Faculty and Staff Notables


College of Health Professions

Dr. Sheena D. Brown, clinical assistant professor of physician assistant studies, received a grant for $7,000 for “Diversity within Physician Assistant Education: Assessing Perceptions of Promotion and Tenure Opportunities among Underrepresented Minority Physician Assistant Faculty” from the Physician Assistant Education Association's Don Pedersen Research Grants Program.

Dr. Huey Chen, professor of public health, co-authored “Interfacing Theories of Program with Theories of Evaluation for Advancing Evaluation Practice: Reductionism, Systems Thinking, and Pragmatic Synthesis” in the Journal of Evaluation and Program Planning 2016;5:012.

Dr. Elizabeth Dickerson, clinical assistant professor of physician assistant studies, co-authored “Colorectal cancer screening: The role of the noninvasive options” in the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants 2016;29(9):1-3.

Dr. Cheryl Gaddis, assistant professor of public health, was selected to serve as a peer reviewer for the Journal of the Georgia Public Health Association and was elected to a two-year term as a governing councilor for the American Public Health Association Public Health Education and Health Promotion Section.

Dr. Hank H. Heard, clinical assistant professor of physician assistant studies, authored “Update for the Evaluation and Treatment of Achilles Tendon Injuries” in the Gavin Journal of Orthopedic Research and Therapy 2016;1:1-4.

Dr. Lisa Lundquist, dean and professor, co-authored “Utilization of a structured approach to patient-based pharmacotherapy notes in a therapeutics course to improve clinical documentation skills” in Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning 2016;8(5):654-658.

Dr. Nannette Turner, associate professor and department chair, Dr. Huey Chen, professor, and Liliana Morosanu, visiting instructor of public health, co-authored “Characteristics of rural users of emergency medical services in Georgia: A population-based study” in the Journal of Georgia Public Health Association 2016;5(4):332-338. 

College of Liberal Arts

Luke Buffenmyer, assistant professor of art, has a one-person exhibition of paintings and drawings on view at Hera Gallery in Wakefield, Rhode Island. The exhibition, titled “New Work – Luke Buffenmyer,” runs through Oct. 8.

Dr. Craig Byron, associate professor of biology, co-authored “Human feeding biomechanics: performance, variation, and functional constraints” in PeerJ 4:e2242.

Dr. Wallace L. Daniel, Distinguished University Professor of History, was invited to present the speech, “Na napisanie biografii” (On Writing Biography), in the Great Hall of the Library of Foreign Literature in Moscow. He was also invited to conduct a seminar on the topic, “Nasledie o. Aleksandra Menia” (The Legacy of Fr. Aleksandr Men), in the Russian city of Iaroslavl'. Sponsored by the dean of the Demidov University, the seminar was attended by professors, journalists, political activists, radio broadcasters and administrators in the city. He also did a one-hour interview, broadcast on the Russian radio station “Echo Moscow,” on the topic of his recent book, Russia's Uncommon Prophet: Father Aleksandr Men and His Times.

Dr. John Marson Dunaway, professor emeritus of French and interdisciplinary studies, organized a public prayer meeting at the Macon-Bibb County Government Center on July 21 in response to the ongoing violence between police and the African-American community. The meeting included the mayor, sheriff, president of the local chapter of NAACP, as well as local religious leaders.

Dr. Carl E. Findley III, lecturer, recently published and co-edited a collection of essays, titled “Innocence Uncovered: Literary and Theological Perspectives” (Routledge, 2016), which examines the lost literary, philosophical and theological history of the concept of innocence in the Western tradition.     

Dr. Elizabeth Harper, assistant professor of English, will present a paper titled “MS Longleat 4 and Female Literary Patronage,” at the annual meeting of the Southeastern Medieval Association in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Dr. Matthew Harper, assistant professor of history and Africana studies, published The End of Days: African American Religion and Politics in the Age of Emancipation through the University of North Carolina Press.

Dr. Lori Johnson, professor of political science and director of the law and public policy major, attended the Pre Law Advisors National Conference (PLANC) in Chicago, Illinois, this summer. She participated in a panel presentation as part of the “Growing Pains: Legal Job Market, Career Trends & Changing Legal Landscape Program” track, titled “Accelerated Undergraduate and Law School Programs: 3+3 Benefits and Considerations.” She also participated in a weeklong International Training Institute for the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program out of Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, funded by Mercer's “Research that Reaches Out” Quality Enhancement Plan.

