May 26, 2016--Society is becoming increasingly multilingual and more engaged around the globe — yet as many as 80 percent of Americans speak only one language, compared to 50 percent of Europeans over the age of 15 who can converse in a second language.
To help address this issue, two Penn State researchers were recently commissioned to write an essay on the consequences of multilingualism by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences’ (AAAS) Commission on Language Learning.
Judith Kroll, distinguished professor of psychology, linguistics, and women's studies and former director of the Center for Language Science; and Paola Dussias, professor of Spanish, linguistics and psychology, were among several scholars selected by the commission to examine the benefits of language learning for all age groups. The essays were petitioned in response to a request from the U.S. Congress to conduct the first national study on foreign language learning in over 30 years.
May 16, 2016--Faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the Penn State Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese are mourning the death of Tom Houston, senior lecturer in Spanish, on May 3. He was 60 years old.
“We are deeply saddened by Tom’s passing,” said Giuli Dussias, professor and department head. “In his 15 years in the department, Tom helped hundreds of undergraduate students improve their language abilities in Spanish. His excellent work was recognized with an Outstanding Teacher Award from the College of the Liberal Arts in 2012 and a teaching award from the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese in 2016.”
Houston received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy and his master’s degree in Spanish from Penn State; he also received a master of divinity degree from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh.
Houston taught Spanish at the College of Allegheny County and Geneva College while completing his seminary studies. He was appointed lecturer in Spanish at Penn State in 2001 and was promoted to senior lecturer in 2015.
Click here to read the full obituary published in the Centre Daily Times.
May 16, 2016--The Center for Global Studies (CGS) recently presented $361,500 in awards to faculty members and students whose work advances research and projects in global studies. The principal mission of the center is to “cross boundaries and build bridges” by linking themes of sustainability, social justice and ethical leadership within a global context.
These awards are intended to encourage Penn State faculty and students to engage in cross-disciplinary teaching, outreach and research that will allow for sustained and engaged dialogues on issues of vital importance to understanding key global issues facing all regions across the world.
Daniel Falk, Chaiken Family Chair in Jewish Studies, will co-edit a critical new edition of the Dead Sea Scrolls. (Image: Patrick Mansell / Penn State)
May 10, 2016 - Penn State scholar Daniel Falk has been named one of three editors on an international project to produce new critical editions of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the ancient documents that contain some of the earliest known versions of Biblical texts.
The 15-volume series, known as Dead Sea Scrolls Editions, will feature improved reconstructions of previously published texts and some texts that have not been published before. It will be published by the Dutch firm Brill Publishers.
Falk, who is Chaiken Family Chair in Jewish Studies at Penn State, is a recognized expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls, specializing in the analysis of papyrus fragments and prayer texts. His co-editors on the project will be Martin Abegg Jr., recently retired from Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia, and Alison Schofield of the University of Denver.
May 12, 2016—Kidane Mengisteab, Penn State professor of African studies and political science, has been awarded a fellowship by the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program.
Mengisteab’s fellowship will allow him to travel to Tanzania to work with young faculty and graduate students in the social sciences programs at Moshi Cooperative University on post-graduate student training and mentoring in research methodology and scholarly writing, as well as cooperate in research on mining in the country.
The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program facilitates engagement between scholars born in Africa who are now based in the United States or Canada and scholars in Africa on mutually beneficial academic activities. The program is managed by the Institute of International Education in collaboration with United States International University-Africa in Nairobi and funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Ted Toadvine will assume the helm as director of the Rock Ethics Institute in January 2017 (photo provided).
May 9, 2016—Ted Toadvine, currently professor of philosophy and environmental studies at the University of Oregon, has been named director of the Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State. Toadvine’s tenure as director will begin in January 2017.
“We are delighted to welcome Ted as the next leader of the Rock Ethics Institute,” noted Susan Welch, dean of the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts. “He is an excellent scholar who also brings a great deal of experience as an administrator to this position. Given his credentials, I have no doubt that he will build upon the strong foundation molded by founding director Nancy Tuana and help lift ‘The Rock’ to even greater heights.”
