Volume 15 | February 13, 2020
The College’s annual celebration event will be held Friday, March 6, at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. The Kaleidoscope Banquet begins with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:45. Dress is business attire. To make reservations,  please visit here.

For their contributions on the local, state, national and international levels, W. Clark Gilpin, Holland Ford and Diane Willis will be recognized as the 2020 Distinguished Alumni of the University of Oklahoma College of Arts and Sciences. Clifford and Leslie Hudson will be recognized with the Distinguished Service Award for their leadership and generosity in support of areas that reflect the values of the College. In addition, Daniel Pae will be honored as the 2020 Young Alumni Award recipient for his exemplary leadership, service and character. For complete information on our award winners  click here.

The following faculty award winners also will also be honored:

Irene Rothbaum Award
Cyrus Schleifer , Department of Sociology

Longmire Prize for Teaching
Lara Mayeux , Department of Psychology

John H. and Jane M. Patten Teaching Award
Aparna Nair , Department of History of Science

Kinney-Sugg Outstanding Professor Award
Ryan Bisel , Department of Communication
The three distinguished alumni winners will give lectures Thursday, March 5. The schedule for the lectures, which are free and open to the public, follows:
Diane J. Willis - ' 70, Ph.D. in Psychology
Pioneers in Pediatric Psychology: Reflections of an American Indian Psychologist
1:30 p.m., Nielsen Hall, Room 170, Neal F. Lane Auditorium

Diane J. Willis is a recognized leader in the development of pediatric psychology and clinical child psychology. She has been a pioneer in providing care in the context of child and family medical settings and community agencies, and enhanced psychological clinical practice and service delivery through her scholarship, leadership and advocacy.

Currently, Willis is professor emeritus in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, where she helped establish and develop the Child Study Center and psychological service units over many years. She has trained generations of medical students and residents, psychology students and interns, and postdoctoral fellows. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Nicholas Hobbs Award for Child Advocacy, the Distinguished Professional Contribution to Clinical Psychology Award and the Distinguished Psychologist Award from the Oklahoma Psychological Association. In 2008, in recognition of her lifelong significant contributions as a mentor to psychologists, the American Psychological Foundation and APA Division of Child, Youth and Family Services established the “Diane J. Willis Early Career Award.” Most recently, Willis received the 2019 Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association.     
Holland Ford - '62, B.S. in Physics and Mathematics
Hubble Troubles: From the Space Shuttle Challenger Tragedy to Spherical Aberration
3:45 p.m., Nielsen Hall, Room 170,
Neal F. Lane Auditorium

Holland Ford is an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute, as well as a professor in the Johns Hopkins’ Henry A. Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy. He is the principal investigator for the Hubble telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys, and he assumed a lead role in organizing the Hubble panel that developed the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement. Ford has also played a role in discovering evidence for the existence of supermassive black holes in the cores of most galaxies. He has more than 30 years of teaching experience at prestigious universities, including the University of Michigan, UCLA and Johns Hopkins.

Ford is the recipient of NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal for his outstanding contributions to the Hubble Space Telescope. This award is NASA’s highest form of recognition, and is presented to those who have made a profound impact on the success of a NASA mission. He is also the recipient of the NASA Public Service Medal, the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Award and the NASA Group Achievement Award.  
W. Clark Gilpin - '67, B.A. in History
Emily Dickinson's Civil War: The Poet as an Agent of Cultural Change
Reception at 4:30 p.m.
Lecture at 5 p.m.
Dale Hall Tower, Ninth Floor

W. Clark Gilpin is the Margaret E. Burton Professor Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago Divinity School, where he served as dean from 1990 to 2000. His research focuses on the history of modern Christianity, especially in relation to literature. Gilpin’s most recent book,  Religion Around Emily Dickinson  (Penn State University Press, 2014), employs Dickinson’s poetry as a lens through which to view the cultural work performed by religious thought, practice and imagination in 19th-century America.

