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Women's studies to expand name

The Department of Women’s Studies will change its name to the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies to better reflect the scope of its academic and research expertise. The Board of Trustees recently approved the change, which would be in name only and would not change the relationship of the department to its home, the College of the Liberal Arts, or with other departments at the University.

The department offers bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees in women’s studies, minors in women’s studies and in sexuality and gender studies, and dual-title master’s and doctoral degrees with nine partners in five colleges. The name change is expected to make the department and its academic offerings more attractive to a broader range of students and also will provide a stronger institutional home to the sexuality and gender studies minor. Click here for the full story.

English graduate student wins University teaching award

Kyle King was among ten winners of the 2015 Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award. “I approach my teaching with the same presumption that the training of athletes and the training of students have similarities. After all, some of the ancient Greeks' rhetorical training took place in the same gymnasia where they learned to grapple and spar,” King said. Click here for full story.

LER courses part of curriculum for Marine Corps site

Penn State will begin offering select courses this fall at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego with the goal of giving military personnel more access to a college degree. The site will be the University’s first classroom on a military base.  The courses, from defense- or business-related academic programs, will be taught in a dedicated Penn State classroom at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot via Penn State World Campus, the University’s online campus. Select courses from four degree programs including the B.S. in labor and employment relations and the M.P.S. in human resources and employment relations will be taught through the Marine Corps Recruit Depot classroom.  Click here for the full story.

Eye-tracking technology developed for psychology research

Koraly Perez-Edgar, the McCourtney Family Early Career Professor of Psychology, and her team are creating an eye-tracking visor that is wearable, less expensive and mobile. The initial idea for using a mobile visor came from Phil Galinsky, a research technologist in the College of the Liberal Arts, who built a DIY version of the device. He has recently been working on adding face detection and emotion recognition capabilities to the software.Click here for the full story.

Alumni Mentor Program helps students to network

The Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program is a valuable resource for students in the College of the Liberal Arts who are interested in connecting with Penn State alumni. As of this spring semester, there are more than 300 pairs of alumni and students working together, and talking and sharing information in person or electronically. Each student in the program is matched with an alumnus or alumna who helps with a range of career preparation subjects: resume review, internship and career exploration, job shadowing, interview preparation, networking and career advice. The program is designed for all students enrolled in the College of the Liberal Arts. Applications for summer 2015 are available starting March 15, with the deadline on April 15. To be eligible for the program, students must have at least one major in the Liberal Arts, create a Network Simplicity account, complete an application and attend an orientation session.

Above are Meghan Stouter, a junior in labor and employment relations, and her mentor Lynn Flayhart, a liberal arts and counseling graduate, and current consultant in the Washington, D.C., area. Click here for the full story.

Course explores Ferguson events through many perspectives

Penn State's Department of African American Studies and the College of the Liberal Arts are bringing a multidisciplinary perspective to bear as they study last summer’s events in Ferguson, Missouri. Penn State students enrolled in the African American studies course “The Fire This Time: Understanding Ferguson” will examine the historical context, the fatal interaction between police officer and citizen, and the resulting legal proceedings and protests. The course meets weekly on Monday evenings for five weeks throughout March and April, and involves faculty from a variety of departments and disciplines. The participation of many faculty will help students learn to bring diverse perspectives to bear on the events in Ferguson and on other important issues. 

Department chair Paul C. Taylor said "The main goal is to help students put themselves in a position to engage productively with issues like the ones raised in Ferguson. This takes work, and that's the work we mean to do in the course."  Click here for the full story.

Faith, science relationship key to evolution teaching

Discussing the relationship between science and faith, rather than avoiding the discussion, may better prepare future high school biology teachers for anticipating questions about evolution, according to political scientists Michael Berkman and Eric Plutzer. In a series of focus group meetings with biology students at four Pennsylvania institutions -- three universities and a college -- students from a Catholic college appeared to be more reflective when talking about issues of faith and science.

"We suspect these students are somewhat less anxious around discussions of faith and science that come up in biology classes," said Berkman, professor of political science and director of the Center for American Political Responsiveness. Click here for the full story.

Sociologists study children of undocumented immigrants

Children of undocumented Mexican immigrants have a significantly higher risk of behavior problems than their co-ethnic counterparts with documented or naturalized citizen mothers, according to a team of sociologists. Nancy S. Landale, Liberal Arts Research Professor of Sociology and Demography, notes "We found that treating Mexican children with immigrant parents as a single undifferentiated group masks important differences in outcomes by parental legal status." Click here for the full story.

Anthropology researchers examine prehistoric societies

Anthropology faculty George Milner and George Chaplin found there is a  need to study larger areas of land and link those studies to measurable environmental, societal and demographic changes to understand variations in prehistoric societies. The large areas are necessary to fully understand human behavioral response to social and environmental events. Click here for the full story.

Professor of English receives honorary doctorate

Cheryl Glenn, Liberal Arts Research Professor of English and Women's Studies, recently received an honorary doctorate from Örebro University, Sweden, for her contributions to the humanities, specifically to the study of gender and rhetoric. A leading scholar-teacher of rhetoric and writing, Glenn focuses on women’s contributions to rhetoric as well as rhetorics of silence and listening. Click here for full story.

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