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Sociology graduate conducting field research in India

Amy Brown, a 2011 graduate in sociology, is one of three students conducting field research in India for two weeks in an internationally known project on social and economic empowerment in resource-strapped communities.

The opportunity resulted from relationships established by Dr. Ronald S. Rochon, provost, and faculty members during two recent trips to India to explore academic partnerships with several organizations.

The students will conduct the field research and analysis under the guidance of Society for Development Studies (SDS) faculty and Dr. Niharika Banerjea, USI assistant professor of sociology. Banerjea's research interests include globalization, urban and community sociology, and South Asia. She will be in India with the students for a portion of their stay.

The academic pursuits and interests of the students selected for the fieldwork mesh with the interdisciplinary nature of the empowerment project.

Brown also completed minors in anthropology, biology, and psychology. Her interest is behavioral ecology - specifically, human adaptations to environmental change. During spring break, she pursued research in Guatemala on a trip led by Dr. Michael Aakhus, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. She is completing the field research as a USI internship.

The other students on the trip to Delhi and Alwar, India, from June 27 through July 10, 2011, are Chanse Ford and Daniel "D.J." Horstman. In Alwar, they will interview families that have been involved for several years with an "empowerment model" developed and implemented by the SDS, a partner institution of the United Nations.

Read the full report >>


Psychology major and sister among recipients of Adult Learner Scholarship

Serena and Sharona Fowler
Serena and Sharona Fowler

Evansville natives Serena and Sharona Fowler have more in common than most sisters. Only 11 months apart in age and having lost both parents several years ago, they rely heavily on each other for help and support as they work toward their educational goals. Parents to one young child each, they both attend the University of Southern Indiana as nontraditional students where they will complete bachelor's degrees in May 2012. In addition, they are also recipients of USI's 2011-2012 Adult Learner Scholarship, an annual scholarship program for adult learners designed to recognize academic achievement.

Prior to attending USI, Serena, a nursing major, and her sister Sharona, a psychology major, successfully completed course work at Ivy Tech Community College.

Serena was the first in her family to attend college and is currently participating in an externship in the Cardiovascular Care Center at Deaconess Hospital. Her career goal is to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist and stresses that anything worthwhile takes hard work and dedication.

"Even working 50 to 60 hours per week I wasn't able to provide my daughter with the kinds of opportunities I wanted for her" said Serena. "I often talk to my daughter about the importance of education. Even though it is not easy balancing care for Soffia and succeeding in the nursing program, I wouldn't change a thing. Soffia is by far my biggest motivator."

Sharona followed in Serena's footsteps and started her USI journey in the spring of 2010. Her passion is conducting research in different aspects of discrimination. She has participated in numerous research projects and has presented at several professional conferences, working closely with her peers and professors.

"My son, Gavin, sacrifices a lot for our family and I know it's difficult for him to understand the amount of work I have to do for my classes" said Sharona. "However, I believe exposing him to college at such an early age is very beneficial. He often talks about the day when he will get to attend college."

To qualify for the Adult Learner Scholarship, applicants must be a current USI student, be at least 25 years of age, and be working on his or her first undergraduate degree. Applicants submitted an essay describing their academic goals and experience as an adult student and a letter of recommendation from a USI staff or faculty member. Scholarship winners receive up to $2,000 for tuition, fees, books, and other educational expenses.

Other recipients of the 2011-2012 Adult Learner Scholarship include Cindy Criss and Jennifer Ruff, Boonville Jeffrey Andrews, Amy DeVries, Ernest Griffin, Marta Hollen, Joshua Luedeke, Tamra Marx, Wendy Painter, Debra Pellant, and Mary Schwambach, Evansville Linda Berg, Holland Heather Lindall, Newburgh Eric Fisher, Owensville and Jason Prater, Pisgah Forest, North Carolina.


Art graduate to intern at Washington, D.C. museum

Wakako Mikami
Wakako Mikami

A Japanese teacher and recent graduate in art at the University of Southern Indiana will hold a semester-long internship at the Smithsonian American Art Museum starting in September. Wakako Mikami will work in an education-related area of the American Art Museum, and her assignments will include weekly workshops, seminars, and on-site facility tours. With her Bachelor of Arts degree and the Smithsonian internship, she hopes to become an art educator.

Mikami's long-term goal is to help people understand and retain an interest in traditional art and culture. "I believe it is important to preserve the enriching aspects of art, especially when the economy concerns a huge part of the society," she said. "I also know the Smithsonian Institution will teach me how museums can improve the richness of people's lives," she wrote in her internship application.

