Friday, April 17, 2015

Students Present Research at Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting

BU Students and faculty dine after
presenting their research
Guest blogger: Sociology student Paul Deppen

In March I was fortunate enough to have been able to travel to New York City with a group of professors and peers and attend the Eastern Sociological Meeting.  The experience of presenting my own research and engaging with other scholars was a rewarding and encouraging one.  I also learned a lot by listening to other students and professionals present their research.  Their presentations were thought-provoking and greatly enhanced my interest in a variety of topics.  From education to drug policy to gender issues, the breadth of subjects discussed made for an academically fulfilling weekend.  I look forward to applying the benefits of this trip to my own research here at Bloomsburg University and beyond.

For my research project, I decided to look at attitudes towards marijuana legalization.  I chose this topic because of its relevancy to current events in this country with regard to the number of states that have recently legalized cannabis for recreational (not to mention medical) use.  Also, as president of the Bloomsburg University chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), I was interested in identifying particular segments of society that are more supportive of marijuana policy changes, as well as those who are not.

Using data from the 2012 General Social Survey, I analyzed the demographics of people who responded either yes or no to the question, “Should marijuana be made legal?” My results showed that there does exist a significant difference of opinion towards marijuana across race, gender, and level of education. Overall, whites are more supportive of legalization than minorities, as were men regardless of their racial classification. Level of education also affected these attitudes, as the data shows, in that respondents with a bachelor degree or higher were more supportive, especially among males. One unexpected finding was that the gap in support between males and females increased as the level of education increased. Reasons for these differences are unclear, but they could be related to the experiential variation among racial and gender groups in regard to the war on drugs and with marijuana usage itself.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Anthropology Students Present Research at National Conference

In anticipation of the PASSHE Undergraduate Research Conference that will be hosted by Bloomsburg University on April 25 and 26, check out what some BU Anthropology students have been doing.

Last December, BU Anthropology students presented original research at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meetings in Washington D.C. in the invited poster session “First Rites: Innovative Undergraduate Research in Anthropology” peer-reviewed by the Society for Visual Anthropology.

Students were mentored by Dr. Faith Warner in Methods in Cultural Anthropology and Applied Anthropology, and through an URSCA award in summer 2014. Their travel was supported by the College of Liberal Arts.
Back to the Stacks: New Methods and Questions in the Longitudinal Andruss Library Ethnography Project 
Cassandra McMillen and Ian Matthew Johnson  

Gay and Lesbian Rights in Africa: African Perspectives at U.S.
Bryan Andrew Molk

Total Freedom on the Dark Side of the Internet: A Cyberethnography of 4Chan
Benjamin Gilbert Tice (research conducted through an URSCA award, summer 2014)

Anthropologists and Missionaries: A Controversial Relationship
Meghan Elizabeth Boarts

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Alumnus Applies Art

Michael Kalmbach received his BA at Bloomsburg University in 2003 and his MFA at the University of Delaware in 2008. Shortly after completing his graduate studies he accepted a position at the Delaware College of Art & Design and founded the New Wilmington Art Association, an artist collective that organized exhibitions in vacant space throughout the City of Wilmington from August 2008 to April 2013.

This work led to Michael’s involvement with the Chris White Community Development Corporation, which developed the 23-unit artist live/work space, Shipley Lofts. Kalmbach now serves the CWCDC as Board Chairman. In June 2011 he accepted a contract with the State of Delaware's Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health to develop a space for artists on the behavioral health spectrum. The Creative Vision Factory has been open since December of 2011 and fosters the creative potential of individuals with behavioral health disorders in a studio art environment that cultivates integration with the local community through a program of exhibitions, workshops, and communal workspace.

Kalmbach maintains his own painting practice and has exhibited work in venues throughout the Mid-Atlantic, including the Delaware Art Museum, the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, the Biggs Museum of American Art, and UnSmoke Systems.

Michael writes: "My experience at Bloomsburg University gave me the necessary foundation to create a career for myself in the arts. As a Studio Art major I benefited from supportive relationships with the faculty of the Department of Art & Art History. I was encouraged by them to pursue my intellectual interests, so I spent a great deal of time in the English and Philosophy Departments. This liberal arts background has served me well and continues to inform my work in the City of Wilmington. Since graduating I have returned to campus on a number of occasions. As my career unfolds, it’s comforting to know that I can count on the Faculty and Staff of Bloomsburg University to be there as a resource."

