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Faculty/Staff Professional Activities
From left-right: Drs. Anant Godbole, Aimee Govett and Richard Ignace of ETSU and Paul Montgomery of Northeast State Community College.

Dr. Joseph Baker, an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, was featured in a recent episode of “Research on Religion,” a podcast hosted by Dr. Tony Gill, a professor of political science at the University of Washington and author of The Political Origins of Religious Liberty and Rendering Unto Caesar: The Catholic Church and the State in Latin America.

In this episode, which explores reasons why America has become less religious in recent years, Baker discusses the history and contemporary dimensions of American secularism.  This episode and others may be found at


Dr. Richard Ignace, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and director of undergraduate research in the Honors College, is part of two teams of scientists and scholars that recently won new observing time on two major telescopes – the Hubble Space Telescope and NASA’s Chandra X-ray Telescope.  The group using the Hubble telescope will be working to better understand how pulsations in garden-variety massive stars influence the stellar winds of the stars.  The other group will be using the Chandra telescope to look for evidence of a neutron star lurking in the wind of the massive star WR 124.

Ignace, along with Drs. Anant Godbole and Aimee Govett of ETSU and Paul Montgomery of Northeast State Community College (pictured), attended NASA’s MissionSTEM Summit on diversity and inclusivity, which was held Aug. 8-9 in Washington, D.C.  Godbole is a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and executive director of the Center of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Education.  Govett is a professor of science education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and chairholder of the James H. Quillen Chair of Excellence in Education, which focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.  Montgomery is vice president of access and development at NSCC.

This inaugural MissionSTEM Summit brought together representatives and students from institutions that are recipients of NASA grant funding, civil rights compliance officials, and other experts from government, academia, industry and professional organizations.  It focused on best practices for ensuring equal opportunity in STEM education and exchanging ideas for tackling the challenges faced by grantee institutions and compliance officials.

Ignace and Dr. Gary Henson, associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, are among a group of researchers that recently received a three-year National Science Foundation grant of $417,399 to study massive stars, including colliding wind binaries, and magnetic stars with magnetic fields.  This study, titled “Time Resolved Echelle Spectroscopy of Massive Stars at the SARA Observatory,” will be conducted using telescopes operated by the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy, a consortium of which ETSU is a member.

In addition, Ignace attended the June meeting of the American Astronomical Society in San Diego, where he reported on a study, “Modeling the Variable Polarization of Epsilon Aurigae,” which was co-authored by Henson and William Asbury, who graduated from ETSU in May with a bachelor of science degree in physics.



A delegation from ETSU attended the Southern Conference LEAD (Leadership Education and Development) Program, which was held at Wofford College in July.  The ETSU representatives joined faculty and administrators from other SoCon institutions for this event designed to mentor department heads and campus leaders associated with teaching and learning centers.  SoCon LEAD was formed as the SoCon Academic Exchange in 2015 and focuses on sharing best practices and opportunities related to undergraduate research, study abroad opportunities and leadership development programming.

Representing ETSU at the SoCon LEAD Program were Colin Chesley, clinical instructor and field internship coordinator for the Department of Health Services Management and Policy; Dr. William “Andy” Clark, professor in the Department of Allied Health Sciences and associate dean of the College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences; Dr. Richard Ignace, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and director of undergraduate research in the Honors College; Dr. Scott Kirkby, assistant dean of the School of Graduate Studies; Dr. Jill LeRoy-Frazier, associate professor and assistant dean of the School of Continuing Studies and Academic Outreach; Dr. Arpita Nandi, associate professor and interim chair of the Department of Geosciences; Dr. Debbie Roach, director of student success, College of Business and Technology; and Dr. Janna Scarborough, professor and chair of the Department of Counseling and Human Services.


Dr. Josh Reid, an assistant professor of English in the Department of Literature and Language, was recently appointed general editor of The Manchester Spenser, an academic monograph series published by the Manchester University Press, the third largest university press in England.  Works in this series focus on the life, times, places, works and contemporaries of Edmund Spenser, the 16th century English poet best known for “The Faerie Queene.”  Reid served as associate editor of The Manchester Spenser in 2015-16.


Andrew Scott Ross, an assistant professor of drawing in the Department of Art and Design, is one of 33 artists selected to participate in the Atlanta Biennial this year.  The biennial was founded in 1984 by Alan Sondheim.  This year’s exhibition, which will be on display at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center from Aug. 27-Dec. 18, was co-curated by Victoria Camblin, Daniel Fuller, Aaron Levi Garvey and Gia Hamilton.


Mike Smith, a professor of photography in the Department of Art and Design, is featured in an article in the online magazine Lens Scratch.  Titled “Mike Smith: The States Project: Tennessee,” the article features a variety of photographs taken over Smith’s career.

“The truck portraits,” he states, “are from 2008-2010 and reflect a 35-year attempt to describe the people and landscape of East Tennessee where I have lived and taught photography at East Tennessee State University since 1981.”

The article and photographs may be viewed at

In addition, Smith currently has photographs on display at several venues.  His works are included in the “Outwid Boocheaver Portrait Exhibition” at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., through Jan. 8, 2017; “The Things We Carry: Contemporary Art in the South” at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina, through Oct. 9; and “Face It” at the Fine Arts Center Galleries at Bowling Green State University in Ohio through Sept. 30.


Drs. Jodi Southerland, Deb Slawson and Liang Wang co-authored an article, “Weight Misperception and Health-Related Quality of Life in Appalachian Adolescents in the United States,” which was published recently in Maternal and Child Health Journal.  Southerland is a clinical instructor and Slawson is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Community and Behavioral Health, and Wang is an assistant professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology.

In the article, the researchers show that weight underestimation by adolescent males is associated with higher health-related quality of life.  The study found that approximately one-third of adolescents in Southern Appalachia misperceived their weight.  To learn more, go to


Three ETSU employees were awarded the Best Paper Award by the International Conference on Learning and Administration in Higher Education for their paper, “Impacts of the FOCUS Act on Governance in Tennessee Higher Education Institutions.”  The co-authors were Jennifer Barber, marketing coordinator in the Office of University Relations and a doctoral student; Colin Chesley, clinical instructor and field internship coordinator for the Department of Health Services Management and Policy in the College of Public Health; and Dr. Bethany Flora, an assistant professor in the Claudius G. Clemmer College of Education.  The award was presented during the International Conference on Learning and Administration in Higher Education, which was held in Nashville.


Dr. Craig Wassinger, an associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, is among the first in the nation to receive the new national certification as a therapeutic pain specialist from the International Spine and Pain Institute and Evidence in Motion.  Supported by an ETSU Presidential Grant-in-Aid, Wassinger was one of 20 students in the inaugural cohort that went through the eight-month training program.  To learn more, go to

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