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September 8, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

This is probably the most unusual faculty newsletter that I could write. It is not often that a provost can say to his faculty colleagues “Welcome Back to Campus” three weeks into a semester. It is even more rare to celebrate a Mass of the Holy Spirit with no students physically present for the celebration, or conduct an entirely virtual orientation for students and faculty alike, but the continuing COVID-19 pandemic has changed our collective understanding of “normal” and “usual”. 

At this time last year, we had just celebrated our fall faculty luncheon in the Great Rooms of the Pryz, where we sat together in friendship and camaraderie, and listened with hopeful anticipation as President Garvey announced the public opening of Light the Way: The Campaign for Catholic University. We watched as the campaign video showed images of students gathering in our classrooms, our chapels, and our many green spaces, while faculty worked in labs to continue their research or taught their latest findings in our lecture halls.

None of us could have imagined that some of our peers may not be able to teach from the inside of a classroom on campus this semester, or that the only campus green space we see will be provided by a Zoom background developed by our Technology Services team. Likewise, it would have been hard to envision that while we were watching the Light the Way video in September 2019, one of the most important parts of the campaign would be a crisis response fund that raised over $300,000 in one week to support student needs such as housing assistance, food expenses, extra medical costs, and emergency tuition assistance. Again, COVID-19 has ushered in what I hope is a temporary “new normal”, but one that still dominates our lives and the way we approach the world around us.

Even with this “new normal” start for all of us this semester, what remains the true normal and usual is the continued dedication of you as faculty members to this great institution of higher learning. Your hard work and determination in bringing about a successful start to the fall semester is beyond comparison in American academic circles, and for that, I hope you will accept my most profound thanks and gratitude, and I hope you are proud of this accomplishment, both individually and collectively.

With that in mind, and with some disbelief that we are already into our third week of classes, I share with you my hope that your semester has started well, and that you and your students have settled into a positive routine of learning and researching in whatever form that takes this fall semester.

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As you notice, this is the first newsletter that is being delivered in a new format on the Provost Office website instead of through email distribution. I have made this change in delivery so that the newsletter has a longer shelf life. I don’t know about you, but I receive an extremely large amount of email traffic on a typical day, and if I do not read an email within a certain length of time, that email gets buried under a stack of other missives and may never see the light of day again.

By posting this newsletter to the website, the information is able to breathe and remain viable for longer than in an inbox bursting at the seams. Likewise, I am able to post previous newsletters to the same website in their PDF version. Information is now truly at your fingertips!

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Typically, the fall faculty luncheon is the place where the school deans introduce the newest members of their faculty to all of us. However, as we all know, this is far from our typical semester, and I unfortunately had to cancel the fall faculty luncheon. What may be the school deans' loss though is now my gain, since I now have the pleasure to introduce our newest full-time faculty members, for whom I hope this is the first of many newsletters! I can also see that we all look forward to getting to know all of you in person when things start to return to the “old normal”.

School of Architecture and Planning

Dean and Ordinary Professor Mark Ferguson began his service as dean on July 1, 2020. He holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Carnegie-Mellon University and a master’s in architecture from Princeton University. Mark is also a founding partner of Ferguson & Shamamian Architects, L.L.P. in New York, a firm of 90 with projects in 23 states and five countries. Its primary focus is the design of private residences including city apartments, townhouses, suburban houses, and country estates. Mark is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), a founding member of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, and serves as director of the National Board of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art.

School of Arts and Sciences

Dean and Ordinary Professor Thomas Smithwho also started at the University on July 1, 2020, received received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University, his master’s degree from our own Department of Politics, and a Ph.D. in government and international relations from the University of Notre Dame. He has been a member of the faculty at Villanova since 1993, where he was the founding chair of the university’s department of humanities from 2003-2008. The initiative seeks to cultivate excellence in the Catholic intellectual tradition across disciplines. Following his subsequent service as associate dean for the humanities in Villanova’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (2008-2010) and associate dean and director of the college honors program (2010-15), Smith was named to the position as director of the University Honors Program in 2015.

