Faculty and staff notes and achievements

Faculty and staff notes and achievements provided to the UIU Office of Marketing and Communications for publication in the 2020 Winter Bridge magazine have been posted below and to the Peacock Notes section of uiubridge.com. The Bridge is tentatively scheduled to be dropped in mailboxes the week of January 26. Additional stories can be viewed online throughout the year at uiubridge.com.

Dr. Adrianne Finlay, associate professor of English, did a reading from her novel, “Your One and Only,” at The Word Barn in Exeter, New Hampshire. The reading was part of the Siloseries, which features readings and lectures that promote the sharing of the written and spoken word among an already existing and thriving arts community.  Her novel, incidentally, is now out in paperback.

Laura Gleissner, assistant professor of art, presented an art exhibit at Cup of Joe in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Gleissner was flown by a client to San Francisco to secure a five-painting contract deal, which is to be completed by February 2020. The paintings will be of the luxury condo site she photographed and used as thank you gifts for different project contractors.

Jodi Grover, lead teacher education coordinator, and Dr. Gina Kuker, professor of education, accompanied social science majors Grant Dieken of Clear Lake, Iowa; Madison Brownrigg of Mokena, Illinois, and Peter Lyon of Oelwein, Iowa, in attending the Iowa Council for Social Studies in Altoona Iowa. The theme for this year’s conference was “Soaring with Social Studies: The Time is Now.” The students gathered resources and information as they heard from exhibitors and speakers throughout the day on September 30, 2019.

Dr. John Grummel, associate professor of political science, presented “An Assessment of Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) implementation related to building capacity for sexually marginalized individuals within rural healthcare organizations” at the 22nd Conference on the Small City & Rural Community Conference, held Oct. 16-17 in Stevens Points, Wisconsin.

Craig Hulce, School of Business and Professional Studies adjunct faculty member, was named to the CFA Institute Practice Analysis Working Body. The CFA Institute is the premier global association for investment management professionals. Craig has been a member of the organization since 2004, having been employed in the investment industry since 1989.

Dr. Dawn Jacobsen, associate professor of education, continues to collaborate with the Iowa Department of Education to implement the Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) Framework through Area Education Agencies and Iowa schools. The work is funded and supported through the National Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).

Dr. Gina Kuker, professor of education, and student Alli Ster attended Best Practices in Social Studies on June 19-20 in Johnston, Iowa.

Dr. Susan Massey, assistant professor of education, presented “Tips for Social Justice Teaching” at the joint conference of the Iowa Reading Association and the Iowa Association of School Librarians on June 25 in Ames, Iowa. Massey was also the lead author of a chapter entitled “Training Novice Literacy Coaches Through a Coaching Rounds Framework” in the book “Effective Practices in Online Teacher Preparation for Literacy Educators.” She co-authored “Clinical Literacy Experiences: Influencing Pre-Service Teachers’ Self-efficacy” in the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers Yearbook 41. Finally, Massey was a co-presenter of “Growing Literacy Leadership Through Online Coaching Practice” at the International Literacy Association 2019 Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Dr. Kata McCarville, professor of geosciences, was named the president of the Iowa Academy of Science.  She will serve in that role through April 2020.

Dr. Meghan Mettler, assistant professor of history, published an article “Godzilla versus Kurosawa: The Presentation and Interpretation of Japanese Cinema in the Post World War II United States,” which appeared in the fall issue of the Journal of American East Asian Relations. The same journal subsequently published several favorable reviews of the article.

Sgt. Maj. David M. Mula ’09, online business program adjunct instructor, was presented The Process Improvement Program Team Excellence Award/Enterprise Level Award by the Under Secretary of the U.S. Army Ryan D. McCarthy for reduction in the time requirements of combined meeting day processes. The award was presented during the Army Lean Six Sigma Excellence Awards Program ceremony at the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes in Washington, D.C., May 30, 2019. Mula serves as the Louisiana National Guard civil-military planning senior enlisted advisor. Additional information can be viewed in the Business & Professional Studies section of uiubridge.com.

