As you may be aware, the College is facing a budgetary challenge in the form of a redirection of 1.68% of our state-funded budget heading into Fiscal Year 2018. I know that we would all prefer to forget about this news, but I want to address the budget situation head on so that the college community is informed about what is going on.
The redirection, which amounts to about $1.4 million, represents a combination of factors. In part, the redirection includes our share of the cut to Georgia State’s state allocation, the result of a university-wide drop in credit hours in the 2015-16 academic year as compared to the prior year. The remaining portion of the $1.4 million figure reflects internal funding redirections to cover university priorities. The redirect amounts are distributed across all colleges and university-level units within Georgia State, with many units taking even larger cuts.
On top of our $1.4 million redirection, the College is working to cover commitments that were made last year for new tenure track and non-tenure track faculty lines; additional graduate teaching assistants; and compression, retention, and promotion salary increases for faculty. While these combined setbacks do represent a significant challenge for us as we prepare for next year, I want to assure you that college and department leaders and I are working together to make careful adjustments in a systematic way. Many units have already taken severe cuts through faculty lines that remain unfilled or “given back.” Rest assured, I am aware and we are looking for alternative ways to be more efficient and strategic in our approach to our budget. At the same time, it is important to realize that this is not just a blip—leaner budgets are the new reality. Federal budget uncertainties offer more reasons to be brutally realistic and very careful.
How do we move forward? Our current strategic planning process and reorganization of the Dean’s Office give us immediate opportunities to determine next steps and chart major initiatives. Admittedly, we do not have all the answers, but we are engaged in a healthy, collaborative process to determine how we can continue to make progress toward our goals, even in leaner times. I thank the chairs for their hard work in helping us meet our budgetary requirements. As we build our strategy for the future of the college, it is imperative that we challenge ourselves and each other to be innovative and look externally to reach new students and new partners and to pursue all avenues for growth. I am preparing my office to provide leadership to support you in these efforts.
Budget woes aside, the college continues to grow in discovery and knowledge creation. Last month the Dean’s Office hosted a breakfast to recognize achievements by our faculty. During the last year, faculty in Arts and Sciences published 75 scholarly books and produced as many creative works, including poems, short fiction, creative nonfiction, documentary films and scripts. These numbers do not account for the thousands of journal articles, book chapters, reviews and other important intellectual contributions in the last year. Our faculty brought in more than 300 new grants, totaling $41.3 million, and several faculty from a range of disciplines received prestigious fellowships, such as a Marie Curie International fellowship, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars fellowship, and multiple Fulbright scholars. We taught over 530,000 credit hours and graduated more than 3,200 students in Arts and Sciences during the same period.
As the demands on our faculty and staff increase, I believe it is vitally important that we take every opportunity to recognize the outstanding work of our colleagues. The items highlighted below offer only a glimpse at these accomplishments, but they are certainly deserving of our applause.
Staff Awards 2017
The College of Arts and Sciences at Georgia State is proud to announce the winners of its 2017 Staff Awards. Heather Russel, associate director of creative writing, won the Senior Staff Leadership Award. Zhenming “Jimmy” Du, the director of the university’s Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility, won the Outstanding Junior Staff Award.
Heather Russel is the associate director of creative writing and assistant to the director of graduate studies in the Department of English. Russel handles an incredibly wide range of duties, including supporting students, coordinating internships, coordinating events, and human resources paperwork. She recently worked with faculty to redesign the undergraduate creative writing curriculum.
“By the time our students graduate, they often have communicated more with Heather than with any other member of the department,” wrote Stephen Dobranski, distinguished professor and undergraduate director of English.
Zhenming “Jimmy” Du, senior research scientist and adjunct assistant professor of chemistry, has worked as the director of the university’s Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) facility since 2012.
NMR machines are cutting-edge research tools that are difficult both to use and to maintain. Georgia State has two of them, and when Du arrived one was broken and the other only intermittently in service. Du repaired both machines and instituted a new training regimen for students that has successfully prevented further problems. The NMR training course has tripled its enrollment since Du took over, exposing many more students to this key organic chemistry research technique.
Toby Bolsen’s 2015 article in the Journal of Communication, “Counteracting the Politicization of Science,” was selected as a finalist for the 2017 Frank Prize, which celebrates outstanding peer-reviewed research in public interest communications. Bolsen and co-author James Druckman of Northwestern University were awarded a $1,500 cash prize as second place winners while attending the weeklong Frank Conference at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Bolsen is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science.
