Scholarship in the College of Arts & Sciences includes professional advancements, accomplishments, appointments and the progress of ongoing endeavors.
Arts & Sciences faculty are encouraged to contact Toni Salama, Senior Editor, Office of the Dean, to submit items of interest.
Hayhoe Would Ask Next President to Fix Climate
Katharine Hayhoe, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and director of TTU's Climate Science Center, was among a group of scientists who were asked by Ogden, Utah's Standard Examiner the following: What is the climate question the next president should answer? In the Oct. 20 article, Hayhoe was quoted as saying, "I wouldn't waste any time asking them what they think about the science — scientists are already very clear on the science, and have been for decades. I would ask them the question that is most appropriate to their role as politicians: What are they going to do to fix this problem?"
Vanos Quoted on Heat-Related Ailments
Jennifer Vanos, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geosciences, was quoted in an Oct. 17 PBS News Hour article, "The Deadly Threat of a Sweltering Apartment." The story focused on New York City's increasing death and hospitalization rates attributed to a combination of high summer temperatures and a lack of air conditioning. Vanos was quoted as saying that high temperatures can cause a myriad of ailments, including dizziness, fatigue, dehydration, headaches and lethargy, with the worst cases resulting in heat stroke and death.
Chatterjee Says Fossil is Bird's Vocal Organ
Sankar Chatterjee, Professor in the Department of Geosciences and Curator of Paleontology at the Museum of Texas Tech University is on an international team of scientists who have discovered that Cretaceous-era birds possessed a vocal organ that allowed them to make noise. The organ, called a syrinx, was found in an Antarctic fossil. So far, scientists have not found a similar organ in dinosaur remains from that era. Findings were published Oct. 12 in Nature.
Casadonte in Top 100 for 'Flipped' Learning
Dominick Casadonte, the Minnie Stevens Piper Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, has been named to the list of top 100 educators by the Flipped Learning Global Initiative (FLGI). In the "flipped" classroom, students watch a lecture on their own time and answer homework questions before coming to class. Class time is devoted to recapping the lesson, addressing questions and taking up advanced problems. Casadonte is among a group of dedicated educators who use the flipped classroom model because it improves classroom performance and student learning outcomes, Casadonte told Texas Tech Today in a news article posted Oct. 10. Casadonte began flipping his face-to-face classes in 2009 and launched a six-year longitudinal study – soon to be published in the American Chemical Society book "The Flipped Classroom" – to evaluate its effectiveness. During the study, test scores improved about 9.2 percent on average. He also administered an independent, standardized American Chemical Society exam at the end of each semester to see how students compared to their peers nationwide. After flipping the classes, he saw a 700 percent increase in the number of students performing at or above the 90th percentile. Casadonte also has organized three national symposia on course flipping and has participated in two others. He has worked with graduate students studying flipped learning and gives lectures nationwide on how to successfully flip college-level classes in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). He credits these efforts for his inclusion on the FLGI 100 list. "My experience is that flipping works to improve both interaction in the classroom and student learning outcomes," Casadonte said. "It is a great way to spend class time getting to know one's students and, more importantly, getting to know what they know or don't know and understand."
Lewis Says Creepy Clowns Not Terrorists
Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Dave Lewis, Professor of Practice and Director of the Strategic Studies graduate program in the Department of Political Science, was quoted extensively in an Oct. 10 Los Alamos Daily Post about the phenomena of people appearing in clown costumes. In "Creepy Clown Threats Continue to Grow," Lewis summed up the sightings this way: "The goal with this clown stuff seems to be either just to gain notoriety or to create turmoil or anarchy, and even if they're trying to do it for economic benefits or personal gain, it doesn't really fit our terrorism definition. Think about drug cartels. Do they use terror? Absolutely. Are they trying to change a political system? No, they're trying to make money." The article went on to quote Lewis as saying that, while the creepy clowns do not fit the strict definition of terrorists, that doesn't mean they don't pose a threat to law and order: "From an anarchy perspective ... If we actually have a serious crime going on and our law enforcement is responding to something that's frivolous, then we've really created a problem in our community," Lewis told the Daily Post. Lewis teaches courses in strategy, intelligence, terrorism, counterinsurgency, national security, public sector strategy, and Homeland Security. He was a career military officer with extensive operational and staff experience, and he served as a professor of strategy at the United States Naval War College after earning his master's degree with distinction in national security and strategic studies there.
McKee Weighs in on Trump Tape
Seth McKee, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, was quoted in an Oct. 10 FOX-34 opinion piece, entitled, "Analysis: Latest Brows to Trump Campaign Give Clinton the Advantage." The article focused on the second presidential debate and revelations about Donald Trump's "locker room" language. "It's over for him," McKee was quoted as saying. "Of all the things he's said, this one clearly, given the time and given the fact that there's still some people out there who are just starting to tune in, it's a killer." The article went on to report McKee's lament that, so far, the thing lost in all the hype of the debate was what mattered most: policy.