Glenn Østen Anderson has been appointed an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media and Communication Studies. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in European Literature from Oxford, and a M.F.A. in Film and Television Production from New York University. He previously worked as an adjunct professor at James Madison University and, most recently, was an assistant professor of film studies at Shenandoah University.

Amanda Auerbach is the newest Assistant Professor in the Department of English, and her research focuses on transatlantic romanticism. She earned her B.A. in English from Duke University, her Ph.D. in English from Harvard University in 2018, and a M.F.A. in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop this past May.

Chelsea Kelly is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology. She graduated with her B.A. in Sociology from the University of Delaware, and both her M.A. and Ph.D. this past May from the University of Georgia, with her dissertation focusing on “Relational Identity Feedback: A Computational Assessment of Emotion Discrepancy and Test of Behavior Outcome Predictions”.

Seth Smith has taken on a new role through his appointment as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of History. Seth is a graduate of the University of Tulsa (Bachelor of Computer Science), Oklahoma State University (M.A. in History), and our own Department of History (Ph.D. in 2016). He has served as the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs in the School of Arts and Sciences since the fall 2017 semester, and will continue in that capacity in addition to his clinical appointment in History.

Morgan Stinson is a Visiting Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, focusing on French Studies. She is a three-time graduate from the University of Maryland (B.A., M.A., and Ph.D.), with her dissertation exploring “The Rejection of Cruel Optimism in French Contemporary Theater: Trois Pièces d’Initiation”.

Busch School of Business

Robert Felix is the school’s newest Assistant Professor of Accounting. He earned a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of California, Riverside, an M.B.A. from Cal State University, San Bernardino, and his Ph.D. in Accounting from the University of Maryland, College Park. Prior to arriving at Catholic, Robert taught at Saint Joseph’s University and the University of Baltimore.

Cabrini Pak is Assistant Professor of Marketing. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina (B.S. in Biology), the George Washington University (M.B.A.), Villanova University (M.A. in Theology), and The Catholic University of America (Ph.D. in Religion and Culture). Her research has included topics in the medical field, marketing strategies, web strategies and planning, peace and justice studies, information management, and consumer behavior trends.

Daniel Svogun has been appointed an Assistant Professor of Finance. He is a three-time Economics graduate of Fordham University (B.A. in 2014, M.A. in 2017, Ph.D. in 2020). His dissertation focuses on “A Deterministic Genetic Algorithm Applied to Technical Analysis and its Implications for the Efficient Market Hypothesis”.

School of Engineering

Minhee Jun is a new Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She earned her B.S in Mathematical Science and Electrical Engineering from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, a M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Purdue University, and her Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. Minhee has worked outside academia as a software engineer and researcher, including at Texas Instruments in Dallas, TX.

Columbus School of Law

Joel Alicea has been appointed an Assistant Professor. A graduate of Princeton University (A.B. in Politics) and Harvard Law School, Joel has clerked for Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Justice Samuel Alito of the U.S. Supreme Court. He has also worked with the law firms of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP and Cooper & Kirk, PLLC, as well as the United States Attorney’s Office in Dallas, TX. Joel is admitted to the bar in the District of Columbia, Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third, Sixth, Ninth, D.C., and Federal Circuits, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

Jeremy Kidd is the school’s newest Visiting Associate Professor. He graduated from Utah State (B.S. in 1998 and Ph.D. in Economics in 2009) and the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University (2007). His dissertation in economics is titled “Probing the Mechanics of the Environmental Kuznets Curve”. Prior to his arrival at Catholic and the Columbus School of Law, Jeremy taught at Weber State University, George Mason and Mercer University Law School. He is admitted to the bar in the District of Columbia and Utah.

Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art

Delane Ingalls Vanada has been appointed Associate Professor of Practice in Art Education in the Department of Art. Delane earned her Ph.D. from the University of Denver and her Masters in Creative Arts in Learning from Lesley University. She served previously as an Assistant Professor of Art Education and Visual Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Art and Art History at the University of Florida. Her research focuses on instructional approaches and environments that enhance an individual’s thinking, learning mindsets, and creativity in the arts, along with innovative methods for teacher preparation, including design thinking.

