Arts & Sciences Blog
Blog from the School of Arts & Sciences.

Now that we all know the outcome of this remarkable election season, I want to recognize those faculty who ably represented Southern to our local/regional press. Your calm and thoughtful voices added a healthy dose of civility to an otherwise raucous and contentious debate. Thanks to all who helped us to better understand the complex and often confusing political world in which we now live.

As usual, Arts & Sciences has been very busy this fall semester. Many departments, programs, faculty, and students have continued to demonstrate the excellence that we have come to expect in the School. We have much to be proud of and much to celebrate!

RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE

Political Science recently hosted two events for Talented and Gifted Middle School Students (TAG) from New Haven Public Schools. On October 26th and November 2nd the Dean’s office was pleased to welcome these students to a two-hour Election Event that examined, socialization and political attitudes, campaign and media messages, and the electoral college and election mechanics. Members of the department, Tess Marchant Shapiro, Art Paulson, Jonathan Wharton, and Jennifer Hopper, presented material, facilitated discussion, and answered questions. The session concluded with a projection of the 2016 election results. Before leaving, political science majors, Corey Evans, Montrel Morrison, Michelle Rodriguez, Samantha Nelson, and Jamie Kelly, led the students on a tour of our university.

Kevin Buterbaugh, PSC Chair, reported that the teachers and students expressed appreciation for the efforts made by the PSC faculty and students and left with a positive impression of the university and its campus. The event was so well received that teachers of the TAG curriculum and PSC faculty are hoping to make this an annual event.

FIRST THURSDAYS

History was well represented at the first two fall semester contributions to First Thursdays. On October 6th at the Interdisciplinary Forum’s new venue, the Buley Art Gallery, Heather Vrana spoke about her research and forthcoming monograph, Don’t Mess with Us!: Guatemalan Students and the State, 1944-Present. More recently on November 3rd, Siobhan Carter-David presented her research on a side project related to her book manuscript on fashion and dress, but focused in particular on the Nation of Gods and Earths, “Supreme Style: Fashion, Aesthetics, and the Making of a Black Heterodox Islamic Tradition.” Faculty and students were treated to two enlightening discussions by these dynamic scholars.

Rounding out the fall semester Forum, First Thursdays will host another young scholar, Luke Eilderts (WLL), who will present his research, “Baring It for the Republic: The (Mis)Reading of a French Anti-Gay Marriage Movement.” Before France adopted its law allowing same-sex marriage in early 2013, the country was awash in debate and demonstrations. Opposing the law, a group known as HOMMEN defended “traditional” family values through public rallies and social media outlets. Their reception in French and English-language news media, however, uncovers compelling (mis)readings of contemporary French representations of masculinity. Faculty (and students) are always encouraged to attend these presentations to support the fascinating research on-going at Southern.

iGEM BEGINS IMPRESSIVELY

Nicholas Edgington (BIO) shared some exciting news. Our first ever SCSU iGEM team won a Bronze medal at this international competition. Unlike the Olympics where only three athletes or teams win medals, at iGEM many teams can achieve a medal award by demonstrating to the judges (based on the presentation, poster, and wiki website, genetic parts that were made, tested and submitted to iGEM repository etc.) that they have achieved various accomplishments, and the number of those accomplishments increase with each medal category. There are also the “Grand Prizes” for which the elite gold medal teams compete. Unlike kids soccer perhaps, not every team automatically gets a medal, so a bronze award is significant for us as a first effort.

It’s important to note that our iGEM team competed against institutions with far deeper pockets. Edgington reported, “We really had to scrape & struggle for everything, and thus are very proud that we managed to compete successfully.”  And compete they did as they shared the honor of a bronze medal with the likes of UConn, Northeastern, Yale, and Tufts.

STUDENT SUCCESS

At the National conference in New Orleans, Southern’s Campus Chapter for the Society of Professional Journalism won Region 1 Outstanding Campus Chapter Award for 2015-16. The Director of Region 1, Jane Primerano, presented the award “in recognition of outstanding programs and activities that enhance professionalism, thereby contributing service to the Society and to the profession.” Cindy Simoneau, JRN chair, said she was especially proud of the student chapter last year which offered a variety of campus programming and assisted with panel presentations and assisted the department with hosting the regional journalism conference on campus last April for professional and student journalists. The former president of the Campus Chapter, Monica Zielinski (JRN ’16) now works for a publication in Poland, Poland Today Magazine. See Southern’s webpage for an interview with Monica.

SPECIAL EVENTS

The Art Department hosted its initial exhibition and reception on October 27th in the Buley Art Gallery. Among those in attendance were President Joe Bertolino, Provost Ellen Durnin and Deans Steven Breese and Stephen Hegedus. This vibrant show featuring work from our outstanding Art Faculty is currently open to the public Monday-Thursday between 11am – 3pm until November 17th.

Journalism faculty and students were well represented once again at the 33rd Annual High School Journalism Day which attracted over 450 high school students and their teachers from across the state on Friday, Oct. 21. The total attendance was an increase of more than 100 from the previous year. After a welcome to Southern from President Joe Bertolino and discussion about the importance of the First Amendment in today’s society by Arts & Sciences Dean Steven Breese, keynote speaker Jenn Bernstein of Fox 61 discussed the multimedia aspects of her job covering politics in Connecticut. Journalism Department faculty offered 18 workshops throughout the morning for the students, and spotlighted the growing importance of drone photography with a demonstration by new assistant professor, Vern Williams.

