Academic News (News2Note) — February 2017 

News2Note, the academic newsletter of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, is published monthly during the academic year by Debra Stoudt, associate dean for academic policies and procedures. Academic news can be submitted to her directly at

Academic News

Alexander Dickow, an assistant professor of French in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, published Rhapsodie curieuse (Mugron, France: Editions Louise Bottu, 2017).

Laura Sands, a professor in the Department of Human Development, was named editor-in-chief of Innovation in Aging. The peer-reviewed, online-only journal is the newest publication of the Gerontological Society of America, the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging.

The following graduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences were selected to join the Academy for Graduate Teaching Assistant Excellence. Accepted as members were Robert Flahive, ASPECT, and Bradford Stucki, Human Development; accepted as associate members were Mary Nedela, Human Development, Jyotsana Sharma, Counselor Education, and Raven Weaver, Human Development. The Graduate School recognizes the members for their strong commitment to excellence in teaching and creating affirming learning opportunities in higher education.

The college has established Virginia Tech’s first Office for VT-Shaped Learning. Designed to support undergraduate academic excellence through disciplinary depth, interdisciplinary capacities, experiential learning, and a strong humanistic perspective, the office will promote opportunities for undergraduate research, study abroad, and career development, with emphasis on internships and field studies. Monica Kimbrell has been named Assistant Dean of the program.

Brian Britt, professor and chair of the Department of Religion and Culture, published “Blasphemie,” in Handbuch Literatur und Religion, ed. Daniel Weidner (Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler Verlag, 2016), 335–39.

Britt also published “Taking a Knee as Critical Civil Religion” in Sightings, a biweekly, electronic forum published by the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago Divinity School on January 5.

Jessie Chen-Yu, an associate professor of fashion merchandising and design in the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management, and Soak-Wai Wong, who earned her doctorate from Virginia Tech in 2014, received the Paper of Distinction Award in the Textile Science Track in the 2016 International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference. Their paper was titledEffects of Perspiration Treatment, Weathering Exposures, and Repeated Laundering on the Ultraviolet Protection of a Naturally Colored Lightweight Cotton Fabric.” The conference took place in November in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Timothy Luke, University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Political Science, published “Caring for the Low-Carbon Self: The Government of Self and Others in the World as a Gas Greenhouse,” in Towards a Cultural Politics of Climate Change: Devices, Desires, and Dissent, ed. Harriett Bulkeley, Matthew Paterson, and Johannes Stripple (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 66–80.

Luke also published, “On the Road to Marrakesh: A Politics of Mitigation or Mystification for Global Climate Change?” in Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 177 (Winter 2016), 209–18.

Anthony “Kwame” Harrison, an associate professor in the  Department of Sociology, was named the Gloria D. Smith Professor of Black Studies by Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands and Executive Vice President and Provost Thanassis Rikakis.  The professorship, in honor of the late Gloria D. Smith, a counselor and advocate of minority students on campus before her retirement, is awarded for a period of two years to an outstanding faculty member who contributes significantly to the growth and development of minority students, student athletes, and scholarly pursuits. Harrison has held the title since 2014. A member of the Virginia Tech community since 2003, Harrison’s research in popular music studies and ethnography has enhanced the visibility of the Africana Studies program at Virginia Tech.

His engagement with students garnered him the university’s Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015, and he has demonstrated a deep commitment to recruitment and mentoring of students.  Harrison earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Syracuse University.

ASPECT doctoral student Mary Ryan co-facilitated a training for professionals in nonprofit organizations titled “Understanding Social Impact and Value Reports.” The training, which took place December 16, 2016, at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is part of Marquette’s Social Innovation Initiative. Ryan also directed the original play, The Bartender, which played a sold-out run December 1–30, 2016, at the Alchemist Theatre in Milwaukee.

ASPECT doctoral student Shelby Ward published “Embodying the Serpent: A Critical Re-engagement of Borderlands/La Frontera in Language and Identity Performance,” in Feminist Spaces 3.1 (Fall/Winter 2017): 31–54.

Two faculty members from the School of Performing Arts — Ariana Wyatt, soprano, and Philip Paglialonga, clarinetist — performed in the Israeli premiere of James Whitbourn’s oratorio Annelies at the University of Haifa on December 29 and at the Lin and Ted Arison Israel Conservatory of Music in Tel Aviv on December 30. The oratorio, written for choir, piano trio, clarinet, and soprano soloist, was presented with the Colla Voce Choir.

The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors recently conferred the emeritus title on the following faculty members in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences:

Ann Kilkelly, Professor of Theatre Arts and Women’s and Gender Studies, was recognized for her applied research in dance, receiving a National Endowment for the Humanities Award, two Smithsonian senior research fellowships, and a Tap Preservation Award. She gave solo performances in tap in a number of high-profile venues, including the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1991, she led the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and was instrumental in the founding of the Virginia Tech Women’s Center; her teaching of undergraduate and graduate students garnered honors at the college and university level. Kilkelly earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and her master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Utah.

Kusum Singh, Professor of Educational Research and Evaluation, joined the Virginia Tech community in 1992 and was the first female faculty member in the program. A recipient of a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award, Singh published more than 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals, was a frequent presenter at professional conferences, and served on the editorial board of the Journal of Educational Research as well as Research in Middle Level Education. Her accomplishments in teaching and advising were recognized with the William E. Wine Award and the Alumni Award for Excellence in Graduate Academic Advising. Singh earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Agra University in India and her Ph.D. from Virginia Tech.

Besnik Pula, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, published “Organizational Fields,” in Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance, ed. Ali Farazmand (Heidelberg: Springer, 2017).

Two Spanish faculty members in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures— María del Carmen Caña Jiménez and Vinodh Venkatesh — co-edited Horacio Castellanos Moya: el diablo en el espejo [Horacio Castellanos Moya: The Devil in the Mirror] (Valencia: Albatros, 2016).