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3 Feb

The Eberly Experience is a series of interviews with faculty covering their personal journeys behind their professional and academic success. Elizabeth Juckett, a professor in the Department of English, has served the University since 1989.
To start off, could you tell me a little about your childhood?

I grew up overseas. I was born in Bangkok, Thailand. I lived in north Thailand for a while, and then I went to boarding school when I was five, in Malaysia. It was a British boarding school. When I was 12 [we] moved back to the States. We lived in Bucks County, PA, which is northeast of Philadelphia. I attended middle school and high school there.

What do you miss the most about growing up in Thailand?

It was such a long time ago! But, what I think I miss the most was the beautiful blend of my family experience, as mediated to me by my parents, and the really extraordinary culture around me, full of peaceful and really positive and charming people.

When did you last visit?

I went back in 2002 and hope to go back again. It’s really changed a lot. When I lived there, Bangkok was definitely kind of a post-colonial city, even though Thailand was never colonized. You know, you could see a western-style office building and right next door there would be a bamboo house with water buffalo lying around in the front yard. Now there’s just miles and miles of concrete, skyscrapers – very, very urban. It has the least green space of any major city in the world. So, I kind of regret that, but some of the old touchstones like the royal palaces are still there.

Could you tell me a little about your college experiences?

I went to Wheaton College. Very quickly, I knew that I wanted to major in English and also take philosophy courses. So, as soon as I could get past my general education requirements, I saturated myself with as many English and philosophy courses as I could fit in.

What sparked your interest in English?

I had grown up reading. I loved to read, and because I love to read, I guess I had a little more insight into literature than I had into much else that was academic. That’s why I ended up being a pretty decent writer, I think, because there’s a connection between avid reading and being a good writer. So, it was really just a natural fit for me.

Did you always want to teach?

I didn’t see myself as a teacher at all! I went to graduate school and got a teaching assistantship, and that was sort of just the way that I paid my bills. It became a natural consequence of the choice to be an English major and pursue academia, but I ended up really enjoying teaching.

So, what brought you to WVU?

Well, by the time I came here, I had gone through graduate school and had a couple kids. We were kind of a two-career family. My husband is a physician, and I had developed a career as a teacher. We moved to Morgantown, and WVU was just the obvious place to want to teacher because it was such a cool school.

What year was that?

We moved here in 1987. I think I didn’t start [working at WVU] until 1989, because I was teaching at Fairmont State at least a year before that.

How would you characterize your first few years here?

I was teaching part time. We had very little kids, and I enjoyed mixing it up – playing with Legos at home and coming to work and teaching and keeping my mind alive while getting to interact with intelligent students. It was a good balance for me.

What changes have you seen in the University and the students since you first joined the faculty?

I would say the University has become a more sophisticated place, if I can put it that way. It’s become, perhaps, a bit more nationalized and internationalized than it was in the late 80s. Maybe it was because we had just moved here, but it felt much more localized to West Virginia back then. Now there’s a lot of branding and competitiveness, just that sense – through the Big XII and whatnot – that WVU has a place on the whole continent, not just in West Virginia. I’d also say, and actually I’m not sure I should say this, but overall the quality of students’ work has just really improved since I’ve been here. This semester, man, I’ve got such an extraordinary set of students in my professional writing classes. They’ve blown me away. And, you know, it’s in some ways an accident of scheduling whether you get this student or that student in your class, but still. I would definitely say that the quality of students – it’s always been great to teach here – but the overall quality of the students has improved.

What do you think has gone into that?

I do not know. I’m coming from the perspective of teaching literature and writing, and I think, back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, there was all of this tearing of the hair, you know, “Why can’t Johnny read? Why can’t Johnny write?” So there may have been more of an emphasis on language arts in grade schools since then. I also think that WVU has taken its place on the national stage, and has become a little more competitive.

You’ve been writing about Tractarian novelist Charlotte Yonge. Can you share your research on her?

She is a unique 19th Century female writer because she became even more of a best seller than Charles Dickens. There were all of these really famous contemporaries like [Alfred] Tennyson who loved to read her novels and were great admirers. She, therefore, had a very powerful voice through her writing and the culture.