Currently, Gilpin is writing about the “letter from prison” as a genre of religious literature from the Apostle Paul to Martin Luther King. Gilpin has served as the dean of the University of Chicago Divinity School, as well as the school’s director of the Martin Marty Center and director of the Nicholson Center for British Studies. Gilpin has taught undergraduate and graduate students and influenced all with his mentorship, knowledge and commitment.  
The College has started a crowdfunding campaign seeking support for the Emergency Scholarship Fund. This fund allows the College to empower students experiencing hardships so that an unexpected financial setback doesn’t prevent them from graduating on time or at all. To learn more about our campaign click here . If you have donated already, thank you. You can also help by sharing the link to our campaign with your friends and family to help make this project a huge success!
This year, the College of Arts and Sciences will celebrate the achievements of our graduating students on Saturday, May 9, at the Lloyd Noble Center. We will have two ceremonies, which will begin at 2 p.m. with the College of Arts and Sciences Master's Convocation . The College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Convocation will begin at 5:30 p.m. For more information   click here.
The Carl Albert Center, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Center for Faculty Excellence invite you to a public presentation by Arthur Lupia, head of the Directorate of Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences at the National Science Foundation. 

The title of his presentation is "Now Is the Time: How to Increase the Public Value of Scientific Research."

The event will take place from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Monday, March 9, in Meacham Auditorium of Oklahoma Memorial Union.

Please mark your calendars and invite your students to attend. SBE provides funding opportunities not only to faculty, but also to graduate students through programs managing Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants. 
Last semester, the University of Oklahoma Clara Luper Department of African and African American Studies welcomed new faculty members Andrea Benjamin (pictured top left) and Kalenda Eaton (pictured bottom left) . They both recently discussed their transition to the University and plans for the future in the following q and a: 

Can you talk a little bit about your decision to come to OU?

Andrea Benjamin: “I’m a political scientist, and when I first applied for this job I was a little bit nervous just because I’ve always focused strictly on political science. However, I have an undergraduate degree in African and African American Studies and it had always been a goal of mine to teach that subject. I feel like this subject gives me such a breadth in the way I was able to think about things. I ended up coming to OU so I could focus on African American studies, a subject I am truly passionate about.”
What classes are you teaching and what about them excites you?

Kalenda Eaton: “I’m teaching a course I designed called “Womanism and Black Feminism.” It gives the students an opportunity to think about not only black feminist thought, but is also another way of thinking about activism in terms of womanism. We discuss how the frameworks are aligned, but also have separate goals. The other class that I am teaching is a general education course called “Africa and The Diaspora.” I have a really good group of students in all of my courses, and I think that we’re going to have a really good time in that class. Depending on the professor, it gets taught differently, but my focus is more cultural studies and literary studies. They are going to learn about history, contemporary social issues and global pop culture, among other things. I’m really looking forward to our upcoming discussions ."

University of Oklahoma researcher Si Wu has been selected as a winner of the Robert J. Cotter New Investigator Award, presented by the U.S. Human Proteome Organization. The award is presented to individuals early in their careers in recognition of significant achievements in proteomics, or the large-scale study of proteins. Wu will receive her award at the organization’s annual conference in March, where she also will present a plenary lecture on her work.
Georgia Kosmopoulou , associate dean for research in the College, was recently appointed as associate editor for the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. The journal is devoted to theoretical and empirical research concerning economic decision, organization and behavior and to economic change in all its aspects. Its specific purposes are to foster an improved understanding of how human cognitive, computational and informational characteristics influence the working of economic organizations and market economies and how an economy's structural features lead to various types of micro and macro behavior, to changing patterns of development and to institutional evolution. 
Luis Cortest , professor of Spanish, was recently featured in the OU Daily for his work in uniting communities at Norman’s St. Joseph’s Catholic Church . Cortest was instrumental in the creation of the Blessed Stanley Rother Hispanic Institute, which has the mission to present a more positive and well-informed picture of the Spanish-speaking world.
Professor Rhona Seidelman , Schusterman Chair of Israel Studies and assistant professor of history, has authored  Under Quarantine , the riveting story of Shaar Ha’aliya, Israel’s central immigration processing camp, which opened shortly after Israel became an independent state in 1948. This historic gateway for Jewish migration was surrounded by a controversial barbed wire fence. The camp administrators defended this imposing barrier as a necessary quarantine measure – even as detained immigrants regularly defied it by crawling out of the camp and returning at will. Focusing on the conflicts and complications surrounding the medical quarantine, this book brings the remarkable experiences of the immigrants who went through it to life. Evocative and bold,  Under Quarantine  puts contemporary, global discussions on quarantine and migration in a new light, while showing that we cannot fully understand Israel until we understand Shaar Ha’aliya.  
Several members of the Oklahoma Biological Survey have published Dragonflies at a Biogeographical Crossroads: The Odonata of Oklahoma and Complexities Beyond Its Borders .   Brenda D. Smith and Michael A. Patten authored the book, with contributions from Bruce W. Hoagland and Roy J. Beckemeyer. This lavishly illustrated book examines the distribution, ecology, conservation status and biogeography of 176 species of dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata) in the southern plains of the United States, where 12 ecoregions converge. The topics discussed, such as phenotypic variation and ecology, are applicable and of interest across the United States and much of North America. A series of maps, including a distributional map by specific locality of occurrence, indicate level of documentation and allow the reader to visualize the biogeographical associations of a given species. Context-driven chapters, including one on the region’s rich paleo-entomological history and others about historical events of the region, blend cultural and natural history to give the book a fresh perspective while providing a rich summary of the odonates.
A University of Oklahoma-led study shows that paddy rice (both area and plant growth) is significantly related to the spatial-temporal dynamics of atmospheric methane concentration in monsoon Asia , where 87% of paddy rice fields are situated in the world. Methane is one of the major greenhouse gases. It has a lifetime of 12.4 years and its global warming potential is approximately 86 times higher than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.