Dr. Eric Klingelhofer, emeritus professor of history and College of Liberal Arts Research Fellow, was the subject of an article, titled “Looking for the Lost Colony,” in the fall issue of American Archaeology, published by the Archaeology Conservancy. Teams of Mercer students have participated in several seasons of fieldwork on Roanoke Island, North Carolina, and an alumnus, Joshua Whitfield, excavated in Bertie County, North Carolina, at the mysterious Site X, where artifacts from of the Elizabethan period have been found.

Dr. Andrew Pounds, professor of chemistry and computer science, attended the first Google Faculty Institute on Cloud Computing in Mountain View, California. Approximately 30 faculty from around the country with targeted areas of expertise were invited by Google to attend. Dr. Pounds, two other faculty scientists and one Google engineer formed the scientific and high performance computing team. Together, they developed parallel message-passing applications that utilized worldwide Google datacenters as the computing engine. They converted their work into a series of computer labs, using the Google Cloud Platform, which could be completed by students at the undergraduate level.

Dr. Anya Silver, professor of English, published the poem “Maid Maleen” in Best American Poetry 2016, eds. Edward Hirsch and David Lehman (NYC: Scribners) 2016. She also participated in the Best American Poetry launch reading on Sept. 22 at The New School in New York City. She participated in another reading on Sept. 23 at the Hudson Valley Writers Center in Philipse Manor, New York. She also published “Restaurants” in the Reader's Write section of the October edition of The Sun.

Dr. Barry Stephenson, assistant professor of biology, published a paper, titled “Temperature-dependent color change is a function of sex and directionality of temperature shift in the eastern fence lizard,” with Nikolett Ihász, coordinator of lab services in the Psychology Department, and former Mercer undergraduate student David (Cole) Byrd in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society doi:10.1111/bij.12870.

Beth Stewart, professor of art and Francis Sewell Plunkett Chair, will present a solo exhibit of paintings and prints during the month of October at the Vineville Methodist Church gallery in Macon. 

Dr. Amy Wiles, associate professor of biology, published paired articles, titled, “Figure analysis: A teaching technique to promote visual literacy and active learning” and “Figure analysis: An implementation dialogue,” in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education.

Marian Zielinski, emeritus professor of communication and theatre arts, presented a paper, titled “Narratives of Human Experience: A Phenomenology of the Art Quilt,“ at the International Human Science Research Conference, July 3-7, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

College of Pharmacy

Dr. Ajay K. Banga, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, was awarded $231,330 from CONRAD/United States Agency for International Development for “Transdermal patch for HIV prophylaxis.” Dr. Banga, principle investigator, and Dr. Jennifer Knaack, assistant professor and co-investigator, were awarded $30,000 from L'Oréal for “Intradermal delivery of cosmetic agents by physical technologies.”

Dr. Martin D'Souza, professor, and Dr. Kevin Murnane were awarded $440,108 from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute Neurological Disorders and Stroke to conduct a project titled “A Novel Neuropeptide Brain Delivery System for Epilepsy.”

Dr. Susan W. Miller, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice, was a content expert for “9 Types of Medications You Should Think Twice About Replacing,” written by Frieda Wiley and published Aug. 5 on the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) website.

Dr. Nader H. Moniri, associate professor, published “Free-fatty acid receptor-4 (GPR120): cellular and molecular function and its role in metabolic disorders” in Biochemical Pharmacology, 110-111:1-15, 2016. Dr. Moniri, principal investigator, and Dr. Kevin S. Murnane, assistant professor and co-investigator, were awarded $10,000 from the United Soybean Board under the Soy Health Research Program (SHRP) for “Effects of soybean oil on FFAR4 activity in Parkinson's Disease.”

Dr. Pamela Moye, clinical associate professor, and Dr. Kristen O'Brien, clinical assistant professor, were awarded $3,624 from Mercer for “Impact of pharmacist-provided standard discharge and follow-up initiative on 30-day readmission rate in COPD patients.”

