Faculty Member Receives 2015 National Council on Public History Book Award

May 7, 2015

Department of History faculty member Andrea Burns has been awarded the 2015 National Council on Public History Book Award for her work, From Storefront to Monument: Tracing the Public History of the Black Museum Movement. The NCPH Book Award recognizes outstanding scholarship that addresses the theory and/or practice of public history or that includes the products of public history work. Public history gathers, preserves, protects and makes publicly accessible the collective consciousness of nations, communities and individuals.

From Storefront to Monument: Tracing the Public History of the Black Museum Movement was inspired by Burns’ fascination with the intersection of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, and the establishment of African American museums during the 1960s and 1970s. Although African American museums have existed since the 19th century, Burns’ research detected a distinct change in the types of exhibits and programs they produced during the 1960s. This change, and its repercussions, are the focus of Burns’ book.

“It is an enormous privilege to be recognized by one’s peers,” says Burns. “I hope that my book contributes, at least in a small way, to the ongoing conversation public historians are having about the necessity of studying, preserving, and interpreting African American history.”

To learn more about the Department of History, please visit its website

Cloutier receives awards from Cave Research Foundation and Geological Society of America

May 6, 2015

When Mara C. Cloutier chose to attend graduate school at Appalachian State University, the Asheville resident said it was because she could explore two possible passions: field work and lab research.

Cloutier is a first-year graduate student in Appalachian’s Department of Biology working with Dr. Suzanna Bräuer (biology) and Dr. Sarah Carmichael (geology) on the effects of water pollution on cave ecosystems. She recently received two awards to support her research this summer – a $2,500 grant from the Cave Research Foundation and a $1,500 grant from the Geological Society of America.

Bathanti receives Order of the Long Leaf Pine

April 30, 2015 

Faculty member and former Poet Laureate of North Carolina Joseph Bathanti has been awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, an honor which is given to individuals who have a proven record of extraordinary service to the state of North Carolina. Other notable recipients include Maya Angelou, Bob Timberlake, Coretta Scott King, and Doc Watson.

“Receiving the Order of the Long Leaf Pine is a tremendous honor, especially in light of those who have received it over the years,” says Bathanti.

In addition to becoming North Carolina’s seventh poet laureate, Bathanti recently received the Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry for his latest work, “Concertina”, and is on the Board of Trustees of the North Carolina Humanities Council. Bathanti is a faculty member in Appalachian’s Department of English, and is also Writer in Residence at Watauga Residential College.

To learn more about Joseph Bathanti, please visit his webpage.

Bennett wins Capote Literary Trust Scholarship

April 29, 2015

Andrew D. Bennett of Cary has won the Truman Capote Literary Trust Scholarship for Creative Writing (prose) for 2015-16. Bennett is a junior at Appalachian State University majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing. His first place award is $3,420.

Faculty restructure biology curriculum for science and non-science majors

April 22, 2015

Changes to modernize the biology curriculum and address a variety of learners has resulted in a restructuring of the four-year biology curriculum at Appalachian State University, starting with the introductory courses. The work of a team of biology faculty is part of the nationwide Partnership for Undergraduate Life Science Education (PULSE) initiative to rethink the way biology is taught at the university level.

Faculty research gains national attention

April 14, 2015

Faculty members Marian Williams and Jeff Holcomb, both of the Department of Government and Justice Studies, conducted a study on asset forfeiture to better understand forfeiture decisions by law enforcement. Asset forfeiture laws allow police to seize assets from individuals who are suspected of engaging in criminal activity, most commonly drug-related crimes.

The research by Williams and Holcomb was cited in written testimony provided to a Congressional hearing on the topic of asset forfeiture. Their work was also cited extensively in an amicus brief submitted to the United States Supreme Court in the case Florida v. Harris (2013).

In 2009, the Institute for Justice (IJ) contacted Williams about an article she had written in 2002 regarding asset forfeiture. Williams and Holcomb agreed to partner with the Institute to create a report that further examined asset forfeiture and how frequently it is utilized. In 2010, they produced the report “Policing for Profit”.

 “We are happy to see that our research is being included in policy discussions on this important issue,” said Holcomb. “The policy has raised concerns for a wide range of political groups and there seems to be some momentum to reform these laws.”

For more information on the Department of Government and Justice Studies, please visit


Trapped in Guyland?

