JMU Research, Scholarship & Creative Endeavors
Volume 6, Issue 3
Let’s begin this latest issue of scholarly accomplishments with a recent article: “Post-Pandemic Learning and Innovation,” which details James Madison University’s COVID-19 response, authored by President Jonathan Alger. Emphasizing the multifaceted and responsive collaboration of faculty, staff and community members, the piece describes how a ChangeMaker mindset incorporating university priorities (e.g., ethical reasoning and social responsibility) provided a pathway to innovate and quickly adjust university practices as the pandemic evolved. Some early observations from the Teaching, Learning and Curriculum space include: 

  • Technical Support - “Among the largely unsung heroes of this transformation at JMU were experts from the Libraries, Information Technology and Center for Faculty Innovation—all of whom worked tirelessly with faculty and students to help them make necessary adjustments, learn to use technology in new ways, and troubleshoot when inevitable glitches occurred.” 
  • Faculty Ingenuity - “Musicians have found ways to create virtual ensembles and performances. Scientists have shown students how to conduct experiments remotely using readily available materials. Several faculty members even created an interdisciplinary, online summer course about COVID-19.” 
  • Equity Issues - “We learned, for example, that we cannot assume universal access to high-quality and reliable broadband, state-of-the-art equipment, quiet places to study, or adequate food or health care. These equity issues need immediate attention to ensure equal access to educational opportunities for students from all backgrounds.” 

Building upon these successes, members of the JMU ChangeMaker Mindset Implementation Task Force have been invited to attend the AAC&U 2021 Institute on Integrative Learning and Signature Work. The cross-division team will identify opportunities to reinforce ChangeMaker mindset principles throughout the JMU student experience, preparing students to recognize and respond to opportunities to collaboratively enact impactful, ethical change.
 
Office of Research & Scholarship
James Madison University
Senator Tim Kaine Visits JMU and Tours Nursing Lab
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine tours the Nursing Simulation Lab with representatives from
the College of Health and Behavioral Studies.
Working with partners across JMU, Research & Scholarship organized a half-day of briefings for U.S. Senator Tim Kaine on May 6. President Alger provided a university update focusing on JMU’s pandemic response, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts (joined by Vice Provost for Student Academic Success and Enrollment Management Rudy Molina) and civic engagement leadership. The College of Health and Behavioral Studies arranged a tour of the School of Nursing Simulation Lab and provided an update on JMU health programs. The College of Education shared a number of initiatives focused on strengthening the educator pipeline, a key priority area for Senator Kaine. The visit concluded with Melissa Lubin, Dean of Professional and Continuing Education, and then-incoming Dean of The Graduate School, Linda Thomas, sharing workforce development successes and priorities, a key issue as Congress debates a major infrastructure bill.
Faculty Grant Awards
For a monthly listing of recent faculty grant awards, please visit the JMU Office of Sponsored Programs website. Here are some notable awards from February and March 2021:

Mace Bentley, Dudley Bonsal, Tobias Gerken, Henry Way (School of Integrated Sciences) and Zhuojun Duan (Computer Science) received $449,955 from the National Science Foundation to investigate how background climate and weather conditions shape variability in urban aerosol conditions, and how this in turn shapes the severity of thunderstorms as measured by the intensity, distribution and frequency of cloud-to-ground lightning. 
 
Kimberlee Hartzler-Weakley (Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services) received $88,225 from Sentara Rockingham Memorial Hospital to prevent and end homelessness for vulnerable individuals and families by providing quality and integrated health care and promoting access to affordable housing and sustainable incomes through direct service, advocacy and community engagement. 
 
Deborah Kipps-Vaughan and Karen Hicks (Graduate Psychology) received $100,000 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to implement a program to develop, implement, and evaluate an inter-professional substance use disorder training program to teach health and behavioral health professionals, faculty, students, and community educational partners the needed skills to provide evidence-based screening, intervention and treatment referral for at risk individuals. 
 
Carmen Moreno (Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services) was awarded $85,500 from Corteva to increase awareness of fish consumption advisories and the possible health effects of mercury exposure among Spanish speaking community members who live, work, and recreate along the South and South Fork Shenandoah Rivers. 
 
David Stringham (School of Music) received $4,500 from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation to bring the Fifth House Ensemble to campus to share their experience as national leaders in emerging artist training, arts-integrated educational programming and civic practice.
Graphic Design Artwork Promotes Popular Show
The artwork of Richard Hilliard, professor of graphic design, was chosen to promote the entire second season of the AMC+/Shudder series Creepshow. Hear directly from professor Hilliard about how this opportunity came about in this Breeze TV interview. (Image credit – Creepshow Season 2 key art AMC+ / SHUDDER)
Geography Awarded NSF Funding for Lightning Study
From University Communications: 

On the heels of being recognized as the nation’s top undergraduate geography program, a group of JMU researchers from that program are getting ready to begin a two-year lightning study supported by nearly $450,000 from the National Science Foundation. 
 
