Faculty,  Faculty NewsFeed,  Graduate Studies,  Research,  The Latest Headlines

Faculty Friday Spotlight: February 2023

Agnes Scott Professors Receive Arts Grant

Agnes Scott professors Toby Emert and Bonnie Perdue were recently awarded a $55,000 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Research Grants in the Arts award. 

Toby Emert
Bonnie Perdue

Consultants at McAllister & Quinn’s grant development and project management support prospected federal and foundation funding sources for Emert’s idea to turn Marketplace’s popular podcast covering basic economic and money topics, Million Bazillion, into a theatre production for youth.

Emily Stone ‘95, director of sponsored programs, and M&Q grant writers worked closely with Emert and Perdue to curate the original idea into a research question. Perdue was critical in crafting the research questions and methodology to fit within the grant’s guidelines.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support this project from Agnes Scott, part of the NEA’s investment in studies that explore the value and impact of the arts,” said Director of Research & Analysis Sunil Iyengar. “Research studies such as this one are key to our agency’s goal of understanding the factors, conditions, and characteristics of our country’s arts ecosystem and the many ways the arts can impact other areas of American life.”

Harvey, Ball Collaborate for Publishing

Professor of Chemistry and Associate Dean for STEM Teaching and Learning Lilia Harvey and Kelly Ball, associate dean of graduate studies, published a chapter, “Leadership and Effective Use of Institutional Structures to Advance Strategic Initiatives” in the “Resource Handbook for Academic Deans: The Essential Guide for College and University Leaders.” 

Hopkins Press recently published the fourth edition of the handbook at Johns Hopkins University. 

“Collaborating with a great colleague and thought partner like Kelly is so personally and professionally rewarding,” said Harvey.

Ball confirmed the mutually beneficial writing relationship. “Collaborating was energizing and made me grateful to be part of Agnes Scott’s intellectual community. Where else do you find an organic chemist and a feminist philosopher writing together? This chapter was a joy to write.” 

 “Creative collaborations that make work fun–it doesn’t get better than that,” added Harvey.

Riddle Puts Math in Stitches

Professor Emeritus of Mathematics Larry Riddle was recently invited to submit two of his cross-stitch fractal embroidery for a juried mathematical fiber arts exhibit at the January Joint Mathematics Meetings in Boston. 

The selected artwork came from a series of four related pieces that Larry recently finished, which are examples of tiling called Sierpinski Triangle Relatives. Each tiling consists of four copies of a particular Sierpinski Triangle relative rotated by 90 degrees around a common center. 

Suppose only the design is considered but not the colors. In that case, each tiling exhibits the symmetries of a square: rotations by 90, 180 and 270 degrees and reflections across vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines through the center. The colors are inserted into the pattern to help illustrate the self-similarity of a fractal: the different colored sections are scaled versions of the larger fractal. 

The four pieces are a continuation of the first cross-stitch fractal piece executed by Riddle for the Exhibition of Mathematical Art in 2011.

More of Riddle’s fractal artwork can be found at his website.

A Fulfilling Life

Under the pseudonym Sophie Wu, Professor Shu-chin Wu recently co-authored a book with Phakchok Rinpoche titled “Awakening Dignity: A Guide to Living a Life of Deep Fulfillment.”

In “Awakening Dignity,” Wu and Phakchok Rinpoche draw from the Tibetan Buddhist wisdom tradition to offer a unique and fresh approach to answer the question, “how can we gain authentic dignity?”

The notion of dignity is crucial to the question of how best to live a meaningful and fulfilling life, particularly in today’s environment where so many people experience self-doubt, low self-esteem and feelings of being trapped by anxiety, dissatisfaction, or even success. 

Through reflections, examples, and simple meditations—such as embracing adversity and practicing compassion—”Awakening Dignity” provides all the tools necessary to embody fundamental dignity fully.

From the Desk of…

Professor of Art Anne Beidler currently has work featured in three venues across the U.S.: the 28th Parkside National Print Exhibition at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, the 38th Bradley International Print and Drawing Exhibition at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. and a print exchange at REmarque Print Workshop in Albuquerque, N.M.

Kirk Distinguished Writer in Residence Melissa Fay Greene’s article about the New University in Exile Consortium was published in Mother Jones magazine. “‘They Can’t Kill Us All’: These Scholars Lost their Countries and Found Each Other,” covers how the consortium enables endangered and refugee scholars worldwide to sustain and befriend one another in exile. Read the piece in its entirety.

Greene also delivered the keynote address at Emory University’s Rose Library Archives upon opening their Southern Jewish history archive.

Professor of Music Tracey Laird contributed a chapter titled “‘We Have A Lot of Work To Do’: Rhiannon Giddens and Country Music’s Mixed Roots” for the book Whose Country Music: Genre, Identity and Belonging in Twenty-First Century Country Music Culture. Published by Cambridge University Press in December, the collection challenges systems of gatekeeping that have dictated who gets to participate in twenty-first-century country music culture. Building on established scholarship, the authors examine contemporary issues in country music through feminist, intersectional, and post-colonialist theories and other intertextual and cultural lenses.

Mona Tajali appeared on CNN in January to discuss the continued conflict in Iran with Rosemary Church.

Kirk Artist Affiliate in Percussion and Director of the Jazz & World Percussion Ensemble Emrah Kotan recently represented Agnes Scott at the Jazz Educators Network Conference in Orlando. They played a primetime concert with the Andy Nevala Quartet at the event.

Additionally, Kotan’s band performed at the High Museum Friday Jazz event on January 20, 2023. Jamal Ahmed interviewed him on Jazz 91.9 WCLK.

Don’t miss out on an upcoming concert with India Arie on February 10.

Professor of Art History Katherine Smith recently participated in a symposium at Yale University in honor of American architect Denise Scott Brown. The event is also a book launch for the recent publication “Denise Scott Brown In Other Eyes,” to which Smith contributed an invited essay.

Ruth Uwaifo Oyelere, associate professor of economics, presented a paper titled “Evolution of Inequality in Nigeria: A Tale of Falling Inequality, Rising Poverty and Regional Heterogeneity” at the Allied Social Science Associations (ASSA) Annual Meeting in New Orleans on January 7.

Ellen Douglass Leyburn Professor of English Waqas Khwaja was awarded the Ditet-e-Naimit Literary Career Award at the Ditet-e-Naimit Poetry Festival held in Tetova (Macedonia) and Prizren (Kosovo) in late October 2022. The award, determined by a jury of poets and university professors, was presented to Khwaja by the Mayor of Prizren, Mr. Shaqir Totaj, at the final poetry reading event, “Poetic Meridian,” in Prizren, which concluded with his reading at the Altera Library and Bookstore.

Khwaja (third from left) poses for a photo following receiving the Ditet-e-Naimit Literary Career Award at the Ditet-e-Naimit Poetry Festival

Charles A. Dana Professor of Spanish Rafael Ocasio, contributed to the University Press of Florida’s blog on his latest book.