“Rice paddy is a large source of methane emission; however, it has been a challenging task to attribute relative role of rice paddy in the spatial distribution, seasonal dynamics and interannual variation of atmospheric methane concentration as measured by spaceborne sensors,” said Xiangming Xiao , a member of the Earth Observation and Modeling Facility at OU and a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology who coordinated this interdisciplinary study.
At the beginning of each summer, mayfly larvae emerge from bodies of water and shed their skin to become full-fledged mayflies, similar to how caterpillars become butterflies. Then, all at once, a swarm of these insects simultaneously takes flight to reproduce, acting as an important component in the food chain for birds. 

Researchers at the University of Oklahoma ( Jeffrey Kelly professor of biology and director of the Plains Institute), the University of Notre Dame and Virginia Tech applied radar technology – the same used for meteorology – to quantify the number of mayflies that emerged annually from two different bodies of water: the Upper Mississippi River and the Western Lake Erie Basin. Their goal was to characterize the size of these swarms using the same technique a meteorologist would use to quantify the amount of precipitation that may fall from a cloud.



Caroline Schroeder is the co-principal investigator for this grant for digital and computational research on the Coptic language and Coptic literature. Coptic is the last phase of the ancient Egyptian language family. It evolved from hieroglyphs and was used mostly in the Roman and early Islamic periods of Egyptian history. Coptic is the heritage language for Christians in Egypt and the diaspora known as Coptic Orthodox Christians. The language and literature important for research in multiple disciplines (Classics, History, Linguistics, Religious Studies, Egyptology), and this project is interdisciplinary.

Click here to find Coptic literature you can read, an online Coptic dictionary (created in collaboration with German research partners), natural language processing tools to analyze the Coptic language and a searchable database of the Coptic texts for research.
This particular grant supports the expansion of the number of texts online and the development of tools that enable what is known as linked open data – the linking of different open access resources around the web. Researchers are linking texts to the online dictionary, other partner projects in digital Coptic and geographical websites.



Jody Worley and Jennifer Kisamore have recently been awarded a three-year subcontract to improve treatment for polyvictims -- individuals who have experienced multiple types of trauma. For the subcontract, Worley and Kisamore will assist the Tulsa Family Safety Center in the implementation and evaluation of the efficacy of a polyvictimization assessment tool designed to facilitate and expand services to polyvictims. The Tulsa Family Safety Center is the lead agency in this DOJ-sponsored grant.

$24,817 - Q CHEM, INC.


