Volume 18 | Oct. 30, 2020

The college is pleased to announce it has established a new program for Data Scholarship, which will be led by interim director June Abbas.
In today’s world, skills in data/digital object handling, analysis and visualization are used by all academic domains and are in high demand in many professions. In light of this, the program for Data Scholarship will offer graduate and undergraduate certificates in statistics and data science/analytics, explore additional degree offerings and coordinate other support and resources for statistics, data science and digital humanities within the college and across the university.
The goal of the Data Scholarship Program is to support quantitative and computing-based research and education among domain-specialists in the Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences and the broader OU community.
Abbas is a professor in the School of Library and Information Studies and she is currently the editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed research journal Library and Information Science Research, which focuses on new and innovative research methods within library and information science.

Click here for more information on the Data Scholarship Program
and Abbas.
Right now, as the world contends with the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic ramifications, scholarship support for students within the College of Arts and Sciences is more important than ever. Your support could change the life of a student, allowing them to achieve their dreams of an OU degree. The college has developed a website to showcase the stories of three of our current students who are thriving thanks to the generosity of those who provide scholarship support. Learn more about Ania, Aubrie and Brian at link.ou.edu/casimpact.
When Ania's dream of attending college on a basketball scholarship ended due to injury, she went through physical therapy where she found a new dream and now has her sights set on medical school. 
Since her senior year of high school, Aubrie has been taking care of herself. The circumstances and challenges she has endured led to the path she is on to help others as she pursues a degree in psychology at OU. 
Like so many others, Brian's summer internship was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with the support of a scholarship he quickly secured another opportunity and took a step toward his goal of working for Google. 
The University of Oklahoma will honor its fall 2020 graduates in a virtual graduation ceremony. The decision was announced in light of the university’s COVID-19 capacity limits for all campus classrooms, spaces and venues, which have been developed to accommodate social distancing best practices. Graduates and their families, friends and Sooners worldwide are invited to gather online for OU’s December virtual graduation ceremony, which will be held starting at 7 p.m. CST Friday, Dec. 18, at ou.edu/commencement. Along with the OU alumni who graduated in May 2020, December graduates will also be invited to participate in next year’s university-wide in-person spring Commencement ceremony. Further details on OU’s December virtual graduation ceremony are forthcoming and will be available at ou.edu/commencement.
This summer, the University of Oklahoma unveiled its first strategic plan in a generation. “Lead On, University” – OU’s strategic plan for the Norman campus – provides a roadmap to unlocking OU’s greatest potential as one of the nation’s top public research universities. The plan is guided by five overarching pillars that stem from OU’s core traditions, which include enriching and positively impacting Oklahoma, the nation and the world through research and creative activity.
In the OU College of Arts and Sciences, Erin Maher, associate professor of sociology, is well underway in her efforts to cultivate cross-campus collaborations and state agency partnerships to help fulfill the strategic plan since arriving at OU just over two years ago. Several other academic units at OU also have relationships with state agencies. To provide an example, click here to see how Maher and her OU colleagues, have worked closely with state agencies.
A community-led think tank is coming to Northeast Oklahoma City. The think tank, led by the University of Oklahoma, will research anti-racist frameworks in education through engaging stakeholders and researching precedents. OU faculty members Andrea Benjamin in the Clara Luper Department of African and African American Studies and Deborah Richards in the Division of Architecture, Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture, lead the project with Vanessa Morrison, an affiliate faculty member in the College of Architecture and the co-founder of BlackSpace Oklahoma, a nonprofit organization on a mission to strengthen Black communities for social and spatial change. Morrison will co-lead the think tank along with four OU students from the Clara Luper African and African American Studies Department and the College of Architecture. Benjamin and Richards are leading classes that will engage the think tank as a prototype for how a community-led service learning environment at OU could be structured in the future. Benjamin’s Politics and Public Policy course, which is centered on the way African Americans have utilized the political arena to demand change and equity over time, will review how African Americans engage in local politics with regard to use of space, economic development and representation. Richards’ course is an architecture studio based on urban design strategies in Northeast Oklahoma City.
Congratulations to Janet Ward who was named as one of OU's two senior associate vice presidents for research and partnerships. Ward, the Brammer Presidential Professor of History and the founding director of the OU Arts and Humanities Forum, joined the Office of the Vice President for Research and Partnerships earlier this semester.
Professor Debra Bemben, a faculty member in the Department of Health & Exercise Science, was inducted as a new Fellow into the National Academy of Kinesiology during a virtual ceremony on Sept. 25. The National Academy of Kinesiology is an honorary organization composed of Fellows who have made distinguished and sustained contributions to the field of kinesiology through scholarship and professional service. Bemben is a President's Associates Presidential Professor and director of the Bone Density Research Laboratory at OU. Learn more
Deborah Watson, professor emeritus in the Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy, has been selected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society. The APS Fellowship Program was created to recognize members who advance physics through original research and publication, or made significant innovative contributions in the application of physics to science and technology, or have made significant contributions to the teaching of physics.
Jizhong Zhou, the director of the Institute for Environmental Genomics and a George Lynn Cross Research Professor of Microbiology, has been honored with an International Water Association Fellowship. IWA Fellows are members of a unique community comprising global water professionals with international recognition; known for their guidance and leadership in the world of water science, technology and management in the water sector as it continues to evolve. The official recognition ceremony will take place at the IWA World Water Congress and Exhibition in Copenhagen in May 2021. 

