The College of Arts and Sciences names Dr. Nancy Love new Humanities Council Coordinator.

December 10, 2014 

“I am honored to serve as the new Coordinator of the College of Arts and Sciences Humanities Council,” Dr. Nancy Sue Love says. “In the 21st century, American citizens are being asked to redefine themselves as members of an emerging global community. Although the traditional humanities remain crucial resources in this effort, today their task is to enhance public life in new global contexts on behalf of a more sustainable democracy.  I look forward to working with the Council and others to contribute to these efforts.”

Love joined the faculty at Appalachian State in 2009, and currently serves as a Professor in the Department of Government and Justice Studies. Love is the former Director of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program.

Love received her PhD in 1984 and MA in 1981 from Cornell University, and a AB degree in 1977 from Kenyon College. Her teaching and research emphasize political theory, especially critical theory, democratic theory, and feminist theory. She has extensive experience with public humanities programs and previously served on the Humanities Council here at Appalachian as well as on the board of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council.

Dr. Love is the author of Musical Democracy (2006), Understanding Dogmas and Dreams: A Text, 2nd ed. (2006), and Marx, Nietzsche, and Modernity (1986), the editor of Dogmas and Dreams: A Reader in Modern Political Ideologies, 4th ed. (2010), and the co-editor of Studying Politics Today: Critical Approaches to Political Science (2014) and Doing Democracy: Activist Art and Cultural Politics (2013). She has also published numerous articles and book chapters. She recently completed a six-year term as the co-editor of New Political Science: A Journal of Politics and Culture.

“The College is fortunate to have Dr. Love taking over the coordinator position for the Council,” Sr. Associate Dean Neva Specht remarked.  “Nancy has a remarkable understanding of the power of the humanities and will provide strong leadership for the council.”

The purpose of the Humanities Council is to enhance support for and recognition of Humanities scholarship throughout the University and to encourage interdisciplinary research and communication among scholars from different areas of expertise. Through its varied programming initiatives, the Humanities Council aims to promote understanding of work in the Humanities, its relationship to other fields of inquiry, and the important role it plays at our university and in our world. The Humanities Council is a site where the values of interdisciplinary and the liberal arts are promoted to the benefit of students, the College, and the University.

To learn more about the Humanities Council, please visit



Appalachian Professors Create Girl Scout Badge to Encourage Girls to Pursue Mathematics

December 10, 2014 

Appalachian professors Sarah Greenwald, Amber Mellon, and Jill Thomley are passionate about mathematics, and have found a way to encourage young girls to pursue their love of math.

“Girl Scouts of America has found that girls are interested in mathematics but they don’t have role models to follow, and they need them,” says Greenwald.

This led Greenwald, Mellon, and Thomley to create a Girl Scout badge that encourages girls to learn about mathematics and the women who practice in the field. “There was no badge related directly to mathematics until we made one,” Greenwald says.

There are five steps to earning any Girl Scout badge. For the Mathematics badge those five steps are:

  1. Learn about a woman who was not afraid to be a first in the field of mathematics
  2. Learn about the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM)
  3. Reflect on experiences in mathematics
  4. Learn about careers in mathematics
  5. Share what you know

In partnership with High Country Girl Scouts, the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Appalachian State, and the Association of Women of Mathematics, Greenwald, Mellon and Thomley hosted an event which allowed local Girl Scouts to learn about mathematics and earn the badge. Girls from grades 6-9 participated in the event. Greenwald says that she, Mellon and Thomley plan to incorporate activities for younger girls in future events.

“The feedback we received at the event was positive,” Greenwald says. “I spoke with one girl in particular, whose mother mentioned to us that there really aren’t any projects for girls who are interested in math. They were so happy to see that we were working to meet that need.”

Overall, Greenwald is encouraged by the positive feedback received regarding the badge and its activities. “It’s so important to give girls positive experiences with math, and the middle grades and high school are where we lose a lot of girls who are interested in the topic,” she says. “If this project can make a difference in even one girl’s experiences with math, I think we’ve been successful.”

To find out more about the Women in Mathematics badge for Girl Scouts, please visit its website.

College Faculty and Staff Receive Recognition for Teaching, Scholarship and Service

December 8, 2014

Each fall, the College of Arts and Sciences shows appreciation to members of its faculty and staff for their service, teaching or scholarly work.  Faculty and staff nominate their colleagues for the college awards. This year’s recipients received their awards at the Faculty and Staff Awards Ceremony in the Solarium of Plemmons Student Union.

“The CAS Awards ceremony is a chance to recognize the outstanding faculty and staff that make up the College of Arts & Sciences,” said Anthony Calamai, Dean of the College. “It is my pleasure to take a few moments each fall to share the multitude of accomplishments of the individuals being recognized.”