Before earning a degree at USI, Mikami received a baccalaureate degree in international relations from Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, a university which instills in its students a deeper understanding of international affairs among foreign countries. While an undergraduate, she volunteered in Mexico and lived in three separate locations in India for a one-year period while completing an internship.

After graduation from Kobe City, Mikami coordinated logistics for a trade company, maintaining quality and on-time delivery, with clients in Japan and the United States.

Through her extensive travel, museums became favorite educational places for Mikami.

She visited Naoshima, Japan's art island, at a time when contemporary art was installed across the island. "I met and talked with the older generation of the island and found they participated in the art movement," she wrote in an essay. "The island had suffered from de-population and emigration of younger generations. Nevertheless, the art project brought in numerous young artists and visitors from all over the world. Older members of the community, who now enjoy learning about contemporary art and guiding young tourists, have become active and motivated with the island life. I learned the power of art during that visit."

She traveled to Indiana after receiving a scholarship from the Alliance for Language Learning and Education Exchange(ALLEX Foundation). Part of the scholarship required Mikami to teach at the Southern Indiana Japanese School, a program sponsored by the University of Southern Indiana, for children of Japanese executives who work in America. "The children inspired me with their creativity and openness to new ideas," she said. "I am amazed at their potential. My efforts are rewarded when I see my students enjoying the class. This type of reward or satisfaction was what I could not get from business no matter how hard I worked."

"I teach Japanese history and geography to students in third grade to seventh grade," she said. "On Saturdays I feel like I'm in Japan with students and teachers all speaking Japanese." Her parents and siblings live in Tokyo, the city where she grew up.

Mikami taught at the Japanese School on Saturdays, and she took USI classes in art and art history during the remainder of the week.

"I could talk to my USI professors easily," she said. "I think of them as considerate they know the personalities of their students."

Dr. Hilary Braysmith, associate professor of art history, was one of her teachers and helped Mikami to articulate her life mission on internship applications.

"Mikami is competitive, reflective, and expresses herself well," said Braysmith. "Her ability to share ideas left an impact on other students in class.

"Her business experience gave her confidence, plus she is aware of the good at every moment. She does not cruise through a class. For Mikami, the focus of art is to solve community issues and problems. She is now going forward on her merit.

"And such accomplishment is good for all USI students. When she proceeds forward, the USI name goes with her."

"I don't plan to become an artist," Mikami said. Her ambition is to interpret art for the common good. "Art has the possibility to help people. I want to be that help," she said.


The New Harmony Theatre's summer on stage

(adapted from The Evansville Courier & Press,
June 12, 2011, by Roger McBain, staff writer)

Elliot Wasserman leads the rehearsal
Director Elliot Wasserman leads
the rehearsal on USI's campus.


Elliot Wasserman, the new artistic director for the Equity summer theater program in New Harmony, Ind., will direct the first and last shows of New Harmony Theatre's 2011 season. The series will open June 17 with Neil Simon's Pulitzer Prize-winning dramedy "Lost in Yonkers" and close Aug. 7 with the final performance of the doo-wop, a cappella musical "Avenue X."

Eric Altheide, one of Wasserman's colleagues in the University of Southern Indiana's performing arts department, will direct the middle production in New Harmony. "The 39 Steps," a farce adapted from both a 1915 novel and a 1935 film by Alfred Hitchcock, will run July 8-17 in New Harmony's Murphy Auditorium.

Wasserman chose the productions to give audiences something to laugh at and to give them characters to care about, he said, "because this community has a big heart."

Eric Altheide
Eric Altheide

The opening production offers all those elements. Simon's story follows two young brothers left to live in Yonkers with their grandmother, a stern, disciplinarian German immigrant, while their father works as a traveling salesman to cover the family's debts after the death of his wife.

Their arrival puts the brothers at the epicenter of a family's struggles with the, controlling grandmother; aunt Bella, who squirms under her mother's thumb, and uncle Louie, a small-change hoodlum trying to lie low through it all.

"I have always thought that this was a play that would nestle very comfortably on Murphy Auditorium's stage," Wasserman said.

In a comedic change of pace and sensibility, "The 39 Steps" offers "a wild, 150-mile-per-hour, topsy-turvy look at film noir and Alfred Hitchcock," said Wasserman.

The spy comedy keeps four actors on the fly, playing the hero, heroine, vamps, villains, children, bystanders and even inanimate objects.

