Faculty and Staff Notables


College of Liberal Arts

Dr. Elaina Behounek, assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice, presented “P.E.A.C.E. Be With You: Family Law Mediation and Controlling Narratives” and a “Faculty Speed Dating” roundtable at the American Sociological Association Annual meeting in Montreal, Canada. She also attended the Institute for Pedagogy and Learning at Oxford at Emory.

Dr. Wallace L. Daniel, Distinguished University Professor of History, made two presentations,”Aleksandr Men' and the Transmission of Religion and Culture in Russia” and “Reflections on the Politics of Biblical Translation in Russia,” at the International Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature on Aug. 7-11 at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany.

Dr. David A. Davis, associate professor of English, published the essay “Modernism in Mississippi” in The Literary History of Mississippi. He also led seminars on Southern foodways and poor white documentary at the Governor's Honors Program and gave a talk titled “Faulkner's Stores: Plantation Microfinance and Economic Power” at the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference.

Dr. Andy Digh, associate professor of computer science, served as an exam reader and grader for the Advanced Placement Exam in Computer Science June 1-9 in Kansas City, Missouri. A record 61,000 students from all over the world took this year's exam in May.

Dr. John Marson Dunaway, professor emeritus of French and interdisciplinary studies, published an essay, titled “Maritain's Role in the American Civil Rights Movement,” in Engaging the Times: The Witness of Thomism, edited by Joshua Schulz (Washington, D.C.: American Maritain Association, 2017): 74-84.

Dr. Carl E. Findley III, lecturer, delivered a lecture, titled “Secular Redemption and Erotic Transgression in Robert Musil, Theodor Adorno, and Karl Kraus,” in August at the University of Helsinki, Finland. The lecture highlighted his current research on the secularization of religious concepts in major post-fin de siècle European literary and philosophical figures of the early 20th century.  

Dr. Sarah E. Gardner, professor of history, published “'History in the Making': The Early Years of the Georgia Historical Quarterly” in Georgia Historical Quarterly 101 (no. 2, 2017): 101-113. She also presented “'Bookless Mississippi': The Cultural Economy of Reading during the Great Depression” at the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference on July 25 in Oxford, Mississippi.

Dr. Chris Grant, assistant professor and chair of political science, completed a project for CQ/Sage Press on state politics in Georgia. The publication will be made available for faculty to use in teaching courses on American government and state and local politics.

Dr. Elizabeth Harper, assistant professor of English, attended the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where she presented a paper, titled “'Leve frend': Gender Inclusive Language and Imagined Audiences in MS Longleat 4,” at a special session sponsored by the International Medieval Sermon Studies Society. She also organized and presided over a special session, titled “Service Learning, Civic Engagement, and the Medieval Studies Classroom.”

Dr. Matt Harper, assistant professor of history and Africana studies, and Dr. Michelle Beverly, assistant professor of journalism and media studies, traveled with undergraduate researchers Tamara Andrews and Sydney Simpson to the Transforming Public History Conference in Charleston in June to present their work, “Making Black Lives Visible at Jarrell Plantation,” a history and digital storytelling project that uses student research to help tell African-American history at the Jarrell Plantation Historic Site.

Dr. Jeffrey Hugdahl, professor of chemistry and faculty athletics representative, was elected president-elect of the Southern Conference. He will spend the next two years serving as the vice-president/president-elect, and then assume a two-year term as president of the conference in 2019.

Dr. Eric Klingelhofer, professor emeritus of history and Research Fellow in Historical Archaeology, reported on a Mercer project to the International Association for Caribbean Archaeology meeting on St. Croix in July. Appointed last year to IACA's Endangered Sites Task Force, he led four students during this year's spring break on a project supported in part by a Research That Reaches Out grant to determine how local populations, untrained in archaeology, could best provide measurable information to professional archaeologists and cultural resource managers. Smartphones and GPS proved much more effective than traditional survey procedures, and the findings were summarized in his presentation, “Assessing Threats to Coast Sites: A Trial Run on St. Croix. Rising Sea-level Threats and the 'Mercer Method' of Data Collection.”

Dr. Kathryn Kloepper, associate professor of chemistry and director of the Quality Enhancement Plan, completed her duties as a member of the 2017 Analytical Examination Committee. The committee, under the direction of the American Chemical Society Division of Chemical Education's Examination Institute, worked for a year to develop, test and produce the Analytical Chemistry Exam that is used nationally by chemistry programs for assessment.