FACULTY SHOUT-OUTS

Shafaeat Hossain (CSC) recently shared excellent news regarding his paper with undergraduate major, Mohamed Rilvan (BS, CSC ’18). Their work, “User Authentication and Identification on Smartphones by Incorporating Capacitive Touchscreen,” after a successful reviewer stage has been accepted in 35th IEEE — International Performance Computing and Communications Conference (IPCCC 2016). This acceptance is quite an honor as this premier CS conference has a challenging acceptance rate of 25.5% for this year’s meeting.

Under the auspices of the History Department, Byron Nakamura (HIS), our resident ancient historian, organized and hosted the recent Fall 2016 New England Ancient History Colloquium. On October 13th at Southern on the Green, leading ancient historians from the New England area attended talks on Athenian Economic history. Dr. Michael Leese from the University of New Hampshire was the keynote speaker and spoke on “The Intergenerational Transmission of Commercial and Financial Business Estates in Ancient Greece.” As the main commentator Professor Graham Oliver, from the department of Classics at Brown University, led a lively discussion including all of the scholars in attendance.

In our September Blog, we neglected to highlight the summer work of two physics majors, Richard J. Magnotti and Michael Schriefer, and their professor Evan Finch (PHY) whose CSU Research grant allowed them to visit Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island.  They worked on part of the STAR (Solenoidal Tracker at RHIC) experiment at Brookhaven, a National Science Laboratory known for research in nuclear and particle physics. They join a prestigious group of physicists from around the world who travel to Brookhaven every year to use their Relativistic Heavy ion Collider. The purpose of RHIC heavy ion collisions is to recreate conditions that are believed to have existed in the first millionth of a second of the life of the universe. While the work was quite exhausting, the students found it extremely rewarding. And so much so, that they made three separate trips there – each visit, spending two to three days at a time.

Alan Brown (SOC), a new faculty member we coaxed away from Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2015, has had a chapter titled, “‘Nothing About Us, Without Us’: Sex Work, Marginalization and the Politics of Social Research,” accepted for the book, Studying Urban Crime, edited by Cognella by Robert Grantham.

The Daily Nutmeg New Haven recently ran a story on Southern’s MFA program, the only full-residency MFA program in the state. Tim Parrish (ENG/CRW) reflected on the benefits of such a program: “‘this sort of program ‘provides you a chance to have a community. You come in and you’re there with some seasoned writers. Then, after your first year, you get to be the seasoned writer.’” “SCSU attracts students with a greater range of ages and experiences. Many students already have careers, Parrish says. Age diversity is one of Rachel Furey’s favorite things about the program. Furey (ENG)—a new tenure-track faculty member—is also excited by SCSU’s unique Prose Class offering, where students can submit fiction and nonfiction in the same workshop.” Southern’s MFA program continues to produce active and creative writers. Liz Wager (MFA, CRW) developed a piece in Vivian Shipley’s graduate course (ENG 507) and recently had the poem, “Meeting a Stranger,” accepted for the winter issue of Able Muse.

Welcome Back! Each of us, in our own way, celebrate the academic rhythms that shape and balance our work as teacher/scholars.  As the days grow shorter and cooler; as the leaves grow more colorful and grass less so; our campus experiences a kind of renewal—the returning of our students and the optimism that accompanies the beginning of the academic year. This year is special, of course, as we also welcome our new president, Dr. Joe Bertolino.  Arts & Sciences has so much to be proud of and to “show off” to our new president.  I hope that each of us takes the time to acquaint Dr. Bertolino with our many success stories as well as our plans and ambitions. We have a lot going on this academic year and I hope that we all will spend some time attending the many events offered by Arts & Sciences. So, I welcome you back and look forward to another productive and creative year!

As a reminder, the purpose of the Dean’s Blog is to highlight faculty achievements, departmental initiatives, curricular advancements, and student successes. We also use the blog to bring attention to key academic, scholarly, and artistic events of interest to the School. So, if you have an item that you wish to share, please email the School of Arts & Sciences at ArtsAndSciences@southernct.edu.

A SPECIAL WELCOME TO OUR NEW COLLEAGUES

Arts &Sciences adds strength to strength this year by bringing aboard nine (9) new tenure track faculty. Each of these exceptional new faculty bring unique expertise, energy, and new/exciting ideas.  Please join me in welcoming these new colleagues to our School and to our campus!

Alex Girard: Art / Graphic Design
Sara Wojiski:  Biology / Bio-Education
Sara Baker: Communication / Professional & Personal Communication
Mohammad Tariqul Islam:  Computer Science / Data-Science
Rachel Furey:  English / Creative Writing
Matthew Miller: Environment, Geography & Marine Sciences / GIS
Jason W. Smith: History / Science & Technology
Vern Williams: Journalism / Photo-Journalism
Jennifer Hopper: Political Science / American Politics

SELECT ACCOMPLISHMENTS & FACULTY SHOUT-OUTS 

History department faculty have proven especially productive as Nikos Chrissidis, Dick Gerber, Alan Friedlander, and Michele Thompson collectively published three monographs this past year. Additionally this summer, Michele Thompson was a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore.

The new Department of the Environment, Geography, and Marine Sciences continued to sponsor the study abroad program in Iceland.  Patrick Heidkamp (EGMS) and two faculty members from Liverpool-John Moore’s University (LJMU) brought fifteen students from LJMU and eleven from Southern to engage in the department’s field-based approach to teaching and learning.

Last year, the university opened the Buley Art Gallery, which featured three exhibitions. Students and faculty in the Art Department now have a dedicated exhibition space. In conjunction with the 2016 Undergraduate Research Conference, Mia Brownell (ART) again organized the “Art Crawl” for conference participants to see and discuss faculty and student works.

Vivian Shipley (ENG) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her poetry collection, Perennial.

In April, the Women’s Studies program hosted its 22nd conference, “Feminist In(ter)ventions: Women, Community, Technology”, co-hosted by Yi-Chun Tricia Lin (MDS & WMS) and Heidi Lockwood (PHI).

