December 2009 President's Update

Dear Bellarmine Students, Faculty and Staff,

Happy holiday season! I hope that each and every one of you enjoyed a Thanksgiving filled with blessings. Now our focus turns toward Christmas.

As you will recall, I asked earlier this year for your suggestions on where we should plant a new Christmas tree after the magnificent evergreen in front of Horrigan Hall that had served us so faithfully and well for 19 years was felled by the Ice Storm of 2009. The overwhelming choice was the Quad – the heart of our campus.

And so last week, a 25-foot Norway spruce grown on the Carl Ray Landscape Nursery in eastern Jefferson County was lifted by crane over the covered sidewalk and planted near the Franciscan Circle. This type of spruce can grow one to two feet a year and reach eventual heights near 50 feet. In order to give our new tree time to get established, this year we have decorated a 20-foot blue spruce just beyond it for our annual Christmas Tree Lighting Party.

I invite you to join me tomorrow, Dec. 1, for festivities in the Campus Center in Horrigan Hall. Music, food and fun will begin at 5 p.m. We’ll flip the switch to illuminate the tree at 6, and activities should conclude around 7. This party is always an exceptionally enjoyable event, and I look forward to seeing you there as we open a new chapter in a beloved Bellarmine tradition.

New Photos Online

We’ve added plenty of new photos to our website recently, including shots of men’s basketball, Maroon 5, Novela, the Blessing of the Animals, Family Weekend, and a collection of photos by Mr. Mateo Wroblewski. Mateo is an exchange student from Edinburgh Napier University in Edinburgh, Scotland. A native of Poland, he moved to Scotland five years ago and came to Bellarmine in August for a one-year stint, which he is thoroughly enjoying. “Bellarmine exceeds my expectations in many aspects,” he said. “I love the fact you are recognized wherever you go and that everyone is very supportive.” A psychology major, Mateo is also studying photojournalism and business and shared some of his favorite photos of Bellarmine students and campus with us.  

Bellarmine News

Celebrating the Year of Astronomy
The 2009 International Year of Astronomy marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei’s first telescopic view of the heavens. Here at Bellarmine we have a direct connection to Galileo, of course, through our namesake, St. Robert Bellarmine, who warned the scientist against defending the Copernican Theory 17 years before the Vatican sentenced Galileo to house arrest for continuing to teach it. Our celebration of Galileo, Bellarmine and faith and reason will continue into 2010 and was marked most recently by two well-attended events:

Guarnaschelli Lecture. On Oct. 29, we were delighted to welcome Ms. Dava Sobel, author of Galileo’s Daughter, to Frazier Hall to present the 2009 Guarnaschelli Lecture. Ms. Sobel, a former New York Times science reporter, also is author of Longitude and The Planets and has co-authored five books, including Is Anyone Out There? with astronomer Frank Drake. In Galileo's Daughter, she explores the life of the Italian scientist Galileo Galilei through letters he exchanged with his eldest daughter, the cloistered nun Suor Maria Celeste. In her lecture, The Struggle for the Soul of Science, Ms. Sobel spoke of her belief that Galileo made all of his scientific discoveries “as a good Catholic.” The invitation to speak, she said, was “too good to pass up from a school named after Bellarmine.”

NASA Unveiling. On Nov. 19, we joined with the University of Louisville at the Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium to present an unveiling of unprecedented NASA images of our galaxy. The unveiling included a 6-foot-by-3-foot image that presented a unique view of the galaxy in near-infrared light observed by the Hubble Space Telescope, infrared light observed by Spitzer Space Telescope and X-ray light observed by Chandra X-ray Observatory. This combined image, carefully assembled from mosaic photo surveys of the Milky Way’s core by each telescope, provided the most wide-ranging view ever of our galaxy’s mysterious hub.

In addition, a panel of scientific and religious scholars discussed the history of faith and reason, Galileo’s contribution to space science and the next generation of space observation. The panelists included our own Dr. Katherine Bulinski, assistant professor of geosciences, Dr. Akhtar Mahmood, associate professor of physics, and Dr. J. Milburn Thompson, chair of the Theology Department, as well as James Lauroesch, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at U of L, and Rachel Connolly, director of the planetarium.