Dr. Achim Kopp, professor of foreign languages and literatures, was elected to a two-year term as treasurer of the Society for German-American Studies. He served in the same capacity from July 2011 to June 2015. Dr. Kopp has been a member of the editorial board of the Society's Yearbook for German-American Studies since 2005.

Dr. Frank Macke, professor of communication studies, published a chapter, titled “John Locke: Communication and Its Spiritual Connection,” in An Encyclopedia of Communication Ethics, edited by Ronald C. Arnett, Annette M. Holba and Susan Mancino (New York: Peter Lang, 2017): 149-156. Dr. Macke also published a chapter, titled “The Human, the Family, and the Vécu of Semiotic Phenomenology: Lanigan's Communicology in the Context of Life Itself,” in Communicology for the Human Sciences: Lanigan and the Philosophy of Communication, edited by Andrew R. Smith, Igor Kylukanov and Isaac E. Catt. (New York: Peter Lang, 2017): 93-108.

Dr. Hope Mcllwain, professor of mathematics, and Tyler Allee, a graduate of Mercer's Class of 2016, published the article “A Modified Massey Method to Rank Players on the PGA Tour” in the spring 2017 edition of The Journal of Undergraduate Mathematics and Its Applications.

Dr. Chinekwu Obidoa, assistant professor of global health, delivered a message to ROHI Youth Leadership Camp staff at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka campus, in preparation for its 15th annual Youth Leadership Camp on June 2. Dr. Obidoa also attended the 2017 Teaching Global Health: Summer Institute for Undergraduate Curriculum and Course Design at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania. She served on the steering committee for the institute, facilitated assignment and syllabus charrettes and presented a poster, titled “International Public Health Interventions: An Undergraduate Service-Learning Global Health Class.” She also designed and directed an HIV/AIDS Summer Institute, held July 3-31 in Macon. The institute focused on the dissemination of findings from her previous community-based HIV research conducted in Macon. Dr. Obidoa also delivered a virtual lecture, titled “Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in HIV Research,” June 25 to the Dallas Forth-Worth Social Science Careers Connectors.

Dr. Gary A. Richardson, professor of English, presented “O'Neill and Irish-American Identity: Irish-American Experience in A Touch of the Poet” at the international Eugene O'Neill Society meeting June 18-20 in Galway, Ireland.

Dr. Creighton Rosental, associate professor and chair of philosophy and director of the minor in ethics, leadership and service, published a chapter, titled “Aristotle's 'Logical Worldview': Understanding Logic Through Philosophy,” in Philosophical Perception on Logic and Order, ed. Jeremy Horne, IGI Global, 2017.

Dr. Anya Silver, professor of English, published “Kharkov, 1933” in Southern Poetry Review, “Mary of Silence” in The Anglican Theological Review and “Ideal Speech” in Saint Katherine Review. Garrison Keillor read three of her poems – “Woman with a Hole in Her Stocking,” “Red Never Lasts” and “At the Station” – on NPR's “The Writer's Almanac.”

Dr. Bryan J. Whitfield, associate professor of religion and director of the Great Books Program, moderated a session and presented a paper on “Hebrews and the Red Heifer” at the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion annual meeting held May 23 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. He also presented an invited workshop on “Writing Articles for Scholarly Publication” for the Baptist History and Heritage Society Annual Conference on June 2 in Augusta. Dr. Whitfield also led a session on “Adventist Virgil: Teaching Theodore Haecker's Virgil, Father of the West” on July 11 for the Teaching the Christian Intellectual Tradition Seminar on Virgil and the Modern Christian Imagination at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, a program supported by the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts.

College of Pharmacy

Dr. Clinton Canal, assistant professor, was awarded $273,568 from the Department of Defense for “Development of Novel Drugs Targeting Serotonin Receptors to Treat Motor, Social, Cognitive, and Sensory Domains of Autism Spectrum Disorder Using Mouse Models.” Dr. Canal and Dr. Kevin Murnane, assistant professor, were awarded $186,992 from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute for Drug Addiction for “Receptor pharmacology and toxicology of second generation pyyrolidine bath salt cathinones.”

Dr. Nader H. Moniri, associate dean for research and associate professor, was awarded $462,660 from the National Institutes of Health/National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute for “The role of ROS on beta-2 adrenergic receptor function in human airway.”

