Faculty and Staff Notables


Dr. Carol Isaac, associate professor, Dr. Olivia Boggs, associate professor, and Dr. Penny Elkins, senior vice president for enrollment management, served on the committee of former doctoral student Dr. Holly Brookins, whose dissertation was accepted to present at AERA, the largest national education conference. Her dissertation is titled “Women rising: The pathway to becoming a female superintendent in a metropolitan district through the lens of female assistant superintendents.”

Dr. William Lacefield, professor of mathematics education, delivered two presentations at the annual conference of the Southeastern Regional Association of Teacher Educators Nov. 14-16 in St. Augustine, Florida. His presentations were titled “Strengthening Teacher Candidates’ Abilities to Nurture Problem Solving Abilities in Learners” and “Nurturing Engagement through Integration of Writing into STEM.”

Dr. Robbie J. Marsh, assistant professor of special education, completed two presentations at the Teacher Educators for Child with Behavior Disorders National Conference at Arizona State University. The presentations were titled “Preliminary Development and Validation of the School Connectedness Questionnaire” and “Meta-Analysis of the Research on Response Cards: Effects on Response Rate, Off-Task Behavior, and Test Achievement.” He was also invited to present at the Building Bridges International Conference at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. His article, titled “School Connectedness: Mentoring to Prevent Students with Disabilities Engaging in At-Risk Behaviors,” was peer-reviewed and accepted for publication at the conference.

Dr. Leah Panther, assistant professor of literacy education, presented “Multifaceted Mentoring Communities: Opening Borders for Graduate Students” at the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. She also gave three presentations at the National Conference of Teachers of English: “‘Well, I took it there’: Subversive teaching to (disrupt) the test,” “Decolonizing language instruction: Centering African American Language in urban high schools” with Mercer doctoral student Amberly Evans and “Decentering other people’s voices: Recentering student and community accountability” with Mercer graduate students Lemell Overton, Rayven Reeves and Tatyana Gaines.

Dr. David A. Davis, associate professor of English, gave the annual Ed Cashin Memorial Lecture Nov. 8 at the University of Augusta. His talk was titled “Southern Writers and the Great War.” He also led a workshop on engaged learning and the academic job market for the Royster Society of Fellows at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and gave a talk on Faulkner and World War I for the Department of English and Comparative Literature.

Dr. Andy Digh, associate professor of computer science, served as the program coordinator of the annual programming contest held in conjunction with the Consortium for Computing Sciences fall conference Oct. 25-26  at Auburn University.

Dr. John Marson Dunaway, professor emeritus of French and interdisciplinary studies, spoke to Mercer’s Faculty and Staff Christian Fellowship Nov. 18 for its series of master classes titled “Writing and Publishing in the Academy.”

Dr. Sarah E. Gardner, Distinguished University Professor of History, published “Reading, Infirmity, and Suicide” in Visions of Glory: The Civil War in Word and Image, edited by Kathleen Diffley and Benjamin Fagan, Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2019. She also published “Southern Women and the Civil War” in The Cambridge History of the American Civil War, edited by Aaron Sheehan-Dean, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2019.

Dr. Jonathan C. Glance, Griffith Professor and chair of English, presented a paper, titled “The Process of Adaptation in Wilder’s Double Indemnity,” Nov. 15 at the annual meeting of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association in Atlanta. His essay “The Head and the Crown: Ending Huston’s The Man Who Would Be King” appeared as a chapter in the book Adapting Endings from Book to Screen: Last Pages, Last Shots, edited by Armelle Parey and Shannon Wells-Lassagne and published by Routledge.

Dr. Gordon Johnston, professor of English, had a personal essay, titled “Grip Tite Pocket,” published in Crazyhorse in November and nominated by the magazine’s editors for a Pushcart Prize in Creative Nonfiction. Dr. Johnston’s poem “Durable Goods” will be republished in January in a special issue of Southern Poetry Review dedicated to long poems and intricate poems. His “Field Notes and Range-Finding: Keeping A Naturalist’s Notebook” was the keynote presentation for the first meeting of the Georgia Master Naturalist Program organized by the Bibb County Extension Service Sept. 5 in Macon. Dr. Johnston also organized an early December launch party at the McEachern Art Center for books by two Mercerian fiction writers – The Weight of A Soul by senior Elizabeth Tammi and The Last Book You Will Ever Read by 2002 graduate Scott Hughes.

