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November Spotlights

Recent News from the College of Arts and Sciences

Science Fiction PanelFaculty from the College of Arts and Sciences participated in two events at Science Central in October. “The Science in Sci-Fi Movies/TV/Literature” panel featured Eric Link, dean of arts and sciences and professor of English; Bruce Kingsbury, associate dean of arts and sciences and professor of biology; and Richard Sutter, chair and professor of anthropology. Later in the month, Damian Fleming, associate professor of English; Punya Nachappa, assistant professor of biology; and Abe Schwab, associate professor of philosophy, applied their academic insight to problems faced during a zombie apocalypse in the adults-only evening program, “Soulless Science: The Quest for Patient Zero.”

Did you know that influential people from around the world visit campus all year long? The IPFW Honors Program hosted an event at which COAS students discussed U.S.–Romanian relations and international diplomacy with Gheorghe Predescu, a Romanian consul general from Chicago, who visited campus on October 20th. Predescu also discussed academic and business ties with Fort Wayne in meetings on campus and downtown with IPFW faculty and staff, members of Fort Wayne’s Chamber of Commerce, and others. Predescu was appointed consul general of Romania (Chicago) in December 2012. He was formerly state counselor on foreign policy in the prime minister of Romania's chancellery, and served as Romanian ambassador to Poland. Many COAS undergraduate students attended the event, including Nathan Brophy (political science; honors), Andrea Horic (political science), Luisa Pires Luciano (political science; honors), Muhamed Sulejmanagic (political science), Nicholas Kaylor (political science), Zackary Kaylor (political science), and Lauren Murfree (anthropology).


Faculty in the News: Bruce Kingsbury, professor of biology, was featured in a USA Today article, “Reclusive Rattlesnake May Get Federal Protection.” The article discusses the instincts of a particular kind of rattlesnake, and Kingsbury helps make the case that they are generally fearful and passive rather than dangerous. He and others want to preserve their habitats and stop people from killing them on sight.


Faculty Award: At the Midwest Popular Culture Association/Midwest American Culture Association convention in Cincinnati on October 3rd, Assistant Professor Art Herbig and his co-author, Andrew Herrmann of East Tennessee State University, were awarded the Fred E. H. Schroeder Paper Award for their paper “All too Human: Xander Harris and the Embodiment of the Fully Human.”

Faculty Award: At the National Communication Association convention in November, Marcia Dixson's paper, “The Role of SoTL in the Academy: Upon the 25th Anniversary of Boyer’s Scholarship Reconsidered,” will be honored as a Top 5 Paper in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Dixson has earned this award for the second consecutive year and for the third time in the past seven years.

Faculty Presentation: Deborah Godwin-Starks, continuing lecturer in communication, will chair a panel in November at the Religious Communication Association national conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. The panel will discuss rhetoric as it applies to faith-based organizations, disasters, bureaucratic and prophetic communications, and other contexts. Godwin-Starks will chair a panel of six presenters from Kansas State University, San Diego State University, Wheaton College, and other schools.


Faculty Award: Damian Fleming, associate professor of English, received prestigious Mellon and NEH awards for research. Both awards were given for his work on a project entitled “Hebrew Alphabets in Early Medieval Latin Manuscripts.” He was also the subject of a Journal Gazette article, “IPFW Teacher Turns Medieval Spy.” The article highlights his fascination with medieval life and passion for working with ancient documents.

Student Presentation: During the summer 2015 break, Kelsie Gillig, anthropology major with a minor in linguistics, attended the Linguistic Society of America Conference and Institute. She received several scholarships to help fund her trip and plans to apply to Ph.D. programs after graduation.

Faculty Grant: In addition to the $500,000 in grant monies attained since its establishment in 2003 and to complement a $20,000 grant received for 2014-16, the Appleseed Writing Project won an additional $2,000 grant to cover a project period from October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015. The non-federal grant was funded from a grant to the National Writing Project (NWP) by the Bill & Malinda Gates Foundation. Its focus is on Assignments Matter, which trained an Appleseed Teacher Consultant (Churubusco High School teacher Trish Brooks) to deliver workshops to other K-16 teachers on best practices in creating effective writing assignments. Each NWP site was to work with 50 teachers at high-needs schools (schools with over 50% of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches) during the grant period. The $2000 grant paid for Brook’s training and travel to two annual NWP fall meetings and the spring meeting held in Washington, D.C. every year, with stipends paid to the teachers who participated in the IPFW workshop in January 2015. The Appleseed Writing Project is co-administered by IPFW’s Department of English and Linguistics and College of Education.


GeosciencesFaculty Publication: Professor Emeritus Jim Farlow copublished an article in the journal Paleobiology entitled, “Maiasaura, a Model Organism for Extinct Vertebrate Population Biology.” The article discusses how a fossilized organism called Maiasaura peeblesorum developed and grew through the course of its life.


Student Spotlight: In her internship at the Fort Wayne History Center, Megan Stoffer, honors student and history undergraduate, contributed to the History Center's blog with "Megan's Mystery Mondays." Check out her mysterious entries here.


Faculty Initiative: On Tuesday September 15, 2015, nurse practitioner students from the School of Nursing and Spanish students from the Department of International Languages and Culture Studies traveled to Atlanta, Indiana to provide health screenings for migrant workers at Beck’s Hybrid Seeds.  The health clinic was organized by Clinical Assistant Professor Heather Krull (nursing) and Associate Professor Jens Clegg (Spanish). The students had the opportunity to interact with the migrant workers by providing translations during physical examinations and in providing medical advice, education on medical information, and information on medical resources available in the community. The day-long clinic served 42 migrant workers and gave great practical experience to both the Spanish and the nursing students.