Dr. Sarah Carmichael, a professor in the Department of Geology, received the William C. Strickland Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. This award is named in honor of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1968 to 1984 and professor in the Philosophy and Religion Department.

The Donald W. Sink Family Outstanding Scholar Award went to Dr. Martha McCaughey of the Department of Sociology. This $1,000 award can be applied to research equipment, supplies, or scholarship opportunities. 

Dr. Amy Dellinger Page, Chair of the Department of Sociology, obtained the Jimmy Smith Outstanding Service Award. The award is presented to a faculty member who provides meaningful benefit and significant service to the college, the university, and their profession.

Dr. Marian Williams and Dr. Elicka Peterson-Sparks of the Department of Government and Justice Studies were inducted into the Teaching Academy, and Mr. Andrew Ferguson, in the Department of Sociology, accepted the Teacher of the Year Award. Since 1988, this award is given to instructors who impart knowledge and the desire for continued learning, enthusiasm and command of the subject matter, and concern for students’ intellectual growth.

This year, the college created a new award to honor our outstanding staff.  Mr. Darryl Cook was the first member of the college staff to receive the Outstanding Staff Award for his work in the Department of Computer Science.

For more information on our faculty and staff, please visit

Department of Mathematical Sciences Helps Host FIRST Lego League Regional Qualifying Tournament

December 3, 2014

The Department of Mathematical Sciences helped host this year’s FIRST Lego League Regional Qualifying Tournament.

Mathematical Sciences faculty member Eric Marland says, “This competition hosts children primarily from the 4th to 8th grades, an age where they start to decide where they are headed and what they want to pursue. Providing students with opportunities like this, showing how exciting math and science can be, is vital.  It also provides them the chance to be competitive in an arena where you don’t need to be athletic.”

Specht named N.C. Humanities Council Board chairperson

November 25, 2014

Dr. Neva J. Specht, senior associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, has been elected chair of the board of the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Specht is also a professor of history at Appalachian.

Early Voting Matters to Visiting Distinguished Professor in Political Science

November 20, 2014

Whether you view early voting as a necessity, a privilege, or an obligation, there is no denying that it has had a profound impact on American voting behavior. Dr. Paul Gronke has dedicated his career to studying the impact of early voting.

Gronke currently teaches at Appalachian State University as the Dr. Daniel B. German Professor in Political Science. This endowed Distinguished Professorship was created to enhance teaching and scholarship in the Department of Government and Justice Studies. Gronke has committed to teaching at Appalachian for a year. “I’m impressed with this University, and I find that the faculty work very hard,” Gronke says. “The students here are bright.”

Having studied elections and conducted public opinion research since age 16, Gronke has focused particularly on early voting, and its effects on political campaigns. Additionally, he is the founder and director of the Early Voting Information Center, a non-partisan policy research center dedicated to the study of voting at times other than Election Day and places other than local precincts.

After earning a Master of Arts degree from the University of Essex, and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Gronke went on to his first teaching position at Duke University. It was there that he developed an appreciation for the mountains of North Carolina. “When my family and I used to come to Boone to get our Christmas trees, we would always talk about what a beautiful town this is,” Gronke says. “I understand why people stay here, I find this area incredibly charming.”

Gronke has been a faculty member at Reed College in Portland, Oregon since 2001, and teaches courses there on political behavior, political institutions, and social science research methods. He also served as the chair of the Political Science Department at Reed from 2001 to 2009.

During his time at Appalachian, Gronke hopes to complete a book on early voting, and expand his research internationally. “Other countries have much bigger issues at stake, and they face much greater challenges than we do in the United States,” Gronke says. “We can set an example and teach these countries something through our voting processes.”

Gronke hopes that his time here will help promote the Distinguished Professorship in the Department of Government and Justice Studies. “I’d love to be an ambassador for this program and communicate to my colleagues what a wonderful place this is,” Gronke says. “I’ve been very happy here.”

To learn more about the Early Voting Information Center and Paul Gronke’s research, please visit

Bathanti receives the Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry

November 19, 2014

Joseph Bathanti, writer in residence for the College of Arts and Sciences' Watauga Residential College and professor of creative writing in the Department of English, has received the prestigious Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry for the second time. Congratulations to Dr. Bathanti on winning this coveted award.

Nunes Emphasizes Civic Engagement as Chair of the Department of Cultural, Gender and Global Studies

November 19, 2014

Millions of people use the internet every day without considering its effects on their lives, and on society as a whole. Dr. Mark Nunes, the new Chair of the Department of Cultural, Global and Gender Studies, is out to change that.