Dr. Kevin S. Murnane, assistant professor and principal investigator, was awarded $138,798 from the National Institute of Health/National Institute on Drug Abuse for “Receptor pharmacology and toxicology of second-generation pyrrolidine 'bath salt' cathinones.” Dr. Murnane also received notification that his manuscript, “The Serotonin 5- HT2C receptor and the Non-addictive Nature of Classic Hallucinogens: Expanding a Mechanistic Hypothesis,” was accepted for publication in the Journal of Psychopharmacology

Dr. Kristen O'Brien, clinical assistant professor, and Dr. Pamela Moye, clinical associate professor, were awarded $3,710 from Mercer for “Impact of providing an inhaler and inhaler education at discharge on 30-day readmission rates in high-risk COPD patients.” 

Dr. Maria Thurston, clinical assistant professor, and Dr. Kendra Manigault, clinical assistant professor, were awarded $1,500 from the Mercer College of Pharmacy Teaching and Learning Development Grant Program for “Multimodal Assessment of Student Pharmacist Teaching within a Diabetes Self-Management Education Class.” Dr. Thurston and Dr. Manigault were also awarded a Mercer College of Pharmacy Faculty Development Grant in the amount of $5,000 for “Optimizing a Mobile-Application Approach to Improving Medication Adherence in Patients with Hypertension.” Dr. Maria Thurston and Dr. Diane Nykamp, professor, published “Insect Repellents for Zika Virus Prevention” in U.S. Pharmacist, 2016; 41(7): 47-50. Dr. Thurston also was appointed to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Lyman Award Selection Committee, the Georgia Pharmacy Association Continuing Professional Education Advisory Committee and the 2017 American College of Clinical Pharmacy Awards Committee.

Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics

Dr. Antonio Saravia, assistant professor of economics, was awarded a grant from the Charles Koch Foundation of $9,400 for the 2016-2017 academic year. With this grant, Dr. Saravia plans to further the research project, titled “Pope Francis's Economics: Good Intentions, Unfortunate Ideas,” develop a course on Institutional Barriers to Entrepreneurship as part of the Mercer On Mission program, and invite an external guest speaker to campus. The research project aims at analyzing the vast majority of writings and speeches by Pope Francis since his election in 2013 to reveal his economic philosophy and critically assess its scientific foundations. The paper explores three different areas consistently emphasized by Pope Francis's remarks: social justice and social responsibility, income inequality and the social meaning of money. The new course in Institutional Barriers to Entrepreneurship is intended to start in the summer of 2017.

Georgia Baptist College of Nursing

Dr. Susan S. Gunby, professor, was the educational speaker for the Georgia Hospital Association's Staff Nurse Advisory Committee meeting on Sept. 23.

Elaine Harris, clinical associate professor, presented “An Evaluation of Spirituality Among Graduate and Professional Degree Students: Year Four” at the Georgia Education Research Association's annual meeting in Augusta.

Emory Kent, clinical instructor, presented “Neonatal Bathing 101: Creating a bathing environment conducive to growth and development” at the National Neonatal Nurses Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

Dr. Natasha Laibhen-Parkes, clinical assistant professor, served as a poster presentation reviewer for “Evidence Based Practice Toolkit Conference for Beside Nurses.”

Laura Madden, clinical instructor, will defend her dissertation, titled “Riding the Waves of Change: Oral Histories from Students at Georgia Baptist Hospital School of Nursing during the 1970s,” on Sept. 26.

Dr. Ruth McCaffrey, professor and coordinator of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program, published an article in Holistic Nursing Practice titled “Chair Yoga: Feasibility and Sustainability Study with Older Community-Dwelling Adults with Osteoarthritis.”

Dr. Frieda Payne, professor and family nurse practitioner coordinator, will consult the Western Carolina School of Nursing as the institution prepares for accreditation.

Dr. Humberto Reinoso, clinical assistant professor, presented a poster, titled “Transformational Leadership,” at the American Assembly for Men in Nursing.

Dr. Maura Schlairet, associate professor, co-authored “Accuracy of perceived activity level among older women in the community,” which has been accepted for presentation at the 69th annual scientific meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, Nov. 16-20, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Dr. Linda Streit, dean and professor, presented “Graduate Programs in Nursing” at the Georgia Association of Nursing Students State Convention in Athens.