And "Avenue X" demonstrates the harmonics a cappella music played for young people living across the street from one another in the discordant ethnic and racial divisions of Brooklyn, N.Y., in the early 1960s.

The last is "the boldest of our choices, in many ways," said Wasserman.


Fresh Faces: Jaclyn 'Jaci' Wells

(taken from the Evansville Business Journal, June 2011, by Connie Stambush)

Jaclyn WellsJaci Wells has lived in Evansville less than a year, but already she's taken on an additional role aimed at advancing the English skills of Tri-Staters. Wells moved to Evansville as the assistant director of composition at the University of Southern Indiana, but as of this month, she added a new position to her resume: director of the River Bend Writing Project (RBWP).

The local site is an offshoot of the National Writing Project's program, and together they share a mission to improve literacy skills by bringing together teachers from across the curriculum to share ideas, theories and strategies for teaching writing. If that sounds like a big undertaking, it is.

"Writing can fall off the radar with (today's) emphasis on standardized testing, and it's easy to let go of writing and forget its importance."

Wells, whose academic career has been steeped in learning and teaching English, plans to do all she can to prevent that from happening in the Tri-State as the RBWP begins its second Invitational Summer Institute (ISI) this month.

This is a professional development program that emphasizes collaboration among participants, Wells says. This year's institute focuses on researching the theories and practices of teaching writing within all subjects while providing a forum for teachers to demonstrate their findings.

"The ISI provides an opportunity for teachers across disciplines and grade levels to learn from each other about teaching."

The Evansville site is one of the newest in the pool of more than 200 such sites nationwide, and Wells wants to spread the word to Tri-State teaching professionals that it is a source for community professionals to build their skills for teaching writing while connecting with the empirical power of a nationwide network of teachers.

As an English professor who loves her work, Wells knows firsthand the euphoria of witnessing a moment of awakening in a student, "seeing that change in their eyes when they 'get it.'" Moments of awakening, however, are not just for students. Teachers need them, too, and Wells wants to ensure area teachers get that opportunity.


USI Chamber Choir performed at Carnegie Hall

USI Chamber Choir at St. Joseph's Church in Jasper, Indiana
The USI Chamber Choir at
St. Joseph's Church in Jasper, Indiana

The University of Southern Indiana's Chamber Choir performed with the University of Evansville Choir, Evansville Philharmonic Chorus, and others on Saturday, May 28, 2011, at New York City's prestigious Carnegie Hall.

Dr. Dennis Malfatti, UE's director of choral activities, was invited to serve as a guest conductor at Carnegie Hall for the spring/summer 2011 season. Of the seven choirs participating, three were from Evansville. Additional choirs were from Kentucky, New York, and California. A total of 150 singers performed with accompaniment by the New England Symphonic Ensemble. The featured work was classical Austrian composer Joseph Haydn's "Mass in the Time of War."

"I was thrilled for the opportunity to prepare singers for this event," said Daniel Craig, director of the USI Chamber Choir. "This opportunity came after a successful collaboration between the USI Chamber Choir, University of Evansville Choir, and the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus' production of Ludwig van Beethoven's timeless 'Choral Symphony No. 9.'"

The USI Chamber Choir's participation in the event was supported by funds raised through the USI Madrigal Feaste, student fees, and the support of the president and the USI Foundation.


English and Psychology major named Outstanding Student in College of Liberal Arts

Crystal Steltenpohl Crystal Steltenpohl is this year's Outstanding Student from the College of Liberal Arts, an award that recognizes excellence in academics and service.

Steltenpohl is graduating magna cum laude in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and psychology from the University of Southern Indiana.

In a military family for 20 years, she grew up living in four different cities in Germany and graduated from the AF North International School in the Netherlands. She also lived in Ferdinand, Indiana; Missouri; and Kentucky.

She lived on the Honors Floor in student housing in 2007. She was skeptical about relating to Hoosier students. "I was concerned because I didn't know the American culture or enjoy the same bands, but I made awesome friends and got involved in student clubs," she said. A resident assistant in McDonald West her sophomore year, she was the resident assistant for the Honors Floor the next year.

She credits her work with student groups and her campus activism for getting into graduate school. She will be attending Southern Illinois University, Carbondale in the fall to begin work on a doctoral program in psychology. During her interview, the admission counselor said her ability to get involved and make a difference was noted. She plans to study diversity in the workplace and in the classroom. Her goal is to become a college psychology professor and develop methods to better represent underserved populations within the curriculum.

