College of Arts and Sciences Points of Pride

Art department faculty regularly offer courses in the UK and other international destinations. Students across campus can spend a month in London studying the origins of photography or partake in trips to Italy, Peru or other nations.

Professor Fong Choo has served as an Artist in Residence at Bellarmine since 1990.Choo teaches ceramics and participates annually in prestigious exhibits including the Smithsonian Craft Show, the Philadelphia Craft Show and the American Craft Exposition. He’s received several national awards, including eight straight Awards of Excellence at the St. Louis Art Fair, and he’s been featured in a number of books and articles, including a cover story for Ceramics Art and Perception.

Arts Administration graduates report nearly 100% employment and are working in regional and national fine and performing arts institutions. Majors earn a minor in Business Administration and complete a minimum of two professional internships.

Each year one or more students in Bellarmine’s creative majors – the fine and performing arts, Communication design, and/or creative writing – are awarded a BecVar Artist-in-Residency scholarship that offers a unique opportunity to create work focused on the art of healthcare informed and inspired through immersion in one of Bellarmine’s many health science programs. Scholarships average $2000, with additional funds for materials, and the creative output becomes part of the university’s art collection, performed or permanently installed on our campus.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology students have the opportunity to publish research with faculty co-authors and receive Student Government funding to present their research at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology national conference.

Biology students and faculty are involved with cooperative research at the Louisville Zoological Gardens, and non-majors can take a Biology at the Zoo course for general education credit. Majors and non-majors may also participate in annual Marine Biology field course study on the island of San Salvador, The Bahamas or Ambergris Caye in Belize. 

Bellarmine’s undergraduate Biology students may enroll in an upper-level Gross Anatomy course where they fully participate in the dissection of human cadavers in a state-of-the-art dissection laboratory. This opportunity is especially rare among predominantly undergraduate institutions.

Biology Professor David Porta has conducted research in Trauma Biomechanics and Injury Reconstruction for over 27 years and has published over 30 articles, 5 textbook chapters, and 53 abstracts on these subjects, as well as given 83 conference presentations and over 250 invited lectures. He’s served as a Forensic Consultant in over 800 legal cases

Dr. Dave Robinson in the Department of Biology is co-host of a local radio show, ‘Bench Talk: The Week in Science,’ broadcast from a local, community-run radio station WFMP, 106.5 FM. This show is a clearinghouse of all things science, covering the latest advances in the life sciences, physics, and chemistry, as well as social sciences including psychology and anthropology. Topics include important science policy issues, science history, STEM education, and the environment. The show is broadcast three times a week to a potential Louisville audience of 300,000 people, as well as live streamed on the web and podcasted.

Bellarmine’s Chemistry program offers students hands-on experience with state-of-the-art instrumentation at all levels (first through senior year), internship opportunities with chemical companies, and a Clariant Corporation endowed summer research fellowship, as well as undergraduate research opportunities with all chemistry faculty in areas including:

  • Development of renewable energy resources;
  • Synthesis of anti-cancer compounds;
  • Synthesis of novel inorganic compounds for use in optoelectronic devices;
  • Analysis of environmental contaminants; and
  • Exploration of energy transfer pathways with fast laser systems.

The Communication department offers two 5-year early entry graduate degree options for their majors, a Master of Arts in Communication and a Master of Science in Digital Media. Early entry allows students to begin graduate coursework during their senior year.

In 2019 Professor Shawn Apostel and the Communication department partnered with Bellarmine students, alumni, staff and faculty to host a TEDx talk on our campus. As a result of its success, this is now an annual event. (The next TEDx Talk is scheduled for Feb. 28, 2020).

Communication faculty, staff and students participate in department-wide service initiatives throughout the year, supporting local non-profits including Blanket Louisville, the Franciscan Kitchen, the Center for Women & Families, Forgotten Louisville, and Waterstep. For years they have helped to feed the hungry and collect blankets, clothing, food, and supplies for those in need.

Communication students in the NEXU Agency course provide pro bono graphic, marketing, public relations, and media services to area nonprofits including Louisville Public Media, Dare to Care, Kentucky Harvest, Louisville Dress for Success, the Kentucky Psychological Foundation, and the Kentucky Homefront radio program.

