A&S Faculty News
Christensen Wins Professing Excellence Award
Lars Christensen, a professor in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, is winner of the 2019 Professing Excellence Award. Winners of this award are nominated by students and have demonstrated their willingness to go above and beyond, both inside and outside the classroom, to impact the academic success of their students.
Mechref Wins Mentoring Excellence Award
Yehia Mechref, professor and chair in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, is winner of the 2019 Nancy J. Bell Graduate Faculty Excellence in Mentoring Award. Winners of this award are nominated by doctoral students. The Graduate School at Texas Tech University created this award to recognize those mentors who embody the spirit of a great mentor and have gone above and beyond in helping graduate students on their educational journey.
McIntyre Heads Landscape Ecologists Group
Nancy McIntyre, professor and associate chair in the Department of Biological Sciences, is the new president of the International Association for Landscape Ecology-North America. She was elected to the three-year term during the association's annual meeting, held this year in Ft. Collins, Colo., April 7-11. McIntyre described the overview of her presidency this way: "In the first year I will apprentice under the outgoing president, the second year I'll fly solo, and the third year I'll mentor the new president-elect. This is the largest group of landscape ecologists in the world. The U.S. chapter—which had already been the largest—just recently voted to merge with Canada and Mexico to form the North American chapter. So my main task will be to finalize that merger."
Al-Hmoud Named Study Abroad Runner-Up
Rula Al-Hmoud, an instructor in Arabic Language & Area Studies in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, was named runner-up for the The Donald R. Haragan Study Abroad Award, which recognizes the development and implementation of study abroad programs that support Texas Tech's commitment to providing high-quality international education opportunities. Her recognition came during the Global Vision Awards, held April 4, 2019, at the International Cultural Center. Al-Hmoud was noted for her passion for her culture and her dedication to helping shape the diverse study abroad opportunities for Texas Tech students. In addition to directing and teaching within the Arabic program, Al-Hmoud is the founder and director of Texas Tech's study abroad program in Amman, Jordan; founder of a study abroad program to Spain and Morocco to study Arabic; founder and adviser of the Arabic Language Student Organization; and co-founder of the Arabic Club of Texas Tech University. Winner of the Donald R. Haragan Study Abroad Award was Deborah Fowler, a professor and director of the Retail Management Program and associate chairperson in Hospitality and Retail Management in the College of Human Sciences, for bringing international diversity to study abroad programs.
Poirier Receives 7th Welch Grant Renewal
Bill Poirier, a professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, has received the seventh renewal of his Welch Foundation Grant entitled "New Methodologies for Accurate Quantum Calculations of the Dynamics of Atomic Nuclei." The grant will be funded at $195,000 for three years beginning June 1, 2019. Poirier also is a joint professor of Physics and a Chancellor's Council Distinguished Research Awardee.
Williams, Higgins Get $1.1 Million for Math Teachers
Brock Williams, professor, and Raegan Higgins, associate professor, both of the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, are co-principal investigators on a team that has received a $1.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The money will fund their proposal that responds to the local shortage in qualified mathematics teachers. Over the five-year duration of the award, their proposal, "Leveraging Learning Assistantships, Mentoring, and Scholarships to Develop Self-Determined Mathematics Teachers for West Texas," aims to produce 27 new, certified mathematics teachers who will teach in high-need school districts in West Texas. The work will be done by a partnership that includes Texas Tech University, South Plains College, Midland College, and the Lubbock Independent School District. The project will recruit first- and second-year undergraduates and provide them with an early teaching experience through work as learning assistants in college-level math classes. By providing the learning assistants with financial support, near-peer mentoring, and direct classroom experience, the recruitment strategy is expected to encourage students to pursue a career in secondary mathematics teaching. This new NSF grant begins June 1, 2019, and is supplemental to an already existing Noyce Scholarship program that fosters high-quality STEM teacher recruitment. Other faculty on the team are principal investigator Jerry Dwyer, professor in the College of Education and director of CISER; and co-principal investigators Michael Galyean, TTU Provost, and Jill White, associate program director of STEM outreach for CISER.
Carbone Presents at Annual AAAS Meeting
Dario Carbone, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, recently presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, D.C. The AAAS annual meeting offers a unique, exciting, interdisciplinary blend of more than 120 scientific sessions, plenary and topical lectures, flash talk sessions, e-poster presentations and an international exhibit hall. Each year, the community of leading scientists, educators, policymakers, and journalists gathers to discuss cutting-edge developments in science, technology and policy.
