Faculty awarded grants for scholarship

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nine Northwestern College professors will conduct scholarship and research this summer with funding from the Northwestern College Scholarship Grants program.

Two professors will receive grants of up to $2,250 for their projects; the remainder will be given up to $5,000 for collaborative research with students. The money is designed to encourage the production of scholarly work for publication and distribution beyond Northwestern’s campus.

Dr. Jennifer Feenstra, a professor in the psychology department, will research sources of ideas for teaching and how those ideas relate to instructor characteristics, such as teaching experience or confidence in the classroom. Feenstra has written or revised two instructor’s resource guides for the books Social Psychology and Human Nature and Intimate Relationships.

Theatre professor Dr. Robert Hubbard will craft Graham Green’s novel, The Power and the Glory, a modern masterpiece of sin and redemption, as a chamber theatre adaptation. A similar adaptation by Frank Galati of The Grapes of Wrath won a Tony Award and was presented at Northwestern in the fall of 2007. Upon completing his adaptation, Hubbard plans to seek venues for full productions of The Power and the Glory, potentially within Northwestern’s theatre season.

Another theatre professor, Karen Barker, will collaborate with student Brady Huffman, a senior theatre major from Saint Joseph, Mo., to stage two community theatre productions this summer. The productions, a drama and a comedy, will feature Northwestern faculty, staff and alumni working as an ensemble, with the goal of eventually establishing summer theatre in Orange City.

Dr. Laird Edman, another professor in Northwestern’s psychology department, is working with Sarah Connolly, a May psychology graduate from Mokena, Ill., on studying the effects of leadership experiences on students’ moral, vocational and intellectual development. They hope to present their findings at an Association for Psychological Science conference and to submit a paper to an educational psychology or student development journal.

Pianist and music professor Dr. Juyeon Kang will prepare and record a solo piano program for her second CD, Joyful Dances. The music will consist of classical piano repertoires derived from dance music from different time periods, nations and styles. Composers will include Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann and Piazzolla. Laura Erickson, a junior writing and rhetoric major from Blue Earth, Minn., will write the CD notes; C.J. Wurpts, a May art graduate from Sheldon, Iowa, will design the CD jacket.

English professor Dr. Michael Kensak will collaborate with senior history major Shaunna Ell of Mitchell, S.D., on a project entitled The Spiritual Classroom. The two will prepare a scholarly work proposing a distinctively Christian approach to online education—one that employs teaching practices that build community in the virtual classroom, allowing professors to be present in students’ lives despite the separation of time and space.

Biology–health professions majors Jenelle Kleinhesselink, a sophomore from Everson, Wash.; Linus Leivon, a junior from India; and Jacob Parsons, a senior from Los Alamos, N.M., will work with biology professor Dr. Sara Tolsma on her research of the genetic relationships between mayfly populations on Santa Cruz Island and the California mainland. They hope to link evidence of genetic drift to the behavioral differences observed by Northwestern biology professor Dr. Laurie Furlong.

Finally, Furlong and Dr. Todd Tracy, another member of Northwestern’s biology department, will study the impact of the invasive European buckthorn on local forest ecosystems in northwest Iowa. Plans are to present their findings at the Iowa Academy of Science and in a peer-reviewed journal. Helping with their summer research are students Parsons and Erin Brogan, a senior biology–ecological science major from Orange City.

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Duane Beeson
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beeson@nwciowa.edu