In addition, Zhou is the lead for a study that tackles a problem that has challenged scientists for more than a decade. The study, Gene-informed decomposition model predicts lower soil carbon loss due to persistent microbial adaptation to warming,” was recently published in Nature Communications
Javier Alejandro Chavez-Dominguez, assistant professor of mathematics, was recently honored and highlighted by the Lathisms, an organization founded in 2016 that showcases the contributions of Latinx and Hispanic mathematicians during Hispanic Heritage month. Chavez-Dominguez’s research is centered on functional analysis, with an emphasis on the geometry of normed spaces, as well as the geometry of operator spaces. He enjoys mentoring undergraduate mathematic students and helping others in their mathematical journey.
Deven Carlson, associate director at OU’s National Institute for Risk and Resilience and associate professor of political science, has been invited to serve a five-year term as a principal member of the Institute for Education Sciences' Education Systems and Broad Reform Research Peer Review Panel. The IES within the U.S. Department of Education is the statistics, research and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education. The IES invites individuals to become principal members based on their professional contributions to education sciences and related fields. Principal members play an important role by providing continuity of expertise and familiarity with the peer review process across years for IES reports and grant applications.
Gary Hoover, President's Associates Presidential Professor and Economics Department chair, was featured by a number of recent pieces over the last few months. He discussed how to make the economics profession more welcoming to underrepresented groups with The American Economic Association. He also spoke to Marketplace about how race fits into introductory economics courses and for “The Economy, Reset,” a Marketplace special series. Additionally, he gave the keynote address for the Federal Reserve Education event on Race and Inequality in the Classroom and spoke to the Chicago Tribune to give his thoughts on diversity within economics departments.
David Vishanoff (Department of Religious Studies) has edited Islamic Law and Ethics, which has been published (Open Access) by the International Institute for Islamic Thought. This volume assembles many of the papers delivered at the 2014 Summer Institute for Scholars on “Sharia and Ethics." Does Islamic law define Islamic ethics? Or is the law a branch of a broader ethical system? Or is it but one of several independent moral discourses, Islamic and otherwise, competing for Muslims’ allegiance? The essays in this book present a range of answers: some take fiqh as the defining framework for ethics, others insert the law into a broader ethical system, and others present it as just one among several parallel Islamic ethical discourses, or show how Islamic ethics might coexist with non-Muslim normative systems. Their answers have far-reaching implications for epistemology, for the authority of jurists and lay Muslims, for the practical moral challenges of daily life and for relationships with non-Muslims. The book presents Muslim ethicists with a strategic contemporary choice: should they pursue a single overarching methodology for judging all ethical questions, or should they relish the rhetorical and political competition of alternative but not necessarily incompatible moral discourses?
Rachel Blum, an assistant professor in the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center and the Department of Political Science, recently published her new book, How the Tea Party Captured the GOP: Insurgent Factions in American Politics with the University of Chicago Press. In the book, Blum approaches the Tea Party from the angle of party politics, explaining the Tea Party’s insurgent strategies as those of a party faction. Blum offers a novel theory of factions as miniature parties within parties, discussing how fringe groups can use factions to increase their political influence in the U.S. two-party system. In this richly researched book, the author uncovers how the electoral losses of 2008 sparked disgruntled Republicans to form the Tea Party faction, and the strategies the Tea Party used to wage a systematic takeover of the Republican Party. This book not only illuminates how the Tea Party achieved its influence, but also provides a framework for identifying other factional insurgencies.
Nancy E. Snow, director of the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing and professor of philosophy, has a new book set for release later this year, Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement. The past 30 years have seen a resurgence of interest in virtue among philosophers, psychologists and educators. Over time, this interdisciplinary conversation has included character cultivation and education, in addition to more abstract, theoretical discussions of virtue. This volume presents a major contribution to the emerging science of virtue measurement and character, demonstrating just how philosophical understanding and psychological research can enrich each other.
A young adult fiction book written by a University of Oklahoma faculty member recently was named a New York Times bestseller and will also serve as the basis for a television series in development at Amazon.
Jennifer Lynn Barnes, a Robert Glenn Rapp Foundation Presidential Professor in Psychology and Professional Writing, is author of The Inheritance Games, the first in a two-book series.
Blackbirds are responsible for $18 million of damage to sunflower and corn crops in North Dakota and the most severe crop damage is in close proximity to blackbird roosts. NEXRAD weather surveillance radar has been detecting blackbirds at one large roost for the past eight years. Jeff Kelly, professor of biology, and Bonne Clark, M.S. student in biology, received an award ($22,603) from USDA APHIS to continue investigating whether is possible to monitor the abundances of blackbirds at roosts using weather surveillance radar.
This collaborative research effort through OU's biology department and USDA's APHIS National Wildlife Research Center combines Kelly's expertise in aeroecology using NEXRAD WSR to track movements of airborne species and the field expertise of blackbird behavior and ecology of North Dakota USDA APHIS NWRC field station at North Dakota State University.

