Thursday, April 24, 2008

Deans' Summer Research Fellowship

Every year students at Rockhurst University have the opportunity to apply for a Deans’ Summer Research Fellowship. Besides the monetary bonus, it provides the student the opportunity to work closely with a faculty mentor. This year another student of mine, Andrea Essner, who is a Theology major was selected as one of seven to receive the fellowship. Many more students had submitted competitive proposals. I heard the selection process was difficult.

Andrea comes from Saint Louis, MO and is pursuing a double major in English and Theology. She intends to go onto grad school to earn a Ph.D. in theology. Her summer project is entitled “Feminine Images of God in English Mystical Texts: A Comparative Analysis,” and I will serve as her mentor since I have some expertise in this field of study. Andrea’s knowledge of English literature will enable her to appreciate how mystics throughout the British Isles used feminine metaphors of God to convey a spiritual reality that was meaningful for their audience.

Congratulations go to all of our fine recipients this year!

· Ms. Madiha Aslam, “Inquiry - Based Learning in Mathematics,” under the direction of Dr. Mairead Greene, Department of Mathematics and Physics.
· Ms. Blair Ballard & Ms. Bailey Williams, “Accuracy of Personality Judgments: Theory, Research, and Applications,” under the direction of Dr. Kate Nicolai, Department of Psychology.
· Ms. Rebecca Benjamin, “Evaluating the Success of a Relocated Population of Timber Rattlesnakes,” under the direction of Dr. Mindy Walker, Department of Biology.
· Ms. Andrea Essner, “Feminine Images of God in English Mystical Texts: A Comparative Analysis,” under the direction of Dr. Daniel Stramara, Jr., Department of Theology & Religious Studies.
· Ms. Jeanette Powers, “Looking In and In and In: Fractals and Nature,” under the direction of Dr. Zdenka Guadarrama, Department of Mathematics and Physics.
· Mr. Alhagie Touray, “Case for Economic Cooperation and Integration in Africa: Is It Possible?,” under the direction of Dr. Michael Tansey, Department of Economics.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Faculty Member of the Year Award

Every Spring students get the opportunity to recognize one of our faculty members as an outstanding teacher who is dynamic in the classroom and facilitates learning by really connecting with students. This year the “Rockhurst Faculty Member of the Year 2007-2008 As Voted by the Student Body” went to Mr. Glenn Young. Mr. Young is presently wrapping up his dissertation at UMKC on The Cloud of Unknowing. This is his first year teaching here at Rockhurst full-time and its quite an achievement to receive this award at all, let alone in one’s first year! Glenn teaches TH 1000 Christianity I: Foundations and its sequel TH 3000 Christianity II: Development, and we’re glad to have him in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies.

At Rockhurst we are centered around student learning, which is bolstered by an instructor’s scholarship and service to the community. We’re expecting great things from you, Glenn. No pressure!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Going to India -- An Interview

One of our Rockhurst faculty members, Dr. Faith Childress from the History Department, has just been accepted into a prestigious summer institute in India. So here’s an interview report in the first person.

"I’ve been selected to participate in the National Endowment of the Humanities’ Summer Institute entitled “Bharata Darshan—Past and Present in the Study of India’s History and Culture.” The Institute is composed of about 20 professors from across the US. For the month of July, I’ll be living in three locations in India: Shimla, New Delhi, and Agra. We’ve already been warned that the climate may prove challenging because although all three locations are in northern India, temperatures in July range from the 50s in Shimla to 110-plus degrees in New Delhi and Agra. Every day I will be attending morning lectures by scholars of South Asia, in the afternoons visiting sites related to the lectures, and attending cultural events in the evenings."
"I'm really jealous, Faith!"

"Well of course you are, Daniel. Anyhow, I’m excited about the Institute because it’s interdisciplinary. We’ll examine India’s religions, arts, architecture, history, and literature from ancient times to the present. Likewise, we’ll explore a variety of topics such as the creation of Indian myth, the traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, the synthesis of Hindu and Islamic artistic traditions, the interaction of British colonial power with the Princely States, the nationalist struggle, and the sexual economies of modern India. In addition, we’ll see temples and mosques, Mughal sites such as the Red Fort and the Taj Mahal, and memorial sites for leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Indira Gandhi. I know that being in India will be a fantastic experience, and I’m looking forward to incorporating what I’ll learn and experience into my World Civilizations and Modern South Asia courses."
"Did you know that I'm a contortionist and can fit into a small trunk?"
Dr. Childress gasps, "O my gosh, Daniel! How did you do that? But I'm sure they won't let me smuggle a wild animal into India."

Have a great time, Dr. Childress!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

International Faculty

A university is a vibrant community, composed of students, faculty, and staff. And like any dynamic and living organism a university changes; it grows, adapts, etc. Next Fall Rockhurst will be gaining some new faculty. Because of job opportunities and family reasons our History Department had lost two faculty members. The new hires are Mr. K.D. Motes for Early US History and World History, and Dr. Cecilia Samonte for Modern US History and World History. (Dr. Samonte has already been with us for one year.) Our Department of Communication and Fine Arts had also lost a faculty member to a new job opportunity. He will be replaced by Ms. LaKresiha Graham. A faculty member in the Political Science Dept. had retired and will be replaced by Mr. Matthew Beverlin. And Biology and Chemistry likewise needed new members and thus Dr. Christine Wills and Dr. Petia Bobadova-Parvanova (from the University of Sophia, Bulgaria) will be joining us, respectively. And Rockhurst is pleased to hire a Director of Global Studies and Assistant Professor of Anthropology all-in-one: Dr. Chanasai Tiengtrakul. Dr. Chanasai will help launch our new Global Studies Perspectives requirement and reshape our Global Studies Program.

We eagerly await this diverse group of talented people--from across the USA (from California to Pennsylvania) and from around the world--to enrich our faculty and Rockhurst learning community. Our faculty is becoming more diverse and international.