James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology

Dr. Nancy L. deClaissé-Walford, professor of Old Testament and biblical languages, traveled to South Africa Sept. 1-13 and participated in two conferences. At the University of Pretoria, she presented “The Importance of Space in Book Five of the Psalter” at a conference, titled “Land: Texts, Narratives, and Practices.” At the University of Stellenbosch, she co-convened a session on 'The Psalms and the Land” at the triennial meeting of the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament and presented a paper, titled “Let the Floods Clap Their Hands: The Enthronement Psalms and All Creation.” On Sept. 19-22, she chaired a SACSCOC substantive change committee at Welch College in Nashville, Tennessee.

Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes, associate professor of practical theology, was a plenary speaker at the Biola University Center for Christian Thought's The Table Conference in La Mirada, California. This year's theme was “Love and Humility in Politics.” Dr. Walker-Barnes also preached two chapel services during her visit. She also served as the keynote speaker for the women's weekend celebration at Mt. Aery Baptist Church in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Penfield College

Dr. Caroline M. Brackette, associate professor of counseling, was a featured panelist at the Soledad O'Brien and Brad Raymond Starfish Foundation PowHERful Summit on Sept. 24 at Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio. The event is an extension of the foundation's core scholars program designed to reach a broader audience of young women. The summit includes a full day of empowerment with an emphasis on educational, professional and personal development for high school juniors and seniors and college-aged participants. It features industry experts who present on college readiness, internships, finance, STEM, health and wellness and more. Soledad facilitates morning and afternoon keynote talks with inspiring leaders. More than 300 young women attend the event and are, or will be, the first in their families to attend college.

Dr. Gail Johnson, associate dean and assistant professor, and Dr. Sabrina Walthall, associate professor of science, completed a certificate program in Online Course Design and Delivery through the Office of Distance Learning at Penfield College. The 15-hour certificate program consists of three levels of hands-on instruction in the use of the University's learning management system, the application of instructional design methodologies to content development, and the implementation and delivery of learning through the use of asynchronous and synchronous online tools.

Dr. Kenyon C. Knapp, associate professor of counseling, will conduct a presentation alongside his graduate teaching assistants Devon Mills and Jacqueline Robinson at the Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (SACES) conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. The presentation, titled “'Help, I've fallen and I can't get up!': Helping ABD students finish,” will demonstrate how to help Ph.D. students complete dissertation work, as that is a common place of difficulty in the doctoral process.

Dr. Robin S. Mathis, assistant professor and program coordinator of organizational leadership, participated in the College-to-Work-Ready Summit panel at Georgia Tech Research Institute in Atlanta. Dr. Mathis served as one of the guest panelists and answered questions regarding STEM affiliate careers.

Dr. Stephen Ruegger, associate professor of criminal justice, and Dr. Lynn Tankersley, associate professor of criminal justice, presented a paper, titled “Blogs and Followers Galore: Incorporating Technology in Today's Classroom,” at the 2016 Southern Criminal Justice Association Conference, Sept. 7-10, in Savannah.

Dr. Zipangani Vokhiwa, associate professor of science, led the 70th anniversary celebration of the Georgia Fulbright Chapter as president of the Fulbright Georgia Association Board. The event included an honorary tree planting and welcome picnic in August at Piedmont Park in Atlanta. A record-setting crowd of 150 Fulbright scholars, alumni and supporting friends attended this year's celebration.

Dr. Kevin Williams, assistant professor of healthcare leadership, published a manuscript, titled “The Affordable Care Act: Challenges and Leadership Opportunities,” for the Journal of Healthcare, Science and the Humanities Spring 2016 Volume VI, Number 1: 102-106. Dr. Williams also authored a manuscript in in the same journal, titled “Increasing Diversity in the Health Professions: Reflections on Student Pipeline Programs,” for the Spring 2016 Volume VI, Number 1: 67-79.  

School of Engineering

Dr. Makhin Thitsa, assistant professor of electrical engineering, supervised the comprehensive research of engineering student Runvu Cai in her Systems and Control Laboratory. Under Dr. Thitsa's supervision, Cai presented a paper, titled “Nonlinear Feedback Controller for enhanced emission of 808 nm in Er3+ – doped Fluoroindate Glass,” at seventh International Conference on Optical, Optoelectronic and Photonic Materials and Applications (ICOOPMA) in Montreal, Canada, in June. Dr. Thitsa and Cai also presented a paper, titled “Enhancing 550nm emission in Er3+ – doped Fluoroindate Glass by Nonlinear Feedback Control,” at the sixth International Workshop on Photoluminescence in Rare Earths: Photonic Materials and Devices (Pre 16) in Greenville, South Carolina, in June. Dr. Thitsa and Cai have collaborated on these projects with faculty from Hampton University and research scientists at the Army Research Laboratory.

