Wayne State College

Faculty News - Winter 2021

Published Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

See what our faculty have accomplished within the last year! Story as published in the Winter 2021 edition of the alumni magazine.

“The Professional Counselor” publication chose Dr. Alison Boughn, assistant professor of counseling, as the recipient of the 2020 Dissertation Excellence Award for her dissertation, “Child Psychological Maltreatment.” TPC is the official electronic journal of the National Board for Certified Counselors.

Dr. Barbara Engebretsen, professor of exercise science, co-authored a paper with WSC alumni and current students Kelly Cech ‘20, Josephine Peitz ‘20, Edgar Munoz, and Tabitha Shonie. The paper responded to a request for papers on “Teaching Through COVID-19” by the Science Education & Civic Engagement: An International Journal publication, and it was published in Summer 2020. The students were honors students in Engebretsen’s Introduction to Personal, Public, and Global Health class. Engebretsen has been taking 5-10 students to the Global Health Conference-Midwest at Creighton University every February, and in 2020 they were updated on COVID-19 by Dr. Sharon Medcalf, UNMC College of Public Health Director of Health Security and Biocontainment Center.

Engebretsen and WSC exercise science students have also established an Exercise Is Medicine Stakeholder Advisory Board, made up of campus and community health care practitioners, including Providence Medical Center doctors, physical therapists, and mental health providers, the WSC Student Health and Counseling Center, and community fitness professionals. The club has been recognized nationally as a Silver Campus, awarded virtually during the national American College of Sports Medicine meeting in May. 

Dr. Carol Erwin, associate professor of family and consumer sciences, was chosen as the Region V Teacher Educator of the Year by the Association for Career and Technical Education. The ACTE Excellence Awards promote merit in career and technical education (CTE) by recognizing individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to CTE, programs that exemplify the highest standards and organizations that have conducted activities to promote and expand CTE programs. Award winners serve as inspirational leaders to ACTE; they embody the core values of serving students and being committed to CTE. 

Dr. Phillip Fox, associate professor of history, developed and taught a new history course on “The Two World Wars, 1914-1945” in the spring semester of 2020. He also had a new article on the practice of history and its implications for certain approaches to political theology published as “The Limits of Historical Inquiry: A Critique of Oliver O’Donovan’s political concepts based on Herbert Butterfield” in the spring/summer 2020 issue of the peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal Fides et Historia. Two professional conferences, one hosted by York University and Trent University in Toronto, Ontario, and the other hosted by Baylor University in Waco, Texas, accepted his proposed paper presentations on the ascension of Philip V of Spain in 2020; however, both have been postponed to 2021 because of the pandemic. He also worked with Shelby Hagerdon in the historical research for her honors project, which included the production of the short film “Sigmund and Dora.” She premiered the film at the Majestic Theatre in Wayne on Sept. 22.

Dr. Paul A. Karr, professor of chemistry, participated in several research projects during 2020. The research endeavors led to the following peer-reviewed research papers, which focused on the search for solar collecting molecules, chemosensors, anticancer via photodynamic therapy (PDT) compounds, and novel materials for use in electronics:

  • Distance Matters: Effect of the Spacer Length on the Photophysical Properties of Multimodular Perylenediimide-Silicon Phthalocyanine-Fullerene Triads. Published in Chemistry, A European Journal. Publication date: 21 January 2020 / DOI: 10.1002 / chem.201905605. 
  • Nanomolecular singlet oxygen photosensitizers based on hemiquinonoid-resorcinarenes, the fuchsonarenes. Published in Chemical Science-The Royal Society of Chemistry. Publication date: 18 February 2020 / DOI: 10.1039/D0SC00651C. 
  • Persubstituted Triphenylamine Bearing Zinc Porphyrin to Host Endohedral Fullerene, Sc3N@C80: Formation and Excited State Electron Transfer. Published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry. Publication date: 11 June 2020 / DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.0c04392.
  • Electron and energy transfer in a porphyrin-oxoporphyrinogenfullerene triad, ZnP-OxP-C60. Published in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. Publication date: 16 June 2020 / DOI: 10.1039 / D0CP02696D.
  • Selective Phase Transfer Reagents (OxP-crowns) for Chromogenic Detection of Nitrates Especially Ammonium Nitrate. Published in Chemistry, A European Journal. Publication date: 15 July 2020 / DOI: 10.1002/chem.202003166.

Dr. Karl Kolbeck, associate professor of music, participated in a world premiere performance of “Visitations from the Dark” for alto saxophone, bass clarinet, and piano by Howard Buss at the North American Saxophone Alliance 2020 Biennial Conference held March 6-9, 2020, at Arizona State University. 

