Faculty Notes: Fall 2013



Associate Professor Karen Bernd and Professor of Medical Humanities Kristie Foley presented a poster at the National Case Study Teaching Conference. Produced in collaboration with Associate Professor of Chemistry Cindy Hauser, the poster described research exploring student attitudes about preferred topics in environmental health, class assignments and teaching approaches. The professors are using the data to develop a novel, case-based course in environmental health that they will team-teach in spring 2014.

Professor Malcolm Campbell and Professor and Chair of Mathematics Laurie Heyer have received a three-year National Science Foundation grant to continue their student-led synthetic biology research. The research seeks to engineer bacteria to restructure natural selection and produce medicines more efficiently. The grant will fund participation in the project of six students for each of the next three summers.

Professor Chris Paradise recently presented a paper at a conference on “Vision and Change: Transforming Undergraduate Biology Education.” The paper, co-authored with Davidson faculty colleagues Malcolm Campbell, Laurie Heyer, Mark Barsoum and Pat Sellers, discusses the effectiveness of a new approach to teaching introductory biology at Davidson. Data indicate that students did equally well or better on core science competencies using the new approach as students in traditional introductory biology courses.

Professor Dave Wessner presented a talk at the American Society for Microbiology Conference for Undergraduate Educators titled “Combining Science and Literature: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Teaching about HIV/AIDS.” He described the HIV/AIDS course that he and Professor of English Ann Fox offer at Davidson and explained to participants the values of team-teaching and interdisciplinary learning.


Assistant Professor Nicole Snyder presented a poster titled “Synthesis of Carbopeptoid-based Therapeutics for the Treatment of Influenza” at the Gordon Research Conference on carbohydrates. Snyder’s poster describes her research team’s ongoing efforts to synthesize a series of compounds and study their ability to inhibit viral hemagglutinin, a protein used by the influenza virus to enter and infect cells. Snyder and her research students were recently highlighted in Meet the Glycoscientist, an article published in the fall newsletter of the American Chemical Society’s Division of Carbohydrate Chemistry.


Assistant Professor Darian Totten’s review of M. Jaegar’s A Livy Reader (2011) was recently published in the Classical Journal Online. 

Communication Studies

Assistant Professor Amanda Martinez, who teaches in communication studies, sociology and educational studies, published a book review titled “Life Cycle Perspectives in Chicano/a Mental Health” in the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences. Martinez is also vice chair-elect of the Latino/a Communication Studies Division and La Raza Caucus of the National Communication Association.

Professor Kathie Turner gave the keynote address on “Communication and Civility: What Can a Techno-Dinosaur Contribute to the 21st Century?” at the annual conference of the Carolinas Communication Association. She also is serving as primary program planner for the National Communication Association’s convention, which will host more than 5,000 participants.

Digital Studies

Visiting Associate Professor Mark Sample’s co-authored book 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND (1)); : GOTO 10 was recently published by MIT Press. The book approaches a single line of BASIC for the Commodore 64 as a way to understand the rise of home computing, the interplay between hardware, software and creativity, and the cultural significance of digital art. Sample also published an article titled “Criminal Code: Procedural Logic and Rhetorical Excess in Videogames” in Digital Humanities Quarterly. Finally, his 100 trillion stanza-long poem “House of Leaves of Grass” was jury-selected for the Chercher le texte digital literature festival in Paris.


Johnston Professor Clark Ross is on sabbatical, teaching two courses of introductory macroeconomics this semester in Panama through a Florida State University program. He is teaching about 50 students, mostly from Panama, but also some from other Southern and Central American countries. Ross also continues to chair the College Board’s AP Macro-Economics Test Development Committee and the Educational Testing Services’ committee to develop a new Major Achievement Test for senior undergraduate economics majors.


Armfield Professor Brenda Flanagan was invited to read Bear Blood and Wolves, a chapter of her manuscript on Czech Surrealist Eva Svankmajerova, at Anglo-American University in Prague last summer.

