Faculty and Staff Notables

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Dr. H. Justin Ballenger, assistant professor of STEM education, was selected to participate in the 2020 class of the Urban Leaders Fellowship. The program is for early- to mid-career professionals who are already leaders in their own right and are looking to accelerate their leadership through a seven-week fellowship with a focus on policy and practice. In 10 premier cities across the country, Fellows work in partnership with other ambitious, mission-driven individuals, organizations and elected officials with the aim of empowering Fellows to bring about real and lasting change in the community in which they work. Dr. Ballenger will be based in Atlanta addressing policy issues related to food insecurity and support for educational enrichment programs in underserved communities.

Dr. Sybil Keesbury, associate professor, was interviewed by CBS Atlanta for a story about parents who are homeschooling children with special needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Thomas Koballa, dean and professor, received funding from the National Science Foundation to conduct a Noyce capacity building project. Mercer collaborators and co-PIs include Dr. Bob Allen, professor and chair of computer science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Dr. Susie Morrissey, assistant professor of education. The project started April 1 and will run through March 31, 2021.

Dr. Katherine Perrotta, assistant professor of middle grades and secondary education, presented her research, “Getting HIP: A Study on the Implementation of Asynchronous Discussion Boards as a High Impact Practices in Undergraduate History Courses,” at the International Society of Social Studies Conference at the University of Central Florida in February. She also presented her research, “Can’t Fight this Feeling: Tracing the Origins of Historical Empathy during the Standards Movement in American Education, 1980s- Present,” in virtual format for the Southern History of Education Society’s annual conference in March.

Dr. Gabrielle Darville, assistant professor of public health, led her PBH 405 Health Programming course in producing a health podcast in lieu of a traditional health programs. This spring, students conducted needs assessments and produced seven podcast episodes to address common issues experienced by students on campus. Podcast episodes are now available on Soundcloud.

Dr. Craig Byron, associate professor of biology, co-authored “Odd-nosed monkey scapular morphology converges on that of arm-swinging apes” in the Journal of Human Evolution, 143, 102784.

Dr. Jamie Cockfield, professor emeritus of history, was nominated by the Georgia Writers Association for a Georgia Author of the Year Award in the category of biography for his book on U.S. Sen. Walter F. George, titled A Giant from Georgia, published by Mercer University Press. The awards will be announced in June.

Dr. John Marson Dunaway, professor emeritus of French and interdisciplinary studies, published a meditation on living through the COVID-19 crisis, titled “Shall We Lament,” March 31. The meditation appeared in the weekly online “Missional Moment” circulated to Christian professors internationally via email by Faculty Commons, the faculty ministry of Cru, formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ.

Dr. Sarah E. Gardner, Distinguished University Professor of History, presented “Reconstructing Race” at the meeting of the Southern Intellectual History Colloquium Feb. 27-29 at Sewanee: The University of the South. Her research was also featured on the Association of American Colleges and Universities public radio program “The Academic Minute” during “Mercer Week” on April 27-May 5.

Dr. Adam Kiefer, Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry, was featured on the Association of American Colleges and Universities public radio program “The Academic Minute during “Mercer Week” on April 27-May 5.

Dr. Paul Lewis, professor of religion, published “Lenten Reflections: Five Faithful Responses to Covid-19” April 2 in Ethics Daily.

Dr. Anya Silver, professor emerita of English, was featured in Georgia Humanities recent National Poetry Month-themed newsletter highlighting “poets who move us and make us.” In 2019, Georgia Author of the Year honored Silver with a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award. A forthcoming production, IV, a two-part documentary play about metastatic breast cancer, is anchored by Silver’s works and written and produced by her husband, Dr. Andrew Silver, Page Morton Hunter Professor of English. The play’s forthcoming Georgia debut and accompanying discussion are supported in part by a grant from Georgia Humanities.

Dr. Lee Troupe, assistant professor of mathematics, authored “Divisor sums representable as a sum of two squares,” accepted for publication in the Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society.

Fran Kamp, professor, was the featured member of the month for the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning.

Dr. Linda A. Streit, dean and professor, as a board member for the Council on Collegiate Education for Nursing branch of the Southern Regional Education Board, participated in the Spring 2020 Webinar Series, where she interviewed Dr. Anita Hufft, retired dean of the College of Nursing at Texas Woman’s University. The webinar, which took place on Feb. 20, was titled “Reflections and Wisdom from a Veteran Nursing Dean.”

Dr. Jill Augustine, clinical assistant professor, and Dr. Maria Thurston, clinical associate professor, co-authored “Description and Impact of Student Pharmacist Teaching within a Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support Class” in the American Journal of Pharmacy Education, 2020 March; 84(3):7621.