Monday, April 13, 2015

BU Grad Dances to Fame

Christina Davis is a talented 2013 graduate of Bloomsburg University who continues to dance her way to success across the country. She recently reflected on the impact that her education at Bloomsburg has had on her career:

“My journey as a BU Dance minor has shaped and prepared me for many events and opportunities that I have experienced as a graduate. Leaving BU with determination and prep for the dance world, I took my talents and knowledge and traveled to the state of California as a professional dancer. I was able to use everything from performance, test, and class videos to land work with amazing artists such as Emmy nominated Shane Sparks from So You Think You Can Dance, hip hop artist Lil Mama, Eric Bellinger, Meagan Good, and many more. I have been featured on a soon to be aired television show The Real Dancers of North Hollywood. I landed a job touring around China with major artists. My journey continues. I have been to auditions and strive for the best. The Bloomsburg Dance Minor taught me to think outside the box and go outside of my comfort zone in order to succeed in this industry. I am excited to continue to make dreams come true and to call myself an alumnus of Bloomsburg University!”

To watch Christina at work, check out the piece created about her after she won BET’s Lens on Talent Dance competition:

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Duo Montagnard to be featured on ArtScene

Duo Montagnard, composed of guitarist and Bloomsburg University music professor Matthew Slotkin and Mansfield University professor and saxophonist Joseph Murphy, will be featured on WVIA this Monday (April 6, 2015) at 11:00 a.m. 

Drs. Slotkin and Murphy did an interview for the WVIA ArtScene series as a promotion for an upcoming concert in Scranton on April 19, and they also did a short live in-studio performance that will be part of the feature. The broadcast will be available as a podcast shortly thereafter. Follow @BUCoLADean on Twitter to receive the tweeted link when it's available. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Art vs. Science?

Dr. Scott Lowe of the Philosophy department sent me the link to an article on the importance of the liberal arts, written by a chemist and published on the Washington Post website: .

Choice excerpts:

" ... if American STEM grads are going lead the world in innovation, then their science education cannot be divorced from the liberal arts."


"Our culture has drawn an artificial line between art and science, one that did not exist for innovators like Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs."

I love this article. Yet the use of the word "training" in its title gave me pause: training, to me, only teaches someone (or something) how to respond to certain stimulus. Ivy can be trained to grow into topiary shapes and dogs trained to obey commands. We do--and should--train students. But more importantly, we also educate them. Regardless of their major, they will as leaders be called upon to go beyond the bounds of training, to use their judgment to apply what they've learned from the arts, the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities--to solve problems and create opportunities we can't even yet imagine.

There's no training for that.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Why So Serious?

A new First Year Seminar course being taught this semester invites students to investigate the question of what makes something funny and the role of stand-up comedy has played as a vehicle for social critique and cultural expression. Taught by Brian C. Johnson, director of the Frederick Douglass Institute for Academic Excellence and faculty member in the department of Academic Enrichment, Make Me Laugh (FYS 112) encourages students to explore humor in American culture.

Throughout the semester, students will explore the elements of comedy in general and will seek to place comedy in the framework of society. Theywill observe and critique comedic routines of the greats and not-so-greats of the past and present. Students will develop materials incorporating humor for specific audiences and will be expected to collect appropriate materials, write original material, and develop these into a routine to be performed later this semester in the KUB Hideaway. The event is open to the campus community. Details are forthcoming.

Johnson has partnered with several members of the COLA faculty who have shared their expertise with the FYS 112 class: Kathryn Hobson (Comm Studies) shared tips on performance and improvisation; Lisa Stallbaumer-Beishline (History) helped students to understand the implications of racial and ethnic humor in her discussion of the Holocaust and humor; and Ruth Beerman and Phil Rippke gave students a "crash course" in public speaking to help students overcome their fear of standing in front of crowds. He has also connected with David Miller (Theatre) and his Fundamentals of Acting students. Since the classes meet at the same time, Miller and Johnson got their students together to work on stage presence and theatricality. The Fundamentals students also served as a practice audience for the burgeoning comedians to try out their new material.

COLA's First Year Seminars introduce incoming freshmen to an interdisciplinary study of topical content with a liberal arts focus and provide writing and research instruction to facilitate first-year students' success at the postsecondary level. For a list of currently available topics, consult the Academic Catalog.