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Faculty and Staff

Faculty and Staff News, Spring 2013

April 2, 2013 by Editor in Faculty and Staff with 0 Comments

Joshua Alexander, Ph.D., assistant Professor of Philosophy, was awarded a Fuller Theological Seminary/Templeton Foundation grant in the amount of $110,809 for his research on intellectual humility. His study will focus on disagreements and the factors that influence a person to be open-minded.

Jeffrey Mello, Ph.D., school of business dean, wrote an article for the January 2013 issue of Latino NY magazine which highlights not only Siena’s high-impact learning practices (HILPs), but cites evidence of their significance to the Latino/Latina community. HILPs provide a cornerstone for a Siena business education, and include first-year seminars, writing-intensive courses, collaborative assignments, undergraduate research, diversity/global learning, service learning, community-based learning, internships and capstone courses. In his article, Mello underscores the fact that a 2010 study at California State University revealed that the graduation rate of Latino/Latina students who did not participate in any HILPs was 38%, while the rate of these students who participated in three or more HILPs soared to 73%. As Siena becomes an even more diverse institution, the positive effect that these HILPs have on Latino/Latina students is becoming more relevant in their decision to attend our college.

John Moustakas, Ph.D., appointed assistant professor in physics and astronomy in July 2012, was awarded observing time on the Hubble Space Telescope, which for the past two decades has been NASA’s premier space-based observatory. The grant enables Moustakas to analyze the Hubble observations in tandem with Siena’s Rose Finn, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics, and other collaborators from the University of Arizona, the University of Kansas, Caltech, and the Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova in Italy.  The group was awarded 28 “orbits” of observing time with the Hubble, equivalent to roughly two continuous days. Moustakas’ research aims to improve our understanding of how galaxies formed and have evolved over the 14 billion year age of the Universe. Moustakas is applying for a Siena Summer Scholars program this spring to fund two undergraduates to work with him on the Hubble Space Telescope project, and will be reporting the results of their research at Siena’s Undergraduate Symposium next fall.

Paul T. Murray, Ph.D., professor of sociology, was awarded the Cushwa Center Research Travel Grant in January 2013 to support his research project, “Catholics Fighting for Civil Rights.” The $1,000 grant will allow Murray to travel to Notre Dame to make use of the university’s collections in the Cushwa Center for the study of American Catholicism.

Claire Parham, Ph.D., director of the Center for Faculty Excellence and Innovation, has participated in several recent conferences regarding collaborative teaching and faculty learning communities. Parham, along with Ruth Scipione Kassell, assistant director of Siena’s Academic and Community Engagement office, presented at the Lilly Conference in Bethesda, Maryland in June of 2012. The pair facilitated a talk titled “Creating Service and Collaborative Learning Across Borders.” It focused on how they implemented an Environmental Studies service-learning course with Universidad Privada Boliviana in Cochabamba, Bolivia and a comparative history class with Loyola International College, a division of Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. At SUNY COIL Center’s annual conference, Parham’s presentation “The Challenges of Collaborative Learning across the Border: Canada and the United States: Divergent Paths/Intertwined Futures” was well received. In October 2012, at the annual Professional and Organizational Development in Higher Education conference, she was a member of a panel that presented their experiences with faculty learning communities at small colleges. In terms of publishing, The History Teacher, a peer-reviewed journal, has agreed to publish Parham’s article titled, “The Challenges of Collaborative Learning across the Border: Canada and the United States: Divergent Paths/Intertwined Futures” regarding her Canada/U.S. History class. The class involves video conferencing, joint research projects and shared lectures and was funded by a grant from the Canadian embassy. It will be offered for the third time in the spring of 2013 as a cross-listed history and globalization course.

Elaine Phelan, C.P.A., has been appointed Director of the Master of Science in Accounting Program at Siena College.

Phelan has been a full-time faculty member at Siena since the fall of 2010. For the last three years, she has championed and increased student participation in the IRS-sponsored VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program. Prior to Siena, she was an assistant professor at The Sage Colleges where she directed the Sage After Work program. She also served as Audit Manager for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Phelan’s research interests focus on the increasing complexities of the Federal tax code and alternatives for simplification. Her passion is to provide services to the underrepresented taxpayers in the Capital Region. In addition to her academic and service responsibilities, she leads an active accounting/tax practice firm.

Phelan earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Siena and a Master of Science in Accounting degree from the University at Albany.

Wendy Pojmann, Ph.D., associate professor of history, published her book Women and International Cold War Politics 1944 – 1968. The book explores the history of two important women’s organizations, the left-leaning Unione Donne Italiane (UDI) and the lay Catholic Centro Italiano Femminile (CFI) in an original, well written text (Fordham University Press 2013). Situating these groups in an international, Cold War context, Pojmann shows us an understudied area of women’s political and personal activism in the context of a shifting national and global environment.

Barbara Reeves-Ellington, Ph.D., associate professor of history, published her book Domestic Frontiers: Gender, Reform, and American Interventions in the Ottoman Balkans and the Near East, 1831-1908 in January 2013. The work focuses on the unexpected effects of the American Protestant missionary campaign in the Ottoman Empire during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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