Academic News (News2Note) — September 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

Vickie Martin, a senior fiscal technician for the Office of Educational Research and Outreach in the School of Education, was recognized as one of 21 Virginia Tech employees nominated to represent the university in the statewide Governor’s Award program; she was nominated in the career achievement award category. Martin was honored for her fiscal expertise, ability to manage and process grants and contracts, knowledge of international budgets and financing, and problem-solving skills. Her career spans 42 years at Virginia Tech.


Stephanie Smith, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication, was selected as a Kopenhaver Center Fellow for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s (AEJMC) annual conference. As a fellow, Smith completed a one-day workshop for professional development and networking with other pre-tenure women faculty members throughout the U.S. She also was selected to give a Great Ideas for Teaching (GIFT) presentation at AEJMC’s conference based on her Case Studies in Public Relations group project.

Marian Mollin, an associate professor in the Department of History, published “The Solidarity of Suffering: Gender, Cross-Cultural Contact, and the Foreign Mission Work of Sister Ita Ford,” Peace & Change: A Journal of Peace Research 42.2 (April 2017): 232–52.

Three Political Science faculty published chapters in Biopolitical Disaster, ed. Jennifer L. Lawrence and Sarah Marie Wiebe (Abingdon, United Kingdom, and New York, New York: Routledge, 2018). They are: François Debrix, the director of ASPECT, “Dealing with Disastrous Life,” pp. 257–63; Timothy Luke, a University Distinguished Professor, “Lives as Half-life: The Nuclear Condition and Biopolitical Disaster,” pp. 47–61; and Andrew Scerri, an assistant professor, “Even Natural Disasters Are Unlikely to Slow Us Down…,” with Nader Sobhani, pp. 62–77.

Alex Dickow, an associate professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, published “Escaping History: Benjamin Fondane’s ‘Mal des fantômes’ and Interiority,” Romance Notes 57.2 (2017): 201–10, and a translation of Guillaume Apollinaire’s “Song of the Unrequited Lover,” Metamorphoses 25.1 (Spring 2017):  22–41.

Douglas Cannon, a Professor of Practice for the Department of Communication, published “Proximity Prominent News Value for Online Publication,” Newspaper Research Journal 38.2 (2017): 259–70, with Guolan Yang; and “Not Just Doers of the Word:  An Updated Look at Roles Religion Communicators Play,” Public Relations Journal 11.1 (2017).

A. Roger Ekirch, a professor in the Department of History, was interviewed about his book, American Sanctuary: Mutiny, Martyrdom, and National Identity in the Age of Revolution, for “Impertinent Questions with A. Roger Ekirch,” Humanities: The Magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities 38.2 (Spring 2017), and was one of four sleep specialists interviewed for the BBC World News radio program, The Inquiry, which aired June 29. 


The website for the Virginia Tech Laboratory for the Study of Youth Inequality and Justice (YIJ) is now live.  Since it was established in 2015, the YIJ Lab has received support from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, the VT Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Justice.  Anthony Peguero, an associate professor in the Department of Sociology, serves as Lab Research Director.

Faculty members Joseph Pitt, a professor in the Department of Philosophy, and Ashley Shew, an assistant professor in the Department of Science and Technology in Society, co-edited Spaces for the Future: A Companion to Philosophy and Technology (New York, New York: Routledge, 2017).

Shew’s individual contribution to the volume was “Animals in Philosophy of Technology” and Pitt’s was “Transcendence in Space,” pp. 108–16 and 340–45 respectively.

Barbara Allen, a professor in Department of Science and Technology in Society, published:  “A Successful Experiment in Participatory Science for Promoting Change in a French Industrial Region,” Engaging Science, Technology, and Society 3 (2017): 375–81;  and “Through a Maze of Studies: Health Questions and ‘Undone Science’ in a French Industrial Region,” Environmental Sociology 3.2 (2017): 134–44, with doctoral students Alison Cohen (UC Berkeley) and Yolaine Ferrier (Centre Norbert Elias, Marseille, France), who were part of Allen’s French research project.