Dr. Maria Thurston, assistant professor, was awarded $1,000 from the American College of Clinical Pharmacology for “Building blocks to better blood pressure: an interactive tool for patient education.” She was also awarded the 2017 New Educator Award from the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP). This award recognizes a member less than six years from completion of training who has made outstanding contributions to the discipline of teaching and the education of healthcare practitioners. She will receive this award at the annual ACCP meeting in October.

Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics

Jordan “Jody” Blanke, Ernest L. Baskin Jr. Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Law, was elected president of the Academy of Legal Studies in Business. This organization is made up of lawyers who teach at business schools across the country. Prior to being president, Blanke served as program chair for the annual conference in Savannah. He presented, with co-author Janine Hiller of Virginia Tech, a paper, titled “An Exploration of Predictability and Privacy: Meaning and Effect,” at the 10th annual Privacy Law Scholars Conference, sponsored by the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology and the George Washington University Law School in Berkeley, California, in June. He was also quoted in an article, titled “WSU professor says IRS is breaking privacy laws by mining social media,” in The Spokesman Review.

Dr. Carol Cagle, assistant professor of management, and Dr. Faye A. Sisk, professor of management, presented their research, titled “The Prognosis for Health Care Supply Chain Management,” to the Production and Operations Management System Society annual conference May 6 in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Arthur “Buddy” Rutledge, professor of management, also collaborated on the work. The conference theme was “Global Operations: Emerging Horizons, Social Good and Technology.”

Stephanie Howard, visiting lecturer of marketing and deputy director of the Mercer Innovation Center, was named one of Macon Magazine's “Five Under 40.”

Dr. Allen Lynch, associate professor of economics and quantitative methods, was interviewed for the article “Georgia Skips Out On Back-To-School Sales Tax Weekend” on WABE.

Dr. Geoffery Ngene, assistant professor of finance, and Dr. Kenneth Tah, assistant professor of finance, had their article, “Long Memory or Structural Breaks: Some Evidence for African Stock Markets, accepted for publication in the Review of Financial Economics, a Q2 journal.

Dr. Ania Rynarzewska, assistant professor of sports marketing and analytics, and Dr. Steven McClung, associate professor of marketing, published “The reason(s) small, private schools start football programs” in The Journal of Applied Marketing Theory.

Dr. Briana Sell Stenard, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship, presented her work at the DRUID Conference on Industry and Innovation in a session, titled “Entrepreneurship: Gains and Satisfaction,” in New York City in June. She also presented two of papers at the Academy of Management Meetings in Atlanta in August. One session was titled “Entrepreneurial Motivations and Persistence,” and another titled “Entrepreneurial Exit and Failure.” In addition, she presented at, and helped facilitate, a workshop, titled “The Novice's Guide to Effective Teaching.” Dr. Stenard was also accepted to and participated in the Entrepreneurship Early Career Consortium.

Dr. Lane Wakefield, assistant professor of sports marketing and analytics, had his manuscript, titled “Sports fan experience: Electronic word-of-mouth in ephemeral social media,” published in The Sport Management Review. He was also a session chair for “Sponsorship Revisited: How to Make (Sport) Sponsorship More Effective” and co-presented “The Price Opportunists: How Customers Perceive Value and Price for Experience Services” at the Sports and Sponsorship-Linked Marketing Special Interest Group at the American Marketing Association's Summer Conference in San Francisco. As vice-chairman, he also organized a social event at a San Francisco Giants baseball game.

Dr. J. Michael Weber, senior associate dean and professor of marketing, was interviewed by TrustDale.com for a segment, titled “Why do companies still use direct marketing and why do consumers react?”

Georgia Baptist College of Nursing

Suzanne Applegate, clinical assistant professor, and Fran Kamp, clinical associate professor, presented “Responding to the 2016 National Patient Safety Goals: Implementation Across the Curriculum” and “From Static Station to Simulation: Learning the Importance of Following Blood Transfusion Protocol” at the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation Learning Conference in Washington, D.C., in June.

Dr. Lanell Bellury, associate professor, presented “Transforming Practice with Scripted Messages: Improving Pain Management in Outpatient Surgical Patients” at the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society Convention in Dublin, Ireland, in July.

Fran Kamp, clinical associate professor, contributed to Making Simulation Center Rooms More Realistic: Simulation Champions Fostering Courage, Caring, and Connection, Wolters Kluwer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Humberto Reinoso, assistant professor, presented “Screening Recommendations for Baby Boomers with Chronic Hepatitis C” at the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society Convention in Dublin, Ireland, in July.