National Catholic School of Social Service

Dean and Associate Professor Jo Ann R. Regan began her tenure as dean of NCSSS on July 1, 2020. Previously she was vice president of education at the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). She earned a bachelor’s degree in religion from Trinity University in San Antonio, a masters degree in social work from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, and a Ph.D. in social work from the University of Texas at Arlington. Prior to joining CSWE, Jo Ann developed and taught in several social work distance education programs including the University of South Carolina, University of Hawaii, Walden University and California State University-Long Beach. She also practiced in child welfare and the mental health field as a social worker.

Evalyne Kerubo "Ruby" Orwenyo has been appointed a Visiting Assistant Professor. She earned her Bachelor of Education degree from Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya, her M.A. in International Studies from Morgan State University, her M.S.W. from Howard, and her Ph.D. in Social Work from Rutgers University, writing her dissertation on “Online Participation, Biculturalism, and Empowerment: A Virtual Ethnography of Kenyan Diaspora Women Living in the United States of America and Canada.” Her research interests include community organizing, diaspora networks, eradicating social isolation, immigrants and refugees, international development, and substance abuse prevention.

School of Theology and Religious Studies

Fr. Michael Kueber is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Homiletics. He earned his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, his M.A. in Theology from Mt. Angel Seminary, a Bachelor of Sacred Theology and Licentiate of Sacred Theology from the Pontificio Instituto Liturgico, San’Anselmo, Rome, and a Doctor of Ministry in Preaching from the Aquinas Institute of Theology in Saint Louis, Missouri. Fr. Michael has extensive experience as a parish priest and pastor in Oregon and Minnesota, and has served as a high school teacher, catechist, instructor, and adjunct professor.

Fr. Antonio Portalatin is Visiting Assistant Professor of New Testament. He has a B.A. in Theology and M.A. in Comparative Literature from the Catholic University of Puerto Rico, a Bachelor of Philosophy from the Pontifical University Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome, and both a Licentiate and Doctorate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome. Originally ordained as a priest of the Diocese of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Fr. Portalatin has been a member of the Secular Institute of Schoenstatt Diocesan Priests since 1993 and has worked as a parish administrator, seminary professor and rector, and university professor.

In addition to these new faculty members, we can congratulate Fr. Marco Benini for his shift into a Research Assistant Professor in Liturgical Studies position in the School of Theology and Religious Studies, Matthew Jacobs for his appointment as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Michael Massey for his appointment as Assistant Professor (tenure-track) in the National Catholic School of Social Service, Sergio Picozzi for his appointment as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the Materials Science and Engineering program, and Anastasiya Stoyneva for her appointment as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. These professors have transitioned from visiting status to clinical, research, or tenure-track positions in their schools and departments, and I thank them for their continued service to the University community and our students.

Welcome aboard to each of you, and I wish you nothing but success as you embark on your full-time Catholic University career.

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As a reminder, the Office of Undergraduate Studies and the Center for Academic and Career Success uses the CardinalSuccess platform to “keep tabs” and track the progress of all our undergraduate students throughout the semester. In our current learning platforms and delivery systems, this progress tracking takes on much more importance. 

Last (spring) semester, we included all freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in this campaign so that we can identify students who need assistance. For this semester, we will be extending this reporting and tracking to our seniors as well.

With that in mind (and I know this is well in advance, but better to be forewarned!) please be prepared for entering midterm grades by October 9 for all undergraduates. While we have required midterm grades for freshmen for the past years, we are expanding the request for midterm grades to be entered for all undergraduate students. 

We found this to be a helpful practice in the spring semester so that students could know how they are doing at the midpoint of the semester. It also improves the quality of academic advising by faculty and the Center for Academic and Career Success to know how students are doing at the midpoint of the semester.

