Faculty and Staff Notables

Statue of Jesse Mercer on the Mercer campus.

College of Liberal Arts

Dr. James E. “Jay” Black, Schumann Endowed Professor for Writing in the Media and co-chair of the Department of Journalism and Media Studies, served as keynote speaker at the China Media Leaders Conference and presented “Origins of Parody and Satire in Political Communication.” He also was keynote speaker at the Jinan University International School opening ceremony at the Panyu campus in southern China. He led two workshops in Guangzhou, China, on “How to Decipher the Truth from the Internet” at the American Consulate China and “Conducting a Successful Interview” at Jinan University School of Journalism. He participated as a member of the visiting group of United Nations China Study Program in the Qinhuai District of Nanjing. He was the first person to be awarded Permanent Visiting Scholar status by the Chinese Communist Party at Jinan University International School. He authored “The Star Image and National Identity of Sessue Hayakawa and Marlene Dietrich” in ETC: A Review of General Semantics 73.1 (2018): 100-05, and “You Cannot Represent Yourself. You Must Be Represented: I.F. Stone and Defining American Communism” in ETC: A Review of General Semantics 73.4 (2018): 133-53. Dr. Black also authored the book 2018 White Paper on the Business Environment of China, which is currently being translated into Chinese to be published in March.

Dr. Wallace L. Daniel, Distinguished University Professor of History, served as chair of a roundtable discussion on “Archival Explorations from the Keston Center for Politics, Religion, and Society,” held at the national convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies in Chicago, Illinois, in November.

Dr. David A. Davis, associate professor of English and director of the Spencer B. King Jr. Center for Southern Studies, was appointed to the editorial board of South: A Scholarly Journal. He also participated in a selection panel for Gilman Scholarships.

Dr. John Marson Dunaway, professor emeritus of French and Interdisciplinary studies and founder of the Beloved Community Symposium, organized “Elegy for Martin Luther King,” a memorial concert on MLK Day. The event included a dramatic reading of Léopold Sédar Senghor's poem of the same title, accompanied by the world premiere of an original jazz composition by Dr. Christopher Schmitz, professor of music theory in the Townsend School of Music. Dr. Monty Cole, associate professor in the School of Music, directed the Mercer Jazz Ensemble. Scot Mann, associate professor and director of Mercer Theatre directed the program, which also included African dance and choral music. Dr. Chester J. Fontenot Jr., professor and director of Africana Studies, and many other Mercer faculty members were involved in the event in significant ways.

Dr. Paul Lewis, professor of religion, participated in the annual meeting of the Society of Christian Ethics in Portland, Oregon, in January, where he discussed his book, Wisdom Calls: The Moral Story of the Hebrew Bible, in a “Breakfast with an Author” session.

Dr. Chinekwu Obidoa, assistant professor of global health, delivered a workshop, titled “Narratives of Development Destinations as Important Curators of Development Practices,” at Mercer's Development Summit in October. She also presented a paper, titled “African Youth Negotiating Cultural Identity and Sexual Risk in a rapidly Globalizing World: A Case Study of Nigerian Youth,” at the Association of Global South Studies 35th International Annual Conference in December in Marrakech, Morocco. Dr. Obidoa also took students on a short-term study abroad trip to Marrakech in December, and she delivered a message at the Youth and Entrepreneurship in Africa event organized by the Youth Forum for Democracy and Citizenship in partnership with the Global Shapers Community, a project of the World Economic Forum.

Dr. Anya Silver, professor of English, participated in poetry readings at St. Mary's Catholic Church in New York City on Jan. 20 and at the Poetry Atlanta Series in Decatur on Jan. 29. Dr. Silver also wrote and contributed two poems, “The Secrets of Ferns” and “Inauguration,” to The Cresset (Spring 2018) and Whale Road Review (Issue 9, Winter 2017), respectively. She had an interview on Jan. 29 with Celeste Headlee of GPB, and also joined the advisory board of the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation in January.

Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics

Dr. Lane Wakefield, assistant professor of sports marketing and analytics, and junior finance major Sachin Khurana had a paper, titled “Using Impression Management to Predict Attendance and Ticket Sales,” accepted for presentation at the Sport Entertainment and Venues Tomorrow 2018 Conference in March in Columbia, South Carolina. Khurana's abstract was chosen as a finalist for the Best Student Paper Competition.

Georgia Baptist College of Nursing

Dr. Linda A. Streit, dean and professor of nursing, was invited to speak at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Graduate Nursing Student Academy in February. In addition, she was invited to serve as co-chair of the Fellows Committee for Sigma Theta Tau International and was selected to serve on the Georgia Nurses Association Search Committee for the next executive director.

James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology

Paul E. Knowlton, founding director of the Institute for Spirituality in the Professions, was recently featured, along with the work of the institute, in an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Penfield College

Dr. Suneetha B. Manyam, associate professor of counseling, co-authored a manuscript with graduate research assistant Jack Underwood on “Exploration of Faculty and Doctoral Student Perspectives in Conducting a Group Research Project for a Research Design Class: A Case Study Approach” that was published in the online journal The SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2 in January.

Dr. Richard H. Martin, professor of criminal justice and homeland security, conducted peer reviews of the following articles for refereed journals: “Abortion Under Law and Shari'ah: A Brief Comparison” for the Forensic Research and Criminology International Journal on Jan. 19; “A Study on Metacognitive Thinking Skills of University Students” for the Journal of Education and Training Studies on Jan. 17; “A Comparison of Military and Law Enforcement Body Armour” for the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health on Jan. 14; and “Phonetic Analysis in Forensic Odontology” for the Forensic Research and Criminology International Journal on Jan. 5.