Ivica Ico Bukvic, an associate professor in School of Performing Arts/music, received a $149,930 National Science Foundation grant for “Spatial Audio Data Immersive Experience (SADIE),” which focuses on the immersive study of geospatial data using the spatial sound in the Virginia Tech Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology Cube. Bukvic serves as the principal investigator; Greg Earle, a professor of Electrical and Computer engineering, serves as the co-principal investigator.


Jane Stein, an assistant professor in the School of Performing Arts, served as the costume designer for Arsenic and Old Lace, performed by the Peterborough Players July 19–30 in Peterborough, New Hampshire, and the New England premiere of Israel Horovitz’s Out of the Mouths of Babes, performed by the Gloucester Stage Company August 11 through September 2 in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Eric Lyon, an associate professor in the School of Performing Arts, served as director of the Spatial Music Workshop and artistic director for Cube Fest, which was held August 3–6 at the Moss Arts Center. Lyon gave two 3D performances off the album Led Zeppelin II and premiered the 139-channel version of his composition Starfish with the solo trumpet part performed by Jason Crafton, an assistant professor in the School of Performing Arts.

ASPECT doctoral student Mohammed Pervaiz published reviews of The Making of Salafism by Henri Lauzière and What is a Madrasa? by Ebrahim Moosa in the Review of Middle East Studies 51.1 (2017): 111–14 and 118–20 respectively.

Brandi Watkins, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication, was awarded an Educator Fellowship by The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations. The program provides public relations educators with a two-week summer fellowship designed to enhance professional development, leadership skills, and industry networking. During the fellowship, Watkins worked with the public relations agency Ketchum in Chicago, Illinois.


Madeline Yaskowski, a junior majoring in German and International Studies, was selected as a DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) 2017-2018 Young Ambassador; she is one of 29 undergraduates in North America chosen for this honor. Young Ambassadors have studied or interned recently in Germany and are interested in promoting study in Germany at their home universities and colleges. Yaskowski, who completed an internship with the Studierendenwerk Karlsruhe in the summer of 2016, is the fifth Virginia Tech student to be selected to participate in this program; Virginia Tech has had continuous participation since 2011.

Pianist Tracy Cowden, the chair of the School of Performing Arts, performed at the Staunton Music Festival in Staunton, Virginia, in the world premiere of Jiya Learns to Dance by Eric Guinivan with Airi Yoshioka, violin, Mary Boodell, flute, Ed Matthew, clarinet, Carl Donakowski, cello, Brian Smith, percussion, and Eric Guinivan, conductor. The festival took place August 11–20

Rosemary Blieszner, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and Alumni Distinguished Professor of Human Development, with Human Development doctoral student Aaron Ogletree published “We Get By with a Little Help from Our Friends,” Generations 41:2 (2017): 55–62.

The Korean translation of Engineers for Korea by Gary Downey, an Alumni Distinguished Professor in Science and Technology in Society, and Kyonghee Han was named a 2017 Sejong Book by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. The certification honors books that “have high value as academic texts and improve the public’s reading culture” and carries an award of ten million won ($8,900) to pay for distributing copies across the country.

As part of a developing collaboration between Okayama University and Virginia Tech, 15 students in the VT in Japan program participated in a workshop organized by the Virginia Tech School of Education and presented by Okayama University students on August 2 at the Welfare Conference Center in Kyoto, Japan. The American and Japanese students engaged in discussions, mostly in Japanese, about cultural differences and the challenges that can arise when international student live together, and proposed solutions for the case studies they examined. Given the success of this event, next year’s VT in Japan program, which is led by Yasuko Kumazawa, an instructor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, will include a trip to Okayama University and a one-night stay on an island near the university.