But, what she promoted in all of her writing was a self-sacrificial role for everyone. And she wrote, very explicitly, this self-sacrificing role for women. So because her novels are so locked into the ideology of that time period, almost as soon as the 20th Century rolled around, she was seen as almost intolerable to read since she was so old-fashioned and overtly religious.

Then, with second wave-feminism in the late-20th Century, people who were interested in Victorian literature and 19th Century British literature began to recuperate lost female voices. Charlotte Yonge’s voice had been lost by then. So, there were some re-publications of her novels, which had not been published for almost a century. Now she’s kind of disappeared again because she makes readers so uncomfortable, but I find her fascinating.

I love to read and she writes good stories, but also there’s so much complexity to her voice when she’s saying one thing dogmatically and undermining herself at the same time.

Are there any other specific novelists that you find interesting?

I love pretty much all of the 19th Century novelists. I’m a huge fan of Marilynne Robinson. I also love Toni Morrison. And I love to read young adult literature! I teach young adult literature every once in a while and I love it.

What would you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?

Oh, I’ve just taught and taught and taught. I’m what they call a teaching professor, which means that I’ve developed expertise in teaching and focus almost all of my attention on teaching. I’ve taught – I counted this out one time – more than 6,000 students. You know, there are other professors who have probably taught more students because they teach classes of 250 [students] at a time, but mine tend to be around the 20-student-to-40-student range. So, I would say my biggest accomplishment has just been developing as a teacher and connecting with lots of students over the years – maybe teaching them something. I’m really enjoying getting to know them and working with them to improve as writers and as thinkers.

If you could attribute your success to one thing, what would that be?

Well, it sounds really sappy. I just really love my students and I really like my colleagues. I feel like I’ve got a supportive department, and I’ve just had immense joy in teaching my students.

What would you consider to have been your greatest obstacle?

Just tons and tons and tons of work, both because I am an English teacher and because, as a teaching professor, I teach four courses a semester.

So, where do you think you’d be now if you hadn’t gotten into teaching English at a university?

That’s really hard to imagine, because I was so narrow in my approach to life when I was in my teens and twenties. But I think I might have become a social worker. I do a lot of volunteer work now, with the Appalachian Prison Book project – I don’t know if you’ve heard of us—we’re an outreach of the English department. We reach out to prisoners who are interested in reading and send them books to read. And I volunteered for years with CASA for Kids, which is an organization that advocates for abused and neglected kids. So, I think that’s a side of me that might have come out eventually – the side that really cares about folks who might not be getting as good a break as other people and tries to help them.

Do you have any advice that you would like to give to students?

It’s not anything knew: Come to class! If they come to class and pay attention, then they can pretty much operate efficiently in the class. But also, in terms of a long-term focus, don’t think that you have to define everything and pin everything down right now. Be aware that you’re probably going to change jobs three times before you’re done – before you retire. Just enjoy the journey and stay alert, because who knows where the next turn in your road is going to be. You don’t have to have that whole road mapped out right now, as a college student. You just have to be preparing yourself well for whatever might come down that road.

2 Feb

West Virginia University graduates Pamela (MS ‘88) and Dan (MS ‘89) Billman recently pledged to establish a permanent endowment in support of student field experiences for geology students in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.

This gift will serve as the foundation for the Geology Student Field Experience Campaign, which will allow the department of geology and geography to offer two field trips in the coming year. Kathleen Benison, associate professor of geology, will lead a group to Death Valley to study modern evaporates.

“Field experiences are essential for an understanding of Earth’s processes and environments,” said Tim Carr, WVU’s Marshall Miller professor of geology and the Department chair.

“The experience and comprehension that can be gained through the study of geology in the field is invaluable for science students. Even with modern technology, from satellites to scanning electron microscopes, there are a number of geological aspects that still require first-hand observation.”

Amy Weislogel, assistant geology professor, will lead a group on a study of the sequence stratigraphy of the superb exposures in the Book Cliffs of Utah. The endowment will support additional field experiences for years to come, and offset the loss of state funding that has occurred in recent years.

“As numerous geology departments, across the country, are de-emphasizing fieldwork and field camp, Pam and I are proud that we can help keep the field experience part of the geology program at WVU,” Dan Billman said.

