Faculty/Staff Accomplishments and Departmental News 5/11/16

In this issue we celebrate the accomplishments of faculty and staff from the departments of biological sciences, business, English, human environmental sciences, psychology, and research, planning and assessment.

Professor of Human Environmental Sciences Martha Burpitt is featured in the latest episode of The Meredith Minute. In this video, Burpitt explains exactly how interior design works. Contrary to popular misconception, the interior design process is highly complex and affects all of our lives. This episode features a salon designed by alumna Mary Allison Nowell Allen, '10. Watch the episode here:

Assistant Professor of English Carmen Christopher presented a paper entitled “Ensembles of Dignity:  Anxieties in the Public Toilet” at the Gender, Bodies & Technology:  (In)Visible Futures conference in Roanoke, VA on April 23, 2016. Christopher shared these details about the paper’s topic: Recent conversations about HB2 and other laws governing the public toilet have brought these spaces to our collective attention.  These spaces, however, have long served as repositories for our fears about sex, race, class, and (dis)ability.  Our tacit fears cause us to police our behaviors and the behaviors of others in the public toilet.  In order to imagine a future in which public toilets play a less separatist role, we must first look to the past, namely to several key points in history:  The Ancient Toilet, The Victorian Age, and World War II.  Some modifications to the public toilet were based upon legitimate claims (e.g., the spread of disease) while other modifications were purely cosmetic (e.g., the addition of hinged seats).  No matter the reason, each of these modifications becomes a critical voice in the conversation between our physical bodies and the public spaces that regulate their functions.

Francie Cuffney, Biological Sciences, has been serving as President-elect of the North Carolina Academy of Science and began her term as President of the Academy April 2 at the Academy Annual meeting. Several Meredith students presented their research at the meeting, held at Methodist University, with Zoe Flowers bringing home a first place Derieux Award for her poster.

For the third year in a row, Honors students have voted to give the Honors faculty appreciation award to Assistant Professor of English Martin McNamee. McNamee received his most recent award on May 2 at the Honors senior reception. In presenting the award, Starr Sirucek, Honors sophomore and student chair of the Honors committee, commended McNamee for excellence in Honors-related teaching and advising. She expressed amazement at his super-extended office hours and scintillating, informal lunchtime chats. McNamee serves as an Honors advisor; he frequently teaches an Honors section of ENG-111; he has participated in several recent Honors Fall trips, offering such mini-courses as Imagining America Through Humor (Annapolis) and Responding to the New World: The Beginnings of an American Literature (Williamsburg); in Fall 2014, he taught an Honors colloquium, 'Detecting women'. 

Assistant Professor of Psychology Andrea McPherson and six psychology students, Blair Delery, Alayna Bolyard, Taylor Hinson, Tociana Watley, Danielle Estes, and Lindsey Kalish, visited the Cambridge Village of Apex on April 22. The group presented their research to a rapt and inquisitive audience of seniors.

Dianne Raubenheimer from Research, Planning and Assessment co-authored a paper with Bowling Green State University Professor of Biology Moira van Staaden.The paper, “Are Faculty Implementing RBIS at your Campus? How Do You Know?,” was presented in April at the ENFUSE symposium which was jointly hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Raubenheimer serves as an assessment and researcher consultant to this STEM-focused, NSF-funded research project.

Associate Professor of Business Bing Yu presented a paper titled “Impact of Women Leaders in Banking on Bank Risk” at the International Academy of Business and Public Administration Disciplines conference at Dallas, Texas, on April 23, 2016. Bing co-authored the paper with Professor of Business Mary Jane Lenard, Associate Professor of Economics Anne York, and Texas Wesleyan University Assistant Professor of Finance Shengxiong Wu. The paper examines gender diversity among corporate leadership positions in the banking industry and the impact on bank risk. Findings of the paper support the assertion that not all women have the same risk profile in every situation. As the percentage of women executives increases, bank risk increases. Yet when the percentage of women on the audit committee and corporate governance committee increases, the bank risk decreases.

Departmental News

Study Break for Students Held
The Events sub-committee of the Student Success and Retention Committee hosted a Study Break for students on Reading Day. Students were treated to Pelican’s Snoballs, rice krispie treats, mini corn dogs, popcorn and more!  Activities included hula hooping, cornhole and Frisbee. Participants were able to pick up study supplies such as pens and note cards in addition to entering for summer-themed door prizes. More than 200 students attended the event and had a great time hanging out with friends and truly taking a study break. Thank you goes to Brandon Stokes from Retention for providing the funds to make this event a huge success!  --Submitted by Heidi LeCount, Melanie Weast and Margo Alfieri (Events sub-committee)

Melyssa Allen

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