Faculty

Following a national search, Dr. Therese Bennett has been appointed as the associate dean for STEM in the School of Arts and Sciences.

Bennett joined Southern in 1996 as a full-time assistant professor in the Mathematics Department. In 2001, she was tenured and promoted to associate professor. Six years later, Bennett was promoted to professor of mathematics. Between 2010-2016, she served as department chairperson. Bennett has also served as co-director of the LEP with distinction and has worked tirelessly to ensure the seamless transfer of hundreds of students to Southern.

Dr. Therese Bennett

She earned a B.S. at Temple University and an M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh.

Bennett brings a wealth of institutional knowledge to the associate deanship position and will work closely with the associate dean for the liberal arts and the dean of arts and sciences to advance the mission of the School and the University.

Bennett’s first day will be August 30.

✉️ Deliver to:

Dr. Meredith Sinclair
Assistant Professor of English
Department of English


Dear Professor,

Thank you for devoting countless hours to advising your students, formally and informally, and guiding us to the best options, particularly in the teaching field. Your strongly held belief in the transformative effect of good teaching inspires me to seek what’s best for me, and for future generations. You extended your advising through the student group Urban Education Fellows. By helping us develop a mission in urban schools, you make education more than a matter or a career.


About Meredith Sinclair

Favorite Teaching Moment:

I most love when students ask questions I don’t have an immediate answer for. I try in my pedagogy to support students in being curious and being comfortable with discomfort. When they do spring the tough questions and then engage in the intellectual work of sorting through answers—that’s a really great feeling.

Teaching Philosophy:

It’s important for students to understand their purpose for being in an educational space and to be truly invested in the work (instead of being there because they have to be). I’m always looking for new ways to engage students in dialogue—with the work, with classmates, and with their own thinking—to help them find that purpose. I have to model this, too, of course. I’m always rethinking how a course looks, what assignments we do and so on, and try to be transparent with students about that process so that together we learn how to build challenging intellectual spaces. Above all, I think we have to have true care for and interest in our students as human beings.

Favorite Course to Teach:

ENG 492, which is a course focused on reading pedagogy, is my favorite course to teach because that’s my primary area of research and a particular passion. I also love EDU 413 because I get to introduce pre-service teachers from all disciplines to some of the fundamentals of the profession. My Young Adult Literature class (ENG 372) has taught me a lot and has been an exciting course to design. I always love the energy I get from working with our English pre-service teachers during student teaching (ENG 496).

Recent Courses Taught:

  • ENG 372: Young Adult Literature
  • ENG 496: Student Teaching Seminar (English)
  • EDU 413: Secondary Teaching

English Professor Tim Parrish

New Haven’s Daily Nutmeg website has kicked off its Summer Reading Month series with a profile of English Professor Tim Parrish, a founder of the university’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program who teaches fiction and memoir. Parrish is the author of the short story collection Red Stick Men (2000), the memoir Fear and What Follows: The Violent Education of a Christian Racist (2013), and the novel The Jumper (2013). In the Daily Nutmeg profile, Parrish — who grew up in Baton Rouge, La. — discusses the theme of racism in his works and how he deals with his “upbringing in a racist culture.”

The Daily Nutmeg will publish excerpts from Parrish’s work over the next few days, and this article will be updated with links to those excerpts.

Read the profile of Parrish — “Southern Exposure” by Kathy Leonard Czepiel — in the Daily Nutmeg (August 6, 2019).

Excerpt from Parrish’s short story “Roustabout,” part of his collection Red Stick Men.

Excerpt from Parrish’s novel The Jumper

 

Journalism Professor Frank Harris III

August 1, 2019, marked the month of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in America 400 years ago. Journalism Professor Frank Harris III has created a website to commemorate the first Africans and their descendants in America. Harris writes on the site:

“When it occurred to me several years ago that 2019 would mark the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans brought to America, I began asking Americans how America should observe the 400th, if indeed it should be observed,

“Invariably, every person I spoke with was unaware of the 400th until I informed them, and when I did, they were awestruck.

“​My mission became to utilize my role as a journalism professor, news columnist, filmmaker and public speaker to get the word out about the 400th, to encourage activities to observe it. In the process of doing so, I learned much more about slavery that makes this site relevant beyond 2019.

“This site is designed to commemorate and inform about the first enslaved Africans in America and their descendants. It was important to me that 2019 not pass without some acknowledgment of their presence, some recognition of their existence.”

The site includes a list of events to observe the 400th, as well as multimedia presentations and interviews about slavery and the 400th.

