Faculty and Staff Notables


College of Health Professions

Dr. Sheena Brown, clinical assistant professor, Dr. Philip Tobin, clinical assistant professor, Ami Steele, clinical assistant professor, Martha Sikes, clinical assistant professor of physician assistant studies, and Dr. Nannette Turner, associate professor of public health, received funding in the amount of $1,126,390 from the Health Resources and Services Administration for the Mercer Physician Assistant/Public Health Degree Traineeship Program.

Dr. Sheena D. Brown, clinical assistant professor of physician assistant studies, co-authored “Cysteine oxidation impairs systemic glucocorticoid responsiveness in children with difficult-to-treat asthma” in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2015; 136(2):454-461. She also co-authored “Characterization of a “high” TNF-a phenotype in moderate-to-severe asthmatic children” in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2015; 135(6):1651-4.

Dr. Cheryl Gaddis, assistant professor of public health, authored “A pilot assessment of pre-K and elementary physical activity opportunities in a rural Georgia county” in Medcrave Online Journal of Public Health 2015; 2(3); 24.

Martha Sikes, clinical assistant professor of physician assistant studies, was appointed editor for the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants Blog.

College of Liberal Arts

Dr. Wallace L. Daniel, University Distinguished Professor of History, spoke in Moscow on Sept. 8, the result of an invitation issued by the Aleksandr Men' Foundation and the Library of Foreign Literature in Moscow. The occasion was the three-day commemorative event on the 25th anniversary of the death of Aleksandr Men', Sept. 8-10. Dr. Daniel's speech was titled “Father Aleksandr Men': Living in a Diverse World.”

Dr. David A. Davis, associate professor of English, published the essay “The Irony of Southern Modernism” in the Journal of American Studies 49.3 (Aug 2015): 457-474. He also gave the presentation “Teaching Flannery O'Connor Before and After the Civil Rights Movement” at the Flannery O'Connor and Other Southern Women Writers conference on Sept. 19.

Dr. Andy Digh, associate professor of computer science and director of First-year Integrative Seminar, served on the panel of referees for the 16th Annual Southeastern Small College Student Research Contest. The contest is sponsored annually by the Consortium of Computing in Small Colleges, and the top winners are recognized each fall at a regional conference.

Dr. Kevin Drace, associate professor of biology, was awarded the 2015 Biology Teaching Award from the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT). He was asked to give a presentation about his work and accept the award at a ceremony held during the NABT Development Conference in Providence, Rhode Island, in November.

Dr. Sarah E. Gardner, professor of history, was appointed to the board of editors of the Georgia Historical Quarterly.

Dr. Eric Klingelhofer, professor of history, retired from his teaching position in June to be honored as professor emeritus and, in July, began his appointment as Research Fellow of the University. Also in June, he directed a one-week excavation at Molana Abbey in County Waterford, Ireland, discovering buried details of its architectural history.This ruined abbey is significant because it was given by Sir Walter Raleigh to the Elizabethan mathematician and scientist Thomas Harriot, who lived in America for a year and wrote its first detailed description, perhaps at his Molana residence. In July, Dr. Klingelhofer read a paper, titled “Architectural Horizons and Population Fluctuation: Confirming trend correlations on Nevis, West Indies,” at the 26th Congress of the International Association for Caribbean Archaeology. There, he also initiated and chaired a roundtable discussion of “The Threat of Sea Level Rise to Coastal Sites,” which led to an invitation for him to participate in a 2016 UNESCO meeting on preserving cultural heritage. In August at UNC Chapel Hill, he joined in announcing the First Colony Foundation's excavation of artifacts attributable to Raleigh's “Lost Colony” in North Carolina; Mercer was recognized in a New York Times article on the discovery, which resulted from a long-term research effort.

Scot J. Mann, associate professor of communication and theatre, adjudicated skills proficiency tests for the Society of American Fight Directors for Ithica College in London. Mann also choreographed violence and movement for the highly acclaimed Alliance Theatre production “The One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.”