Professor Ann Fox was an opening speaker about disability, theater and the visual arts at the Bodies of Work Festival of Disability, Art, and Culture. She also gave papers on disability and the arts at the Society for Disability Studies Conference, and at an international conference of disability studies scholars hosted by the Centre for Culture and Disability Studies in the United Kingdom.

Dana Professor of English Cynthia Lewis has published an essay titled “Convertible Girl” about the remarkable life of political activist Judy Conboy, who grew up and lived in Joplin, Missouri, until her death in 1994. The essay has been published online in New Stories from the Midwest. 

Environmental Studies

Assistant Professor Graham Bullock presented research at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, addressing the topic, “Who Persuades the Persuaders? Power and Accountability in Information-Based Environmental Ratings and Certifications.” Bullock’s research explores how different types of organizations exert power over initiatives that provide information to the public. He also presented a paper titled “The Consumer/Citizen Relationship Across Time and Space: Millennial Perspectives on Responsible Citizenship in Different Issue Domains” at the conference of the Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative. The paper analyzes different conceptions of responsible citizenship and consumption that students developed in his seminar on “Citizens, Consumers, and the Environment.” Bullock will be working on these and other topics this year during his sabbatical, which he is spending as a visiting assistant professor at Duke University.

German Studies

Wall Professor and department chair Burkhard Henke directed the 10th annual German Summer Institute on campus. The weeklong immersion program enrolled 14 secondary school teachers from across the country, including alumni Chris Bremer ’60 and Greta Stults ’05.

Hispanic Studies

Assistant Professor Melissa González became vice president of the Gay LesbianQueer caucus of the Modern Languages Association (MLA) after serving as secretary last year. She also was elected to the MLA nominating committee, which recommends candidates for the executive council. In addition, she co-authored an article titled “Orthodox Transgressions: The Ideology of Cross-Species, Cross-Class and Inter-Racial Queerness in Lucía Puenzo’s Novel El niño pez (The Fish Child)” for American Quarterly journal


Associate Professor Kyra Kietrys worked with department colleagues and several campus offices to found the Davidson Semester Program in Madrid. The inaugural semester will be spring 2014 under Kietrys’s direction, in cooperation with newly-appointed Resident Director in Madrid, Ariadne Ferro. Students will take four classes, participate in experiential learning, engage in volunteer opportunities and reconnect with former Davidson international students. This fall, Kietrys designed and directed the second year of “Davidson FLES,” a language partnership between the college and Davidson Elementary School in which 33 college student volunteers created and taught weekly Spanish lessons at the elementary school.


The most recent book by Duke Professor of International Studies and History Department chair Jonathan Berkey has been translated into a Japanese edition. Titled The Formation of Islam: Religion and Society in the Near East, 600-1800, the book was published originally by Cambridge University Press.

The New York University Press has published Professor John Wertheimer’s essay,  “Counting as a Tool of Legal History,” in Making Legal History, a collection of essays honoring NYU Law School professor William E. Nelson. In his essay, Wertheimer uses examples from his own research to demonstrate the value of one of Nelson’s simpler but more powerful research techniques—counting things. Wertheimer urges legal historians to make fuller use of what he calls “common-sense quantification”—simple statistical analysis that, when responsibly employed, can cast clarifying light on the history of law. Wertheimer is currently directing the Davidson-in-Peru Program in Arequipa, Peru.


Associate Professor Tim Chartier and his spouse Tanya presented their “Mime-matics” show to conclude Family Day at the Bridges international math and art conference in Enschede, Netherlands.
They also performed at a conference at the National Museum of Mathematics titled “Mathematics of Various Entertaining Subjects” (MOVES) in New York City. Their show uses mime to introduce mathematical ideas.

Professor Michael Mossinghoff and Visiting Professor Justin Peachey recently co-hosted on Davidson’s campus the 20th meeting of the Palmetto Number Theory Series. This research conference in the field of number theory is held twice a year at institutions in South Carolina (the Palmetto State) and neighboring states. This most recent gathering attracted students and faculty from 23 institutions in 10 states, and featured more than 20 presentations on recent developments in the field.


