Faculty/Staff Accomplishments 3/9/22

In this issue, we celebrate the accomplishments of faculty and staff in communication, education, English, exercise and sports science, interior design, music, nutrition, political science, and religious and ethical studies.

Associate Professor of Child Development Jillian Ardley participated in the 104th Annual North Carolina Association of Family Consumer Sciences conference held in Kitty Hawk, N.C., from March 3-5, 2022.  This conference connected diverse FCS public school educators, college student majors, and higher education faculty to share information within the areas of nutrition, child development, interior design, and fashion merchandising.  Dr. Ardley presented a research poster session on the topic “Social Justice: A Missing Link in a Literary Review of Successful Strategies Utilized by Principals for Retaining African American Teachers.”  She continues to partner with colleagues and students interested in understanding equity issues that challenge the retention of teachers of color, especially in the early years. She looks forward to sharing and broadening her research to support Meredith’s Birth-Kindergarten and child development majors who are interested in finding and establishing careers in organizations that support their advocacy for social justice issues in child-related workplaces for education professionals.

Steven A. Benko, professor of religious and ethical studies, was interviewed for the WUNC podcast Tested. He discussed the ethics of mask-wearing as it relates to the social contact. Listen to the podcast on the WUNC website 

Assistant Professor of Communication Alan Buck has officially been awarded a Fulbright grant. Buck had previously been placed on the roster, but roster names are never guaranteed a slot. Buck will be traveling to Eswatini in southern Africa to help the University of Eswatini update its media curriculum and to teach video production skills.

Rebecca Duncan’s essay “Love at the Hemingway House” was a finalist in the Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition sponsored by the North Carolina Writers’ Network.  Dr. Duncan is Mary Lynch Johnson Professor of English.  The essay weaves the mythology of Ernest Hemingway with the celebration of her son’s July 2021 wedding in Key West. 

Associate Professor Lanae Hood and Assistant Professor Rebecca L. Hagedorn-Hatfield, both faculty in Nutrition, Health, and Human Performance, along with their co-author Adam Hege, had a mini-review published in Frontiers in Public Health. This invited paper, “A Decade of College Student Hunger: What We Know and Where We Need to Go,” describes the research devoted to college food insecurity and provides direction for research, programs, and policies moving forward. This article is published open access and available at

Professor of Political Science David McLennan and Associate Professor of Political Science Whitney Ross Manzo attended the Political Science Carolinas Conference on February 25-26 in Rock Hill, S.C., at Winthrop University. They presented a paper, “Halfway There: The Impacts of Gender Balance Laws on Women in Appointed Office,” which examines whether states that have gender balance requirements or recommendations for appointed boards and commissions (like North Carolina) have more women serving in appointed office than states without these laws. Their research found that yes, gender balance laws make a positive difference, but women are still more likely to serve on a board or commission related to “women’s issues” like nursing boards, arts commissions, and boards of education rather than more powerful boards and commissions. Dr. McLennan and Dr. Manzo also won an award for the paper they presented at the conference last year.

Meredith student McKenna Harris, ’23, a political science major, presented her senior thesis project at the conference. Titled “Does the American Population Ever Approve of Political Violence?,” McKenna used Meredith Poll data to analyze the circumstances under which Americans approve of political participation, including situations in which they might be okay with political violence. She found that men are more likely to approve of political violence than women and that Democrats were likely to approve of certain kinds of political violence than Republicans. Americans without a high school diploma were more likely to disapprove of all kinds of political participation, even the nonviolent kinds like holding a sign in front of a political building.

Exercise and Sports Science faculty members Stephanie Little, Ned Robinson, Heather Sanderson, and Sharon Malley all presented “Hey Professor! Can you help your campus become physically literate?” at the Health and Physical Literacy Summit in Birmingham Alabama on February 14, 2022. (Shown at right)

Associate Professor of Interior Design Laura Prestwood and Instructor in Education Liz Grimes Droessler, presented their qualitative research “Preparing Students for Success in an Uncertain Future – Filling Your Toolkit” at the Critical Questions in Education Conference presented by the Academy for Educational Studies held in Charleston, S.C., February 21 – 23, 2022. Dr. Prestwood and Dr. Droessler’s presentation addressed the Necessary Tools in Traumatic Times conference theme with respect to the state of the teaching profession.

Director of Instrumental Activities Jim Waddelow recently led a daylong musical retreat for the East Chapel Hill High School orchestra. They will be the first North Carolina public school orchestra to perform at the American String Teacher Association 2022 national convention. 

Melyssa Allen

News Director
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