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Paul Baker
College of Arts and Sciences

Physics Professors’ Research Finds Possible ‘First Hints’ of Low-Frequency Gravitational Waves

Dr. Paul Baker, an assistant professor of physics, co-authored an article in The Astrophysical Journal Letters based on data gathered and analyzed over 13 years by the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav). The published findings, “The NANOGrav 12.5-year Data Set: Search For An Isotropic Stochastic Gravitational-Wave Background,” shows an intriguing low-frequency signal that may be attributable to gravitational waves from merging supermassive black holes in other galaxies.

NANOGrav researchers studying the signals from distant pulsars – small, dense stars that rapidly rotate, emitting beamed radio waves, much like a lighthouse – have used radio telescopes to collect data that may indicate the effects of gravitational waves.

Gravitational waves are ripples in space-time caused by the movements of incredibly massive objects, such as black holes orbiting each other or neutron stars colliding. Astronomers cannot observe these waves with a telescope like they do stars and galaxies. Instead, they measure the effects passing gravitational waves have, namely tiny changes to the precise position of objects - including the position of the Earth.

But gravitational waves can interrupt this observed regularity, as the ripples cause space-time to undergo tiny amounts of stretching and shrinking. Those ripples result in extremely small deviations in the expected times for pulsar signals arriving on Earth. Such deviations indicate that the position of the Earth has shifted slightly.

By studying the timing of the regular signals from many pulsars scattered over the sky at the same time, known as a “pulsar timing array,” NANOGrav works to detect minute changes in the Earth’s position due to gravitational waves stretching and shrinking space-time. 

These newest findings set up direct detection of gravitational waves as the possible next major step for NANOGrav and other members of the International Pulsar Timing Array (IPTA), a collaboration of researchers using the world’s largest radio telescope. Baker has been a member of NANOGrav since 2016.

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Barbara J. Patterson
School of Nursing

Nursing Professor Publishes Textbook on Caring for Military and Veterans

Barbara Patterson, professor and director of the nursing doctoral program, published "Veteran-centered Care in Education and Practice," a resource for nurse educators on how to incorporate caring for the military and veteran population into the curriculum and student clinical experiences. Patterson co-authored the book with nursing alumna and former military nurse Brenda Elliott as well as Katie A. Chargualaf, assistant professor of nursing at University of South Carolina Aiken.

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Photo of Deb Morley
Wolfgram Memorial Library

Library Director Named to Board of State Library Consortium

Deb Morley, director of the Wolfgram Memorial Library, was named to the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc. (PALCI). The PALCI membership consists of 70 academic and research libraries, private and public, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, and New York. Member institutions range from small liberal arts colleges to publicly funded universities to Association of Research Library institutions to the State Library of Pennsylvania. 

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Kerri C. Brannen
School of Business Administration

Business Professor Publishes Article on Cultural Variables

Associate Professor of Management Kerri Crowne Brannen recently published the article “Does National Culture Influence Peer Evaluations on Global Virtual Teams?” in the Journal of Teaching in International Business. Research for her timely article indicated that cultural variables had a weak effect on peer assessment of performance, and the most influential variable on performance was English language ability. Brennan teaches in the School of Business Administration. 

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Ilene D. Lieberman
College of Arts and Sciences

Arts & Sciences Professor Recognized for Leadership

Professor Ilene D. Lieberman received the Faculty Institutional Leadership Award at the 2020 Faculty Awards event. The honor recognizes her record of leading initiatives that further the university’s vision, mission and strategic objectives. Lieberman has played a vital role in the development and revitalization of many academic programs over 30 years of service to Widener. As director of the Honors Program in General Education, Lieberman has instituted multiple high-impact practices such as early adoption of high-impact practices in honors courses, establishment of an honors Living Learning Community, and development of a mentor program. Her work has improved Widener’s recruitment of academically talented students, and those students benefit from her mentorship. Lieberman was also a co-founder of the Women’s Studies Program (now known as Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies), which has brought fresh ideas to the university and helped attract high-caliber faculty to provide students with leadership and civic engagement opportunities. A commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion has been a recurring priority in her leadership.