Physics Department Helps NASA Search for Earth-like Planets
In other intergalactic news, NASA, via the Kentucky Space Grant Consortium, has awarded Dr. Akhtar Mahmood and two of his students in the Physics Department, Mr. Ben Draper and Mr. Richard Jelsma, a $25,000 grant to assist scientists from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., on a new space-based mission that will search nearby stars for Earth-sized planets.  

Ms. Barbara Kingsolver Visits Campus
On Nov. 22, about 500 people packed Frazier Hall to hear Ms. Barbara Kingsolver, noted Kentucky author and sister of our own Dr. Robert Kingsolver, read from and discuss her new novel, The Lacuna, in an event in which Bellarmine partnered with Carmichael’s Bookstore. Ms. Kingsolver was funny and charming and a passionate advocate for literature. “The world needs more empathy” right now, she said, and novels provide a way to put aside your own life and live someone else’s for a while.

Student News and Achievements

Science Students Make Strong Showing Eight of our physics and biology students finished strong in competition at the annual Kentucky Academy of Science meeting, Nov. 13-14 at Northern Kentucky University:

Mr. Ben Draper won first place in the undergraduate research oral competition in physics and astronomy for his presentation, Mass Predictions of Charmed and Beauty Baryons.

Mr. Richard Jelsma won first place in the undergraduate research poster competition in physics and astronomy for his poster, Measurement of Muon Flux and Lifetime Using a Cosmic Ray Muon Detector. Dr. Akhtar Mahmood mentored the research by both Ben and Richard.

Ms. Stephanie Kortyka won second place in the undergraduate research competition in agricultural sciences for her oral presentation, An evaluation of the chemopreventative properties of different pawpaw varieties. Dr. Dave Robinson and Dr. Joann Lau, both from Bellarmine, served as mentors, along with Dr. Kirk Pomper of Kentucky State University.

Mr. Shakeeb Ahmad won second place in the undergraduate research competition in health sciences for his oral presentation, Can two different forms of breast cancer therapy be combined to reduce cell proliferation of both female and male lung cancer cells? Dr. Joann Lau served as faculty mentor.

Ms. Sarah Roebker won first place in the undergraduate poster competition in botany for her poster, A clinostat for evaluating plant response to microgravity. Dr. Joann Lau and Dr. Dave Robinson served as her mentors.

Ms. Catherine Brumm won second place in the undergraduate poster competition in botany for her poster, Bioinformatics analysis of a thaumatin-like protein from Giant Ragweed. Dr. Dave Robinson and Dr. Joann Lau were mentors.

Mr. Daniel Eschenbach and Ms. Jillian Goines won first place in the undergraduate poster competition in health sciences for their poster, An evaluation of the chemopreventative properties from Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula Ellis). Dr. Joann Lau was mentor.

In addition, two students gave oral presentations in the Cellular and Molecular Biology section on research conducted at the University of Louisville Health Science Center during summer internships funded by the National Institutes of Health. Ms. Cristin Samuels’ topic was Characterization of the protein pheromones of the salamander Plethodon cinereus, and Ms. Christy Read’s presentation was Development of stable HeLa cell lines expressing FLAG-tagged Syntaxin-6. Dr. Steven Wilt was mentor for both students.

Senior to Coach at 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games Ms. Robyn Ballinger, a Bellarmine senior education major and longtime Special Olympics volunteer, has been selected to Team Kentucky coaching staff for the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games, which are set for July 18-23 in Lincoln, Neb. Robyn, 20, will serve as the assistant track and field coach. A Louisville resident, she has been helping coach Special Olympics athletes for eight years. This will be her first national competition.

Faculty and Staff News and Achievements

Mr. Mark Meade has been named assistant director of the Merton Center after serving as assistant archivist for the past six years. Mr. Meade has immersed himself in Merton studies and regularly attends conferences of the International Thomas Merton Society. He has presented papers at the last three conferences and published articles in The Merton Seasonal.