Associate Professor Tara Villa Keith won second place for the second year in a row for the 2013 American Prize Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming for her work with the Lee County Community Orchestra. She also placed third in the 2013 American Prize Competition for Conducting Community Orchestras for her recent performances with the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra. The American Prize is a non-profit national competition adjudicated by top professionals in the field of conducting.

Professor of Music Neil Lerner presented a series of invited presentations on the topic of music in early video games, including the Class of 1960 Lecture for the Williams College Department of Music as well as talks at Muhlenberg College, West Chester University, Case Western Reserve University and Florida State University. He was a co-coordinator of an author’s conference in New York City for a book he is currently co-editing—The Oxford Handbook of Music and Disability Studies—and also presented a paper there titled “Listening to Disabled Veterans in Three Hollywood Films:
The Big Parade (1925), Pride of the Marines (1945), and The Best Years of Our Lives (1946).” He also chaired the session “Early Film Music” at the annual conference of the Society for American Music.


Brown Professor Wolfgang Christian recently led a week of computational physics workshops in South Africa. He also presented a colloquium at Cape Town University titled “Building a National Digital Library for Computational Physics Education at All Levels,” which was based on the NSF-funded Open Source Physics project which he directs.

Professor Tim Gfroerer’s article “Circuits in the Sun: Solar Panel Physics” was featured in the October edition of The Physics Teacher magazine. Gfroerer describes an electronics class project, funded by a grant from the Center for Civic Engagement, on the new solar cart at Davidson. The article is available for free on the magazine’s website.

Political Science

Professor Shelley Rigger deepened Davidson’s ties to Shanghai this summer. In July, she taught a four-week course on U.S.-Taiwan relations to graduate students at Shanghai Jiaotong University. In September, she returned there to present work at two conferences, one sponsored by the Shanghai Institute for East Asian Studies and the other by the China Energy Fund Committee and Harvard University.


King Assistant Professor Jessica Good co-authored an article in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology titled “White Ancestry in Perceptions of Black/White Biracial Individuals: Implications for Affirmative Action Contexts.” Her research showed that black/white biracial individuals with a greater amount of white ancestry are perceived as experiencing less discrimination and are less likely to be categorized as minority. Therefore, they are judged as less appropriate recipients of affirmative action. Good also gave a talk on teaching about diversity within a homogenous classroom as part of a symposium sponsored by the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues at the American Psychological Association convention. At the same conference, Good presented a poster co-authored with Grant Thomas ’13 on the influence of racial stereotypes in college football recruiting.

Professor John Kello continues to write a regular “Positive Safety Cultures” column in the journal Industrial Safety & Hygiene News. His most recent offering, titled “The Power of Everyday Leadership,” focuses on the importance of daily moment-of-truth interpersonal interactions in building a safe work environment.

Professor Mark Smith co-authored a review paper with Justin Strickland ’14 that describes both the positive and negative aspects of social contact on drug use and abuse. The paper will appear in the journal Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology.

Watson Associate Professor Scott Tonidandel and Sam Snell ’10 published Snell’s thesis titled “The Relative Importance of Political Skill Dimensions for Predicting Managerial Effectiveness” in the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology.


Rolston Professor of Religion and Science Andrew Lustig authored two publications in bioethics. He wrote the lead chapter in the book Synthetic Biology and Morality, analyzing the complex meanings of appeals to nature and the natural in debates about “creating artificial life.” His article in the journal Soundings, titled “Dignity in the Discourses of Bioethics,” explores the implications of appeals to “dignity” for several bioethics debates. Both publications reflect Lustig’s continuing research interests in the ways that particular norms function in the development of pluralistic policy.

Craig Distinguished Professor of Reformed Theology and Justice Douglas Ottati published the first volume of his systematic theology, Theology for Liberal Protestants: God the Creator, with Eerdmans Press.


King Associate Professor Gerardo Marti has been elected secretary-treasurer of the Sociology of Religion section of the American Sociological Association.


Ann Marie Costa recently directed a staged reading of Karen Lewis’ The Perfect Wife for Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte’s NuVoices Play Festival.

Professor Joe Gardner designed the sets for the play Spamalot, produced by Central Piedmont Community College Summer Theatre in Charlotte.


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