Faculty and Staff Notables


College of Health Professions

Dr. Mary W. Mathis, assistant professor, was selected for a panel presentation before the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in March. The title of the presentation was “Development of a B.S. in Public Health Degree: Measurement of Competence, and Preparation for Workforce, Graduate Education and Clinical Care Careers.”

Dr. Jimmie Smith, assistant professor of practice and liaison for the Academic Health Department, presented two poster sessions at the 2015 American Public Health Association annual meeting and Expo in Chicago, Illinois, on Nov. 1 and 3. The titles were “Improving High School Students' Health through Community Partnerships” and “Workforce Immunization Policies for Daycare Employees Within a Large Health District.” Dr. Smith also began a two-year term as section counselor for the Community Health Planning and Policy Development Section of the American Public Health Association annual meeting on Nov. 4. Dr. Smith and Dr. Brad Lian, associate professor, co-authored “Immunization policies for employees of childcare facilities within the North Central Health District of Georgia” in the Journal of the Georgia Public Health Association 2015; (1) 57-69.

College of Liberal Arts

Dr. Elaina Behounek, assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice, presented a paper, titled “Mediated Relationships: Power and Violence in Family Law Mediation,” on Nov. 19 in Washington, D.C., during a roundtable session at the American Society of Criminologists meeting.

Dr. Andy Digh, associate professor of computer science and director of First-year Integrative Seminar, served as director of the programming contest held as a part of the 29th Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges annual conference in Roanoke, Virginia, on Nov. 6-7. Thirty teams from around the Southeast participated, and Mercer finished in the top 10.

Dr. Sarah E. Gardner, professor of history and director of the Center for Southern Studies, presented “'Our Critics Right or Wrong': Literary Criticism, Southern Writers, and The Nation, 1865-1941” at the meeting of the Southern Historical Association in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Nov. 13.

Randy Harshbarger, associate professor of foreign languages and literatures, and Dr. Laura Lackey, senior associate dean of the School of Engineering, presented at the conference of the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies at Merrimack College in Lawrence, Massachusetts, held Oct. 22-25. Their presentation, titled “Leonardo's Dream: Bridging the Disciplinary Divide through International Service-learning,” focused on recent work with Mercer On Mission in East Africa.

Dr. Frank Macke, professor of communication studies, on Oct. 2 delivered the luncheon plenary address to the 40th Meeting of the Semiotic Society of America, held Oct. 1-4 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The address, titled “Images of Love: Intimacy, Adolescence, and the Flesh of Desire,” will be published as the lead article for a special issue of theAmerican Journal of Semiotics. Dr. Macke also served as chair for the session “Philosophical Expeditions in Communicology: Semiotics of Care” on Oct. 3. On Oct. 9, Dr. Macke, presented a prepared response to Nora Bateson's documentary film An Ecology of Mind, titled “Perceptions of Mind and Problematics of Communication,” at a special conference on the work of Gregory Bateson, “Patterns of Connection: Gregory Bateson, American Pragmatism and European Philosophy,” held on the campus of Penn State-York on Oct. 8-9. Dr. Macke served as chair for the session “Bateson and Philosophers of Communication: Artistotle, Levinas and Tymieniecka” on Oct. 8.

Maj. Phaedra Rosario, assistant professor of military science, Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Jones, military science instructor/NCOIC, and Stormy Jones, military science administrative assistant, joined the Military Science Department.

Dr. Anya Silver, professor of English, authored “E-mail From My First Boyfriend,” published in Intimacy: Poems (Jacar Press) 2015. She authored three poems, “Benediction,” “Autumn” and “Red Never Lasts,” in Atlanta Review (Fall/Winter 2015) 27-29. Dr. Silver authored “My Son's Legs,” published in How To Write a Poem (T.S. Poetry Press) 2015, and she gave poetry readings at LaGrange College and the LaGrange Public Library on Nov. 10.

Dr. Doug Thompson, associate professor of Southern studies, presented a paper, titled “NASCAR's Faith: The Rise of Evangelical Piety in America's Favorite Motorsport,” at Baylor University's Institute of Faith and Learning symposium Spirit of Sports, held Nov. 5-7. On Nov. 10, he led a discussion of the movie The Apostle as part of Mercer's Center for Southern Studies film and lecture fall series. He represented the Journal of Southern Religion at the Southern Historical Association meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas, Nov. 12-14, securing a forum for future publication. Dr. Thompson also attended the American Academy of Religion meeting in Atlanta, Nov. 21-24, where he once again represented theJournal of Southern Religion to negotiate with university presses to secure advanced copies for our book review section.

Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics

Dr. Susan P. Gilbert, dean, was interviewed as part of a panel discussion on Atlanta Business Radio on the show “Wantrapreneur Radio” on Nov. 19.