School of Arts and Sciences

Two compositions by Mr. Richard Burchard, associate professor of music, had their world premiere Nov. 22-23. Alone and A Dream, poems by Edgar Allan Poe set for 8-part a cappella choir, were performed by Voces Novae at Christ Church Cathedral. Mr. Burchard, selected as composer-in-residence with Voces Novae for the 2009-10 concert season, will ultimately compose eight new works for the choir.

Mr. Todd Hildreth, Music Department instructor, and his band Squeeze-bot (which also includes Mr. Mick Sullivan, a Bellarmine graduate) will perform at this year’s Chicago Bluegrass and Blues festival on Dec 12. This year’s festival is headlined by Bela Fleck and Dr. Dog. Squeeze-bot is an accordion, banjo, tuba and tiny drum ensemble that delves into the unlikely repertoire of Mingus, Monk, Aerosmith, Culture Club, Chick Corea and more. The band secured a slot at this year’s festival by winning the popular vote in last year’s “Last Banjo Standing” contest.

Mrs. Gabriele Weber-Bosley, director of the International Programs Office, had her chapter, “Beyond Immersion: Global Engagement and Transformation Through Intervention via Student Reflection in Long-Term Study Abroad,” published in Internationalisation and the Student Voice, edited by Dr. Elspeth Jones for Routledge Press. She conducted a half-day workshop in Zacatecas, Mexico, on Nov. 4 on Intervention in the Study Abroad Experience: Combining Theory, Research and Application to Develop Intercultural Competence by invitation from the AMPEI Conference Committee. Mrs. Weber-Bosley also was an invited reviewer for the Council on International Educational Exchange of their Middle Eastern Study Abroad site in Amman, Jordan, on Nov. 7-9 in connection with her presentation at the 2009 CIEE conference. And she was a presenter and session chair on Nov. 13 on Developing Global Perspectives through “Local” Encounters: High-Impact Learning through Targeted Intervention Abroadat the CIEE conference in Istanbul, Turkey.

School of Communication

Faculty and students have continued working with students in the communications magnet program at Breckenridge Franklin Elementary School. Their work will be showcased in a Communication Fair to be held Friday, Dec. 4.

Faculty and staff: Dr. Kyle Barnett, Dr. Gail Henson, Dr. Ruth Wagoner, Ms. Winnie Spitza, Mrs. Sue Mauldin

Newspaper: Ms. Shannon Siders, Ms. Casey Mattingly, Ms. Shelly Deacon

Broadcast: Ms. Katie Beveridge, Mr. Nick Mattingly

Public speaking: Ms. Loretta Sharp, Mr. Brian Varner

Ms. Winnie Spitza organized a collection of 216 blankets from Bellarmine’s students, faculty and staff for Blanket Louisville, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to warm the hearts and bodies of Louisville’s homeless and for whom she serves on the board of directors. Ms. Spitza also accompanied Bellarmine’s pre-law students to Indiana University for its annual Law School Fair on Oct. 20. Representatives from more than 100 schools were present.

Dr. Kimberly Parker received an acceptance for a paper presentation at the International Conference on the Arts in Society, to be held July 22-25, 2010, in Sydney, Australia. The paper, Cohesiveness as Ideoculture, is co-authored with Bobi Ivanov and Cheryl Nicolas. Dr. Parker also presented two research papers at the November National Communication Association meeting: Can Inoculation Create Umbrella Protection Spanning over Related, but Untreated, Attitudes? Applying Inoculation as a Strategy to Protect Young People’s Attitudes from Pressure to Engage in Risky Behaviors, co-authored with Bobi Ivanov, which was selected as a top three paper by the Communication and Social Cognition Division; and Effectiveness of Advertising and Public Relations Message Sequencing in New Product Introductions: Corporate Credibility and Image as Moderators of Message Sequencing Success, co-authored with Bobi Ivanov and Jeanetta Sims and selected as a top three paper by the Public Relations Division.

