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Liberal Arts Achievements

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Spring 2021

Jump to: Fall 2020

The College of Liberal Arts hosted their annual Spring Meeting in January 2021, continuing our tradition of presenting awards of recognition to faculty and staff who have gone above and beyond in their service to the College.

We are proud to announce the following:

  • Dr. Melissa Stacer, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, received the Outstanding Research and Creativity Award
  • Mrs. Jenn Horn, Instructor of English, received the Outstanding Teaching Award
  • Dr. Silvia Rode, Professor of German, received the Distinguished Faculty Award
  • Kristina Arwood, Marketing Coordinator for the College, received the Outstanding Service to the College of Liberal Arts Award

Dr. Melissa Stacer collage Mrs. Jenn Horn collage

Dr. Silvia Rode collage Kristina Arwood collage

Dr. Gregory Blair, Instructor in Graphic Design, published his second book, The Politics of Spatial Transgressions in the Arts, with Palgrave Macmillan. His first book, Errant Bodies, Mobility, and Political Resistance, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2018. 

From the publisher: This book is an anthology of the varied strategies of spatial transgressions and how they have been implemented through the arts as a means to resist, rejuvenate, reclaim, critique or cohabitate. The book is divided into two sections – Displacements and Disruptions.

The first section discusses the ramifications of the spatial displacements of bodies, organizations, groups of people and ethnicities, and explores how artists, theorists and arts organizations have an attentive history of revealing and reacting to the displacement of peoples and how their presence or absence radically reconfigures the value, identity, and uses of place.

In the second section, each author considers how aesthetic strategies have been utilized to disrupt expected spatial experiences and logic. Many of these strategies form radical alternative methodologies that include transgressions, geographies of resistance, and psychogeographies. These spatial performances of disruption set into motion a critical exchange between the subject, space and materiality, in which ideology and experience are both produced/spatialized and deconstructed/destabilized.

Dr. Urska Dobersek, Assistant Professor of Psychology, and her research team recently published their study "Does Exercise Make Me More Attractive? Exploring the Relations Between Exercise and Mate Value" in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science from Springer Publishing.

Dobersek, U., Stallings, B., Wy, G.C., Charleen R. Case, & J. Maner. (2020). Does Exercise Make Me More Attractive? Exploring the Relations Between Exercise and Mate Value. Evolutionary Psychological Science.

Fall 2020

Jump to: Spring 2021

Ms. Xinran Hu, Associate Professor of Graphic Design, was published in The MIT Press journal LeonardoLeonardo is the leading international peer-reviewed journal on the use of contemporary science and technology in the arts and music and, increasingly, the application and influence of the arts and humanities on science and technology. 

A study by Hu and Dinko Bačić entitled "Exploratory Discoveries from Eye-Tracking Tests of Wertheimer’s Gestalt Patterns" was posted in December 2020. From the abstract:

In this study, we use a novel eye-tracking technology to determine how viewing behavior complies with Wertheimer’s descriptions of Gestalt principles of similarity, proximity, continuation, and closure. Our results show that viewers respond predictably to the most Gestalt principles, while discovering important nuances when it comes to our better understanding of the role of visual attention in closure principle and competing principles. In addition, our results revealed a fundamental distinction between visual attention and visual perception. By grasping this critical difference between attention and perception, designers may become more successful in applying Gestalt principles to their design.

Retired adjunct instructor of History, Mr. Gregg McManus, has published a new novel with Authorhouse. "The Bug Light Room" is McManus's first book although a sequel and other books are in the works. It is a sci-fi thriller that takes place between southwestern Indiana and Washington, D.C., with Indiana politics and a presidential election as influence on events in the plot. The book can be purchased from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or the publisher's website.

USI Public Relations and Advertising alum, Scott Hogan, was featured in an article about his work as Executive Director for the Democratic Party of Georgia.

Scott Hogan with first lady-elect Kill Biden and Stacey Abrams

From the article: Scott Hogan, executive director of the Democratic Party of Georgia and a Biden campaign senior advisor, stands for a photo alongside first lady-elect Jill Biden and Stacey Abrams. Hogan grew up in Bloomington.

Dr. Norma Rosas Mayén, Associate Professor of Spanish, published Afro-Hispanic Linguistic Remnants in Mexico: The Case of the Costa Chica Region with Iberoamericana Vervuert.