Dr. Steven Simon, associate professor of management information systems, and Dr. Bob Perkins, associate professor of management, co-authored “An Analysis of Trust, Distrust, and their Antecedents in Data Theft Environments,” which won the Best Paper Award in the MIS/IT category at the Academy of Business Research conference.

Dr. Briana Stenard, assistant professor of entrepreneurship, will present her research at the Kauffman Foundation Emerging Scholars conference in February alongside some of the top entrepreneurship scholars in the country. An invitation-only conference, Dr. Stenard received an invitation by virtue of being a Kauffman Dissertation Fellow.

Dr. J. Michael Weber, associate dean and professor of marketing, was interviewed about Mercer's professional MBA program for an article that appeared Nov. 16 on the Metro MBA website.

James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology

Dr. Melissa Browning, visiting assistant professor of contextual ministry, presented a paper, titled “Single Stories, Complex Issues, and the Ethics of Solidarity,” during the Sacred Texts and Ethics Group, and contributed to the panel and vigil on Anti-Death Penalty Advocacy, titled “Against Capital Punishment, and in Memory of Kelly Gissendaner,” at the 2015 annual meeting of American Academy of Religion in November.

Dr. Nancy deClaissé-Walford, Carolyn Ward Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages, presented a paper, titled “Recognizing the Plasticity of the Psalter: A Response to William Yarchin,” to the Book of Psalms Group at the 2015 Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting in November. Dr. deClaissé-Walford also contributed articles on Psalm 91:1-3, 9-16 and Psalm 99 to Working Preacher.org, the Center for Biblical Preaching's online Lectionary Commentary, in November. She also chaired a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Off-Site Reaccreditation Committee Meeting on Nov. 3-4. At the annual Society of Biblical Literature meeting Nov. 21-24, she delivered a paper, titled “A Response to 'The Shaping and Shaping of the Biblical Psalter: Reconsidering the Status Quaestionis in Light of Medieval Manuscript Evidence,'” and she spoke at the Society of Biblical Literature student luncheon.

Dr. David G. Garber Jr., associate professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, presented a paper, titled “Remember, But Do Not Remember: The Trans-Generational Imprint of Trauma in Isaiah 40–66,” to the Formation of Isaiah Group at the 2015 Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting in November.

Dr. David P. Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and director of the Center for Theology and Public Life, served as a panelist at three sessions of the 2015 annual meeting of American Academy of Religion in November. Those panels included “Full Acceptance of LGBTIQ Christians in the Church: Should Evangelicals Change Their Minds?” at Word Made Flesh, “Progress and Perils in the Queer-Evangelical Sea Change” at the Gay Men and Religion Group, and “The Philosophical Basis for Religious Liberty” at the Evangelical Philosophical Society Group. Dr. Gushee was also elected vice president of the American Academy of Religion.

Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes, associate professor of pastoral care and counseling, hosted a roundtable discussion of her 2014 book Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength for the Practical Theology Group and Womanist Approaches to Religion and Society Group, and presented a paper titled, “What Manner of Woman Is This? Images of Black Womanhood in the Art of Shonda Rhimes,” to the Womanist Approaches to Religion and Society Group during the 2015 annual meeting of American Academy of Religion in November.

Dr. Brett Younger, associate professor of preaching, spoke on “The Future of Preaching” at “A Luncheon with Day1:The Proclaimers of God's Word” on Nov. 6 at Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church in Atlanta. 

Penfield College

Dr. Thompson Biggers, coordinator of communication and associate professor in the Liberal Studies Department, was re-elected to the board of directors of the American Communication Association.

Dr. Kenyon Knapp, associate professor of counseling and coordinator of the Counselor Education and Supervision Doctoral Program, served as a panelist at the Fulbright Association Annual Conference, held Nov. 13 at the Omni Hotel in Atlanta. He presented on “Eradicating Human Trafficking and Slavery” alongside co-presenters Dr. Kathleen Gallagher of St. Mary's University; Ram Ramgopal, CNN executive editor; and Camila Wright, assistant attorney general for the State of Georgia. The session was moderated by Priyali Sur, documentary film producer, CNN-IBN correspondent and Fulbright Humphrey Fellow.

Dr. Richard H. Martin, professor of criminal justice and public safety leadership, reviewed an article, titled “Students' Perspectives on Pathways to University Readiness and Adjustment,” for the November edition of the Journal of Education and Training Studies.

Dr. David Purnell, assistant professor of communication, authored “Accomplishing Place in Public Space: Autoethnographic Accounts of Homelessness,” which was accepted for publication in the Journal Of Contemporary Ethnography. He also authored a reflection piece regarding the 20th anniversary of his brother's death, titled “Conflicting Family Narratives Regarding an AIDS Related Death,” which was accepted for publication in the Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life and Palliative Care. Dr. Purnell also presented at the National Communication Association conference in Las Vegas in November.