The interdisciplinary Design, Arts & Technology program allows students from a variety of programs to design a second major combining coursework in arts, media, design, music and technology from multiple departments within Arts & Sciences.

English Professor Frederick Smock was Kentucky’s 2017-2018 Poet Laureate, traveling throughout the state to help ignite passion for the written word.

English Professor Charles Hatten serves as Bellarmine’s liaison with the Kentucky Branch of the English Speaking Union. Bellarmine is one of seven ESU affiliated universities across the state, allowing our students to successfully compete for scholarships providing tuition, room and board for summer courses at Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh University.

Bellarmine’s Environmental Studies department places emphasis on social justice and engagement with community partners. Student research spans conservation, ecology, geology, paleontology, wetland restoration, watershed management and other diverse topics. The department conducts the environmental and sustainability programming on campus and brings in regional experts for public lectures on local environmental and environmental justice issues and initiatives. Courses engage students in campus or community sustainability and service projects each semester.

A $100,000 grant from Louisville Gas & Electric assisted the Environmental Studiesprogram in outfitting their research and teaching laboratory with state-of-the-art equipment with which students learn the technical skills needed for environmental monitoring and research. Among other gear, the lab is equipped with EPA-approved research-grade instruments for measuring water quality (YSI-ProDSS) and dissecting and compound microscopes with high-resolution digital photography capabilities.

Environmental Studies students engage in a wide variety of outdoor learning experiences on our on-campus farm and at adjacent locations, including the Louisville Nature Center, Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve, and Joe Creason metro park. We are mere minutes from the Louisville Zoo. Field trips bring students to the city-wide Olmstead Park system, Louisville’s Ohio River access points, the Falls of the Ohio State Park, as well as botanical gardens and national parks and forests. Topics in environmental justice have brought students throughout the city, to a mountaintop removal site in Eastern Kentucky, to Washington, DC, and on study abroad to Peru.

Global Languages Professors Nelson Lopez and Davide Domine work closely with the Kentucky Institute for International Studies. Dr. Lopez serves as the summer site director of the KIIS program in Segovia, Spain, and Professor Domine serves a program director of the Paris/Munich KIIS winter program.

For more than two decades, the Department of History and Political Science has organized delegations for the national Model Arab League program. This simulation of a League of Arab States meeting develops students’ skills in research, debate and negotiation, and expands their knowledge of current events, Middle Eastern politics, and diplomatic protocol.

History Professor Tim Welliver sits on the board of the Kentucky Institute for International Studies and frequently offers courses on Nazi Germany and on the Cold War in the KIIS summer program in Berlin. 

Bellarmine’s unique Interdisciplinary Curriculum program offers diverse courses that focus on social justice and bridge the gap between our campus and community. Popular courses included Theater and Prison, Death and the Corpse, and Sustainable Action Workshop.

Music department faculty are accomplished professional composers and performers.

  • Dave Clark has performed with such diverse artists as Clark Terry, James Moody, Nancy Wilson, and Delfeayo Marsalis, among many others, in addition to performing at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy and the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Montreaux, Switzerland.
  • Department chair S. Timothy Glasscock has performed and conducted in 17 countries and now serves as Artistic Director of the Bellarmine Oratorio Society. 
  • Todd Hildreth, instructor of jazz piano, has performed or recorded with Aretha Franklin, Norah Jones, Rufus Reid, Joan Rivers, Bobby Shew, and many others.
  • Professor Mark Kano recently served as an Artist-in-Residence at the West Virginia University School of Music and performed in Gershwin’sPorgy & Bess at Cincinnati Opera. He now sits as Regional Governor for National Association of Teachers of Singing. 
  • Alexander T. Simpson Jr is the founder and Artistic Director of the Black Classical Artists of Louisville and a founding member and President of the Kentuckiana Branch of the National Association of Negro Musicians. Each year he coordinates Bellarmine’s ‘Traditional Negro Spiritual’ Voice Competition and many other Black History Month commemorations.
  • Meme Tunnell has performed is a regular keyboardist with the Louisville Orchestra for over three decades. Her credits include recordings for the Coronet label, Centaur Records, and TNT Productions.
  • Guitarist Craig Wagner has performed with many jazz luminaries including Lee Konitz, Dave Samuels, and Bill Watrous as well as the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Windsor Philharmonic Orchestra. His work has been featured in publications such as Guitar PlayerGuitar OneAcoustic GuitarJust Jazz Guitar,20th Century Guitar, Vintage GuitarKeyboard MagazineThe Village Voice,Cadence, SpinGuitar World, and many others

