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Latest Faculty Accomplishments

What can faculty do when they can't find an appropriate textbook for the subject they're teaching?

In the case of three JMU faculty members, the answer was simple: Write their own textbook.

Cover of award winning textbookDr. Brad Striebig, Dr. Maria Papadakis and Dr. Adebayo "Bayo" Ogundipe are now reaping the rewards for their labor. Their book, "Engineering Applications in Sustainable Design and Development," was recently honored with a "Most Promising New Textbook" Award from the Textbook and Academic Authors Association.

"I don't believe any of us knew what to expect," said Striebig, a professor of engineering. "The broad international support and the Most Promising Textbook National Award I think surpasses our expectations."

The book, which took three years to write, has been adopted by more than 15 universities in the U.S., including JMU, and more than 1,400 copies have been sold worldwide. International sales have accounted for more than half the book's sales, which is big for a textbook authored in the U.S. "The international version of the textbook has been very well received, since many countries abroad have a very large emphasis on sustainability in the engineering curriculum," Striebig said.

Entries for the award were judged by textbook authors and subject matter experts for their merits in four areas: Pedagogy; content/scholarship; writing; and appearance and design.

Striebig said he and his colleagues wrote the book because there were no textbooks that meshed well with the emphasis on sustainability in the JMU engineering curriculum. Striebig also said that he, Papadakis, a professor of integrated science and technology, and Ogundipe, an assistant professor of engineering, have more than 60 years of combined experience working in sustainability-related fields.

The book is appropriate for junior- and senior-level engineering design courses that cover sustainability in engineering practice. It focuses on pressing contemporary issues and the text puts product design in the context of models of sustainability. At JMU, it is used in engineering 411 and 412.

"Sustainability is a quantifiable science that is very complex and often not very intuitive," Striebig said. "We’re very grateful we have had the opportunity to develop a resource that has helped so many students and faculty communicate the importance and meaningful changes needed for sustainable development."

For more news on faculty accomplishments, see the list below.

GRANTS (Awarded in March)

Dr. Thomas R. Benzing (Professor, Integrated Science and Technology) received $59,804 from DuPont to collect information on fishing pressure, fish species preference, harvest and catch rates, fish consumption, knowledge of advisories and economic expenditures by interviewing river users from Waynesboro to Front Royal, Virginia.

Dr. Keri S. Bethune (Assistant Professor, Educational Foundations and Exceptionalities) received $664 from the Virginia Department of Education to maintain and implement a statewide program to meet the initial and continuing education needs for teachers of students with visual impairments in Virginia. Bethune received $2,520 from the Virginia Department of Education to maintain and implement a statewide program to meet the initial and continuing education needs for teachers of students with severe disabilities in Virginia.

Alleyn S. Harned (Executive Director, Virginia Clean Cities) received $5,000 from the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy to continue to update the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Inventory biannually and collect and report on information relating to alternative fuel production.

Kimberlee Hartzler-Weakley (Director of Children and Youth, Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services) received $390 from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Harrisonburg-Rockingham County to design and implement a three-hour workshop to train adults to provide knowledgeable and approachable support for youth to think about their futures and make healthy sexuality and relationship choices.

Dr. Christine L. May (Associate Professor, Biology) received $12,315 from the Shenandoah National Park Trust to study acid neutralizing capacity of streams in the Shenandoah National Park and assess any correlation with increase in fish species richness.

Meghann N. McCoy (Business Manager, WMRA) received $30,860 from the Commonwealth of Virginia to support radio reading services for persons who are unable to independently read print material due to vision impairment or disability.

Dr. Kenneth R. Rutherford (Director, Center for International Stabilization and Recovery) and Dr. Suzanne L. Fiederlein (Associate Director, Center for International Stabilization and Recovery) received $306,000 from the U.S. Department of State to enhance regional security by reducing at-risk, illicitly proliferated or indiscriminately used conventional weapons of war, increase civilian security by protecting lives and property and to promote U.S. foreign policy issues.

Nick D. Swayne (Coordinator, 4VA; Instructor, Learning, Technology and Leadership Education) received $5,000 from Newport News Shipbuilding for support of the FIRST LEGO League. Swayne received $2,000 from Showbest Fixture Corp. to support robotics programs in Harrisonburg, Virginia.


Christie Briskey (Graduate Student, Occupational Therapy), Kiley Petencin (Graduate Student, Occupational Therapy), Collier Apgar (Undergraduate Student, Engineering), Jessica Hilleary (Undergraduate Student, Social Work), Michaela Schnier (Undergraduate Student, Social Work) and Dr. Morgan C. Benton (Associate Professor, Integrated Science and Technology) received the $5,000 Grand Prize at the 2016 Caring for the Caregiver Intercollegiate Hack competition, hosted by SeniorNavigator's Lindsay Institute for Innovations in Caregiving in Richmond, Virginia. The students developed the app "My Time," which encouraged and reminded family caregivers to make time for leisure during the midst of the caregiver's busy day. The app also incorporated a transitional aide to assist the caregiver with grief if their loved one passes.

Dr. John W. Ott (Professor, Art History) received a Summer Stipends award for $6,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the project, "Mixed Media: The Visual Culture of Racial Integration, 1931-1954." The project investigates black and white artists' efforts toward racial integration, both in terms of imagery and within art institutions, during the decades just before the civil rights movement.

Dr. Matthew E. Rebhorn (Associate Professor, English) received a Summer Stipends award for $6,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to continue working on his book on the mind-body relationship in 19th century America. "Minding the Body: The Animate Body in Antebellum American Literature" concentrates on an important set of antebellum American literary texts that take up the notion of the "animate body." These texts focus on a body that is, in some measure, independent of the mind and seems to have a life of its own.

Dr. Bradley A. Striebig (Professor, Engineering), Dr. Adebayo A Ogundipe (Assistant Professor, Engineering) and Dr. Maria C. Papadakis (Professor, Integrated Science and Technology) received the 2016 Most Promising New Textbook award through the Textbook and Academic Authors Association for their textbook, "Engineering Applications in Sustainable Design and Development."


Dr. Timothy C. Ball (Assistant Professor, Communication Studies) presented "Capitalizing on Different Course Format" at the 2016 Basic Course Directors' Conference in Chantilly, Virginia.

Dr. Kevin L. Borg (Associate Professor, History) and Bradley A. Andrick (GIS Coordinator, Facilities Management) presented "Using Spatial History to Challenge the Exclusive Past" at the National Council for Public History conference. Borg and Andrick's project shows how spatial analysis can be within the reach of local historical societies and community groups.

Kristen Campbell (Graduate Student, Psychological Sciences) received a grant from The Graduate School to present "A Comparison of Restorable and Unrestorable Defendants" at the American Psychology—Law Society in Atlanta, Georgia.

Madison Holzman (Graduate Student, Assessment and Measurement Program) received a grant from The Graduate School to present "Enhancing Student Learning: A Multi-year Implementation Fidelity Assessment of Orientation" at the American College Personal Association in Canada.

Dr. David A. Stringham (Assistant Professor, Music) presented "Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts: Authoring and Publishing Mixed Methods Researching in Music Education" at the National Association for Music Education Research and Teacher Education conference in Atlanta, Georgia. His co-presenters are from University of Michigan and University of Illinois.


Dr. Alan Baragona (Visiting Assistant Professor, English) co-authored the book "Shakespeare's Prop Room: An Inventory" through McFarland Press. His co-author is a visiting assistant professor from Washington and Lee University.

Dr. David A. Stringham (Assistant Professor, Music) published "Creating Compositional Community in Your Classroom" in Music Educators Journal.


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