The Billmans’ gift will kick off a campaign to fully fund the Geology Student Field Experience endowment, and opportunities are now available for others to participate. With a goal of $500,000, contributions can be made at a number of levels ranging from Chestnut Ridge ($25-99), to Everest ($50k+).

“As state support continues to decline, philanthropic support is more important than ever. The Billmans’ gift could not have come at a better time. Combined with grassroots support of alumni and friends, this field experience fund has the potential to transform the Geology student experience at WVU in perpetuity,” said Assistant Dean for Development Anna Justice.

For more information on how to make a gift in support of this fund, contact the Eberly College Office of Development at 304-293-4611 or

This contribution was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. The $1 billion comprehensive campaign being conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December 2017.

For further information on the comprehensive campaign, please visit or

20 Jan

The West Virginia University Eberly College of Arts and Sciences has named five recipients of the 2016 Outstanding Teacher Award: Nicholas Bowman, Patrick Hickey, Karen Kunz, Philip Michelbach and Jill Higgins Woods.

Nicholas Bowman, associate professor of communication studies, emphasizes the importance of students appreciating course material. Student voices are core class content, Bowman said. He encourages his students to expose themselves to critical feedback through discussion posts, uploading drafts of paper outlines to Google Docs for review and in-class presentations.

“Contact rather than content alone is key to successful education, as these contact points are often the spaces in which students can engage and overcome their confusions,” he said.

Bowman’s research interests include mass media, communication technology, entertainment media and experimental methods. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication from the University of Missouri, St. Louis and his doctorate in communication from Michigan State University.

Patrick Hickey, assistant professor of political science, said that he employs an interactive teaching style that encourages students to make their own intellectual discoveries and form their own opinions about the political world. He uses multimedia content, such as podcasts, YouTube videos and news reports, to connect course content and assignments to real world events.

“I tell my students on the first day of class that my goal is to have my course be the class that semester where they both have the most fun and also learn the most information,” Hickey said.

Hickey’s research investigates how presidents build winning legislative coalitions in Congress. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the New College of Florida and his doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin.

Karen Kunz, associate professor of public administration, said it is essential that students are aware of the intricacies of the financial processes and issues faced by federal, state and local governments. To help her students understand these complex issues, Kunz collaborates with federal, state and non-profit professionals to bring their practices and issues into the classroom through guest lectures and course projects.

“It is equally important to her that students achieve the confidence that comes from comprehension of these complex issues through practical application,” Kunz said. “[Working with professionals] provides the students with the foundation necessary to effect change.”

Kunz’ research interests include public finance and fiscal policy, political economy and financial markets regulation. She received a master’s degree in political science and a doctorate in public administration from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Philip Michelbach, associate professor of political science, constructs his courses around interpretive arguments on themes and historical developments in political thought. He engages with his students with daily discussion on the course’s assigned readings.

“I have been able to draw on my experiences to involve and engage our students,” Michelbach said.

Michelbach’s research interests are in political thought, and include German political thought, democratic theory and distributive justice. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in Germanic languages and literatures from the University of Kansas, a master’s degree in political science from the University of Houston and a doctorate in political science from the University of California, San Diego.

Jill Higgins Woods, a teaching instructor in the Department of English, said she hopes that her students learn to appreciate the value of writing in their respective fields of interest, as well as how to develop their writing skills to achieve their goals.

“I’ve been privileged to see the extension of in-classroom work to the outside world,” Woods said. “Both students who have excelled and struggled in my courses have honored me with glimpses into how they’ve understood and are applying our collaboratively constructed course experiences in their individual lives.”

Woods’ research interests include professional and technical communication and distance learning. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in English from Eastern Michigan University and is currently an education doctoral candidate at West Virginia University.

19 Jan
RyanDougherty Ryan Dougherty graduated from West Virginia University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and again in 2008 with a master’s degree in communication studies. After growing bored of working in the corporate sector, Dougherty decided to finally work on an idea that he had gotten while still in college – stylish slippers.

Dougherty and his team say their TIME Slippers allow the wearer to have “high performance relaxation.” The slippers have appeared in various media outlets, and a reviewer from Wired Magazine said that they were, “Just about the most comfortable things I’ve ever had on my feet.”

How did you get the idea for the TIME Slippers? Were you not satisfied with the slippers that you had seen online or in stores?

