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Faculty present research at annual symposium

April 24, 2017
KOKOMO, Ind. — Being a professor isn’t just about teaching. It’s about research and time spent learning more about their field of study outside of the classroom.

Students benefit from this continued education, as professors share their findings in their classrooms.

Indiana University Kokomo faculty presented their most recent work during the annual research symposium on campus.

Rachel Blumenthal, assistant professor of English; and Stephanie Medley-Rath, assistant professor of sociology, coordinated the faculty symposium. Medley-Rath took her own students to the event, to allow them to see a professional presentation — and another side of their faculty.

“We started having this event to give faculty a chance to showcase their research here on campus,” she said. “This year, we encouraged them to consider any aspect of their research, so they could share early ideas about where it is going, provide an overview of their program as a whole, or present findings that are ready to be published.”

Faculty presenters included:

• Paul Cook, assistant professor of English, Polly Boruff-Jones, dean of the Library, Yan He, information literacy librarian, and Chris Darr, associate professor of communication arts. Librarians and program directors for the speech communication and first-year writing programs collaborated to assess information literacy in IU Kokomo’s general education curriculum. In addition to assessing course learning outcomes, the survey results contribute to evidence-based decision making for revising and improving the information literacy curriculum.

• Hyunkang Hur, assistant professor of public management. His study examines how at-will employment rule change shapes employee morale and work behavior. The findings support an inference that changes in job security rule lead to decline in outcomes, such as Department of Veterans Affairs employees job satisfaction, whistle blowing, and increase in turnover intention.

• Hisako Masuda, assistant professor of biochemistry. Using genes involved in hydrocarbon metabolism, the dynamics of the change in gene organization in bacterial genomes were presented. Results have shown that three genes encoding subunits of the alkane hydroxylase complex underwent multiple events to form a variety of genetic structures, allowing concerted gene expression.

• Patrick Motl, associate professor of physics. KIC 9832227 is a contact binary system whose orbital period appears to be decreasing, indicating that the two stars are coming closer together over time, and may merge catastrophically between September 2021 to September 2022.

• Joshua Mugg, lecturer in philosophy. Several prominent psychologists and philosophers have recently argued that human reasoning is divided into two kinds: One fast, automatic, associative; and the other slow, effortful, and rule-based. Mugg offers his own one-system alternative to these dual-process theories.

• Niki Weller, assistant professor of sociology. Her study explores how changing social trends regarding blended families influence pregnancy intention. Whether or not a pregnancy was intended has far reaching impacts on maternal and infant health outcomes. This preliminary work has identified significant aspects of blended families, specifically when there were children present from previous relationships, on the outcome of pregnancy intentions.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 04/26/2017