Dr. Creighton Rosental, associate professor and chair of philosophy, created the non-profit program Tindall Heights Art Space with Mercer students over summer 2015 and, with the help of a QEP pilot grant, it became active in fall 2015. The art space provides free after-school arts instruction for children at the public housing project Tindall Heights Homes. Mercer students serve both as instructors and as the management team charged with making this initiative a permanent self-sustaining non-profit organization. He also participated in the workshop, “How to teach the ability to reframe a problem and to restructure first responses,” organized by the Center for Ethics and Technology and the AGORA project at Georgia Institute of Technology in May.

Dr. Bridget Trogden, associate professor of chemistry and director of QEP, and Dr. Jennifer Royal presented research, titled “Building a Culture of Metacognitively-Aware Student Learners,” at the Lilly Conference Series on College and University Teaching. The project received the Outstanding Research Award. Dr. Trogden was also invited to participate in the Transylvania Seminar on Liberal Education, where she presented a paper on “Reconnecting the Liberal Arts with the Natural Sciences and Mathematics.”

Dr. Fletcher Winston, associate professor of sociology, published an assignment in TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology (Washington D.C.: American Sociological Association), titled “The Other Me: An Assignment to Develop the Sociological Imagination by Imagining a Walk in Someone Else's Shoes.” This assignment was selected as a “Featured Resource” by the American Sociological Association.

College of Pharmacy

Dr. Ashish Advani, clinical assistant professor, published “Pandora of Medicine: Guiding Evidence-Informed Practice” on Sept. 9.

Dr. W. Klugh Kennedy, clinical professor, was appointed as an alternate voting member to the Mercer Institutional Review Board. Dr. Kennedy was also elected the 2015-2016 chair-elect of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy Central Nervous System PRN. He will serve as chair for 2016-2017.

Dr. Diane Matesic, professor, and Dr. Ray Green, associate professor, in collaboration with Dr. Sheldon May at Georgia Tech and three graduate students, co-authored “Amidation inhibitors 4-phenyl-3-butenoic acid and 5-(acetylamino)-4-oxo-6-phenyl-2-hexenoic acid methyl ester are novel HDAC inhibitors with anti-tumorigenic properties” in Investigational New Drugs, August 2015, 33(4), 827-834.

Dr. Nader H. Moniri, associate professor, and Dr. Renee Hayslett, associate professor, co-authored “Fish oil and flax seed oil supplemented diets increase FFAR4 expression in the rat colon” in Inflammation Research, October 2015, 64(10), 809-815.

Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics

Dr. Linda Brennan, professor of management, co-authored “Social Entrepreneurship: A global model for evaluating long-term impact,” which was accepted for publication in the International Journal of Entrepreneurship.

Dr. Susan Gilbert, dean, participated in a panel discussion on “Creating a Culture of Innovation” at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce on Sept 11.

James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology

Dr. William Loyd Allen, Sylvan Hills Professor of Baptist Heritage and Spiritual Formation, gave five lectures on Celtic spirituality to the Korean Academy of Spiritual Formation in Seoul, South Korea, Aug. 31-Sept. 4.

Dr. R. Alan Culpepper, professor of New Testament, delivered a paper on “Jesus as Healer in the Gospel of Matthew” at conferences on the New Testament and Bioethics at North West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa, and Stellenbosch University in South Africa, Aug. 24 and 26. He also delivered a paper, titled “Temple Violation: Reading John 2:13-22 at the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus,” at the biennial meeting of the Colloquium Ioanneum in Kusadasi, Turkey, Sept. 5.

Dr. Nancy L. deClaissé-Walford, Carolyn Ward Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages, participated in an Association of Theological Schools focus group on faculty development in May and in an Association of Theological Schools workshop on accreditation in September. In May, she contributed to the Faith in 4-D Project of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, filming a segment on “Creation Care,” and she led a two-session Bible study on the book of Psalms for the Georgia Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Dr. deClaissé-Walford served in June as an outside examiner for a doctoral dissertation, titled “A Trilogy of War and Renewed Honour? Psalms 108, 109, and 110 as a Literary Composition,” completed at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. In July, she led a three-week series on “Translations of the Bible” at Northside Drive Baptist Church in Atlanta.

