming many obstacles to achieve his broadcasting aspirations.


Faculty Publication: Lidan Lin, professor of English and linguistics, published the article “From ‘Between’ to ‘And’: The Global Humanities in Joyce and Beckett” in The International Journal of Literary Humanities. The article discusses the use of “between,” associated with separation, and “and,” associated with addition, in the context of dualism.


Faculty Award: Jim Farlow, professor of geology, was awarded the 2016 Distinguished Scholar Award by the Indiana Academy of Science. In addition, Farlow was named a Fellow of the Academy in recognition of his research and his service to education and the Academy.


Alumna Update/Faculty in the News: A rally held by multiple IPFW groups and faculty to support Syrian refugees was featured in the News Sentinel article “IPFW Rally Supports Welcoming Syrian Refugees,” the Communicator article “IPFW Supports Syrian Refugees with Two Events in One Day,” and the IPFW Student Media article “IPFW Faculty and Students Support Syrian Refugees.” The first article includes quotes from IPFW alumna Andrea Ritter (B.A., ’11, French) on the need to support Syrian refugees. The second article quotes Ann Livschiz, associate professor of history, and Jamie Toole, assistant professor of political science, about rejecting fear and holding government officials accountable. Nancy Virtue, professor of French, likewise denounced the rule of fear. The final article quoted Virtue about the positive message the rally sent, and Farah Combs, continuing lecturer in Arabic, mentioned that over 100 postcards had been sent to Indiana Governor Mike Pence.


Faculty Publication: Professor and department chair Bernd Buldt (philosophy) contributed to the collaborative efforts of over 200 experts worldwide in the Kant-Lexikon. This three-volume, three-thousand page encyclopedia details the work of the philosopher Immanuel Kant. Buldt contributed nine entries to this project, including entries on Kant and the history of metaphysics, history of philosophy, and history of reason.

Faculty Publication: Associate Professor Abraham Schwab (philosophy) wrote an article for the Journal Gazette entitled “Refusal to Help Syrian Refugees Is a Selfish Act.” Schwab criticizes the governors who said refugees were not welcome in their states and calls on others to show more compassion. He also wrote a WBOI article entitled “Putting a Price on Quality of Life” in which he discusses the point at which medical treatment is possible to afford, but quality of life may not be worth it.

Faculty in the News: Schwab was also quoted in the Journal Gazette article “A Congested Issue” about Sudafed becoming available only through a doctor’s prescription. He comments that doctors are already overburdened and that not everyone will be able to make time to see a doctor for these prescriptions.


Faculty Publication: Andrew Downs, associate professor of political science, wrote an article for Fort Wayne's Journal Gazette, “Find Millennials' Motivation.” In it, Downs discusses the relatively low voter turnout of young people and possible solutions to this problem.

Faculty in the News: Downs was also quoted in multiple articles. In the Indystar and USAToday, Downs commented on how Governor Pence’s position on banning Syrians is different than that of Donald Trump, who wishes to ban all Muslims. In the Indystar article “Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann Eyeing Top Job at Ivy Tech,” Downs remarked on how rare it is for a lieutenant governor to exit in a campaign season. Additionally, in the Washington Times article “Democrats Hope to Gain Leverage in Indiana Races,” Downs addressed speculation on Democrat John Gregg’s chances to win office in Indiana.

Downs was also quoted on issues being discussed in the Indiana legislature. The Journal Gazette and WishTV published articles about expectations for the legislature’s agenda over the next 10 weeks involving roads, education, and LGBT protections, and Downs noted that a Republican supermajority does not guarantee smooth sailing. The article “LGBT Rights, Roads, Tests Up Next” in the Journal Gazette broke down these concerns further. Finally, in the Indystar article “Grocery, Convenience Stores Can't Sell Cold Beer, Appeals Court Says,” Downs said it is unlikely that alcohol sale laws in Indiana will change any time soon.

Faculty in the News: Michael Wolf, associate professor of political science, was quoted in the Journal Gazette article “Area Towns among Nation's Reddest.” Wolf explains that sample size affects determinations of how conservative or liberal townships are. Wolf was also quoted along with Downs in the News Sentinel article “SACS Meetings Explore Funding Options for Public Schools.” Together, they outline the process of acquiring funding for public schools in the county.


In Memoriam: Joshua R. Gerow, professor emeritus of psychology, passed away in December 2015. Gerow joined IPFW's faculty in 1969. He retired in 2001, but returned to teaching in 2007. Gerow published numerous textbooks and articles on psycholinguistics and on the teaching of psychology. Gerow’s full obituary can be read here.

Faculty Spotlight: Michelle Drouin, associate professor of psychology, was invited to give a TedX talk in Naperville, Illinois, entitled “Online Love & Infidelity. We're in the Game, What are the Rules?” In her talk, Drouin discusses how online forms of intimacy are affecting romantic relationships.  

Faculty in the News: Elaine Blakemore, professor of psychology, had her research on gendered toys mentioned in the Delta Sky magazine article “The Toys They Are A-Changin.” The article discusses gender, toys, and marketing, and how marketing affects the other two. Blakemore talks about the importance of marketing and money in the toy-making decision process.


Faculty Award: Sherrie Steiner, assistant professor of sociology, was selected to participate in the Purdue Scholarship of Engagement Fellows Program. As a fellow, she will outline and plan a long-term project that has both scholarly and societal benefits, and assist with planning Purdue’s Annual Scholarship of Engagement Workshop in spring 2016.