I actually was in West Virginia – in Morgantown – and I used to care more about comfort than fashion. So, I would wear those slippers that look like moccasins – whatever was available – and I wasn’t really satisfied with them. I always looked at them and thought, “Why do I have to look like an idiot, just because I want to be comfortable?”

I just slowly started poking at that idea, and there was a leather shop – I’m not sure if it’s there anymore – down on High Street, and I used to pop in there and ask them questions about leather working and how you could possibly make something like what I was talking about. That idea started as a seed in West Virginia and just slowly grew into a business idea that ended up working.

What was your development process like?

It was kind of like “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” It was brutal. We started with a designer. The designer was excellent, very talented and well-known in the industry. He designed a beautiful slipper for us. After that, it started to get complicated.

We dealt with a manufacturer in China, where the vast majority of footwear is created. It was really hard to communicate with them. I would ask them a simple question, and it would take them about four days to get back to me. So, we went to China and visited the different factory retail outlets, where you go in and they have all of the different materials that you can choose from. So, we picked out materials, soles and everything that we needed and the factory made samples for us. They started off doing a pretty good job, but then we had that communication breakdown.

So, you didn’t continue working with them to get the final product?

No, we worked with them for a while, but the changes stopped coming and the communication broke down. I saw that it just wasn’t happening fast enough, the changes weren’t good and I was getting the feeling that we were working with someone that just didn’t care.

From what I learned while starting this project, caring is more important than talent. So, I started searching for someone that I could trust. That ended up being an agent who said that he would make me a sample for free. In this industry – especially for a start-up – that’s just unheard of. I didn’t really hear from him after that, and then all of a sudden I got this package. It was a sample, and it was beautiful. He did an incredible job with it.

He kept making these samples for free and he really cared. This guy was writing me emails three times a day, which was more than I would hear from the Chinese factory in a month. He was really awesome, so we ended up hitting it off.

The slippers have yoga mat soles. How did you get this idea?

Well, I was always trying to think of something that was more comfortable. I just didn’t think that what people had in their current slippers was good enough. I started looking for the best materials. The soles we use are yoga mats, and it feels really good. A lot of people have said that the slippers are the most comfortable thing that they have ever worn.

You worked with Kickstarter. Tell me about your experiences with that, such as the advantages and disadvantages of using the site.

You get to find out if your idea has legs without putting in too much money or time. Now, don’t get me wrong, we spent a good amount of time and money figuring out how to use Kickstarter. Comparatively to what it would cost to launch a footwear brand, it was cheap. You can spend your money and time preparing this thing that isn’t as nearly as expensive as going at it like a full brand launch. You get back so much information, and on top of that, if you succeed you get the money to start [working].

Some of the negatives are that Kickstarter can be seen as a wimpy way to start a brand or to get something done. Some people might think that if you need Kickstarter to get started, then you seem kind of like a juvenile in terms of entrepreneurship. That’s true in some cases, and not-so-true in other cases. There are a couple massive brands that have done Kickstarters and have gone on to do incredible things. People see a Kickstarter and they think that it’s just a little project, when really it can have a lot of value.

How did the skills that you developed in the philosophy and communication studies departments at WVU help you create and promote the slippers?

Philosophy has helped me tremendously. I took a few optional classes at the end of my philosophy degree that really changed me life. They taught me how to think objectively and think for myself. I started to analyze things critically. I always did, but I started to [analyze things] more because it gave me confidence. Philosophy, communication studies and WVU gave me confidence to stand up and to say, not that a person is wrong, but that there is a better way to do something and that I think I can do it.

It was really that backbone that gave me the confidence to actually take a swing at things. I think that’s significantly more than half the battle – taking a shot. I think that’s the scariest part and that a lot of people should try, but never do.

In terms of communication theory and research, [communication studies] gave me the ability to understand how people perceive things and it gave me a tool to measure those perceptions. I developed an eye and an ear for taking in information in an unbiased way. In marketing, that’s the most important thing in the world. It doesn’t matter who has the best product, it matters who people think has the best product.