Dr. Ron Grizzle, director of the Center for Teaching Churches, preached in seven churches in four states during the summer. In May, he offered the sermon at First Baptist Church in Carrollton; in June, he preached at Parkway Baptist Church in Duluth; in July, he preached at Union Christian Church in Watkinsville and Madison Baptist Church in Madison; in August, he delivered the sermon at First Baptist Church in Anderson, South Carolina; and, in September, he preached at the First Baptist Church in Jefferson and First Baptist Church in Phenix City, Alabama.

Dr. Thomas Slater, professor of New Testament, published Afrocentric Interpretations of Jesus and the Gospel Tradition (Edwin Mellen Press), a collection of essays by 11 New Testament scholars edited by Dr. Slater. The essays address matters of interpretation, the interpretation of the Gospel in African-American culture as well as key themes in the Gospels and Acts. This is Dr. Slater's third book, the second in the last three years.

Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes, associate professor of pastoral care and counseling, presented a workshop, titled “The StrongBlackWoman's Path to Wellness,” at the fifth annual Black Women's Life Balance and Wellness Conference at Spelman College on Sep. 19. She is also a featured writer in the recently released The Upper Rooms Disciplines 2016: A Book of Daily Devotions.

Penfield College

Dr. Whitney Phillips, assistant professor of literary studies and writing, has recently given popular press interviews related to her research on online behavior to Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Huffington Post Live, Salon, Vice's Motherboard, Slate Magazine, Scientific American, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. Her work was mentioned in an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, and she authored an article, titled “Let's Call 'Trolling' What it Really Is,” in The Kernal. She has also been interviewed for a forthcoming Time Magazine cover story on trolling. She gave an invited lecture to Dr. John Gallagher's “Internet Writing and Rhetoric” course at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Sept. 30. She will co-present on “Obscene to Whom, Bizarre to Whom?: Folkloristics and the Study of Ambivalent Online Behavior” and participate in the “Exploring 'Internet Culture': Discourses, Boundaries, and Implications” fishbowl at the Association of Internet Researchers 16 Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, Oct. 21-24. She will give an invited talk, titled “Internet Trolls: Humor and Cruelty in the Digital Age,” sponsored by the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities, at the University of Tulsa, Oct. 28-30, as well as invited lectures to two courses at the University of Tulsa on Oct. 29. She authored the article “Memes, Cool Traps, and Performing Legitimacy: Where the Researcher Fits in All This,” which is forthcoming in Culture Digitally, and she continues work on her co-authored book Between Play and Hate: Mischief, Humor, and Antagonism Online (Polity Press, 2016/2017).

Dr. David Purnell, assistant professor of communication, authored “Coming Out (of the Darkness),” which was accepted for publication in the Journal of Qualitative Inquiry.

School of Engineering

Dr. Pam Estes Brewer, associate professor of technical communication and director of the Master of Science in Technical Communication Program, helped facilitate a collaboration among Mercer's Department of Technical Communication and emergency agencies in Georgia. As part of this effort, students who took the course TCO 361: Usability tested the usability of Georgia Interoperability Network's (GIN) training system. They reported their findings to representatives from the Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Emergency Management Association, Mercer University Engineering Research Center and other officers of Georgia's 911 call centers. The GIN is a system that can be used to connect first responders during multi-jurisdictional emergencies and catastrophes. Throughout the past semester, students designed the study and then tested the training system with visiting operators from Georgia 911 call centers. The visitors tested the system in the usability lab on the Macon campus. The department and School of Engineering received kudos from the Director of Homeland Security Program Manager for this work.