The image shows radar reflectivity at dawn at a large blackbird roost in North Dakota. The black oval on the left side of the image is the radar location (KBIS) and the yellow and green areas are thousands of blackbirds departing the roost on their way to feed in surrounding sunflower and corn fields.
Two OU biologists are part of an international team of researchers building a volunteer network of citizen scientists to help monitor the abundance of dragonflies and damselflies. Insect species the world over appear to be losing the battle for survival. Shifting and shrinking ranges and loss in total numbers indicate they could be headed toward collapse. For many insect species, we lack sufficient data to fully examine what is happening. But a solution is being provided by the international team that includes Brenda D. Smith, staff researcher, and Michael A. Patten, Presidential Professor, both at the Oklahoma Biological Survey at the University of Oklahoma. “Volunteer nature enthusiasts can greatly help to monitor the abundance of dragonflies and damselflies, iconic freshwater sentinels and one of the few nonpollinator insect groups appreciated by the public and amenable to citizen science,” the scientists wrote in October's cover story in the peer-reviewed, international journal BioScience.
The Center for Peace and Development at the University of Oklahoma has received a $175,000 grant from the Carnegie Corp. of New York to support the center’s research mission and collaborative activities. The two-year Carnegie grant will help develop projects under the thematic title “Peace, Conflict, and International Political Economy.” These projects will explore transnational processes, including militarism, capital accumulation and financialization, and geo-economics and human development in conflict and post-conflict societies to understand their impact on the production of (in)security on societies in the global South. Professor Firat Demir from the CPD and Department of Economics in the College of Arts and Sciences is the principal investigator and project director for this grant. 
The Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology recognized Alexis Mychajliw with the Alf Award for Excellence in Paleontological Research and Education at the annual Peccary Society event, on Oct. 16. The award honors a paleontologist who demonstrates exceptional achievement both in original scientific research, as well as in education and outreach at the primary and secondary school (K–12) levels. Mychajliw is a postdoctoral associate at the University of Oklahoma and a research associate at the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum.
Researchers at the University of Oklahoma, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, University of Oregon, and others report the unexpected discovery of an isolated short-faced bear toe bone from California’s Channel Islands, presenting a puzzling scenario for how the largest mammalian carnivore to ever walk North America ended up in an island cave.
Psychology professor Shane Connelly (co-PI) and her collaborators in the Price College of Business’s's MIS program, Matt Jensen (PI) and Shaila Miranda (Co-PI), recently received a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's National Counterterrorism, Innovation, Technology and Education Center titled, "Ideological Influence and Radicalization in Online Microblog Platforms." This project examines the use of microblog (e.g., Twitter) strategies by violent ideological groups and self-propagating malware (bots) acting on their behalf. The goal of this project is to learn about the process by which these groups identify and attract new adherents, coordinate their interactions and activities, and increase commitment to the ideology through radicalization. Through studying at-rest datasets that reflect a variety of ideological perspectives, the research team will examine dissemination, messaging and persuasion tactics to determine their impact on cognitive, affective and behavioral outcomes. They will focus on English language content to understand the online behavior that is most likely consumed by U.S. online audiences.
