The Faculty Research Colloquium Dinner advances the mission of the Faculty Center by providing CSUSM faculty an opportunity to present their scholarly research to their university colleagues. The colloquium series is widely praised because it fosters collegiality and intellectual engagement across the disciplines. The Faculty Center Advisory Council selects one faculty presenter for each academic semester. Faculty members purchase tickets for the catered event. The colloquia are limited to CSUSM tenure-track faculty, adjunct faculty, and administrators with faculty rank. Faculty are encouraged to respond to the forthcoming call and nominate colleagues for future colloquia.
Yvonne Meulemans, M.L.I.S.C. Head of Library Teaching and Learning, Librarian
Title: Apathy, Identity, Curiosity: Using Threshold Concepts to Understand Students
Date: Wednesday, October 25, 2017, from 5:00p.m.-8:00p.m. Please RSVP by October 16th
Location: McMahan House
As a librarian, I often work with students who are struggling to learn not only the fundamental concepts of their chosen field of study, but also how experts in their field actually ask and answer questions. My research centers on using the threshold concepts theory/framework to gain insight into undergraduates’ experiences as they move from novice towards developing expertise in a field. With such insight, I aim to better understand how to create curriculum and learning experiences that maintain engagement and cultivate curiosity in our students.
Threshold concepts are the fundamental ideas and habits of mind for scholars in any field of study. Without mastery of a field’s threshold concepts, students may disengage or approach their educational experience as an accumulation of facts and figures, and not with the curiosity we wish they would. Threshold concepts are often very difficult for novices (our students) to master and can challenge students’ identities and worldview, which can lead to apathy and resistance. Simultaneously, the threshold concept framework provides an approach to creating curriculum and in-class experiences that can help faculty support students through these learning struggles, master the foundation of a field, and ultimately, seek to pursue inquiry.
My research indicates this theory and framework shows strong promise in increasing and maintaining student engagement, and perhaps even provide a foundation for our students to become more engaged members of their communities. An emerging and very exciting area of focus for me is how the threshold concept framework can be used to create curriculum and learning experiences that are particularly impactful to students from underrepresented minority groups, first generation college students, and other non-traditional student populations.
Andrea Liss, Ph.D., Professor, CHABSS School of Arts
Artist Carrie Mae Weems redefines the terms of documentary photographic practice in her piercing text and image installations that metaphorically address the current legacy of atrocities suffered by African Americans. Her articulate strategies uncover the derogatory intentions of name calling and turn these deadly abuses into the blessed connotations of naming. Weem’s exquisite portraits of children in the Colored People series, 1989-1990, bring into current focus resistant formations of facing, alterity and self-respect. These portraits echo the urgent call for intersubjective caring and thoughtful action called for by Black Lives Matter The Mothers of the Movement. The artist and the Mothers share productive affinities of maternal ethics that compel active imaginings of loving racial and gender relations, pointing to new geographies of gender, justice and tenderness.
As a scholar and mother, the methodology I bring to my new project Maternal Ethics in Contemporary Art: Gender, Justice and Hope embraces and strategically reasserts traditional characteristics of the maternal, such as nurturance, empathy and caring -- qualities that have negatively defined mothers and all women as “sentimental” – and situates them anew as foundations for an ethics that radically reinterprets maternal traits as vital and healing forms of artistic and political address. This project significantly expands the concept of maternal ethics outside of the mother/child dyad and extends its nurturing force onto contemporary cultural issues that reside at the intersection of visual art and social justice. This presentation explores the possibilities that an ethics of the maternal holds for rethinking cultural and racial relationships based on love rather than on current forms of hate that alarmingly dominate contemporary national and global politics. I offer the readings of the artworks as talismans of hope and justice.
Dr. Andrea Liss holds a Ph.D. in Art History and joined the CSUSM faculty in 1996. She teaches courses on feminist art and theory, photography and new documentary film. Her book Feminist Art and the Maternal (University of Minnesota Press, 2009) is critically noted as a pioneering book in the field of maternal studies. Her current work, Maternal Ethics in Contemporary Art: Gender, Justice and Hope, is concerned with maternal ethics, intergenerational memories, mourning and social justice. Related projects include “Maternal Aesthetics: The Surprise of the Real,” a guest curated issue of Studies in the Maternal and the exhibition Reel Mothers: Film, Video Art and the Maternal at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. Her work also includes numerous book chapters, edited journals and exhibition catalog essays. Dr. Liss is also the author of Trespassing through Shadows: Memory, Photography and the Holocaust (University of Minnesota Press, 1999) and is a recent recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Award. Her son Miles’ sense of justice is a foundation for her work.