Nearly one in three interns from the Communication Department received offers of full-time employment upon completion of their internships this year. Annette Madlock Gatison (COM) published Health Communication and Breast Cancer Among Black Women: Culture, Identity, Spirituality, and Strength. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2016.

Cindy Simoneau (JRN) was awarded the SPIG Teacher of the Year. Congratulations Cindy!  A well-deserved honor.

In Spring 2016 the Music Department’s enrollments in private music lessons matched the all-time program high of 62 lessons, thanks to the ongoing support from the Stutzman Family Foundation.

The Psychology Department hosted CSU Psychology Day, a conference of student research from the four CSU campuses. More than 140 students and faculty participated, with 82 student posters, four student talks, and a keynote address by Dr. Bridget Nugent of the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, the department’s Mike Nizhnikov, along with colleagues at Binghamton University, was recently awarded an NIH grant to study prenatal exposure to alcohol.

Two teams of three Math students competed in the annual four-day Mathematical Contest in Modeling. One of the teams earned an Honorable Mention designation, which put them in the top half of the nearly 7500 participating international teams. This team also presented a poster on their solution at Southern’s Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Conference.

Betsy Roberts (BIO) won the CUR award and presented a poster on Capitol  Hill (Washington DC) with undergraduate researchers Laetitia Iboki and Jacqueline Mary Desrosier. Meanwhile, Nick Edgington (BIO) published a paper with 2,683 other authors (one of the three largest in history), the most ever with undergraduate authors!

Mike Rogers (ANT) received a prestigious Louis Leakey Grant and brought another team of students and alumni to Ethiopia to research pre-historic human origins, while Joe Manzella (ANT) brought two students to British Columbia to assist in his work on a documentary about Canada’s First Nations.

The A&S Strategic Planning Committee (Co-Chairs: Craig Hlavac (MUS), Terri Bennett (MAT), Christine Broadbridge (PHY,GR), & Bruce Kalk (A&S)) drafted and submitted a 5-year plan for A&S. We will be collaborating with the committee to finalize and implement our plan this coming academic year.

Twenty-eight Political Science majors completed internships at sites from Senator Richard Blumenthal’s office to Disneyland.

Earth Science faculty members have been active collaborating in student-faculty research projects which have led to a number of successful grants, publications, and presentations. Two of these projects (Rock Wall and Rock Garden) were highlighted as prominent additions during the opening of the new Academic Science Building.

The World Languages Department finished the academic year with a one-day Olympics for World Languages (OWLS) event, thanks in particular to Christine Dombrowski, Lisa Vitale, Luke Eilderts and Luisa Piemontese. Twenty world language teams of French, German, Italian, and Spanish speakers from eight Connecticut high schools participated.

The Media Studies Department is in the process of bringing an exciting new minor on Social Media to fruition.

Ten Sociology students participated in Southern’s Undergraduate Research Conference with co-authored work presented in the poster sessions.

Elliott Horch (PHY) received two new NSF grants totaling more than $250,000 in addition to his other ongoing grant-related activities. Elliott is now in the prestigious “One Million Dollar Club” awarded to faculty who garnered at least $1 million dollars in external funding.

…and much, MUCH more!

THE BEST OF THE BEST

A&S is proud to acknowledge the accomplishments of History alumna Jahana Hayes (Jahana Fleming, BS ’05), the 2016 National Teacher of the Year!  She will be honored at a reception on Friday, September 16th hosted by the School of Education. As with many of our fine teachers their paths begin with certification programs in Arts & Sciences.

LIGHTING THE WAY

Southern students soon will be able to use the Southwest Ledge Lighthouse — which overlooks New Haven Harbor — as a base to conduct research, thanks to the generosity of a group of donors who recently bought the facility. The donors were awarded the lighthouse recently after posting the successful bid of about $180,000. The plans are moving forward to renovate the lighthouse in preparation for future use of the facility by the Werth Center for Coastal and Marine Studies, as well as other educational organizations. SCSU intends to use it as a field station that would include classrooms and lab space. Read the story in the New Haven Register about the purchase and future use of the facility by Southern.

NURTURING OUTSTANDING STUDENT TALENT

Southern’s Biology students are still on the Phage hunt! Nick Edgington (BIO) reported that in June undergraduates, Bryan Pasqualucci and Elena Haury, gave an oral presentation and poster session at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute SEA-PHAGES Research Symposium. They joined other Phage hunters at the Janelia Farm Research Campus in Ashburn, VA.

Jeff Webb (CHE) and Vince Breslin (EGMS) were pleased by the turnout as the Chemistry Department played host to the American Chemical Society Regional Undergraduate Research Symposium in late April. Cody Edson (CHE, BS ’16 / now in the master’s program), mentored by James Kearns (CHE) and Sadia Younas (CHE) mentored by Vince Breslin won top honors placing first and second for their poster presentations. Sadia later presented her work at the Long Island Sound Research Conference in mid-May. Both students were recipients of research stipends from the Werth Center for Coastal and Marine Studies.

The MOU with the Elm Shakespeare Company broadened the collaboration with Southern’s Theatre Department offering several students positions in the professional company of A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

  • Elisa Albert – Camp Director, Administrative Assistant, and Apprentice Actor (playing Starveling)
  • Briana Bausch – Jr. Camp Teaching Artist and Apprentice Actor (playing Peaseblossom)
  • Nathan Tracy – Non Equity Actor (playing Snout)
  • Cailey Harwood Smith – Assistant Stage Manager

Kaia Monroe Rarick (THR) participated as a senior camp teaching artist and choreographer while Mike Skinner (THR) provided the music to Midsummer as well as the sound design.

