FMU adding new School of Health Sciences

Francis Marion University will see a significant reorganization of its academic programs this summer with the official opening of the new School of Health Sciences.

The new school joins the School of Business and the School of Education as discrete schools within the university. The programs to be governed by the new school will come out of the College of Liberal Arts. COLA will remain a distinct entity and continue to house the majority of FMU’s academic program.

University President Dr. Fred Carter recently appointed Dr. Ruth Wittmann-Price, chair of FMU’s Department of Nursing, as dean of the new school.

Dr. Richard Chapman, FMU’s Provost, says the “timing is right,” for the new school.

“It’s part of the natural maturation of a university,” says Chapman. “When you are growing in an area, and you have the prospect of new programs, it becomes very natural to do something like this.”

Chapman says the roots of the new school can be traced by a decade or more when FMU took administrative control of its nursing program. Previously, FMU’s nursing program had been administered by the Medical University of South Carolina.

Chapman called the assumption of control of nursing a “turning point” for FMU that led to the new School of Health Sciences.


Engelhardt part of collaboration that lands $1.2 million NSF grant

Dr. Larry Engelhardt of FMU’s Department of Physics and four collaborators/colleagues from across the nation were awarded a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of the NSF’s Improving Undergraduate STEM (Science, Technology Engineering Math) Education program.

The winning grant project was titled “Integrating Computation into Undergraduate Physics — A Faculty Development Approach to Community Transformation,” and was eight years in the making, says Engelhardt. The grant will go to fund a series of national workshops for collegiate physics professors during the next four years, designed to help better integrate computational physics into undergraduate physics curriculum.

Computational physics uses numerical analysis and, in many cases, robust computing, to solve complex scientific problems. Often, the problems tackled through computational physics are supported by scientific theory but are almost impossible to prove through experimentation. Computational physics allows researchers to conduct simulated experiments by creating complex mathematical models. The field is often reserved for graduate-level studies, although it is a regular part of the undergrad curriculum at Francis Marion and some other universities.

Francis Marion’s portion of the grant is $90,000, which will be used primarily to fund Engelhardt’s participation in the workshops during the next four years.

The first workshop in the program is scheduled for January of 2016.


Chang is visiting scholar at Teachers College Columbia

Dr. EunJung Chang of Francis Marion University’s Department of Fine Arts held a position as a visiting scholar at the prestigious Teachers College Columbia University in New York city during a sabbatical last fall.

At Teachers College, Chang worked to develop teacher education programs and curriculum, with a special focus on arts integrations and STEM/STEAM education.

STEM is an acronym for Science Technology Engineering and Math. STEAM is a new initiative aimed at incorporating the Arts into STEM teaching, programming and research.

STEAM education has been a research focus for Chang in recent years.

Teachers College is one of America’s top-ranked schools for graduate studies in education. Past faculty include famous educational thinkers like John Dewey, Margaret Mead and Donna Shalala.

During her semester as a visiting faculty member, Chang worked with TC faculty on a variety of projects. She developed and presented a paper on the “History of Art Education: Exploring International Perspectives.”

Chang has been honored previously during her tenure at FMU. In 2014 she received South Carolina Higher Education Level Award from the South Carolina Art Education Association. More recently, she’s been nominated for the National Art Education Association (NAEA)’s Southeastern Higher Education Award, and has received an appointment to work as a senior editor and international executive committee  for KoSEA (Korea Society for Education through Art). 

Chang teaches art education methods for education majors as well as some introductory art courses for non-art majors.


History Honors Society ‘beats the big boys’ for award

The Francis Marion Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society, was recently awarded the Nels Cleven Award as “Best of the Best” among all Phi Alpha Theta chapters nationally.

The Nels Cleven award, named after the founder of Phi Alpha Beta, is a select award, available only to society chapters who have won Best Chapter honors five years in a row. FMU won its fifth straight Best Chapter in its class (classes are organized by school enrollment) last year. It was automatically entered into the Nels Cleven competition, along with chapters from other classifications. FMU’s chapter submitted materials in support of its candidacy to the selection committee and was chosen as the Nels Cleven winner.

“We beat out the big boys,” says Dr. Chris Kennedy, chair of the FMU History Department and Phi Alpha Theta advisor.

In conjunction with receiving the Nels Cleven honor, FMU’s Phi Alpha Theta chapter was also awarded the Best Chapter in the Nation within its enrollment division for the sixth straight year this fall. FMU beat out 622 other institutions for the honor.



