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What I Did This Summer: Faculty Stories

August 14, 2014
College of Arts & Sciences



Faculty in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill College of Arts and Sciences have been very busy this summer.

Their journeys have taken them on archaeological excavations to Greece, Turkey and Egypt; on a book research trip and music cultural diplomacy visit to India; and to El Alto, Bolivia, to study a cable car system in the highest city in the world. As they head back to school, we asked them to share their adventures with us.

Read a sampling below, and see more stories and photos in the College Facebook album.

 

Daniel Rodriguez, professor, department of city and regional planning

“I have been supervising a doctoral student and an undergraduate student who are doing interesting research work on transportation in the cities of La Paz and El Alto in Bolivia. Raleigh McCoy (undergraduate student) is supported by a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Gwen Kash (doctoral student) has received support from EMBARQ, a unit of the World Resources Institute.” (El Alto, Bolivia, is the highest city in the world. Read more about how residents of this region are using a new cable car system to navigate the region’s “mountainous geography.”)

Stephanie Elizondo Griest, assistant professor, department of English and comparative literature

“I spent the month of May near Bangalore, India, working on a book about borderlands at the art colony Sangam House. From there, I traveled to Beijing and Shanghai for the first time since living there in the late ’90s to behold the many changes. Then I spent two weeks each reporting in the Texas/Mexico borderland and the New York/Canada borderland for my book.”

Stephanie Elizondo Griest (back row, center) in Mysore, India.
Stephanie Elizondo Griest (back row, center) in Mysore, India.

Mark Katz, professor, department of music

“There were many unforgettable moments during my visits this summer to the Next Level residencies in India and Serbia, but I’ll mention one from my time in Kolkata. It was when I witnessed an American rapper and an Indian folk singer get to know each other through music. The two women sat on the floor facing each other. One would sing and the other would listen, and over the course of about an hour an amazing duet emerged. They were singing in different languages and in very different styles, but it was clear they understood each other perfectly and had formed a powerful bond.” (Next Level is an international exchange program that promotes cultural diplomacy through popular music and dance.)

American rapper Sheikia “Purple Haze” Norris (front left) performs a duet with Indian singer Malabika Brahma (front right) in Kolkata, India.
American rapper Sheikia “Purple Haze” Norris (front left) performs a duet with Indian singer Malabika Brahma (front right) in Kolkata, India.

Benjamin Arbuckle, assistant professor, department of anthropology

“I spent the summer in Turkey uncovering evidence for the last hunter-gatherers in the Taurus mountains, circa 11,000 years ago. The Direkli Cave Archaeological Research Project focuses on reconstructing and understanding the ancient cultures that directly preceded the invention and adoption of farming — a revolutionary shift that forever changed human history.”

Benjamin Arbuckle works on animal bones from the excavation in the Taurus Mountains, Turkey.
Benjamin Arbuckle works on animal bones from the excavation in the Taurus Mountains, Turkey.

Christian Lentz, assistant professor, department of geography

“In May, I was invited to Hanoi to present a paper at an international conference sponsored by the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences. The occasion was the 60th anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu Victory, when Vietnamese forces defeated the French military to earn national independence and precipitate the end of the French empire worldwide. My own research discusses the role of local farmers and residents in this globally significant event. The conference made front-page news in Vietnam.”

Christian Lentz at a 60th anniversary celebration of the Dien Bien Phu Victory, when Vietnamese forces defeated the French military.
Christian Lentz at a 60th anniversary celebration of the Dien Bien Phu Victory, when Vietnamese forces defeated the French military.

Donald Haggis, professor, department of classics and curriculum in archaeology

“This summer I conducted an archaeological excavation on the island of Crete. The site of Azoria is an early Greek city (circa 700-500 B.C.) and the context of a 20-year study of early Greek political economy (www.azoria.org). I was joined in the field by professor Margie Scarry (department of anthropology) and 43 students from UNC, Duke and other universities worldwide. The excavation is the first study of ancient urbanization and city-state formation in the Greek Aegean. The recent phase of work, funded principally by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, was recently featured in a story in The News and Observer.”

Donald Haggis continued archaeological excavations on the city of Azoria on the island of Crete.
Donald Haggis continued archaeological excavations on the city of Azoria on the island of Crete.

Kathy Perkins, professor, department of dramatic art

“I spent two weeks this summer in Bagamoyo, Tanzania, completing the taping for a short documentary on TaSUBA Institute for Arts and Culture. TaSUBa is one of the few performing arts institutions of its kind in East Africa specializing in acting, social issues theater, acrobatics, lighting, sound, video, music, dance and visual arts. I have been following the process of this institution since 2001, and my research will culminate in a short documentary of TaSUBa.”

Kathy Perkins (center) with two music students at the TaSUBA Institute for Arts and Culture.
Kathy Perkins (center) with two music students at the TaSUBA Institute for Arts and Culture.

Even more faculty have described their summer “vacations” to the University Gazette:

 

Christina Harlan, clinical assistant professor, School of Nursing

“I teach an online global health course for undergraduate nursing students in which they can travel during the summer to a country of their choice, for a length of time of their choice and volunteer in a health-care agency of their choice. This summer I had 33 students coming and going from places all over the world. This experience is life changing, but is also important to nursing. Learning to communicate effectively with patients and their families who have backgrounds very different from theirs is enormously important to their nursing practice.”

Steven Knotek, associate professor, School of Education

“I spent the summer in Croatia, working on a Fulbright-supported project to train students and offer professional development in evidence-based prevention and intervention practices in early-childhood education. Our students were some of the first in Europe to have direct instruction in these best-practice intervention programs which help children with literacy and socio-emotional development and to achieve effective family and community partnerships. We worked with specialists on ways they can adapt these interventions to the context of schools and communities in Croatia.”

Suzanne Havala Hobbs, second from left on the front row, in Paris.
Suzanne Havala Hobbs, second from left on the front row, in Paris.

Suzanne Havala Hobbs, professor, Departments of Health Policy and Management and Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health

“I had the good fortune to spend April through July in Paris as a Sanofi Chair at the Virchow Villermé Centre for Public Health, working with a diverse team of French and German global health and information technology specialists to produce a massive open online course (MOOC) on the science of global health implementation. It will be the first MOOC to focus on implementation science, which is the study of methods to promote the integration of research findings and evidence into health-care policy and practice. The use of subtitling to extend access to both English- and French-speaking learners is also unique.”

Gwen Sherwood, associate dean for academic affairs and professor, School of Nursing

“I spent the last three weeks leading an immersive seminar for 20 Thai nursing and pharmacy faculty in reflective practice. Many of our own nursing faculty also joined in to demonstrate how their teaching has changed by integrating reflection as a key learning strategy. Working with them is a joy and helps me clarify and advance my own teaching.”


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