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Spotlight on Faculty Research

Eric Kurlander, PhD, Stetson’s William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of History, presented the global issues surrounding the treatment of Jewish people in Nazi Germany. Kurlander touched on topics such as refugees and border security, and explained how and why that era’s historical events were “more complicated than the ‘Nazis hated Jews.’”

Kurlander, with a doctorate in modern European history from Harvard University, is a recognized subject authority and author of the 2017 book “Hitler’s Monsters: A Supernatural History of the Third Reich.”

Moments later, Chadley Ballantyne, BM, an assistant professor of music and voice in Stetson’s School of Music, spoke (and sang) about vibrations and auditory roughness, which included a dissection of high-frequency energy in the human voice and sound waves.

Chadley Ballantyne, BM, presented findings of his research on vibrations and auditory roughness.

Ballantyne, known to often tell his students that “our voice is enough,” showed off his own voice in impressive style. 

Those were among the highlights of a recent fall Faculty Spotlights event in the Stetson Room of the Carlton Union Building. 

The Faculty Spotlights series is a bimonthly “showcase of research, creative inquiry and other scholarly engagement of the campus community,” according to Nathan Wolek, PhD, a professor of digital arts and the interim director of the Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence

The event was followed by another featuring Rachel Core, PhD, assistant professor of sociology, and Petros Xanthopoulos, PhD, assistant professor of decision and information sciences. Presentations by Wolek and Joshua Eckroth, PhD, assistant professor of computer science, kicked off the fall semester series in Sepember.

An October Spotlight event featured Rachel Core, PhD, an assistant professor and medical sociologist with research interests in health inequalities.

The next event is planned for Nov. 21, 4-5:15 p.m. in the Stetson Room. (See schedule below.)

The Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence was established by an endowment from Hyatt and Cici Brown, Stetson trustees and ardent financial supporters. The directives for the center are two-fold: to ensure active and continuous support of Stetson faculty as lifelong leaders and innovators; andto assert Stetson as a national leader in higher education by modeling the university’s distinctive character of learning and teacher-scholar role for future faculty.

Nathan Wolek, PhD: “Part of the vision of the Spotlight is to get us out of our disciplinary zones.”

In turn, the goals of the Faculty Spotlights are to share the latest about faculty research — not only by inviting fellow faculty and university staff members to gather, but also by fostering interdisciplinary awareness of the work being done. Presentations are geared toward professors and staff, not students, although entire classes are welcome. 

“Our faculty travels to conferences and presents to peer institutions across the country. But this is an opportunity to share that information on campus, as well. And share this work across departments,” Wolek said. “Part of the vision of the Spotlight is to get us out of our disciplinary zones.”

In recent years, the event featured one professor presenting for approximately 60 minutes. For this year, Wolek noted, the format has changed to two 30-minute offerings. 

“That has led to some interesting conversations and sitting down and being able to hear from two different projects. It’s sort of a two-for-one,” he said.

The disparate topics presented by Kurlander and Ballantyne exemplified that new approach.

Kurlander, for one, sees worthy potential for the Faculty Spotlights. 

“I participated because a Stetson grant supported my research, and I wanted to share that research,” Kurlander said. “We need to promote faculty scholarship more robustly in all ways. And it’s important that colleagues know what our other faculty do.”

-Michael Candelaria

Faculty Spotlights

Stetson Room, Carlton Union Building

  • Nov. 21, 4-5:15 p.m.
  • Jan. 30, 4-5:15 p.m.
  • Feb. 13, 1-2:15 p.m.
  • Feb. 27, 4-5:15 p.m.
  • March 12, 4-5:15 p.m.
  • March 26, TBD

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