In the Spotlight: Aug. 9, 2019

Kudos to these faculty, staff and programs

Do you have a spotlight item to share with the NAU community?

E-mail your announcements to Inside@nau.edu, or use our online submission form.

  • Dorothy J. Dunn, a professor in the School of Nursing, presented her accepted abstract as a poster, “The Importance of Disciplinary and Professional Reading,” at the 2019 International Academy of Nursing Editors Conference in Reno, Nevada. Dunn serves as editor for Visions: Journal of Rogerian Nursing Science.
  • NAU Social Media won first place in PR Daily’s Digital Marketing & Social Media awards, beating out a variety of national companies in the inaugural Instagram Stories category. The team of Maria Decabooter, McKenzie McLoughlin, Stephanie Gillooly and Austin Young won for their Louie the Lumberjack gif stickers campaign.
  • Three NAU faculty served as Distinguished Visiting Professors at the 2019 CETYS International Summer Program. Nancy Baca from the Franke College of Business and Bill Pederson and Alex Steenstra from the NAU Yuma campus taught a two-week program in Ensenada, Mexico. This program is part of the ongoing collaboration between CETYS Universidad and NAU.
  • Ethnic Studies lecturer Rose Soza War Soldier recently had a chapter published in an edited book that was released in May. The chapter, “Tiltled history is too often taught: Activism, Advocacy, and Restoring Humanity,” is part of “Ka’m-t’em: A Journey Toward Healing,” edited by Kishan Lara-Cooper and Walt Lara.
  • A research team from the School of Communication presented their research on immersive virtual reality for education at EDmedia this summer in Amsterdam. The research team was comprised of Giovanni Castillo, director of the Immersive and Interactive Virtual Reality Lab, psychology professor Michelle Miller and communication professor Norm Medoff.
  • The American Geophysical Union recognized Mary Reid, a professor of geology, with the Norman L. Bowen Award and Lecture in the volcanology, geochemistry and petrology section. Reid was one of 82 distinguished scientists recognized for their contributions to their fields.
  • The Center for World University Rankings has Northern Arizona University in the top 5 percent of academic rankings worldwide based on indicators of quality of education, alumni employment, quality of faculty, learning environment and research performance, output, publications and citations. NAU finished at No. 903 out of 20,000 institutions.
  • KNAU reporter Melissa Sevigny gave two invited talks in July. She spoke at a VIP event at Flandreau Planetarium in Tucson, hosted by the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory; and at the Arizona Authors Series in Phoenix, hosted by the State of Arizona Research Library. Both were based on her book “Under Desert Skies.”
  • Ecologist Matt Johnson, director of the Colorado Plateau Research Station, discussed his research into a non-native, potentially invasive type of beetle that is making its way into the Southwest in an Associated Press story. The story, “Tiny beetles munch through endangered songbird habitat,” was widely picked up, including by The New York Times, the Houston Chronicle and publications throughout Europe.
  • Anthropology faculty Leila Monaghan had a piece in the third edition of “5 Minute Linguist.” Her piece, “Do Deaf People Everywhere Use the Same Sign Language?” discusses the linguistic features, complex grammar and slang of various sign languages throughout the world.
  • The School of Hotel and Restaurant Management and the JAMK School of Business, Tourism, and Hospitality in Jyväskylä, Finland received an Erasmus + Global Mobility grant from the European Union to support collaborative faculty and student research on climate change, tourism and curriculum development on socially responsible tourism. Climate change and over-tourism pose new challenges for the nature tourism industry. Geographical and curricular similarities at NAU and JAMK provide an ideal platform for examining the most crucial challenges in nature destinations, such as national parks. In each year of the grant, students and faculty members will participate in a one-week exchange program between the two universities to facilitate joint research activities and publications on climate change and tourism, developing an online course on socially responsible tourism. (has photo)
  • Several members of the Department of Astronomy and Planetary Sciences authored or co-authored papers:
    • Graduate student Annika Gustafsson is the first author on the paper “Spitzer Albedos of Near-Earth Objects,” published in The Astronomical Journal. Professors David Trilling, Michael Mommert and Andrew McNeill were also authors.
    • At a symposium at the Goddard Space Flight Center on CubeSats, incoming faculty Josh Emery and Devon Burr presented a poster on a concept for a SmallSat Mission to the Polana asteroid family, hypothesized to be the parent family of both Bennu (the subject of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission) and Ryugu (the subject of JAXA’s Hayabusa2 mission). Poster co-authors are Thomas, Trilling, Mark LoefflerChristopher Edwards and Mark Salvatore.
    • Incoming Ph.D. students Lauren McGraw and Audrey Martin were selected to participate in the JWST (James Webb Space Telescope) Master Class in November. They will attend the training in Baltimore, then teach a regional master class in Flagstaff in the next academic year.
  • As the climate warms, permafrost in the Alaskan tundra thaws and microbes in this previously frozen soil eat and grow, releasing carbon into the atmosphere. But thawing also allows more plants, which capture carbon, to grow and thrive there. A team in Alaska led by Ted Schuur of the Center for Ecosystem Science and Society (Ecoss) has been studying how the differences between plant and microbe timescales influence how much carbon these ecosystems will capture and release in the future. Schuur and Ecoss colleague Yiqi Luo have been awarded a $1 million, three-year grant by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Biological and Environmental Research program to study the ways plants and microbes are responding to permafrost thaw using both field experiments and climate modeling. With this integrated approach, they hope to better quantify how plants and microbes in these ecosystems could affect the long-term global carbon picture. 
  • Vice Provost Laurie Dickson discussed the continued success of NAU’s participation in the Association of College and University Educators’ Course in Effective Teaching Practices with Diverse Issues in Higher Education. At NAU, 85 faculty members have taken the course, earning a certificate in effective college instruction endorsed by the American Council on Education; a cohort of 35 starts the course next week, and another 35 faculty are on the waitlist. NAU also has started ACUE teaching circles to allow faculty to continue conversations from the course.
  • Kitt Recital Hall was honored by ENR Southwest as one of two winners in the cultural/worship category of the 2019 Best Projects competition, which was open to projects completed in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. Seven members from the construction industry judged the competition.