Dr. Maura Schlairet, associate professor, published “Upper Extremity Strength Imbalance after Mastectomy and the Effect of Resistance Training” in Sports Medicine International Open.

Dr. Linda A. Streit, dean and professor, was selected as regional committee chair for the board of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society. She also was elected to serve an additional term as treasurer of the Georgia Association of Deans and Directors. She will provide the keynote address Sept. 17 for the Alpha Xi Chapter fall induction ceremony. Alpha Xi is a STTI Chapter located at the University of South Carolina School of Nursing, Columbia, South Carolina. Dr. Streit was approved by the STTI Executive Board for the position of regional chapters coordinating committee chair. The responsibility of the office is to oversee the roles of 21 regional committee chairs throughout the seven continents.

Penfield College

Dr. Wesley Barker, assistant professor of religious studies, presented her paper, titled “Body in Rhetoric, Body as Rhetoric: A Theology of Lips,” for the eighth Conference of the Irigaray Circle. The Irigaray Circle is an international scholarly organization dedicated to the work of famed psychoanalyst and philosopher Luce Irigaray. The conference, held June 23-25, was hosted by the Institute for Theological Partnerships at the University of Winchester in the United Kingdom. Dr. Barker was subsequently appointed to the executive board of the Irigaray Circle for 2017-2018.

Dr. Caroline M. Brackette, associate professor of counseling, was an invited speaker for the American Association of Airport Executives Emergency Management Conference hosted by Hartsfield Jackson Airport, where she presented “Mental Health Aspects for all Responders.” Dr. Brackette served as a grant reviewer for the Department of Education for this year's McNair Program, Hispanic Serving Institutions and GEAR UP grant competitions. She was also an invited speaker for the Fulton-Dekalb Hospital Authority Community Engagement Project on Mental Health and Student Athletes, hosted by Chamblee Charter School in Dunwoody. She also served as an associate editor for Common Ground Publishing and grant reviewer for this year's Psi Chi Mamie Phipps Clark Graduate Research Grant Competition. She had an invited article published in CL Magazine in Cleveland, Ohio, on workplace etiquette. Dr. Brackette also was an invited panelist for the 2017 Soledad O'Brien and Brad Raymond Powherful Foundation Enrichment Summit which was hosted by Sara Blakely at the Spanx Headquarters in Atlanta. She received a 2016-2017 American Counseling Association Southern Region Chair's Leadership Award for her service as president of the American Counseling Association of Georgia branch. 

Dr. Richard H. Martin, professor of criminal justice, was invited to participate in the World Education Day Conference in Dalian, China. The organizing committee invited Dr. Martin to be the chair/speaker at Block 1: Educational Leadership Forums while presenting about “An Alternative Approach to Preservice Police Training: Combining Training and Education Learning Outcomes.” He also completed review of the following articles for publication in peer-reviewed journals: “Examination On The Factors Which Affect The Participation of Hearing-Impaired Individuals In Sports,” for the Journal of Education and Training Studies; “A Taphonomic Approach to Marine Abrasion on Human Bones” and “Psychological Underpinnings of Criminal Behaviour” for the Forensic Research and Criminology Journal International; “A Framework for Understanding of Bilingual Education in Turkey: A Mixed Method Approach” and “Multiple visual Intelligence vs. Direct Instruction which method enhance tactical performance in youth soccer players” for the Journal of Education and Training Studies; and “Grip strength and its relationship to police recruit task performance and injury risk: A retrospective cohort study” for the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Dr. Whitney Phillips, assistant professor of literary studies and writing, co-authored, with Ryan Milner, The Ambivalent Internet: Mischief, Oddity, and Antagonism Online, published by Polity Press in June.

Dr. Hollis Phelps, assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies, published “Spring 2017 Report on Pantheism and Panentheism” for the God and the Human Future Seminar, sponsored by the Westar Institute, in The Fourth R. He was invited for a series of lectures at DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church in Naperville, Illinois, on “God, Process, and Politics,” as part of the Westar Institute's “Jesus Seminar on the Road.” He was also invited to speak at Loyola University, Chicago, on “Jesus and the Politics of Mammon.”

Dr. David Purnell, assistant professor of communication, was honored as Scholar of the Year by the Florida Communication Association for his published contributions to the field of communication.