Dr. Hollis Phelps, assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies, published two peer-reviewed articles in the Bulletin for the Study of Religion: “Do Mushrooms Have Religion, Too?” and “Bodies, Biopolitics, and Mushrooms Once Again: A Response to Donovan Schaefer.” He also was invited to participate in the Political Theology Network Inaugural Conference in February at Emory University on the topic of “Resisting Forgiveness in the Age of Indebtedness.”

School of Law

David Hricik, professor, had his article “Will Patenting Make as Much Sense in the New Regime of Weakened Patent Rights and Shorter Product Life Cycles?” published in Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law. He was interviewed on net neutrality by two Macon television stations, gave presentations at the 18th Annual Berkeley-Stanford Advanced Patent Law Institute, the 2017 GSU Corporate Counsel Institute, the University of Texas School of Law's 22nd Annual Advanced Patent Law Institute, a symposium on artificial intelligence at Texas A&M College of Law, and chaired a panel at the Eastern District of Texas Bench and Bar Association Annual Meeting. In addition, an amicus brief he authored was discussed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He continued work on projects with the American Law Institute, as well as began his 11th year co-authoring a regular column, “Writing Matters,” with Karen Sneddon, professor, for the Georgia Bar Journal.

Mark L. Jones, professor of law, worked with several law student organizations to organize a panel program, titled “The Dream Act: Issues, Prospects, and Strategies,” that was held at the School of Law on Oct. 25 and was followed by a community rally in town organized by a grassroots organization, Georgia Women (and Those Who Stand with Us), in partnership with other student groups at Mercer, Wesleyan and elsewhere in Middle Georgia. He is currently organizing a program, titled “Immigration at the Crossroads: An Interfaith Discussion,” that will take place on Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Presidents Dining Room in the University Center. This panel discussion, which is intended to transcend politics and ideology, will be moderated by Sarah Gerwig-Moore, associate professor of law, who also moderated the Oct. 25 program. In addition to several “Dreamers,” or DACA recipients, the panel includes Dr. David Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, director of Mercer University's Center for Theology and Public Life and pastor of the First Baptist Church in Decatur; Rabbi Aaron Rubinstein of Congregation Sha'arey Israel in Macon; and Imam Adam Fofana of the Islamic Center of Middle Georgia in Centerville. The program, which will conclude with a short prayer vigil, is co-sponsored by several law student groups as well as other student groups at Mercer, Wesleyan and Middle Georgia College, together with the Middle Georgia Immigration Coalition, the Georgia4Dreamers Coalition and Georgia Women (And Those Who Stand with Us).

Dr. David Ritchie, professor of law and philosophy and director of international initiatives, served as a visiting professor at Estacio de Sa University in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in November. While in Rio, he completed a course in U.S. legal theory and practice that he had been teaching online during the fall for Estacio masters and doctoral students. During that time, he gave a day long workshop on academic writing in English, supported by the Law and Society Association. Dr. Ritchie also gave a nationally televised lecture, titled “Challenges to Civil Rights in the U.S.”

School of Medicine

Dr. Susan Cline, associate professor of biochemistry, was invited to serve as a deputy editor for international medical education journal Teaching and Learning in Medicine, beginning in October.

Dr. Hemant Goyal, assistant professor of medicine and assistant program director of internal medicine residency, co-authored a literature review, titled “Food-Induced Acute Pancreatitis,” which was published in the December issue of Digestive Diseases and Sciences.

Dr. Larry Nichols, professor of pathology, authored “A coal miner with weakness, fatigue, nausea, fever, chills, night sweats and dyspnea” in the Marshall Journal of Medicine: Vol. 3: Iss. 4, Article 6, in October.

Staff and Administration

Maureen Sweatman, executive director of the Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD), and Cindy Strowbridge, director of employee relations in CCPD, served on the planning committee for the center to co-host the inaugural GACE Diversity and Inclusion Summit, in collaboration with Emory University's Career Center and the Georgia Association of Colleges and Employers in December on Mercer's Atlanta campus. The summit brought together professionals from career services offices and college talent recruiters to examine the state of diversity and inclusion as it impacts the professional development, recruitment and hiring of college graduates. Professionals focused on acknowledging the imperative for college career centers and corporate recruiters to recognize and act upon the changing landscape in response to evolving diversity and inclusion issues. Attendees were able to gain a better understanding of this imperative so that they can better serve their respective constituents and identify best practices in both college career centers and corporate recruitment strategies. The keynote speaker, Hansford Johnson, director of talent acquisition at Travelers, addressed the current hiring market and tactical approaches employers and colleges can explore to implement better diversity recruitment and professional development strategies. A best practices white paper will be created from the day-long discussions. 

Townsend School of Music

Dr. C. David Keith, dean, presented a special forum on church music at the accreditation meeting of the National Association Schools of Music. The forum focused on “Interlude” and “Prelude,” a retreat program for mid-career church musicians and Townsend School of Music graduate students. While “Interlude” – for mid-career church musicians – focuses on rest, renewal and re-imagining for church musicians, “Prelude” – for graduate students – emphasizes defining core values and living out of the core while in academic pursuits and beyond. Dr. Keith also traveled to Brisbane, Australia, to conduct the Redlands City Choir and Redlands Orchestra in a performance of Handel's “Messiah” at the Redland Performing Arts Centre. The concert was sold out with more than 500 on the waiting list and others cueing on the day of performance for any return tickets. In addition, while in Brisbane, Dr. Keith led a conducting master class offered through the Australian National Choral Association attended by more than 20 conductors of school and community choirs and orchestra.