Her 3.97 grade point average (GPA) was another plus on the application. A modest young woman, Steltenpohl excelled in her dual majors.

"Crystal is a model of academic excellence with an exceptional GPA and a history of service in the University and in the community," said Dean Michael Aakhus. "She has a very bright future."

Liberal arts students are nominated by departments within the college and the award winner is selected by the dean. The Psychology Department unanimously chose Crystal Steltenpohl for the honor.

Read more about Crystal Steltenpohl >>


USI radio station The Edge wins five state awards

The University of Southern Indiana radio station, The Edge, won five state awards in the 2011 Indiana Association of School Broadcasters (IASB) College Competition. The Edge (WSWI 820-AM, WPSR 90.7 FM-HD2, theedgeradio.org) won three first place and two third place awards in five categories.

First place award winners:
Mick Joest - Radio Spot Production
Lauren Hayes - Radio Newscast
Robyn Scott - Radio Copywriting

Third place award winners:
Lauren Hayes - Radio News Report
Mitch Mullis - Radio Sportscast.

The IASB college competition is open to all Indiana colleges and universities. This competition follows the national Broadcast Education Association competition in which The Edge recently won three national awards, two in student spot production and one in faculty long-form audio.


USI's radio station The Edge receives national awards

The University of Southern Indiana radio station The Edge (AM-820, 90.7 FM-HD2, theedgeradio.org) has won three national awards in the Broadcast Education Association's Festival of Arts.

Junior Mick Joest placed second in the student PSA/Promo/Commercial student category for his promotional announcement Jilted. This is the second national award Joest has won this school year.

Junior Jeremy Luman received an honorable mention for his promotional announcement titled Bro Fight.

John Morris, faculty advisor/general manager for The Edge and USI instructor in radio and television, received an Award of Excellence in the Faculty Long Form Audio competition. Morris' production of Heroes of the Tri-State: Paul "P.G." Williams was the fourth episode in a radio drama series that chronicled the World War II stories of Tri-state residents. This marks the second consecutive year that an episode of Heroes of the Tri-State was recognized by the BEA. The World War II radio drama series is available to area educators upon request.

The BEA Festival of Arts judged a total of 913 entries from 143 colleges and universities in a total of 15 categories.


Dr. Leigh Anne Howard receives Sydney L. and Sadelle Berger Faculty Community Service Award

Leigh Anne Howard
Leigh Anne Howard

Dr. Leigh Anne Howard, associate professor of Communication Studies, is the recipient of the 2011 Sydney L. and Sadelle Berger Faculty Community Service Award acknowledging distinguished community service among USI faculty members. The award was presented Saturday at the College of Liberal Arts Honors Day Convocation.

Howard has been an innovator in developing community-based projects for her courses, implementing service learning projects every year since joining the USI faculty in 2000. Since 2001, she has facilitated a partnership between students her performance studies classes and the K-12 students at the Boys and Girls Club's Fulton Square Unit. The project enables USI students to study and apply performance theory by working with Smart Moves, the club's drug, alcohol, and tobacco prevention program.

Howard's students utilize performance as a tool to help club members learn to deal with issues such as peer pressure, substance abuse, race and gender discrimination, and more. "Dr. Howard's class is the only one of its kind that we offer and is the only outside resource that comes regularly to our club and provides additional learning activities," said Leslie M. Asbury, director of the Fulton Square club. "Through her teaching style, role-playing exercises and class participation, she has found a new way to address many issues that our members face daily."

Howard has served as director of the Veterans Oral History Project, an affiliate of the National Veterans History Project organized by the American Folklife Center a the Library of Congress, since 2003. She organized Debate-A-Palooza during the presidential election of 2008, and she has served on many committees at the University, college, and department level. She also has served as a mentor for other faculty members planning service projects in their areas of study.

"Dr. Howard's record is an excellent example of engaged teaching, research, and service a true model for how a faculty member at an "engaged" campus should work," said J. Wayne Rinks, chair of the Department of Communications.

Howard has published articles in Communication Education, American Behavioral Scientist, World Communication Journal, Theatre Insight, and Theatre Symposium. She earned her Ph.D. in Speech Communication (Performance/Cultural Studies) from Louisiana State University in 1995, her M.A. in Communication (Rhetoric and Organizational Culture) from Western Kentucky University in 1991, and her B.A. in English, Drama, and Classical Studies from Centre College of Kentucky in 1986.