         History professor Dr. Scott Kaufman is the editor of a new compendium titled The Companion to Gerald R. Ford and Jimmy Carter, out in December from Wiley-Blackwell Publishing. The more than 600-page tome is a compilation of 30 historiographical essays on Presidents Ford and Carter. Kaufman helped select and edit the essays. In addition he’s the author of one essay and the co-author of another. The Ford-Carter Companion is part of a series of similar works published by Wiley-Blackwell. Kaufman, who is an FMU Trustee Research Scholar, is acknowledged expert on presidencies of Ford and Carter. He’s the author of 10 books on diplomatic, presidential or military history and is currently working on a biography of Ford. … Dr. Jackie Campbell, professor of History, presented a paper entitled: “Make War on the Men – the Ladies Have Too-Long Memories” at the recent conference on Gender, Memory, and War at The Center for Civil War Research at The University of Mississippi. …

      Dr. Jeffrey Camper, Professor of Biology, is part of a team that recently published new discoveries regarding the Synophis, or “Fishing Snake” of South America. Working with Dr. Omar Torres-Carvajal of the Zoological Museum of Ecuador and others, Camper helped locate new specimens that doubled the number of known species in the Synophis genus. The fishing snake — which probably doesn’t even eat fish — is one of the most reclusive in the world. The discovers were reported by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in its “EurekaAlert!” newsletter. Camper’s contributions to the specimen haul were made at the Wildsumaco Biological Station in Ecuador. Wildsumaco is a joint research venture of FMU, the Catholic University of Ecuador,  and the University of North Carolina Wilmington in the foothills of the Ecuadorean Andes. It’s been operational since 2011. … A grant proposal submitted by Professor Travis Knowles, Jeffrey Steinmetz and Paul Zweirs of the FMU Department of BIology, in conjunction with Professor Brian Arbogast of the University of North Carolina Wilmington, has been approved by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Biological Field Stations and Marine Laboratories (FSML). The proposal is titled,  “Planning for the future: Developing a five year plan for Wildsumaco Biological Station,” and is designed to just what the title states: develop a plan for Wildsumaco. The requested grant amount is $21,452.00).  An official award letter is expected soon. …

     The FMU American Chemical Society Student Chapter received a Commendable award from the American Chemical Society for its activities conducted during the 2014-2015 academic year.  Dr. Jennifer Kelley of the FMU Department of Chemistry serves as chapter advisor. … Dr. Mica Hilson’s article  “A Dwarf at the Table: Hospitality and the Non-Normate Body in Modern Literature” was published recently in a collection of scholarly discourse entitled Security and Hospitality in Literature and Culture: Modern and Contemporary Perspectives (Routledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature). Hilson also presented papers last summer at the Approaching Posthumanism Conference in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Biennial Conference for the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, held at the University of Idaho. Hilson is a professor of English at FMU … A work co-authored by Dr. Jessica M. Doucet and Dr. Jessica Burke, both of FMU’s Department of Sociology, was presented at the Study of Symbolic Interaction conference in Chicago, IL last summer. … Dr. Lisa A. Eargle presented a paper at the Southern Criminal Justice Association conference in Charleston, S.C. The presentation was based on Eargle’s book Gun Violence In American Society: Crime, Justice and Public Policy. … FMU math students presented two posters recently at the Kennesaw Mountain Undergraduate Mathematics Conference.  Ryan Brown and Talon Brown presented a poster entitled Modeling Historic Outbreaks of the Bubonic Plague.  Mary Mulholland and Phillip Rouse presented Modeling the Dengue Virus. …

Dr. Gaye Douglas, assistant professor of Nursing, received the South Carolina Telehealth Inaugural Community Innovator Award.  This award recognizes a clinical provider who is excelling in the adoption and innovation of telehealth within a practice, health center or school-based setting. … A new app, based on a book co-edited by Dr. Ruth Wittman-Price, chair of Department of Nursing and dean-elect of the newly formed School of Health Sciences, was recognized by the American Journal of Nursing. The “Certified Nurse Educator Q&A Review” app, which offers an online assessment to prospective nurse educators, won third place in the AJN’s 2015 Book of the Year awards. …

Dr. Larry Engelhardt authored two articles published recently in the American Journal of Physics.  He also delivered an oral presentation at the National Meeting of the American Assocation of Physics Teachers last summer. … Dr. Ginger Bryngelson, professor of Physics and Astronomy, was a co-author of an article, “Detection of a Light Echo from the Otherwise Normal SN 2007af,” published in The Astrophysical Journal. … Dr. Justin Yates, professor of Industrial Engineering, gave two presentations at the 2015 INFORMS Annual Conference in Philadelphia last fall. Dr. Derek Jokisch, professor of Physics, gave an oral presentation at the annual meeting of the Health Physics Society in Indianapolis last summer.



         Dr. Jeanne Gunther, professor of Education, presented a paper at The 6th International Conference on Literacy, in Crete, Greece. … Dr. Erik Lowry, professor of Education, had an article published in the Fall issue of Palmetto Administrator.