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A Look Back at Summer 2016

Aug 26, 2016 | General Info, News

The 69th school year at MACU has begun. Faculty are back in the classrooms with students, helping them to become extraordinary leaders in their chosen fields of study. While there is time for relaxation in the summer many faculty are involved in professional development and professional service activities.  Below are the highlights of several MACU faculty and what they did over the summer of 2016.

Robert Smith, Ph.D., Professor of Bible and History, wrote a contribution to an article with co-authors Andreas Zerbini and Firas Bqain entitled “Inscriptions from the Area E Complex at Quwaylibah, Jordan” for publication in the Arabian Journal of Archaeology and Epigraphy. He also made a presentation at the ARAM Society for Syro-Mesopotamian Studies in July in Oxford, UK called, “Abila of Palaestina Secunda/ Jund al-Urdun: Discoveries and Observations Regarding Materials and Motives in Multi-Phase Byzantine/Umayyad Ecclesiastical Structures.” He spent four weeks, during July, as the Associate Director of the Abila Archaeological Expedition and Area E Supervisor. He directed work that uncovered a portion of a mosaic-floored processional passage around an ecclesiastical structure and a water feature that in the atrium of a pilgrimage complex that was destroyed in a mid-eighth century earthquake. In the process of these excavations the three highlights were the discoveries of a Kufic inscription calling upon God for forgiveness, a menorah inscribed on a reused block from what might have been a Jewish structure and a carved stone panel bearing the image of a haloed figure of either a saint or Jesus Christ. Such discoveries of images are rare because of the iconoclastic controversy.

Cheryl Luton, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Education, in collaboration with George Cox, Director of the Albemarle Instruction, Inquiry, and Integration Math and Science (AI3MS) Partnership, provided mathematics pedagogy instruction to teachers from eight counties in northeastern North Carolina during the weeks of July 25 and August 1, 2016. This collaboration will continue through this academic year with additional training on five Saturdays that have been scheduled every other month. This is an excellent opportunity for Dr. Luton to support area teachers and connect with grant recipients offering professional development for teachers in the area of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

Abbey Mirau, M.A., Assistant Professor of English Composition, worked on revamping the developmental English course offered by MACU so that students lacking the skills to be successful in college level writing could receive developmental instruction concurrent with them taking English Composition I. The approach being used will be field tested at MACU in fall 2016 and has potential to become a model program for other schools.  Most institutions of higher education force students to do remedial work prior to enrolling in college level courses.  This traditional approach is discouraging and costly to students. The desire and hope is to help students achieve their educational goals with as little remedial roadblocks as possible.

Ascencion Gomez, D.S.L., Associate Professor of Business Administration, spoke to AVID students at Oscar Smith Middle School about careers and the importance of earning a quality education. He participated as a consultant in several leadership development programs designed for developing top amateur and college soccer referees for the Virginia Interscholastic Official Soccer Association and the Washington DC and Virginia state soccer referees programs. MACU’s business administration program is one year old, so Dr. Gomez also spent time reviewing various business programs at regional universities in SE Virginia to learn some “best practices” in business administration undergraduate programs.

Kathy Smith, B.S., Director of Learning Enhancement Services – spent two weeks at the Kellogg Institute, an intensive residency at Appalachian State University, where she will complete a graduate certificate as a Developmental Education Specialist.  She has been working with Ms. Mirau on the developmental English curriculum.  Mrs. Smith also continued her graduate education by taking courses toward a master’s degree in creative writing.

Ronnie Woolard, M.Div., Professor of Bible, attended the “invitation only” dedication ceremony and grand opening of the Ark Encounter in Kentucky, the latest project of Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis organization.  This trip and the information gleaned will enhance the study by students in the course “Early Hebrew History” and “Science and the Bible.”

Kevin Larsen, Ph.D., VP Academic Affairs and Professor of New Testament, spent two and a half weeks in Israel doing archaeological work at Khirbet el-Maqatir (likely site of Joshua’s Ai [Joshua 7-8]).

This is just a sampling of what MACU faculty have done by way of developing and contributing to their professional disciplines.  MACU is grateful for their service, both to MACU and to the larger global community.