Faculty/Staff Accomplishments and Departmental News 11/8/16

In this issue, we celebrate sabbatical recipients, and the accomplishments of faculty and staff in the departments of business, biological sciences, career planning, child development, dean of students office, mathematics, music, and political science. We also share news about a music improve workshop, International Education Week, and Honors mid-year admission. (See separate stories in this issue on accomplishments by the Department of English and the Department of Music.)

Congratulations to the following faculty members who have been awarded sabbaticals during the 2017-18 academic year:

Professor of English Rebecca Duncan, Spring 2018
Professor of Music  Kent Lyman, Fall 2017 or Spring 2018
Professor of Mathematics Cammey Manning, Spring 2018
Associate Professor of Education Julie Schrock, Spring 2018
Associate Professor of Business Bing Yu, Fall 2017

Professor of Biological Sciences Karthik Aghoram was quoted in a story that looked at both sides of the issue of requiring GMO food labeling.

Assistant Professor of Child Development Fain Barker presented at the Division of Early Childhood Conference, an international conference for early childhood special education, in Louisville, Ky., on October 18.  She will also represent Meredith’s Child Development program and the NC Birth-Kindergarten Higher Education Consortium by serving on the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE)’s Curriculum and Formative Assessment Review committee, which is meeting in November to review and approve the state’s early childhood curricula and assessments.

Kenny Hoang, a high school student of Meredith College piano faculty Dr. Margaret Evans, has been chosen through a highly competitive audition to perform in Carnegie Hall, April 2017.

Dean of Students Ann Gleason and Assistant Dean of Students Tomecca Sloane presented at the North Carolina College Personnel Association conference. Gleason and Sloane presented “Fostering Campus Engagement in Civil Communication and Dialogue.” The conference was held at UNC-Greensboro, October 27-28.

Assistant Professor of Political Science Whitney Ross Manzo was featured on public radio’s The Academic Minute. Her topic was how to improve civil discourse. The segment was also published in Inside Higher Ed. Manzo was also quoted in an Associated Press article about the lack of honesty in political campaign claims.

Jane Matthews, Assistant Director, Employer Relations and Katie Peterssen, Assistant Director, Career Development presented Career Pathways in the Liberal Arts at the North Carolina Career Development Association (NCCDA) annual conference on October 21. The Office of Career Planning received a Best Practices Grant from NCCDA to support the Career Pathways in the Liberal Arts event held in April 2016. Peterssen also collaborated with Mary Rosage, Assistant Director in University Career Services at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to present There’s an App for That: Tech Tools for Strong Counselors. As NCCDA President-Elect, Matthews planned and led the conference focused on the Joy of Work: Positive Approaches to Career Success.

Instructor of Mathematics Geoffrey (Colin) Peterson has co-authored an article, “Spatial prediction of crystalline defects observed in molecular dynamic simulations of plastic damage” in the Journal of Applied Statistics.

Beth Wallace, ’13, Graduate Intern in the Office of Career Planning (OCP) received a scholarship to attend the North Carolina Career Development Association annual conference on October 21. She is currently completing her master’s in College Counseling and Student Development at NC State and has been interning with OCP since January 2016. After graduating in May 2017, Wallace is excited to begin her career as a college career counselor in North Carolina.

School of Business Associate Professor Bing Yu has a paper  in the European Business Review. This paper is sponsored by the Broyhill Research Grant of Meredith’s School of Business. The paper “The angel-halo effect: How increases in corporate social responsibility and irresponsibility relate to firm performance” is co-authored with Kent Walker, associate professor of business at University of Windsor, Windsor, Canada and Zhou Zhang, associate professor finance at University of Regina, Regina, Canada. In this paper, they find that increased CSR significantly relates to increased firm performance in all three measures, and that increased CSiR significantly relates to decreased profitability only. Furthermore, increased CSR when CSiR is present relates to increased efficiency and market valuation. Lastly, increased CSiR when CSR is present relates to increased profitability and efficiency. Our results suggest CSR dominates the relationship to firm performance, as it was positively related to all three measures of firm performance, and when CSR and CSiR exist simultaneously, CSR has a dominant positive effect.

Yu also presented his paper “How and why do industry peers affect corporate CSR? The Ecosystem Angle” at the Academy of Business Research Conference in Biloxi, MS on Oct. 21, 2016. The paper examines the inter-industry and intra-industry variation of CSR patterns, and whether this variation is associated with industry-level factors, and whether corporate finance factors (agency costs, information asymmetry) are potential factors. It contributes to the existing CSR literature by exploring the complex nexus of CSR, financial and real decisions The paper finds that there are two opposite distributions of CSR for firms in high competitive industry. The first is that firms in high competitive industry tend to have a natural hedge on CSR – stay close to the industry average level as their low profit margin prevents them from having high CSR.  The second is that firms in perfectly competitive industries have a widely dispersed CSR policy (a random walk in CSR condition on firms’ own characteristics). That means the distribution of CSR scores is less concentrated around the average level and could follow a less symmetric distribution.

Departmental News

No Wrong Notes Improvisation Class by Yuri Yamamoto on November 15
Yuri Yamamoto, staff accompanist in the Music Department, is offering a free demo musical improvisation class on Tuesday, November 15. The class will be held in the Music Department Room 105 from 7 to 8:15 p.m. This is a dynamic, experiential improvisation class based on the Music for People philosophy and methods. Learn more at Bring your own instruments or use those provided by the instructor. We will use our voices and bodies too. No experience in music making or improvisation is necessary. We say, “There are no wrong notes” and explore all kinds of sounds together. This is a safe and brave space in which to explore. Everyone participates at their comfort level. For more information or to register, please contact Yuri Yamamoto at

International Education Week
Meredith’s Office of International Programs will celebrate International Education Week, November 14-18. The following events are scheduled.

Advisor Brunch & Learn
Monday, November 14 at 10 a.m.
All advisors are invited to stop by Lux 124 for breakfast and conversation with International Programs staff about upcoming study abroad courses.

Meredith Abroad Fair
Wednesday, November 16 at 10 a.m.
Learn about 2017 faculty-led study abroad programs and talk with faculty and program alumnae.

The UN Dinner
Thursday, November 17 at 6 p.m.
Join the Meredith International Association in Belk West for dinner and global conversation. RSVP information will be forthcoming.

Honors Program Mid-Year Admission
Do you know an academically high-performing freshman or first-semester sophomore who is not an Honors student, but should be? Would you consider encouraging her to apply? We are looking for students who will benefit from access to academic and cultural enrichment opportunities while also contributing to the life of the Honors program. The Honors program is accepting applications for mid-year admission through Friday, December 9. For full information and the application form, visit the Honors web page and scroll down to ‘Current students’. Contact Brent Pitts, Honors Program Director, with questions.

Melyssa Allen

News Director
316 Johnson Hall
(919) 760-8087
Fax: (919) 760-8330