School of Medicine

Dr. Jennifer L. Barkin, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, co-presented “Discordance between Perinatal Nurse Home Visitors and Pregnant Women's health concerns during pregnancy” and “Perinatal Nurse Home Visiting Referral Patterns for Diabetes and Hypertension” at the CityMatCH Leadership and Maternal Child Health Epidemiology Conference on Sept. 15 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Richard L. Elliott, professor and director of professionalism and medical ethics, was interviewed by BuzzFeed News regarding clinical perspectives on the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). He has co-authored several publications, including “T20 – listening or labeling?” (26-27) in EPIC, the newsletter for the Georgia College of Emergency Physicians; “30 years in 30 minutes: culture, ethics, and medical missions” in the Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia 2016;105(2),18-19; and “The secret language of doctors” in the Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia 2016;105(1): 18-19.

Dr. Edwin W. Grimsley, professor of internal medicine, associate dean for clinical education, clerkship director and Mercer Medicine compliance officer, was selected as a Master in the American College of Physicians. Dr. Grimsley is only the 29th Master in the state of Georgia.

Dr. Mike U. Smith, professor of medical education and director of AIDS education and research, co-authored “On the relationship between belief and acceptance of evolution as goals of evolution education: Twelve years later” in Science & Education, 25(5-6):473-496.

Staff and Administration

Jeff Barrett, IT support technician, attained Apple Certified Associate – Mac Integration 10.11 certification.

Joshua Carmichael, IT support technician, attained CompTIA A+ certification.

John Hamner, IT support specialist and junior SCCM administrator, attained CompTIA Network+ certification and has successfully completed the requirements to be recognized as a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) in Administering and Deploying System Center 2012 Configuration Manager (SCCM).

Tift College of Education

Dr. Olivia Boggs, associate professor of educational leadership, was a guest speaker at the September meeting of the Atlanta Airport Rotary Club. Dr. Boggs spoke on the history of the four oldest African-American literary clubs in Georgia. These groups were founded between 1909 and 1922 in the segregated South and continue to have monthly meetings today.

Townsend School of Music

Dr. Kathryn White, assistant professor of music history, recently presented research on the musical Hamilton at the American Musicological Society Southeast meeting held in Boone, North Carolina. Her work deals with some of the controversy surrounding the casting calls for the musical, and she uses specific musical examples as a way to address the criticism. She has also been invited to present her work at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington as part of a guest lecture series and at the Great Lakes History Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

University Libraries

Gregg A. Stevens, research services librarian in the Monroe F. Swilley Jr. Library, authored “Probiotics for Digestive Health: A Review of Information Resources” in the Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet, 20(4), 167–172.

Walter F. George School of Law

Karen Sneddon, professor, presented “Tales from a Form Book: Stock Stories and Estate Planning Forms, Wills, Trusts & Estates Meets Gender, Race & Class Part II” on Sept. 10 at the Oklahoma City University School of Law in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Scott Titshaw, associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor, published “Same-Sex Spouses as 'Spouses' Under the EU Family Reunification and Citizens Directives” in the Journaal Vreemdelingenrecht, No. 2 (Netherlands 2016). He also presented a number of works, including: “Federalism, Families and Citizenship,” on a panel, titled “Beyond Citizenship by Descent: Rethinking Admission to Citizenship,” at the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) Conference in Prague, Czech Republic; “Comparative Federalism, Fam-Migration and Citizenship by Descent” in July at the SEALS Conference in Boca Raton, Florida.; “Comparative Federalism and Family Immigration: The example of LGBT Families” in June at Radboud University Centre for Migration Law Nijmegen, Netherlands, and at the University of Konstanz Research Center on Immigration and Policy Law in Constance, Germany; and “Genitori oltre confine: una comparizione dedicate ai profil privatistici, di diritto internatzionale e dell'UE” in May at the University of Florence Department of Legal Science in Florence, Italy. Titshaw also served as a panelist for the “We are Family! Stop Trying to Define Me” American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) annual conference in June for the pre-conference podcast. He also led discussion and served as a panelist at the “Child Citizenship in a Changing World” AILA annual conference in June in Las Vegas, Nevada.