Dr. Nader Moniri, professor of pharmaceutical sciences and associate dean for research, was featured on the Association of American Colleges and Universities public radio program “The Academic Minute” during “Mercer Week” on April 27-May 5.

Dr. David Lane, professor of counseling, co-authored a new book with counselor education and supervision Ph.D. graduate Keith Myers, titled Counseling Veterans: A Practical Guide. A preliminary edition of the book for use with summer classes is scheduled for publication April 27 by Cognella Academic Publishing in San Diego, California. The full first edition is scheduled to be published July 15.

Dr. Richard Martin, professor of criminal justice and homeland security, authored “Psychological Assessment in Police Selection: Common and Uncommon Methods of Personality Evaluation,” accepted for publication in Law Enforcement Executive Forum. He also authored “Importance levels of skills and traits for successful long-term police careers: Comparisons of Midwest police chief and commissioners of the Caribbean Islands responses” in Forensic Research and Criminology International Journal, 8(2):77‒86. DOI: 10.15406/frcij.2020.08.00309. Dr. Martin was invited to be one of 10 associate editors for the Journal of Education and Training Studies by Redfame Publishing for a two-year honorary position that begin in April. In addition, his article, “Burnout in Gastroenterology Unit Nurses,” was reviewed for the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Dr. Melanie Pavich, associate professor of history and interdisciplinary studies and college writing coordinator, was featured on the Association of American Colleges and Universities public radio program “The Academic Minute” during “Mercer Week” on April 27-May 5.

Trea Pipkin, adjunct instructor, was sworn in as a judge on the Court of Appeals of Georgia by Gov. Brian Kemp on April 10.

Dr. Karen D. Rowland, associate professor and chair of counseling, led a webinar for parents of students at Fulton Science Academy, titled “Encouraging your kids facing the disappointments of the effects of COVID-19,” on April 15. School counseling M.S. graduate Hibbah Agha is the academy’s counselor.

Jacqueline S. Stephen, instructional designer, instructor and director of the Office of Distance Learning, co-authored “Persistence Model of Non-traditional Online Learners: Self-Efficacy, Self-Regulation, and Self-Direction” in the American Journal of Distance Education. She also co-authored “Identifying Significant Personal and Program Factors that Predict Online EdD Students’ Program Integration” in the Online Learning Journal.

Jody Blanke, Ernest L. Baskin Jr. Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Law, was an invited discussant at this year’s Law and Ethics of Big Data Research Colloquium, hosted and sponsored by the Cecil B. Day Program for Business Ethics, Machine Learning at Georgia Tech and the Georgia Institute of Technology Scheller College of Business. The colloquium was co-hosted by the Virginia Tech Center for Business Intelligence Analytics and the Department of Business Law and Ethics in Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. This year’s event was held online March 27 and April 10.

Dr. James L. Hunt, professor of law and business and associate dean of Macon graduate studies, was appointed to a four-year term as a member of the Georgia Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

Dr. Antonio Saravia, associate professor of economics and director of the Center for the Study of Economics and Liberty, published the results of the 2019 Middle Georgia Economic Outlook Survey. Dr. Saravia was also interviewed April 23 by MT Productions on the economics of COVID-19 and April 24 by 41NBC on the $2,000 stimulus check proposal. He was also the moderator of a virtual international forum on the economics of COVID-19 with professors from universities in the U.S. and Latin America. Finally, Dr. Saravia and Dr. Clara Mengolini, assistant professor of Spanish, had their book What You Can Make with Freedom published online by the Foundation for Economic Education.

Dr. Briana Stenard, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship, was featured as an expert panelist for WalletHub’s article on small business rewards credit cards.

Dr. Lane Wakefield, assistant professor of sports marketing and analytics, co-authored “How Brands Can Waste Money on Sports Sponsorships: A New Look at Brand Personality, Brand Equity and Official Sponsorship Effects,” accepted for publication in the Journal of Advertising Research, as well as “Understanding Sponsorship: A Consumer-centric Model of Sponsorship Effects,” accepted for publication in the Journal of Advertising.

Dr. Arash Afshar, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, made a podium presentation, titled “Learning CAD: Who is the champion?,” at the American Society for Engineering Education Southeastern Section Conference March 8-10 at Auburn University. The paper was published in the conference proceedings.

Dr. Pam Estes Brewer, professor of technical communication, led usability students through their annual research project for the Department of Homeland Security. This year, students researched the usability of five sites: See Something/Say Something, CISA, School Safety, FEMA Ready and DHS. Mercer’s Department of Technical Communication has been working with various departments and agencies affiliated with the DHS for the past five years. Dr. Brewer’s usability class also completed an assessment for the Georgia PINES Library system at the beginning of the semester.