Sarah Gershon, associate professor of political science, is the recipient of the inaugural Ted G. Jelen Award. Her paper, “God in the Barrio?: The Determinants of Religiosity and Civic Engagement among Latinos in the United States,” was recognized as the best paper published in Politics and Religion in 2016. Gershon’s co-authors include J. Benjamin Taylor, a Georgia State alumnus who now is an assistant professor at UNC-Wilmington, and Adrian D. Pantoja of Pitzer College.
Peter Swanson, associate professor of foreign language education in the Department of World Languages and Cultures, was selected to serve as a Visiting Professor of Foreign Languages on the faculty of the United States Air Force Academy during the 2017-18 academic year as part of an ongoing program to enrich its faculty.
Liz Tighe, new assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, received an Early Career Research Award for her recent talk at the Southeastern Psychological Association annual conference, entitled, “The Role of Metalinguistic Skills to Reading Comprehension with Struggling Adult Readers.”
Eric Wright, professor and chair of sociology, was recognized with the Hosea L. Williams Community Service Award at the 34th Annual MLK Commemoration Ceremony this year.
Faculty Publication Highlights
Héctor D. Fernández L’Hoeste (Professor in the Department of World Languages and Cultures), Lalo Alcaraz: Political Cartooning in the Latino Community (University of Mississippi Press, 2017). Fernández analyzes the work of political cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz, creator of the first nationally syndicated, sometimes controversial Latino daily comic strip, La Cucaracha. His study provides an accessible, comprehensive view into the work of the cartoonist who deserves recognition, not just because Alcaraz drew the injustice and inequity in our society, but because as both a U.S. citizen and a member of the Latino community, his ability to stand in, between, and outside two cultures affords him the clarity and experience necessary to be a powerful voice.
Michael Galchinsky’s first book, The Origin of the Modern Jewish Woman Writer: Romance and Reform in Victorian England (Wayne State UP 1996), is included in a list of “59 outstanding, out-of-print humanities titles” that Wayne State University Press is digitizing and open sourcing, via a Creative Commons license, as part of a joint project of the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The press will be disseminating these works to international repositories such as Project Gutenberg, and will sell print-on-demand editions to individual buyers. Galchinsky is professor of English and Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness.
Josh Russell (professor and director of creative writing in the Department of English), published seven short stories from his fiction collection Suburban Folktales in Cornell University’s renowned literary magazine Epoch (Vol. 66, No. 1, 2017): “The Daughter of the Sun,” “The Palace of the Doomed Queen,” “The Handmade King,” “Wooden Maria,” “The Fine Greenbird,” “Sleeping Beauty and Her Children,” and “Cannelora.”
Risa Palm (professor of geography and university provost), Lewis, G.B., Feng, B., 2017, “What Causes People to Change their Opinion about Climate Change?” Annals of the American Association of Geographers, doi: 10.1080/24694452.2016.1270193. Provost Palm’s paper, co-authored with Andrew Young School of Policy Studies colleagues Gregory Lewis and Bo Feng, reports on the results of a multi-year study examining changes in Americans’ opinions on the existence and causes of climate change. Their results underscore how ideology, political affiliation, and relative concern for conservation and economic development all combined to produce shifts in opinion. Nearly one third of Americans now deny that climate is changing or that it is caused by human activity; Dr. Palm’s study shows how the increased political polarization in the nation is contributing to the growth in this opinion.
Candace Kemp (associate professor of gerontology and sociology), Mary Ball, and Molly Perkins. “Couples’ social careers in assisted living: Reconciling individual and shared situations.” The Gerontologist (2016) 56(5):841-854. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnv025. Kemp looks at the complexity and range of later-life couples’ intimate and social lives. Her findings demonstrate that intimate and social relationships remain important for the well-being and quality of life of older adults residing in assisted-living facilities.
HH Doyle, LN Eidson, DM Sinkiewicz, and Anne Z. Murphy (associate professor of neuroscience and biology) (2017). “Sex Differences in Microglia Activity within the Periaqueductal Gray of the Rat: A Potential Mechanism Driving the Dimorphic Effects of Morphine.” Journal of Neuroscience, 20 February 2017, 2906-16. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2906-16.2017. Murphy, along with Neuroscience graduate student Hillary Doyle and team, explore how sex difference affects morphine analgesia. Their findings show that the brain’s resident immune cells, microglia, are more active in brain regions involved in pain processing. When blocked, female response to opioid pain medication improved and matched levels of pain relief normally seen in males. Their study has important implications for the treatment of pain associated with chronic and inflammatory conditions such as fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis, and suggests that microglia may be an important drug target to improve opioid pain relief in women.
