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Faculty Development

Charles A. Dana Category 1 Grants are supported by an endowed fund from the Dana Foundation for the purpose of attracting and retaining faculty of exceptional caliber. Grants are awarded annually to tenure-track faculty who demonstrate superior scholarship, teaching ability and university service.
 
Brett Cox
English and Communications
 
Cox has been at Norwich since 2002 where he served as Chair of the Department of English and Communications from 2011-14. He has experience teaching a wide array of courses, from first-year composition to upper-level seminars in literature, creative writing, and film. He has particular expertise in science fiction, a genre he both teaches and writes. A prolific writer, he has published essays, poems, plays, and short stories. He is the co-editor of Crossroads: Tales of the Southern Literary Fantastic, is working on a study of science fiction writer Roger Zelazny, under contract with the University of Illinois Press, and has a collection of short stories The End of All Our Exploring: Stories forthcoming with Fairwood Press.
 
Sean Kramer
Mathematics
 
Kramer began teaching at Norwich in 2013 where he regularly teaches courses at all levels for his department, including Applied Calculus, Calculus II and III, Statistical Methodology I and II, Mathematical Computation and Modeling, and Senior Seminar I and II. In addition, he has served as a summer undergraduate research mentor and mentored independent research with a number of students, including Scott LeFevre who received a scholarship to attend the MASAMU Advanced Study Institute and Workshop Series in mathematical sciences in Windhoek, Namibia in 2015 and eventually co-authored an article in Mathematics of Planet Earth. Kramer has published several papers in Chaos. He has an ongoing collaboration with marine biologists at Oregon State University and the University of Maine, resulting in articles in Marine Biology and in Marine Ecology Progress Series.
 
Matt Lutz
Architecture + Art
 
Lutz is a licensed architect and a Certified Passive House Consultant. He joined the School of Architecture + Art in 2007 and teaches courses in passive environmental design, building systems, materials and methods, intermediate and upper level design studios, and special study courses focusing on affordable, mobile solar-powered dwellings, also Lutz’s research area. He designed a portable bio-medical research station being used by scientists studying human-animal health issues in the remote Mahale Mountains of Tanzania, and a conex-container-based mobile, solar powered field-lab for ground-water analysis being used by geology researchers at Norwich University. Lutz was the faculty leader in Norwich University’s entry in Solar Decathlon 2013, and the Primary Investigator in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon grant to Norwich University.
 
Jeff Olson
Mathematics
 
Olson arrived at Norwich in 2006 and has taught courses at all levels, from first-year courses taken by non-majors to specialized upper-level courses for majors. He has also mentored a number of senior independent projects and taught the first introduction to honors course, The Scientific Method: History, Legacy, Controversy, offered by the university. Olson has published numerous articles, almost all of which are concerned with algebraic logic, which uses algebraic techniques to understand systems of symbolic logic, in journals such as Order, Algebra Universalis, and Studia Logica. His current interest is discrete dynamical systems, mathematical representations of systems that change over time, transitioning among a set of “states” according to some set of rules. One such system, called Bulgarian Solitaire, involves collecting and redistributing objects in a way that bears comparison to the board game mancala. He recently published an article, “Variants of Bulgarian Solitaire,” in Integers.
 
Tim Parker
Architecture + Art
 
Parker is the only art and architectural historian on the Architecture + Art faculty, and since his arrival at Norwich in 2012, he he has been teaching and coordinating the architectural history/theory survey courses for Bachelor’s, Master’s and Art Minor, and Art History Minor students. He also serves as Research Advisor for all MArch students. He regularly teaches the first two courses of the four-semester survey sequence in architectural history and theory, the basic art history survey course, and a newly developed course on Research Methods for seniors. Parker’s primary area of research is the interpretation of modern religious architecture. He co-edited and contributed to the book, Sanctioning Modernism: Architecture and the Making of Postwar Identities, and is currently working on an anthology, interdisciplinary in nature, that will draw from works of theology, liturgy, religious studies, philosophy, and related fields—as well as architectural history and theory.
 