Hayhoe Interviewed About Pew Findings
Katharine Hayhoe, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and director of TTU's Climate Science Center, was quoted in an Oct. 4 Christian Science Monitor article entitled, "Can Americans Find Some Common Ground on Climate Change?" The story focused on a new poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, which showed that people's political orientations influenced their take on climate issues. The article quoted Hayhoe as saying, "The most important thing I've learned ... is that facts are not enough. We need to connect to people's hearts," and that faith is the source of heartfelt values for many. The poll also revealed that the more people cared about climate issues, the more likely they are to believe that science presents an accurate picture of reality. On that result, the story quoted Hayhoe as saying that policy cannot be based purely on scientific facts because science does not make value judgments; and that policy relies on values to provide the framework to interpret scientific data.
McGuire Studies Fungus That's Killing Bats
Liam McGuire, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, is one of six investigators in a $2.5 million Department of Defense-funded research project to study white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has killed millions of bats in North America over the last decade. "They're a major player in whatever ecosystem they're in," McGuire told Texas Tech Today in an article posted Oct. 4. "An ecosystem is probably going to be quite different if all the bats die out." Bats have economic value, particularly in agricultural areas, where they play a major role in insect control. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently listed the northern long-eared bat on its threatened list, and Canada has added three bat species to its endangered list, all because of white-nose syndrome. The four-year award is from the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP), the Department of Defense's environmental science and technology program executed in partnership with the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. McGuire and the other researchers will create a model that helps them understand which bat species may survive the disease and in what environments.
Hayhoe Sits Down with POTUS, DiCaprio
Katharine Hayhoe, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and director of TTU's Climate Science Center, took part in a panel discussion on climate change with President Barack Obama and actor Leonardo DiCaprio Oct. 3. The discussion, now available for viewing on YouTube, was the highlight of the President's South by South Lawn (SXSL) event, held on the South Lawn of the White House, and was followed by a screening of DiCaprio's climate change documentary, "Before the Flood." SXSL was patterned after the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) event in Austin, Texas, and was promoted on media outlets as diverse and People Magazine and The Economic Times.
Presley Says Zika Can Be Sexually Transmitted
Steve Presley, Professor of Immunotoxicology in the Department of Environmental Toxicology, continues to be a sought-after source of information about the Zika virus. Most recently, Presley was quoted in Environmental Health Perspectives' lengthy article, "Zika in the United States: How Are We Preparing?" (September 2016, Vol. 124, Issue 9). One of the aspects of Zika that makes it different from other mosquito-borne viruses is that it also can be transmitted through sexual contact. "We're worried especially about silent reservoirs of asymptomatic people who are also sexually active," Presley, told the publication. "They might infect multiple people before they themselves know they have Zika."
Harris Team's Therapy Dog Study on KTTZ
Breanna Harris, Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, is part of a collaborative research team whose study was featured in a KTTZ-TV Facebook video posted Sept. 30. The study is showing that students with autism experience lower stress levels and are more motivated to learn when therapy dogs are used.
Lumpkin Picked for Strategic Committee
Angela Lumpkin, Chair of the Department of Kinesiology & Sport Management, has been chosen to serve on Texas Tech University's newly formed Strategic Planning Committee, according to the committee roster provided by the Office of Provost on Sept. 15. Lumpkin will be one of 25 committee members charged with developing what the Provost Office called a "new century" strategic plan to guide the University past 2025 and into its second hundred years. During the fall semester, the committee will hold several focus group meetings and forums in which TTU faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the community can participate and provide feedback.
Iber Weighs in on Utah, BYU & the Big 12
Jorge Iber, Professor in the Department of History and Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences, was quoted in a Sept. 9 article published in the Salt Lake City Weekly. The story, "The Holy War Cometh," covers the legendary football rivalry between the University of Utah and Brigham Young University—a rivalry made all the more passionate as BYU is in the running to join the Big 12. "If BYU were to defeat Utah, that would be a second Pac-12 team this season," Iber was quoted as saying. "That would be a feather in BYU's cap." Iber is the author of "Hispanics in the Mormon Zion" (Texas A&M University Press 2000) and a University of Utah graduate.
Jordan Consults on Museum Book
Michael Jordan, Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work, contributed his expertise, as well as several essays and catalog descriptions, to "Plains Indian Art of the Early Reservation Era" (Saint Louis Art Museum, September 2016), an exhibition catalog of the Saint Louis Art Museum's Donald Danforth Jr. Collection. Jordan identified objects with their tribal affiliations and significance within their respective cultures. For example, Jordan collaborated with Gordon Yellowman to write about a Cheyenne pipe: In Cheyenne culture, a pipe was not simply a tool for smoking tobacco; it identified its owner as a man mature enough to keep religious commitments and worthy to participate in the religious life of the tribe. Jordan's entries are published alongside those of artists, curators, Native American dignitaries, and fellow scholars whose insights illuminate the historical and indigenous significance of the 251-piece collection and present perspectives that are as richly varied as the works themselves.