LEST WE FORGET…

While the occasion that celebrated academic excellence in April has passed, we want to take the time to extend congratulations to Thomas O’Malley (COM) who was awarded the J Philip Smith Outstanding Teaching Award for Part-Time Faculty, Leon Yacher (EGMS) for Southern’s Technological Teacher of the Year, and Armen Marsoobian (PHI) for Southern’s Faculty Scholar Award for his work entitled, Fragments of a Lost Homeland: Remembering Armenia.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR A&S

Our students benefit from the ongoing generosity offered by our many friends and donors–including many faculty, staff and alumni. This year A&S awarded a record number of scholarships! The total A&S scholarships awarded thus far is $47,335.00. If you would like to make a contribution or begin a new scholarship, contact our dedicated team in University Advancement.

MATH FOOTPRINT GROWING

The GeoGebra Institute of Southern Connecticut held its Fourth Annual GeoGebra Conference–its largest ever!  Sixty-five (65) participants from around the country (CT, MA, ME, NY, OH, TX) and one international participant coming from Sri Lanka attended. The conference proceedings will be published as a special volume in the North American GeoGebra Journal. This conference is the brainchild of Marie Nabbout-Cheiban (MAT) and Len Brin (MAT). Dr. Doug Kuhlman gave the keynote presentation and was followed by three parallel sets of sessions including 6 peer-reviewed presentations, 9 short presentations and 11 workshops.

EXCELLENCE FROM THE CREATIVE WRITING PROGRAM 

The Arts & Sciences Creative Writing Program have had many remarkable success stories over the years. Here are few recent accomplishments by their students:

Lynn Houston (MFA) book of poetry–The Clever Dream of Man—won 1st place in the Connecticut Press’ statewide literary competition.  Advancing to the national awards, it was selected by the National Federation of Press Women as their 2016 second place winner! Lynn Houston also runs Five Oaks Press.

Seven poetry students in the MFA program participated in a graduate conference hosted by the University of Rhode Island and entitled “Trans(form): New Insights and New Directions.” Sean Igoe, Shelby Lanaro, Laura Ahking, Rebecca O’Bern, Elizabeth Wager, and Lynn Houston read their poetry on a panel called “Transforming Life into Art.” Lynn Houston chaired the panel and opened with remarks about the transformative value of poetry and the various techniques that poets use to make meaning of autobiographical experiences in creative works. During another panel session, MFA graduate student Katherine Sullivan presented a paper on maternal poetry and read poems from her thesis manuscript. Vivian Shipley, with whom all of the poets have studied, attended the conference and contributed to the question and answer sessions after the presentations.

A poem by Rebecca O’Bern (MFA), “To the Man or Woman Who Finds my Body,” will appear in the anthology, Theories of HER, published by the Mercurial Noodle Press.

MFA graduate, Suzanne Lacroix, has received representation for her novel from the New York literary agency DeFiore and Company.

Current MFA, Ryan Leigh Dostie, has received representation for her memoir, Real Soldiers Don’t Cry, about sexual assault while in the military and her time in Iraq in 2003-04, from William Morris, the world’s largest entertainment agency.

MA graduate Julie Barton’s memoir, Dog Medicine, will be released by Penguin in, so far, eight countries in July and discussions of a movie are in progress.

Former undergraduate, Xhenet Aliu, previous winner of the Prairie Schooner Prize for fiction for her first book, has sold her novel, Brass, set in Waterbury, to Random House for release in 2018.

MA graduate Jean Copeland’s novel, The Revelation of Beatrice Darby, is a finalist for the Golden Crown Literary Society’s author debut and historical fiction prize.

MA graduate, Patricia Bjorklund’s memoir, U.S. and Them, has been acquired by Alamo Press for release in fall 2017.

Current and recent MFA graduates published these full collections of poetry during the past year.

  • Christine Beck, Blinding Light
  • Brendan Walsh, GO
  • Joy Mlozanowski, Night Flying
  • Pat Mottola, Under the Red Dress
  • Chris Grillo, Heroes’ Tunnel

Graduate Lisa Mangini has been hired full-time as a lecturer by Penn State University. MA graduate, Sheila Squillante, has been promoted to associate professor and now directs the MFA Program at Chatham University. MFA fiction graduate Nancy Antle (author of numerous young adult novels) has been selected to attend the One Story Writers’ Workshop, a highly-selective national competition.

April 13, 2016

Spring Comes to Arts & Sciences

As the winter blues begin to recede in the semester’s rear-view mirror, we all begin to look forward to spring’s revitalization and renewal. Along with the reemergence of flowering buds and the greening of the grass, the A&S Music Program ushers in spring with its own annual welcome: Concerts!  In the coming weeks the Music Program will offer a wide array musical programming including Choir Concerts, Jazz, Broadway Classics, a Piano Recital with Karine Poghosyan, and much more. Already this month, the Department of Music presented two faculty music recitals sponsored by the Stutzman Family Foundation: Jonathan Irving (piano) with Kim Collins (flute) and Olav van Hezewijk (oboe) with Eric Trudel (piano). I encourage you to check out the A&S Event Calendar to peruse the wide variety of events the School has to offer.

Accepted Students Day

Each April, we invite to our campus the students that we hope will become Owls in the fall. On Saturday, April 2nd, Southern hosted hundreds of prospective students and their parents to Accepted Students Day. Many A&S faculty attended this important event. Thuan Vu (ART), Marie Nabbout-Cheiban (MAT), Evan Finch (PHY), Jodi Gil (JRN), and Jessica Kenty-Drane (SOC/IDS) participated in a panel discussion on the college experience. Walter Stutzman (MUS), Evan Finch (PHY), Kevin Buterbaugh (PSC), Troy Paddock (HIS), Meredith Sinclair (ENG), Kelly Bordner (PSY), and Linda Sampson (COM) presented sample mock classes in their respective fields in an effort to give these prospective students a sense of undergraduate college academics.  Three A&S students, Laeticia Iboki (BIO), Jacob Santos (THR), and Arden Rand (PSY) also talked to the assembled group of prospective students and parents. Thank you to all that offered a warm welcome to students and their parents!

