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Recent Professional Achievements of Catawba College Faculty

April 16, 2018

Category: Academics, Business & Economics, Environmental Science, Faculty, Mathematics, Politics, Psychology, Sport & Health Sciences, Theatre Arts

seal-embossed.pngAs the end of spring semester approaches Catawba College faculty members continue to have papers published or accepted for publication, attend professional conferences and enjoy achievements outside the college. Details of their accomplishments follow.


Drs. Katherine Baker, Doug Brown and John Zerger, Professors of Mathematics
Three Catawba faculty from the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science (Drs. Baker, Brown and Zerger) and one student Kerry Aitken, a mathematics major, attended the biennial meeting of the Southeastern Region of Kappa Mu Epsilon, an honor society for students interested in mathematics. The conference was held at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, Ga. Attendees heard talks by undergraduates regarding research into Lucas and Fibonacci polynomials and magic squares. There was also a keynote presentation on magic squares by a member of the Georgia Gwinnett faculty.

Dr. J. Michael Bitzer, Chair and Professor of Politics
Dr. Bitzer served on a panel to discuss the trends and outlook for the 2018 mid-term elections in North Carolina and the nation. The panel that specifically focused on N.C.’s congressional and legislative races and the changing political and demographic characteristics of the state was assembled for the April 5 meeting of the Independent Insurance Agents of N.C. Political Action Committee.

Dr. Bitzer joined a panel of experts on April 4 at Charlotte Preparatory School addressing the topic of “Parenting in the Age of Political Divisiveness.”

On April 13, Dr. Bitzer made a presentation at the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast titled “What’s Happening in Mid-Term Elections in N.C.?”  His remarks were made to over 150 Cabarrus Chamber members and legislators about three key aspects to the 2018 mid-term elections: mid-term elections tend to be referendums on the president and his party; the hyper-polarized partisanship drives voters' choices; and NC's "Blue Moon" Election will focus on U.S. House and General Assembly Races, and how big is the Democratic "wave," if any, on these elections?

Dr. Kenneth W. Clapp, Chaplain and Senior Vice President & Ms. Shannon Axtell Martin, Director of the Theology Institute
Dr. Clapp and Ms. Martin represented Catawba College at a gathering of key persons in the Forum for Theological Education’s High School Institute for Theological Education in Indianapolis, Ind., January 31-February 2. At the event hosted by the Lilly Foundation, representatives from over 70 colleges and universities came together to compare notes with colleagues on the effectiveness of the various programs designed to help youth grown in their understanding of theology and to develop leadership skills to be used in their local congregations and for the sharing of the Gospel with peers.

Dr. Luke Dollar, Chair and Professor of Environment & Sustainability
r. Dollar was one of the speakers at the Raleigh March for Science held Saturday, April 14th at Halifax Mall.  The event, which included scientists, families and community activities, focused on the importance of using science to tackle critical issues.  Speakers ranged from a public health leader discussing gun violence research to a research biologist addressing the human impact of biodiversity.

The rally highlighted the pivotal role that evidence-based science plays in protecting North Carolina’s natural resources and serving marginalized communities. Speakers also sent strong messages that science must be accessible to people from all backgrounds. 

Dollar, a National Geographic Explorer and a wildlife biologist with over 20 years’ experience coordinating conversation, research and development, lent his voice to this important event.  His research focuses on carnivores ranging from big cats to Madagascar’s largest carnivore, the Fosa, and satellite analyses of their habitat.  Over 50 percent of his overall efforts are concentrated on grassroots education and sustainable employment programs for local people sharing space with Africa’s predators.

Dr. Eric Hake, Professor of Economics and Interim Dean of the Ketner School of Business
Dr. Hake has had a paper accepted for publication in the June 2018 edition of “Journal of Economic Issues.”  The paper is titled “The Institutionalist Theory of capital in the Modern Business Enterprise: Appropriation and Financialization.”

Hake’s paper seeks to expand and update Baldwin Ranson’s and Philip Klein’s papers on capital formation and power by incorporating the importance of intangible assets in the process of capital formation, accumulation, and what can be referred to as  capital appropriation.  This analysis connects the much discussed process of financialization in the 21st century with its origins in the nascent equity finance of the 19th century.

