SOA Faculty Making News

Dr. Samantha Alperin (Education) represented CBU on the Teacher Effectiveness Committee with Shelby County Schools – a committee of each of the directors of teacher education programs at each of the universities in West TN. She also conducted two seminars: ‘Put the Textbook Down and Teach’ for the summer Diocesan in-service at Holy Rosary this July; and ‘You have an IEP, Now What?’ for the fall Diocesan in-service at CBHS in October.

On October 16, Dr. Libby Broadwell (Literature and Languages) gave the keynote address on the Southern writer Eudora Welty to approximately 200 students in grades 9 through 12 at CBU Middle College’s Literary Festival. This event was the culmination of the students’ study across the disciplines of the short story “A Worn Path.”

Dr. Kristian O’Hare (Literature and Languages) was invited by his alma mater (Western Michigan University) to do an alumni reading as part of the Fall 2014 Gwen Frostic Reading Series.

Dr. Scott D. Geis (Chair, Religion and Philosophy) attended the Kierkegaard Symposium this November at Baylor University, where he presented his paper, “The Hound’s Distant Baying, the Attentive Teacher, and Kierkegaard’s Point of View.”

Additionally, as part of the implementation phase of CBU’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), Dr. Geis (Religion & Philosophy), along with Dr. James Moore (Biology), attended the 2014 National Academic Advising Association’s (NACADA) Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, MN, this October.

Golightly IrelandDr. Karen Golightly (Literature and Languages) attended the American Conference of Irish Studies in Dublin, Ireland in June 2014 where she presented her paper: “The Past and the Present: Battling it Out in Tana French’s In the Woods.” She was also a featured reader at the Partners in Health Fundraiser in April 2014, where she read a fiction piece titled, “There Are Things I Know.” Additionally, she attended the Southern Literary Festival in Oxford, MS, in March, where she accepted an honorable mention for Castings in the print literary journal category of their annual competition. Furthermore, she had 15 photos accepted for publication in Number Magazine (including the cover and an accompanying article entitled, “Graffiti: Art for the Lucky”), Pank Magazine, El Aleph Magazine, and Star 82 Review.

9781441115485On July 22, the Feast of St. Mary of Magdala, Dr. Emily Holmes gave a lecture on “Mary of Magdala and Marguerite Porete: Faithful Witnesses” at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. Additionally, Breathing with Luce Irigaray, a collection of essays centered on the work of philosopher Luce Irigaray, which she co-edited with Lenart Škof was released.


Dr. Karl Leib (History & Political Science) had an article published in Science and Politics: An A to Z Guide to Issues and Controversies (CQ Press, 2014).The article is entitled “The International Space Station.”

Dr. Christophe Ringer (Religion and Philosophy) recently presented two papers: “District 9 and the Gates of Difference,” at Afrofuturism in Black Theology: Race, Gender, Sexuality, and the State of Black Religion in the Black Metropolis sponsored by the Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University this October; and “The Militarization of the American Dream,” at Nightmare on Our Street: A Teach-In on Racialized Violence in America, again sponsored by the Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University on October 31st.

Dr. Jeff Sable (Behavioral Sciences) teamed up with Rebecca Klatzkin from Rhodes College to give a workshop at MSPC (which CBU hosted in March): How to Read Minds (well… sort of): An Introduction to Psychophysiological Methods, and was co-author of a talk given there.

He also co-authored of a journal article published in March in Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior. The article was “Sex differences in response to amphetamine in adult Long-Evans rats performing a delay-discounting task”, by Paul A. Eubig, Terese E. Noe, Stan B. Floresco, Jeffrey J. Sable, and Susan L. Schantz. This was a collaboration with researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of British Columbia.

Furthermore, he and Dr. Mary Campbell (Behavioral Sciences) attended the third annual Symposium for Lasallian Research, held in September at St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis, MN. The symposium was attended by more than 120 members of the Lasallian community from the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, Colombia, Brazil, Italy, France, Spain, Andorra, and New Zealand—primarily from colleges and universities. The conference fosters international relationships and collaborations among researchers, especially in advancing research in line with the Lasallian mission.