Dr. Jennifer Goode, instructor of technical communication, wrote a feature article, titled “Podcasting: Is It for Tech Comm?,” published in the January/February edition of Intercomm, the magazine of the Society for Technical Communication.

Dr. Stephen Hill, associate dean and associate professor of mechanical engineering, working in collaboration with Dr. Dorina Marta Mihut, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and student Matthews Brandon made a podium presentation, titled “Implementation of a Student Designed Material Wear Tester in a Mechanical Engineering Lab to Better Understand Student Learning as it pertains to ABET EAC Student Outcome 6,” at the American Society for Engineering Education Southeastern Section Conference March 8-10 at Auburn University. The paper was published in the conference proceedings.

Dr. Hodge Jenkins, associate professor and chair of mechanical engineering, made a podium presentation, titled “Efficacy of Teaching Professional Engineering Ethics to Engineering Students,” at the American Society for Engineering Education Southeastern Section Conference March 8-10 at Auburn University. The paper was published in the conference proceedings.

Dr. Dorina Marta Mihut, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and Dr. Arash Afshar, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, supervised student Dylan Kennedy, who made a podium presentation, titled “The Design of a New Lab for Mechanical Evaluations of Molded and 3D Printed Polymers,” at the American Society for Engineering Education Southeastern Section Conference March 8-10 at Auburn University. The paper was published in the conference proceedings.

Dr. Ken Marek, instructor, working in collaboration with Robert Gill, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, made a podium presentation, titled “Continuing laboratory changes: looking forward and back,” at the American Society for Engineering Education Southeastern Section Conference March 8-10 at Auburn University. The paper was published in the conference proceedings.

Dr. Chandan K. Roy, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, made a podium presentation, titled “Manufactured 2D Truss Demonstration,” at the American Society for Engineering Education Southeastern Section Conference March 8-10 at Auburn University. The paper was published in the conference proceedings.

Cathy Cox, dean, was named the Outstanding Woman Lawyer of the Year by the Middle Georgia Chapter of the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers on April 21. The award is based on career accomplishments, promotion of women in the legal profession and other related criteria.

David Hricik, professor, gave a presentation on April 3 and April 24 for the Practicing Law Institute, titled “Recurring Ethical Problems for In-House and Outside Patent Counsel.” He also served on a virtual panel, along with William Covey, director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline of the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the Intellectual Property Owners’ Association, titled “Inequitable Conduct: A Refresher and an Update.” In addition to those presentations, Carolina Academic Press announced publication of the fourth edition of Property: Cases, Documents, and Lawyering Strategies, co-authored by Hricik along with professors David Crump of the University of Houston Law Center and Professor David Caudill of Villanova University School of Law. In addition, Carolina Academic Press announced publication of Hricik’s groundbreaking casebook Remedies: A Practical Approach. Finally, Hricik and Karen Sneddon, professor, continued publication of their column “Writing Matters” for the Georgia Bar Journal, with the next installment addressing how lawyers can be better advocates when litigating in a paperless post-COVID-19 world. Hricik was also quoted in an article on law360.com titled “Federal Circuit Inequitable Conduct Case Alarms IP Ethics Attorneys” on March 11.

Dr. Jennifer L. Barkin, associate professor of community medicine and obstetrics and gynecology, published “Obstetric complications and subsequent risk of mood disorders for offspring in adulthood” in the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry. Dr. Barkin was accepted into the International Marcé Mentorship Program (IMMP) where she will serve as a mentor to earlier-career professionals focused in Reproductive Psychiatry. Her research was also featured on the Association of American Colleges and Universities public radio program “The Academic Minute” during “Mercer Week” on April 27-May 5.

Dr. Christy Bridges, professor of histology, received a grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in the amount of $424,500 for “Uptake of Mercury at the Basolateral Membrane of Isolated Proximal Tubules.”

Dr. Keisha Callins, Joy McCann Endowed Professor, chairs the the Medical Association of Georgia Physician Resilience Task Force, which recently released guidelines regarding “How to ensure physicians remain resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes, associate professor of practical theology, was a guest speaker in a webinar, titled “For Health Sake: Womanist Wellness in the Wake of COVID-19,” sponsored by Union Presbyterian Seminary’s Katie Geneva Cannon Center for Womanist Leadership. In addition, her recent book, I Bring the Voices of My People: A Womanist Vision for Racial Reconciliation, is a finalist in the 2019 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards in the multicultural category.

Ken Boyer, associate vice president for auxiliary services, will receive this year’s Distinguished Service Award from the National Associate of Campus Cards Users. The award, determined by a vote of his peers from all across North America, will be presented at an upcoming virtual ceremony.

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