Dr. Renee Just, Assistant Professor of Business and Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Experiential Development (CEED)
Dr. Just served Sage Publications as a peer reviewer for an organizational behavior text, “The Essentials of Organizational Behavior: An Evidence Based Approach” by author Terri Scandura (2018). Her testimonial will be printed on the back cover of the book.

Professor Craig Kolkebeck, Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts and Artistic Director at Lee Street Theatre
Professor Kolkebeck put on his acting cap and assumed a role in the February production of “The Realistic Joneses” at Lee Street Theatre in February.  That production was directed by Catawba senior Peyton Glendinning as part of the CataLst program, an internship program offered by Catawba Theatre Arts and Lee Street Theatre.

Dr. Victor Romano, Assistant Professor of Sports and Health Sciences
Dr. Romano along with two of his students, Becky Bradford and Becky Frost, will present their collaborative research at a July meeting of the 9th International Conference on Sport and Society.  The presentation, which will be presented mainly by the students, is titled, “Cardiovascular Response to Lower Body Movement Dysfunction in Division II Collegiate Swimmers.”

The purpose of this study was to identify postural factors that negatively affect cardiovascular performance in Division II collegiate swimmers. Dr. Romano and his students found that correcting muscular imbalances associated with posture due to prolonged sitting, specifically lower crossed syndrome, may lead to improvement of cardiovascular response in collegiate swimmers. 

Dr. Pamela Thompson, Associate Professor of Information Systems, and Dr. Katherine Baker, Assistant Professor Mathematics and Computer Science
Recently, Drs. Thompson and Katherine Baker held their first session with the local chapter of Girls Who Code.  This is a group of local middle school girls, ages 10-13, who meet to learn all about computers and coding.

In the weeks prior to the session, the girls were developing skills in using HTML to create websites.  These faculty members were assisted by Catawba students Morgan Hester, Michael Gil, and Tara Bailey.  The session started with an exercise that helps students learn how to break down a problem into small enough steps for a computer to understand.  They used a recipe for Rice Krispie Treats and broke down the first instruction which was "Melt the butter in a large saucepan."  The girls came away with a great understanding of how hard it is to convert human actions into instructions for a computer program. Next, they used an exercise from the Hour of Code website to build a Star Wars game.  The girls worked one-on-one with the students from Catawba, which enabled them to complete the exercise in 30 minutes.  More exciting sessions are planned for the upcoming weeks

Dr. J. Michael Wilson, Chair and Professor of Modern Foreign Languages
Dr. Wilson had one of his short stories, “Requiem for Sweet Sally: Mourning a Relationship That Did Not End Well,” published in the April/May 2018 edition of “American Waterfowler” magazine.

Dr. Erin Wood, Associate Professor of Psychology
In early March at the annual conference for the Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA), Dr. Wood presented in a symposium focused on teaching in psychology.  That symposium specifically addressed various class assignments, projects, and papers that enhance undergraduate psychology courses.  She shared a new class activity and related skill-building assignments that she has tried in her Data Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences course during fall 2017.

Using a hand-held breathalyzer, Wood’s students voluntarily provided anonymous BAC readings at three separate time points: 1) baseline, 2) after imbibing a small amount of one of five types of non-alcoholic liquids, and 3) after gargling with either regular alcohol-based mouthwash or non-alcohol mouthwash. Most also voluntarily provided basic personal information – not associated with their names – e.g. sex and weight.  The activity allowed students to experience what it is like to be a participant in a psychological experiment and in that way may have been more prepared to engage the data set that they themselves produced.  We used the data set throughout the rest of the semester in examples of statistical analysis at the heart of the course, e.g. descriptive statistics, correlations, t-test, F-tests/ANOVAs, etc.

While at the symposium, Dr. Wood also learned about various other active learning type assignments that she will use in future classes, e.g. having students write their own tests and assigning the development of a functional brochure to the whole class, to be presented to other students in an effort to support all students’ learning.

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