As part of one of the conference “breakout sessions”, Dr. Sable delivered a talk entitled “Psychophysiological Methods for Assessment of Education and Learning Innovations”, which is related to one of the three broad themes on the research agenda of the International Association of LaSalle Universities.

History professors Dr. Neal Palmer, Dr. Ben Jordan, Dr. Marius Carriere, and Dr. Doug Cupples presented papers at the 30th Annual Ohio Valley History Conference at Austin Peay State University. Palmer’s and Jordan’s papers were a part of a panel on “Race & Identity: The Politics of Citizenship during World War I.”  Carriere’s and Cupples’ papers were on the topic “Varied Perspectives of the Civil War Era.”

Dr. Ric Potts (Education) presented a workshop for 12th Annual RISE state conference: Reading Instruction Successfully Enhanced – topic: “6 Trait Writing and Common Core: Meeting Students Where They Are and Providing the Path to Improvement” this April. He also gave a presentation titled “Literacy in the Age of Common Core” for the Martin Institute Conference in Memphis in June.

Dr. Brendan Prawdzik’s (Literature and Languages) article, “Naked Writhing Flesh: Rhetorical Authority and Theatrical Recursion,” remains forthcoming in the tentatively titled volume, “Varietie without end”: Generative Irresolution in Milton’s Poetry, ed. Mimi Fenton and Louis Schwartz. Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press. Additionally, his article “State-Building in Harrington’s Oceana and Milton’s Paradise Lost, i-ii,” was recently published in Notes & Queries. Dr. Prawdzik has also been chosen to present “Samson Agonistes: Passion’s Looking-Glass” at the 2015 International Milton Symposium in Exeter, England in July of 2015.

Jana Travis (Chair, Visual and Performing Arts) was in a group show in June at Marshall Arts called: THIS ART HAS COOTIES. Follow the link to read the review in the Memphis Flyer.

The following faculty members were granted tenure or received promotions for the 2014-15 academic year:

Dr. Wendy Ashcroft (Education) has been granted tenure.
Dr. Burt Fulmer (Religion & Philosophy) has been granted tenure.
Dr. Karen Golightly (Literature & Languages) has been granted tenure.
Dr. Clayann Panetta (Literature & Languages) has been promoted to the rank of Professor.
Nick Peña (Visual & Performing Arts) has been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor.

Professor Nick Pena Exhibits at The Dixon

983721_441285169344865_6035345247939596328_nNick Peña, Associate Professor of Art at CBU, and recent recipient of the The Harold R. Krelstein Chair In Performing Arts & Communications, exhibited his paintings at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens earlier this semester. The exhibition, titled “Processing the Ideal,” featured large-scale paintings that re-visualize perceptions of the “American Dream” and the effects that pursuit has on our environment. During the exhibition Peña also conducted an oil painting workshop and gave a lecture during a “Munch and Learn” titled Processing the Ideal: Stability and Instability in our Pursuit of Happiness.

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Many of Peña’s paintings begin with personal nostalgia and culminate in serious, social, or political inquiries. He considers both changing social norms and the physical appearance of the American landscape in his work. Questioning if the ground that we live upon is both physically and ideologically solid, “Processing the Ideal”  presented an interesting conundrum.

As Fredric Koeppel wrote in his review for The Commercial Appeal, “What Peña would have us process, in seven beautifully realized paintings and one immense wall installation, is that the ground beneath our feet, actually and metaphorically, is ever shifting and that our complacent conceptions of living in good faith are built upon tectonic plates of massive influence and frightening fragility.”

Dearly Departed

This past November, Christian Brothers University Theatre produced Dearly Departed, a play by David Bottrell. In this Southern farce, the beleaguered Turpin family proves that living and dying in the South is a seldom tidy experience and always hilarious. Despite their earnest efforts to pull themselves together for their father’s funeral, the Turpins’ other problems keep overshadowing the solemn occasion.

