Faculty Highlights News

Graceland University Associate Professor of Economics Rob Poulton, PhD; Associate Professor of Business Max Pitt, MBA; and Professor of Economics Steve Anders, PhD, attended the annual DeMarche Economics Conference in Overland Park, Kansas, Thursday, Sept. 13.  The conference title was “Direction Please; Navigating Crucial Decision to Reach Your Investment Goals.” Presentations included changes on the demographic horizon, real estate markets and trends, and the present and future macroeconomic environment.

Graceland University Professor of Art Julia Franklin, MFA, received a 2018 Iowa Artist Fellowship from Governor Kim Reynolds in late July. This once-in-a-lifetime award gives Franklin $10,000 to prioritize her art. This money is going to the leasing of Studio #456 in Mainframe Studios in downtown Des Moines. Mainframe hosts a free open house/open studio event the first Friday of each month, so everyone is invited to tour the building and visit Franklin's space as well as the other 45 artists who create in the building. Franklin is also using the funds to do research, buy professional-grade art supplies and ship artwork. Another perk of the fellowship allowed Franklin to participate in a three-day intensive professional development seminar from Creative Capital, which gave her time with consultants to develop art goals and new exhibition opportunities.

Graceland University Assistant Proessor of Communication Ildo Kim chaired a session, "At the intersection of Cognition, Emotion, and Message," and presented a paper, "Can't remember but like it: Towards the understanding of humor effects in advertising," at the 68th annual International Communication Association (ICA) conference held May 24-28 at Prague, Czech Republic.

This summer, Paul E. Morden Seminary Chair in Religion Anthony Chvala-Smith completed his book, "A Way of Life: Understanding Our Christian Faith," which is a much-revised version of his earlier book, "Understanding the Way: Exploring Our Christian Faith (2nd edition 2011)." The 3rd edition has new introduction and five new chapters, including one on faith and science. It is currently in the editorial process and is scheduled for publication in April 2019.

Graceland University Professor of Psychology Brian Smith presented an interactive session, "Strategies for Increasing Teacher Empathy to Improve Student Performance," with his wife and collaborator, Sal Meyers, at the Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching, Bethesda, Maryland, this summer. At the same conference, Smith and Meyers shared a poster titled "Increasing Students’ Willingness to Revise Papers While Minimizing Negative Emotions."

Graceland University Assistant Professor of Allied Health James Geiselman, DC, MS, EMT-P, recently completed postdoctoral training and received his diploma from the American Clinical Board of Nutrition (ACBN). The ACBN is one of the few certifying agencies in nutrition to offer diplomate status to all professionals in the health care field beyond the doctorate level in the United States and Internationally. The ACBN is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). To receive diplomate status, candidates must be licensed professional health care providers with a doctoral level degree (DC, DDS, DO, DVM, MD, DO, OD, PharmD or PhD), complete a minimum of 300 hours of specialized post-graduate training in clinical nutrition, submit an article for publication, must have two years clinical experience and successfully complete the ACBN written examination.

The Society for the History of Psychology [American Psychological Association (APA) Division 26] has named an article by Graceland University Professor of Psychology David Devonis, PhD, and alumna Jessica Triggs '16 titled "Prison break: Karl Menninger's The Crime of Punishment and its reception in US psychology" Best Article in the APA Journal History of Psychology for 2017.

Graceland University Director of Choral/Vocal Activities and Instructor of Music Sara Blessing was invited to be a guest clinician at Lincoln High School in Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 7.  Blessing coached and led rehearsals with singers from Lincoln, Roosevelt, East, West and Hoover high schools. These singers will audition for the 2018 Iowa All-State Chorus that performs in Ames in November.

Graceland University Proessor of Education Dennis McElroy was an invited presenter at the 2018 Iowa State Education Association Leadership conference in West Des Moines, Iowa, July 30. McElroy shared information about and opportunities associated with the Educators Rising program for aspiring educators in Iowa. Graceland University is the State of Iowa affiliate for this national program.

Kristin Seemuth Whaley gave a presentation, "Fostering an Active Learning Environment in the Philosophy Classroom," at the American Association of Philosophy Teachers 22nd Biennial International Workshop-Conference on Teaching Philosophy July 26. Seemuth Whaley also attended 16 other sessions on pedagogy and innovative teaching strategies between July 26-28 as well as a one-day pre-conference workshop July 25 focused on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

Graceland University Adjunct Faculty of Agricultural Business Justin Akers recently attended the annual meeting of the Iowa Association of Agricultural Educators in Ankeny, Iowa. During the meeting, which included high school and college teachers of agriculture from all over the state, the post-secondary educators were given the opportunity to tour Kemin Industries in Des Moines, an Iowa company with a worldwide footprint that develops innovative products for the human food and animal feed industries. Akers was also involved in a working session of post-secondary faculty involving articulation of courses between institutions, as well as other informative sessions, and he spoke in a general session about the Graceland University Agricultural Business program.