The Sydney and Sadelle Berger Faculty Community Service Award is made possible by the Bergers' son Charles and his wife Leslie. Selected by the USI Faculty and Academic Affairs committee, the award winner is given a plaque and a stipend.


Stoll presents Cooper Award lecture on ethics in higher education

Mary Lynn StollDr. Mary Lynn Stoll, assistant professor of philosophy and recipient of the 2010-2011 H. Lee Cooper Core Curriculum Teaching Award, presented "Ethics at the Core of Higher Education," the Cooper Award lecture, on March 18, 2011.

Focusing exclusively on teaching, the Cooper Award honors a USI faculty member whose work in University Core courses has been especially creative and successful in furthering UCC goals. The Cooper Award winner is expected to present a lecture to the University community during the academic year. Stoll was announced as this year's winner in fall 2010.

Each semester, Stoll teaches between 80 and 100 students in two to three sections of Introduction to Ethics, a course that fulfills part of the Core Curriculum under "The Self." In addition, she teaches introductory courses in philosophy, contemporary philosophy, political and legal philosophy, and logic and critical thinking.

Stoll's research interests include ethics, applied ethics, and social and political philosophy. She is particularly interested in corporations and free speech rights, globalization, the environment, and business ethics. She has published several articles in business ethics on marketing ethics and on corporations and free speech rights.

Stoll's involvement extends outside of the classroom, as advisor for the Philosophy Club and Vegetarian Club, and coach for the Ethics Bowl Team. She has served on the Core Curriculum Assessment Committee, Gender Studies Committee, Philosophy Program Review Committee, and the Working Group for Nationally Competitive Scholarships, and served as an alternate representative for the College of Liberal Arts to the Faculty Senate. She has organized a USI production of The Vagina Monologues for the last five years.

Stoll joined the University in fall 2005. She received her Ph.D. in philosophy from Purdue University in 2002. Her dissertation dealt with moral obligation in a global economy focusing on the environment, the poor, and ways in which businesses can help or hinder us in meeting moral obligations. Stoll taught at Minnesota State University-Mankato and at Muskingum College before joining USI.

The Cooper award is named in honor of H. Lee Cooper, a long-time friend and supporter of USI. The award was presented at the Fall Faculty and Administrative Staff Meeting in August. It includes a generous stipend, a plaque, and additional monies for travel and related faculty development.


Faculty receive research awards

The College of Liberal Arts Research Awards (LARA) are given to the following faculty: Niharika Banerjea, assistant professor of sociology; Nicholas LaRowe, assistant professor of political science; Amie McKibban, assistant professor of psychology; Garret Merriam, assistant professor of philosophy; Amy Montz, assistant professor of English; and Melinda York, assistant professor of criminal justice studies.  They each will have a course release in Spring 2012 in order to have more time for research.


Faculty receive promotions

Tenure and promotions were approved by the Board of Trustees at the March 3, 2011 meeting. The College of Liberal Arts faculty receiving continuous appointment and promotion from assistant professor to associate professor effective August 16, 2011 are Robert Millard-Mendez, art; Dr. Elizabeth Passmore, English; and Dr. Mary Lyn Stoll, philosophy.

Dr. Patrick Shaw, associate professor of English, will be given tenure and Daniel Craig will be promoted to associate professor with both changes effective August 16, 2011.


Elliot Wasserman named artistic director for New Harmony Theatre

Elliot WassermanElliot Wasserman, chair of the Department of Performing Arts, has been named the producing artistic director for New Harmony Theatre.

The 2011 season offers three plays that will provide a roller coaster of emotions. Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers combines emotional honesty with sentimental comedy. The 39 Steps, adapted by Patrick Barlow from the novel by John Buchan, is a fast-paced parody of the classic Alfred Hitchcock film by the same name. The musical Avenue X by John Jiller and Ray Leslee recalls the early days of doo-wop music.

“These plays are recent, written during the last two decades,” Wasserman said. “I love the classics, but in my first summer, I wanted to offer our audiences a look at the current theatre, even as we set about charting New Harmony Theatre’s future.”

Wasserman also directs the USI Theatre program. He joined the University in 1991.

Angela Torres is the new managing and marketing director for New Harmony Theatre.

A change in this summer’s performance schedule is designed to allow more theatre-goers to enjoy the historic town of New Harmony by day. Saturday matinees will replace Thursday
night performances.