Jacqueline Stephen, professor of instructional design, was elected to the board of directors of the Association Supporting Computer Users in Education (ASCUE) in June. ASCUE is an international community of individuals committed to the innovation, implementation and furtherance of technology trends, equipment and practices within higher education.

Dr. Zipangani Vokhiwa, associate professor of science, and other members of the Fulbright Association were featured in The Nation, the national newspaper of Malawi, for their work to plant 1,700 trees and monitor water quality at Lake Chilwa.

School of Engineering

Dr. Helen M. Grady, professor and chair of technical communication, presented the paper “Engineers Do Not Write Essays” at the IEEE Professional Communication Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, in July. The paper was part of a panel, titled “Diverging Currents: Continuous Innovation in an Engineering-Based Technical Communication Program.” Other panel members were Dr. Pam Estes Brewer, associate professor of technical communication, and Dr. Robert Watson, assistant professor of technical communication, from Mercer.

Dr. Michael MacCarthy, assistant professor of environmental engineering, co-authored the article “Low-cost water-lifting from groundwater sources: a comparison of the EMAS Pump with the Rope Pump” in Hydrogeology Journal (August 2017, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 1477–1490).

School of Law

Jim Fleissner, professor of law, spoke on June 8 at the State Bar Convention at Jekyll Island. His presentation, titled “Living in a New Evidence World,” focused on the transition to Georgia's new evidence code, which is based in part on the Federal Rules of Evidence. Fleissner also participated Aug. 31 in a panel discussion about appointments to the United States Supreme Court sponsored by the law school's chapter of the Federalist Society.

Sarah Gerwig-Moore, associate professor of law, will publish “On Competence: (Re)Considering Appropriate Legal Standards for Examining Sixth Amendment Claims Related to Criminal Defendants' Mental Illness and Disability” in the Tennessee Law Review later this year. She presented “What's a Life, Anyways? We're Born, We Live a Little While, We Die: Capital Punishment, Professional Identity, and Charlotte's Web” at the Applied Legal Storytelling Conference in July. She also delivered the commencement address at Woodfield Academy in Macon in May.

David Hricik, professor of law, gave the Dunlap Codding Lecture in Legal Ethics to the Oklahoma Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property, and led a panel with officials from the United States Patent and Trademark Office at the annual meeting of the Colorado Bar Association's Section on Intellectual Property.

Linda Jellum, professor of tax law, was elected vice chair of the American Bar Association's Section on Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice and will oversee its 57 committees. She also on Aug. 4 was elected treasurer of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools and will oversee the financial needs of the organization.

Jeremy Kidd, associate professor of law, discussed an important decision by the Georgia Court of Appeals in his article “Investment or Loan? Litigation funding's ongoing debate” published in the Litigation Finance Journal. He also was a panelist on “Is the SEC's Insider Trading Regime Really Fair?” Aug. 1 at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools annual meeting.

Teri McMurtry-Chubb, professor of law, authored three articles, “'Burn This Bitch Down!': Mike Brown, Emmett Till, and the Gendered Politics of Black Parenthood” in 17 Nevada Law Journal 619 (2017); “On Writing Wrongs: Legal Writing Professors of Color and the Curious Case of 405(c)” in 66 Journal of Legal Education 575 (2017); and “White Paper, Respecting and Preserving Black Fatherhood: Comments on Georgia HB 19 – The Responsible Father's Bill.” She also presented on “The Changing Face of the War on Drugs: Mass Incarceration, Overcriminalization, and Evolving Drug Policy” as part of a panel on “Intersectionality: An Intersectional Approach to Mass Incarceration, the War on Drugs, and Evolving Drug Policy” at Wayne State University Law Review Symposium, and on “The Passionate Protection of Blackness: Social Justice Advocacy in the Age of Repackaged White Supremacy” at Mercer's Black Law Student Association Scholarship Symposium. She was an invited panelist for the Association of American Law Schools New Law Teacher Workshop's plenary session on “Diversity and Inclusion Inside and Outside the Classroom.”

Karen J. Sneddon, professor of law, along with professor Susan M. Chesler, presented “Tales from a Form Book: Stock Stories and Transactional Documents” at the Sixth Biennial Applied Legal Storytelling Conference on July 12 in Washington, D.C.