Bellarmine Music students perform in a wide variety of ensembles for credit or pleasure, ranging from traditional offerings to those initiated by students themselves (funk and blue grass). The Bellarmine Oratorio Society offers students a unique opportunity to study and perform with alumni, faculty, staff and local community members and – along with members of the Bellarmine Jazz Combo – to participate in biennial European concert tours.

This year the Music department has transitioned to QR codes in lieu of lengthy performance program notes and anticipates saving over 10,000 pages of paper and $2000 in printing costs

Bellarmine’s Philosophy and Theology programs house the Ethics and Social Justice Center, focused on enhancing critical reflection, dialogue and constructive action on contemporary ethical issues in society through and array of annual programs and events targeting students, faculty and the community including the Ethics Bowl; Ethics, Bioethics, and Social Justice essay competitions; Faculty Colloquy presentations; and celebrations surrounding Ethics Madness Month.

Bellarmine’s Physics faculty were part of the research team of the ATLAS high energy physics experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN that discovered the Higgs Boson, a Nobel Prize winning discovery hailed as the 2012 Breakthrough of the Year and regarded as one of the major scientific discoveries of the 21st century. The department has a state-of-the-art Tier-2 Supercomputer linked to the prestigious national Open Science Grid cyber-infrastructure, processing Big Data from a number of large-scale ATLAS experiments and used by our Physics faculty to conduct Photon Simulation studies for the Dark Energy Science Collaboration (DESC) at the LSST (Large Synoptic Survey Telescope) to determine the nature of Dark Energy in the universe.  

The Physics Department also boasts an Advanced Visualization and Computation Laboratory (AVCL) equipped with a next generation 16-foot by 5-foot video-wall (Hiperwall) connected to multiple high-end Tier4 Data Analysis workstations, providing parallel processing capabilities that allow visualization of large-scale data sets at exceptional resolution. The department’s Robotics Lab is equipped with a range of devices including rovers, a hexapod (robotic spider), drones, 3D printers, robotic arms, and a humanoid robot called NAO that can interact and communicate with humans.

Over the past decade, the Physics Department has received over $1.2 million in federal funding including four grants from the National Science Foundation (NFS), two state NFS EPSCoR grants, and two grants from the NASA’s KSGC program, as well as support from the Clare Boothe Luce Foundation. During that same time, majors have presented over 80 research posters and research presentations at local, state, regional and national conferences and have won 12 Kentucky Academy of Science undergraduate research competition awards, including 9 first place and 3 second place awards. 

The Political Science Program sponsors a legal internship program for students interested in attending law school. As a condition to accepting interns, firms agree to offer students hands-on experiences such as performing basic legal research, drafting legal documents, accompanying attorneys to hearings, and sitting in on client consultations. Students have interned with the Jefferson County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, a Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge, an immigration law firm, criminal defense firms, and general practice firms. These opportunities allow students to gain valuable insight into the inner workings of the legal field.

Psychology students publish research with faculty co-authors and receive Student Government funding to present their research at local and regional conferences. They also participate in internships in human resources, clinically related settings, and non-profit organizations. Many of these internship opportunities lead to full-time employment after graduation. 

Psychology Professor Courtney Keim leads the department’s Organizational Behavior & Leadership course (PSYC 402), which directly engages students in partnerships with organizations such as Metro Louisville government departments of Youth Detention Services and Public Health & Wellness. Students investigate department concerns, conduct research on best practices, do bench-marking with comparable institutions, develop and implement surveys, analyze results, document and deliver their findings, and propose a variety of empirically-based effective solutions to enhance employee engagement, reduce employee turnover, and bolster managers' leadership skills.