New Harmony Theatre is a professional Equity theatre produced by USI. For more information on the 2011 season, click here >>


Psychology faculty receive USI Foundation teaching awards

The USI Foundation has awarded its 2011 Outstanding Teaching Awards to two
faculty members in the Department of Psychology.

Dr. Aimee Mark Dr. Airmee Mark

Dr. Aimee Mark, assistant professor of psychology, is the recipient of the Outstanding Teaching by a New Faculty Member Award. Mark joined USI in 2007 after teaching at Transylvania University, University of Kentucky, and Eastern Kentucky University.

One student said, “She always has new and interesting ways for us to learn the material, whether this is through group in-class activities or something we do on our own. She brings a certain excitement and energy to every class.”

Mark will receive a $1,000 cash stipend and a faculty development grant of $1,000.

Paul KasenowPaul Kasenow

Paul Kasenow, instructor in psychology, received the Outstanding Teaching by an Adjunct Faculty Member Award. Kasenow has taught at USI almost every semester since fall 1988.

A former student said, “He has a gift for taking complicated material and breaking it down into smaller parts for students to better understand. It’s been a while since I took his course and I still remember so much, thanks to his methods.”

Kasenow is a professor of psychology and serves as division chair for Social and Behavioral Sciences at Henderson Community College, where he has taught since fall 1989.

He will receive a $500 cash stipend and a faculty development grant of $500.


University appoints dean of College of Liberal Arts

News and Information Article Photo

Michael Aakhus, a member of the USI Art Department faculty since 1977, has been named dean of the College of Liberal Arts, announced Provost Ronald S. Rochon. The appointment is effective March 1.

"This is wonderful news for USI, said Dr. Rochon. "Michael is respected by faculty peers, national and international artists, and individuals throughout our community. He has shown great leadership in the College of Liberal Arts."

Aakhus had been associate dean of the college for five years before being appointed interim dean in 2010 when Dean David Glassman took a position at another university. Throughout his career, Aakhus has served on numerous University committees and been active in community organizations at local, state, and national levels.

Aakhus currently is on the Endeavor Committee for faculty and student research, the Academic Planning Council, the Academic Affairs Council, and the Graduate Programs Committee and the Executive Committee for the College of Liberal Arts. He is a member of the Center for Communal Studies Board of Directors, the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana Board of Directors, and the Art for Life Committee of the AIDS Resource Group in Evansville.

Known as a scholar of ancient art of Mexico and a Maya expert, Aakhus regularly leads study trips to Mexico and Central America. His own art, represented in public and private art collections throughout the United States and abroad, has been displayed at invitational and juried exhibitions since 1975. He was named the 2009 Artist of the Year by the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana.

Aakhus earned the Master of Fine Arts degree at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and holds an undergraduate degree from Bemidji State University.

"I am honored to have been selected to serve as dean of the College of Liberal Arts," Aakhus said. "Above all, I value the foundations of academic life which support teaching, scholarship, creative work, and service to the University and community. The college has a great team and as we move forward our agenda, I look forward to working with such exceptional people to shape the future.

"Throughout the community, region, and state, the University of Southern Indiana has established a reputation for dedication to student learning and engagement, quality programs, and effective use of resources," Aakhus added. "We are a young institution with a history of phenomenal growth and innovation, led by a dynamic, optimistic, and creative team. The University is at a crucial and exciting moment in its development, as it moves from state and regional recognition to status in the national and international arena."

The appointment of Aakhus as dean was the result of a national search, Dr. Rochon said.


Bonnell receives second Bigham Award for third installment of "Snapshots of Southern Indiana"

Karen BonnellDr. Karen Bonnell, professor of communications, has received the 2011 Darrel Bigham Historic Southern Indiana Faculty Engagement Fellowship Award for a third installment of "Snapshots of Southern Indiana," a 30-minute television program used to promote tourism in southern Indiana. Bonnell received the award in 2008 for the second installment of "Snapshots of Southern Indiana," which focused on Indiana's original territorial capitol at Vincennes, the state's first capitol at Corydon, and the Native American settlement at Angel Mounds in Newburgh.

The 2011 award includes a $4,000 grant that will be used to fund Bonnell's latest "Snapshots" program called "Southern Indiana African American Heritage Project." Goals of the project are to collect and present information about African American cultural heritage in southern Indiana to a regional audience through WNIN-TV, the regional public broadcaster based in Evansville, Indiana, and the Evansville African American Museum.

