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Oviatt Spotlight: Research Fellows Program

eNews Edition: Fall 2015

Contributed by Jim Lunsford

When originally commenting on the importance of establishing the Research Fellows Program, Provost Harry Hellenbrand explained, “Scholarship and the considered collection of texts and artifacts are essential for the health of society. Thus, we celebrate both reflection and collection in this fellows program under the auspices of the library.” Seven years later, this reflective celebration continues to acknowledge, honor, and most importantly, bring together faculty researchers from the Library and every college on campus.

Although conceived in the spirit of collective reflection, the fellowship application and appointment processes were designed to be competitive. Faculty proposals must meet specific requirements before they are considered and reviewed by an elected committee. After they have cleared the committee, the proposals are then passed on to the university Deans who make the final fellowship appointments for their areas. Once selected, research fellows are expected to continue their campus service responsibilities for the duration of their fellowships. They are, however, granted reassigned time away from some of their teaching assignments to help provide additional time for research. The program also demands accountability from the fellows in the form of periodic reports to both the provost and their deans. In addition, the fellows participate in a culminating colloquium where they come together to make short presentations on their individual topics and the progress of their research. When the fellows program was created, both Provost Hellenbrand and then Library Dean Sue Curzon agreed that, as the university’s academic hub, the Oviatt would be the perfect host for the Annual Research Fellows Colloquium.

The yearly event, which is always open to the public and campus community free of charge, is a diverse and vibrant showcase of fascinating research. “To me it's interesting to see the variety of research and how the faculty approach these topics,” says former Library Associate Dean and previous colloquium moderator Marianne Afifi. In addition to exposing the audience to a wide range of thought-provoking and relevant topics from a number of disciplines, the fellowship program offers a number of additional benefits. According to the Academic Affairs Research Fellows Website, the program not only spotlights CSUN’s faculty research, but serves to benefit scholarship overall. “These benefits include facilitating a network of people to catalyze initiatives; launching new collaborations; expanding and strengthening the talent base of researchers; linking researchers with other disciplines and industry; and applying knowledge to relevant area problems.”

2014 – 2015 Academic Affairs Research Fellows:

Carrie Rothstein-Fisch

Carrie Rothstein-Fisch (Michael D. Eisner College of Education – Educational Psychology and Counseling) - Building a Bridging Cultures School: What happens when teachers understand and utilize a model for understanding culture on a school-wide basis?

Ani Nahapetian

Ani Nahapetian (College of Engineering and Computer Science – Department of Computer Science) - In the course of her project, “Mobile Sensing-Based Stealth Computer Monitoring” Prof. Nahapetian will develop an application to demonstrate the inherent security weakness and the possibility of eavesdropping due to the powerful sensors on current mobile devices. The project will also investigate potential defenses to prevent or hinder the accuracy of such attacks.

Hélène Rougier

Hélène Rougier (College of Social and Behavioral Sciences – Department of Anthropology) - The project aims to reassess the importance of the French site of Saint-Césaire toward understanding the replacement of Neandertals by modern humans throughout Eurasia between about 30,000 and 40,000 years ago. This population process is an important part of the evolutionary background that resulted in more recent human biological diversity.

Brian Burkhart

Brian Burkhart (College of Humanities – American Indian Studies Program) - Dr. Burkhart's project, titled “The Logic of Kinship: Indigenizing Environmental Philosophy” contributes to the important dialogue on sustainability and environmental activism. The project will also impact discussions of global philosophy, ethics and diversity in theorizing environmental science.

J'aime Morrison

J'aime Morrison (Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication – Department of Theatre) - Professor Morrison will be developing a new theatre piece based on the depression-era novel Ask the Dust, which is set in the Bunker Hill neighborhood of Los Angeles but moves throughout 1930s L.A. Dr. Morrison will develop this multimedia work in collaboration with theatre students and faculty in the Fall of 2014.

Cristina Rubino

Cristina Rubino (David Nazarian College of Business and Economics – Department of Management) - Dr. Rubino's project, “What Do You Bring to the Table? Examining the Role of Personal Resources in Various Work Contexts,” has significant potential both for advancing theory relative to diversity and non-standard work dynamics and for enhancing employee well-being and organizational performance. Building upon her earlier work on employee strain, the research addresses the conflict-induced stress that can arise when virtual, temporary and permanent employees coming together in the workplace.

The 7th Annual Research Fellows Colloquium will be held in the Jack and Florence Presentation Room on the Garden Level of the Oviatt Library on Tuesday, October 13, from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. For additional information about this and all Library events, please visit the Oviatt’s Exhibitions and Events page online, or call 818 677-2638.