Mary Reding, lecturer of English/Writing Center director, presented “The Concentric Mastery Model, A Conceptual Framework: Mapping the Hero’s Journey Cycle across Cognitive Space” at the University of Glasgow’s International Fantasy Conversations in May. Reding also contributed a chapter titled “Harry Potter’s Pedagogical Paradigm: Multiple Mentors Maketh the Man” to the essay collection “Lessons from Hogwarts: Essays on the Pedagogy of Harry Potter,” edited by Marcie Rovan and Melissa Wehler, which is slated for publication in Spring 2020 by McFarland Press.

Dr. Rebecca Schmidt, assistant professor of biology, has been made a member of the CLEP Biology Committee of the College Board. She will be involved in writing and reviewing questions for the CLEP Biology exam. Dr. Schmidt is also involved in question writing and reviewing for the GRE-Biology exam.

Dr. Paul Skrade, assistant professor of biology, along with students Hannah Dotter, Becca Stramer and Emily Frank, presented a poster at the Wildlife Society and American Fisheries Society joint conference in September in Reno, Nevada. The poster was titled “Free-Ranging Domestic Cat Activity and Abundance in a Small Iowa Town.”

Dr. Melle Starsen, associate professor of communication, presented a paper titled “Relatively Speaking: Incest in British Murder Mysteries” at the 10th Academic International Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities at Oxford University, United Kingdom.

Amy Stewart, assistant professor of nursing and UIU-Mesa hosted the initial Nursing School Success Series. With 80 students registering, enough students were on the wait list to fill a second workshop scheduled for January 2020. A third workshop is also scheduled for April 2020.

Elissa Wenthe, associate professor of art, had three sculptures accepted into Rosalux Gallery’s Open Door Exhibition in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Wenthe was one of 15 artists accepted into the December exhibition, which was curated by the director and founder of the Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis, Todd Bockley.

Dr. Nigel George, professor of physics and mathematics, and Dr. Kata McCarville, professor of geosciences, presented a poster titled “STEM-Pros at Upper Iowa University: Engaging iGen Undergraduates in STEM Disciplines” at the 2019 S-STEM Symposium held Sept. 12-14 in Washington, D.C. George and McCarville serve as principal investigators for UIU’s NSF-funded S-STEM grant program, which is intended to increase academic achievement and degree completion of participating students. Students and their families participated in a full-day orientation at Fayette Campus, including an activity in which parents assume the role of the student and go through an abbreviated “Day in the Life,” including classes, labs, homework, sports conditioning and work-study. Most of UIU S-STEM Scholars also participate in a one-credit course that culminated in their participation in the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, D.C., in February.

UIU Campus Recreation director Adam Carpenter and Residence Life area coordinator Jordan Hay ’17 attended a professional development gathering of campus recreation professionals from Iowa State University, Drake University, Buena Vista University, University of Iowa, University of Nebraska and University of Nebraska at Kearney. Teaming up with Iowa State’s Brent Cunningham and Cindy Osborne, the UIU representatives won the 2019 State of Iowa Campus Recreation Golf Outing sponsored by Life Fitness. The event was held at TCI Golf Course in Polk City, Iowa.

Upper Iowa University professor of science/Robert L. Fox endowed chair of science Dr. Scott Figdore opened the UIU 2019-20 Endowed Lecture Series in October, with “Monitoring Plant Species Diversity in Fayette County’s Natural Areas. The Endowed Lecture Series continued with Dr. Meghan Mettler, assistant professor of history/Maltbie professor of social science, and her presentation “Gimcracks, Dollar Blouses and Transistors: How Americans Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Products Made in Japan.” The remaining schedule includes the following presentations: Thursday, January 30 – Dr. Billie Cowley, master of education chair/ Laura Heddleson professor of education, “Mental Illnesses in the Educational Setting;” and Elissa Wenthe, associate professor of art/McCosh professor of fine arts, “Impact of Arts-Based Community Education.” Thursday, April 2 – Dr. Kata McCarville, professor of geosciences/Delano professor of science, “The Iowan Surface: A Megaflood Landscape.”


About Upper Iowa University Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, nonprofit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs to about 5,200 students–nationally and internationally–at its Fayette campus, 21 U.S. locations, as well as a location in Hong Kong. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and self-paced degree program. With a focus on developing leaders and lifelong learners, UIU provides dual enrollment programs for high school students as well as continuing education and professional development opportunities for learners of any age. For more information, visit uiu.edu.

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