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Kerri C. Brannen
School of Business Administration

Business Professor Honored with Outstanding Researcher Award

Associate Professor Kerri Crowne Brannen received the Outstanding Researcher Award at the 2020 Faculty Awards event. The honor recognizes a faculty member who has exhibited distinction in scholarly work and has made a significant contribution through research to advancing the profession or discipline and the university’s mission. Brannen is a prolific researcher who has published 10 articles in a variety of highly-ranked journals over the last five years. She is an internationally recognized scholar and some of her work addresses the role of cultural and emotional intelligences on transformational leadership, which in turn drives change in the workplace. She has also explored her field through award-winning research linked to her use of high-impact teaching practices, which has enriched the education of Widener’s business majors. Much of her research has been carried out collaboratively with colleagues at Widener and elsewhere. She is also Co-Editor-in-Chief of Organizational Management Journal.

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Robert Wellmon
College of Health & Human Services

CH&HS Faculty Member Named Distinguished University Professor

Robert Wellmon was named a Distinguished University Professor at the 2020 Faculty Awards event. The designation recognizes faculty of distinction and demonstrates to the broader community that Widener is committed to recognizing excellence in teaching, scholarship and service throughout a faculty member’s career. Wellmon has distinguished himself on campus with excellent teaching, dedicated service to the university and a well-regarded, clinically relevant research program. He has implemented transformative curricular initiatives to promote student learning and success through several interdisciplinary and inter-professional endeavors. His scholarship is nationally and internationally recognized, with numerous publications and recognition by the National Academies of Practice as a Distinguished Scholar and Fellow. He has served as the chair of the Southeast District of the Pennsylvania Physical Therapy Association and on the Board of Directors of the National Interprofessional Education Consortium of the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy. 

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Loyd D. Bastin
College of Arts and Sciences

Chemistry Faculty Member Named Distinguished University Professor

Loyd Bastin was named a  Distinguished University Professor at the 2020 Faculty Awards event. The designation recognizes faculty of distinction and demonstrates to the broader community that Widener is committed to recognizing excellence in teaching, scholarship and service throughout a faculty member’s career. Bastin’s passion for promoting sustainable practices has led to an active and productive research program in green chemistry, sustainability and education. His recent co-edited book “Integrating Green and Sustainable Chemistry Principles into Education” and numerous invited presentations reflect his reputation as an important scholar. Bastin’s contributions to university leadership include shepherding the chemistry department to environmentally sustainable lab practices, and raising sustainability awareness across campus. As a member of the Vision 2021 GO Team and as chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, Bastin has worked toward implementing rigorous academic practices, clarifying academic policies and developing new programs for student success. 

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Richard Hopkins
College of Arts and Sciences

Professor Honored with Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award

Professor Richard S. Hopkins received the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award at the 2020 Faculty Awards event. The honor is given to a faculty member who has demonstrated a history of teaching at the highest level. It is endowed by the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation, a Philadelphia-based foundation that provides grants to institutions of higher education for the promotion of excellence in teaching. Hopkins’ highly distinguished teaching spans a diverse array of history courses including Madness, Crime, and Punishment; Sex and Gender in European History; French Revolution and Napoleon; and more. Students give him superior evaluations for active-learning teaching methods that include mock trials, debates, and engagement with primary sources. He has co-led multiple interdisciplinary excursions in French Philadelphia and at European Union simulation competitions around the nation and in Europe. He has also co-directed grant-funded public history and education projects in Chester including a Community Archival Workshop and the Chester Made Humanities Summer Camp. His productive scholarship on modern French history, urbanism, and women’s and gender studies has resulted in two books and multiple articles. 

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Stephanie Schechner
College of Arts and Sciences

Professor of French Honored for Teaching Innovation

Professor of French Stephanie Schechner received the Fitz Dixon Innovation in Teaching Award at the 2020 Faculty Awards event. It is given to an individual or group who have designed, implemented and assessed an innovative or experimental teaching and learning project. Schechner knows employers value students who can work cross-culturally, and cultivates and leverages a network of government, nonprofit, corporate, and alumni contacts to enhance student learning and career readiness. Schechner’s efforts have led to a 100 percent employment rate for French majors over the past 20 years, as well as study abroad, internships, mentoring, and career readiness workshops for students. Over the years, French majors have gone on to careers in investment banking, nursing, public health, civil service, insurance, library and information science, high tech, and non-profit fundraising. Schechner’s network includes internal partners in the Schools of Engineering and Business Administration.  External partners have included the French American Chamber of Commerce of Philadelphia, the Quebec Trade Office, the University of Laval, the Upper Darby Welcome Center, the City of Philadelphia, and the French government.