ASPECT doctoral student Shaun Respess presented “Heroism and Conventional Morality: A Pedagogical Approach” at the Virginia Humanities Conference, which was held April 7–8 at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia.

Timothy Luke, a University Distinguished Professor of Political Science, published, “Overtures for the Triumph of the Tweet: White Power Music and the Alt-Right in 2016,” New Political Science 39.2 (June 2017): 277–82, and “Science at Dusk in the Twilight of Expertise: The Worst Hundred Days,” Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 179 (Summer 2017): 189–94.


Carol Mullen, a professor in the School of Education, published “Creativity in Chinese Schools: Perspectival Frames of Paradox and Possibility,” International Journal of Chinese Education 6.1 (2017): 27–56; “What Are Corporate Education Networks?  Why Ask Questions?” in Kappa Delta Pi Record 53.3 (2017): 100–06; and “Critical Issues on Democracy and Mentoring in Education: A Debate in the Literature,” The SAGE Handbook of Mentoring, ed. David Clutterbuck, Frances Kochan, Laura Lunsford, Nora Dominguez, and Julie Haddock-Millar (Thousand Oaks, California:  Sage, 2017), pp. 34–51.

In addition, as the 2017 Living Legend awardee, Mullen gave the keynote presentation titled “Creativity, the Other Side of Exam-centric Mania: Living the ‘I’ in ICPEL 2017” at the awards banquet of the National Council of Professors of Educational Administration conference (the association was renamed ICPEL in 2017), which was held July 31 to August 4 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Wat Hopkins, a professor in the Department of Communication, was reappointed to his sixth three-year term as editor of Communication Law and Policy, the peer-reviewed, quarterly journal of the Law and Policy Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Christine Labuski, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, published “A Black and White Issue? Learning to See the Racial and Intersectional Dimensions of Gynecological Pain,” Social Theory & Health 15.2 (2017): 160–81.


Robert Denton, Jr., the W. Thomas Rice Chair and Head of the Department of Communication, edited The 2016 US Presidential Campaign: Political Communication and Practice (Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).  His individual contribution to the volume was “Issues of Gender in the 2016 Presidential Campaign,” pp. 179–205.

Department of Sociology doctoral student Steve Gerus published “San Francisco Was Pure Magic,” Generations 41:2 (2017):  15–18.


Four faculty in the college are members of six teams of investigators who received 2017-2018 Scholars Awards from the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment.  Sociology faculty members James Hawdon, director of the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention, and John Ryan, chair, will explore cross-national online extremism risk, exposure, and participation. Cynthia Smith, an associate professor in Human Development, will examine children’s self-regulation in interactions with parents to see how those processes contribute to children’s developing self-regulation and general cognitive and emotional development with colleagues Richard Ashley, Martha Ann Bell, Julie Dunsmore, and Angela Scarpa. Abby Walker, an assistant professor in English, will collaborate with Mike Bowers to explore the brain’s response to shifts in dialect and the potential for poor comprehension.

Anthony Peguero, an associate professor in the Department of Sociology, and Jennifer Bondy, a visiting assistant professor in the School of Education, published “Social Bonds Across Immigrant Generations: Bonding to School and Examining the Relevance of Assimilation,” Youth & Society 49.6 (2017): 733–54, with Jun Sung Hong.


Peter Wallenstein, a professor in the Department of History, served as the executive editor for a series of social studies books from Five Ponds Press designed to align with Virginia’s revised Standards of Learning. Four new volumes, for kindergarten through third grade, appeared under the rubric “Our World”:  Our Community:  Life in Virginia; Our State:  Virginia Then and Now; Our United States:  Our Lives, Our Lands, Our Legends; and Ancient World Cultures:  Their Lives, Lands, and Legends.  Four revised volumes, for grades four through seven, appeared under the rubric “Introduction to History and Social Science”:  Our Virginia, Past and Present (3rd edition); Our America, to 1865 (3rd edition); Our America, 1865 to the Present (3rd edition); and Our State and Nation:  Civics and Economics (2nd edition).