Kolbeck was a featured guest artist/clinician for the Second Annual Palmetto Clarinet Festival held March 14, 2020, at Newberry College in Newberry, S.C. 

Along with Drs. Sarah Farr and Angela Miller-Niles, associate professors of music, Kolbeck was also invited to the International Clarinet Association’s ClarinetFest 2020 in Reno-Lake Tahoe, Nev., June 24-28. (This event was cancelled due to COVID-19.)

Dr. Brian Kufner, associate professor of human resource management, earned his SHRM People Analytics Specialty Credential in February 2020. He was also interviewed for an article published in the Norfolk Daily News on March 26, 2020, titled “Length of job tenure depends on many different factors.”

In May 2020, Kufner chaired a committee to review and revise management curriculum for the National Standards for Business Education (2020), published by the National Business Education Association. The achievement standards and performance expectations outlined in the book can be used to guide business curriculum taught at the national, state, and local levels.

Dr. Christian Legler, assistant professor of education, collaborated with Dr. Nicholas Shudak, Dean of the School of Education and Behavioral Sciences, and Dr. Mark Baron, assistant to the dean, to present, “Student to Teachers through Educator Pathways: Imagining Teacher Education through Career Academies” at the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ 2020 Conference on Global Learning: Lessons on Global Learning from Higher Education’s Response to a Global Crisis conference held Oct. 8-10.

The conference was scheduled to take place in Miami; however, it was changed to a virtual format due to the pandemic. Legler was also recently appointed to serve on the Association of Teacher Educators’ Commission on Advocacy. 

A research study about COVID-19 by recently retired professor Dr. Michael Marek and colleagues has been published by the International Journal of Distance Education Technologies (IJDET). The article, “Teacher Experiences in Converting Classes to Distance Learning in the COVID-19 Pandemic,” explored the challenges faced by teachers and students from the short-notice conversion of college classes from face-to-face to online during the initial phase of the pandemic in the spring of 2020.

Marek and his team surveyed higher education faculty around the world. Most respondents experienced much higher workloads and stress than in face-to-face classes. Previous experience with online distance learning predicted positive faculty response. Less than half of the teachers used a school-provided learning management system, such as Canvas used by WSC. Instead, they used a wide range of other technologies. Respondents said they learned the need for adaptability and good planning, emphasizing doing what it takes to serve their students. 

Dr. Jason Price, associate professor of Earth science, published a paper in the July 2020 issue of the journal Applied Geochemistry entitled, “Using plug-flow column reactor data to constrain calcic mineral weathering rates from watershed mass-balance methods: Lithogenic apatite dissolution and phosphorus fluxes into the Loch Vale Watershed ecosystem, Colorado, USA.” This paper was co-authored with former student Jacob Nunez. Price was also recently elected as vice chair of the Limnogeology Division of the Geological Society of America. In addition, Price presented an oral paper at the virtual Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in October 2020 entitled, “Climatic Controls on Phosphorus Concentrations in The Loch, Loch Vale Watershed, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA: Apatite Weathering and Paleoclimate from The Late Pleistocene to Early Holocene.” He continues his research through a National Science Foundation-EPSCoR grant with recent graduates Emerson Andelt and Edward Johnson, and current student Mackenzie Eskey.

Dr. Midge Simmons, assistant professor of special education in the Educational Foundations and Leadership Department, presented “Navigating the Legal Potholes in Higher Education Section 504 Services” at the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Conference on Feb. 8, 2020, in Portland, Ore. 

Dr. Yasuko Taoka, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, and Dr. Nicholas Shudak, dean of the School of Education and Behavioral Sciences, recently published a book chapter together: “The Institution as Learner: Challenging the Metaphor of Debt in Higher Education” in Leadership Strategies for Promoting Social Responsibility in Higher Education, Emerald Publishing 2020. 

Dr. Mike White, professor of mass communication and film advisor, collected three awards at the 29th Annual Iowa Motion Picture Awards (IMPA) held via Zoom on Aug. 8. “Ever Fallen,” White’s first full-length feature film that premiered in October 2019 at the Majestic Theatre in Wayne, won the Award of Excellence in the Screenplay (Produced) category and the Award of Achievement in the Live Action Entertainment – Long Form (Under $50K) category. “The Ghost in Her,” a 13-minute film about a cynical rebel facing a former girlfriend, won the Award of Achievement for the Live Action Entertainment – Short Form category.