The word ‘disrupt’ is thrown around a lot in business. PayPal was disruptive to the banking industry. Apple making the iPhone was disruptive to the telecommunications industry. Breaking out of that black and white thinking helps, and that’s what we hope to do. That’s how my education at WVU has helped me get here.

Who else is on the TIME Slippers team, and how did you all meet?

I have three partners. One partner is my friend Cory Wyatt. He’s a family friend. He had a business with my brother. They started a landscaping business together. So, that’s actually how we started talking about TIME slippers to begin with. There’s also Rahul and Mika Panchal out in California. They are our marketing team. I went to high school with Mika, who ended up marrying Rahul. The designer, Daniel Bailey, used to live in Germany but recently moved to London. I met him through a friend in high school as well.

The TIME Slippers were included in People Magazine “Fifteen Best Gifts for Guys” list. What do you think about this?

I think it’s pretty cool. They contacted me and said that they really liked the product and that they wanted to include us in the list. I thought that it was nice to have people praise your work, and it feels like you’re on the right track. That also happened recently with Wired Magazine. They did a review for us and gave the slippers an eight out of 10 score. They’re in San Francisco with the tech scene and they love disruptive ideas. We were actually just contacted by Adweek Magazine, and we’re going to be in the January 18th issue. So, we’re getting media attention and it feels really good.

Did you see an increase in demand around Christmas time?

Yes, we did. People were very interested in getting a good present, and these slippers look cool, so I think people were willing to take a risk in purchasing a pair. People have written some personal reviews for us, and they’ve really just enjoyed the product. That’s awesome, because ultimately, that’s what I want to see – people wearing them and being happy with them.

You previously worked as a market research specialist, but left the corporate sector to branch out into more creative endeavors. What made you decide to make this change?

I didn’t like the way that a lot of corporate companies worked. I went to school to study research, data analytics – things like that – and I would get to research companies and they would be using basic percentages to make business decisions. They didn’t really use research the way it should be used. They didn’t perform the research in a scientific way, and they didn’t really know how to use the data that they got. I was young and getting my first jobs straight out of school, so I didn’t really know that I could tell them, “Hey, you’re doing this wrong.” I didn’t want to risk my job. That’s the difference between studying in a university setting and getting a job – you’re never going to lose your livelihood for taking a risk in college, but if you take a risk in your job, it could go away. That can be frightening.

So, I didn’t like the way these companies worked. I had just gotten out of a Research I University, with a great GPA from a great [communication studies] program. People didn’t always listen to what I had to say, and I got sick of that. So, I created a situation where I am the person who makes decisions. I don’t mean that in a cocky way, but I actually try to use that experience to listen to people. When I talk to other people about problems that we have, I don’t ask them to solve the problems that we have in the way that I want them to be solved. If ask someone else for a solution, I want them to tell me how to solve it their way.

Do you have any other products that you think could be different or more innovative? Do you have anything else in the works?

I have some ideas for new slipper models. There’s going to be a lot of game changing stuff coming in the near future. We are going to use elastic in ways that have never been used in footwear before. We’re also going to change the outsoles. We’re going to use different materials and shapes that I think will make slippers even more comfortable than the models that we already have, which are hard to beat. We’re going to keep improving, because I’ve got a laundry list of new development directions.

12 Jan
LandReform When South Africa’s brutal and racially oppressive policies of apartheid came to a close in 1994, it was promised by Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress party that as much as 30 percent of land seized from native farmers by white landowners would be returned to them within 10 years.

It didn’t come close.

“They didn’t get to 0.3 percent,” said Brent McCusker, associate professor in the Department of Geology and Geography at West Virginia University. “By 15 to 20 years on, they’re at about 3 to 4 percent. It’s sputtering along and it’s not really doing anything.”

Under Mandela’s administration, an entire legislative process was created to help the process. If native landowners could prove they had a legitimate claim to stolen lands, they would be compensated with new property. If they chose a financial claim, they would be compensated with financial restitution and development grants for their current homes or themselves.

The practice has proven ineffective, McCusker said.

In his new book, “Land Reform In South Africa: An Uneven Transformation,” McCusker and his co-authors present a new framework to explore why land reformation didn’t work. In South Africa, many texts published on the subject take a “technicist” approach to explain why it didn’t work – namely blaming everything from a lack of incentives, to it being a poorly designed program and even political parties just not living up to promises made.

