Faculty/Staff Accomplishments and Departmental News 7/13/16

In this issue, we celebrate the accomplishments of faculty and staff from the departments of business, career planning, education, English, human environmental sciences, physics, psychology, research, planning & assessment, sociology, and theatre. We also share news from the MBA Program and StrongPoints.

Carmen Christopher, Learning Center Director and Assistant Professor of English, presented a paper, “Many Hands Make Invisible Work: Volunteerism and the Female Academic,” with a panel of colleagues at the Rhetoric Society of America Conference in Atlanta this May. Christopher shared this description of paper: “In her keynote address for the Console-ing Passions Conference in 2015, Elizabeth Losh addressed the role of female labor in support of the “information revolution” (e.g. telegraph operators, data entry clerks). In her address, “Many Hands Don’t Make Light Work,” Losh tracks a history in which necessary roles were systematically overlooked or undervalued in the historical narrative. This presentation examines parallels in academia, suggesting that the modern institution of higher learning is buoyed by an infrastructure in which female labor, in the form of volunteerism and service, is necessary, but effaced.”  Co-presenters were Sarah McGinley, Wright State University; Megan Mize, Old Dominion University; and Danielle Roach, Miami University.

Professor of English Rebecca Duncan’s letter about Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel was published in The News & Observer on July 6. In this letter to the editor, Duncan recalled Wiesel’s 2003 lecture at Meredith College.

Psychology faculty members Andrea McPherson, Doreen Fairbank, and Cynthia Edwards, and alumna Lara Pantlin, ’14, presented a symposium, Psychologists are scientists: A playbook of strategies for teaching research skills to undergraduates, at the Eastern Conference on the Teaching of Psychology in Staunton, Va., on June 24.

Professor of Business Mary Jane Lenard and Associate Professor of Business Bing Yu have published a paper, along with co-authors Karen Petruska and Pervaiz Alam, titled “Internal control weaknesses and evidence of real activities manipulation,” in the journal Advances in Accounting, incorporating Advances in International Accounting. This paper examines whether U.S. public firms that file internal control weakness disclosure reports with the SEC, as required under the Sarbanes-Oxley act, have higher levels of real activities manipulation, compared to firms that do not file such reports. Management of real activities occurs when firms try to increase earnings by accruing a smaller amount of bad debt expense, postpone or eliminate R&D costs, reduce travel budgets, or delay IT spending. Companies may also engage in overproduction to reduce cost of goods sold. When these activities occur considerably more often than under normal circumstances, the firm is involved in real activities manipulation. The researchers found that firms reporting internal control weaknesses do have higher levels of real activities manipulation, and that they manipulate real activities in order to beat earnings benchmarks. When they do so, however, it lowers their financial performance in the subsequent year. Our findings have implications for audit quality as auditors need to gain a better understanding of how real activities manipulation influences the operations of the firm.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology Kris Macomber wrote an op-ed for The Charlotte Observer about women voting for Hillary Clinton.

Director of Research Planning and Assessment Dianne Raubenheimer and Survey and Report Coordinator Dilnavaz Mirza Sharma presented at the 12th Annual NCICU Assessment Conference – Charting the Course: Using Assessment to Navigate Student Success. Raubenheimer’s presentation, “Adding Value to the Comprehensive Program Assessment Experience,” discussed Meredith’s approach to Comprehensive Program Assessment. Sharma’s presentation, “To Survey, Or Not to Survey: Developing a Survey Policy,” focused on the process of developing a survey policy for Meredith.

Sharma, as a contributing editor to Public Libraries, a bi-monthly journal of the Public Library Association (PLA) and American Library Association (ALA), published an article in the May-June print issue of the magazine. The article, featured in “The Wired Library” column, is entitled Reaching Distance Education Students, and discusses ways public libraries can support distance learners in their communities.

Professor of Theatre Catherine Rodgers was quoted in a Christian Science Monitor story about the 2016 Tony Awards. Rodgers was also interviewed by the Associated Press for a story about how Hamilton will fare on Broadway once members of the original cast depart. This story has run in more than 40 outlets, including ABC News.

Faculty members Julie Schrock and Bill Schmidt presented at the 13th Annual Teaching Professor Conference in Washington, D.C., on June 5. The presentation, “Give Them Purpose and Focus and They Will Read!,”  was about pedagogical strategies that increase student-reading compliance outside of class-time, and help improve student comprehension of assigned readings. The workshop was well attended, with more than 100 participants. Schrock is a professor in the Department of Education and Schmidt is a professor in the Department of Chemistry, Physics, and Geoscience.

Career Planning Director Dana F. Sumner presented to the Raleigh-Wake Human Resource Management Association on the topic of “Millennials in the Workplace,” which considered the changing workplace values of this generation, as well as the similarities between all four generations currently found in the workplace. Recommendations for ways organizations can partner with colleges and universities to help ensure that the future workforce will be career ready were provided.

Deborah Tippett had a chapter published in a book, Leaders in Family and Consumer Sciences, that was released in June of 2016 by Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society. Her chapter, “The Cover Girl with a Legacy:  The Leadership of Dorothy Mitstifer,” chronicled the life and career of Dr. Mitstifer, who was the executive director of Kappa Omicron Nu and The Association for College Honor Societies.  Tippett also attended the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Annual Conference in Seattle from June 21-26. At this conference, she presided at sessions as the Leader of the Global Perspectives Community and moderated a panel on “Unaccompanied Children Entering the United States.”

Departmental News

MBA Program Information Session
An information session for the Meredith MBA will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 10, at 6 p.m. in Harris 214. Meredith employees who are interested in applying for the MBA program are encouraged to attend. RSVP online, or email If you have any questions, contact Melissa Bates at or ext. 2281 for more information.

New Video Showcases StrongPoints Program
Meredith’s newest video showcases the College’s StrongPoints® program. The video shows how StrongPoints helps every student identify her strengths and build on them as she explores academic and experiential activities, increases her financial literacy, and examines potential career paths. The video was produced by the Department of Marketing and StrongPoints. Watch the StrongPoints video

Melyssa Allen

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