Dr. Karen D. Rowland, associate professor of counseling and coordinator for school counseling, conducted a workshop with the Henry County school counselors during their Professional Learning Day on Nov. 2. The workshop focused on current professional school counseling issues on the national and state levels as they relate to First Lady Michelle Obama's Reach Higher Initiative. Dr. Rowland presented with seven school counseling internship students at the Georgia School Counselor Association annual conference, held in Savannah on Nov. 4-6. The workshops were “Coming to America: Counseling Immigrants and Refugees,” presented by Dominique Wilson and Trecialeen Young with Dr. Rowland; “Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder and Effective Strategies for School Counselors,” presented by Mia Riccio and Hillary Reiner with Dr. Rowland; “Counseling Bi-Racial Students,” presented by Saadia Johnson with Dr. Rowland; and “The Effects of Mobility on the Children of Military Personnel: A Group Proposal,” presented by Katy Kesler and Kaley June Tanner with Dr. Rowland. Dr. Rowland was also asked to serve on the Lovejoy High School School Counseling Advisory Board as a board member. The board held its first meeting for the academic year on Nov. 19.

Dr. Lynn Tankersley, associate professor of criminal justice in the Department of Leadership Studies, presented a workshop with Brandy Adams, a former University of Alabama Master of Social Work student intern, titled “Strategies for Cultivating Strengths and Building Resilience Through Positive Psychology,” at the 27th annual conference of the National Association of Social Workers, Georgia Chapter, held Oct. 23-25 in Atlanta. Dr. Tankersley and Adams presented another paper, titled “Reframing Public Safety Experiences Through Positive Psychology,” at the 41st annual conference of the Society for Police and Criminal Psychology, held Sept. 30-Oct. 3 in Atlanta.

School of Engineering

Dr. Behnam Kamali, Sam Nunn Eminent Scholar of Telecommunications and professor of electrical and computer engineering, presented a talk at the University of Montpellier in France, titled “IEEE 802.16j-Based Multihop Relays for Performance Enhancement of AeroMACS Networks,” on Oct. 8. The presentation was in English, but some of the questions and answers to questions were conducted through a French translator.

School of Medicine

Carolann Curry, library assistant professor and reference and outreach librarian, Carolyn Klatt, library assistant professor and associate director of the Savannah campus medical library, Anna Krampl, library assistant professor and head of public services, and Kim Meeks, library assistant professor and medical library director, presented a paper at the annual meeting of the Southern Chapter of the Medical Library Association in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Oct. 24. The paper was titled “Don't Let Your Researchers Fall Prey: Delivering Vital Information about Predatory Publishers to Medical School Faculty.” Also at the meeting, Krampl and Curry presented a research poster, titled “Communicating with Professional Development: Factors Influencing AHIP Participation Among the Medical Library Community.” The poster was awarded second place from the chapter's research committee.

Dr. Robert C. Fore, emeritus professor of medical education and former associate dean for graduate and continuing medical education, was named interim dean of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga.

Dr. Edward C. Klatt, professor of biomedical sciences and Biomedical Problems Program director, presented two workshops, titled “Dealing with the Dissatisfied Patient” and“HIV/AIDS: A 30-year Global Perspective to Improve our Response” on Oct. 30 at the national meeting of the American Society for Clinical Pathology in Long Beach, California.

Shirley Powell, technical director for the Histology Curricular Support Laboratory in the Pathology Department, presented a workshop on the preparation of large whole organ tissue sections, titled “Size Matters-How to prepare Macro Sections,” at the South Carolina Society for Histotechnology's HISTO-EXPO on Oct. 24, at Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort in Pawleys Island, South Carolina.

Dr. Eric K. Shaw, associate professor of community medicine, presented a poster, titled “First Year Medical Students' Reflections of their Early Clinical Experience: A Qualitative Analysis,” at the North American Primary Care Research Group annual conference in Cancun, Mexico, on Oct. 25-28.  Co-authors on the poster were Dr. Marie Dent, associate dean of faculty affairs, and McKinley Thomas of Armstrong State University.

Dr. Ben Spitalnick, clinical assistant professor of pediatrics, and Dr. Keith Seibert, clinical assistant professor of pediatrics, authored Baby Care Anywhere: A Quick Guide to Parenting On the Go, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. They have participated in several recent book signings, including one at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Convention.

Dr. Tina L Thompson, professor of biomedical sciences and senior associate dean of academic affairs, was reappointed for a sixth year to the National Board of Medical Examiners, USMLE Neurology/Neuroscience Test Material Development Committee, and for a third year to the Step 1 Interdisciplinary Review Committee.