Harris’ 400th project has received considerable media attention:

“Slavery’s legacy: SCSU prof studies tragedy, racism today” by Ed Stannard, New Haven Register

“Remembering Those We’ve ‘Overlooked'” by Carmen Baskauf & Lucy Nalpathanchil, WNPR

“400 years ago, first slaves arrived in American colonies” by Ed Stannard, Litchfield County Times

“What the 400th means” by Frank Harris III, Hartford Courant

 

man holding math object

✉️ Deliver to:

Dr. Braxton Carrigan
Associate Professor
Department of Mathematics


Dear Professor,

You have been my inexhaustibly patient informal advisor. You entertain my half-baked math questions. You offer direction on my independent research. With your recommendation, I was invited to visit a graduate school recruitment program in October. We recently published a result on a problem that I learned about from your math colloquium series last year. I learned LaTeX as a direct consequence of our co-authorship. With your help, I have learned math subtopics and been allowed opportunities that otherwise would have been inaccessible to me. If I am admitted to graduate school next year, it will be impossible to overstate your influence. On top of all that, you are fun and energetic about math. Southern is represented well by you, Dr. Carrigan, and I feel lucky to have worked with you.”

Thank you,
David Diaz, ’19 🦉


About Braxton Carrigan

Favorite Teaching Moment:

My favorite “memory” is a bit more general. When a student comes into a course claiming to “hate math” and then at some point says, “you know, this is really fun” or “that’s cool,” it’s incredibly rewarding. One of the funnier instances of this happened during a summer course. The student was taking the only required math course for roughly the 4th time. About halfway through the course, she came up to me and said, “I think if I had you sooner, I may have wanted to learn all this crap! It really isn’t that bad and you do seem to enjoy it.”

Teaching Philosophy:

Students have to be active participants in the learning process. Mathematics is not a spectator sport! Getting students engaged helps them develop problem-solving skills, activates inquiry, and gives them ownership of their knowledge. Most importantly, it trains them to be life long learners, which I believe is the key for success as the world changes so much throughout our lifetime.

Favorite Course to Teach:

MAT 250 – Foundations of Mathematics: This course serves as the gateway to most upper-level mathematics courses. Majors encounter the foundations of mathematical abstraction and develop the inquiry needed for a career in mathematics. I love to be a part of students’ growth and development as abstract thinkers!

Recent Courses Taught:

  • MAT 150: Calculus 1
  • MAT 178: Elementary Discrete Mathematics
  • MAT 260: Geometry in the Arts

A shot of a Burmese python from Chandler's film

Associate Professor of Photography Jeremy Chandler’s work is part of a group exhibition titled “Subversive Suburbia” at Mindy Solomon Gallery in Miami, Fla. The exhibition runs from from June 7 – July 27. Chandler’s documentary film collaboration, Invasive Species, will be included in the exhibition, and he will be present at the gallery for a public screening and artist talk during the opening reception on June 7.

More about Chandler’s work and the exhibition:

Invasive Species Synopsis (40 min 2 sec):

The Florida landscape comes alive in this experimental documentary film created by Shawn Cheatham and Jeremy Chandler. Striking cinematography and a haunting original score guide the viewer through a contemplative glimpse into the state’s ongoing struggle with the Burmese Python. Told from the perspective of “the local”, Invasive Species explores how pythons were artificially thrust onto this fragile ecosystem and continue to challenge the ethical, social, and psychological paradigms of a people learning to live side-by-side with a new predator. The landscape is presented as a dangerous, wild space that can harbor and effectively conceal an entire breeding population of apex predators, as the python invasion becomes a vehicle to poetically meditate on metaphysical concepts of place, masculinity, and the indigenous.

Watch the trailer for Invasive Species.

Read the gallery press release about the exhibition.

Chandler’s bio:

Chandler is a photographic artist who creates through a variety of conceptual and formal approaches, such as straight photography, tableaus, and documentary and narrative film projects. His work subverts ritualized expressions of masculinity to reveal a more nuanced idea of maleness while questioning how culture and myth can often intertwine to create altered perceptions of space and place.

In addition to being the 2008 Photographer Laureate for the city of Tampa, Florida, he has exhibited at notable venues, including: Hagedorn Foundation Gallery in Atlanta, GA; Balzer Art Projects in Basel, Switzerland; and Giampietro Gallery in New Haven, CT. He received his BFA from the University of Florida in Creative Photography and MFA from the University of South Florida. He is currently an Assistant Professor teaching photography at Southern Connecticut State University.

Sean Grace with students

Sean Grace, associate professor of biology, was interviewed recently by WSHU radio about a study he participated in regarding the loss of kelp in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Grace was one of three researchers who conducted the study, which pointed to increasing water temperatures as the primary reason for the declining levels of kelp in Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island.

Kelp is a brown algae found in underwater forests. They have a variety of uses, and serve as important nutrients for fish and other sea life.

Listen to the WSHU interview.

Read the original article about the study by Grace, Colette J. Feehan, and Carla A. Narvaez that appeared in the journal “Scientific Reports.”

