School of Education Academic News

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences will welcome 26 new tenure-track and tenured professors in the fall of 2017.

Joining the college as assistant professors are Aaron Brantly, Political Science; Cara Daggett, Political Science; Matthew Fullen, School of Education; Edward Gitre, History; Katherine Haenschen, Communication; Benjamin Katz, Human Development; Karin Kitchens, Political Science; Ashley Landers, Human Development; Evan Lavender-Smith, English; Christopher Lindgren, English; Gonzalo Montero, Foreign Languages and Literatures; Shaily Patel, Religion and Culture; Ashley Reichelmann, Sociology; Patrick Ridge, Foreign Languages and Literatures; Micah Roos, Sociology; Donna Sedgwick, Sociology; Eonyou Shin, Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management; Lee Vinsel, Science and Technology in Society; and Chelsea Woods, Communication.

Hired as tenured faculty at the rank of associate professor are Shannon Bell, Sociology; Su Fang Ng, Cutchins Chair in the Department of English; and Bonnie Zare, Sociology.

Joining the college at the rank of professor are Kenneth Hodges, English; Sylvester Johnson, Religion and Culture (as well as director of the Center for the Humanities and assistant vice provost for humanities); Carmen Giménez Smith, English; and Paul Steger, director of the School of Performing Arts.

The following graduate students were inducted into the Academy for Graduate Teaching Assistant Excellence on March 28: ASPECT doctoral students Anthony Szczurek and Shelby Ward as associates, and Leanna Ireland, Sociology, Audra Jenson, Philosophy, and Christopher Savage, Curriculum and Instruction, as members. The purpose of the academy is to enhance the knowledge and skills in teaching through the provision of opportunities for graduate students to receive advanced education and training in innovative teaching and learning strategies and to recognize excellence in teaching by graduate students.

College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences students and faculty were recognized at the 17th Annual Graduate Education Week Awards Banquet on March 30.

Carmen Bolt, History, received the William Preston Society Outstanding Thesis Award for Social Sciences, Business, Education, and Humanities. Human Development faculty member April Few-Demo was recognized with the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Outstanding Mentor Award. Francine Rossone de Paula, ASPECT, received the Outstanding Dissertation Award for Social Sciences, Business, Education, and Humanities.

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Outstanding Graduate Student Awards went to Daniel Newcomb, a master’s student in history, and Shekila Melchior, a doctoral student in counselor education. Ricky Mullins, Curriculum and Instruction, received the Graduate Teaching Excellence – Assistant Award. Honored as Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges were Samantha Fried, Science and Technology Studies, and Erin Lavender-Stott, Human Development. 

Brett Jones, a professor in the educational psychology program of the School of Education, and Ming Li, a doctoral student, published “A Cross-cultural Validation of the MUSIC® Model of Academic Motivation Inventory: Evidence from Chinese- and Spanish-speaking University Students,” International Journal of Educational Psychology 6.1 (2017): 366–85, with Juan Cruz.

Brett Jones, a professor of educational psychology in the School of Education, published Essentials of Educational Psychology: Big Ideas to Guide Effective Teaching, 5th edition (Columbus, Ohio: Pearson, 2017), with Jeanne Ellis Ormrod.

Three graduate students from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences were inducted into the Virginia Tech chapter of the Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society. Recognized with membership were Adrien DeLoach, Higher Education; Jordan Laney, ASPECT; and Jennifer Turner, Sociology.

The society was established in 2005 and named for the first African American to earn a doctoral degree in the United States; it “seeks to develop a network of scholars who exemplify academic and personal excellence, foster environments of support, and serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy – exemplifying the spirit and example of Dr. Bouchet.”

Virginia Tech is one of 13 Bouchet Society chapter institutions.

The 2017 College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Faculty Awards Reception and Ceremony took place in Owens Banquet Hall on March 14. Presenting this year’s awards were Interim Dean Rosemary Blieszner, Associate Dean for Graduate Study and Research Tom Ewing, and Joseph Pitt, Philosophy and chair of the College’s Honors and Awards Committee.

The Diversity Award winner was David Cline, History. Yannis Stivachtis, Political Science, garnered the Excellence in Administration Award. The winner of the Shannon Award was Paul Heilker, English. Gerard Lawson, School of Education, was recognized with the Land Grant Scholar Award. Recipients of an Excellence in Advising Award were April Few-Demo, Human Development, and Richard Hirsh, History.

Certificate of Teaching Excellence Award winners were: Jennifer Barton, English; María del Carmen Caña Jiménez, Foreign Languages and Literatures/Spanish; Christine Labuski, Sociology; Richard Phillips, Foreign Languages and Literatures/Classics; Helen Schneider, History; and Ashley Shew, Science and Technology in Society.