Dearly Departed

The production features: Dr. Malinda FitzgeraldRon FitzgeraldMatthew Hamner (Director), Jessica LoveHarry NeelyAlani LeeKierra TurnerDominick PlattHannah SchultzChelsea SmithersJodi WoodyAdam OkolicanyJohn TubbsAliyah Giden, and members of the Divine Voices Gospel Choir.

Tiny Circus Comes To CBU

The Visual and Performing Arts Dept. hosted a Stop Motion Animation Workshop with Tiny Circus, a community-based, collaborative art project that uses the medium of stop-motion animation to facilitate storytelling.

Professor Nick Pena’s Animation Class (ART 405 A) met regularly with Tiny Circus (via Google Hangout), since the beginning of the semester, coming up with a story to develop into a feature length animation – the topic this year was “process and change.”

The following students contributed: Cortez Brown, Cristina Chaffin, Alexis Gillis, Michelle Hart, Ronald Levy, Ray Pagni, Chi Phung, Walter Harris, Anna Arnold, and Mr. Chaffin (Christina’s father).

Check it out:


Faculty News

Dr. Marius Carriere (History & Political Science) kicked off Black History Month activities with a presentation on ”Blacks in Post Civil War Memphis: White Resistance to Reconstruction and the 1866 Riot.” Later that day, Student Life, in conjunction with Student Government Association, Black Student Association, and the National Pan-Hellenic Council fraternities and sororities, sponsored a showing of the Academy Award-nominated 12 Years a Slave at Playhouse on the Square. After the Brother Allen Johnson and Dr. Jeffrey Gross (Literature & Languages) shared their impressions and lead a discussion after the event.

Education Department faculty members participated in the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) conference in Nashville the weekend of March 26th. The faculty attended the conference in preparation for a visit by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) in spring 2015. Topics included accreditation standards, reviewers’ expectations, how to measure candidate effectiveness, and the overall review process.

Dr. Jeff Gross (Literature & Languages) delivered the keynote address at the 11th Annual English Graduate Student Conference at the University of Kentucky on March 28. His address, “Grad School Won’t Kill You: Reflections on the Transition from Ph.D. Program to Assistant Professor,” addressed trends in the humanities and deconstructed both the rhetoric and accuracy of sensationalized “Don’t go to Grad School” polemics.

EmilyDr. Emily A. Holmes (Religion and Philosophy) served on the planning committee of the Fourth Annual Mid-South Farm to Table conference, held on February 4, 2014, at Christian Brothers University, for which she organized three well-attended panels: “Beyond Charity: Faith-Based Food Justice Initiatives”; “Theory and Practice: The Role of Colleges and Universities in Building a Just, Local, and Sustainable Food System”;  and “Good Food for All: Increasing Access to Locally Sourced Foods.”

Additionally, on February 9, 2014, Dr. Holmes gave a public lecture on “Healing the Body and Repairing the World: The Ethics of Eating.” She was invited to speak by the Women of Reform Judaism Temple Israel Sisterhood as part of their event called SPA…ahh! A Spiritual Approach to a Happy & Healthy Life.

Her most recent book, Flesh Made Word: Medieval Women Mystics, Writing, and the Incarnation, was published in November by Baylor University Press. Dr. Shawn Copeland, Professor of Systematic Theology at Boston College, writes, “Flesh Made Word brings medieval mystical writers and post-modern theorists into dialogue in order to demonstrate their relevance for a contemporary feminist theology and a theology of the Incarnation. This is an engaging and elegant work of history and theology.”

Furthermore, Dr. Holmes and Dr. Paul Haught (Dean, School of Arts) have each published an article in a special environmental issue, Living with Consequences, of the Slovenian philosophy journal Poligrafi. Dr. Holmes’ article is entitled “Ecofeminist Christology, Incarnation, and the Spirituality and Ethics of Eating.” Dr. Haught’s essay is entitled, “Place, Narrative, and Virtue.”

