Faculty Notes, Jan. 13 2012

Brian Alters, Ph.D., professor, College of Educational Studies and the Schmid College of Science and Technology, delivered a lecture that drew more than 750 scientists at one of the world’s largest and most prestigious professional associations of its kind — the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) which was formed in 1902.  Dr. Alters delivered the John Moore Lecture in South Carolina at the annual SICB meeting; his talk was titled “Evolution Education and Creationism Through the Decades.” 

Stephen Berens, assistant professor, Department of Art, Wilkinson College, has work in an exhibition at Arena 1, a project of Santa Monica Art Studios. The show brings together artists who were in the Multicultural Focus exhibition mounted at Los Angeles Municipal Gallery Barnsdall Park in 1981. The show was one of two exhibitions selected to celebrate the Los Angeles Bicentennial and it was the first cross-cultural exhibition of photography in the Los Angeles area. Los Angeles Times art critic Suzanne Muchnic called it “the best contemporary show (of photography) of the year.” The re-staging of the show is part of the Pacific Standard Time initiative.

Virginia Carson, Ph.D., professor, and Melissa Rowland-Goldsmith, Ph.D., assistant professor, Crean School of Health and Life Sciences, Schmid College of Science and Technology, have both been named as a National Academies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences.  This honor was given by their participation in the 2011 National Academies Regional Summer Institute on Undergraduate Education in Biology that was held Sept. 7-11, 2011 at The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Wash. 

The Summer Institute is the direct result of a key recommendation from the 2003 National Research Council report, Bio2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists, which called for programs of professional development to engage faculty at research-intensive institutions in taking greater responsibility for high-quality undergraduate biology education.  The report emphasizes the importance of new pedagogical approaches to teaching based on emerging evidence about how people learn and a greater emphasis on interdisciplinary teaching.  It calls upon college and university administrators—as well as funding agencies—to support faculty in the development or adaptation of such approaches. 

Jeff Cogan, associate professor, Music Conservatory, College of Performing Arts, will be the featured soloist for “Viva Espana” with the La Mirada Symphony Orchestra. He will perform the Fantasia par un Gentilhombre for guitar and orchestra by Joaquin Rodrigo.

Hesham El-Askary, Ph.D., associate professor, director Hazards, Global and Environmental Change Program, Schmid College of Science and Technology, has just returned from attending the American Geophysical Union (AGU), an international gathering of more than 15,000 scientists. Dr. El-Askary chaired two oral sessions and a poster session titled “Atmospheric Dust: Interdisciplinary Studies” as well as served as judge for student poster awards. He and his co-authors on four papers presented their ongoing research.  Prior to this trip, Dr. El-Askary attended the 3rd International Workshop on Environmental Geospatial Information that was held in Yeosu, Korea, during which he gave an invited talk in a workshop titled “Climate Change and Environmental Information.”

Donald Guy, assistant professor, Department of Theatre, College of Performing Arts, was commissioned to serve as the technical director and production coordinator for Festival Ballet Theatre’s production of The Nutcracker, Dec. 10-24 at the Irvine Barclay Theatre. He was also commissioned by choreographer David Allan to serve as lighting designer for a production of The Nutcracker featuring principal dancers Sarah Van Patten and Pierre-François Vilanoba from the San Francisco Ballet. 

In February Professor Guy will serve as lighting designer and production consultant for the 3rd International Magic Festival in Athens, Greece, Feb. 8-12. The production, playing at the 2,500-seat Badminton Theatre, will feature six of the world’s top magicians and jugglers, including Jeff Hobson (winner of 2009 Stage Magician of the Year and Best Comedy Magic), Michael Holly, Glenn Singer, Arkadio, Michael Giles and David Kaplan. 

Christopher Kim, Ph.D., associate professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Schmid College of Science and Technology, recently co-authored a manuscript in Environmental Science & Technology, the top environmental science journal in the field.  The study looked at the chemical speciation of mercury in sulfide-containing aqueous environments and discovered the formation of nanosized particles of metacinnabar (mercury sulfide) at concentrations lower than ever before identified through direct observation.  This has impacts on the understanding of mercury biogeochemistry in natural systems.

Liliana Leopardi, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Art, Wilkinson College, is an invited lecturer for the 18th Annual ACMRS Conference to be hosted Feb. 16-18 by the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Dr. Leopardi’s speaking topic will be “Erotic Magic: Engraved Precious Gems & Masculine Anxiety.”

A paper by Tibor Machan, Ph.D., professor and holder of the R.C. Hoiles Chair in Business Ethics and Free Enterprise at the Argyros School of Business and Economics, titled “Business Ethics: Old & New” appears in Social Responsibility Review, 2011/4, pp.5-19.

Dale Merrill, acting dean of the College of Performing Arts, has been elected to the Committee on Nominations of the National Association of Schools of Dance, to serve for a three-year term.  NASD is an association of approximately 75 schools of dance, primarily at the collegiate level, but also including postsecondary non-degree-granting schools of dance. It is the national accrediting agency for dance and dance-related disciplines.

 The Association also provides information to the public. It produces statistical research, provides professional development for leaders of dance schools, and engages in policy analysis.

Teren Shaffer, adjunct professor, Conservatory of Music, College of Performing Arts, was recognized with a National Opera Association Award for a production of Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen that he assisted and conducted last year at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

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