Faculty Research Symposium session descriptions


Office of the Provost, Office of Research & Sponsored Programs, Faculty Development Center, and Webster University Library present the 2nd Annual Faculty Research Symposium


Thursday, February 15, 2018
East Academic Building

Please join us in room 102 for 45-minute sessions during the day. A reception in room 253 with light refreshments will follow from 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm.


8:00 am central time, East Academic Building room 102

Keith WelshInterim Rector, Webster University-Thailand Campuses, Reflections on Negotiating Life in South East Asia


My presentation will share analyses and reflections of various aspects of life in South East Asia, primarily Thailand.  Among other things to be touched upon include status relationships, religion and its manifestations, and the idea of "nature" in Thai culture.



Keith E. Welsh is in his thirtieth year at Webster University.  He currently serves as Interim Rector at the Webster University-Thailand campus and is a Professor in the Religious Studies department.  He first traveled to Thailand in 1999 to teach at the new Webster campus, and taught there several times through 2005.  He returned again in 2014 and 2015 and has served as Interim Rector since 2016.  His time there has allowed him to explore in Laos and Cambodia as well as throughout Thailand.  He credits his experiences in Southeast Asia with giving him an enhanced understanding of popular religion, especially Buddhism, as well as an enriched appreciation for cultural diversity.


10:00 am, EAB 102

Monte F. Hancock, Adjunct Faculty, Business Department, Space Coast Metropolitan Campus. Getting Students Published as Part of Their Coursework


In 2010, I began the Sirius Project, which is a collaborative research effort involving faculty from multiple institutions around the world to directly engage student volunteers in publishable research. The primary goal is to get students their first research publication. The Project has seen over a dozen technical papers published at multiple international technical conferences. Students are listed as full co-authors, and receive Google Scholar, SCOPUS, and other scientific index citations. For 2018, we have 5 papers underway involving applications applications of machine intelligence to cognitive modeling. This talk will present a simple step-by-step plan for doing this in any classroom, from the specifics of conference selection, choice of topic, methodology, and presentation.


11:00 am, EAB 102

Dr. Bill Russell, Coordinator of Dance Injury Prevention, Department of Dance, Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts, Topics in Dance Medicine


I am medical staff and adjunct instructor in the dance department at Webster. I am also an artist. A central/ centering theme across all the aspects of my career is the study of the integration of art and science. By collaborating with people who work in both the creative arts and the sciences, I have been able to improve my own knowledge, abilities, and resources. As a working artist who performs and exhibits in the community, I weave dance and dance medicine arts into work with students, colleagues, and audiences. I believe: Healthy dancers are more than flexible and fluid. Stamina comes from sources beyond strength and practice. Creative growth comes from body mind awareness with an energetic connection to other performers, audiences, and communities. In 2016, I was invited by the International Association of Dance Medicine/ Science to London's Trinity Laban Conservatoire (TLC). Research is at the core of its mission. Artists/teachers design innovative projects that push the boundaries of the art form and promote development of new media with theoretical perspectives like cultural context, and cross-sector collaboration. My residency was multi-directional with staff in dance science AND dance instruction and included students in group settings and one-on-one. We explored: healthy body/mind/person and improved creative process? best practices of a functional/fit dancer? information/resources available to achieve success/excellence? who is your audience for performance and do you connect in a meaningful way? This integrated research and documentation of methods and techniques learned/practiced in collaboration with TLC will be invaluable as we continue to develop and improve curriculum goals at Webster.



I am the coordinator of dance injury prevention and rehabilitation in the dance department at Webster.  I am also an artist. A central/ centering theme in my work is the study of the integration of art and science. By collaborating with people who work in both the creative arts and the science arts, I have improved my own knowledge, abilities, and resources. As a working artist who performs/exhibits in the community, I weave dance and dance medicine into work with students, colleagues, and audiences. I believe that healthy dancers are more than just flexible and fluid on stage. Performance stamina comes from sources that are beyond physical strength and routine practice.  Creative growth comes from an awareness of self as body and mind with an energetic connection to other performers, to actual audiences, to the communities where we live and work.