Bonnell's project will involve research, planning, and production of still photographs, video footage, and video interviews at multiple historic sites in Indiana including Corydon, Evansville, and Princeton. The material will be organized for public display at the Evansville African American Museum and edited into a television documentary for WNIN-TV. The episode will be available to other public television stations for potential statewide broadcast.

"Contemporary media managers recognize that diversity in programming means realistic and accurate representation of minorities in media as well as serving the needs of diverse audiences," said Bonnell. "The Southern Indiana African American Heritage Project will utilize public television and public display to reach diverse audiences with information about historic sites and the preservation activities related to African American heritage in southern Indiana."

Location shooting for the project will begin this summer and editing will begin in the fall. Photographs and video clips will be packaged for display at the Evansville African Museum in the early fall.

The Bigham Award provides financial support for scholarly work in the areas of consulting, research, service learning, or creation of workshops/institutes by USI faculty. Dr. Darrel Bigham, director emeritus of Historic Southern Indiana and professor emeritus of history, was a USI pioneer in regional engagement.

Historic Southern Indiana was created in 1986 to serve the southernmost 26 counties of Indiana. Its goals are to identify, preserve, protect, enhance, and promote the historical, natural, and recreational resources of the region. It seeks to implement those goals through programs in historic preservation, history education, heritage tourism, community development, and scenic byways. Its office is a part of Outreach and Engagement.


Winners announced in the 2010 Write Away Hunger Poem & Short-Short Fiction Contests

The Student Writers Union and English Department wish to congratulate the prize winners in the 2010 Write Away Hunger Contests.

In the poetry category, Breck Brizendine won first price for his poem, "The Tomorrow that Won't be Today." Second prize went to Josh Pietrowski for "The Truth About the River Styx." And third prize was won by Chelsea Barber for "Y2K."

In the prose category, Breck Brizendine's short-short story "Free as the Wind" won first place. Jillian Wagner won second place for her short-short story "Divan."

These winning entries as well as the best of all the submissions will appear in the 2011 issue of FishHook to be published in the fall.


Stoll wins Cooper Award for creative teaching in the Core

Mary Lyn StollSuppose that your basic survival needs have already been met. You have enough food to be healthy. You are protected from the elements and have enough clothes to keep you warm next winter - even though they might not be as trendy as you would like. Your education and medical bills are paid. Is it morally wrong for you to accept luxury items such as CDs, hipper clothes, an iPod, or a smart phone as a gift from your parents when the money could be donated to provide famine relief to those living in absolute poverty? Why or why not? Defend your answer against possible objections.

That is one of the questions students in a recent Ethics course taught by Dr. Mary Lyn Stoll were asked to answer in their final paper, and an example of how she challenges her students "to evaluate their own everyday morality," as former student Jessica L. Jones '08 put it.

Stoll, assistant professor of philosophy, is the 2010-2011 H. Lee Cooper Core Curriculum Teaching Award winner. Focusing exclusively on teaching, the Cooper award honors a USI faculty member whose work in University Core courses has been especially creative and successful in furthering UCC goals.

Jones holds a Bachelor of Science degree in philosophy from USI. "Dr. Stoll arrived at USI during my sophomore year while I still had an undecided major," she said. "After taking my first course with her, I was inspired and excited about dedicating my undergraduate career to philosophy."

Each semester, Stoll teaches between 80 and 100 students in two to three sections of Introduction to Ethics, a course that fulfills part of the Core Curriculum under "The Self." Dr. Julie Evey, former interim chair of the Department of Philosophy, said, "One concern of students in an Ethics course is that they will be told what to think. Dr. Stoll encourages the students to think for themselves, but to use the appropriate information as well as make valid arguments. Class sessions are devoted to working through the readings and developing critical thinking and analysis skills. She is demanding in the classroom, but truly cares about students' understanding of the material."

In addition to introductory ethics, she teaches introduction to philosophy, contemporary philosophy, political and legal philosophy, and logic and critical thinking.

Stoll's research interests include ethics, applied ethics, and social and political philosophy. She is especially interested in corporations and free speech rights, globalization, the environment, and business ethics. She has published several articles in business ethics on marketing ethics and on corporations and free speech rights.

Stoll's involvement extends outside of the classroom, as advisor for the Philosophy Club and Vegetarian Club, and coach for the Ethics Bowl Team. She has served on the Core Curriculum Assessment Committee, Gender Studies Committee, Philosophy Program Review Committee, and the Working Group for Nationally Competitive Scholarships, and served as an alternate representative for the College of Liberal Arts to the Faculty Senate.