Danny Sagan
Architecture + Art
 
Sagan has been teaching at Norwich since 2000 and is currently the Undergraduate Program Director for the School of Architecture + Art. He was part of the team that developed the entry in the 2013 Solar Decathlon. He co-taught with Professor Matt Lutz on the precursor project, the RAEV House, and was part of the team that developed the proposal that ultimately won a spot in the 2013 competition. Sagan’s research focus has been both energy-efficiency and the history of the design/build movement in architecture. Most recently Sagan has been enlarging the focus of his research and teaching to include the study and invention of architectural ornament. He is the author of articles such as, “Hey Ho Let’s Go,” published in The Design Build Studio | Crafting Meaningful Work in Architecture Education, and contribution to Architectural Improvisation: A History of Vermont’s Design/Build Movement 1964-1977. Sagan shares a small architecture practice with his wife Alisa Dworsky that specializes in zero-net energy houses and small commercial projects.
Steve Sodergren
HIstory and Political Science
 
Sodergren is Coordinator of the Studies in War and Peace degree program at Norwich. Since joining the faculty in 2007, he has developed eight new history courses, including what has become his trademark, a Civil War “staff ride” course for Norwich students. These courses vary in topic but are experiential in nature, involving taking students to battlefields on the East Coast to conduct intensive research and analysis on site. He has published articles in Social Science Quarterly, Southern Cultures, and contributed a chapter to The Unfinished Work: New Perspectives on Civil War Veteranhood. He recently published his first book, The Army of the Potomac in the Overland and Petersburg Campaigns: Union Soldiers and Trench Warfare, 1864-1865.
 
Aimee Vieira
Justice Studies and Sociology
 
Vieira has been at Norwich since 2006 and has taught a range of sociology courses, including Military Sociology, Racial and Cultural Minorities, Sociology of Religion, Culture, Conflict and Communication, and Rural Sociology. She also developed a curriculum for the U.S. Army Special Warfare Center & School under a contract with the Norwich University Applied Research Institute (NUARI). She has been researching rural communities since the mid-1990s, with a particular focus on rural entrepreneurship, identity and household survival strategies in an array of places, including the Eastern Townships of Quebec. She is the author of “Build it & they will come: Jay Peak & the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program,” in Reinventing Rural: New Realities in an Urbanizing World; “Minority Groups and the Informal Economy: English Speakers in Quebec’s Eastern Townships” in Studies in Urbanormativity: Rural Community in Urban Society; and “Complications in Cross-Cultural Communications: Using Interpreters” in Cross-Cultural Competence for a 21st Century Military: Culture, the Flipside of COIN. She is also the author of a monograph, Being Anglophone: Language, Place & Identity in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, published in 2016.

“This is not a cookie-cutter lab exercise with a predetermined result. This is novel inquiry. No one on the planet understands these relationships yet.” – Karen Hinkle

It would be nice, Karen Hinkle admits, if her research were to spawn a pharmaceutical patent—or a revolutionary new therapeutic intervention that might cure cancer. But it’s not likely. At least, not in a way in which her name would be attached.

A cell biologist with undergraduate and terminal degrees in physiology, Hinkle seeks to under-stand the intracellular signaling mechanisms of complex protein networks: what activates and deactivates them, how those interactions affect normal and abnormal cellular activity, and why. Ultimately, she explains, the results of her experiments can inform additional inquiry into increas-ingly complicated physiological processes.

“The value of my work lies in its basic science: I analyze the role of specific molecules, such as hormones, and their impacts on this intracellular network signaling. When we can better compre-hend these kinds of interactions on a fundamental level, we gain useful insight into things like cel-lular differentiation and growth. This can then be extrapolated into all sorts of scenarios, like how malignant cells proliferate, and how to effectively halt, if not outright prevent it.”

Speaking of extrapolation: in considering Hinkle’s time on the Hill—as a teacher, scholar and administrator—it becomes immediately clear that, much like the molecules she studies, her presence stimulates growth.

Co-evolution

In the 15 years since she first arrived at Norwich as an assistant professor—the first female to join NU’s biology faculty, and by far the youngest—Hinkle’s professional trajectory has shifted dramatically, in synchronicity with the university’s own change of course.

Back then, fresh out of a PhD program at the University of Michigan, where she had used genet-ically engineered mice to study stomach acid secretion (her thesis, Enhanced calcium signaling and acid secretion in parietal cells isolated from gastrin-deficient mice, appeared in the American Journal of Physiology, Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology in June 2003), Hinkle felt her true passion lay outside the laboratory, and inside the classroom.