Harris Develops 'Science in Cinema' Guide
Breanna Harris, a research professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, has developed a new discussion guide that uses a major motion picture as a classroom tool for talking in-depth about science in cinema. "Is it Reel? Using Cinema to Explore Science," takes on the challenging subjects of death, dying and decay. The guide is based on the movie "To Dust," which won the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award. Starring Matthew Broderick and Géza Röhrig, this dark comedy explores a man's obsession with how a loved one's remains will decay. Harris's guide, subtitled "Case Study #1: To Dust—A Story of Love, Loss, and Decomposition," contains movie scenes along with scientific discussion questions that introduce topics—death and decomposition—that Harris says are seldom approached in American society and are often glossed over in biology courses. By combining a movie with questions ranging from basic science (e.g., What is apoptosis?) to philosophy (e.g., What is death?), the guide brings critical thinking to bear on the subject matter. Harris designed the guide for use in high school and introductory college-level courses. She says this case study would be appropriate for a variety of courses, including introductory biology, forensic science, research method, gerontology, anatomy and physiology, aging/lifespan, religion, media communication, and film study. To help instructors guide students, a list of resources is included; but instructors are free to add whatever other sources they deem relevant to their course, syllabus, and learning goals.
Findlater Receives 2nd Welch Grant Renewal
Michael Findlater, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, for a 2nd renewal of his Welch Foundation Grant entitled "Base Metal Catalyzed Transformations." The grant will be funded at $195,000 for three years beginning June 1, 2019.
Flores-Yeffal Discusses Border Walls in D.C.
Nadia Y. Flores-Yeffal, sociologist and assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work, gave a presentation Feb. 17 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. In the scientific session entitled "Border Walls: Exclusionary and Ineffective," Flores-Yeffal presented her research paper on "Social Networks and Undocumented Immigration to the United States: The Evidence." Her presentation focused on how undocumented immigrants develop social networks, called Migration-Trust Networks, and are able to enter, find jobs, and settle in the United States regardless of the existence of high levels of border enforcement and/or a wall. This research paper is an extension of findings that Flores-Yeffal published in her book, "Migration-Trust Networks: Social Cohesion in Mexican U.S.-Bound Emigration" (Texas A&M University Press, 2015). Also presenting during the session were demographers Dudley Poston of Texas A&M University and Guillermina Jasso of New York University.
Spurgeon Receives Fulbright to Norway
Sara Spurgeon, professor in the Department of English, recently was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for the 2019-2020 academic year to research and teach in Norway. She has studied and taught the literatures of various indigenous cultures, including those of the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Columbia, and Australia, and how contemporary indigenous art, graphic novels, films and literature contribute to the emerging field of Indigenous Futurism. She will be teaching undergraduate and graduate American literature courses at the University of Bergen and researching the Sámi, an indigenous people in Norway, who have revived current cultural and environmental activism. Like the Sámi, literature of other indigenous cultures, including those of the Americas, have frequently critiqued Euro-western ideas regarding nature and the sacred, gender roles and violence, and exploitation vs. sustainability. Spurgeon hopes to study these conversations and concepts during her time in Norway. She remarks how the TTU English Department has helped her achieve this incredible opportunity: "The Texas Tech Department of English has supported me as a scholar from the beginning of my work here in West Texas, offering space for me to explore new scholarly fields, to pursue admittedly eclectic and unusual avenues of study, and to provide a venue for students interested in those fields to join in by supporting the establishment of the Literature, Social Justice, and Environment (LSJE) graduate concentration and undergraduate minor."
Van Gestel Skypes from Antarctica with Kids
Natasja van Gestel, a quantitative ecologist in the Department of Biological Sciences, is on her second research expedition to Antarctica. On Feb. 12, she made time for a Skype session with two fourth-grade classes at North Ridge Elementary School in Lubbock's Frenship Independent School District. On Day 71 in her daily blog from the icy continent, van Gestel, pictured above piloting an inflatable boat, wrote that the children were well-prepared by their teachers Joanne Grothusen and Whitney Sarinana: "I was very impressed with the insightful questions! It was obvious they had done some research regarding Antarctica!" More about van Gestel's correspondence may be found at this link.
Hayhoe 'Talking Climate in West Texas'
Texas Tech University Climate Science Center held its first Science by the Glass lecture of 2019 at Lubbock's Local Bar and Grill. Science by the Glass is an informal discussion series that periodically brings together members of the community, Texas Tech faculty and students to discuss topics in the fields of science, climate and society. The Feb. 12 session, accompanied by food and drinks, was led by climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, a professor in the Department of Political Science. Her topic was "Talking Climate in West Texas."