Jones served as president of the Philosophy Club for two years. "Dr. Stoll helped us bring The Vagina Monologues to USI for the first time, and over the past three years, the club has raised over $1,400 for a local women's shelter," she said.

Stoll joined the University in fall 2005. She received her Ph.D. in philosophy from Purdue University in 2002. Her dissertation dealt with moral obligation in a global economy focusing on the environment, the poor, and ways in which businesses can help or hinder us in meeting moral obligations. Stoll taught at Minnesota State University-Mankato and at Muskingum College before joining USI.

The Cooper award is named in honor of H. Lee Cooper, a long-time friend and supporter of USI. The award was officially presented at the Fall Faculty and Administrative Staff Meeting on August 23. It includes a generous stipend, a plaque, and additional monies for travel and related faculty development.

As this year's winner, Stoll will deliver a presentation to the University community during the 2010-2011 academic year. Details will be released at a later date.


Black Lawrence Press Interviews Nicole Reid

Nicole ReidBlack Lawrence Press publishes Weekly Publishing Tips. Recently, for their week's feature article, they interviewed Nicole Reid of RopeWalk Press.  You can read the article below.

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Black Lawrence Press: RopeWalk Press is an extension of the RopeWalk Writers Retreat. What inspired you and other people at RopeWalk to found a press?
Nicole Reid: RopeWalk Press was created without any plans for a future beyond publishing the 20th Anniversary Retreat Anthology, however our former editor, Ron Mitchell, had plans.  At the time, he was managing editor of Southern Indiana Review and had already witnessed the powerful catalyst that holding a contest can be.  Via contests judged by authors of great acclaim and a complete redesign, he transformed SIR from a regional unheard-of to a fine journal of national importance.  The quality of our submissions jumped a few pegs so our content did as well; suddenly we were receiving work by not just published authors, but folks with books from strong literary and trade houses.  RopeWalk Press became a sort of extension of Ron's work with SIR.  He collaborated with one author, then another and another on poetry chapbooks and poetry chapbook contests for the press and those were our first publications.

BLP: Although RopeWalk is a new press, do you think that it already has a clear aesthetic?
NR: That's hard to say.  We've published only poetry thus far, poetry selected by Ron and by contest judges.  And it's so hard to know what judges will end up choosing.  Our next project is a fiction chapbook for which Robert Olen Butler is currently reading the nine finalists I selected.  I think commonalities exist among our chapbooks--risks taken in language, for example, but my heart will always be with character development and hard consequences to action.

BLP: Does RopeWalk Press only publish work created by alums of the retreat or are you open to submissions from other people as well?
NR: No, in fact, aside from the anthology, none of our publications are by retreat alumni.  We are open to all authors.

BLP: Right now you publish chapbooks and anthologies. Can you see a time in the future when RopeWalk Press might publish full-length collections, work of non-fiction, or novels?
NR: I would love that but I don't see it happening.  The Press is basically one person (once Ron Mitchell, now me) here at University of Southern Indiana and funding and support are minimal.  Not only would the economy have to improve but we'd need a bit of a climate change here.

BLP: What are your goals for the future of RopeWalk?
NR: I want to publish work that stops the heart, then restarts it with a little different beat.  I want these books' design to measure up to the writing--as a novelist and short story writer, I'm always so excited to receive contributor's copies of a journal or anthology I'm in and crestfallen when the design is amateurish or just doesn't fit.  I want RopeWalk Press authors to tear in to their contributors' copies and love what they find there.

BLP: What is your favorite thing about your work as an editor? Your least favorite thing?
NR: My favorite task as editor is reading something new--some new treatment, some exciting turn of what many other writers can't seem to break free from.  My least favorite is reading all those exasperatingly tired renditions. 

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Nicole Louise Reid is the author of the novel In the Breeze of Passing Things. Her stories have appeared in The Southern Review, Quarterly West, Meridian, Black Warrior Review, Confrontation, turnrow, New Orleans Review, Crab Orchard Review, and Grain. She is the winner of the 2001 Willamette Award in Fiction, and has also won awards from the Pirate’s Alley William Faulkner Short Story Competition, the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Society, and Glimmer Train. She teaches creative writing at USI, is fiction editor of Southern Indiana Review, and co-directs RopeWalk Reading Series. Of all the things that bring her pleasure, building a career on the art of telling lies is one of the finest.