Latest Faculty Accomplishments


Submit scholarly news—publications, paper presentations and professional awards and service (appointment to boards, etc.)—to Janet Smith in Public Affairs at or 568-8008. Or use our online form.


Lisa Tubach (Associate Professor, Art) had a painting, “Bounty, Deadly Bounty (From the Table to the Sea),” included in a national juried exhibition at the 440 Gallery in Brooklyn, N.Y., called “Food for Thought.” The show ran Aug. 21 through Sept. 13, and explored social and political issues surrounding food.

GRANTS (Awarded August 2014)

Emily K. Akerson (Coordinator in Clinical/IPE Initiatives, Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services) received $50,000 from the Virginia Department of Social Services to meet the needs of at-risk families in Page County by providing education, resources and support.

Dr. Lori Britt (Assistant Professor, Communication Studies) and Dr. Robert W. Alexander (Assistant Professor, Political Science) received $5,000 from the Kettering Foundation to develop an assessment tool to identify the existence and absence of key components of public dialogue, responsive to a community’s unique historical relationships that have shaped the tenor of public talk, and the relationships of trust or mistrust between public citizens and public officials or institutions.

Dr. Kerry O. Cresawn (Assistant Professor, Biology) received $7,572 from the Merck Foundation to visit K-5 schools to engage students in life science activities that model best practices in science education and are accessible to all students.

Dr. Patty J. Hale (Professor, Nursing) received $372,616 from the Health Resources and Services Administration for an interprofessional post-masters Doctor of Nursing Practice program with a specialty as a family nurse practitioner to meet the needs of rural mental health and cardiovascular health conditions.

Kimberlee Hartzler-Weakley (Director of Children and Youth, Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services) received $59,831 from the Virginia Department of Health for the Campus Suicide Prevention Center of Virginia to improve campus-based suicide prevention and intervention at Virginia institutions of higher education. Hartzler-Weakley also received $200,000 from the Virginia Department of Education to increase overall and subgroup SOL reading pass rates through after-school tutoring and project-based literacy enrichment, as well as $500 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to host town hall meetings related to a substance abuse prevention project, “Futuro Latino Drug-Free Communities.”

Dr. Robert A. Kolvoord (Dean, College of Integrated Science and Engineering) received $449,784 from the National Science Foundation for collaborative research in real-world education changing students’ core spatial abilities and high-level STEM spatial thinking.

Joyce H. Krech (Director, Small Business Development Center) received $6,000 from Augusta County and $5,000 from Rockingham County for the support of the Central Region Small Business Development Center.

Dr. Conley K. McMullen (Professor, Biology) received $20,000 from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources to investigate the distribution and reproduction of endangered, shale-barren rock cress populations, and to develop strategies for maintaining and facilitating reproduction in existing populations.

Dr. Robert L. Nagel (Assistant Professor, Engineering) received $75,881 from the National Science Foundation to identify practices within maker spaces and to understand and leverage these powerful, new environments to achieve long-sought aims in engineering education.

Dr. Cynthia O’Donoghue (Head, Communication Sciences and Disorders) received $45,500 from the Scottish Rite Foundation of Virginia to continue support of the JMU-Scottish Rite Language Disorders Clinic and fellowships.

Gary S. Race (Grant Administrator, Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services) received $9,185 from the Virginia Department of Heath to plan and coordinate Project Connect training sessions. Race also received $19,552 from the City of Harrisonburg to enable primary care providers and a nurse case manager to function in private space set aside for health care, including dental assessments, to the homeless within city shelters.

Dr. Giovanna Scarel (Assistant Professor, Physics and Astronomy) and Dr. Brian C. Utter (Associate Professor, Physics and Astronomy) received $30,000 from the Office of Naval Research to study the differences between thermoelectric and infrared power generation in an insulated compartment.

Dr. David A. Slykhuis (Associate Professor of Middle, Secondary, and Mathematics Education) received $63,680 from the Virginia Department of Education for inclusion science academies in physical science, earth science, and biology at the 2014 Content Teaching Academy.

Dr. Trevor F. Stokes (Professor, Graduate Psychology; Director, Alvin V. Baird Attention and Learning Disabilities Center) received $17,500 from the Shenandoah Valley Regional Program for student internships for educational experience through involvement in professional activities in applied behavioral analysis in school districts associated with the Shenandoah Valley Regional Program.

Nick D. Swayne (Interim Director, Education Support Center; Coordinator for External Relations, College of Education; Instructor, Learning, Technology and Leadership Education) received $14,581 from Virginia city and county donors for the sponsorship of robotics teams.

Dr. Brian C. Utter (Associate Professor, Physics and Astronomy), Dr. Scott Paulson (Associate Professor, Physics and Astronomy), Dr. Mark Mattson (Assistant Professor, Physics and Astronomy), Dr. David Daniel (Professor, Psychology), and Dr. David Slykhuis (Associate Professor of Middle, Secondary and Mathematics Education) received $99,992 from the Physics Teacher Education Coalition to support the creation of a learning assistant program, hiring of a Teacher in Residence, implementation of a physics pedagogy course, and related efforts to enhance JMU’s physics teacher preparation program.


Dr. Martin Cohen (Associate Professor, Political Science) was among a group of researchers who received the 2014 Jack Walker Award from the American Political Science Association for their article, “A Theory of Political Parties: Groups, Policy Demands and Nominations in American Politics.” The award recognizes work that makes an outstanding contribution to research and scholarship on political organizations and parties.

Dr. Ralph Alan Cohen (Professor Emeritus, English) recently became the first American to receive the prestigious Sam Wanamaker Award from the Globe Theatre in London. Cohen, who is Mary Baldwin College’s Virginia Worth Gonder Professor of Shakespeare and Performance and director of mission for Staunton’s American Shakespeare Center, was recognized for his contributions to the study and appreciation of Shakespeare in the United States and worldwide. During his 30-year teaching career at JMU, which began in 1973, Cohen established the university’s first studies abroad program in London in 1979.

Dr. Julie Sanford (Head and Professor, Nursing) was selected to participate in the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Wharton Executive Leadership Program. Sanford was one of 30 academic nursing leaders who completed the program in Philadelphia in August. The program focuses on providing negotiation, leadership and strategic thinking skills.


Dr. Edward J. Brantmeier (Associate Professor, Learning, Technology and Leadership Education; Assistant Director, Center for Faculty Innovation) and B. Xharra presented their paper, “From Head to Hand to Global Community: Social Media as a Pedagogical Tool for Peace,” at the Arnhold Symposium, Peace Education 2.0: Social Media as a Space of Peace Education, hosted by the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research in Braunschweig, Germany.


Dr. Heather J. Carmack  (Assistant Professor, Communication Studies) published an article, “Social and Tertiary Health Identities as Argument in the DSM V Aspergers/Autism Debate,” in the Western Journal of Communication, 78(4), 462-479.


Dr. Keri S. Bethune (Assistant Professor, Educational Foundations and Exceptionalities) has been appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe to serve a three-year term on the state’s Advisory Board on Behavior Analysis.

Joseph Gus Fitzgerald (Technology Coordinator, College of Arts and Letters) has been appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia.

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Published: Thursday, September 11, 2014

Last Updated: Monday, February 7, 2022

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