Paul E. Morden Seminary Chair in Religion Anthony Chvala-Smith and Seminary Chaplain Charmaine Chvala-Smith traveled to Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia June 20-30. They presented classes to Community of Christ leaders and members on the responsible interpretation and use of the Bible. Their sessions focused particularly on questions about the Bible and homosexuality/sexual orientation. They worked through the small handful of biblical passages commonly cited on these questions, demonstrating how these texts are not directly relevant to contemporary issues of sexual identity. The classes were part of a series of gatherings in preparation for a Community of Christ Tahitian national conference on questions of sexual orientation, ordination and same-sex marriage.

Graceland University Assistant Professor of Spanish Jonathan Montalvo offered a workshop and spent time with young men and women from an indigenous community in the province of Chimborazo, Ecuador, this past June. Montalvo also facilitated an inclusive pedagogy workshop to local teachers from the rural community of Lagarto in the Pacific coast of Ecuador. These events were possible thanks to an invitation from World Vision Ecuador as part of the organization's efforts to empower the indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian communities.

Dennis McElroy was recognized with the President's Volunteer Service Award at the 2018 International Society for Technology in a Education (ISTE) conference in Chicago last month. This is the second year in a row McElroy has received the honor and was recognized along with approximately 20 others at the silver level designated for volunteers who volunteered 250-499 hours during the past year.

Graceland University Professor of Theatre Gary Heisserer has been named to the Artistic Committee of the Kansas City Actors Theatre (KCAT) Board of Directors. Heisserer will work with the KCAT team on a wide range of artistic projects, including season selection, directing and production management. KCAT’s mission is to “showcase the finest talents of Kansas City’s professional theatre community by bringing audiences exceptional artist-driven productions of classic and modern plays.”

Graceland University Assistant Professor of Art Karen Gergely has been awarded a six-week artist residency at Brickscape in Charlestown, West Virginia this summer. Gergely is one of 10 artists selected to create an immersive, socially engaged installation responding to the history and culture of the Charleston community. The residency culminates in an exhibition for FestivALL June 15-24.

Graceland University Professor of Psychology David Devonis' cross-cultural psych text, "Interactive Exercises for Cross-Cultural Psychology: Encounters With a Complex World," is slated for publication in May with Routledge. More information may be found here. The text emanates from the collective efforts of classes over the past three years to identify and give voice to personally important cultural issues.  The cover illustration is an adaptation of a diptych by Anne Simpkins (Graceland University BA Art, 1982), and the indexing was accomplished by Graceland University Honors student Madeline Glodowski.

An article by Graceland University Assistant Professor of Theology and Scripture and Paul E. Morden Seminary Chair of Religion Anthony Chvala-Smith titled "In Life and in Death": Barth, Bonhoeffer, and the Path from the Great War to the Confessing Church was  just published in the Mennonite Quarterly Review 92 (April 2018): 149-172.

Graceland University Professor of Information Technology Kevin Brunner and Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Belmore attended the annual Midwest Instruction and Computing Symposium at the College of Saint Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota. They were accompanied by nine Graceland University Computer Science and Information Technology students. The students participated in a programming contest, and all participated in listening to presentations and posters on current topics.

Visiting Instructor of Percussion and Director of Athletic Bands Melinda Leoce will be a clinician at the Point Percussion Festival at the University of Wisconsin, Steven's Point Saturday, April 14. Leoce will present about Brazilian drumming and will perform a steel pan solo on the Guest Artist Recital at the end of the day.

Karen Gergely presented her research The Challenges and Triumphs of Curating Socially Engaged Works at the 106th College Art Association (CAA): Advancing Art and Design Conference in Los Angelos, California, Feb. 21-24. Gergely attended various sessions on pedagogy and began a three-year appointment on CAA's education committee, where she is co-charing a subcommittee on educational publications.

Graceland University Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness Katie Bash and Dean of the Gleazer School of Education Lee Bash presented Graceland's model of program review to more than 300 attendees at the Higher Learning Commission annual conference Sunday, April 10.

The Open Education Consortium, a global nonprofit network promoting open pedagogy and the use of Open Educational Resources, recently announced the 2018 Open Education Awards for Excellence. This year’s best Open Textbook – "an openly licensed textbook of exemplary quality in its presentation of educational content" – was awarded to A Guide to Making Open Textbooks with Students, a 2017 collection containing essays from Graceland University Assistant Professor of English Tim Robbins, PhD, and English and art double major Matt Moore. Robbins and Moore are currently editing the Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature with support from the Rebus Foundation. Their essays discuss the anthology's genesis from a collaborative course project in Robbins' Early American Literature survey course at Graceland.

Graceland University Assistant Professor of Sociology Bradley H. Brewster, PhD, discussed his paper "Theorizing Social Capital: Contributions of Goffmanian Trust and the Interaction Order" and presented his paper "The Horror of Domestic Violence: An Analysis of the Feature Film 'The Shining' (1980)" at the annual meeting of the Midwest Sociological Society, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 22-25.

Graceland University Assistant Professor of Philosophy Kristin Seemuth Whaley will present at the 22nd International Workshop-Conference on Teaching Philosophy in July 2018. The biennial conference is sponsored by the American Association of Philosophy Teachers. Seemuth Whaley's session will be entitled "Fostering an Active Learning Environment in the Philosophy Classroom."