Swingen Appointed Associate Vice President OR&I
Abigail Swingen, associate professor in the Department of History, has been appointed as an Associate Vice President in the Office of Research & Innovation (OR&I). She began serving as a Research Faculty Fellow in OR&I last year. Swingen will provide outreach to the humanities disciplines, as well as manage internal funding programs, targeted external awards, internal research awards, and the Faculty Research Club. Her book, "Competing Visions of Empire: Labor, Slavery, and the Origins of the British Atlantic Empire" (Yale, 2015), won the second place President's Faculty Book Award at Texas Tech for 2017. She has received external support from the Huntington Library, the Beinecke Library at Yale, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Joseph A. Heppert, Vice President for Research & Innovation, described Swingen as an accomplished scholar with a passion for supporting research, scholarship, and creative activity at Texas Tech.
Ribeiro Headed to Vienna as Guest Professor
Anna Christina Ribeiro, an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy, will be a guest professor of aesthetics at the University of Vienna in the summer of 2019. Ribeiro specializes in aesthetics and the philosophy of art and currently is a trustee of the American Society for Aesthetics (2017-2020). Most of her work has focused on a philosophical analysis of poetry; and she has written the entries on poetry for The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Literature (2016), The Oxford Encyclopaedia of Aesthetics (2nd ed., 2014), and The Blackwell Companion to Aesthetics (2nd ed., 2009), as well as several journal articles and book chapters on the philosophy of poetry. Among her recognitions are the 2016 American Society for Aesthetics Ted Cohen Prize for "The Spoken and the Written: An Ontology of Poems" (in The Philosophy of Poetry, Oxford University Press 2015).
McLeod Publishes on Stellar Jet in 'Nature'
Anna F. McLeod, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Texas Tech Department of Physics & Astronomy and the Department of Astronomy at the University of California-Berkeley, has discovered one of the longest stellar jets ever observed--nearly 33 light-years in length. Her discovery was published in the journal "Nature" on Jan. 24, 2019. McLeod's research, "A parsec-scale optical jet from a massive young star in the Large Magellanic Cloud," found the phenomenon in a region of newly forming stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and captured it with the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument on the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope. The relatively small amount of dust in the LMC and MUSE's acute vision allowed intricate details of the region to be picked out in visible light, and the image of this neighborhood is a spectacular kaleidoscope of colors. Details of McLeod's research may be found at this link.
Schroeder Named Director of NWI
John Schroeder, atmospheric scientist and professor in the Department of Geosciences, has been named senior director of Texas Tech University's National Wind Institute (NWI). Joseph Heppert, vice president of Research & Innovation, announced the appointment, effective Jan. 1, 2019. Schroeder also will serve as technical director for Prediction and Measurement. He is commissioned to use his leadership and vision to expand and evolve the wind enterprise at TTU, and the new position will further solidify the prominence and importance of the institute, Heppert said in an announcement. Before this appointment, Schroeder served for five years as the NWI's interim leader. In the future, the NWI is destined to become more interdisciplinary in nature, with revised strategic and sustainability plans that will position the institute to aggressively seek large-scale center based funding, according to Heppert's announcement.
Kendall Studies Parasites to Save Quail
Ron Kendall, a professor of environmental toxicology and founding director of The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) at Texas Tech University, has been studying the declining Bobwhite quail population of the West Texas Rolling Plains, one of the last areas for wild bobwhite quail hunting in the United States. The team at the Texas Tech Wildlife Toxicology Laboratory (WTL) believe the decline in the quail population can be attributed to multiple variables, including parasitic infection. Two of the most common parasites of quail in this region are the eyeworm and caecal worm. Eyeworms live behind the eyes of quail feeding on the tissues within the eye where they cause damage that may lead to poor eyesight. A female eyeworm can grow long enough to span a penny, which would be comparable to the length of a toothpick in the human eye. "These two significant parasitic diseases, which we have now documented in our scientific publications, can be intense and widespread in such a short period of time that they can infect more than 90 percent of the quail in a given zone," Kendall said. Recently, the WTL received a $200,000 grant to fund research toward a cure for these infections. The grant is sponsored by the Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on the preservation of Texas' wild quail-hunting heritage. Details of Kendall's research may be found at this link.