In addition, Connelly was part of a group of OU professors who recently received a research award to investigate how technology helps people to cope with the stresses of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The $199,859 grant was awarded by the National Science Foundation. This project is a collaborative effort between the OU College of Arts and Sciences and the Michael F. Price College of Business. Faculty members working on the project are Connelly, Georgia Kosmopoulou in the Department of Economics, and Heshan Sun in the Division of Management Information Systems, in Price College.
Professor Michael Wenger (Department of Psychology) along with Anna Csiszar (OUHSC), Han Yuan (Biomedical Engineering), Camille Gunderson (OUHSC) and Dee Wu (OUHSC), were recently awarded a $60,000 grant from the Stephenson Gynecological Cancer Center for their research proposal "Dopamine dysregulation and changes in neurovascular coupling as mechanisms in cancer treatment-related cognitive impairment." Almost every woman who receives chemotherapy for ovarian cancer has measurable cognitive impairment. All of them end up with iron deficiency anemia. This project will test the hypothesis that the iron deficiency anemia, and its effects on dopamine and neurovascular coupling, mediates the relationship between chemotherapy and cognitive impairment.
Congratulations to Lauren Ethridge (departments of Pediatrics and Psychology, subaward PI) and her collaborators Dr. Craig Erickson (Cincinnati Children's Hospital; PI), Dr. Kimberly Huber (UT Southwestern Medical Center; Site PI) and Dr. Devin Binder (UC Riverside, Site PI) on their NIH P50 Fragile X Centers for Collaborative Research $173,000 award. This multi-site project focuses on translational sensory and cognitive biomarkers for novel drug discovery across development in Fragile X Syndrome. Ethridge's lab heads the human sensory neuroscience focus of this project.
Justin Malestein, assistant professor of mathematics, received a collaboration grant for mathematicians from the Simons Foundation for "linear representations of the mapping class group and related groups." This grant supports his research on self-similarities of surfaces, formally called the mapping class group. The mapping class group is intimately related to the moduli space of surfaces, which is a fundamental object in the fields of algebra, geometry and analysis. His research explores the connections between this group and certain well-studied families of matrices. 
Congratulations to Lori Snyder, associate professor, Department of Psychology; Jane Irungu, Associate Provost for Inclusive Faculty Excellence and Executive Director of the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies; Megan Elwood Madden, School of Geosciences; Gerilyn Soreghan, School of Geosciences; Elinor Martin, School of Meteorology; and Mashhad Fahes, Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering, on their recent $299,878 NSF grant to fund their upcoming project, “EAGER GOLD-EN Rewards: removing barriers and supporting geoscience diversity leaders by revising evaluation and reward systems.” The innovation of the EAGER project lies in its comprehensive reassessment and revisioning of faculty hiring, evaluation and reward systems through the lens of DEI values and goals. By incorporating demonstrated learning, effort and outcomes towards diversity and inclusion goals as essential components of institutional hiring and evaluation system, researchers aim to build a system to recognize and reward faculty who are DEI champions.
Adam Feltz, associate professor of psychology, is a co-investigator on an upcoming $1,999,987 award from the Emerging Frontiers and Multidisciplinary Activities division of the National Science Foundation with primary investigator Steven Crossley and co-investigators Bin Wang and Lance Lobban, all from the Gallogly College of Engineering Department of Chemical, Biological, and Materials Engineering. Their research project is titled “EFRI E3P: Tuning catalyst design to recycle mixed polymer streams." The focus of the project is to develop new, cost-effective techniques to recycle currently unrecycled multi-layer plastics while at the same time developing an understanding of public perceptions and effective education about these advances in plastic recycling. 