McCusker examines, through case studies, different groups who have dominated land ownership in the region and how their interactions and influence has helped shape policy in their favor.

“We use the concept of hegemony – the different groups in society will always try to dominate and cajole each other and force each other to do things,” McCusker said. ””This has been a longstanding process – it isn’t something that hasn’t happened recently. We apply that concept of hegemony to land policy, which nobody else had done.”

The issue of land reformation is still hotly contested in South Africa. President Jacob Zuma recently prohibited foreign land ownership in South Africa, and other policies are calling for corporate farms to give up as much as 50 percent of their properties. And with any political issue, there are calls it isn’t going far enough, and doubts whether it will work.

Without an effective transfer of land ownership in place, still short of goals set 21 years ago, McCusker said it’s important for his team to examine how and why those promises haven’t delivered.

“We still have a lot of poverty in South Africa,” McCusker said. “You still have millions of people that are reliant on their own production but they’re still ham-strung to poor quality land. All of those supposed benefits have not trickled down to the poorest of the poor. They’re left without any sort of viable livelihood system.”

5 Jan
Loren Anderson Radio telescopes have provided scientists with incredible information about our own galaxy, as well as those around us. While researchers understand a great deal of galaxies far away, gaps remain in the knowledge about our own, the Milky Way – specifically, how global star formation works in our own backyard, and how many stars our galaxy is making per year.

“We have that information about other galaxies, just not our own,” said Loren Anderson, assistant professor of physics at West Virginia University.

“We’re stuck inside of our galaxy, so it’s difficult to get a three-dimensional view of it, like we can others,” he said.

Anderson has been awarded $363,734 by the National Science Foundation to create a three-dimensional map that will shed light on star formation in our galaxy.

Anderson and his research team have been trying to locate all massive star formation regions and to determine where they are in the galaxy, creating a three-dimensional map of where our galaxy is forming massive stars.

They will then measure the brightness of all known regions at infrared and radio wavelengths, and using the three-dimensional map data turn the brightnesses (how bright they appear) into luminosities (how bright they actually are). The infrared and radio luminosities of a galaxy are related to the number of stars it is making, and therefore Anderson will be able to better estimate the star formation rate of our Milky Way galaxy.

“A lot of what drives astronomy is understanding our place in the universe,” Anderson said. “This is one way we can step back and look at our galaxy and see how it compares to others in the universe. It will help us to understand our galactic home a lot better.”

Anderson also is developing a remote access tool that will allow students from Morgantown High School – and potentially others across the state in the future – to control the search for new star formation regions using the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in Green Bank, West Virginia.

15 Dec
1443537941 Gregory Dunaway, an award-winning educator and sociologist, has been named permanent dean of West Virginia University’s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, effective March 31, 2016.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Dunaway to West Virginia University,” Provost Joyce McConnell said Tuesday in announcing the appointment. “He has the rare and valuable combination of extensive experience and a strong vision, exactly what is needed to guide a large and complex academic unit like our Eberly College.”

President Gordon Gee also expressed enthusiasm about the appointment. “Greg Dunaway is exactly who we need to lead our Eberly College today. He has a track record of excellence in his field and in higher education. I know he will continue that record here at West Virginia University and that the exceptional faculty and students of the Eberly College will reap the benefit of his experience.”

The college of arts and sciences was established at WVU in 1895. The name was changed to the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences in 1993 in commemoration of the generosity of the Eberly family, the Eberly Foundation, and the Eberly Family Charitable Trust. Today, Eberly is WVU’s largest college, employing more than 435 faculty and offering 36 undergraduate majors and 32 graduate programs.

Eberly’s complexity meant it was even more important to find the right leadership for the unit, McConnell said. “That’s what made Dr. Dunaway rise to the top of our search very quickly. He has experience, yes, but even more than that he has great wisdom about how to lead. He also has a deep appreciation for all the disciplines that are housed in Eberly, from the humanities to the social sciences to the hard sciences.”

Dunaway is the current dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Mississippi State University. Prior to his appointment as dean in 2013, he served as the associate dean for academic and student affairs (2011-2012) and was also the Thomas Bailey Professor of Sociology and former department head of sociology (2008-2011). He is also a Research Fellow at the Social Science Research Center at MSU.