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Bruce W. Grant
College of Arts and Sciences

Professor Receives Faculty Award for Civic Engagement

Professor Bruce W. Grant received the Faculty Award for Civic Engagement at the 2020 Faculty Awards event. The honor recognizes sustained outstanding contributions to Widener’s civic engagement mission through his teaching and research. Grant has developed service-learning projects working closely with community partners, including Stetser Elementary School, the Chester Upland School District, CitiTeam Ministries and the Ruth Bennett Community Farm. For the past three years, he, along with Widener faculty and student collaborators, have been developing place-based school garden curriculum at Stetser Elementary School to improve Stetser student academic performance in science, and promote positive motivational dispositions and social engagement in their school communities. Grant has taught academic service learning enhanced courses more than 20 times and has engaged hundreds of Widener students in course-based projects in science education in local Chester schools and community agencies that involve meaningful work for sustainable community development. 

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Virginia M. Brabender
Institute of Graduate Clinical Psychology

Clinical Psychology Professor Receives Distinguished Service Award

Virginia Brabender, professor of clinical psychology, received the Distinguished Service and Contribution to Personality Assessment Award from the Society for Personality Assessment (SPA), the largest association dedicated to the development of methods for personality assessment through research, innovation in the theory and practice of assessment, and the promotion of personality assessment practice. The esteemed award celebrates Brabender’s record of meaningful scholarship, tireless advocacy, and hands-on instruction related to personality assessment.

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Beth I. Barol
Center for Social Work Education

Social Work Professor Recognized for Clinical Practice

Beth Barol, associate professor of social work, was chosen for the Earl L. Loschen Award for Clinical Practice from the National Association of Dual Diagnosis (NADD), an international association for persons with intellectual disabilities and mental health needs. Given annually, this prestigious award recognizes Barol for her tremendous impact on the lives of individuals with intellectual and development disabilities as well as mental health needs through her clinical practice.

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Brooke E. Wells
Center for Human Sexuality Studies

Human Sexuality Studies Professor Awarded NIH Grant

Dr. Brooke Wells, an associate professor and program director of Widener’s Human Sexuality Studies PhD, was recently awarded more than $41,000 as a co-investigator on a three-year project funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health.* 

The research, titled “The development and validation of a novel paradigm for assessing sexual assault risk perception in MSM (men who have sex with men),” is being led by investigators at Rowan University who were granted a total award of $425,541, alongside collaborators from Central Connecticut State University. 

The research project will address the significant problem of sexual violence for sexual minorities, especially men who have sex with men, and will serve as a useful step in creating tools to enhance prevention efforts in this susceptible population. Wells will lend her expertise in HIV and sexual assault research areas, as well as provide input and logistical support in recruitment and assessment in diverse populations of men who have sex with men.  

*Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R15AA028637. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. 

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Class of 1986

Mark D. Weiner appointed associate dean of Academic Administration at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University

Marc D. Weiner, previously employed as executive director of undergraduate programs, was just appointed to associate dean of academic administration for the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. Along with these positions, Weiner is an associate research professor at Rutgers.

Aside from his work in college settings, Weiner is police instructor for Chester County Public Safety Training Center and has served as a board member for the South-East Pennsylvania Terrorism Task Force since 2012. 

Marc D. Weiner graduated with the class of 1986 with a BS in management. 

Pride Banners in front of Old Main
School of Business Administration

School of Business Administration Faculty Publish Article on Career-Preparedness Activities in Business Curriculum

Several faculty in the School of Business Administration, including Associate Professor Kerri Crowne Brannen, Assistant Professor Danielle Durant, Assistant Professor Yamuna Baburaj, Professor Donna McCloskey, and Assistant Dean Lou Anne Vike, as well as Peter Hornberger and Maureen Brown, co-authored an article in the November 2020 issue of the International Journal of Management Education. The article, titled "A program for embedding career activities in multiple core business courses," details a Widener program for embedding career-preparedness into the undergraduate business curriculum.

The program ensures every student in the School of Business Administration is provided with adequate career-preparedness training, and the school is well-positioned to achieve high job placement rates.

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Yamuna Baburaj
School of Business Administration

Management Assistant Professor Co-Authors Two Published Articles

Dr. Yamuna Baburaj, assistant professor of management, recently co-authored two published articles. The article, titled "How to best utilize star employees," was published in the April-June 2020 issue of Organizational Dynamics. The paper discusses some of the challenges associated with star employee management and proposes strategies for managing this form of specialized human capital in any organization.

Another article, titled "Complementary Product Categorization and its Influence on the Make, Buy, and Ally Decision: An Exploratory Study," was accepted in March 2020 and published in the International Journal of Innovation Management. The paper examines the significance of a categorization of product complementarity on the firm governance decision.

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