Toadvine has been a member of the University of Oregon faculty since 2003 and served as head of its Department of Philosophy from 2011 to 2014. Before that, he was assistant professor of philosophy at Emporia State University and served as chair of the university’s Division of Social Sciences from 2002 to 2003. He was also a visiting associate professor of environmental studies at Oberlin College during the 2010-2011 academic year.
Edward Keynes was a member of the Penn State political science faculty from 1976 to 2003. Dr. Keynes passed away on April 9, 2016.
May 6, 2016—Edward Keynes, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Penn State, passed away on April 9, 2016 at the age of 75.
At the time of his death, Keynes was honorary professor of political science at Christian-Albrechts University (CAU) in Kiel, Germany, where he had been since 2003. He was a member of the Penn State faculty from 1976 until 2003 and had been a visiting professor at CAU from 1973 until his appointment as honorary professor in 2003. A noted scholar on politics and American constitutional law, particularly in relation to the War Powers Act, Keynes authored or co-authored six books and several book chapters and articles related to his research.
Funeral/memorial arrangements are unknown at this time.
Karen Bierman, McCourtney Professor of Child Studies, was recently named an Evan Pugh University Professor - the highest honor which can be bestowed upon Penn State faculty (Photo: Christie Clancy)
April 28, 2016—Karen Bierman, McCourtney Professor of Child Studies and director of the Penn State Child Study Center, was one of three Penn State faculty members recently named Evan Pugh University Professor.
Being appointed an Evan Pugh University Professor is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a university faculty member. Only 71 faculty members, including the most recent honorees, have received this distinction since its establishment in 1960. It was created to honor preeminent professors at the University.
Faculty who are named Evan Pugh University Professors are nationally or internationally recognized leaders in their fields of research or creative activity; demonstrate significant leadership in raising the standards of the University with respect to teaching, research or creativity, and service; display excellent teaching skills with undergraduate and graduate students who go on to achieve distinction in their fields; and receive support from colleagues who are leaders in their fields.
Seven Penn State alumni and a Penn State faculty member were honored for their distinguished careers and service during the college's 2016 Alumni Awards ceremony on April 15 (Photos: Kathy Swidwa)
April 21, 2016—The Penn State College of the Liberal Arts honored several alumni and one of its faculty members during its annual Alumni Awards Ceremony, which took place April 15 at the Nittany Lion Inn.
“Liberal Arts has many talented alumni who are making a difference in their jobs, communities, and the world,” noted Susan Welch, dean of the College of the Liberal Arts. “It is exciting to be able to honor some each spring.
“Carrie Tendler, Richard Feldman, Mary O’Neill Marsh, Jeff and Sharon Hyde, Binney Wietlisbach, and Annette O’Donnell-Butner represent the best of a liberal arts education. I am also delighted we could honor Michael Berkman for his outstanding work with political science alumni.”
Three Outstanding Alumni Awards and the Chaiken Leadership Award were presented by the college, while three service awards were presented by the Liberal Arts Alumni Society Board of Directors. The 2016 honorees include:
The "Brain in Action" logo used by the Penn State Bilingualism and Language Development Lab at its booth at the 4th Annual Science and Engineering Festival held in Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy of BiLD Lab)
April 20, 2016—The Bilingualism and Language Development (BiLD) Lab at Penn State recently represented the National Science Foundation (NSF) at the 4th Annual USA Science and Engineering Festival, which took place April 15-17 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
Founded by serial entrepreneur Larry Bock and Lockheed Martin, the USA Science & Engineering Festival—the nation’s largest science festival—was developed to ignite the next generation’s interest in considering careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). An estimated 350,000 people were expected to attend the three-day event, which featured nearly 3,000 hands-on activities and included a career pavilion where students could meet with scientists, representatives from leading universities and corporate recruiters to learn about internships, mentorships, scholarships, and after-school programs.
The BiLD Lab was one of only 26 NSF-supported projects, and one of the only two arts and humanities projects, to be selected to showcase its research in the NSF’s Exhibit Pavilion. Researchers in the BiLD lab study the neurocognitive processes related to language development, second language learning, and bilinguals’ use of two languages, with a particular emphasis on language development and bilingualism at middle childhood and beyond.