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Dr. Craig Challender’s work in progress

“Armory Square Hospital:  13th January 1864″ and “Neponset, Illinois:  20th April 1874,” a six-poem sequence, will be featured in The Sewanee Review’s fall Literature of War issue.  The sequence is part–hopefully the climactic part–of a full-length manuscript, United States, that Challender has been working on for the past five years, a call-and-response linking of the Viet Nam and Civil War eras.

Dr. Dale Beach and Dr. Consuelo Alvarez Publish Synthetic Biology lab course

The publication titled, “Biology by Design: an Introductory Level, Project-Based, Synthetic Biology Laboratory Program for Undergraduate Students” represents a semester long laboratory project built for our current Genetics course. The paper will appear in the December issue of Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education. The project helps students  understand the field of Synthetic Biology, a fascinating new approach to genetic engineering where students can design and construct genetic circuits from simple building blocks.

For an interesting perspective on Synthetic Biology, read “A Life of Its Own: where will synthetic biology lead us?” by Michael Specter, New Yorker, 2009 (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/09/28/a-life-of-its-own).


Dr. Chris Bjornsen publishes study on students’ cell phone use during class and test grades

The journal “Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology,” a new publication of the American Psychological Association, will publish a report of the results of Dr. Bjornsen’s study of student in-class cell phone use and it’s relation to test grades. Dr. Bjornsen collected daily reports of cell phone use from each student (except 1, who declined to participate) in each of his courses during the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters, and found that cell phone use was significantly and negatively related to test grades throughout the semesters, and the relation was significant after accounting for college GPA. The innovative aspect of the study was the collection of daily reports of cell phone use, which to Dr. Bjornsen’s knowledge has never before been done for a published study. All previous published studies relied on student self-report of average or typical cell phone use, and only a handful of studies had measured in-class cell phone use and compared it to academic achievement.

Barber Receives Mary Louise Andrews Cancer Research Award

Dr. Amorette Barber received the Virginia Academy of Science’s Mary Louise Andrews Award for Cancer Research, which supports basic research in any area of cancer research. Dr. Barber and two of her Longwood research students received this award for their project titled “T cell Costimulation Enhances Anti-tumor Immunity by Altering Cytokine and Chemokine Secretion”. By receiving this grant money, they will be able to study the cytokine and chemokine secretion profiles of T cells to determine which receptors maximize anti-tumor functions. Using these data, they will then apply this information to the tumor immunotherapies they are currently testing in their research lab at Longwood University.

Dr. Elif Guler co-edits book on online writing instruction

Dr. Elif Guler has recently co-edited (with Beth Hewett and Kevin DePew) Foundational Practices in Online Writing Instruction, published by Parlor Press and The WAC Clearinghouse on February 21, 2015. The book addresses the questions and decisions that administrators and instructors most need to consider when developing online writing programs and courses. The editors hope that the guidance provided in this collection will encourage readers to join a conversation about designing OWI practices, contributing to the scholarship about OWI, and reshaping OWI theory.

Dr. Guler previously taught hybrid writing courses (which combined online and face-to-face instruction) at Old Dominion University. She co-authored an article on the use of weblogs for assessment in the writing classroom and has recently participated in a panel entitled, “When Effective Practices (in Online Writing Instruction) Become Risky Business,” at the 2015 Conference on College Composition and Communication held in Tampa, FL, March 18-21, 2015.

Barber Receives Horsley Research Award

Dr. Amorette Barber recently received the J. Shelton Horsley Research Award, which is the highest honor bestowed by the Virginia Academy of Science for original research. The Horsley Award recipient is selected through a peer-reviewed competition for an outstanding research paper. I was selected for the award based on my paper that Emily Whitman and I published in Molecular Immunology, “NKG2D receptor activation of NF-κB enhances anti-tumor responses in murine effector CD8+ T cells”.

Steven Isaac publishes chapter: “Medieval Terrorism”

Professor Steven Isaac has contributed a chapter, “Medieval Terrorism: the Seeds of Later Developments,” to a volume that has just appeared, The Routledge History of Terrorism, edited by Randall Law.  The promotional blurb from the publisher claims:

“Though the history of terrorism stretches back to the ancient world, today it is often understood as a recent RoutledgeTerrorismdevelopment. Comprehensive enough to serve as a survey for students or newcomers to the field, yet with enough depth to engage the specialist, The Routledge History of Terrorism is the first single-volume authoritative reference text to place terrorism firmly into its historical context.”

Isaac’s contribution surveys nearly the entirety of the Middle Ages, and the many instances of terrifying violence that did occur then.  At the same time, he takes a contrary point of view to his own assignment, arguing that terrorism (as the term is usually understood in contemporary parlance) was remarkably little in evidence.  Nonetheless, later paradigms were in the process of developing, not least of them being concepts of legitimate and illicit violence, including the idea of innocent victims.  Some medieval violence fits modern terrorism’s definition of being a “performative act,” meant to shock spectators, but in the absence of mass media, one has to reconsider the limits of drawing analogies between medieval violence and modern successors.  In the end, the chapter asks (admittedly without answering clearly):  when do war’s cruelties become outright atrocities?

Dr. Christopher Swanson

Dr. Swanson of the department of music gave two performances as tenor soloist of a relatively new oratorio: MISA AZTECA by Joseph Julian Gonzalez. Performances were April 26 and 27 in Lynchburg and Roanoke VA with full orchestra and the Randolph College choir under the direction of Randall Speer.

Steven Isaac publishes article on 1214 Battle of Bouvines

Steven Isaac has published an article in The Journal of Military History 79 (April 2015) titled “The Role of Towns in the Battle of Bouvines (1214).”  Bouvines has long been recognized as “the battle that made France,” but this article looks at the social dynamics leading up to the day of actual fighting. The article argues that towns were the likely  homes/sources/bases of many of the non-knightly combatants (who outnumbered knights in the battle by 5 or even 6:1).  Further research in the first surviving financial accounts of the French monarchs reveals as well that the towns were vital as nodes of armaments production for the Capetian dynasty.  Much of the article was built on research completed at the Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Civilisation Médiévale in Poitiers, France.

Besides the help of external readers and fellow medieval historians, Isaac wants to thank as well his colleagues Jim Munson, Will Holliday, Mary Carver, and David Geraghty, members of the department’s informal research/reading circle, who all read the article in a very rough draft and gave most helpful comments and motivation.

Dr. Kenneth Pestka II publishes feature article in The Physics Teacher.

Dr. Kenneth Pestka II of Longwood University and Jennifer Heindel,  museum educator at the Abbe Museum, collaborated on the paper, “An Interdisciplinary Approach to Drag Forces: Estimating Floodwater Speed from Displaced Riverbed Boulders”The paper appears as a feature article in the May issue of The Physics Teacher and is freely available for download at the AIP Scitation website. http://scitation.aip.org/content/aapt/journal/tpt/53/5/10.1119/1.4917430