Griffith Quoted in 'Trigger Warnings' Survey
Lauren Miller Griffith, Assistant Professor of Ethnology in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work, was quoted in an article, "Half of Professors in NPR Ed Survey Have Used 'Trigger Warnings,'" published Sept. 8 by Southern California Public Radio. The story was based on a survey of faculty members around the country to see how many have used "trigger warnings," cautionary messages to the classroom that the material about to be presented may be controversial; offensive; difficult to see, hear, or discuss; or may make some people feel uncomfortable. Griffith was quoted as saying that she gave warnings in a specific situation when teaching Native American students whose religious beliefs required that they undergo a form of ritual purification upon viewing images of death. "I think that trigger warnings can and should be used in a limited number of situations," she was quoted as saying, "but overusing them can create a situation in which students opt out of learning experiences simply because they don't want to confront their own assumptions about the world."
Baugh Presents at English Speaker Series
Scott Baugh, Associate Professor of Film/Media Studies in the Department of English, gave a presentation, "Sustainable 'Developments' in Contemporary Latin American Political Cinema," on Sept. 7 during the Department's LSJE Lunchtime Speaker Series. (LSJE stands for Literature, Social Justice, and the Environment.) the vent also featured Iracema Quintero, a Master's Student in the Department of English, who presented on "Empowering Others By Empowering One's Self: Mestizo Feminism in Real Women Have Curves."
Ghosh is Co-PI in $641,745 NIH Grant
Souparno Ghosh, Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, is Co-Principal Investigator on a three-year $641,745 research grant from the National Institutes of Health. The money will go toward developing a computer model that can predict the effectiveness of a cancer drug or combination of drugs, depending on a variety of genetic and cellular factors unique to each individual. In the future, this will allow doctors to develop personalized methods of cancer treatment and give patients the best circumstances for survival. A more detailed story about Ghosh's research may be found by following this link.
Iber Quoted by NBC News on Latino Mormons
Jorge Iber, Professor in the Department of History and Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences, was quoted in an Aug. 22 NBC News story: "The Future of the Mormon Church? It's Latino." Iber told NBC News that Latinos do not give up their culture when they join the LDS Church and that he has seen statues of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Latino Mormon households. "Where else can an individual newly arrived from Central or South America instantly connect with a powerful institution by embracing their spiritual beliefs?" Iber was quoted as saying, adding that because the Mormon Church has no professional clergy, it offers leadership opportunities to all members, including Latinos. Iber is the author of "Hispanics in the Mormon Zion." (Texas A&M University Press 2000)
Bishop to Research Book at Fondation Hardt
Caroline Bishop, Assistant Professor in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, has received a research scholarship for young researchers from the Fondation Hardt in Geneva, Switzerland. The award will allow Bishop to spend three weeks in November 2016 at the Fondation Hardt estate to work on her upcoming book, "Cicero's Intellectual Politics: the reception of Greek learning at Rome." The Fondation has an impressive library devoted entirely to Latin and Greek classics. Scholars in residence stay on the estate and eat all meals together, and Bishop will be in residence with senior scholars of classics from many different countries, who she would not otherwise get the opportunity to meet, she said. "My time at the Fondation will provide me both with a wealth of resources and with a period of intense focus to complete work on my book," Bishop said. "Not only will it allow me to master this subject and bring new ideas back to enrich my students' knowledge of ancient Greece and Rome, it will also give me the opportunity to advise them and model for them the research and writing process." Bishop said she is grateful to her department and to the College of Arts & Sciences for allowing her to take leave earlier this year when she won the Loeb Library Fellowship, which made it possible for her to also have the experience of staying at the Fondation Hardt. Bishop also credited TTU's Women Faculty Research Writing program for providing a supportive community and protected chunk of time each week, which allowed her to advance her research and apply for the fellowships.
GUEST SPEAKER ON MONETARY ECONOMICS
The Department of Economics welcomes Sarah Zubairy, Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Texas A&M University, as guest speaker on Sept. 28. Zubairy’s research is in empirical macroeconomics and monetary economics, with a focus on issues related to fiscal policy.
ECONOMICS OF IMMIGRATION
Armando Lopez, Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics, will give a presentation, “The Demand for Different Styles of Immigration and Implications for the U.S. in a Stylized Model,” on Oct. 12. Lopez’s research interest include macroeconomics, immigration, demographic change and macroeconomics, and international economics.
DAYAWANSA MEMORIAL LECTURE SERIES
The Department of Mathematics & Statistics welcomes Dr. Magnus Egerstedt as guest speaker for the 2016 Dayawansa Memorial Lecture Series Oct. 25-27. Egerstedt is the Schlumberger Professor at the School of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He will give three lectures during the series.