Dr. Riku Kawaguchi, assistant professor of sociology, presented a research paper, titled “Examining the Neighborhood Contextual and Situational Configurations of Robberies in a Safe Suburban Town,” in the session “New Directions in the Study of Communities and Crime” at the Annual Meeting of American Society of Criminology Nov. 14 in San Francisco, California.

Dr. Clara Mengolini, assistant professor of Spanish, authored “Conflicto e identidad racial en la literatura juvenil latinoamericana: La marca en la tierra de Graciela Rendón,” accepted for publication in Confluencia, Vol. 35 No. 2 (spring 2020).

Chelsea Rathburn, assistant professor of English and creative writing, was honored by the Georgia Center for the Book, which named her third poetry collection, “Still Life with Mother and Knife,” to its 2019 Books All Georgians Should Read list. In her capacity as Georgia Poet Laureate, she read a poem at the Georgia State Capitol as part of the Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities. She also took part in the 2019 Georgia Writers Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Rathburn also presented a paper, “The Interdisciplinary Nature of Creative Writing,” at the 2019 South Atlantic Modern Language Association conference in Atlanta.

Dr. Margaret Symington, professor of mathematics, gave an invited talk, titled “Integral affine surfaces: cylinders to spheres,” at the IV Mini Workshop in Symplectic Geometry Nov. 6 at Fluminense Federal University in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Dr. Jennifer Bartlett, assistant professor, presented “Nursing education: A call to action” and co-presented “Crisis in nursing ethics education: A proposal for change with interprofessional application” at the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities Annual Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Stephanie Bennett, clinical assistant professor, presented the poster “Global Student Learning that is Sustainable: Is It Possible” at the Global Service Learning Summit in Clemson, South Carolina.

Dr. Vicki Black, assistant professor, presented “American Indian Higher Education: What We Can Learn For Other Underrepresented Groups” at Sigma Theta Tau in October.

Dr. Omolara Fyle-Thorpe, clinical assistant professor, presented a poster, titled “Imposing Outcomes: Chlamydia and Gonorrhea: An Update,” at the United Advanced Practice Registered Nurses of Georgia Annual Unity Conference Nov. 1-2 in Atlanta.

Dr. Linda A. Streit, dean and professor, was selected to serve on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Organizational Leadership Network Committee in the office of secretary. She presented “Enhancing Nursing Education Through Diversity, Student Engagement and Faculty Development” at the Southern Regional Education Board Council on Collegiate Education for Nursing Conference Nov. 3-5 in Atlanta, where she also served as moderator for the Legal Workshop and the LeaRN Lecture. Dr. Streit also presided over the Georgia Association of Nursing Deans and Directors meeting Oct. 25 in Athens.

Dr. Portia D. Thomas, clinical assistant professor, had her article “A Qualitative Exploration of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Initiation Decision-Making Among Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM): It Definitely was a Process” accepted for publication in the Journal of the National Black Nurses Association.

Dr. Awatef A. Ben Ramadan, assistant professor of mathematics, science and informatics, published the article “Usability Assessment of the Missouri Cancer Registry’s Published Interactive Mapping Reports: Round Two” in the Online Journal of Public Health Informatics. This was one of six publications from her Ph.D. dissertation and the fourth she published while working at Mercer. She also prepared two teaching manuscripts: “Enhancing the Learning Process and the Quality of the Students’ Work in Online Courses Using Multiple High Impact Practices and Civic Strategies,” which will be submitted to SAGE Journal: Active Learning in Higher Education Journal, and “Assessment of Civic Learning Knowledge Amongst Informatics Faculty and Undergraduate Students’ Attendees of Civic Workshops at Mercer University,” which will be submitted to AAC&U’s Peer-Review Journal: Journal Of Service-Learning in Higher Education. She was appointed by the college’s dean and the department chair, in addition to other informatics faculty, to write and submit a proposal on developing a multi-disciplinary organization, which will work as a hub to connect the disparate technology resources within Mercer to facilitate and promote technology in curriculum, research, practice and service. The proposal is titled “Mercer Institute for Computational Interdisciplinary Studies.”