CFTK_SAECBU’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and many other amazing CBU students volunteered their day on Saturday, January 25th, to the annual Cheer for the Kids event and helped raise $44,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-South.

Cheer for the Kids is a grassroots non-profit organization founded by Professor Chanda S. Murphy (Behavioral Sciences) and fellow Memphian Ashley Bradford (front right and left respectively) to help raise awareness and money for local child-focused philanthropy organizations. For more information please visit Cheer for the Kids.

Professor Nick Pena‘s works Disruptive Pattern, oil on canvas, 48×48” and Through the Moulin, oil on canvas, 48×48” were selected, by Curator Ian Lemmonds, for an exhibition at Crosstown Arts Gallery titled Inspired Resistance. The exhibition focused on highlighting artists who have resisted failure by continuing to hone their craft. The exhibition featured 7 artists and more than 50 works of art. The exhibition opened on Monday, the 11th of February and closed on Saturday the 1st of March. Further information including a review of the exhibition and video introduction by the curator, Ian Lemmonds, can be found at the Memphis Flyer.


Through the Moulin

Professor Peña was also one of eight finalists for the third annual Emmett O’Ryan Award for Artistic Inspiration, an award organized by ArtsMemphis. This was the first year the competition was open to faculty and students at local college and universities. Peña’s recent work in his What Lies Beneath series has exhibited at the Eggman &  Walrus gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico and at Lyon College’s Kresge Gallery in Batesville, Arkansas. Paintings from this series will be highlighted in a solo exhibition entitled Processing the Ideal at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens from July 13th to October 5th. The exhibition will be sponsored by Suzanne and Nelly Mallory and Charles Wurtzburger with an opening reception on Thursday, July 17th in the Mallory and Wurtzburger Gallery from 6-8pm.

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Professor Pena (front row, first from left) with the other nominees.

Dr. Brendan M. Prawdzik’s (Literature and Languages) article “Theater of Vegetable Love and the Occult Fall in Paradise Lost,” has been accepted for publication in One First Matter All: New Essays on Milton, Materialism, and Embodiment by Duquesne University Press, Pittsburgh, PA (publication date TBA).

He recently delivered his paper, “‘Eyes and Tears’: Spiritual Phenomenology and Marvell’s Religion,” at Exploring the Renaissance: An International Conference, a meeting of the Marvell Society of America in Tuscon, AZ, April 3-5, 2014. At the conference Dr. Prawdzik was nominated for and elected to the Executive Committee of the Marvell Society, an international group of scholars — some the most renowned in the field — who work on the poet Andrew Marvell.

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Dr. Prawdzik (back row, fifth from right) with members of the Marvell Society, including scholars from the U.S., Canada, England, and the Netherlands.

The following School of Arts faculty members have been promoted effective the 2014-2015 academic year:

Clayann G. Panetta, Ph.D. to Professor of Literature and Languages                   Nicholas Pena, M.F.A. to Associate Professor of Visual and Performing Arts            Conrad J. Brombach, Ed.D. to Professor of Behavioral Sciences


Past Events

New York City based poet Ekere Tallie read her work and answered student questions during an intimate poetry workshop in Kenrick Hall this past October 22nd.

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The recipient of a 2010 Queens Council on the Arts grant for her research on herbalists of the African Diaspora working in urban and non-traditional settings, her writing has been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Crab Orchard Review, BOMB, Paris/Atlantic, Go, Tell Michelle (SUNY), Listen Up! (One World Ballantine) and Revenge and Forgiveness (Henry Holt). She has appeared on Dutch television and her work has been the subject of the short film “I Leave My Colors Everywhere.”

Her first collection of poetry, Karma’s Footsteps, was released by Flipped Eye Publishing in September of 2011. She currently teaches at York College. For more info please visit her website.