Dr. Wei-Hsiung Yang, associate professor of physiology, co-authored an article, titled “Silencing of CD24 enhances the PRIMA-1-induced restoration of mutant p53 in prostate cancer cells,” for the journal Clinical Cancer Research. The article was accepted on Nov. 18.

Staff and Administration

Ariel Hansel, coordinator of alumni services, joined the Office of Alumni Services and Special Events.

Tony Kemp, senior associate director of academic and advising services, was an invited speaker at the Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society Leadership Conference in Orlando, Florida, on Oct. 23-25, where he presented two workshops for students.

Tift College of Education

Dr. H. Anne Hathaway, professor of middle grades and mathematics education, served as chair of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission Board of Examiners team that conducted an Initial Performance Approval Review of the teacher preparation programs for the College of Coastal Georgia. Using a hybrid review model, an off-site review was conducted during spring 2015, followed by the on-site review conducted Nov. 15-18.

Townsend School of Music

Dr. Douglas Hill, professor of music, adjudicated 12 bands at the Southeast Bulloch High School Marching Invitational on Sept. 26. On Oct. 15, Dr. Hill presented band rehearsal clinics on sight-reading techniques at Brunswick High School, Wayne County High School in Jesup and Glynn Academy in St. Simons. Dr. Hill and several Mercer music education majors participated in the Dave Holland Drumagination Workshop held in McCorkle Music Building with area music educators on Oct. 17. Dr. Hill and the Mercer University Wind Ensemble performed at the Henry County Performing Arts Center on the “Quartet of Band Sounds” concert on Nov. 10. Other bands performing were the Locust Grove Middle School and High School bands and the Luella High School Band. On Nov. 11, Dr. Hill performed in the Ocmulgee Brass at the Carlyle Place Retirement Home and in the Barrister's Brass at the Mercer Law School in recognition of Veterans Day. Dr. Hill represented the Townsend School of Music at the Perry High School College Fair for Middle Georgia prospective music students on the evening of Nov. 12. The Mercer Wind Ensemble performed at Howard High School as part of the “Bands 'Macon' Music” concert on Nov. 19. The Townsend School of Music instrumental area hosted the annual High School All-State Auditions Boot Camp with faculty members Kelly ViaAdrian GnamMonty Cole,Jonathan SwygertJay HanselmanHollie Lawing PritchardEric BubaczMarcus Reddick and Mercer alum Matt Miller on Nov. 21 in the McCorkle Music Building. Dr. Hill is set to guest conduct the Georgia Tech Symphonic Band with its conductor, Mercer alumnus Chaowen Ting, on Dec. 1 in the Ferst Center in Atlanta. The Mercer Brass Choir, conducted by Dr. Hill, and the Mercer Singers, conducted by Dr. Stanley Roberts, will perform for the annual Christmas Tree Lighting on the Quad sponsored by SGA on Dec. 3, and Dr. Hill will conduct the Liberty Methodist Chamber Orchestra in its annual Christmas Cantata with Mercer adjunct instructor John Sweat, who also serves as Liberty Methodist choir director, on Dec. 13.

Amy Schwartz Moretti, director of the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings, associate professor and Caroline Paul King Chair in Strings, toured with the Ehnes Quartet (James Ehnes, violin; Moretti, violin; Richard O'Neill, viola; Robert deMaine, cello), performing works by Beethoven, Sibelius and Schubert for concerts in France, England and Switzerland, including return engagements at Wigmore Hall in London, U.K., Oct. 26 and the Louvre in Paris, France, Nov. 4, along with debut concerts in Nyon and Geneva, Switzerland, Nov. 1-2, and Aix-en-Provence, France, Nov. 3. Returning home to the U.S., the Ehnes String Quartet presented an all-Beethoven program (Quartets Op.18/No.5, Op.95 and Op.132) in Coral Gables, Florida, for the Friends of Chamber Music of Miami on Nov. 16.

University Libraries

Gail Morton, assistant professor in the Division of Library Services and public services librarian at Jack Tarver Library, co-authored a new satirical picture book. Why Johnny Doesn't Flap: NT is OK is a parody of children's books about autism, applying the same condescending tone to neurotypical children, and encouraging readers to be accepting and tolerant of these children's “differences.” In doing so, it points out the prejudices that most people are blind to. Publishers Weekly noted that “the authors' subversion of expectations through the narration is effective and thought-provoking, and may well lead neurotypical readers to reconsider their own behaviors and judgments.” Morton's collaborators were her co-author and husband Clay Morton and illustrator Alex Merry. The book was released by Jessica Kingsley Publishers in October.

Gregg A. Stevens, public services librarian, presented the poster “Meeting Your Patrons: Engaging and Marketing Your Services as a First-Year Liaison Librarian” at the annual meeting of the Southern Chapter of the Medical Library Association in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Oct. 24. He was also recently recognized as a senior member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals of the Medical Library Association.