More Faculty Achievements
2018 FACULTY NEWS
2017 FACULTY NEWS
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- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
2016 FACULTY NEWS
"Moments of Joy and Heartbreak: 66 Significant Episodes in the History of the Pittsburgh Pirates"
Jorge Iber, Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and Professor in the Department of History, leads as author and editor in this 208-page paperback, "Moments of Joy and Heartbreak: 66 Significant Episodes in the History of the Pittsburgh Pirates." The Pittsburgh Pirates have a long history, peppered with moments significant both to Pirates fans and Major League Baseball. While the Pirates are recognized as fielding the first all-black lineup in 1971, the 66 games in this book include one of the first matchups in the majors to involve two non-white opening hurlers (Native American and Cuban) in June 1921. We relive no-hitters, World Series-winning homers, and encounter the story of the last tripleheader ever played in major-league baseball. Some of the games are wins; some are losses. All of these essays provide readers with a sense of the totality of the Pirates' experiences: the joy, the heartbreak, and other aspects of baseball (and life) in between. This book is the work of 37 members of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), SABR Digital Library, Vol. 46, paperback. (Society for American Baseball Research, March 2018)
"True Sex: the Lives of Trans Men at the Turn of the Twentieth Century"
Emily Skidmore, Assistant Professor in the Department of History, uncovers the stories of 18 trans men who lived in the United States between 1876 and 1936 in "True Sex, the Lives of Trans Men at the Turn of the Twentieth Century." At the turn of the 20th century, trans men were not necessarily urban rebels seeking to overturn stifling gender roles. In fact, they often sought to pass as conventional men, choosing to live in small towns where they led ordinary lives, aligning themselves with the expectations of their communities. They were, in a word, unexceptional. Despite the "unexceptional" quality of their lives, their stories are nonetheless surprising and moving, challenging much of what we think we know about queer history. By tracing the narratives surrounding the moments of "discovery" in these communities—from reports in local newspapers to medical journals and beyond—this book challenges the assumption that the full story of modern American sexuality is told by cosmopolitan radicals. Rather, "True Sex" reveals complex narratives concerning rural geography and community, persecution and tolerance, and how these factors intersect with the history of race, identity and sexuality in America. (NYU Press, September 2017)
"The Restless Indian Plate and Its Epic Voyage from Gondwana to Asia"
Sankar Chatterjee, Horn Professor in the Department of Geosciences, writes that the fossil history of animal life in India is central to our understanding of the tectonic evolution of Gondwana, the dispersal of India, its northward journey, and its collision with Asia in "The Restless Indian Plate and Its Epic Voyage from Gondwana to Asia" . According to a review in Phys.org, "This beautifully illustrated volume provides the only detailed overview of the paleobiogeographic, tectonic, and paleoclimatic evolution of the Indian plate from Gondwana to Asia," and quotes Chatterjee and his colleagues as saying, "The tectonic evolution of the Indian plate represents one of the most dramatic and epic voyages of all drifting continents: 9,000 kilometers in 160 million years. ... The extensive reshuffling of the Indian plate was accompanied by multiple temporary filter bridges, resulting in the cosmopolitan nature of tetrapod fauna." The review goes on to conclude that "This thorough, up-to-date volume is a must-have reference for researchers and students in Indian geology, paleontology, plate tectonics, and collision of continents." (The Geological Society of America, July 2017)
"Modern Sport Ethics: A Reference Handbook, 2nd Edition"
Angela Lumpkin, Professor and Chair of the Department of Exercise & Sport Science, offers, in "Modern Sport Ethics: A Reference Handbook, 2nd Edition," descriptions and examples of unethical behaviors in sport that will challenge readers to think about how they view sport and question whether participating in sport builds character—especially at the youth and amateur levels. Sport potentially can teach character as well as social and moral values, but only when these positive concepts are consistently taught, modeled, and reinforced by sport leaders with the moral courage to do so. The seeming moral crisis threatening amateur and youth sport—evidenced by athletes, coaches, and parents alike making poor ethical choices—and ongoing scandals regarding performance-enhancing drug use by professional athletes make sports ethics a topic of great concern. This work enables readers to better understand the ethical challenges facing competitive sport by addressing issues such as gamesmanship, doping, cheating, sportsmanship, fair play, and respect for the game. A compelling read for coaches, sport administrators, players, parents, and sport fans, the book examines specific examples of unethical behaviors—many cases of which occur in amateur and educational sports—to illustrate how these incidents threaten the perception that sport builds character. It identifies and investigates the multiple reasons for cheating in sport, such as the fact that the rewards for succeeding are so high, and the feeling of athletes that they must behave as they do to "level the playing field" because everyone else is cheating, being violent, taking performance-enhancing drugs, or doing whatever it takes to win. Readers will gain insight into how coaches and sport administrators can achieve the goals for youth, interscholastic, intercollegiate, and Olympic sport by stressing moral values and character development as well as see how specific recommendations can help ensure that sport can serve to build character rather than teach bad behavior in the pursuit of victory. (ABC-CLIO, December 2016)