In this NIH SBIR Phase I project, researchers will collaborate with scientists at Q-Chem Inc. (a leading quantum chemistry software company) and at the University of Texas Arlington. The goal is to substantially advance multiscale modeling methodology for simulating the free energy profile of enzymatic reactions. Researchers have successfully combined the ab initio quantum chemistry methods (such as density functional theory), semi-empirical quantum chemistry methods, and molecular mechanics force fields in multiscale and multiple-timestep atomistic simulations of enzyme systems. This has led to a several-fold reduction in the computational time (while retaining the same accuracy), paving the way for faster investigations of the reaction mechanisms of various enzymes.  



The DARPA A-PhI program seeks to enable compact precision sensors by blending the record-setting performance of ultra-cold atom measurement science with the enabling platform of photonic integrated circuits. In this spirit, researchers are collaborating with Sandia National Laboratories to develop an atomic gyroscope based on the interference of ultra-cold matter waves which are controlled by optical fields emanating from micro-fabricated structures. This approach can potentially enable exciting new advances at the frontier of matter wave control, including new tests of quantum superposition, and a manufacturable atom-photon interface for quantum technologies.


This project utilizes the unique natural product chemistry resources at the University of Oklahoma to discover new compounds that have the potential to halt the spread of drug-resistant malaria. A little over a quarter of a billion people suffer from malaria, which disproportionately affects the young and most vulnerable patients (~67% of deaths are children). Using the fungi obtained through the University of Oklahoma Citizen Science Soil Collection Program in collaboration with malaria biologists at the University of Central Florida, researchers hope to uncover new drug leads that inhibit malaria-causing parasites.



Amphibians and reptiles together are among the most threatened groups of organisms on Earth, with recent reports indicating that one-third and one-quarter of the world’s species of amphibians and reptiles, respectfully, are facing extinction. In fact, in the United States alone, one-quarter of all native turtle species are currently protected under the Endangered Species Act. Although many factors are contributing to this global biodiversity crisis, a growing concern has been the emergence of infectious diseases, particularly chytrid fungi and ranaviruses. Following a three-year State Wildlife Grant funded research study on Oklahoma amphibian infectious diseases, researchers have confirmed an alarmingly high prevalence of disease among amphibian populations across much of the state. Unfortunately, despite now knowing that two emergent pathogens are present in the state, researchers have no data on the long-term impact these diseases on native populations. Furthermore, no studies have ever screened for ranavirus infections in Oklahoma turtle populations. This collaborative project led by members of the Department of Biology and the Sam Noble Museum at the University of Oklahoma will conduct the first temporal study of emergent infectious diseases among amphibian and turtle populations in the state, focusing on species of greatest conservation need. Not only will this study address seasonal patterns in disease prevalence and monitor populations for evidence of increasing disease threat, but also, the project will assess local extinction risk of native species of greatest conservation concern.


The Texas Horned Lizard is one of the most charismatic and enigmatic species of the American Southwest—well known for its distinctive horns, lateral spikes and flattened body. Despite being such an iconic reptile, the species continues to experience continued population declines across large parts of its range, including central Oklahoma, where it now persists in small isolated habitats where human population levels are lower. Therefore, it is critical that increased efforts be undertaken to monitor population health in the state. This collaborative project between members of the Department of Biology and the Sam Noble Museum at the University of Oklahoma aims to conduct intensive summer surveys of horned lizard populations in western Oklahoma to develop and test novel monitoring protocols. The results of this study will address the current distribution, population density and health, habitat requirements, status of primary food source and invasive species posing conservation threats, and population genetic diversity of the Species of Greatest Conservation Need in the state.
The Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy hosted the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics at OU Jan. 17-19. The conference was attended by about 130 undergraduate students, mostly women, from Oklahoma and surrounding states. Following a formal application to the American Physical Society, which coordinates the conference series, OU was selected as one of 12 sites across the United States to host CUWiP over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.

The conference program touched on all aspects of undergraduate students’ lives, including the challenges and isolation frequently felt by members from underrepresented minorities. The undergraduate student attendees had the opportunity to visit experimental facilities in Nielsen and Lin Halls, to learn about graduate programs and internships, to enjoy talks by internationally renowned speakers, to interact with OU alumni who are now pursuing highly successful careers in academia, to hear about how to cope with mental health challenges, to learn about unique challenges encountered by underrepresented minorities and the LGBTQ+ community, and to engage in networking.