Dr. Ruth and Mr. Jim Wagoner directed the summer high school mock trial camp in conjunction with the Louisville Bar Association. They were honored earlier this spring by the Bar Association for their pro bono involvement with this.

Dr. Kyle Barnett published a chapter, “The Recording Industry’s Role in Media History,” in the book Convergence Media History, edited by Janet Staiger and Sabine Hake (Routledge Press 2009). He presented a paper, Going Hollywood with Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer, at the “Popular Music in the Age of Mercer” conference Nov. 13-14 at Georgia State University, which holds the archives for songwriter Johnny Mercer. Dr. Barnett has also just been informed that he has been selected to participate in FACE’s French film grant program, The Tournées Festival, for the 2009-10 academic year. This is the third year in a row that he has received this prestigious grant. Announcement of films to be shown on campus will be forthcoming.

MetroTV, under the direction of Mr. Matthew Schuster, received four regional awards for community programming in the Philo T. Farnsworth Video Festival sponsored by the Central States Region of the Alliance for Community Media. This included First Place for Government Programming, recognizing MetroTV as the best government channel in the four-state region. Mr. Schuster also presented on recent regulatory and legislative developments related to PEG Access and Community Media at the Central States Regional Conference, Oct. 15-17.

Dr. Gail Henson has created and delivered programs on Difficult Conversations with Aging Parents and Eleventh Hour Communication with Actively Dying Patients through recent work with Hosparus. Dr. Henson also hosted Mr. Ed Webb, director of the Kentucky World Trade Center, as a speaker in her graduate class in Intercultural Communication.


Dr. Lara Hayes Needham’s award-winning children’s video series, BabyPro, was awarded the “Parent Tested, Parent Approved” seal in Spring 2009. Needham’s company joined the ranks of other notable PTPA winners including VTech, Lego, Stride Rite and Rosetta Stone. The PTPA seal is presented to companies whose products are deemed exceptional by a knowledgeable and unbiased panel of experts, including parents.

School of Education

Dr. Anne Bucalos has been appointed by the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board to serve on the Revised Program Review Committee to consider new review processes for accreditation.

Dr. Corrie Orthober and Mr. Seth Pollitt, Iroquois High School Social Studies Department chair and a student in Bellarmine’s principal prep program, presented a professional development session for Iroquois High School Social Studies Department to implement JCPS’ “Assessment for Learning” initiative on Oct. 29.

Dr. Corrie Orthober made a conference presentation titled Differentiated Classroom Questioning Strategies at Specified Levels of Cognitive Complexity at the annual conference of the National Council for the Social Studies in Atlanta on Nov. 13.

On Oct. 19, Drs. Robert and Kathy Cooter presented Improving How Reading is Taught to the Veritas Society.

Dr. Robert Cooter made a presentation of research entitled Using the Comprehensive Reading Inventory (CRI) in Response to Intervention (RTI): Tier 2 at the 53rd annual meeting of the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers (ALER) in Charlotte, N.C., on Nov. 6.

Dr. David Paige’s article “Adolescent Literacy: Using Whole-Class Choral Reading to Improve Literacy Outcomes in Struggling Readers” has been published in the current issue of the Kentucky Reading Journal (volume 27-2, Fall 2009).

Dr. Mary Goral gave two presentations at the Wisconsin Education Teacher’s Conference in Milwaukee on Oct. 30. The presentations, based on Dr. Goral’s recently published book, were titled Transformational Teaching: Waldorf-inspired Methods in the Public School.

On Nov. 13, Dr. Adam Renner delivered a paper at the annual National Council for the Social Studies meeting with colleagues Nancye McCrary (UK) and Doug Selwyn (Plattsburg State), entitled To do democracy: Overcoming alienation and forming more progressive mental conceptions that remake our world.

On Nov. 9, the Center for Teaching Excellence and Leadership and the School of Education hosted a presentation by Allan MacRae on Restorative Justice. Approximately 60 people from the university and various community agencies attended.