English faculty delivers a global perspective through literary research

July 1, 2015

Dr. Başak Çandar, an Assistant Professor of World Literature in the Department of English, will be returning to Appalachian State this fall after completing her participation in a prestigious ten month research program, the Europe in the Middle East, the Middle East in Europe (EUME) fellowship. Each year only ten postdoctoral scholars from around the world are invited to participate in this fellowship to conduct research in a variety of fields including anthropology, history, literature, political science, religion, or Middle Eastern Studies. 

As a EUME Fellow, Çandar has been working on a book manuscript titled “Representing Censored Pasts: State Violence in Twentieth Century Turkish and Spanish Literature,” which focuses on how novels represent violence committed during repressive regimes.  Çandar’s interest in the subject is driven by the multifaceted relationship between history and literature as well as by her own personal history. “I was born in Istanbul, Turkey and grew up in a fairly politically engaged family,” states Çandar. “My parents’ generation in Turkey experienced three military coups over three decades, which means that like many other Turkish people my age, I grew up listening to stories about the coups.”

Participating in the fellowship has also provided Çandar with an opportunity to deepen her research with new questions, topics and connections while working in an environment that facilitates exchange among a community of Middle East scholars.  Çandar believes that her experiences will “surely play into the way I teach and discuss with students questions of World Literature,” when she returns to campus this fall. 

English Department Chair, Dr. Carl Eby also supports the fellowship as it brings an important international component to Appalachian State’s World Literature program.   According to Eby, “Last year we had 1,361 students in World Literature in this Department.  This experience will be brought back into the classroom, but it also projects our presence back out to the world as well.”

To learn more about the EUME fellowship and Dr. Çandar’s research, please visit:

Fulbright awards send Appalachian professors around the globe

June 26, 2015

BOONE—China, Ethiopia, Poland and Austria are the upcoming destinations for four professors at Appalachian State University. Each has received a Fulbright award to teach and/or conduct research at their host institution.



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The first to depart overseas is Jeanne Dubino, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Cultural, Gender and Global Studies. Dubino will spend June and July teaching at Northeast University in Shenyang, China, as a Fulbright Specialist.

Dubino will conduct a series of workshops for faculty and graduate students on teaching literature, especially women’s literature, at the university level, and work with faculty on curricular development. She will also teach two graduate-level classes in poetry and women’s literature, and serve as a reader of master’s theses.

This will be her third trip to Northeast China. Through a U.S. Department of State grant, “People and Nature for a Sustainable Future,” Dubino was an exchange faculty member at NEU for two months in 2014. While there she co-taught a graduate class in women and literature. In 2012, she traveled to China as part of an interactive video conference class taught at Appalachian titled Global Understandings that was offered to partner classes in China, Taiwan and Thailand.



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Al Harris, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Computer Information Systems and Supply Chain Management, will travel to Poland in spring 2016 on his second Fulbright Award. The first was an assignment in Portugal. As a Fulbright Scholar, he will teach classes in information technology to master’s-level students at Adam Mickiewicz University in Pozan, Poland, where he served as a guest lecturer for three weeks in 2011.

“During that time, I was able to establish a great relationship with some faculty and administrators at the Faculty of Law and Administration at Adam Mickiewicz University,” Harris said. “During our discussions, we talked about other opportunities for cooperation and exchange.” In 2013, Harris started a study abroad experience in Poland where students from Appalachian worked with Polish students on a week-long project. He also led a study abroad to the university in Poland in 2014 and again in May.

“Poland has a great university system and has transformed its economy into one of the most robust economies in Central/Eastern Europe,” Harris said. “It will be great to spend a semester in that kind of environment.”



Sid Clements

Sid Clements, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, will travel to Innsbruck, Austria in March 2016 for a four-month assignment as a Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor at the Management Center in Innsbruck (MCI). This is his first Fulbright award.

Founded in 1995, MCI is an educational institution offering study programs leading to bachelor and master degrees, executive master degree programs and executive certificate programs.

Clements will assist the center in its plans to implement an electrical engineering master’s program. He also will conduct research on a wastewater purification with non-thermal plasma discharge project. The research involves using underwater electrical discharges to cause chemical reactions that remove liquid pollutants from wastewater. “There are many kinds of possible pollutants in wastewater, for example solvents, oil, gasoline, kerosene and other hydrocarbons,” Clements said of the research project’s potential benefit.

Like his colleagues, Clements said his Fulbright experience also will benefit students interested in future study abroad opportunities at MCI. “I am trying to set up graduate student exchanges between the center in Innsbruck and Appalachian. Being at MCI for four months will allow us to make progress on this,” he said.


Appalachian studies students present research at international conference

June 26, 2015

BOONE—Three graduate students and a faculty member from the Center for Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University presented papers at an international mountain studies conference held at Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada, in May.

Organized by the University of Alberta’s Canadian Mountain Studies Initiative, the academic conference, Thinking Mountains 2015, was an interdisciplinary gathering of over 140 scholars from around the world who presented research about mountain environments and cultures.

Dr. Katherine Ledford, assistant professor of Appalachian studies, and three of her students pursuing the Master of Arts degree in Appalachian studies – Melanie Harsha, Karen Russo and Robyn Seamon – shared their research on the Appalachian Mountains.

The graduate students’ presentations were derived from their papers for a seminar on global Appalachia. The seminar places early representations of Appalachia within the European traditions of the picturesque and the sublime and directs graduate students in studying the region in comparison with other mountain regions around the world, including the Alps, Pyrenees, Carpathians and Andes, among others.

Harsha presented research on serpent handling religious traditions in Appalachia; Russo introduced conference attendees to the development of ecotourism in Appalachia; and Seamon compared systems of natural beekeeping in Appalachia with apiarian practices in other mountain environments in Europe. Ledford presented an argument for the benefits of comparative mountain studies to the field of Appalachian studies, a portion of her current book project.

Ledford said, “This conference was a unique opportunity for my graduate students to practice comparative critical thinking about mountains in conversations with other scholars from around the world. We met people from Africa, Asia and Europe, all conducting research on mountains and mountain cultures.”

As part of the conference, Ledford and the graduate students visited the Athabasca Glacier and learned about environmental factors impacting the Columbia Icefield, the largest ice field in the Rocky Mountains.

“In Canada, my graduate students visited mountains that are very different physically and culturally from the Appalachian Mountains,” Ledford said. “This conference extended the work we did in my global Appalachia seminar in beneficial ways. It challenged my graduate students to consider our Appalachian Mountains from different perspectives.”

Participation in the conference was made possible by support from the Center for Appalachian Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of Student Research, and the Graduate Student Association Senate, part of the Cratis D. Williams School of Graduate Studies.


Nominations for 2014-2015 Faculty and Staff Awards Now Open

Have you worked with a faculty or staff member that is extraordinary in how they teach and deliver services to our students and community?  Have you wondered how this person can be recognized for his or her outstanding work? Consider taking a few minutes to recognize great behaviors by nominating him or her for one of the awards available through the college. 

The College of Arts and Sciences invites all staff and faculty to nominate well deserving faculty and staff for one or more of the College of Arts and Sciences Awards for the 2014-2015 academic year. 

The awards up for nomination are:

The guidelines and procedures for each of the awards can be found on the College of Arts and Sciences webpage, and the forms for nominating are located here:        

All nominations are due to the Dean's Office by July 25, 2015.

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