Dr. Nunes is author of Cyberspaces of Everyday Life (Minnesota, 2006), which explores how the Internet restructures our everyday experience of the public and the private, and the local and the global. He is also editor of and contributing author for a collection of essays entitled Error: Glitch, Noise, and Jam in New Media Cultures (Continuum, 2011), which examines how the concepts of “noise” and “error” structure modes of cultural resistance in a network society. He has written a number of articles in the field of new media studies.

Nunes earned his interdisciplinary Ph.D. in the Culture, History, and Theory program of Emory University’s Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts. He also holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Virginia, and a Master of Arts in Psychology from Columbia University.  His ongoing research focuses on the cultural impact of new media on contemporary society.

The Department of Cultural, Global and Gender Studies offers three programs; Global Studies, Women’s Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies, which all revolve around the university’s core values of global education, interdisciplinarity and creating a just and sustainable society.

To highlight these core values, Global Studies students are required to study abroad for at least 12 consecutive weeks, and their job prospects are helped by their language and intercultural skills. Alumni have gone on to pursue graduate degrees in areas such as International Studies, Library Science, Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Social Work, Political Science, and work for a variety of nonprofits, including organizations like the Red Cross.

In addition, the Women’s Studies program is the second oldest program in the state of its kind, and is highly receptive to frequent changes in the field. The faculty is highly diverse, with 53 affiliate members representing 5 colleges and 15 departments. Dr. Kim Q. Hall was recently named the new Director of this program.

Furthermore, the Interdisciplinary Studies program allows students to design their own major, which is ideal for student entrepreneurs and those whose interests straddle many disciplines. Graduates of this program have pursued careers and graduate degrees in fields such as Law, Nursing, Public Health, Journalism and Middle Eastern Studies.

Nunes hopes to expand the department by attracting students early on in their academic careers, and by making many connections across the university so that both students and faculty are aware of the opportunities in this department.

Nunes also places great emphasis on making sure students have civic engagement experiences as part of their education. “We’re not just doing classroom based studies,” Nunes said. “We’re connecting to concerns in everyday life, be that in the workplace, in nonprofits, in the community, or abroad.”

To learn more about the Department of Cultural, Global and Gender Studies, please visit



Off Crutches, Dr. William Schumann Transitions to Appalachian Studies in Stride

November 12, 2014

Billy Schumann may not be ready to try out for the US Olympic ski team, but he is happy to finally be at Appalachian leading the Center for Appalachian Studies.  An avid skier, Schumann had a nasty skiing accident in the months before coming to Appalachian, delaying his arrival and requiring surgery to repair a broken leg.  He is now excited to be back at his alma mater, off crutches, and focused on the future of Appalachian Studies. 

The Center for Appalachian Studies focuses on regional culture, including regional sustainability and musical traditions. It provides graduate and undergraduate programs, as well as a minor.

“The idea is to train students in these areas so they are successful practitioners of positive community change in Appalachia,” said Schumann. “We emphasize diversity by recognizing that Appalachia is constituted by several communities and traditions.”

Students in the Appalachian Studies program develop applicable skills that prepare them for a great variety of careers within the Appalachian region and other mountainous regions in the United States. “We’re examining our own curriculum and other programs on campus that will help give students specific skills that are relevant in a difficult job market,” Schumann said.

Graduates of the Appalachian Studies program have gone on to pursue careers in fields such as law, the nonprofit sector, local government and journalism.

Schumann hopes to grow the Appalachian Studies program through research. “I want to conduct research and engage with the region’s communities in ways that are relevant to the public policy debates occurring in North Carolina and the Appalachian region in general,” Schumann says.

The Appalachian Studies program is currently conducting a survey of the Appalachian region, which extends from New York to Alabama. The survey targets college students and gauges what they think the region’s strengths are, as well as what their needs are in preparation for their careers. This survey is sponsored by the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Graduating from Appalachian State University in 1993 with a degree in Anthropology, Schumann went on to earn a graduate degree in Appalachian Studies from Appalachian State in 1999, as well as a Master’s degree in Political Science in 2000. He earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Florida in 2005. Schumann directed the Allegheny Institute for Natural History at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, and also served at Berea College as the National Endowment for the Humanities Chair in Appalachian Studies.

For more information on the Center for Appalachian Studies and its Appalachian Studies program, please visit

Eloranta elected an officer of the International Economic History Organization

November 10, 2014

We at the College of Arts and Sciences are thrilled to announce that Dr. Jari Eloranta has been confirmed as secretary-general of the International Economic History Association. Congratulations, Dr. Eloranta!