“As a teaching assistant at Michigan, I discovered that I loved being in front of students and see-ing the light bulb go on,” she recalls. “I started dreaming of becoming a professor at a small col-lege. After visiting Norwich, I fell in love.”

It was a match made in heaven: Hinkle’s passion aligned with NU’s academic culture at the time, which emphasized teaching over scholarship. Still, she found herself surrounded by colleagues driven by their insatiable curiosity.

“For them, being in the classroom wasn’t enough. They’d entered academia because they had all these questions about the world, and wanted to be actively involved in discovering the answers. They became my role models and mentors, demonstrating that by conducting my own research, I could be a more effective educator.”

Hinkle embraced the lesson: re-engaging in her original scholarly pursuits while carrying a full course load. Annually between 2003 and 2010, she secured major internal and external grants to investigate topics ranging from the effects of age on genetic expression and protein synthesis in mice, to DNA damage in S. cerevisiae (brewer’s yeast) following exposure to a commonly used lampricide. In 2006, she shared first authorship on a second published paper examining stomach acid secretion, titled Parietal cell hyperstimulation and autoimmune gastritis in cholera toxin transgenic mice. She earned the first of her two Charles A. Dana Category I awards and the Homer L. Dodge Award for Teaching Excellence. Throughout, she has mentored dozens of un-dergraduate research projects, directly involving students in her own investigations and weaving what she learned into her classroom discussions.

“Just as Norwich was recognizing and promoting this model of teacher-scholarship, I was evolv-ing my career to match,” Hinkle says.

Then, in 2011, she took a yearlong sabbatical to assist Bryan Ballif, PhD, in his University of Vermont laboratory. Together, the pair developed novel research tools to analyze the signaling pathways of proto-oncogene tyrosine-protein kinase (Fyn), a protein involved in regulating cell growth. That collaboration resulted in two peer-reviewed publications. It also vaulted Hinkle’s scholarship, and her students’ experiential education, into the next stratus.

Cultivating Curious Minds

Today, as Baliff’s ongoing collaborator and National Science Foundation (NSF) sub-grantee, Hinkle also works with UVM fish biologist Alicia Ebert to extend what she’s learned about signal molecules and growth to intact organisms.

“This has been a tremendous opportunity for me to continue sophisticated research in collabora-tion with two high-profile labs,” she says.

Currently, Hinkle, Ballif, and Ebert are examining the effects of Discoidin, CUB and LCCL do-main-containing proteins (DCBLDs) on neural retina development in zebrafish. “We know that in the absence of DCBLD2, neuronal defects occur,” she says. “Now, we hope to elucidate the mechanisms behind that, and the ramifications.”

Her second-year cell biology students are assisting. For the entirety of their spring semester, with funding from Ballif’s and Hebert’s NSF grant, they are discovering protein binding relationships to DCBLD2 in the intact organism of zebrafish to better understand the signaling networks involving this protein involved in growth.

“This is not a cookie-cutter lab exercise with a predetermined result, recapitulated every semes-ter,” Hinkle emphasizes. “This is novel inquiry. No one on the planet understands these relation-ships yet. It’s difficult to conduct a real research experiment with undergraduates because you don’t know what the answer is, or whether there will be a positive result. But we’re engaging stu-dents in critical thinking, in a scientific process in which they understand something much bigger is at stake. And where I think my biggest impact will be is on the number of students through the years who can participate in the project, expand their knowledge, and come into their own as researchers. I’m really proud of that.”

Replicating The Model

In this, Hinkle models the high-impact practice for which Norwich has become nationally known.

“She is a true teacher-scholar, cast in the Norwich dye first envisioned by President Schneider,” says Sandra Affenito, PhD, provost and dean of faculty. In recognition for her leadership and commitment to this ideal, Hinkle was appointed associate provost for research and chief re-search officer in January 2018. As such, she is directly responsible for growing NU’s culture of inquiry—and its reputation for scholarship.

“We are an institution that supports and engages faculty and students in first-class research and deep creative processes,” she says. “We do that by saying ‘yes:’ yes to faculty with a demon-strated passion for these things. Yes to students who are comfortable asking questions about the world. And yes to creating more opportunities for both to engage and collaborate.