Society of Professional Journalists

The Journalism Department brought 200 professionals and students to Southern Connecticut State University April 8th and 9th for Making CONNections, a regional journalism conference. The conference featured keynote speaker John Dahl, vice president and executive producer for ESPN Films and Original Content. More than 20 professional development workshops gave insights into topics ranging from drones to ethics to different news beats.

Speakers represented major media outlets, including ESPN Films, the Hartford Courant, Newsday, the New York Law Journal, Connecticut Health Investigative Team, and Slate. Also present were leaders of journalism groups such as the Freedom of Information Commission, the Tully Center for Free Speech and the National Society of Professional Journalists. Leonard Boyle, the deputy chief state’s attorney for Connecticut, and Scott Burrell, the men’s basketball coach at Southern, also appeared on panels.

The conference attracted journalists and students from New England and the tri-state area. One student traveled from Cairo, Egypt to receive an award in the Mark of Excellence student journalism contest Saturday.

Students in the SCSU SPJ chapter organized two of the panel discussions. One focused on how to work with college coaches and sports information directors when covering college sports; the other covered free speech issues on college campuses. Faculty members and adjunct instructors in the Journalism Department moderated several of the workshops, and Southern alumni were part of four of the panels.

The conference attracted media coverage in the New Haven Register, CTNewsJunkie and on CT-N.

Conferences Coming to A&S at Southern

There are several conferences and events in the coming weeks. Anita Sarkeesian, media critic, public speaker, and founder of the website, Feminist Frequency, will give the keynote address for the 22nd Women’s Studies Conference Saturday, evening April 16th. The presentations and panel discussions of this conference will not only address the past, present, and future of the intersections of women, community, and technology, but also showcase feminist in(ter)ventions with technology. Participants will explore how women and girls have participated (or not) in the fields of technology and in what ways this participation has intersected with the studies of gender, race, class, and sexuality. Several A&S faculty and students will present at the Friday/Saturday conference including Christine Broadbridge (PHY), Lisa Lancor (CSC), Alan Brown (SOC) and Siobhan Carter-David (HIS). Alexis Elder (PHI) and Anahit Ter-Stepanian (ART), also A&S faculty, will present late Friday afternoon with Sarah Reeves, a graduate student in WMS.

Following the success of the April 2015 Commemorative Conference in honor of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the World Languages & Literatures Department presents “Literature Across Disciplines: Gabriel García Márquez II: An Interdisciplinary & Transcultural Conference.” Southern faculty, including Maria Diamantis (MAT), Patricia Olney (PSC), David Pettigrew (PHI), Rubén Pelayo (WLL), Resha Cardone (WLL), Rafael Hernández (WLL), and Miaowei Weng (WLL), will participate in panel discussions on the works of this great author. The conference is free and open to the public.  Connect to the President’s Blog for more information.

At the end of April, Southern will host the 12th Annual Conference of The International Association for the Study of Environment, Space, and Place (IASESP). This will be the second time that Southern has hosted this interdisciplinary conference that seeks to bring together scholars from a variety of institutions and disciplines to address the inscription or spatialization of meanings. Participants will be arriving from California to Florida and just down the hall with Southern faculty from History (Darcy Kern, Troy Paddock, Christine Petto, and Troy Rondinone), English (Charles Baraw), and World Languages & Literature (Erin Larkin). This year’s theme is “Mythical Places/Legendary Spaces,” and the organizers look forward to discussions on the vital role that myths and legends have played in various cultures over time and the geographical links created by their development, use, and manipulation.

A&S Program Highlights

Seven of our outstanding Computer Science students participated in the finals of Connecticut Technology Council Skills Challenge.  The finals consisted of 50 students selected from colleges and universities across Connecticut including: Quinnipiac, CCSU, ECSU, WCSU, UConn, Yale, UNH, Sacred Heart University, University of Bridgeport, and Gateway Community College.  All 50 students were formed into 10 teams of 5 – our Computer Science team among them. Congratulations to Tudor-Matei (Matt) Boran and Steve Blandon, whose team placed second overall and were awarded prize money.  Our other CSC students who participated were, Mario Aguayo, Stephen Csvihinka, Nicholas Bittar, Ivan Meyerovich, Julian Velez and Utibe Idongesit.

Steven Brodeur, a recruiter for Aerotek, responded to the success of Southern’s Engineering Concentration. He reported that Enis Bukalo (PHY ’15), a recent graduate with this concentration, was successful in landing a job with Assa Abloy. Brodeur wrote, “It is a unique story because although Enis didn’t have a standard engineering degree, he still beat out multiple other engineering candidates that had engineering degrees from notable schools. It was Enis’ work ethic and great senior project that set him apart from the competition. For Enis’ senior project, he designed and built a 3D printer from scratch and presented it to the Physics Department. SCSU’s hands-on teaching styles and real world applications are very beneficial and definitely carry on with students as they embark into the real world!”

Last month the Hartford Courant ran a story on colleges and the biosciences industry. The article mentioned Southern’s bioscience pathway partnership with the city of New Haven. Christine Broadbridge, Director of STEM initiatives (STEM-IL), and biology student Bryan Pasqualucci were quoted in the story. Broadbridge offered, “‘Higher education officials are looking at how to expand the jobs pipeline, talking with businesses about drawing up professional development and certificate programs at Connecticut companies’.” Pasqualucci, a junior biology major, is seeking a summer internship. He reported, “A lot of companies in Connecticut are doing [gene] sequencing work so when I go to apply for jobs there are a lot of opportunities for me.”