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The Institutional Review Board (IRB), the University's Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS), has released their fall 2020 schedule:

Meeting Date

Materials Due (4:00 pm)

September 24

September 18

October 8

October 2

October 22

October 16

November 12

November 6

December 1

November 20

December 17

December 11

The IRB/CPHS reviews faculty and student research protocols to ensure compliance with established standards for research involving human subjects. Guidelines to assist you in the preparation of materials required by IRB/CPHS to complete its review are available from the Office of Sponsored Programs. Strict compliance with these guidelines will facilitate approval of the research protocol for use with human subjects.

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My office has been working with the University Research Operations Committee (UROC) to help develop a Research Plan for Campus Re-Opening. The goal of this plan is to develop and follow a phased roadmap for the safe, efficient, and effective restart of faculty, staff, and student research activities. 

This research restart planning has been guided by the following principles:

  • All research that can be done remotely should continue remotely.
  • Mitigation of the risk of spread of COVID-19 on campus and in the greater community will be a priority.
  • Activities will comply with all local and national requirements, and guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the government of the District of Columbia, especially the District of Columbia Health Department, will be followed to the fullest extent possible as our circumstances warrant.
  • The university-wide “Campus Reopening Plan” should be used as a model whenever possible.
  • The research’s Principal Investigator will have the ultimate responsibility to implement the restart plan within their areas, in conjunction with building managers, and, as appropriate, the University Environmental Health and Safety office.

The University has already transitioned from Phase 1 to Phase 2 of the Research Plan for Campus Re-Opening, and a full explanation of what is allowed in Phase 2 of the Research Plan can be found here.

My thanks to Ralph Albano, Vice Provost for Sponsored Research, Research Compliance, and Technology Transfer, and David Long, Assistant Provost, for their efforts in leading the research reopening efforts on campus.

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The Center for Teaching Excellence has worked extremely hard throughout the summer to assist all our full and part-time faculty members in fostering an environment in which students are given a robust teaching, advising, and mentoring experience within a world-class research context. The Center’s staff consists of instructional coaches and instructional designers who can provide individual consultations, feedback on syllabi, course design, and instructional coaching. They will also be sponsoring workshops and orientations throughout the academic year. 

Upcoming events sponsored by the CTE include the following:

Meeting Date and Time

Topic

September 8 at 2:00 PM

Creative Alternative Assessments for an Online Course

September 10 at 12:00 PM

Tech Talk: Conversations about Technology and Instruction

September 11 at 11:00 AM

Connect and Collaborate: Instructional Support Meet-ups

September 17 at 11:00 AM

Debate as Teaching Tool

September 22 at 11:00 AM

Respondus: Beginner

September 22 at 1:00 PM

Respondus: Advanced

More information on these and other events offered by the Center for Teaching Excellence, as well as all registration links for the events above, can be found on their website, or you can contact Dr. Angela McRae, the Director of the Center, at cua-centerforteaching@cua.edu.

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As always, if you would like to share positive information from your academic department or school, I would love to include it in future newsletters as space allows. I ask you to send “good news” to David Long, the Assistant Provost, at longdp@cua.edu, and I will try to share as many as these items in upcoming newsletters.

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Finally, let me share some important upcoming dates:

Wednesday, September 16

Class of 2024 Convocation, 9:00 a.m.

Friday, September 25

Final date to deposit theses and dissertations for Summer 2020 graduation

Thursday, October 1

Last day for Summer 2020 graduation candidates to submit online diploma application (use Cardinal Students)

Monday, October 5 to Friday, October 9

Faculty submit interim grades for freshmen



Friday, October 9

Midterm

Last day to resolve grades of Incomplete from the previous semester

Last day to change to audit (must have dean's permission)

Monday, October 12

Columbus Day (Holiday: No classes)

Tuesday, October 13

Administrative Monday: Classes follow a Monday schedule this day; Tuesday classes do not meet

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May all of you have a very successful fall semester, and if there is anything I or any member of the Provost Office staff can do for you to help make this a successful semester, please do not hesitate to contact me at provost@cua.edu.

* * * *

Sincerely,

Aaron

Previous Faculty Newsletters from Provost Dominguez