“But we can’t stop there,” she asserts. “We can’t just say, ‘Good luck with that!’ To evolve and grow as an institution, we must continue offering the meaningful resources and support our fac-ulty needs—so we can write our accomplishments in the sky.”

Who knows? Pending the results of her DCBLD experiments, Hinkle’s own achievements—and those of her students—may soon adorn the atmosphere.

 

Independent Study Leaves (ISL) constitute the university’s sabbatical program, with awards based on scholarly proposals for projects intended to enhance the professional effectiveness of faculty through study, research, writing, travel related to professional development, and/or practical experience in the faculty member’s field.  

 

2017–18

Narain Batra
English and Communications
 
Digital India has been called a moonshot project that draws together the best human and private-public capital to achieve a goal that was previously thought to be impossible: citizens’ empowerment. The program is based on Aadhaar, a biometric and demographic information database of residents, which the government uses to deliver benefits to underprivileged residents. Batra’s ISL project is an investigative case study as to whether, and if so to what extent, Digital India has empowered the citizens of Ahmedabad, regarding access to healthcare, banking, education, jobs, and self-employment with emphasis on women and minorities as well as security and privacy issues. Besides data analytics, mini cases will be used to investigate the magnitude of citizens’ empowerment. Through open competition, Ahmedabad, an industrial-business city of six million people, was selected as one of the hundred cities to be transformed into a smart city under India’s Smart City Plan for urban self-renewal.
  
Seth Frisbie
Chemistry and Biochemistry
 
Excess intake of manganese in infants can cause neurological problems including IQ deficits, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems. While soy-based infant formulas have been found to contain relatively high amounts of manganese, little is known about the manganese content of rice-based ingredients used in infant formulas and foods. In this project, Frisbie collaborated with Dr. Richard Ortega (Bordeaux, France) to determine the manganese content of infant formulas and baby foods using particle-induced X-ray emission (PIXE). PIXE is an exceptionally powerful tool that provides highly accurate analysis of chemical content as well as characterization of exactly where the elements are found in samples, enabling identification of which ingredients contribute manganese. He used the manganese results to determine whether rice products constitute a potential health hazard for infants.
 
Elizabeth Gurian
Justice Studies and Sociology
 
Although mass and serial murder research has advanced in recent years, Gurian’s ISL investigated how it continues to be hindered by definitional issues relating to: number of victims, sex of the offender, relationship between victim and offender, and motive. For example, definitions of mass and serial murder constructed from the 1980s reveal differences among basic criteria such as victim count, which ranges from two, to three, to four or more. Classifications are further complicated through an array of subjective typologies constructed to classify offenders based on motive, which can include: “institutional mass murderers” (i.e., killing as a crime of obedience as directed by his/her leader), or “disgruntled employees/citizens” (being resentful towards a place of work and killing those who are responsible for perceived injustices), among many others. As a result, categorizing murderers based on motive limits the potential for exploring common underlying mechanisms among other types of offenders, such as lone actors, or terrorists.
 
Jeremy Hansen
Computer Sciences and Information Assurance
 
There is no known general formula to calculate the total number of magic squares of a given order. However, using various methods, the number of magic squares has been calculated for orders smaller than six. In this project Hansen refined and implemented an approach to enumerating order-6 squares. He improved the software he had already written in various ways to explore how the software could produce a precise count of order-6 magic squares in a reasonable amount of time, on the order of years.
 
Sandy Hyde
Physics
 
Measurements of ocean currents exist for the Strait of Gibraltar. Lacking are mathematical models that explain the hydrodynamics of the observations. While the fluid dynamics is complex, there are differential equations that simulate the currents. Hyde’s ISL analyzed the currents obtained by solving the model equations and comparing their output with the collected data. Three phenomena of considerable hydrodynamic interest were addressed in the ISL: 1) the structure of the currents at a density interface; 2) the currents that arise along the coast in response to sudden, strong wind events; and 3) the structure of internal waves produced by tidal flow over extreme bathymetry.
 
Tara Kulkarni
Civil and Environmental Engineering
 
Measurements of ocean currents exist for the Strait of Gibraltar. Lacking are mathematical models that explain the hydrodynamics of the observations. While the fluid dynamics is complex, there are differential equations that simulate the currents. Hyde’s ISL analyzed the currents obtained by solving the model equations and comparing their output with the collected data. Three phenomena of considerable hydrodynamic interest were addressed in the ISL: 1) the structure of the currents at a density interface; 2) the currents that arise along the coast in response to sudden, strong wind events; and 3) the structure of internal waves produced by tidal flow over extreme bathymetry.
 
