Faculty News and Notes: April 24, 2017
Spring Faculty Luncheons Revisited
Each semester brings a new round of Faculty Luncheons, which offer opportunities for faculty members to share current work and engage in a lively discussion of that work with colleagues. Provost Cynthia Kosso sponsors these gatherings, and lunch is provided to the first 25 attendees. Here’s a recap of the spring 2017 presentations.
Shannon Talbot, assistant professor of mathematics
“Critical Pairs of a Crown”
Shannon Talbott presented her research on graphs of critical pairs of crowns. A graph is a set of vertices and edges, i.e. nodes and lines connecting them. The notion of coloring a graph has motivated research for well over a century. The chromatic number is the minimal number of colors needed to color a graph so that no adjacent (connected) vertices have the same color, and finding the chromatic number in general is an extremely difficult problem. The talk took the audience through the steps to create graphs that arise from a set called a crown. These graphs, the graphs of critical pairs of a crown, form an infinite family of graphs for which the chromatic number can be easily calculated.
Kin Cheung, instructor of religion
“Conceptions of Health in the Buddhism and Science Dialgogue”
The scientific study of mindfulness-practices examines if and how they can promote health, mental and somatic. The Buddha said that “health (ārogya) is the highest gain (lābha).” He is portrayed as a physician concerned with medicine and healing sentient beings from physical illness and soteriological dis-ease. Early proponents of the dialogue between Buddhism and science were mainly Buddhists and scientists. They propose that both dialogue partners can inform each other on health. Those trained as scientists, such as Ekman, Davidson, Ricard, and Wallace, argued for areas of convergence between the two on psychological health. Currently, Buddhologists have been more vocal in the dialogue between Buddhism and science. They question the notion of a dialogue, preferring to characterize the shifting relationship as an engagement, encounter, or a series of monologues. A central topic in this dialogue is research on mindfulness-practices. The contemporary mindfulness movement, which is constantly in flux, can be characterized as a product of the dialogue between Buddhism and science, more specifically, Buddhist modernism and Western psychology. In contrast to the aforementioned scientists, Buddhologists such as Sharf and Lindhahl point out the ways in which Buddhism and mindfulness diverge on the meaning of health and well-being. Examining the convergences and divergences on health helps re/define the relationship between mindfulness and Buddhism, between science and Buddhism. If scientific research is a tool of observation and measurement, and researchers are interested in health, then investigating the multiple meanings of health should facilitate better observation and measurement. Defining health has practical, socio-economic consequences.
Parts of Cheung’s work have been published in two media:
- A book chapter: 2016, Cheung, K. “명상연구의주제이동: 전문가에게서 초보자에게로 [The Shift in Meditation Research Subjects from Experts to Novices].” In명상과치유 [Meditation and Healing], edited by Nae Chang Han, The Institute of Mind Humanities Series 13, 235-253. Iskan, South Korea: Wonkwang University Press.
- An online article: 2016, Cheung, K. “‘Health’ in the Buddhism and Science Dialogue” American Buddhist Perspectives and reposted in the July 5 edition of Asian Medicine Zone, July 5.
Cheung is currently developing aspects of the presentation in a piece tentatively titled "Health as Achievement: A Superhealthy Model of Buddhist Well-Being" to submit to a journal.
James Teufel, assistant professor and program director of public health
“Access to Justice and Population Health in the United States”
The United States spends more on health care than any other country in the world, yet we rank 37th overall on the World Health Organization’s ranking of health care systems. Teufel digs deeper into these alarming statistics and raises multiple challenges to improving health care in the United States, including the impact of a lack of access to legal advocacy among underprivileged segments of the population.
Kara Mosovsky, assistant professor of biology
“Pathogens that Tolerate Antibiotics”
Melioidosis isn't a commonly known disease in these parts of the world, but it does cause devastating disease in other parts of the world. The bacterium that causes this disease, Burkholderia pseudomallei, is inherently antibiotic resistance and is considered a potential bioterrorism threat. Working with a less harmful cousin of the bacterium and an immortalized mammalian cell line, Mosovsky and colleagues are studying ways to understand the lifestyle of the bacteria and improve current therapies to kill the bacteria. They hope that their results will contribute to a growing body of information about bacteria that can tolerate antibiotics.
Book Chapters, Articles, and Op-Eds
John Black, associate professor of English, has authored a chapter, "Re-modeling Monastic Holiness," in the volume, Rewriting Holiness, scheduled to be published July 21 by the King's College London Medieval Studies Series. The volume highlights the re-working of narratives of selected saints from a diversity of traditions across the span of the Middle Ages, as well as the impetus for those re-constructions. Within this context, John's article examines the impact of changing modes of monasticism on the re-writing of the lives of three saints venerated in Anglo-Saxon England. He would like to express his gratitude for the support of the FDRC and the College in his research and publication.
Professor of Clinical Counseling at the Moravian Theological Seminary, Jane Williams’s chapter "Contemplative Approaches to Training Spiritually Literate Counselors" has just been published in the book What Counselors and Spiritual Directors Can Learn from Each Other, edited by Peter Madsen Gubi (Jessica Kingsley Publishers)
Williams’s chapter “Walking the Labyrinth,” will be published in 2017 in the book Techniques of Grief Therapy: Before and after the Death, edited by In R. A. Neimeyer (New York: Routledge), and her article “Traveling Together on Sacred Ground: Pilgrimage Practice, Hebrew Bible and Pastoral Counseling,” with Deborah Appler, will appear this year in Sacred Spaces E-Journal.
“The Public Financial Crisis in Pennsylvania: An Objective Review of the Policy Constraints,” an article by James Ravelle, professor of economics, was published in the spring 2016 edition of the Pennsylvania Economic Review, a peer-reviewed and refereed publication of the Pennsylvania Economic Association (PEA). PEA is a regional affiliate of the American Economic Association.
Diane Husic, professor of biology and dean of the college of natural health sciences, was invited by the Alliance for Sustainable Communities, Lehigh Valley, to contribute an essay to the organization’s annual directory. Husic’s essay “A Reflection on Place, History, and Resilience” appeared in Sustainable Lehigh Valley, which became available on Earth Day.
Professor Emeritus Hans M. Wuerth’s letter to the editor about Hitler’s use of chemicals in Germany appeared in April 18 edition of The News & Observer , the newspaper of Raleigh, N.C.
Professor of Management Santo D. Marabella most recently penned “Office Hours: Credibility is Key to Advancement” for his column “The Practical Prof” in the Reading Eagle.