Faculty/Staff Accomplishments and Departmental News May 2015

In this issue we celebrate accomplishments by faculty and staff from the departments of art, education, English, music, nutrition, religious and ethical studies, and political science, 

Assistant Professor of Religious & Ethical Studies Steven Benko presented at the American Culture Association/Pop Culture Association national meeting in New Orleans. His paper was titled "Why Rape Jokes Aren't Funny and What That Tells Us About Comedy." He was joined by two students who were presenting their undergraduate research. Bri Crumbley presented her paper "A Theft of Subjectivity: How Hashtags Define Femininity" and Hayden Hains presented her paper "Where Has All the Drag Gone?".

Director of the Learning Center and Assistant Professor of English Carmen Christopher was quoted in an article in Metro Newspapers featuring tips for exam success.  

Professor of Nutrition Susan Fisher and Instructional Design Specialist Becky Kirstein presented at the 8th Annual Emerging Technologies for Online Learning International Symposium 2015 (ET4Online) on April 24 in Dallas. Their topic, Innovation Meets Tradition in Research in Critical Thinking and Teaching Methods, was based on research they did in Fisher's Food and Nutrition Lab course.

Virginia Ewing Hudson and Professor of English Rebecca Duncan read their poetry on April 26 at “Vision and Voice,” an event linking visual and literary arts held at Pittsboro’s Joyful Jewel gallery. Hudson read two poems:  “Reflections,” in response to Florence Johnson’s painting of the same name; and “Self,” in response to Kate Ladd’s Pearl Diver. Duncan read “Go with the Flowers,” a dialogue with Kim Hawks’ photograph, "Coneflower."   Hudson, an instructor of cello in the music program, is completing a novel.  Duncan’s first novel, Secrets of Gray Lake, will be released by Anaphora Press on May 18. 

Associate Professor of Art Shannon Johnstone shares the following updates on her photography projects.  Her Landfill Dogs project is featured in the textbook Social Marketing: Changing Behaviors for Good, 5th Edition, by Nancy R. Lee and Philip Kotler, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA, 2015. Landfill Dogs is used as a creative strategy example in Chapter 13, Promotion: Deciding on Messages, Messengers, and Creative Strategies, p. 354–355, and Figures 13.7–8. Van Production’s six videos featuring Landfill Dogs won the 2015 Communicator Award of Excellence for Online Documentary Series. The videos can be viewed through Ulive. 

Johnstone’s photographs from two different projects can be viewed in two exhibitions in Raleigh. First, 14 large photographs from Landfill Dogs are on display at the Cameron Village Library through the end of May 2015. Second, 11 photographs from the North Carolina Rural Shelter Project are exhibited on the first floor corridor exhibition at Artspace in Raleigh. This work will be on display until the end of August. In addition, on May 23 from 6:30–9 p.m., there will be a free wine tasting event at Cat Banjo (122 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27603) highlighting her photographs of the Vance County Animal Shelter. The event will help raise money for the new Vance County Animal Shelter. It is hosted by Cat Banjo, Avalo, and The Humane Society of the United States. All are welcome.

Assistant Professor of Political Science Whitney Ross Manzo was quoted and her research was discussed in an article on the future impact of Latino Voters in CQ Researcher, which is a periodical aimed at federal government employees and public policy practitioners. Manzo and Visiting Professor of Political Science David McLennan wrote an opinion piece about Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The piece was published in The Washington Times on May 4. 

Instructor of English Leslie Maxwell had a flash piece, "Beat Poem," published in Blunderbuss Magazine, an online literary magazine.  

Staff Members Volunteer at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

For the past four years in a row, Sharon Jones, department assistant in the Dept. of Education, and Julie Malley, program assistant in Teaching Fellows, have traveled to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, to volunteer during spring break. 

This year was different, as both Jones and Malley took their grandchildren along to share with them the wonderful experience at Best Friends that they have both learned to love so much.  Malley’s granddaughters, Makenna, age 12 and Delaney, 9, and Jones’ granddaughters, Kaylee, 10, and Natalie, 7, were able to work with dogs, bunnies, cats, and pigs while at the sanctuary. 

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is an animal welfare society that formed nearly 30 years ago. The organization helped pioneer the no-kill movement and is committed to reducing shelter pet deaths to zero.

The group also traveled to the Skywalk at the Grand Canyon before going to Best Friends. The Skywalk is in Arizona near the Colorado River on the edge of a side canyon in the Grand Canyon West area of the main canyon.

The trip was “a great experience for all,” said Malley. “Needless to say, the granddaughters don't want this to be their last trip. They want to make it an annual affair.”

Learn more at

Melyssa Allen

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