Provost shuffle tons scholar Kennedy into an administrator

The retirement of long-time FMU Provost Dr. Richard Chapman last spring, and the appointment of Dr. Peter King as Chapman’s replacement, set off a chain reaction of administrative reshuffling in that office, and among several university departments.

Among the those affected was Dr. Chris Kennedy, who took the plunge and moved from chair of FMU’s Department of History to an associate provost’s spot; and Dr. Scott Kaufman, who moved into the History chair vacated by Kennedy.

The transition is a considerable one for Kennedy, who’s stepping into the post of associate provost and director of graduate programs previously held by Dr. Alissa Warters. Warters is now associate provost for enrollment management.

Kennedy has been a fixture in the History department for more than a decade and is a noted scholar whose interests are in early modern and modern Irish history — especially the Easter Rising movement of 1916 — as well as the history of the British Empire. At FMU he taught courses on European History to the French Revolution, European History since the French Revolution, Medieval Europe, The British Empire, Modern British Isles, and Europe 1814-1914.

Kennedy earned the B.S. in history from Northern Michigan University. He earned the M.A. in History from Providence College and the Ph.D. in history from the National University of Ireland/University College Cork.

Kaufman is also an accomplished scholar. He is the author, co-author, or editor of ten books on diplomatic, presidential, and military history,including Project Plowshare: The Peaceful Use of Nuclear Explosives in Cold War America (Cornell University Press, 2013) and A Companion to Gerald R. Ford and Jimmy Carter (Wiley, 2015). Currently, he is working on both a biography of Gerald R. Ford and a manuscript on the environment and international diplomacy.


Federal dollars will open door to more grad students

Francis Marion University’s new School of Health Sciences had barely opened its doors before the school’s Department of Nursing landed two major federal grants that will pave the way for dozens of students to gain graduate degrees in the university’s Nurse Educator, and Family Nurse Practitioner program masters-level programs.

Two different grants from the Health Resources and Service Administration will provide more than $2.3 million scholarship, or loan forebearance funding.

The program for Nurse Educators is the Nursing Faculty Loan Program (NFLP). Students in the program could see as much as 85 percent of their tuition costs disappear – if they complete the program and then spend four years as full-time faculty members at qualified institutions providing nursing education. A portion of the loan is forgiven for each of the four years that students serve as teachers. The program is designed to address the nursing shortage in America by addressing the shorting in nursing instructors. The award provides $75,452 in year one, or enough to pay for about six students. It’s renewable on an annual basis.

The second HRSA award is a four-year grant for more than $2.2 million in direct scholarships to students in the Family Nurse Practitioner program through HRSA’s Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students program. The scholarships are aimed at supporting students who come  from medically underserved (an official federal designation) areas. Much of the Pee Dee and South Carolina is considered medically underserved. Additional priority will be given to minority students, and students who are economically and educationally disadvantaged. The grant can fund about 24 students per year at FMU.

The two HRSA awards at FMU were part of a $149 million award announced by the agency in July that included from 13 different programs. More than 100 institutions nationwide are participating. FMU is the only university in South Carolina in the SDS program and one of just three in the NFLP program.


Peters’ ACE Fellow year ‘intense’

Dr. Susan Peters is back in the fold at FMU following a year spent as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow. Peters spent much of the year working with, and shadowing senior administration at Armstrong State University in Savannah, Ga., but traveled, with other fellows, to more than 30 universities and colleges across the country. She lived in an apartment on the Armstrong campus.

“It was a really intense year,” says Peters. “I learned a lot, a tremendous amount; met a lot of people; had experiences I would never have imagined. I’m grateful to the ACE and to FMU for their support. But I’m glad to be back as well.”

The Fellows program is designed to give faculty members an up-close view of university administration, with an eye towards cultivating future administrators. Peters, a professor in FMU’s School of Business, is the university’s first ACE Fellow.

Besides the trips and a constant string of meetings, Peters worked on a research project. All Fellows must develop a project. Peters chose to work on student retention.

She came back filled with dozens of ideas, culled from both her reading and her travels. Her basic take on the problem, which plagues almost every university: It’s a difficult problem, but colleges could do better.

“There are a lot of good ideas out there, ideas that for the most part would not cost that much to implement,” says Peters. “The area interested me because it is something all colleges have to deal with, and I’m a university professor. But I was also interested because it’s a business problem. What business would succeed if it fulfilled its promise to one in every seven or eight customers? But that’s kind of what’s going on in higher education. That’s essentially the four-year graduation rate.”

