Recent CASL Faculty Kudos - Spring 2020

April 30, 2020

Recent faculty awards and publications.

Adding to the burgeoning field of Arab American literature, Assistant Professor of English Ghassan Abou-Zeineddine is gathering creative nonfiction essays to share what it's like to live in the local Arab American community. He was recently awarded a fellowship from the Institute for the Humanities in Ann Arbor. He will spend the 2020/2021 academic year working on a short story collection set in Dearborn.  Check out this short story by Dr. Abou-Zeineddine, which tracks the misadventures of a young census worker in Dearborn.

The Detroit News published Urban and Regional Studies Assistant Professor Joshua Akers’s op-ed on the importance of taking governmental action to flatten the curve of the upcoming housing crisis. Akers — who has spent the last decade researching the impact of the recession on housing and real estate markets — said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is taking positive steps, but more needs to be done or it could lead to another foreclosure crisis. “Let’s not make the same mistakes we did a decade ago. What we need now are bold actions that keep people in their homes.”

On May 6, Metro Times published Sociology Professor Paul Draus' article (along with his own artwork) Coronavirus lands in Detroit: Reflections on the latest plague.

Congratulations to Dr. Keith Dye (History and African and African American Studies) whose article, "U.S. Diplomacy and the American Negro Leadership Conference on Africa: Retreat and Engagement on Pre-Civil War Nigeria" has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of African Historical Studies.

J. Caitlin Finlayson, Associate Professor of English, has published a co-edited book, Civic Performance: Pageantry and Entertainments in Early Modern London, with Routledge in the Studies in Performance and Early Modern Drama series. Civic Performance is a collection of essays that examines the socio-cultural, political, economic, and aesthetic dimensions of pageantry and entertainments in sixteenth– and seventeenth-century London. 

The Detroit Free Press featured Communications Associate Professor Tim Kiska and his special edition of The Detroit History Podcast in a recent article. Kiska — the podcast executive producer, writer and narrator — and his podcast team researched a past pandemic: The 1918 Spanish Flu. They looked through records from 1918-1920 and talked to historians who studied that time period. "I knew about the 1918 pandemic and I knew that a lot of people died," Kiska said. But with coronavirus claiming the lives of thousands of Michiganders, he "wanted to know how this rolled out — exactly."

Professor of Linguistics Jamie Shinhee Lee has edited a special March 2020 issue of World Englishes and Digital Media. It features her own articles “Digital communication, social media, and Englishes” and “Sports, Instagram, and conflict talk in Englishes,” along with eight other articles from prominent scholars. Together, they discuss various themes in digital communication, including humor, orthographic performance, antagonistic discourse, gender identity, ethnicity, beauty, education and multilingualism.

Prominent Detroit businessman Carl Ernest Schmidt was encouraged to run for Detroit's 1898 mayoral election. But he declined to focus on the reforestation of Michigan, the state’s natural resources and farming. History Assistant Professor Kristin Poling’s article about Carl Ernest Schmidt and his impact on our state, "A Walhalla in the Wasteland: Carl Ernest Schmidt and the Quest of One German-American Businessman to Save Michigan’s Forests,” has been accepted for publication by the Michigan Historical Review.

Music History Lecturer Jessica Ryder is the person behind a popular Detroit Symphony Orchestra social media post. Ryder, who is also a Counseling and Psychological Services staff counselor, contacted the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in April for a recording of Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance" to celebrate the graduates — she asked if the DSO would consider creating a collective performance for the Class of 2020. In response, 34 DSO musicians recorded a new rendition of "Pomp and Circumstance," completely from their own homes. Listen to it here.

Soda brands have called themselves “The Taste of a New Generation.” Economics Professor Patricia Smith hasn’t found if a “new generation” prefers a certain type of soda, but she has made discoveries regarding who’s not drinking sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB): Those in higher socio-economic status households. Her research article, "Who Drinks Soda Pop? Economic Status and Adult Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages" has been accepted for publication in the journal Economics and Human Biology. Findings show that adult intake of sugar-sweetened beverages falls as income rises. But when there are income/wealth changes in adulthood, soda consumption doesn’t alter — suggesting that socio-economic status influences the development of SSB consumption patterns, but not the consumption in itself. Smith and her co-author Jay Zagorsky, research scientist at Ohio State University's Center for Human Resources, often look at food consumption behavior and explore if there are socio-economic factors at play.

Congrats to Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Sheila Smith for being honored with the 2020 Centennial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from Iota Sigma Pi, the National Honor Society for Women in Chemistry. Smith was nominated by colleagues at UM-Dearborn and James Madison University for her teaching and mentoring of students, and for her national work to improve faculty teaching practices in inorganic chemistry via their Ionics and VIPER programs. The nomination was supported by letters from several UM-Dearborn alumni who are now in medical practice and research.

Inorganic chemistry is one of the more challenging fields in science to teach — in part because it encompasses dozens of highly specialized subfields that are as wide-ranging as the periodic table. That challenge led Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Sheila Smith and other leaders in the field to start VIPEr — a website that serves both as a repository of innovative teaching materials and a hub for the inorganic chemistry community. Her VIPEr team’s NSF-funded project was recently featured in the STEM for All Video Showcasewhich featured short videos of more than 170 federally funded projects. You can check out Smith’s team’s video about VIPEr here.

Political Science Assistant Professor Rusi Sun looks at the struggles community governments face. Noticing the conflict between city councils and city managers — along with a high turnover rate among city managers — Sun explored that professional conflict further, particularly in the Midwest region. Her latest research, "How Does Council-Manager Conflict Affect Managerial Turnover Intention?: The Role of Job Embeddedness and Cooperative Context" has been accepted by the journal Public Administration.

Congratulations to Associate Professor Dale Thomson (Political Science/Chair, Dept. of Social Sciences). His manuscript, "Philanthropic Funding for Community and Economic Development: Exploring Potential for Influencing Policy and Governance" was accepted for publication in Urban Affairs Review. The article analyzes philanthropic foundation funding for community and economic development in 30 U.S. cities using a unique dataset crafted specifically for this study.  It examines how this funding compares to other governmental funding and explores the implications for policy and governance in those cities.

Two students — Mohit Bansil and Jacob Ogden — who took part in UM-Dearborn’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program have received prestigious National Science Foundation Fellowships, says Mathematics Associate Professor Yunus Zeytuncu. REU 2018 participant Bansil and REU 2019 participant Ogden are planning to continue their studies in mathematics and will do so with the assistance of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, which includes a generous three-year stipend and an education allowance. They have expressed the impact of the UM-Dearborn’s REU program on their educational experience. “I cannot overstate how much I have gained from the UM-Dearborn REU program and my interactions with Professor Zeytuncu. It has made a permanent and lasting impact on my career. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have attended such an amazing program,” says Bansil.

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