Scott Titshaw, associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor of law, published “Conflicts of Interest and Waivers in Family Practice” in 22 Bender's Immigration Bulletin 907. He served as a panelist for “Avoiding Family Feuds: Ethics in Family Practice” at the American Immigration Lawyers Association annual conference in New Orleans. He also was a panelist for “Immigration Laws and Crossing Borders” at the National LGBT Bar Association Annual Conference in San Francisco. He will speak in September on “Representation of LGBT Asylum-Seekers” at the Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia C.L.E. at King and Spalding in Atlanta.

School of Medicine

Dr. Hamza Awad, assistant professor, co-authored two publications, “Role of Cannabis in Cardiovascular Disorders” in the Journal of Thoracic Diseases and “Prognostic Significance of Red Blood Cell Distribution Width in Acute Pancreatitis” in Annals of Translational Medicine.

Dr. Jennifer L. Barkin, assistant professor, was invited to give a workshop, titled “Functional Assessment in New Mothers: Current Uses and Future Research,” at Northwestern University's Asher Center for the Study and Treatment of Depressive Disorders. The workshop will focus on the administration and interpretation of the Barkin Index of Maternal Functioning.

Dr. Keisha Callins, assistant professor and chair of community medicine, co-authored “Reducing transmission of HIV in southeastern USA” in Lancet HIV, Vol. 4 March 2017, pgs. 101-102.

Dr. James Colquitt, assistant professor and director of simulation at Navicent Health, delivered two presentations the SimGHOSTS USA Conference at WakeMed in Raleigh, North Carolina. The titles of his presentations were “Mock In-Hospital Emergency Drill” and “Stop The Bleed for the Masses.” SimGHOSTS is an international association focusing on the delivery of simulation-based training in the healthcare setting by supporting operations specialists. Dr. Colquitt earned his Certified Healthcare Simulation Operations Specialist (CHSOS) earlier this year.

Dr. Hemant Goyal, assistant professor, authored a literature review, titled “Prognostic value of red blood cell distribution width in hepatocellular carcinoma,” in Annals of Translational Medicine in July. He also authored a letter to the editor in the May publication of American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Dr. David Gu, assistant professor, co-authored two peer-reviewed journal articles, “Hypersensitivity of vagal pulmonary afferents induced by tumor necrosis factor alpha in mice” in Frontiers in Physiology (2017 Jun 14; 8:411); and “Sustained sensitizing effects of tumor necrosis factor alpha on sensory nerves in lung and airways” in Pulmonary Pharmacology and Therapeutics (2017 Jun 3. pii: S1094-5539(17)30117-7.

Dr. Eric K. Shaw, associate professor, co-authored two publications, “Can teenage novel users perform as well as General Surgery residents upon initial exposure to a robotic surgical system?” in the Journal of Robotic Surgery; and “Can fatigue affect acquisition of new surgical skills? A prospective trial of pre and post call General Surgery residents using the da Vinci surgical skills simulator” forthcoming in Surgical Endoscopy. Students Akshat Mehta and Weston Robison also conducted this research and served as co-authors.

Dr. Eric Shaw, associate professor, Dr. Robert Visalli, associate professor and chair of biomedical sciences, Melissa Visalli, research associate, Vanessa Wallace-Lonon, library assistant III, Sabina Badalova, students affairs specialist, Dr. Robert Shelley, associate dean for student affairs and clinical association professor, Dr. Kankani Rajapaksha, research scientist, Dr. Michael Leblang, assistant professor, and Dr. Wayne Glasgow, senior vice provost for research, senior associate dean and professor, celebrated their benchmark years of service (from five to 20 years) at a recognition brunch held June 29.

Tift College of Education

Dr. Justin Ballenger, assistant professor, and Dr. Clemmie Whatley, associate professor, collaborated with faculty from the University of Georgia and Clemson University to support involvement in summer STEM enrichment activities for underserved youth in the Atlanta area. This initiative provided scholarships for 28 students to attend a one-week Summer STEAM experience at Fernbank Science Center in DeKalb County from June 19-23. Two students from the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows Program, Beth Harvey and Mike Sommer, served as STEM education interns during the camp. This effort was partially funded by a Provost's Seed Grant awarded to Dr. Ballenger and Dr. Whatley.