12:00 noon, EAB 102

Kim Kleinman, Director, Undergraduate Advising, Lessons from Studying the Missouri Botanical Garden's Edgar Anderson


Edgar Anderson (1897-1969) epitomized the Missouri Botanical Garden's complementary aims of research, display, and education, while also contributing to central discussions on 20th Century evolutionary theory. With five of a projected seven papers published and a sixth submitted, I have sought to place plant evolutionary biology back in that broader discussion;  understand the relationship among cytology, genetics, and systematics; recognize the role of hybridization as an evolutionary mechanism comparable to mutation; and, in toto, challenge the historiography of the so-called Evolutionary Synthesis. Anderson was also a gifted teacher whose work has informed my own pedagogy.



Kim earned his PhD in 1997 from the Union Institute with a dissertation on the history of the Missouri Botanical Garden as a natural museum.  His curiosity was about informal education, how the interested lay public has learned about plants and science from the Garden since its founding in 1859.  The Union Institute challenges its learners to design their own programs and construct their doctoral committees.  Kim worked with historians of science Garland Allen and John C. Greene, botanists/historians of natural history Joseph and Nesta Ewan, and many MBG scientists, including Marshall Crosby. Kim’s Anderson project has resulted in 5 major published papers that take up the role of botany in the Evolutionary Synthesis and the role of hybridization as an evolutionary mechanism. Kim began at Webster University as an adjunct professor in the Philosophy Department in 1993 and soon thereafter began his PhD program.  He has also taught courses in History, Poltical Science, General Studies, Biology, and in the First Year Seminar Program ever since. He joined the Academic Advising Center in 2002, becoming Director for Undergraduate Advising in 2014.



1:00 pm, EAB 102

Hasmik Chakaryan, Assistant Professor, Counseling department, College of Arts & Sciences, Internationalizing Counseling as a Profession and a Graduate Degree


The session will focus on the presenter's research in Armenia, East Europe, where she investigated the status of mental health, the need for professional services, and the issues of accessibility of such professional mental health service providers to the larger public. The presenter will talk about the need to internationalize counseling as a profession and a graduate degree in Armenia to meet the multifaceted psychological, generational, and epigenetic trauma-related issues that the people face on daily basis. The presenter will speak to the current structure of health and education and will recommend a model of a graduate degree that will fit within this existing system. She will also recommend methods for developing a counseling profession in the country that fits within the culture and does not conflict with the existing system. A critical analysis of cultural and linguistic barriers will be included and a discussion among participants will be facilitated. Participants will learn about the status of mental health in Eastern European, past Soviet countries, specifically Armenia. Participants will learn about the need for mental health field improvement. Participants will learn how a western profession may possibly be adapted to an eastern culture, society and linguistic system.



Hasmik Chakaryan is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Professional Counseling and the Director of Clinical Programs. She obtained her Master's degree in Clinical Counseling in Cincinnati and her PhD in Counselor Education at the University of Toledo. Throughout her career, she has been actively involved in social justice and human rights advocacy. She has founded, coordinated, as well volunteered for several psycho-social and psycho-educational projects internationally. Hasmik has also established a training program for helping professionals in Mexico. She presents at state and national conferences. Her expertise includes counseling and outreach with victims of various crimes, crises, and traumas, multicultural counseling, and internationalizing counseling as a profession and a graduate degree. Hasmik’s non-academic interests include dancing, cooking, baking and socializing with people from various backgrounds. She especially loves the arts. She frequents the St. Louis Symphony, the opera, as well as the Art Museum.