OU’s CUWiP was organized under the leadership of third-year physics graduate student Amber Roepe, who spearheaded bringing CUWiP to OU and served as chair of the Local Organizing Committee. Doerte Blume served as the faculty chair of the conference. The majority of the committee was made up of undergraduate and graduate students from the Department of Physics and Astronomy. In addition, several staff and faculty members generously donated their time. The feedback from the student participants and presenters was overwhelmingly positive and suggested that the conference was a great success.
The conference organizers would like to acknowledge the financial support of the conference by the APS, through their NSF and DOE grants; nine OU colleges, departments and offices; EPSCOR Mississippi; as well as individual donors who donated through OU’s Thousands Strong crowdfunding efforts.
The University of Oklahoma was among 139 institutions named by the   Washington Monthly on its list of annual rankings of top schools for student voting . Each year, the  Washington Monthly  gathers data about the efforts schools are making to encourage their students to vote. The Carl Albert Center’s Civic Engagement Fellows and Oklahoma Votes helped OU make the list through their efforts in registering student voters over the last year. 
The College congratulates Emily Kiehnau for receiving the second annual Simberloff Award for Outstanding Presentation. Together, the Ecological Society of America’s Invasion Ecology Section, Biological Invasions, and Springer International Publishing sponsor this annual award to recognize the contributions of Editor-in-Chief Daniel Simberloff to the study of nonnative species. The award is given annually to two undergraduate or graduate students at ESA’s annual meeting who embody Simberloff’s creativity, intelligence and passion for studying and understanding the biology of nonnative organisms.

The title of Kiehnau’s winning oral presentation was Morphological changes of native Daphnia species in response to the invasive predator Bythotrephes longimanus . Kiehnau is a Ph.D. candidate in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Program, where she studies the response of the keystone herbivore Daphnia to the exotic introduced zooplanktivore Bythotrephes longimanus (spiny waterflea). Kiehnau is interested in the plastic and evolutionary responses of native prey species to exotic introduced predators and in identifying how these responses influence community level processes. In her dissertation, Kiehnau is addressing these questions by examining a variety of behavioral and morphological anti-predator responses in resurrected pre- and postinvasion Daphnia populations. 
Feb. 14                 
Deadline to make changes to spring 2020 OTIS. 

Deadline to enter new course changes not associated with program modifications, certificates or minors into Courseleaf. 

Feb. 14                
Sabbatical leave reports from fall 2019 only or spring 2019 and fall 2019 (two-semester sabbatical) are due to the Dean’s office.

Feb. 25                 
Chairs and Directors meeting by area, 9 a.m., Ellison Hall

Feb. 26                 
CASFAM Staff meeting, 9 a.m., Dale Hall Tower 906

Feb. 28                 
Deadline for academic units to submit faculty evaluations to the Dean’s office.

Feb. 28
The Department of Communication will host a Showcase Seminar with guest speaker Adam Richards , associate professor in the Bob Schieffer College of Communication at Texas Christian University. Click here for a full schedule of events.

March 1                       
Deadline to submit College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Staff Award nominations to Darla Madden

March 4                       
Deadline to enter preliminary summer 2020 OTIS into the Teaching Load and Course Enrollment Management System

March 5
College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series (see top of newsletter for details)

March 6
The College’s annual celebration event will be held Friday, March 6, at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. The Kaleidoscope Banquet begins with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:45. To make reservations   please visit here.

March 9
The Department of Political Science will host the 2020 Bellmon Lecture in Public Service at 5 p.m. in the Oklahoma Memorial Union Scholars Room. Susan Gooden , interim dean and professor of public administration and policy at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University, will present "Navigating Nervous Areas of Government."
March 9
Arthur Lupia, assistant director of the National Science Foundation and head of the NSF Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences, will present "Now Is the Time: How to Increase the Public Value of Scientific Research" from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in Meacham Auditorium of Oklahoma Memorial Union.
March 9
The OU Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage will host the Teach-In, a single-day lecture series encompassing a specific period or idea in world history. Click here for full details on the event.

March 9                     
Deadline for academic unit Committees A to submit chair/director reappointment or calendar year 2019 chair/director evaluations to the Dean’s office.     
March 13                     
Deadline for chairs/directors to submit reappointment or calendar year 2019 evaluation self-assessments to the Dean’s office.