September Academe at Wichita State

Academe welcomes news from WSU faculty and staff about research, teaching and service activities. This column recognizes grants, honors, awards, presentations and publications, new appointments, new faculty, sabbaticals, retirements and deaths of current and former colleagues.


Waruna Seneviratne, Brandon Saathoff and Upul Palliyaguru of the National Institute for Aviation Research recently received the first place Outstanding Paper award at the SAMPE Long Beach conference for their collaborative paper, “Structural Injection Repair Resin and Process for Composite Materials.” Brian S. Hayes and Doyle G. Dixon of Applied Poleramic, Inc. and John E. Brennan of Naval Air Systems Command also contributed.

Animesh Chakravarthy, assistant professor of Aerospace Engineering and Electrical Engineering, was recognized with the Young Faculty Scholar award in May 2016. The award is given annually to recognize WSU faculty who are between their third and eighth years of service and have records of excellence in teaching performance and substantial achievement in research and/or creative activity. This is Chakravarthy's third WSU award, having received the Excellence in Research and Excellence in Teaching awards in May 2015.

Tom Wine, director of Music, received the Harry Robert Wilson award from the Kansas Choral Director’s Association. It is the Kansas lifetime achievement award for contributions to the field of choral music.

KMUW earned the most prestigious award for Kansas major markets, “Radio Station of the Year,” for the third year in a row from the Kansas Association of Broadcasters. Categories for awards include Public Service Announcement, Public Affairs Program, Hard News Feature, News Feature, Spot News, Special Program, DJ Personality and Editorial/Commentary (a category in which KMUW swept the awards).


Murtuza Jadliwala, assistant professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has been granted the $180,000 National Science Foundation award to explore methods for using smart phones and wearable technology to improve pedestrian safety. The research will track distracted behaviors and explore ways to alert mobile users to possible dangers. Jadliwala also has $400,000 in National Science Foundation grants to support his ongoing research in the privacy and security vulnerabilities of wearable technology.


Susan Sterrett, Curtis D. Gridley distinguished professor of History and Philosophy of Science, gave three talks over the summer: "Experimentation on Analogue Models" for the Society for the Philosophy of Science in Practice at Rowan University, "Disciplining Little Models" for the History of Philosophy of Science at the University of Minnesota and "The Use of Analogy in the Works of Darwin, Einstein and Turing" for the 8th Quadrennial International Fellows Conference in Lund, Sweden.

Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction Gayla Lohfink and Physical Education Educator Rick Pappas presented “Enhancing Literacy Learning through Movement,” at the Strategies for Educational Improvement: Teaching and Learning for College and Career Readiness Conference at the University of Kansas campus.

Elaine Steinke

Elaine Steinke

Elaine Steinke, professor, School of Nursing, was a visiting scholar at the National University of Ireland - Galway in early June. While there, she worked as a collaborating researcher and consultant for a cardiac sexual counseling trial led by Professor Molly Byrne. She gave a public lay presentation at Croi House on "Dispelling the Myths: Intimacy and the Heart," and a research presentation to colleagues and students, "Challenges & Opportunities in Sexual Counseling Research: An Exemplar."

A variety of WSU faculty presented at the Healthcare Innovation Forum, including John Tomblin, executive director of NIAR; Jeremy Patterson, professor of Human Performance Studies; Kim Cluff, assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering; Nils Hakansson, assistant professor of Engineering and Physics; Gary Brooking, Engineering lecturer; Anil Mahapatro, assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering; Kim Reuter, NIAR research engineer; and Ramazan Asmatulu, assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering. The forum explored innovations underway in the region and showcased new discoveries and opportunities that could change the healthcare landscape.


Alicia Huckstadt, professor, School of Nursing, published the Health Promotion chapter in Larsen and Lubkin's 2016 “Chronic Illness: Impact & Intervention.” This textbook is widely used in the education of health professionals. Chronic illness is common, costly and preventable. Many of the chronic diseases people succumb to are caused by poor health behaviors. Huckstadt’s chapter focuses on the major causes of morbidity and the barriers people face that make behaviors difficult to change without help. It also discusses the issues and impact of chronic illness and covers interventions, resources and challenges. The chapter also includes proactive steps to take after being diagnosed with a chronic illness.

Jeff Noble, assistant professor of Sport Management; Mark Vermillion, associate professor of Sport Management; and Kewa Foster, women’s tennis assistant coach, coauthored an article titled "Coaching environments and student-athletes: Perceptions of support, climate and autonomy," which was published in the July issue of The Sport Journal. Noble also partnered with Martin Perline, professor of Economics, and Clay Stoldt, associate dean of Education, to coauthor an article titled “Big 12 Football: Competitive Balance Before and After Realignment,” which was also published in the July issue of The Sport Journal.