A synopsis from the publisher: In the last decades, the study of Afro-Spanish varieties that developed during the Colonial period in the Americas has seduced many scholars. The analysis of these Afro-Hispanic speech patterns is crucial to determine their creolized or non-creolized status, as well as to understand the scarcity of the Spanish-based creoles in the Americas.

The present study contributes to this linguistic field by analyzing the current speech of the Afro-Mexicans of the Costa Chica region, one of the largest Afro-Mexican enclaves, while proposing a Rhizomatic Linguistic Model to interpret data derived from contact situations. This investigation not only accounts for the Afro-Hispanic linguistic remnants of this Spanish variety, but also examines the current linguistic characteristics and sociolinguistic status of this speech area on the brink of extinction.

In addition, this book advocates on behalf of those Costa Chica Afro-Mexican communities that have been stigmatized and customarily ignored in Mexico’s nation-state politics.

Dr. Urska Dobersek's recent publication, “Meat and mental health: A systematic review of meat abstention and depression, anxiety, and related phenomena” article was one of the Top 10 Most Downloaded Papers published by Taylor and Francis in 2020.

Southern States Communication AssociationSouthern States Communication Association recently named Dr. Leigh Anne Howard, Professor of Communication Studies and Chair of the Communications Department, the 2020 Southern Scholar for the Performance Division. 

Dr. Howard is a performance studies scholar who studies the intersection of performance, culture, and personal and social identity, as well as critical performance pedagogy. She has published articles in journals including Text and Performance Quarterly, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Communication Education, the American Behavioral Scientist, the Journal of Intercultural Communication (formerly the World Communication Journal), and the Journal of Fandom Studies.

Her most recent publication is Performativity, Cultural Construction and the Graphic Narrative (Routledge, 2020), which she co-edited with Dr. Susanna Hoeness-Krupsaw, Associate Professor of English.

The USI Foundation created a unique, 20-minute tour of the University of Southern Indiana Art Collection. The video features Susan Sauls M’16, Director of the University Art Collection, and offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the inventory, care, student involvement and overall management of the collection.

Master of Public Administration alum, Chaze Patrick, was featured on the WNIN public affairs program "Two Main Street with David James" with fellow Toastmaster Charron Combs. They discuss what is takes to be a good public speaker and facing your fears.

Dr. Steven Williams, Associate Professor of Sociology, is featured in the Fall 2020 edition of illume, USI's magazine. One interesting tidbit mentioned in the "Tail Feather" is that he owns an extensive Marvel comic collection – 2,200. Needless to say, he’s a “Marvel guy” and not a “DC guy.” Read more about Williams in illume today.

Team Liquid LogoDr. Crystal N. Steltenpohl, Assistant Professor of Psychology and founder of the Online Technologies Lab at USI is a scholar, gamer, and participant in online worlds. As such, her major research interests revolve around how we interact with various technologies, especially those that house online communities, and their effects on community and individual wellbeing. In November 2020, Dell Technologies and Team Liquid hosted a panel discussion on research in Esports, specifically around helping athletes compete safely and sustainably. Dr. Steltenpohl participated in this panel which can be viewed on Team Liquid's Twitch.

Twitch Stream Screenshot

Dr. Darrin Sorrells, adjunct Instructor for Psychology, and his colleague in Academic Skills, Ms. Christine Wittmer, co-authored an article that was published in a peer-reviewed journal, The Learning Assistance Review, in September 2020.

The Learning Assistance Review, a publication of The National College Learning Center Association (NCLCA). The NCLCA is a community that works and supports learning center leaders across the world. Focusing on the leadership of learning centers in higher education, NCLCA offers a popular annual conference and institute, frequent webinars, newsletter, a podcast, and the journal, now in its 25th year.

On September 4, Professor of Art, Rob Millard-Mendez, received the Best in Show award for his work, "A Brief History of New Bedford," at the 27th Annual Jasper Arts Center Juried Exhibition. Millard-Mendez also received an Honorable Mention for his work "Early Morning Fireships."

'A Brief History of New Bedford' by Rob Millard-Mendez'Early Morning Fireships' by Rob Millard-Mendez

Dr. Casey PyciorDr. Casey Pycior, Assistant Professor of English, had two pieces accepted for publication: "Trespassing," an essay, appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of Sport Literate magazine and "And Sometimes Come to Regret," a short story, will appear in the spring issue of The Laurel Review.

The College of Liberal Arts welcomed five new faculty members to the team this semester. Find out more below or read the USI Today article with a few more fun things about them.