✉️ Deliver to:

Dr. Laura Bower-Phipps
Professor & Coordinator of Elementary/Bilingual Undergraduate Programs
Department of Curriculum and Learning


Dear Professor,

You are a model of impactful teaching and mentoring at SCSU. You are not only committed and reliable, but you are a positive and effective educator and researcher for your students, colleagues and community partners. I have interacted with you considerably in your capacity as my master’s thesis advisor, mentor, co-researcher, and most recently, dissertation committee member. During this time, I have come to know you very well and therefore can comment on many aspects of your advising and mentoring. It has been a true blessing working with you, and I genuinely appreciate your guidance, encouragement, and commitment to providing the most positive and productive experiences possible. You are reliably accessible and provide constructive and frequent feedback. An important aspect of your interactions with students is your ability to provide structure while allowing students autonomy and opportunities for growth and creativity.

Thank you,
Lauren Chicoski, Ed.D., ’19 🦉


About Laura Bower-Phipps

Favorite Teaching Moment:

My students created sidewalk chalk art to show what they had learned from a book we read for class. I tweeted their masterpieces, and the book author re-tweeted their work.

Teaching Philosophy:

I believe that students are most successful in the classroom when they are engaged in the types of work they will do after they leave SCSU. I work to embed this type of meaningful learning in my courses. For some of my grad students, that has meant presenting research with me at national conferences. For my undergrads, it has meant partnering with schools and community organizations to promote elementary students’ learning.

Favorite Course to Teach:

It’s hard to choose a favorite course because I enjoy them all. I love teaching the student teaching seminar because I get to watch my students transition from being students to being teachers over the course of the semester. I also love how much I learn about my students in the Family Partnerships course, and how much I learn about schools from my students in the Responsive Curriculum & Assessment Course.

Recent Courses Taught:

  • Family, School, and Community Partnerships
  • Student Teaching Seminar
  • Responsive Curriculum & Assessment

Several major faculty awards were presented at this year’s Celebration of Excellence, an annual ceremony to honor awardees for outstanding achievements in teaching, scholarship, research and innovation.

This year’s honorees included:

Million Dollar Club
Ms. Alycia Santilli, Director of CARE

Joan Finn Junior Faculty Research Fellowship
Dr. Meghan Barboza, Assistant Professor Histology, Physiology, Marine Mammalogy
Dr. Victoria Zigmont, Assistant Professor of Public Health

Mid-Level Faculty Research Fellowship
Dr. Md Shafaeat Hossain, Associate Professor of Computer Science

Senior-Level Faculty Research Fellowship
Dr. Kalu Ogbaa, Professor of English

Faculty Scholar Award
Dr. C. Michele Thompson, Professor of History 

Robert Jirsa Service Award
Dr. Michele Vancour, Professor of Public Health

Outstanding Academic Adviser Award
Dr. Gayle Bogel, Associate Professor and Coordinator of the School Library Media Program

Board of Regents Teaching Awards for SCSU
Dr. Charles Baraw, Associate Professor of English
Ms. Patricia Mottola, MFA Adjunct Faculty, Creative Writing

Board of Regents Research Award for SCSU
Dr. Darcy Kern, Assistant Professor of Medieval Mediterranean History

J. Philip Smith Outstanding Teacher Award
Dr. Kyle O’Brien, Assistant Professor of Social Work

Social Justice Community Award
Dr. MaryJo Archambault, Assistant Professor of Recreation, Tourism, & Sport Management

Celebration of Excellence: Undergraduate Research Assistants – Faculty Award Grant

2019 Recipient: Todd Ryder, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

About the award

This initiative, Undergraduate Research Assistants, is funded by the SCSU Office of the Provost. One grant of up to $3,000 is awarded to a faculty member to support one or more undergraduate research assistants to assist with said faculty member’s research in any academic discipline represented on the SCSU campus. The purpose of this program is to support a research experience for undergraduates and also to support faculty research.

About the recipient

Todd Ryder, assistant professor of chemistry, is researching ways to identify novel compounds with antibacterial activity as potential drug candidates. As he writes, “most antibiotics have been found through screening of microbes found in the environment, for example, an approved drug called fidaxomicin is produced by Dactylosporangium aurantiacum subspecies hamdenesis that was originally extracted from a soil sample collected in Hamden.” He also is interested in developing a new synthetic methodology with applications to the synthesis of these compounds.

Dr. Ryder anticipates publishing a paper on incorporating the antibiotic extraction experiments in the undergraduate organic chemistry teaching lab sequence, as well as a paper on the antibacterial compound isolated from the Lysobacter strain if the upcoming mass spectrometry results suggest it is novel.

All of the results of the research will be included as preliminary data in a grant application to the National Institutes of Health R15 AREA program in the spring.

Professor Ryder received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Rochester; his M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Michigan; and his B.A. in Chemistry and Biology from Cornell University.