Excellence in Outreach and International Initiatives Awards were presented to Nicholas Copeland, Sociology, and Phillip Olson, Science and Technology in Society. Excellence in Research and Creative Scholarship Awards were presented to Brian Britt, Religion and Culture; Billie Lepczyk, School of Performing Arts; Erika Meitner, English; and Carol Mullen, School of Education.

Several students in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences participated in the 33rd Annual Graduate Student Assembly Research Symposium and Exposition. Those who gave oral presentations were: Matt Prater, Creative Writing, “‘Friend of the Devil’: A Performative Reading”; Tanner Upthegrove, School of Performing Arts, “Acoustic Simulation of Real and Virtual Spaces with Real-Time Third Order Ambisonics Convolution”; Brandon West, English; “Climbing the Ladder, Descending into Darkness: On Nightmare Fiction and Escaping the Dreamworld”; and Rachel Wurster, English, “Her World Her Way?: An Exploration of Racial Stereotypes and Depictions in Seventeen Magazine.” Presenting a poster was Kasey Richardson, Curriculum and Instruction, “Teaching, Talking, Tech: How Curiosity and Sex Ed Curricula Drive Informal Learning.” The event was held March 29 in the Graduate Life Center.

Appalachian Studies Program faculty members Anita Puckett and Emily Satterwhite, and English faculty member Serena Frost, served as conference chair, program chair, and local arrangements chairs respectively for “Extreme Appalachia,” the 40th annual Appalachian Studies Conference, which was held on the Virginia Tech campus March 9–12. This was the first time the conference was held in Blacksburg since 1994.

In addition to academic presentations, the program included public performances; fiber arts exhibits curated by Kathy Combiths, English; photography exhibits (Katie White, Material Culture and Public Humanities, assistant curator); a series of documentary screenings; a plenary co-organized by Barbara Ellen Smith, Sociology; and training sessions and workshops.

College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences students presented and participated in a range of sessions. Judson Abraham, ASPECT, presented ‘‘How Marcuse and Bloch Contribute to a Critical Appalachian Utopianism’’ and participated in the “Exploring Critical Theory for Appalachian Scholars and Activists” roundtable. Katie Brooks, Rhetoric and Writing, presented “‘What’s the Catch’: Strategies for Recruiting Central Appalachian High School Teachers for University Partnerships to Promote College Access.” Rachel Hargrave, Creative Writing and Literature and Language, presented with faculty member Abby Walker, English (and , “/z/-devoicing: A Feature of Appalachian English”? (co-authored with Amy Southall, Professional and Technical Writing). Christopher Keller, History, presented “Flatt & Scruggs and Martha White: Complicating Nostalgia in Bluegrass TV.”

Robert Kitchens, School of Performing Arts/Theatre Arts, presented “Murder by Dynamite and Other Stories: Visions of Staging Contemporary Appalachian Performance. Jordan Laney, ASPECT, participated in the “Examining Feminism in Appalachia through Contemporary Issues: A Discussion of Intersections and Place” roundtable. Ricky Mullins, Curriculum and Instruction, presented “Coal Power: Four Stories of How the Coal Industry Affected Individual Lives in Central Appalachia.” Micah Untiedt, School of Performing Arts/Theatre Arts, “The Crockett House, Circa 1840: Endangered Appalachian History in Seven Mile Ford, Virginia.” Shelby Ward, ASPECT, presented ‘‘The Appalachian in Exile: Redrawing Regional Boundary Lines with the Poetic Imaginaries of a Wandering, Mountainous Body.’”

In addition, the following master’s students in the Material Culture and Public Humanities program, under the direction of Danille Christensen, Religion and Culture, as curator, designed #HandsOn: Skill and Creativity in Southwest Virginia, an exhibit of their fieldwork: Elizabeth Howard, Danielle Lewandowski, Kendall Lucy, Heather Lyne, Martina Svyantek, Sarah Taylor, Drew Walton, Moriah Webster, and Elizabeth Wells.

Numerous faculty from across the university presented papers and served as discussants, contributing to the largest Appalachian Studies conference ever, with 1,045 registrants, approximately 500 attendees at public events, and more than 210 sessions.

Amy Azano, School of Education, published “Understanding the Puzzle Behind the Pictures: A Content Analysis of Children’s Picture Books About Autism,” AERA Open 3.2 (2017): 1–12, with Mary Tackett and Miranda Sigmon, now School of Education/Curriculum and Instruction alumnae.

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