Dr. Jason CallahanJason Callahan
Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice

Jason received his PhD in Sociology from Virginia Tech in May. He also holds degrees in Criminal Justice (M.S.), Political Science (B.A.), and Sociology (B.S.). Jason has taught criminology, juvenile delinquency, and drugs and society. He will be teaching crime scene investigations and police and society this fall. His research interests focus on crime and media as well as policing. Jason's dissertation investigated news media portrayals of active shooting events by analyzing Twitter data from various media sources. Prior to completing his doctorate, Jason had a career in law enforcement that spanned over 10 years. He hopes to bring this experience into the classroom.

Dr. Junghee HanJunghee Han
Assistant Professor, Social Work

Dr. Junghee Han earned her Ph.D. in Social Work from Fordham University in May 2019. She received her second MSW degree from Washington University in St. Louis and her first MSW degree from Soongsil Graduate School in Seoul, Korea. She has extensive clinical and research experiences working with older adults, people with disabilities, and immigrants. Before joining the USI, she served as an affiliate faculty in Calvin University. Her research focus areas include palliative care, productive aging, and health disparities for populations at risk.

Dr. Caroline JalainCaroline Jalain
Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice

Caroline graduated with her PhD in Criminal Justice from the University of Louisville in May 2020. She received her Masters in Criminal Justice from the University of Southern Mississippi and her Bachelors from the University of Orleans (France). Caroline's research focuses on courts, speciality courts and fear of crime using international data. She will be teaching Criminal Courts and Law and Criminal Law for the Criminal Justice Department at USI this fall. She looks forward to collaborating with other faculty members at USI and to continue developing her teaching and research agenda. Go Screagles!

Dr. Sung LeeSunguook (Sung) Lee
Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice

Dr. Lee earned a BA from Michigan State University, MS from Illinois State University, and PhD from Michigan State University, all in Criminal Justice. Dr. Lee's researcher and teaching interest is on the perception of police legitimacy and juvenile delinquency. He focused on cultural influence of perception of police legitimacy by testing whether Confucius culture. The idea was to see if individuals' perception of police legitimacy was based on personality traits or based on their cultural expectations. In terms of juvenile delinquency research, he focuses on behaviors such as alcohol abuse, suicidal ideations, and general delinquencies to assess what causes delinquent behaviors.

Jane Weatherred
Assistant Professor, Public Relations

Jane earned her Ph.D. in Mass Communications from the University of South Carolina in May 2019. She received her M.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from USC and her B.A. in Political Science from Hollins University. She has professional experience in public relations working for political officials and on political campaign staff in addition to serving as the Director of Public Relations for a college. At USI, she will teach Introduction to Advertising, Introduction to Public Relations, and Mass Communication Research. Her research focus areas are in public relations, health communication, public policy and journalism history.

Harison's book, 'Paris in Modern Times'The Journal of European Studies published a glowing review of Casey Harison’s most recent work, Paris in Modern Times: From the Old Regime to the Present Day (Bloomsbury Academic, October 2019) noting its encyclopedic treatment and admirable research.

Classic Restaurants of Evansville book cover

Associate Professor of History, Dr. Kristalyn Shefveland’s history of local eateries, Classic Restaurants of Evansville, was published in August 2020. Followed by an interview on local WNIN with David James.


Journal cover with a group of peopleHistory department adjunct and Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial Chief of Interpretation and Resource Management, Michael A. Capps, has published "A Question of Relevance: The Case of Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial," in The Public Historian (2020) 42 (2): 101–123.

Dr. Rocco J. Gennaro, Professor of philosophy, recently published a much expanded and updated 2nd edition of his book entitled Mind and Brain: A Dialogue on the Mind-Body Problem, Hackett Publishing Company, 2020. This is his 12th published book.

AL Holen teaching a ceramics classIn February 2020, Alisa (AL) Holen of the USI Art and Design Department was one of three women selected to present on "Women in Craft" at the Ruskin School of Art and The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) in England. Her two-day workshop focused on the importance and history of the handmade object, the human desire to make, and using the draw of the handmade object to build community. An exhibit of her ceramic work was presented at The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford.

Holen received her MA and MFA from the University of Iowa. She has taught Ceramics at USI since the Fall of 2011. She exhibits both nationally and internationally with her most recent exhibits including the American Pottery Festival at the Northern Clay Center, and a solo exhibit at Clay AKAR. Her work with Empty Bowls, Evansville has raised over $90,000 for local food banks, and involved over 400 community members.

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