His research interests include examining social factors associated with crime and delinquency; trends, inequality and crime and justice; and criminal justice policy. He has conducted research on a number of justice programs in Mississippi, including performing an evaluation of Mississippi’s Drug Court Program, a survey of Mississippi’s Juvenile Detention Facilities and a study on disproportionate minority contact within the Mississippi juvenile justice system.

Dunaway has won both teaching and administrative service awards at Mississippi State. He is the immediate past president of the Southern Criminal Justice Association. He earned his B.A. from

Loyola University Maryland (1982) and his M.S. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Cincinnati (1988, 1991).

“I am both humbled and honored to have the opportunity to serve as the next dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences,” Dunaway said. “I was highly impressed with both the quality of the faculty and programs of Eberly. It is clear that the college and WVU is on a great trajectory. I am eager to work with the faculty, staff, administration, and students to continue to build on the tradition of excellence in Eberly and West Virginia University. I look forward to being a Mountaineer!”

With Dunaway’s appointment, interim dean Maryanne Reed will be stepping back into her permanent position as dean of the Reed College of Media at WVU.

“I can’t say enough about Reed as a leader,” McConnell said. “She had already proven herself as dean of our Reed College, establishing the college at the vanguard of media education, when I asked her to serve as the interim in Eberly. She has led the college during a transition period with a blend of decisiveness and great attention to the individual people who make the college great. We are very grateful to her for taking on the interim role.”

9 Dec

Walter DeKeseredy, Anna Deane Carlson Endowed Chair of Social Sciences and director of the Research Center on Violence at West Virginia University, was recently awarded the first Career Achievement Award from the American Society of Criminology, Division of Victimology.

“It is very exciting and a major honor to be the first [recipient],” DeKeseredy said.

Martin Schwartz, visiting professor of sociology at George Washington University, nominated DeKeseredy for the award.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Walter is one of the most important scholars of his generation,” said Schwartz. “[He] has achieved in research at a relatively young age what would be a very distinguished lifetime list of publications for a criminologist on the cusp of retirement.

“Yet, not only does he show no signs of slowing down; he shows signs of speeding up.”

Since joining the society in 1985, DeKeseredy has served as chair of the Division of Critical Criminology, helped organize the society’s annual meeting, and won multiple awards from different divisions in the organization.

DeKeseredy officially accepted the award at the society’s November meeting in Washington, D.C.

“It’s a major international conference, the most important criminology conference in the world,” DeKeseredy said.

DeKeseredy gave two presentations at the conference, one on a paper that examines feminist perspectives of violence against women, and a collaboration presentation on domestic homicide.

7 Dec
1403288404 The Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University has announced Anna Justice has joined the organization as assistant dean for development. She will oversee donor relations for the Eberly College, including major/planned gifts, stewardship activities, and generate gifts from individuals, corporations, and foundations. She begins her duties today.

Justice joins the Eberly College from WVU’s College of Creative Arts, where she has worked since June 2014. Previously, she had worked at Loyola University New Orleans, where she spent most of her time in major gifts fundraising as a frontline development officer. For a brief time, she was also the assistant director of stewardship and donor relations, coordinating stewardship events and communications on behalf of the president, and she was also an adjunct professor, teaching a class in arts administration.

Justice was active as a board member and general volunteer for several nonprofits in post-Katrina New Orleans.

“We are thrilled to welcome Anna to the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. She brings with her not only a familiarity with the University, but a track record of success in fundraising, and a strong work ethic,” said Interim Dean Maryanne Reed. “She will be a great asset to our team, as Eberly continues to build its development and alumni outreach efforts.”

2016 marks Justice’s 10th anniversary working in fundraising. Throughout her positions she has also continued professional development, including receiving her CRFE, a leading certification for a development professional. Justice said development now plays an invaluable role in funding higher education.

“While universities like WVU have experienced continued reductions in federal and state funding, development has played an increasing role in helping institutions reach their strategic goals,” Justice said. “Fundraising provides an opportunity to rally stakeholders around the institution’s mission — to provide students with a high quality education and the region with cutting-edge research.”