Peters says she’s looking forward to getting back into a routine at FMU, and to “getting reacquainted” with her family. She’s also excited about finding ways to put the knowledge she acquired during the year to work. She and colleagues she met during the Fellows work are continuing to work on research papers and projects. But what she’d really like to work on the frontlines of education.

“It does kind of whet your appetite,” says Peters.


Kunka will head new CASA program

Dr. Jennifer Kunka, Professor of English and Director of the Writing Center, is the university’s new Associate Provost for Advising. Kunka will oversee operations at FMU’s new Center for Advisement and Student Achievement, a new FMU program that will combine and enhance several existing programs aimed at helping students improve their study skills. Included under the CASA roof will be the Writing Center, the Tutoring Center, the Math Center and the Office of Career Development.


College of Liberal Arts

Several members of the FMU biology department traveled to Ecuador in May as part of a National Science Foundation planning grant awarded to the WildSumaco Biological Station (WBS). Among those on the trip were Professor Travis Knowles; Director of WildSumaco Biological Station, co-principal investigators Dr. Jeffrey Steinmetz of FMU, Dr. Paul Zwiers of FMU, and Professor Brian Arbogast (Assistant Director, WBS) from UNC Wilmington; Dr. Jeremy Rentsch from FMU and Dr. Norma Salcedo from FMU. The $25,000 planning grant was an award from the NSF’s program for Improvements in Facilities, Communications, and Equipment at Biological Field Stations and Marine Laboratories (FSML). Rentsch and Salcedo made the trip under separate funding, to explore research possibilities in Ecuador.

The planning grant was awarded to develop a five-year plan of action for WBS, which is a joint collaboration among FMU, UNC Wilmington, WildSumaco Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS), and the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador (PUCE). The trip to Ecuador also included visits by the FMU faculty team to SierrAzul Cloud Forest Reserve and Yasuní Scientific Station, to explore potential research and teaching collaborations with WBS that focus on biodiversity along the Ecuadorian east Andes slope. This region is believed by many scientists to support Earth’s most biodiverse forests.

Dr. Louis Venters 
of the Department of History, published a new book last fall entitled No Jim Crow Church: The Origins of South Carolina’s Baha’i Community. Dr. Scott Kaufman, chair of the Department of History, has completed the initial draft of Power, Pragmatism, and Party: The Life of Gerald R. Ford, a book that will be published by University Press of Kansas. Kaufman is working on the book with his father, Dr. Burton Kaufman, who is a retired professor of History. Kaufman also presented a paper entitled “Complications over Cyprus: The Ford Administration and Its First Foreign Policy Crisis” at the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Conference, at the University of San Diego this summer….

Dr. Seth Smith of the FMU Department of Physics participated in an Advanced Physics Laboratory Association Immersion in Laser Interferometry at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA, on June 22-24, 2016. 
… Dr. Jordan McDonnell of the Physics Department published an article in Physical Review Letters (PRL), which is the world’s most cited physics journal. McDonnell’s article, “Uncertainty Quantification for Nuclear Density Functional Theory,” was his first in a peer-reviewed journal.  … Dr. Teresa Herzog and Dr. Crystal Hill-Chapman of the FMU Department of Psychology, and Dr. Callum Johnston of the FMU School of Education were part of a group four-person team of researchers who presented a poster on “Prosocial Lessons on Positive Learning Environments in Early Childhood,” at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, in New Orleans last spring; and again at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in Denver, CO. … Dr. Jessica Burke, Dr. Lisa A. Eargle and Dr. Jessica M. Doucet of the Department of Sociology presented papers at the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction Conference in August of 2016 in Seattle.


School of Heath Sciences

Dr. Tracy George and Dr. Annie Muller of the FMU Department of Nursing, and Dr. Jeremiah Bartz, recently of the FMU Department of Mathematics, delivered a presentation on pre-licensure nursing students changing answers on multiple choice examinations at the Drexel University EDU-SIM Conference in Clearwater Beach, FL.
… Dr. Crystal Graham of the FMU Department of Nursing was elected secretary of the South Carolina League for Nursing Dr. Deborah Hopla of the Department of Nursing received the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties Health Policy Award for 2016. …


School of Education

Professor Patricia Boatwright recently completed her Ed.D in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of South Carolina … Dr. Jeanne Gunther presented a paper and chaired a session at the 2016 International Education Conference in Venice, ItalyDr. Kathryn Haselden was chosen as the 2016 Council of Exceptional Children’s Service Award at the organization’s annual conference. … Dr. Tammy Pawloski of the School of Education and the Center for the Teaching of Children of Povery was the keynote speaker at the Florida Association of School Federal Education Projects Administrators (FASFEPA) in Orlando in May. She also spoke are more than a dozen events across the southeast during the Spring semester.