2:00 pm, EAB 102

Nicole Miller-Struttmann, Laurance L. Browning, Jr. Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Science, College of Arts & Sciences, Tongue Tied: Consequences of a Functional Mismatch Between an Alpine Plant and its Pollinator


More than 85% of plants require the help of pollinators to reproduce. Recent activities by human beings are changing the landscape in which these partnerships evolve. For instance, climate change is changing the trajectory of evolution. Long-tongued bumble bees are declining in many parts of the world while their short-tongued counterparts are not. Tongue length determines which plant species a pollinator will visit and how effective it is as a pollinator. When tongue length and flower depth match, pollinators extract more nectar and plants receive more pollen, establishing a lucrative mutualistic relationship. When these functional traits do not match, plant reproduction can suffer. I will discuss my recent research into the consequences of declining bumble bee tongue lengths for the floral evolution of a common high mountain plant, Polemonium viscosum. 


3:00 pm, EAB 102

Con Christeson, Adjunct Faculty, Communications & Journalism department, School of Communications, Arts-Based Community Development/Community Space/Comunity Engagement


This presentation tells the story of 5+ years of arts-based community development using creative engagement and co-creation. Outcomes, often a visible product, are always accountable to people and process. I have two studio spaces in the Cherokee arts district to find out more about who WE are. The diversity of this place is a challenge and a strength. My goal is to engage the community creatively in unexpected ways. Students, including several from Webster, participate in meaningful and impactful ways. Three projects are in the works:

1. Content and design for a mural to be installed on Cherokee Street titled: 'Bureau of Enquiry'. In workshop sessions, we will gather questions and listen for answers: who are YOU? who are WE? why are you/we here? what can we do together?

2. Visual/verbal 'zines, designed/written by individuals with chosen themes, copied in multiples/packaged/freely distributed along the Cherokee corridor. Each one will carry an access link for readers' comments and participation via a dedicated-response website. 

3. Workshops exploring the self-portrait in a variety of media i.e. printmaking, collage, and photography, resulting in a series. 2-D images will be replicated, exhibited in local shop windows, bound into a collective book for participants and businesses.

With these projects, I am casting a wider net to increase a creative and participatory base and offer new/meaningful connections for our community. Success will be measured by a new mural installed, work exhibited, artists and audiences newly developed.



I am an artist. An artist who counts. And makes lists. And designs curriculum and content with [not for] people. I count to myself and out loud with others re: current, past, and imagined projects. Studio and gallery, public and community, visual and performing. I wrote a book about this and published it in Spring 2016. I sum-mon ideas and re-search creative ways to ask: Do I/we count? Why? To whom? For what?


4:00 pm, EAB 102

Allison Levin, Adjunct Faculty, Communications & Journalism department, School of Communications, All in Good Fun? The Emasculating Rituals of MLB Players


Athletes have the power to influence society both implicitly and explicitly. Some athletes and teams use their influence positively by choosing, among other actions, to draw attention to important causes and creating domestic and global foundations to help people. While the media has been overwhelmed by controversies where athletes and teams are portrayed as having a negative influence on society, such as domestic violence, child endangerment, and player safety concerns, other subtle negative messages are ignored. In particular, one of the long-held traditions of professional sports is rookie hazing. Over time teams have encouraged veteran players to move away from physical hazing that could be dangerous if emulated by fans and instead, the trend moved towards the emasculating of rookie players. Prior to the 2017 season, the Office the Commissioner as part of its inclusion and diversity efforts provided teams and players with specific guidelines that must be followed when it comes to activities that could be considered hazing. Levin looks at hazing and similar clubhouse activities over the years to see how the rituals have changed. She then examines the 2017 season to see whether the new rule has had any perceivable effect on player and team activities, and determines if the media response to the rituals changed at all. Her research shows that the problems of diversity and inclusion that MLB claims to be addressing start on the playground and in youth sports. Thus, the effectiveness of the new rule as well as whether it fosters any change in media coverage must be examined to continue the discussion of how to affect real change on and off the field.