Natasha Staley, an associate professor in the School of Performing Arts, served as the voice and text director on The Taming of the Shrew and The Tempest at the New Swan Shakespeare Festival in Irvine, California, from June 2 through July 16.

ASPECT doctoral student Mary Ryan presented “The Democratic Kaleidoscope in the U.S.: Vanquishing Structural Racism in the U.S. Federal Government” at the Managing Racial Capital Workshop and Symposium, which was held June 30 to July 1 at the JFK Institute for North American Studies, Free University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Ryan also published a poem titled “Purpose,” Clockhouse 5 (2017): 129.

Michael Moehler, an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy and director of the Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, published “In Defense of a Democratic Productivist Welfare State,” European Journal of Philosophy 25.2 (2017): 416–39.


The essay titled “Finding My Amputee Brethren” by Ashley Shew, an assistant professor in the Department of Science and Technology in Society, was posted on Nursing Clio, the collaborative history of medicine blog on July 27.


James Klagge, a professor of  Philosophy, published “Wittgenstein, Science and the Evolution of Concepts,” Wittgenstein and Scientism, ed. Jonathan Beale and Ian James Kidd (New York, New York: Routledge, 2017), pp. 193–206.

ASPECT doctoral student Caroline Alphin presented “Cyborg Neoliberalism: Problematizing the Body/Insecurity/City Nexus through Genre” at the “Freedom After Neoliberalism Conference,” which was held June 9–10 at the University of York in York, United Kingdom.

Traci Gardner, an instructor in the Department of English, was awarded the 2017 Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) Technology Innovator Award. The award is designed to recognize and honor a member of the field who has made long-term, innovative contributions to the computers and writing community. Gardner was recognized with this honor at the 33rd Computers and Writing Conference, which was held June 1–4 in Findlay, Ohio.

Emily Satterwhite, an associate professor in Department of Religion and Culture, published “The Politics of Hillbilly Horror,” Navigating Souths: Transdisciplinary Explorations of a US Region, ed. Michele Coffey and Jodi Skipper, New Southern Studies Series (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2017), pp. 227–45, and the Foreword to Post-9/11 Heartland Horror: Rural Horror Films in an Era of Urban Terrorism by Victoria McCollum (Farnham, United Kingdom/Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate, 2016), pp. ix-xi.

In addition, Satterwhite is part of an interdisciplinary Virginia Tech research team examining how the topography and industries of the Central Appalachian region impact the health of the people living there. The team, which began its work in 2014, includes researchers from Appalachian Studies, Biological Systems Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Geography, and Population Health Sciences. In June the group received $75,000 for its project, “Ecological and Human Health in Rural Communities,” under the Global Systems Science Destination Area.


Brian Thorsett, an assistant professor in the School of Performing Arts, was tenor soloist in a performance and recording of the world premiere of Scott Gendel’s Barbara Allen with the Santa Clara Chorale and San Jose Chamber Orchestra on May 12 and in Dvorak’s Stabat Mater with the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra under Ming Luke on June 4–6.

He served as soloist in Bach’s Magnificat at the Shenandoah Bach Festival on June 18, and on June 30 he gave the world premiere of the orchestrated version of David Conte’s American Death Ballads in London, United Kingdom, with the Goodensemble under Michael Poll.

Thorsett and Richard Masters, an assistant professor in the  School of Performing Arts, gave the European premiere of David Conte’s “American Death Ballads” and Joseph Stillwell’s “Two Yeats Songs” as well as the world premiere of Eric Choate’s “two sandburg settings” in the Franck Saal at the European American Musical Alliance in Paris, France, on July 4.

On July 16 Thorsett teamed with pianist Miles Graber to present a recital of Schubert Lieder in a lecture recital for the Mendocino Music Festival in Mendocino, California, and on August 18 and 19 he appeared as tenor soloist in Mendelssohn’s Elijah at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, California.