Rebecca M. Lush, Ph.D., Associate Professor
The frontier romance has long been a cornerstone of U.S. American literature, creating a mythical and foundational story that imagined the new nation as a place of wonder, adventure, and danger. Historically, this literary genre has told a very limited story from a privileged perspective, in the process creating narratives of exclusion. However, contemporary literature that focuses on a more modern and fantastical frontier space, known as the “weird west,” has opened up new avenues for the representation of communities that had been historically excluded or maligned in earlier frontier literature. This talk will examine the titular characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Wynonna Earp (both the comic books and television series) to explore how popular and modern iterations of the American frontier showcase women as the replacement for the archetypal wilderness frontiersman and how violence and romance are used to challenge, yet also reinforce, traditional paradigms of difference and “othering.”
Rebecca M. Lush holds a Ph.D. in early American literature and joined the CSUSM faculty in Fall 2011. She teaches courses on early American literature, Native American literatures, folklore, Gothic/Horror studies, and film. Her research primarily examines contemporary Native American literature and the representation of Native peoples in American literature. She also studies Horror works with an eye towards how they intersect with studies of the American West and frontier. Her past publications include articles and chapters on literary authors as wide-ranging as James Fenimore Cooper, Gerald Vizenor, Aphra Behn, and Stephen Graham Jones. She is currently completing an NEH-funded book project on the writings of Margaret Fell with co-editor Jane Donawerth. She serves on the Executive Council for the Western Literature Association and is known for her love of cats.
For the past seven years I have been researching and publishing on a curriculum model called Adventure-based Learning (ABL). This data-driven curriculum consists of highly structured physical activities (i.e., teambuilding experiences) with periods of reflection (i.e., debrief) that help promote social and emotional learning (SEL) of the participants. I am an avid proponent of using ABL within physical education and K-12 schools in general, to foster positive intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships. Yet, the versatility of this curriculum and its focus on enhancing SEL makes it excellent content for any program looking to enhance participant relationships (e.g., community, cooperation, communication, trust, and problem solving).
The debrief in ABL is the primary reflective component used in order to produce transfer (i.e., application outside the classroom) of the relationship skills. The student-centered debrief provides opportunity to construct meaning from the experiential experiences through a tactical and structured discussion. My colleagues and I have created and tested the credibility of a reflective tool we use in the ABL debrief called the Sunday Afternoon Drive Model. This model is used throughout this research line as a means to enhance and transfer the SEL outcomes of the participants to other areas of their lives.
Empirical evidence suggests that ABL can promote collaborative and supportive learning communities that foster SEL (Stuhr & Sutherland, 2013; Stuhr, Sutherland, Ressler, & Ortiz-Stuhr, 2015). Yet, our knowledge regarding (a) K-12 school children learning outcomes with this curricular, and (b) how best to train teachers to deliver this content is limited, reflected by a paucity of research in this area (Sutherland & Stuhr, 2014; Sutherland, Stuhr, & Ayvazo, 2014). To that end, I continue to seek answers to the following two questions: What types of SEL can be produced, documented, and transferred through an ABL unit of instruction? And, how can teacher educators best prepare pre-service and novice teachers to deliver an effective ABL unit within K-12?
Anyone who has spent time in a middle school classroom and/or with young adolescents knows that they can be quirky, funny, maddening, and articulate—often all in the space of one conversation. Middle school students are at a unique stage in their cognitive, social, and emotional development that causes them to swing between being thoughtful, mature, and inquisitive to impetuous, child-like, and angst-ridden. Although middle school educators spend countless hours discussing ways to support and motivate their students, many of these discussions focus on suggestions that come from research and books written by adults for adults. If we are to truly make a difference in the lives of our disengaged adolescents, it is imperative that we also focus on the students themselves to determine what they think, need, and feel about their motivation to achieve academically.
While motivation is internally generated, it is also heavily influenced by the contexts in which individuals function. This is good news for educators and parents because it means that we can have an impact on whether and how our students and children are motivated to exert effort in school. Research also tells us that intrinsic drives to achieve and extrinsic desires to act sometimes appear to be disparate but are actually closely connected. It is therefore worth the effort to not only consider how each influences the other but also to explore what the adolescents with whom we work think and feel as it relates to their motivation.We can learn a lot from our young adolescents. It is up to us to listen.
Edward Price, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Physics Department Chair
Enjoy Dr. Price's Research Colloquium Dinner Video
Title: “Technology in the classroom: Salvation or Abomination?”
Date: Thursday, April 9, 2015, from 5:00p.m.-8:00p.m.