The lightning study, which will look into human impacts on the frequency and intensity of lightning, is yet another opportunity for undergraduates to get research experience that will prepare them for graduate school or careers. Bentley [JMU Geography Program Director] said the experience they get will be on par with what master’s and doctoral students would do at major research universities. 
 
“We hope to better understand some of the ingredients in thunderstorm formation that have not traditionally been accounted for," Bentley said, noting that meteorologists focus on thermodynamic instability of the atmosphere. Bentley’s team will look into what effect aerosols, tiny particles in the air, some the result of automobile and factory emissions, play.
Guggenheim Fellowship Awarded to History Professor

From College of Arts and Letters Communications and Marketing
 
Michael Gubser, a professor of history at James Madison University, was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for 2021 for his book project, “Leaving the Past Behind: History and Ahistoricism in International Development.” The project draws on Gubser’s academic expertise in intellectual history and his professional experience as a proposal writer, needs assessor and project evaluator for several international development organizations.

Guggenheim “is among the most highly prized recognitions in all the arts and sciences, a truly career-defining achievement," Dean Robert D. Aguirre said. "The fellowship award acknowledges the brilliance and ground-breaking quality of Gubser’s work and deservedly places him among the highest rank of intellectual historians working today.”

*View the vol. 3, iss. 1 edition of this newsletter for "JMU Research goes International," which profiles scholarly talks by Gubser at the Czech Academy of Science's Institute of Philosophy and Institute of Art History, the 62nd Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society in Mexico City, and the Phenomenology of Solidarity: Community, Practice, and Politics conference in Gdansk, Poland.
Institute for Creative Inquiry Receives $30K for Creating Community Project
From CVPA Communications and Marketing: 
 
The Institute for Creative Inquiry (ICI) in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at James Madison University has been approved for a $30K Grant for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support the Wendy Ewald: Creating Community project. The project will capture the resettlement experiences of 10 immigrant families to Harrisonburg, Virginia, through a five-week collaboration with acclaimed photographer Wendy Ewald; the co-created works will be the focus of a wide range of public programming beginning in Fall 2021. 
 
“The support of the NEA will enable us to connect this world-class artist with the Harrisonburg community at a scope and scale that would not have been possible otherwise. It shows a real commitment to the positively transformative power of art,” says Daniel Robinson, associate director of ICI.
Art History Professor's Scholarship Leads to Invited Talks and International Board Service
This past spring, School of Art, Design and Art History faculty member and scholar of African and African Diaspora art, Aderonka Adesanya, was elected Vice President (beginning in November 2021) of the African Studies Association (ASA) Board of Directors. This follows an invitation to serve on the Museum Advisory Board of the Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art of Pan-Atlantic University (Lagos, Nigeria). Additionally, professor Adesanya delivered two scholarly talks to schools in Arkansas and Texas: 
  • “Bridges and Boundary Breakers: The Fakeye Sculptors in Conversations with Tradition and Modernity” (University of Arkansas, Lafayette) 
  • “Walking a Tight Rope: Cartoonists and Hegemonies in Nigeria” (University of Texas at Austin)
Graduate Psychology Professor Receives Award for Efforts Addressing Eco-anxiety

From University Communications
 
Harrisonburg is well over 2,000 miles from Oregon, but when the Pacific coast state endured its worst wildfire season ever in 2020, Debbie Sturm felt devastated.  
 
A professor of graduate psychology at James Madison University and a native of Pennsylvania, Sturm has never lived in Oregon, but she has been visiting the state every summer for the past 12 years. In that time, she has developed a deep place attachment. 
 