Dr. Arla Bernstein, assistant professor of communication, planned and hosted a college faculty workshop on experiential learning funded by a Provost’s Seed Grant and facilitated by Dr. Ashley Finley of the American Association of Colleges and Universities. Participants in the workshop included 23 faculty members, including Dr. Priscilla Danheiser, dean and professor of psychology, and Dr. Mary Alice Morgan, senior vice provost for service learning.

Dr. Jared Champion, assistant professor of writing and interdisciplinary studies, presented the paper “Benton Mackaye’s Fight for Socialist Fraternity: The Appalachian Trail’s Anxious Masculinity” at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association in November.

Dr. Hani Khoury, professor of mathematics, was selected as the recipient of a distinguished 2019 Arab-American High Achiever Award in the category High Achieving Arab-American Individual for his exceptional achievements and career at Mercer.

Dr. David Lane, professor of counseling, presented “Group Intervention for the Treatment of Trauma-related Experiences” Nov. 22 at the annual Mental Health and Missions Conference in Angola, Indiana.

Dr. Richard Martin, professor of criminal justice and homeland security, reviewed the manuscript “Factors Affecting Happiness of School Children” for the Journal of Education and Training Studies.

Dr. Antonio Saravia, associate professor of economics and director of the Center for the Study of Economics and Liberty, presented his paper “Does Education Make you Progre?: Education and Attitudes Toward the Market Economy in Latin America” at the Economic Freedom Institute Conference Nov. 4 in New York. The paper was co-authored by Dr. Andres Marroquin, associate professor of economics. Dr. Saravia was also featured on 13WMAZ in Macon Nov. 4 for a story about business migration around Macon.

Dr. Briana Stenard, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship, presented a research paper in a session, titled “Mobility and Career Development,” at the Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy Oct. 14-16 at Georgia Tech. She also completed the I-Corps Instructor Academy training Nov. 7-8 at Georgia Tech.

Dr. Dorina Marta Mihut, associate professor of mechanical engineering, Dr. Arash Afshar, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and students Nicholas Cordista, Gregory Baker, Roy Wood and Dylan Kennedy offered two presentations at American Vacuum Society’s 66th International Symposium and Exhibition Oct. 20-25 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. The presentations were titled “Study of Environmental Exposure Effects on Pristine and DC Magnetron Sputtering Metallic Coated 3D Printed Polymers” and “Antibacterial Performance of Electrically Activated Conductive Water Filter Papers.”

Dr. Richard O. Mines Jr., professor of environmental and civil engineering, was the invited speaker at the American Society of Civil Engineers Northeast Branch meeting Nov. 21. His presentation was titled “Oxygen Transfer in Bioreactors and Mercer University’s New Civil Engineering Program.”

Ted Blumoff, professor, published Pretrial Discovery: Strategy and Tactics (Thomson/Reuter, 2019-20 ed.) with co-author Edward J. Imwinkelried, professor emeritus at the University of California Davis School of Law.

John Christopher Clark, adjunct professor, was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers Sept. 27 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Cathy Cox, dean and professor, was featured in the article “Legal Luminary” in Macon Magazine. She also received the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award from the State YMCA of Georgia’s Center of Civic Engagement at the 75th Annual Youth Assembly Governor’s Luncheon Nov. 18 in Atlanta.

Linda Jellum, Ellison Capers Palmer Sr. Professor of Tax Law and associate dean for faculty research and development, presented on the 2019 Supreme Court cases addressing standard of review in administrative law at the ABA Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Fall Conference Nov. 15 in Washington, D.C. The ABA’s Fall Conference is the signature conference for the Administrative Law and Regulatory Section. This year, more than 775 attorneys attended the conference. Jellum chaired the ABA Administrative and Regulatory Practice Section’s Council meeting Nov. 16.

Billie Jo Kaufman, interim law library director and visiting professor, was interviewed by a 13WMAZ junior journalist regarding a program celebrating 100 Years of Women at Mercer Law, which coincides with the 100 year anniversary of the 19th amendment. Kaufman also chaired the strategic planning committee at the fall meeting of the ABA Standing Committee for the Law Library of Congress.