Location: McMahan House
Classroom technology will save and/or ruin us, depending on whom you believe. The reality, in my experience, is more nuanced. My research explores how technology transforms learning in physics classrooms on multiple scales, from individual students reasoning with diagrams and drawings, to web-based systems where students grade each other’s written work, to polling systems that reorganize the classroom’s social structure. I will present data showing how these technologies facilitate learning through their impact on the social and cultural aspects of the classroom.
Betsy Read, Ed.D. Professor, Molecular Cell Biology
Title: “The Pan Genome of Emiliania Huxleyi and the Hunt for Biomineralization Genes and Proteins”
Date: Wednesday, November 12, 2014 from 5:00p.m.-8:00p.m.
Location: McMahan House
Betsy Read is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and is the Director of the Professional Masters Degree Program in Biotechnology. She teaches courses in Molecular Cell Biology, Genomics and RNA Technologies, Bioinformatics, and Cellular Biotechnology. For her research and teaching as two sides of the same coin. She relishes the opportunity, whether in the classroom or in the laboratory, to engage students in the innate creativity of science, the thrill of discovery, and the joy of seeking answers to explain the wonders of the natural world.
According to Betsy coccolithophorids are “flowers of the ocean”. Captured by their intrinsic beauty and spectacular morphological diversity, she seeks to unravel the molecular underpinnings governing the nanoscale shape and patterning of the calcium carbon cell coverings that distinguish these extraordinary phytoplankton. Recently, Betsy and a consortium of 75 scientists from 12 nations sequenced and published the genome of the ubiquitous, and most prominent coccolithophorid, Emiliania huxleyi. Decoding the genome and its 30,000 genes provides a blueprint that will define research conducted with E. huxleyi for the coming decades; enabling scientists to achieve a complete understanding of the remarkable ecological success of this tiny microcalcifier, and the impact it may have the environment and society. This talk describes the pan genome of E. huxleyi and the hunt for biomineralization genes and proteins in these important marine algae.
Michael McDuffie, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Philosophy
Title: “How I Fell in Love (with Bioethics)”
Date: Thursday, April 10, 2014 from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Location: McMahan House
In recent years, I have taken up bioethics and medical ethics as my primary research and teaching specialty. Bioethics examines the ethics of bioscientific research and the application of scientific knowledge in fields like medicine, nursing, and biotechnology. Bioethics includes clinical ethics, as a subfield of practical and professional ethics. I did not start my career with this specialty. My interest emerged from the personal journey that my family undertook when our first child was born with a serious congenital heart defect, requiring three open-heart surgeries in the first two years of his life. That journey is long over now, for the most part, and we made it safely home: Our son is almost twelve, and he enjoys a normal life, him and his scooter and his crazy reconstructed heart. Still, the experience upended my career, took me out of the classroom for several years, and transformed my interior landscape as a thinker, philosophy student, and teacher. I fell in deep for bioethics: the only thing to think about, at the end of that journey. When I returned to teaching, I focused on nurse education, teaching medical ethics, trying to convey to my students the immeasurable human impact of effective medical and nursing care. As I took on a multidisciplinary teaching literature, in philosophy, medicine, and law, my research interests turned more and more to matters of medical and nursing practice. I found my way back to the relevant aspects of my early philosophical education, as a student of the mind-body problem. Working on very basic problems of consciousness and the phenomenology of perception, I had taken classes in the philosophy of psychiatry and philosophy of medicine. These old lessons gained new relevance, grounding my orientation as a teacher, scholar, and community member of a local hospital ethics committee, IRB, and palliative care committee. Nowadays, my research is focused on different aspects of medical decision-making, particularly at the end of life---a primary focus of clinical ethics. Themes include: concepts of patient competence and decisional capacity; issues in the ethics of organ donation; the operative role of concepts of moral authority and moral permission; philosophical debates over the clinical and legal definition of death; and basic considerations of the goals and duties of medical care, both curative and palliative. I'm really excited by the work that I'm doing now, and I look forward to sharing some stories at the Dinner. (The main story is a love story, and it has a happy ending.)
Liliana Castañeda Rossmann, Ph.D. Professor, Communication
Title: “Transcending Gangs: Latinas Story Their Experience”
Date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Location: McMahan House
Liliana Castañeda Rossmann’s research theorizes on how humans co-create and maintain their identities by telling stories. In particular, the stories of gang-involved Latinas have significant implications for transcending their gang experiences. Gangs offer women opportunities for leadership which would be unattainable otherwise. Yet, these leadership skills are hard-earned and, paradoxically, may marginalize them further once they leave the gang lifestyle. What works to help them get out? What works to keep them from getting involved in the first place? Drawing from an eclectic array of approaches, Rossmann makes suggestions to provide young Latinas with viable options to transcend the gang.