Dr. Justin Ballenger, assistant professor, Dr. Donald Ekong, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Dr. Sabrina Walthall, associate professor of science, were awarded Research That Reaches Out support to work with three undergraduate students, Grace Maloney, Anna Sampson and Elizabeth Tate, on a project involving research into a four-week STEM camp, Girl Power STEM Summer Program, for girls in grades three through eight from the Middle Georgia area. The research looked at the influence of the camp activities on the girls impressions of STEM. The camp activities included Android app development, CSI and STEM Herstories. The camp was run by Real I.M.P.A.C.T. Center, a community organization based in Macon-Bibb County, with support from the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship faculty Dr. Melissa Jurkiewicz, assistant professor, Dr. Sharon Augustine, associate professor and chair of teacher education, and fellows.

Dr. Justin Ballenger, assistant professor, and Dr. Sabrina Walthall, associate professor of science, partnered with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) STARBASE program at Warner Robins Air Force Base to host a Summer STEM Camp for girls in grades three through six from around Middle Georgia. The free, two-week STEM camp was held June 5-16 at the Aviation History Museum at Warner-Robins Air Force Base. The camp was supported by Mercer's Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows Program, including faculty Dr. Sharon Augustine and Dr. Melissa Jurkiewicz. Dr. Karen Swanson, associate professor, and Sandra Turner, administrative secretary, assisted Henry County Commissioner Dee Clemmons so that 30 students from the youth organization She STEAMS were able to participate in the camp. She STEAMs is a community organization in Henry County that supports STEM engagement among girls of color. Additionally, undergraduate students Grace Maloney, Hanna Sampson and Elizabeth Tate participated in a Research That Reaches Out project designed by Dr. Ballenger, Dr. Walthall and Dr. Donald Ekong to conduct a study related to the influence of this summer STEM experience on the camp participants and pre-service teachers that are engaged in the camp. Mercer students who participated in the program were formally recognized by the Department of Defense STARBASE program for their service, which will be highlighted in the Peach State STARBASE annual report to the U.S. Congress.

Dr. Sherah Betts Carr, associate professor, and Dr. Anaya L. Bryson, curriculum and instruction Ph.D. graduate, published a book, titled Learning to Love Assessment: Unraveling Complexities and Generating Solutions.

Dr. Sherah Carr, associate professor, Dr. Cynthia Anderson, assistant professor, Dr. Michelle Vaughn, assistant professor, and Dr. Justin Ballenger, assistant professor, recently made presentations at the second annual Best Teaching Practices Conference in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. The conference was a collaborative initiative with Tift College and Universidad Central del Este to provide professional learning for Dominican teachers. Dr. Carr's presentations were titled “Learning to Love Assessment: Seizing the Power of Formative Assessment”, “More Student Talk about Content = More Remembering!” and “Increasing Writing in Content Areas.” Dr. Vaughn's presentations were titled “SMART Goal Setting for You and Your Students” and “Reading Strategies for the K-2 Classroom.” Together, Dr. Anderson and Dr. Ballenger presented “Promoting Student Engagement Using the 5Es (K-5)” and “Promoting Student Engagement Using the 5Es (6-12).” Dr. Ballenger also presented “Tools for Thought: Why Good Questions are More Important than 'Right' Answers.”

Dr. Carol Isaac, assistant professor, authored a featured article, titled “Between Paradigms: Becoming a Pathological Optimist,” for The Qualitative Report.

University Libraries

Laura M. Botts, associate professor and assistant dean for archives and digital initiatives, attended the annual meeting of the Association of Librarians and Archivists at Baptist Institutions May 31-June 1 at the American Baptist Historical Society in Atlanta. She also participated in the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists in Portland, Oregon, from July 26-30.

Kim Eccles, assistant dean for research services and associate professor, was elected vice chair of the Standards Committee within the Association of Colleges and Research Libraries (ACRL). Founded in 1940, ACRL is the higher education association for librarians representing more than 11,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals. The organization develops programs, products and services to help academic and research librarians learn, innovate and lead within the academic community.

Rebecca Engsberg, research services librarian and assistant professor, authored “On your mark, get set, go: Using games in library instruction” in Georgia Library Quarterly, summer 2017.

Scott Gillies, associate dean, concluded two years of service as chair of the Atlanta-Macon Private Academic Libraries Consortium and was elected chair-elect of the Atlanta Regional Council on Higher Education Library Council.

Gail Morton, research services librarian, and Lee Olson, research services librarian, presented “BIG Group Hug: Supporting Professional Growth through Internal Learning Networks” at the Atlanta Area Bibliographic Instruction Group Conference on July 16.