Robert Adelman, Lesley Williams Reid, Gail Markle, Saskia Weiss, and Charles Jaret (sociology professor emeritus) (2017). “Urban crime rates and the changing face of immigration: Evidence across four decades.” Journal of Ethnicity and Criminal Justice 15 (1): 52-77. doi: 10.1080/15377938.2016.1261057. Jaret and colleagues investigated the immigration-crime relationship among metropolitan areas over a 40 year period from 1970 to 2010. Their research shows little support for the enduring proposition that increases in immigration are associated with increases in crime. In fact, the study demonstrates that immigration is consistently linked to decreases in violent and property crime throughout the time period. The published results received worldwide media attention last month, featured by Newsweek, PBS News Hour, Univision, Scientific American, Science Daily, Psychology Today, Business Standard (India), among others.
Deirdre Oakley (professor of sociology) and James Fraser (2016). “U.S. Public-Housing Transformations and the Housing Publics Lost in Transition.” City and Community 15(4):349-366. doi: 10.1111/cico.12210 With James Fraser of Vanderbilt University, Oakley draws upon sociological and geographical thought to argue for a more critical understanding of the expansion of government policies to build public-private mixed-income housing in place of traditional public housing developments. They provide a diagnostic perspective on may have been lost in transition, as evidence suggests that only a modest portion of the original residents forced to relocate have actually benefited from redevelopments.
Amelia Arsenault (PI), assistant professor of communication, U.S. Department of State IPA (Office of Policy, Planning and Resources), $143,186.
Douglas Gies (PI), Regents' Professor of astronomy and Director of the Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy (CHARA), “Hiding in Plain Sight: The Low Mass Helium Star.” Space Telescope Science Institute, $46,617.
Eric Gilbert (PI), associate professor of biology, “Bioconversion of polypropylene carpet waste for production of bio-based chemicals.” Georgia Research Alliance (GRA), $22,550.
Charles Menzel (PI), senior research scientist, GSU Language Research Center, “Studies of chimpanzee episodic memory and foraging.” Leakey Foundation, $21,970.
Suazette Mooring (PI), assistant professor of chemistry, “Scholarships for Advancing Careers in the Life Sciences.” National Science Foundation (NSF), $998,969.
Ute Römer, assistant professor of applied linguistics, and James R. Garner (2017). Trinity Lancaster Corpus Early Access Data Grant, awarded for the project “Emerging verb constructions in spoken learner English.” Sponsor: ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Sciences.
Jessica Turner (PI), associate professor of psychology, “Mining the Genomewide Scan: Genetic Profiles of Structural Loss in Schizophrenia.” Mind Research Network (MRN), $140,260.
Brent Woodfill (PI), Limited Term Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology, “Investigations in the Salinas de los Nueve Cerros Region.” Alphawood Foundation (Chicago), $442,300.
Charles Hankla, associate professor of political science, was cited in an article on wallethub.com about which states might be affected the most if the U.S.A. gets into a trade war with Mexico. More.
Mia Bloom, professor of communication, spoke to Foreign Policy about the ways ISIS uses children's education for indoctrination. More.
Daniel Franklin, associate professor of political science, spoke to Talking Points Memo about the special election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District. More.
Anne Murphy, associate professor of neuroscience, had her research into men and women's response to opoid pain medications written up in the English newspaper The Independent. More.
John Clark, English alumnus (M.A. '06) and former associate VP of development for the college, was named director of Ballet BC in Vancouver. More.
Andy Rogers, assistant professor of English, was interviewed on WABE about "Revival: Lost Southern Voices," an upcoming literary festival celebrating underappreciated writers. More.
Jon Watts, college videographer, was interviewed on WABE with his wife, Brantly Jackson Watts, about "Homespun," a short documentary series that they curate. More.
Jennie E. Burnet, associate professor of Global Studies, spoke to the online anthropology publication Sapiens about the Rwandan genocide and what led some people to become rescuers. More.
Anthony Lemieux, professor of communication and global studies, co-wrote an editorial in The Washington Post discrediting the claim that the media was under-reporting some terrorist attacks. More.
Featured Event: Deborah Harkness
gives the Dale Summers Memorial Lecture
Deborah Harkness, world-renowned historian and bestselling fiction author will speak on turning history into fiction for the 2017 Dale Summers Memorial Lecture. The talk will take place at 4 pm, Friday April 7 in Room 830 of 25 Park Place.
Deborah Harkness is professor of history at the University of Southern California, where she focuses on the history of science during the early modern period. She is the author of three best-selling novels, the All Souls Trilogy: A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life, which are being adapted into a television series.
She is also the author of two academic books, The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution (Yale, 2007) and John Dee's Conversations with Angels: Cabala, Alchemy, and the End of Nature (Cambridge, 1999).