Also on April 20th, a 25th-year anniversary gala celebration of the SCSU Program in Salamanca, Spain, will be held from 6:30-10:30 p.m. in the Adanti Student Center Ballroom. The event includes dinner and entertainment to celebrate this study abroad program’s quarter-century milestone and also will raise funds for a scholarship program to assist future study abroad students in Spain. Tickets are $60 per person and $20 for current SCSU students. The event is sponsored by the World Languages and Literatures Department, the Office of International Education, and the School of Arts & Sciences Dean’s Office. For more information, you can contact Carlos Arboleda. Purchase tickets.

Theatre/SCSU Awarded for Excellence

Each year our Theatre Program enters at least one production in the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival. This year two of our students where highly honored in their respective competitions!  Kiernan Norman attended the Festival to compete in Dramaturgy and Criticism. She was the proud winner in Best Program Notes/Dramaturgy and the Region’s Theatre Journalism institute. She will be going on to Washington DC in April to compete on the national stage. Christine Parella competed in Lighting Design, in which she received 1st Runner up in the National Award for Excellence in Lighting Design and won the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas Award. She will be traveling to Las Vegas this summer to attend the prestigious Stagecraft Institute. In addition to these honors, Theatre/SCSU also received three merit awards: Outstanding Multiple Dialect for Our Country’s Good, another for Outstanding Student Sound Mixing (JT McLoughlin) for Rent and Outstanding Ensemble Acting for Almost Maine. Finally, Marcelle Morrissey, an Irene Ryan nominee for acting, made it to the semi-finals. Congratulations to the Theatre Department and to all of our student artists!

Psychology Opens New Student-Friendly Website

Psychology Website has undergone a significant update this month! The Department has added many of features to make it easier to navigate including pages embedded in menus that are directly accessible from the homepage. The goal is to help students more become more proactive and informed as they move through the Psychology program(s).

Of note, PSY has an area devoted to “prospective majors,” which includes promotional info about their program (and some bragging, based on student feedback from our department’s assessment survey), and the site has a new page specifically for prospective transfer students. Larry Brancazio, the Department Chair, indicates that, “We’ve been trying to make things easier for psychology majors in general. To this end, we have: online signups for group advising that are directly accessible from the webpage; forms for students to request an advisor;  pages explaining the acceptance process; information about tutoring opportunities….we’ve also tried to help students have a better sense of direction with their major.  We now include pages with comparisons of our different degree options (including a comparison of the requirements for each, and a list of how they match up with different career paths),  lists of graduate programs and professions our alumni have gone to, lists of faculty research projects, explanations of how to get involved in research, and lists of different interests and which courses are good choices to match those interests. In general, we’ve been working hard to promote our program, to be accommodating and welcoming to students, and to streamline processes for majors to keep them on track for graduation.”

Psychology has also been hard at work on their curriculum, having recently revamped their B.S. in Psych which will be going into effect in the fall. This revised program will have Behavioral Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, and Applied Psych tracks which will be an exciting new option for STEM-oriented students.  Along with this, they have revised their minor, which will now offer a general minor and a higher-level minor in Psychological Science. The new minor is designed to allow higher-achieving students (either minors or IDS majors) to take upper-level Psych classes, while other students with a more general interest will still have a variety of options.

Congratulations to everyone in Psychology for these new and important innovations!

Rock Stars in the Building

Earth Science Faculty and students were highlighted in “Business New Haven” for the many projects they worked on as we opened our new science building. Congratulations and thank you to the Department of Earth Science for raising our profile and representing A&S so very well. Read the article on pages 16-18. (This issue is dated November 2015 but was not released until January).

Invitation to “The World of Gaming, Gaming in the World” 

Visiting Scholar Dr. Joaquín Granell Zafra from Universitat Jaume I (Castellón de la Plana, Spain) will be on campus from April 18th to 22th to visit classes and learn about our varied approaches to teaching at SCSU. He is particularly interested in attending courses in Media Studies and other fields related to his research and teaching (described below). In addition to Dr. Granell’s presentation about his work, this event will feature a student-led round-table, during which five students will discuss topics related to our theme, “The World of Gaming, Gaming in the World.”  If you have students who might be interested, please invite them to attend or to contact Charles Baraw with proposed topics for the round-table.

The nature of this topic and Dr. Granell’s work make it a multi-disciplinary endeavor and this event welcomes participation from all Departments, Programs, and campus groups. We hope students and faculty from across the university will participate. Finally, as part of Dr. Granell’s visit, the English Department is organizing a symposium which will take place on Thursday April 21st from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in Engleman C112. 

Clubs & Organizations

Southern hosts over 100 clubs and organizations, many of which have ties to the School of Arts & Sciences. Thanks to all the faculty advisers for their service to our students through the many clubs and organization including:

  • Anthropology Club, Valerie Andrushko
  • Biology Club, Meghan Barboza & Michael Fisher
  • Biotechnology Club, Nicholas Edgington
  • Bookmarks English Club, Cindy Stretch
  • Botany Club, Rebecca Silady
  • Chemistry Club, James Kearns
  • Computer Science Club, Winnie Yu
  • Crescent Players, Mike Skinner
  • Digital Production Club, Kaia Monroe-Rarick
  • Drumline, Craig Hlavac
  • Earth Science Club, Cynthia Coron & Mike Knell
  • Folio, Jeff Mock
  • French Club, Luke Eilderts
  • German Club, Christine Dombrowski
  • History Club, Siobhan Carter-David
  • Italianissimi, Pina Palma
  • Math Club, Ross Gingrich & John Scheuermann
  • Media Studies Club, Rosemarie Conforti
  • Music Club, Jonathan Irving
  • Music Studio Club, Mark Kuss
  • Philosophy Club, Richard Volkman
  • Physics Club, Todd Schwendemann & Eric Anderson
  • Society of Professional Journalists, Jerry Dunklee
  • Sociology Club, Cassi Meyerhoffer
  • Southern News, Cindy Simoneau & Frank Harris III
  • Spanish Club, Rubén Pelayo
  • WSIN Radio, Jerry Dunklee

Student Shout Outs

Brian Darrow, a secondary education mathematics major, was recently accepted to an eight-week summer REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) at Illinois State University for pre-service teachers doing research in Discrete Mathematics. These programs are funded by the NSF and are highly competitive. Review REU program information.