The key to coping with that anxiety is taking action, said Sturm, who received the “2020 Courtland Lee Social Justice Award” from the Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision in the fall and more recently the “Counselors for Climate Justice Award” from Counselors for Social Justice, a part of the American Counseling Association.
Libraries’ Shorish Advocates for Accessible and Inclusive Open Data Management
Yasmeen Shorish, Head of Scholarly Communications Strategies and Special Adviser to the Dean for Equity Initiatives in JMU Libraries, contributed to the May 2021 issue of IAU Horizons, writing on the issue’s theme: “Democratizing Knowledge: Open Science in a Closed World?”. Her editorial, “Towards a More Open – and Equitable – Future”, emphasizes that the pandemic has made the need for truly accessible and inclusive open data and science pressing. Noting that researchers must be both ethical consumers and producers of knowledge, Shorish explains the applicability of the FAIR Principles, the CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance and an ethics of care, all while underscoring that the relationships between these frameworks can help us to better understand equity and enfranchisement in the academy and publishing. She ends the piece with a call to action, urging readers to shift away from a colonialist perspective to research methodology and education, and adds that it is imperative for us to take a more collectivist approach.
Congressional Leaders Cite Data from Political Science
A report co-authored by professor of political science Timothy LaPira was recently referenced in U.S. House of Representatives correspondence from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Chair of the House Democratic Caucus Hakeem Jeffries to the Chairs of the House Committee on Appropriations and the House Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch. Published by New America, the “Congressional Brain Drain: Legislative Capacity in the 21st Century” report discusses a number of issues concerning legislative branch staff (including, but not limited to: compensation, institutional experience, turnover, long-term career prospects, diversity and inclusion, work-life balance, job satisfaction, and partisanship), as well as recommendations for congressional capacity reform. The House of Representatives correspondence directly cites “Congressional Brain Drain” when discussing the effect of inflation on stagnant office budgets, “According to a September 2020 report issued by New America, ‘the House did not increase spending on personal offices’ budgets between 2013 and 2017, but inflation decreased the value of those dollars by roughly 10% over the same time frame.’” Professor LaPira secured external funding in support of this effort through the Hewlett Foundation, the Democracy Fund and the Center for Effective Lawmaking. 
Can Colleges Develop Innovators?
A recent study co-authored by assistant professor of postsecondary analysis and leadership Ben Selznick builds on his previous scholarship to demonstrate additional evidence in the affirmative (colleges can develop innovators). In this study, published in The Journal of Higher Education, students who had an asynchronous lecture reinforced with active learning in-class experiences demonstrated notably higher scores on an innovation measure than students who did not have the in-class reinforcement net of controls. Looking ahead, this study continues to provide evidence supporting the impact of multimodal forms of content delivery, team-based integrative learning and high-quality pedagogy on developing innovators and leaders across the college curriculum. As a practice takeaway, Selznick and his co-authors encourage collegiate educators to consider asking students “What does it mean to be an innovative [insert discipline here]?” as a jumping-off point toward designing and implementing curricular practices that spur authentic student development.
Physics Contributes to Fermilab Discovery
From University Communications
 
JMU physicist Kevin Giovanetti and students he has mentored were among the contributors to the experiment that led to [an April 7] announcement of a groundbreaking particle physics discovery at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois.  
 
Fermilab, the premiere particle physics and accelerator laboratory in the U.S., announced that the Muon g-2 experiment has revealed that fundamental particles called muons behave in a way that is not predicted by scientists’ best theory, the Standard Model of particle physics. One potential explanation for the unexpected behavior would be the existence of undiscovered particles or forces. 
 
“The role of integrative classroom teaching and student research has always been a hallmark of the physics department’s educational efforts and for me this has been a long-standing effort,” [Giovanetti] said. “My status as a researcher over many years has clearly influenced my teaching and remains a critical ingredient.”
Education Professor Publishes Behavior Research and Co-hosts Podcast for Educators
Benjamin Riden is an assistant professor of special education and a board certified behavior analyst at the doctoral level in the Department of Educational Foundations and Exceptionalities. His research and service commitments reflect a focus on preparing future teachers to utilize a variety of behavioral interventions, which improve educational, personal and social outcomes for students with disabilities. During 2020 and into 2021, Riden has co-authored eight articles, which have all either been published in, or accepted by, disciplinary journals. The behavioral interventions explored by Riden and his co-authors include the 22 High-Level Practices (HLPs) developed by the Council for Exceptional Children, specific and varied praise, and daily behavior report cards, which built on concepts he initially covered in his dissertation, titled The Effects of an Electronic Daily Behavior Report Card on Challenging Student Behavior. This practice will also be examined in Riden’s upcoming piece, “Using, evaluating, and intensifying daily behavior report cards for students with behavioral challenges,” which will appear in Intervention in School and Clinic. Riden’s service builds upon his scholarly discourse; he co-hosts Behavior Now!, a podcast run by the Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders, and serves as associate editor at the Journal of Special Education Preparation
Leadership Announcements

We’d also like to recognize the appointments of two new deans at JMU. Rubén Graciani assumed the role of Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts in April. Dean Graciani previously served as Director of the JMU School of Theatre and Dance, and acting/interim dean of CVPA. Linda Thomas began her tenure as Dean of The Graduate School on June 1st. Dean Thomas joins The Graduate School after three years of leadership as Academic Unit Head of the JMU School of Integrated Sciences.
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