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Del Doughty, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Liberal Arts

A Word from the Dean

In our last newsletter, I wrote about the joys of reading tenure and promotion applications. I guess I’m not finished with the topic yet, because I’m writing about it again this month. But this time, I’d like to share what I learned about good teaching from our soon-to-be cohort of newly tenured and promoted professors. I think it’s important to recognize the wisdom of those who represent us at our very best because teaching is central to our mission. If we don’t deliver on that core function, little else matters. Also, good teaching is just cool! If you’ve ever taught, is there anything better than walking out of a classroom after a rollicking discussion with bright, motivated students? Following here are some gleanings from my reading:

  • “Be firm, fair, and friendly—and in that order.” That’s the advice one professor received at the beginning of his careercareer, and it has held up well. Always good to have apothegms like these in your hip pocket no matter what level of sophistication you may reach.
  • “People like learning from people they like.” Some may want some empirical evidence of that claim, and I’d be happy to see it, but in the meantime, it strikes me as right. It’s a corollary to the old saying, “If the physics teacher is cool, then physics is cool.” This piece of wisdom pairs well with another from our faculty,: “Show up a little early and get to know the people you’re teaching.” The key phrase there is “get to know.”
  • “Make sure you get every student to participate at least a little every day.” I like this because it requires something of the student and the teacher. The latter can’t just stand in front of the class and perform information but rather be aware of how everyone is responding or not. Engagement goes both ways.
  • “Rather than talk about the history or economics of cattle drives, start with Yellowstone, which students are watching, and have real conversation. Eventually, you’ll get to cattle drives.” Should students have read more before they show up in your class? Of course. But you’ll get farther with them if you don’t judge but instead meet them where they are, and that makes for a better trip for all of us.
  • The Socratic method may be ancient, but it’s alive, well, and remains a reliable method of engaging learners. Live, in-person experiments are effective, too. In both cases, there’s an element of surprise involved: you never know how things may turn out once you start.

Finally, one professor takes the approach of requiring students to learn something from each other during class. That sounds like a soft requirement until you realize that students will be tested on that knowledge that they gained in class. They are responsible for it, which means coming to class and paying attention is important. No one can get by just “getting the slides” online or outlining the chapter. Further, students must leverage an underutilized learning resource: each other. As a student, you want to have a good instructor, of course, but if you’re a really good student, you know that having good classmates makes you better yet. Learning happens in real-time and is genuinely exciting. This move is genius.

What's New at the College?

CLA Summer Academy! 

What's better than a summer camp? 
A fun and educational summer academy that introduces your high schooler to the liberal arts! 

Registration is $150 for the week and includes activities, materials, food, drink and snacks. Children of USI faculty and staff will receive a $25 discount on registration, and full scholarships are available to all participants based upon need. 

Classes offered:  

  • Woodworking 
  • Graphic Design  
  • Leadership Development 
  • Creative Writing 
  • Ancient Codes and Riddles 
  • Ceramics 
  • Painting 
  • Hispanic Cuisine 
  • Printmaking 
  • Psychology 

Learn more and register!

Society of Arts and Humanities 2024 Gala 

The Love of the Arts Gala was a great hit with our arts and humanities lovers in the area! We gathered at the Evansville Museum Friday, February 9 for a night of fun, fundraising and trivia.  

Thank you to our sponsors Kathy Talley, Catherine Arwood, Neal Franklin and Del and Leah Doughty. We'd also like to thank the USI Foundation for their assistance.  

Learn more and become a member!

Alum Spotlight:

Laura Everest

Class of 2013

Bachelor of Arts in Art with a Graphic Design Emphasis

"The support I received and connections I made at USI helped set the path I’m on today. The relationships I developed with my professors and mentors helped not only prepare me for life after graduation, but they also led to incredible opportunities that I otherwise wouldn’t have had. Because of the Society of Arts and Humanities program and scholarship aid I received; I was able to get more involved in the Arts program which led to my internship at Publishing Services on campus where I would eventually return as a Senior Graphic Designer for a few years before moving on to other opportunities. So many of the experiences I had at USI played a huge role to where I am today; studying abroad, participating in the National Student Advertising Competition, working as a TA…the list goes on. But the Society of Arts and Humanities scholarship is at the foundation of all of those experiences."

Student Spotlights:

Amber Brinton and Ethan MacCowan

Class of 2024

Bachelor of Arts in RTV

Amber Brinton ‘24 and Ethan MacCowan ‘24 made USI history this year by being awarded the Best in Festival Award from the Broadcast Education Association (BEA). Along with this amazing award, they won first in the Comedy and Drama category within the Audio Competition. They will be headed to Las Vagas, Nevada, to be honored at the 22nd Annual BEA Best of Festival Awards Ceremony on Monday, April 15 as part of BEA’s annual convention.

As a transfer student from WKU, Brinton came to USI as a psychology student, but shortly after talking to Dr. Dave Black, Emeritus Professor of Communications, she switched her major and has been flourishing in the program. She has worked at Access USI and was a radio host on 95.7 The Spin. “Winning represents our hard work and this award furthers us into the audio world. Now we’re capable of anything and the sky is the limit,” said Brinton.