Faculty Publication: The book Topics in Chromatic Graph Theory coedited by Lowell Beineke, professor of mathematics, was published by Cambridge University Press. The book discusses the use of “colouring” to explore aspects of graph theory while connecting it to related topics like topology, algebra, geometry, and even computer networking.

Faculty Presentation: Assistant Professor Yuan Zhang presented a paper at Yuan Zhangthe 2015 Midwestern Workshop on Asymptotic Analysis (MWAA) at Indiana University, Bloomington, which Professors Peter Dragnev and Adam Coffman helped organize. The MWAA conference series brings together mathematicians from the midwestern United States working in approximation theory, mathematical physics, potential theory, and complex analysis. Zhang presented on joint research she performed with Professor Yifei Pan (math) and Yang Liu, who spent the 2014-15 year visiting IPFW from China. Zhang gave a talk entitled “On Flat Solutions of Cauchy-Riemann Equations,” about research where she and her coresearchers examined the solvability of Cauchy-Riemann equations, one of the central topics in the field of several complex variables. In this talk, she discussed the existence of a special type of solution to Cauchy-Riemann equations all of whose derivatives vanish at a given point. An important application of differential equations in physics is to use observations at one time to make predictions about what happens later; however, equations with flat solutions confound this by being unable to distinguish objects at rest from objects in motion but which happen to have zero velocity and acceleration only at the initial time. The workshop is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation. For more information, see


Faculty in the News: Andrew Downs, associate professor of political science, was quoted in two Indy Star articles, “In Pence’s Talks with Businesses, RFRA Is on the Agenda” and “Can the State Follow Carmel on LGBT Rights?” In the first article, Downs discusses Governor Mike Pence’s call for a meeting to discuss legislative priorities for the next year.  As Downs points out, the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act is likely to be discussed in the meeting. In the second article, Downs similarly discusses the recent vote in Carmel city to include LGBT anti-discrimination protections. The state-level discussion of the issue is highly partisan, and as Downs explains, any such legislation would require concessions from both sides. 

Downs also wrote an article in Indy Star entitled, “Regional Campus Research Is Important.” In it, he compares the Indiana Commission for Higher Education definition of research with that of IPFW. Using the argument that all research creates knowledge and benefits the community, Downs asserts that teachers should be encouraged to combine research and teaching to enhance the overall education of students.

Student/Faculty in the News: Associate Professor Michael Wolf’s political science class was the subject of a 21 Alive piece, “IPFW Students Talk about What They Want from City’s Next Mayor.” The students deviated from traditional voter concerns like well-paved streets, clean water, and trash collection. Instead, their interests revolve around making the downtown area more accessible via bicycle and less oriented towards the wealthy residents of Fort Wayne. Finally, they would like action taken to reduce homelessness, improve mass transit, and create more jobs.

Faculty in the News: Wolf was also quoted in two articles about John Boehner’s resignation as speaker of the US House of Representatives, “Area Reactions to Boehner Resignation Range from Elation to Wariness” and “Local Reaction to Boehner’s Resignation.” In the first article, Wolf talks about the effect Boehner’s resignation will have. He comments that Boehner’s replacement will be less likely to reach out to others than Boehner was, and that they will likely not change the outcomes of many important battles. In the second article, Wolf goes into a bit more depth and makes predictions about Boehner’s remaining time in office. 

Chayenne PolimédioAlumni Update: Chayenne Polimédio (B.A., political science, ’14), recently published an article in The Weekly Wonk, entitled, “How a Congressional Coalition Worked Together without Compromising.” The article discusses the behind-the-scenes cooperation of members of Congress on certain issues. In many cases such as sequestration or the Pentagon’s projected budget, committees work without regard for controversial partisan issues to accomplish necessary tasks. In some cases, coalitions designed to accomplish practical goals have formed with bipartisan support. Polimédio is a program/research assistant for the Political Reform Program. Before working at New America, she worked at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in DC, where she was a junior fellow in their Democracy and Rule of Law program. There, she focused on foreign policy, kleptocracy, and political reform in Georgia, India, Colombia, Italy, and Nigeria. Prior to Carnegie, Polimédio also worked for the United Nations Population Fund in New York.


Faculty Publication: Abe Schwab, associate professor, wrote “A Valuable Lesson in Morality and the Marketplace” for Fort Wayne's Journal Gazette. He discusses the recent uproar over the massive markup in the cost of the prescription drug Daraprim, which is used to treat AIDS-related illnesses. The company’s CEO, Martin Shrkeli broke no laws or regulations when he authorized the price increase, but the public shaming that followed convinced him to say the company would lower the price. Schwab indicates that this is an example of the market not having a moral compass and hopes it will serve as a warning against letting the market resolve all problems by itself.


Faculty Publication: The article “Teaching Critical Thinking: Sense-Making, Explanations, Language and Habits” by David Maloney, professor of physics, was published in the October 2015 special issue of The Physics Teacher. The article discusses the difference between students today and students of a few years ago in early physics courses. Maloney suggests changes professors should make to their curriculum in order to accommodate this difference.


Service Learning Project: Students in three courses taught by Sherrie Steiner, assistant professor of sociology, will conduct service learning projects in Allen and Blackford counties. Students in two Sociology S161, Principles of Sociology classes will document sustainability projects via photo essays for a book on Indiana’s bicentennial. Students in a section of Sociology S333, Collective Behavior and Social Movements will continue the work of the spring 2015 Environmental Sociology class with the Blackford County Concerned Citizens on investigating industrial sites and potential hazards to the environment.

Faculty Publication: The book Sistemas Politicos y Bienestar Social: Brasil, Colombia y Venezuela (2000-2010) (translation: Political Regimes and Welfare Policy Outcomes: Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela) by Professor Augusto De Venanzi was published by Biblioteca Nueva, one of the largest Spanish-language publishing houses. The book is currently available on