April 13, 2015

In 1960, by the age of 30 almost 70% of American men had left home, completed their educations, found a partner and started work. By comparison, today less than a third of men reach these milestones before their thirties. Michael Kimmel writes in his book Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men about the reluctance of young men today to grow up.  He further discusses the problematic aspects of the ‘boy code’ that places unrealistic standards on boys and men between the ages of 16 and 26.

The Department of Sociology is among the sponsors of this lecture.  Chair of Sociology, Dr. Amy Dellinger Page says of Kimmel, "He is a prolific and well-respected gender scholar.  He has an uncanny ability to make academic scholarship accessible to a wider audience in a meaningful way. Guyland specifically focuses on the culture of masculinity and the inherent consequences of our current conceptualizations.”

Kimmel is a sociologist specializing in gender studies and author of seventeen books on gender and masculinity.  His lecture on Tuesday, April 14th at 7:00 p.m. in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts is free and open to the public.  A book signing will follow the event.

Appalachian professors honored for excellence in teaching

April 9, 2015

Six professors at Appalachian State University have been honored for their teaching, including four from the College of Arts and Sciences.

As runner up to a UNC Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence, Associate Professor of Spanish Catherine Fountain has received a campus-based Board of Governors Appalachian State University Excellence in Teaching Award. In addition to a $1,500 award, Fountain also will receive a university medallion during the university’s convocation in September.

Four graduating seniors to speak at the spring 2015 commencement

April 8, 2015

For the first time, the College of Arts and Sciences has offered graduating seniors the opportunity to be selected as the college’s keynote speakers at the spring 2015 commencement ceremony. The students considered for this honor must have distinguished themselves through leadership roles, public service, creative endeavors, research or other accomplishments during their time at Appalachian. Each student participated in an application and interview process and four speakers were selected. 

The commencement speakers are Nathan Arnold, Savannah Carter, Samantha Jay and Erlan Martinez. Each student will deliver a speech at the college’s spring 2015 commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 9 at 4 p.m.

According to Senior Associate Dean, Neva Specht, “Our chosen speakers have excelled at academics, but they also have taken part in a wide variety of activities beyond the classroom. These students will represent the class of 2015 well at Commencement.” 

The students selected for this honor have diverse backgrounds and academic interests that represent the many areas that comprise the College of Arts and Sciences. 

Nathan Arnold, a native of Appalachia and Political Science major, is the first member of his family to earn a degree. Nathan has exceled in the classroom and is in the Accelerated Admission program, which enables him to begin graduate coursework while finishing his undergraduate studies. 

Savannah Carter, an Anthropology major with a passion for travel and ethnographic research, is currently seeking internship positions with research teams throughout the country. She intends to earn a graduate degree in Anthropology and continue to study indigeneity in contemporary times and environmental injustices.

The third speaker, Samantha Jay, is an English and Secondary Education major who taught English while studying abroad in Japan. After graduation, she plans to teach in the Research Triangle area before pursuing a graduate degree in Classical Literature.

A Chemistry major with entrepreneurial pursuits, Erlan Martinez represents the Natural, Physical & Mathematical sciences in the college. After obtaining his Doctor of Pharmacy, Erlan plans to open his own pharmacy and found a nonprofit organization that would provide hospitals in developing countries with access to medicine.

These students have proven to be leaders, thinkers and innovators and their academic endeavors and ambitions represent many of the diverse interests of the 2015 graduating class.

“We are proud to honor these students’ accomplishments and allow them to share their inspirational stories as keynote speakers for commencement,” said Specht.

For more information on the College of Arts and Sciences’ spring commencement ceremony, please visit the Appalachian State University’s registrar’s website.

Faculty members at Appalachian granted tenure and promotion

April 8, 2015

The following College of Arts and Sciences faculty members at Appalachian State University have been promoted to associate professor and granted tenure by the university’s Board of Trustees, effective July 1: 

Maryam Ahmed
Department of Biology
Laura Ammon
Department of Philosophy and Religion
Andrea Burns
Department of History
Sarah Carmichael
Department of Geology
William Cook
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Chuanhui Gu
Department of Geology
Michael Hambourger
Department of Chemistry
Catherine Marcum
Department of Government and Justice Studies
Twila Wingrove
Department of Psychology