Justice earned her Bachelor of Music from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a Master of Science and a Certificate in Fundraising Management from Boston University. Anna is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). She has also worked in annual fundraising as the membership coordinator for the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans, and as a development associate for the Harvard Catholic Student Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

20 Nov
hazen After the Civil War, the presidency was a difficult seat for a southern politician to obtain. Past political agendas held by southern legislators created obstacles for modern presidential candidates to overcome. Jimmy Carter was the first southern president to take the highly stigmatized southern language and reshape its meaning from one of inability to one of competence and sincerity.

We spoke with Kirk Hazen, professor of linguistics in the Department of English and director of the West Virginia Dialect Project, to gain some insight on southern language features and the presidency. Professor Hazen is the author of An Introduction to Language (2015).

How did Jimmy Carter open the presidency to other southern language speakers such as Bill Clinton?

Jimmy Carter made it possible for a southerner to hold a high political office outside of local government. Before that point, it was sort of like John F. Kennedy’s initial troubles. During his campaign, people were worried that he was Catholic, but people were also worried about how he sounded — this New Englander status — and whether it would be respectable to the rest of the world. Now, it’s somewhat iconic. Jimmy Carter made it so that southerners who would normally be seen so negatively for their dialect features could actually be seen in a positive light.

What sort of stereotypes did southern language speakers have to overcome? What was their perceived advantage?

There are negative views of southerners’ ability to do things – to do intellectual things, to do technical and detailed things, to fly a plane and do brain surgery. The upside is that southern dialects are considered more personable, friendlier, more in-touch. There is a field of study called perceptual dialectology where we ask, “how do these people sound to you?” Are they friendlier, more competent, and all of the questions that would feed into those two main categories. Southern dialects usually rank lower in terms of perceived competence, but they rank highest in terms of perceived friendliness, warmth, and sincerity. Because of those qualities, you can use southern features to come across as truly earnest. In the United States, there is a third side to regional dialects. To be standard, you are not required to reach a certain set of vowels, a certain dialect. Standard simply requires you to not have any vernacular features. As long as you don’t have anything that sticks out as clearly stigmatized, everything else is fine. In England, there is actually a target upper-middle class dialect called “RP,” Received Pronunciation. We don’t have anything like it in the United States. Here, you just have to avoid heavily stigmatized bits of language in order to be considered standard.

Was President Bill Clinton able to achieve an acceptable standard with his southern language features?

Bill Clinton actually had a broad repertoire, so he could go towards more formal ends and then sound a great deal friendlier in smaller audiences, or contexts where he wanted to sound more approachable. He could definitely control range. He was the governor of Arkansas for many years, so he had plenty of practice before he became president. Even well before the presidency, he traveled widely. For example, he was a Rhodes scholar in England. There is a lot about him that doesn’t sound all that southern, but there are still features there. He can be pegged as sounding more southern than George W. Bush, whose campaign would always promote his southern roots. Since he spent some early years in Texas they wanted to latch on to that because that seems much more authentic than New England and Yale.

Before Carter, was there anybody else that tried to implement this thought of southern dialect in order to achieve what Carter was able to?

Directly before Carter in the ‘50s and ‘60s, the trouble was that southern politicians who were on the national stage were people like Strom Thurmond, who tried to break off the Democrats into the Dixiecrats and wanted to maintain segregation. So, the image of southern dialects had a lot to do with that. It was hard for people to hear some dialects and not think racism. So, one of the negative sides, other than the supposed lack of competence, is if people hear southern dialects, they think that everyone is a racist. The civil rights angst from southern politicians did not help this image at all, because it became clear that they wanted to maintain segregation no matter what. The politicians in the south were overtly campaigning and getting elected on the basis of maintaining segregation in schools, which looks horrendous from this century.

Are there any barriers in today’s presidency that have been removed?

There is a book about President Obama’s language called “Articulate While Black: Barack Obama, Language, and Race in the US” by Alim and Smitherman. It deals with his use of any bit of language that could possibly be seen as Black English and people’s perceptions of his language. He has walked a very weird and fine line between wanting to sound human and people saying he is such a good speaker. There were plenty of news reporters who would say things like, “Oh he is very articulate,” which can only be said if you have this underlying assumption that he wasn’t going to be able to say words out loud or be understood in the first place, which is covert racism.



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