Karen Leighly, together with Bruce Mason and Daniel White, faculty in the Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Donald Terndrup, Ohio State University, received a three-year collaborative grant that awarded $333,542 to OU and $140,940 to Ohio State University. Studies of galaxy evolution show that black holes and galaxies evolve together. This evolution requires interactions between the black hole and the galaxy, for example, winds emerging from the black hole can interact with the gas in the galaxy. In this project, a novel computer code called SimBAL will be used to study quasar winds. SimBAL uses machine-learning techniques to analyze the light emitted by the quasar. The SimBAL method will be used to study two large samples of quasars to measure the properties of quasar winds and to learn whether the winds are energetic enough to influence the evolution of the host galaxy. As part of this project, the SimBAL code will be prepared to be released to the public so that anyone can use it. The research will involve undergraduate students, including under-represented students. The investigators will also teach courses in data analytics to undergraduates and will develop tools to evaluate gains in data literacy during the semester.

CRISPR-Cas systems have revolutionized the gene-editing methodologies in the past few decades. The ability of CRISPR-Cas9 protein to act as genetic scissors to edit the code of life has granted the discoverers of this technology the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. While the technology offers a great promise as a genome medicine to cure genetically inherited diseases, the current systems are not error-proof since they can edit “off-target” regions. The off-target activity has to be eliminated to safely use Cas9-based approaches for human therapeutics. The OCAST proposal addresses this by engineering a highly conserved helix in Cas9 and Cas12a (another genome editing tool) to create editing tools devoid of off-target DNA cleavage. The proposal is based on previous groundwork from the lab that demonstrated that modulating this helix can reduce off-target cleavage, establishing feasibility of the approach. A unique aspect of the proposed work is a new generalizable workflow that focuses on a single helix that is highly conserved in several Cas enzymes to significantly advance diverse CRISPR-based technologies. 





Sarah Trabert, Brandi Bethke (Oklahoma Archeological Survey) and Gary McAdams (Wichita and Affiliated Tribes) will be recording a series of dance grounds and campgrounds used by the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes from the 1890s through 1960s as community gathering spaces. These sites are critical to understanding the multigenerational connections between ancestral and contemporary Wichita peoples in and around Anadarko, Oklahoma. They will also be interviewing Wichita elders to record their memories of these significant places.  



Significant research has been conducted on how the public understands severe weather, but, most of this work has either been prospective ("what would you do?") or retrospective ("what did you do?"). The current research focuses, instead, on in situ, real-time observation of what people are doing during severe weather events. In collaboration with Laura Myers (University of Alabama), this Alabama-based research examines how households behave before, during and after forecasted severe weather events by situating researchers in subjects’ homes during these events. The goal is to observe 1) the decisions that are taken; 2) the types and sources of information to which households are exposed; 3) preparations and sheltering behaviors of the household; and 4) the longer term memory and recall of these events. In addition to these in situ observations, in collaboration with the Storm Prediction Center and National Severe Storms Laboratory, researchers will collect feedback from households regarding new probabilistic guidance graphics that will be generated for the severe weather being experienced by the households. Using these combined findings, researchers will contribute to the understanding of how publics actually behave during severe weather events in order to improve efforts to save lives during severe weather.
Xandie Wood is a recipient of the 2020 Undergraduate Research Opportunity Award for her research on mass shootings in the United States. Wood is a senior at OU studying criminology and is in her first year of the accelerated bachelor’s and master’s degree in sociology program. Wood’s research focuses on predicting mass shootings in the United States using neighborhood characteristics and locations. The Undergraduate Research Opportunity Award will fund and assist Wood’s research project, allowing her to purchase the permanent license for the statistics program used to collect data for her research. Wood is partnered with Erin Maher, OU associate professor of sociology, and Julie Gerlinger, OU assistant professor of sociology.  
Oct. 30 - Nov. 30
Deadline for academic units to submit winter intersession course proposals to Renee Williams in the Intersession office. They can also be scanned and emailed to reneewilliams@ou.edu. For any proposals submitted after Oct. 30, applicants must agree not to cancel the course.

Nov. 2
Deadline for academic units to upload unit recommendations for tenure and promotion in the TPS system.

Nov. 2
Deadline for academic units to finalize and freeze promotion-only dossiers in the TPS system for faculty review.

Nov. 8 (est.)
Deadline to enter Spring 2021 OTIS into the Teaching Load and Course Management System.

Nov. 9
Arthur “Skip” Lupia, assistant director of NSF and head of the Directorate of Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences, will join OU via Zoom to give presentations and engage in discussion in two sessions. The first session will be from 10 to 11 a.m. and will be a discussion of core funding opportunities for faculty and graduate students within the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences. The second session will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. and will focus on SBE participation in funding initiatives involving transdisciplinary research. For more information and for Zoom login information, contact Robin Riser.

Nov. 13
Deadline for academic units to submit to the Dean’s office recommendations for reappointment or non-reappointment to a third year for tenure-track and ranked-renewable term faculty.

Nov. 15 (est.)
Deadline to submit Presidential Dream Course proposals to the Dean’s office.

Nov. 16
Deadline to submit undergraduate program modifications and undergraduate certificates (using State Regents forms) to the Dean’s office.

Chairs and Directors meeting, 9 a.m. 

Nov. 18
CASFAM Staff meeting, 10 a.m.   

Nov. 23
Deadline to enter graduate courses and undergraduate courses with G designation not associated with program modifications into Courseleaf.    

Dec. 1
Deadline for academic units to upload unit recommendations to promotion-only dossiers in the TPS system

Dec. 3
Fall Faculty Meeting

Dec. 15
Chairs and Directors meeting, 9 a.m. 

Dec. 16
CASFAM Staff meeting, 10 a.m.