Christine Latulippe
Mathematics
 
In 2013, the Vermont Governor signed Act 77 into effect, “encouraging flexible pathways to secondary school completion” (Act 77, 2013). Personalized learning plans will be required for all grades 7-12 students in Vermont by the 2018-2019 school year, and proficiency-based learning is a key strategy to personalize secondary school graduation requirements in Vermont. Latulippe’s project investigated Vermont grades 7-12 mathematics teachers’ perceptions of proficiency-based learning, including impacts on their teaching practice and supports provided for implementation to present a representative snapshot of Vermont grades 7-12 mathematics teachers’ perceptions of proficiency-based learning which can inform practice within and beyond Vermont.
 
Joe Latulippe
Mathematics
 
The accumulation of Amyloid-Beta peptides (A_) has been linked to the progression of Alzheimer’s by altering calcium signaling processes within neurons. This project studied the impacts of A_ on synaptic transmission in an Alzheimer’s environment. The main objective was to use a mathematical model to better understand how A_ interacts with key components involved in neuronal signaling. The mathematical model was simulated and analyzed in order to test a number of hypotheses related to A_. The results of the model were compared with existing experimental data to determine the effectiveness of the approach.


Michael Prairie
Electrical and Computer Engineering
 
The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is forecast to see 30 billion embedded systems connected to the internet by 2020, collectively producing huge amounts of data. One problem to be addressed is to reduce large amounts of raw data generated locally to small, information-rich data. The approach in this proposed ISL was to study an application that produces large amounts of sensor data that can be distilled to very small messages. To determine how best to distribute the processing was chosen for the study, and the application was to interpret the motion data to recognize gestures used in sign language. In this study, several network types were tested with the goal of optimizing how the computational tasks are distributed throughout the local network.
 
Gina Sherriff
Modern Languages
 
This curriculum development project researched and presented design innovations for the Beginning Spanish sequence at Norwich University with the goals of facilitating a wider variety of pedagogical approaches, expanding the Spanish program’s integration of best practices and professional standards articulated by the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines and World Readiness Standards previously set forth and prescribed in the 2013 Spanish Program Self-Study, with a long-term objective of increasing the number of students participating in the program at the intermediate and advanced level.
 
Amy Woodbury Tease
English and Communications
 
This project explores what remains of the anxieties and revolutionary practices of the modernist movement in the postwar world. Defining modernism as a cultural movement motivated by the birth of the machine age and increased engagement with technology, this book-length study examines texts produced after World War Two to consider how and where modernism surfaces in the development of contemporary surveillance societies. This interdisciplinary project includes readings of understudied work, including the British science fiction television anthology Black Mirror, the digital literature of Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries, documentarian Laura Poitras’s mass surveillance exhibition Astro Noise, and novelist Muriel Spark’s archive in the National Library of Scotland.

I am very pleased to share with you, in my capacity as faculty development coordinator, some of the excellent work being supported by the Faculty Development Program at Norwich University. Funded with endowed income, the program provides support for faculty to develop their scholarship, creative work, and teaching by attending and presenting at conferences, workshops and courses, conducting research, and developing curricula in innovative ways.

Given the substantial commitment to teaching—the faculty at Norwich carry a 3-4 teaching load each year—being able to find ways to connect their teaching and scholarship ensures that faculty are staying engaged with developments in their areas, making contributions to the body of knowledge in those fields, and integrating the most up-to-date research into their courses. Our generous funding resources help to facilitate that work, enabling faculty to study traffic patterns in Ghana, to trace the footsteps of an Irish abolitionist, and to study in a comparative context nation-building in Botswana and Zimbabwe. Closer to home, faculty travel to libraries and archives, study manuscripts, design and build, and conduct experiments in the labs at Norwich and elsewhere with colleagues and collaborators.

No matter where they are working, our faculty serves as models of teacher-scholars striving to enrich their fields, the university, and their students’ intellectual lives.

Lea Williams, PhD
Professor of English
Faculty Development Coordinator

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