"Introduction to Physical Education, Exercise Science, and Sport" 10th Edition
Angela Lumpkin, Professor and Chair of the Department of Exercise & Sport Science, gives college students a wide-angle view of physical education, exercise science, sport, and the wealth of careers available in these fields in the 10th Edition of "Introduction to Physical Education, Exercise Science, and Sport." The textbook provides the principles, history, and future of physical education, exercise science, and sport. Lumpkin's clear writing style engages the reader while covering the most important introductory topics in this updated introduction to the world of physical education. (McGraw-Hill, July 2016)
William Wenthe, Professor in the Department Of English, explores painful and fleeting emotions within the 96 pages of "God's Foolishness." Here, he mines the feelings of human uncertainty in matters of love and desire, time and death, and uncovers difficult truths with transformative insights. These are poems of crisis. Wenthe examines our conflicting urges to see nature as sustenance and to foolishly destroy it. His poems shift from close observation to panorama with cinematic fluidity, from a tea mug to an ancient monument, from a warbler on an elm branch to the specter of imminent natural disaster. Offering passion and intellect balanced with a careful concern for poetic craft, Wenthe's "God's Foolishness" gives us fine poems to savor and admire. Watch the YouTube video here. (LSU, May 2016)
"Before the Gregorian Reform: The Latin Church at the Turn of the First Millennium"
John Howe, Professor in the Department of History, challenges the familiar narrative that the era from about 1050 to 1150 was the pivotal moment in the history of the Latin Church. The status quo states it was then that the Gregorian Reform movement established the ecclesiastical structure that would ensure Rome's dominance throughout the Middle Ages and beyond. In "Before the Gregorian Reform," Howe examines earlier, "pre-Gregorian" reform efforts within the Church—and finds that they were more extensive and widespread than previously thought and that they actually established a foundation for the subsequent Gregorian Reform movement. The low point in the history of Christendom came in the late ninth and early tenth centuries—a period when much of Europe was overwhelmed by barbarian raids and widespread civil disorder, which left the Church in a state of disarray. As Howe shows, however, the destruction gave rise to creativity. Aristocrats and churchmen rebuilt churches and constructed new ones, competing against each other so that church building, like castle building, acquired its own momentum. Patrons strove to improve ecclesiastical furnishings, liturgy, and spirituality. Schools were constructed to staff the new churches. Moreover, Howe shows that these reform efforts paralleled broader economic, social, and cultural trends in Western Europe including the revival of long-distance trade, the rise of technology, and the emergence of feudal lordship. The result was that by the mid-eleventh century a wealthy, unified, better-organized, better-educated, more spiritually sensitive Latin Church was assuming a leading place in the broader Christian world. "Before the Gregorian Reform" challenges us to rethink the history of the Church and its place in the broader narrative of European history. Compellingly written and generously illustrated, it is a book for all medievalists as well as general readers interested in the Middle Ages and Church history. (Cornell University Press, March 2016)
"New Developments in Biological and Chemical Terrorism Countermeasures"
Ronald J. Kendal, Professor of Environmental Toxicology; Steven Presley, Professor of Immuno-toxicology; and Seshadri Ramkumar, Professor of Countermeasures to Biological Threats, all from the Department of Environmental Toxicology, have co-edited the newly published textbook, “New Developments in Biological and Chemical Terrorism Countermeasures.” The volume compiles a decade's worth of research through TTU's Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. National Program for Countermeasures to Biological and Chemical Threats, and updated many changes in the field since an earlier book, “Advances in Biological and Chemical Terrorism Countermeasures,” came out in 2008. “It's not just for college students,” Ramkumar said. “It's a tool for people in the field, from first responders all the way to policy makers.” (CRC Press, February 2016)
"Psychoanalytic Treatment in Adults: A Longitudinal Study of Change"
Rosemary Cogan, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, is co-author of "Psychonalytic Treatment in Adults: A longitudinal study of change." The book draws from 60 first-hand case studies to explore the outcomes of psychoanalytic treatment, providing examples of the long-term effectiveness of psychoanalytic and psychodynamic work as it delineates negative therapeutic treatment and discusses crucial changes in care. Outcomes of psychoanalysis, as with other psychotherapies, vary considerably. Cogan and her co-author, J.H. Porcerelli, used the Shedler-Westen Assessment Procedure to describe a patient at the beginning of psychoanalysis and every six months until the analysis ended. This allowed the authors to learn about changes over analysis and, in turn, improved treatment planning and practice for the well-being of other patients. Findings will be of interest to researchers and academics in the fields of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, psychodynamic therapy, psychoanalytic education, psychiatry and psychology, and should also help clinicians recognize potential problems early in analytic treatments in order to work more effectively with patients. (Routeledge, February 2016)