A native of Indianapolis, MacCowan had a teacher in high school that was a USI graduate that talked about John Morris, Instructor in Radio and Television, in class. One day, Morris visited and talked to the students about the RTV program at USI, and that’s how MacCowan knew USI was the place for him. He also worked at Access USI and did videography for The Shield. “It was crazy! It was 7 p.m. on a Friday when we got the call from John Morris, and he was so excited to tell us that we won and made USI history.”

Featured Events:

Law Day 2024

Noon Tuesday, March 12

Join us for an oral argument of Vlietstra v. State, a Q&A session and a recording for Shively and Shoulders program in Carter Hall with special guests Judge May, Judge Weissmann and Judge Foley.

Learn More

Social Media Symposium

6 p.m. Wednesday, March 20

Virtual and in-person!

Join us in welcoming Dr. Karen Freberg, Professor in Strategic Communications at the University of Louisville, for her presentation at the annual Social Media Symposium hosted by the Communication and Media Department within the College of Liberal Arts.

Learn more

Pocket Neighborhoods by Ross Chapin

Noon on Wednesday, April 10

Virtual and in-person!

Pocket Neighborhoods have nearby neighbors coming together around a shared commons. These small-scale settings foster a sense of community while preserving personal privacy. Ross Chapin, an architect, community planner and author from Seattle, Washington, will offer a presentation on this topic, sharing their origins, key design principles that give them vitality, and show examples across a range of locales. Chapin has pioneered this approach for more than 25 years.

Register Here

College of Liberal Arts Achievements

Dr. Jason Callahan, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, had an article published in January titled "Law and Disorder: Assessing Conflicting News Coverage of Police Use of Force." 

Dr. Matt Hanka, Professor of Political Science, was on WNIN's Two Main Street talking about his new book titled, "What is Happening in Your Community? Why Community Development Matters". You can listen to his segment here 

Dr. Melissa Stacer, Director of Master of Arts in Criminal Justice, had two co-authored articles published in the American Journal of Criminal Justice this year titled, "Examining Veterans Treatment Court operations during the COVID-19 pandemic" and "Incarcerated veterans and their adaptation to prison". 

Dr. Taylor Petty, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, had two co-authored articles published this year titled, "He’s to blame, she is lying: Judgments of child sex trafficking survivors. Analysis of Social Issues and Public Policy" and "Judgments of sex trafficked women: The role of emotions." 

Yu-Li Alice Shen, Instructor in English, has lent her voice to Summer at Squee, a mid-grade novel by Andrea Wang, Newberry Honor-winner, about Chinese-American tweens at a heritage camp called Summertime Chinese Culture, Wellness, and Enrichment Experience (SCCWEE = Squee). An adventurous and educational look at race and intersectionality through a Gen Z lens. Releasing March 5 in print, electronic, and audio formats from Penguin Random House.

Dr. Jane Weatherred, Assistant Professor of Advertising and Public Relations, has been accepted to present “Development of the Attribution of Blame for Child Sexual Abuse and the Belief in Stereotypes About Child Sexual Abuse Scales” at ResilienceCon at the Life Paths Research Center held at the Scarritt Bennett Center in Nashville, Tennessee on Tuesday, April 16.

Dr. Leigh Anne Howard, Chair of the Communication and Media Department, will be facilitating a Performance and Pedagogy Working Group at Performance Studies International (PSI) June 20-23 in London, England. PSI is hosted by The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in collaboration with London International Theatre Festival (LIFT), in partnership with the University of London’s Birkbeck, Royal Holloway, and School of Advanced Studies.

Dr. Stephanie Young, Associate Professor of Communication Studies, will be attending the Central States Communication Association (CSCA) in Grand Rapids, Michigan from April 3 through April 7. Young will be on a panel with Dr. Jessica Rick, Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Nettie Brock, Dr. Erin (Gilles) Dennis, Director of Master of Arts in Communication Program, Anne Kerber, and Sydney Dumond called “Thanks to Barbie, All Problems of Feminism Have Been Solve: A Discussion of How Body Enables Myriad Audience Interpretation.”

Young is also engaging in an autoethnographic performance for the panel entitled “Relational Breakdowns: Recognizing Incoherence in Close Relationships.” Specifically, exploring her relationship with her immigrant Korean American mother and growing up in the Midwest.

Dr. Steven Williams, Associate Professor of Sociology, gave a recorded video talk titled, "Sociology & the Death of the Sun" for the upcoming Solarpalooza event! Watch it here!

Dr. Del Doughty, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, gave a recorded video talk titled, "The Dark Side of the Moon" about the band Pink Floyd and their album The Dark Side of the Moon for the upcoming Solarpalooza event! Coming soon here!

Dr. Shannon Pritchard, Associate Professor of Art History, gave a recorded video talk titled, "Art History & The Darkened Sun" about art centered around eclipses throughout history for the upcoming Solarpalooza event! Coming soon here!

Dr. Greg Blair, Assistant Professor of Art and Design, had a piece published titled, "Acoustic Pathways: After the Turn" on the ArtStyle international website.

See more achievements from the College of Liberal Arts

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