School of Medicine

Dr. Hamza Awad, assistant professor of community medicine and internal medicine, served as the first author on “Magnitude, treatment, and impact of diabetes mellitus in patients hospitalized with non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction: a community-based study,” accepted for publication in Diabetes and Vascular Disease Research Journal.

Dr. Susan D. Cline, associate professor of biochemistry, co-authored the Fifth International Conference of the Association of Biochemistry Course Directors conference paper, titled “Teaching Biochemistry to Students of Medicine, Pharmacy, and Dentistry,” published online July 22 in Medical Science Educator doi: 10.1007/s40670-015-0160-4. 

Dr. Harold P. Katner, chief of infectious diseases, co-authored two recent journal articles: “Adrenal Insufficiency as a Paraneoplastic Syndrome in Gastric Adenocarcinoma” in the Journal of Gastrointestinal Cancer 2015; 46; and “Iatrogenic saline toxicity complicated by malnutrition” in the International Journal of Case Reports and Images 2015;6(4):216–219.

Dr. Edward C. Klatt, professor of biomedical sciences and Biomedical Problems Program director, presented the focus session “More Than Just Facts: Multiple Competencies with Biomedical Sciences” on June 15 at the 19th annual meeting of the International Association of Medical Science Educators in San Diego, California.

Dr. Sandra K. Leeper-Woodford, associate professor of physiology, co-authored the textbook Integrated Systems, published by Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Dr. Rob McKallip, associate professor of immunology, Dr. Hao Ban, postdoctoral scientist, and Dr. Olga Uchakina, research technician III, published an article, titled “Hyaluronic acid inhibitor 4-methylumbelliferone activates the intrinsic apoptosis pathway in K562 chronic myelogenous leukemia cells,” in the journal Anticancer Research.

Dr. Eric K. Shaw, associate professor of community medicine, was a co-author on a poster, titled “Assessing Concern-Raising Drug Use with a Prescription Drug Monitoring Database,” presented at the International Network on Brief Interventions for Alcohol and Other Drugs (INEBRIA) conference in Atlanta, Sept. 24-25.

Dr. Mike U. Smith, professor of medical education and director of AIDS education and research, served as a member of a special emphasis panel on “Effectiveness of Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs Designed Specifically for Young Males” at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. He was appointed associate editor of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, and he co-authored “Mendel and Mendelian Genetics in School Biology,” a paper presented at the 11th ESERA Conference in Helsinki, Finland, Aug. 31-Sept. 4.

Staff and Administration

Steve Ford, IT support analyst, received a promotion from his previous role on the Information Technology Help Desk and Communications team.

Tift College of Education

Dr. Joseph R. Jones, assistant professor, recently published two co-written articles. With Dr. Sharon Augustine, associate professor, he published “Creating an Anti-Bullying Culture in Secondary Schools: Characteristics to Consider When Constructing Appropriate Anti-Bullying Programs,” which appears in American Secondary Education Journal. With Dr. Sybil Keesbury, assistant professor, he published, “Someone Behind Me Yelled, 'Look at that Retard': Preparing Teachers to Combat the R Word,” which appears in GATEWAYS to Teacher Education. Dr. Jones was also interviewed by 41 NBC in Macon on ways parents and schools can help prevent bullying in schools.

University Libraries

Laura M. Botts, associate director for special collections, was named to the Archives Council of the Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education and participated in the group's inaugural meeting at the Georgia Archives on Aug. 4. She also attended the annual meetings of the Society of American Archivists and the Academy of Certified Archivists in Cleveland, Ohio, Aug. 16-22.

Amy Gratz, instructional services librarian for Jack Tarver Library, presented “Backward Design for Library Instruction” at the Georgia International Conference on Information Literacy, Sept. 25, in Savannah.

Walter F. George School of Law 

Michael Sabbath, Southeastern Bankruptcy Law Institute/W. Homer Drake, Jr. Endowed Chair in Bankruptcy Law, was a speaker at the Middle District of Georgia Bankruptcy Law Institute that was held in Macon on Sept. 11. His topic was “Bankruptcy and the Elderly.”