Lynn Houston, an MFA student working with Vivian Shipley, was named a finalist in the Broad River Review’s Rash Awards in Poetry with her poem, “Not All Who Wander Are Lost.” More information about the Broad River Review can be found here: http://broadriverreview.org/2015-contest/

Patrick Cumpstone, a recent graduate in history teaching at a Hartford magnet school, has published his work, Connecticut Witchcraft: Witch-Speak and Social Unrest in 17th Century Connecticut, with the Maine academic publisher, Picton Press. Drawn from his honors thesis completed under the guidance of Marie McDaniel, Cumpstone investigated the speech patterns of the accused witches from the documents of ten trials. His work contributes not only to the scholarship on the history of witchcraft, women, and Connecticut, but also to public and local history as an avenue of study for the students he is teaching in Hartford.

Jacqueline M. Desrosier Thurber (BS ’15) and Laeticia Iboki (BS ’16), both in Biology working under the guidance of Elizabeth Roberts, will soon be presenting her research in Washington, DC at the 20th Annual Posters on the Hill event in April. Out of 300 applicants, their work, “Characterization of a Novel Antibiotic and Plant Growth Promoting Pseudomonas Bacterium found in Connecticut” was accepted as one of 60 presenters. Here is more information about the Posters on the Hill.

Jahana Hayes (Jahana Fleming, BS ’05) was named Connecticut Teacher of the Year in October. Governor Malloy praised the work she is doing at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury. Hayes, a social studies teacher, is one of four finalists for the National Teacher of Year to be announced this month (April). She earned this distinction through her dedication to teaching and her encouraging efforts to direct student attention to the community and projects that will improve society. Read the Courant Article.

Mohamed A. Rilvan, a CSC student working with Shafaeat Hossain, attended the National Conference for Undergraduate Research last week at the University of North Carolina, Asheville. Mohamed began his research as part of an NSF funded REU program at Washington State University and continues to develop it under the guidance of Dr. Hossain.

Faculty Shout Outs

In early February Charlene Dellinger-Pate (MDS) contributed to the Southern webpage story, “Satire: an Essential Element on the Political Landscape.” Commenting on the presidential campaign coverage, Dellinger-Pate noted that “‘we need satire to see what is behind the performance.’” She teaches a course, MDS 385: Political Satire and New Media, which gives student a front row seat to the antics and analysis of the events. Furthermore she warns, “‘there is no informed political discourse—no informed debate—in punditry. So much information is presented as true, with so much money behind it. Without satirists, there’s a perfect recipe for disaster.’” Read the full article.

Frank Harris (JRN) was interviewed on WNPR’s “Where We Live” about his research on the history of the n-word. The project culminated in a film, “Journey to the Bottom of the n-Word,” produced by Harris that explores the history and modern day usage of the n-word, as well as dispelling some myths associated with it. WNPR interview.

Derek Taylor (COM) has had his recent experimental film, Into the Light of the Present, chosen for screening at the Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival in Hawick, Scotland this April. Out of 850 submissions, Derek’s film was one of 90 selected. His work will be screened with 38 other films, of which only 17 are from US filmmakers.

Jonathan Wharton, Assistant Professor of Political Science, was profiled Monday in the New Haven Independent. He recently took over as chairman of the New Haven Republican Town Committee.

January 29, 2016

As I begin my sixth semester as Dean of Arts & Sciences at Southern, I am struck by the escalating pace of change on our campus as well as the many successful initiatives and accomplishments that have helped move the School and University forward.  Witness the Buley Library expansion (and opening of the Buley Art Gallery), the new Science Building, the Student Success Task Force (and creation of the new Academic Success Center), the University’s 10-year Strategic Plan, the President’s Commission on Campus Climate and Inclusion, the first annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Conference—and much, much more. Arts & Sciences played an important role in all of these endeavors and will always have a significant impact on our campus.

I have also learned that because A&S is so large and diverse, it is difficult to find ways to adequately communicate the many accomplishments of our students, faculty and staff. We have a lot to be proud of in Arts & Sciences and I think it is important that the School creates a space to share the work we are doing together, the many faculty achievements, departmental initiatives, curricular advancements, and student successes that define us. This blog is dedicated to spreading this important news. Additionally, the blog will bring attention to key academic, scholarly and artistic events that may be of interest to you and to your A&S colleagues. So, if you have items that you would like to share, please email them to my office at ArtsandSciences@southernct.edu

PARTNERING WITH THE BARD

The University has entered into an exciting partnership with Elm Shakespeare Company that promises to bring new energy to our Theatre Department and the entire University community.  Southern and Elm Shakespeare recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that brings Elm Shakespeare onto our campus and integrates it into the Theatre Department’s activities and facilities. Under the MOU, the Elm Shakespeare Company officially is “in residence” at Southern and the University will provide rehearsal, production, and office space for the company. In turn, Elm Shakespeare will bring its expertise into the Theatre Department’s programming. More details can be found in the President’s January 21st Blog post.

