2007-08 Promising Scholars

May 15 2007

Program supports research by rising faculty

Ten up-and-coming faculty members at Indiana State University have been selected as 2007-08 Promising Scholars in recognition of their commitment to meaningful research and student learning.

Promising Scholars receive research grants of up to $15,000 each in an effort by the university to attract and retain exceptionally qualified faculty. The program is part of "Fulfilling the Promise - The Path to Pre-eminence," a six-year plan to raise Indiana State to a high level of prominence in the state, Midwest region and nation.

"Announcement of the 2007-08 Promising Scholars shows that Indiana State University remains committed to its mission of providing experiential learning for students while creating workable solutions to community problems," said ISU President Lloyd W. Benjamin III. "Supporting faculty in this kind of research will undoubtedly have a measurable impact on our local, regional and national communities."

Selected via a competitive process, the eight new selections bring to 44 the total number of Promising Scholars recognized by the university since the program began with the 2005-06 academic year.

“As we announce our newest group of Promising Scholars, I continue to be impressed by the creativity of the rising stars among ISU faculty and by the variety of ways they find for students to be actively engaged in research and community engagement,” said C. Jack Maynard, ISU provost and vice president for academic affairs.

A four-year grant from the Lilly Endowment to recruit and retain intellectual capital for Indiana's higher education institutions is providing initial support to the Promising Scholars program.

2007-08 Promising Scholars and their projects:

Linda Behrendt, assistant professor, family and consumer sciences - "Vigo County Community Engagement in Youth Development: Building Assets, Changing Lives"
A collaborative effort involving human service agencies, schools, business leaders, local government, law enforcement and ISU students and faculty, this project will identify the strengths and weaknesses of youth in Vigo County as well as adult attitudes toward the youth in the community. This information will provide opportunities to celebrate community strengths and to identify under-developed youth assets and appropriate ways the community can contribute to strengthening those assets.
Hema Ganapathy-Coleman, assistant professor, educational and school psychology - "At the Interface of Beliefs, Resources, and School Networks: Family Perspectives on Educational Outcomes"
Against the backdrop of educational research that overwhelmingly focuses on quantitative, test-and-assess factors, this project draws upon more textured sources to identify key non-academic, non-quantifiable variables that impact educational outcomes for public elementary school students. These include caregiver diaries, an inventory of children’s resources, in-depth interviews with parents, and ethnographic observations. These qualitative methods will be used to determine what relationships, social networks, and resources account for a child’s educational achievement.
Vicki Hammen, assistant professor, communication disorders • "Voice Problems in Beginning Teachers: A Multi-Dimensional Approach"
Voice disorders are an occupational risk for those involved in classroom teaching. This project will employ a multi-dimensional, three-tier model using impairment, disability and handicap to predict the risk of developing a voice disorder. The investigation seeks to determine if questionnaires, acoustic analyses, and aerodynamic measures can characterize voice production in beginning teachers; and whether the instrumental techniques can predict potential voice problems in these teachers.
Carl Klarner, assistant professor, political science - "Forecasting the 2008 Congressional and Presidential Elections" This project will predict which party will control the White House and Congress after 2008. It will examine past elections to uncover relationships between factors measured before elections • such as how well the economy is doing • and election outcomes. Based on the presence and strength of these past patterns, this research will use information on current events immediately before the present election to make a forecast for the upcoming elections.
Jennifer Latimer, assistant professor, geology - "Developing a Method for Total Dissolution of Environmental Samples Using an Automated Fusion-Fluxer and X-ray Fluorescence"
The goal of this project is to develop standard operating procedures for determining total elemental concentrations in environmental samples (i.e. sediments, soils, rocks) using an automated fusion fluxer. Total dissolutions are necessary in a wide variety of geological research applications, including heavy metal and nutrient pollution, climate studies, and studies of rock/soil chemistry. The value of the fusion flux method over traditional microwave and hot plate technologies that routinely require large volumes of dangerous acids is increased user safety. Standard methods will be developed for each type of sample, leading to increased student involvement in geochemical research and expanding the capabilities of the Biogeochemistry Laboratory.
Christine MacDonald, associate professor, educational and school psychology, and Bridget Roberts-Pittman, assistant professor, educational and school psychology - "ISU Student Experiences of Bullying"
While bullying among school-aged children has been studied extensively, very little is known about the presence or outcomes of bullying among college students. This project has several objectives, including surveying undergraduate students about their experiences with bullying, the impact such experiences have on their willingness to continue attending college, and their responses, if any, to the bullying. With the popularity of Internet sites for communication among younger adults, the project will also survey specifically the use of technology in bullying, called “cyber-bullying.”
Eric Preston, assistant professor, physics - "The Approach to Mean Field in Driven Threshold Models"
Using ISU’s high performance computing facility, this project will study simulations of earthquake ruptures and similar failure phenomena. It will explore a complex regime of behavior where both local and long-range interactions influence the patterns of seismic activity. This work could help improve earthquake forecasting and hazard analysis, and improve our understanding of materials fracturing under increasing strain.
Stephen Wolf, assistant professor, chemistry - "Cosmo-chemical Processes in the Early Solar System: Investigation of the Distribution of Highly Volatile Elements in Primitive Meteorites"
The chemical and physical processes occurring in the early solar system are recorded in the structure and composition of primitive meteorites. The goal of this research is to enhance the fundamental understanding of the early history and evolution of planetary material by measuring the distribution of highly volatile trace elements in meteorites that are the oldest and most pristine samples of our solar system.
. Chui Ying Sala Wong, assistant professor, art - "talk…the…line"
This project is an interactive art installation that will look at the causes of far-reaching political and socio-economic change. GPS tracking and Web 2.0-based technologies will be used as both the medium through which the work is realized and, in light of its current trendyness, a way to refer to social behavior as catalyst for change. The project will take well-known examples • the Prague Spring of 1968; the fall of the Berlin Wall; the handover of Hong Kong from British to Chinese rule, and the current shift from socialist to capitalist economies in China • to examine these problems from the points of view of local people in each affected region.

Linda Behrendt
Hema Ganapthy-Coleman
Vicki Hammen
Carl Klarner
Jennifer Latimer
Christine MacDonald
Bridget Roberts-Pittman
Eric Preston
Stephen Wolf
Chui Wong

Contact:Robert English, associate vice president for academic affairs, Indiana State University, (812) 237-2307 or renglish1@isugw.indstate.edu

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3743 or dave.taylor@indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

Ten up-and-coming faculty members have been selected as 2007-08 Promising Scholars in recognition of their commitment to meaningful research and student learning. Promising Scholars receive research grants of up to $15,000 in an effort to attract and retain exceptionally qualified faculty. The program, which received initial funding from the Lilly Endowment, is part of a six-year plan to raise Indiana State to a high level of prominence in the state, region and nation.

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