Note From A Loving Wife2013-10-22 12.42.28

The dishes all want to break,
My Love
one by one
they wriggle from my hands
shattering in unsorry pieces

Leave him cries
the cracked bowl
You are too much whispers
a shard of plate
Too good jagged mouth
of glass to be here

your very own dishes,
betrayed you, My Love
spoons beat your secrets
‘till they bent in fatigue

so when you come home
with her scent in your hair
and you walk from room
to room finding no sign
of me, keep your shoes on

particularly in the kitchen,
my freedom might get
stuck in your feet

Tiny Circus Comes to Town

tiny circusTiny Circus, a community based collaborative art group, was on campus conducting a workshop during the week of Oct. 21st – 24th, with the Visual and Performing Arts Dept. Visual and Performing Arts students worked with the group to create a stop-motion animation documenting the retellings of ghost stories, spooky tales, hauntings, and supernatural events attached to Kenrick Hall – CBU’s oldest building on campus.

Art Therapy Grant

The Visual and Performing Arts Department at CBU has been awarded a $10,000.00 grant by the H. W. Durham Foundation to be used in collaboration with the Ave Maria Home.  Students working within this concentration will be a part of creating CBU’s first field study course in the area of Art Therapy.   The course will be led by Art Therapist Sarah Hamil and the VAPA Chair Jana Travis. Students will learn the skills needed to design and execute art therapy sessions for Alzheimer patients while documenting their progress through hands on research.   The course will be taught in spring 2014 and again in fall 2014.  CBU is the only University in Memphis and the surrounding area offering a BFA with a concentration in Art Therapy.

CBU Theatre Offers Perspectives on Acting, Life by Nic Picou

Acting is one of the most difficult things I have ever done. Don’t get me wrong, I love every minute of it and I find no greater joy than that which is afforded me through creating art. But my many years of adherence to the stagecraft has provided me a realization that my art, like so many, is a struggle with forces internal and external. It is a battle to resist that which is false and easy in favor of that which is true and arduous. I say this because, contrary to what caricatures have been illustrated for us, acting is not make-believe. In fact, it is far removed from the realm of pretend. True acting is true life. That is, acting is living truthfully under imaginary circumstances. Though I have always held this truth somewhere in my spirit, it did not become so clearly and beautifully articulated until my time at Christian Brothers University.

I must admit I never anticipated saying such a thing. Theatre at CBU is as minimalist as it gets. Look to our productions for evidence. The Turn of the Screw (2011): Two actors, no sets or props. Almost, Maine (2012): Very minimal scene changes with props and costumes from home. Even our upcoming production of Private Eyes (running from 31 Oct. – 3 Nov.) has only two small set pieces and a table borrowed from Canale Café. Austerity has its upside, however. Often lost in the extravagance and proverbial “glitter in the eyes” of a lot of college-level productions, acting takes center stage at CBU.

The theatre program has nurtured my creative lifestyle, and I have Matthew Hamner, professor of Speech and Acting at CBU, to thank for my revelations and discoveries in acting. His ability as an educator and experience as an actor himself allows for something unique and coveted among those studying the craft: a chance to work with the Sanford Meisner approach to acting. It was Sanford Meisner’s philosophy that actors “live truthfully under imaginary circumstances,” and that philosophy was passed to Hamner by his instructor Larry Silverberg. I cannot further explain here the ideas and techniques behind the philosophy, but instead reiterate the effectiveness and genuineness of it. My ongoing studies in acting under Hamner at CBU have placed me, sudden and welcome, in the realm of all those who have learned precisely what I am studying: Sandra Bullock. Gregory Peck. Robert Duvall. Steve McQueen, to name a few.

Living truthfully is not easy, even in our daily lives. We often think we know how we will react to certain situations based on past behaviors and based on things we witness and file away every day. This is simply not the case. None of us knows exactly how we could react to anything. This is where acting holds the potential to teach us about life: that all our behaviors, all our emotions hold unexpected and hidden, sometimes explosive capabilities that we know very little to nothing about. That is why people come to the theatre.


Nic Picou (right), English, ’14