Jeremy Kidd, professor, presented “Know When to Hold ‘Em, Know When to Run: the Ballad of Billy Walters” Nov. 15 at the Tennessee Journal of Law and Policy’s Insider Trading Stories Symposium.

Elizabeth Sherowski, visiting professor, presented “Source Discovery: A New Way of Teaching Secondary Source Research” at the New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers Annual Conference Oct. 11 at Boston College Law School. Source Discovery is an innovative and interactive method for teaching students how to evaluate and use legal authorities.

Scott Titshaw, associate professor of law, spoke on a family and immigration panel in October at the Ninth Annual AILA Rocky Mountain Fall Conference in Denver, Colorado. He also spoke at the Hot Topics, Citizenship, and Immigration, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Stonewall Bar of Georgia and State Bar of Georgia ICLE conference in Atlanta. Titshaw also published “ART, Surrogacy, Federalism, and Jus Sanguinis Citizenship” in the U.S., Australia, Canada and Asian Yearbook of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Vol. 3, 144-168 (2019).

Dr. Jennifer L. Barkin, associate professor of community medicine and obstetrics and gynecology, was the featured speaker at the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health Doctoral Student Seminar. She presented on perinatal mental health in Georgia, and her talk was followed by a luncheon with Ph.D. students where she answered questions about professional development and research strategy.

Dr. Keisha Callins, Joy McCann Endowed Professor and assistant professor of community medicine, was guest speaker for the School of Medicine’s Women in Medicine interest group meeting Nov. 6 in Savannah.

Dr. Susan D. Cline, professor of biochemistry, co-authored a report, titled “Teaching Biochemistry to Students of Dentistry, Medicine, and Pharmacy: 7th International Conference of the Association of Biochemistry Educators (ABE) Tucson, AZ, USA, May 5-9, 2019, ” published online Nov. 15 in Medical Science Educator.

Dr. Bonny Dickinson, associate dean for faculty affairs and professor of biomedical sciences, was elected president-elect of the International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE) Board of Directors. This is a two-year term starting in 2020, after which she will assume the IAMSE presidency. 

Dr. Nancy L. deClaisse-Walford, Carolyn Ward Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Studies, chaired the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools-Commission on Colleges Off-Site Reaffirmation Committee Nov. 5-6.

Rick Cameron, senior assistant vice president for marketing communications, was one of four inductees in the 2019 class of the Mercer Athletic Hall of Fame. Cameron is in his 15th year of calling radio play-by-play as the “Voice of the Bears” with more than 700 Mercer games under his belt. He has been a pivotal voice in some of Mercer’s most historic athletics moments, including the University’s return to the football gridiron in 2013 and the men’s basketball team’s historic upset of Duke in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

Emily Halstead, assistant director of student success, and Hannah Vann Nabi, associate director of the Quality Enhancement Plan, co-authored an article, titled “Everyone’s Doing Better Than Me: Using Faculty Storytelling to Address Barriers to Success,” in E-Source College Transitions, an electronic publication of the University of South Carolina’s National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. Halstead also co-presented “Real Talk: Using Storytelling to Address Barriers to Success” at the National Conference on Students in Transition Oct. 12 in Orlando, Florida. Kellie Burgess, former director of student success, co-presented.

Marc Jolley, director of Mercer University Press, was a panelist in a session on publishing at the South Atlantic Modern Language Association Nov. 15-17 in Atlanta.

Stephanie Miranda, research services librarian at Jack Tarver Library, served as 2019 vice-chair for the Georgia Library Association Scholarship Committee. She helped raise $4,119 at the Georgia Libraries Conference Oct. 9-11 to support scholarships awarded to students pursuing a master’s degree in library and information sciences in the state of Georgia. In support of this endeavor, she authored the article “Georgia Library Association – 2019 GLA Scholarship Winners,” published in Georgia Library Quarterly, 56(4).

Candace Whaley, director of human resource services, and Amber Pritchett, employment specialist of human resources, presented “Online Faculty Recruitment” at the PageUp Summit Oct. 23 in Aurora, Colorado.