FIRST THURSDAYS

In an effort to highlight some of the important new scholarship Southern faculty are doing in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, an interdisciplinary group of nearly 20 faculty led by Joel Dodson and Christine Dombrowski, are spearheading a “Humanities and Social Science Scholarship Forum.” This new faculty speaker series will be held the first Thursday of each month beginning in February.  These First Thursday talks, will feature a 25–30 minute scholarly talk/presentation on a new or recently completed project by a faculty member. There will be plenty of time left for questions and conversation.  The first scheduled speaker this spring is Dr. Charles Baraw (English), “It is strange how these familiar places are haunted: Posthumous Hawthorne, Literary Tourism, and Uncanny Authorship” on Thursday, February 2nd at 4:45-6:00 PM, ASC Theatre.  For more information about First Thursdays please contact Joel Dodson (dodsonj2). Also, updates and featured presentations will soon be available on the A&S Dean’s website.

CHOIR TOUR: MUSIC DEPARTMENT

Congratulations to the Department of Music and to Therese Gemme for another very successful international tour –this time to Athens, Greece!  This tour was made possible by generous donations from the Stutzman Family Foundation. Check out the many pictures and comments on the dedicated Greece Blog.

CURRICULAR INNOVATION: HONORS COLLEGE

The Honors College has just successfully undergone a dramatic curricular overhaul.  Beginning Fall of 2016, the Honors curriculum will be two-tiered.  Honors Foundations represents 16 credits from the HON curriculum taken freshman and sophomore years.  HON 150 remains a team-taught course, as will some other HON courses.

A new freshman and sophomore seminar/ plenary will use a disbursed-teaching model and involve students engaging with faculty and peer mentors.  This model will provide increased opportunities to explore a variety of team-taught and other interdisciplinary teaching methods.  Students will complete six credits of this Honors Seminar over the course of the freshman and sophomore years.  In addition, all first- and second-year students will participate in the Honors Plenary, a 1-credit course with most programming over the weekend.  Service-learning and leadership training will play a greater and more formalized role in the program as well.

Qualified students may elect to continue in the program during their junior and senior years in an Interdisciplinary Honors Minor. Finally, students now have a greater variety of capstone experiences from which to choose.  In addition to the traditional Honors Thesis, options include: Service-Learning, Study Abroad, Problem-Based Small Group Projects, or an Honors Travel Semester with faculty.

STRATEGIC PLAN UPDATE: ARTS & SCIENCES

The A&S Strategic Planning Committee has been hard at work since October working on a five-year school-wide plan.  The department chairpersons selected full-time faculty representing every department in Arts & Sciences.  There are four major goals in the current draft: one each on Scholarship, Student Success, the Development of Sustainable Physical & Academic Resources, and Making Connections.  Co-chaired by Christine Broadbridge, Terri Bennett, Craig Hlavac, and Bruce Kalk, the committee anticipates releasing its final plan by April 2016!

JOURNALISM DAY (FALL 15)

For 32 years the Journalism Department has hosted high school students and teachers across the state for a professional development conference on journalism. On October 30th Dennis House from WFSB gave the keynote address to an audience of over 350 participants. Ten workshops on a variety of topics ranging from traditional reporting to photojournalism to broadcast news were led by full-time and part-time faculty.

In an effort to support this professional development, the Journalism Department offers a monthly workshop called CTTeens where students from various public and private high schools come together in the department to work on story and photo packages and to design a web platform to display their work. This program, in its 17th year is under direction of Chair Cindy Simoneau. 

OLYMPICS WORLD LANGUAGES (OWLS)

Professors Christine Dombrowski, Luke Eilderts, Luisa Pietmontese, and Lisa Vitale have successfully proposed the reinstatement of the World Languages Olympics Day to be held here at Southern on Friday, May 6th. Over forty teams applied for the Olympics Day and twenty teams from all over the state have been accepted to participate in this unique event. This May competition will offer four languages, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, with plans to expand in future Olympics. The event will bring high school world language student teams and their coaches to campus to participate in an all-day event centered on world languages and cultures. The twenty teams will compete in various games created and proctored by the World Languages faculty along with graduate and undergraduate student volunteers.

RESEARCH TAPAS

For the second year the Research and Scholarship Advisory Committee (RSAC) hosted an afternoon Tapas event. On November 23rd twenty-six faculty presented four-minute presentations of their new or on-going research. Nearly two-thirds of the presenters were A&S faculty members including four members from the Psychology Department: Julia Irwin, Ken Walters, Kelly Stiver, and Larry BrancazioGerry Lesley and Jim Kearns from the Chemistry Department, and Troy Paddock from the History Department. This event proves to be such a great hit with all participants that Tapas is likely to be enjoyed for years to come.

FACULTY SHOUT OUTS

Sean Grace, chair of the Biology Department, was invited to become a Co-PI on the KEEN (Kelp Ecosystem Ecology Network), which is a world-wide network of researchers examining the effects of global climate change on kelp beds.

Sheila Garvey, Professor of Theatre, directed the Theatre Department’s production of Almost, Maine in early December. At the recent American College Theatre Festival (ACTF), this production won a merit award for Outstanding Ensemble Acting.

Vivian Shipley, CSU Professor in the English Department, will do a benefit poetry reading on March 3rd at the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, CT. She will join Richard Blanco, who read at President Obama’s inauguration and used to teach at CCSU, in this benefit to help fund the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival. The Festival, held every summer, “connects poetry and people,” provides workshops for budding poets and experienced poets alike, as well as the opportunity for poets and their audiences to gather and enjoy the creative process. Vivian sits on the Advisory Committee for this annual event.