David (Jingjun) Xu

David (Jingjun) Xu

David (Jingjun) Xu, associate professor, Barton School of Business, published his paper, “Retaining Customers by Utilizing Technology-Facilitated Chat: Mitigating Website Anxiety and Task Complexity,” in the July 2016 issue of Information & Management. To read the article, go to

Xiao-Ming Sun, associate professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, published an article, “Wideband Acoustic Immittance: Normative Study and Test-Retest Reliability of Tympanometric Measurements in Adults,” in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. The journal is ranked first on Google Scholar Metrics in the category of audiology, speech and language pathology. To read the article, go to

Dinorah Azpuru, associate professor of Political Science, was published in the Monkey Cage, a Washington Post online blog covering the intersection of political science and real politics. To read the article, go to

Elaine Steinke, professor, School of Nursing, was quoted in a Reuters article titled “Does heart disease mean a less active sex life?” To read the article, go to

Fuchang Liu, associate professor, Curriculum and Instruction, published “Anxiety towards teaching mathematics and science: Correlation, prevalence, and intensity,” in the Journal of Mathematics Education.

Marlene Schommer-Aikins, professor, Counseling, Educational Leadership, Education and School Psychology, published “Teaching educational psychology in cross-disciplinary courses: A case study of teaching engineering students,” in C. M. Smith (Ed.), Challenges and Innovations in Educational Psychology Teaching and Learning.


Rick Muma was named senior associate vice president for enrollment management at Wichita State University. In making the announcement, WSU President John Bardo said Muma will take the overarching responsibility of moving students through the admission and enrollment process, as well as retention and degree completion programming. Although staff working on enrollment are doing good work, Bardo says better coordination is needed to grow the university’s enrollment. Muma has served as associate vice president for Academic Affairs and professor of Public Health Sciences at WSU since 2011. He has nearly 30 years of experience as an educator/administrator in both the public health and physician assistant disciplines. He has worked at WSU since 1994.

Kim McDowell

Kim McDowell

The College of Education’s Curriculum and Instruction Department welcomes a new department head, Kim McDowell, and new assistant professor in Special Education, Heidi Cornell.

Johny Buchanan-Spachek, scholarship manager, College of Education, was elected as the president of the University Support Staff Senate for the 2016-17 academic year.

Jeff Jarman was appointed interim director of the Elliott School of Communication. Jarman’s work as the associate director, as well as his demonstrated abilities in maintaining positive relationships and managing the daily operations of the Elliott School, made him the optimal choice to fill the position.

Danny Barrera recently started at the Community Engagement Institute as a VISTA Leader for the WSU VISTA Fellows project. Barrera will support the activities of VISTAs who are working to alleviate poverty by building capacity in their sites focusing on education, economic opportunities and healthy futures.

Jamela Peterson started in the Office of Admissions as the Community Outreach Coordinator. She will manage the Shocker Call Team - a group of current WSU students who make calls to prospective students throughout the year. Peterson will also serve as the office liaison for elementary and middle schools and coordinate group visits.

The College of Engineering welcomes several new faculty members during the fall 2016 semester. Chris Wyant, a doctoral student at WSU, is teaching Engineering 101; Bhisham Sharma is teaching Theory of Elasticity; Debswapna Bhattacharya is teaching Introduction to Bioinformatics; Yumeng Li is teaching Material Engineering; and David Long will join the Department of Biomedical Engineering in January 2017.


Frank Rokosz, assistant professor of Human Performance Studies, is the longest tenured faculty member in the history of the College of Education. On Monday, Aug. 22, Rokosz began his 44th year at WSU. He began teaching at WSU in 1973.

The Watkins Foundation sponsored summer fellow Norman Schmidt at WSU, allowing him to work on electron gamma shower simulations and study how to use a standard heat shield to stop electrons, positrons and photons. Schmidt also helped build a full-scale model of a space probe with a 25 kg active neutrino detector.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) acknowledged that Wichita State's Human Resource Management academic program renewed its alignment with SHRM's HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates. Throughout the world, 421 programs in 319 educational institutions have been acknowledged by SHRM as being in alignment with its suggested guides and templates. The HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates were developed by SHRM to define the minimum HR content areas that should be studied by HR students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The guidelines -- created in 2006 and revalidated in 2010 and 2013 -- are part of SHRM's Academic Initiative to define HR education standards taught in university business schools and help universities develop degree programs that follow these standards.

Joseph Mau

Joseph Mau

Joseph Mau, professor, Counseling, Educational Leadership, Education and School Psychology, continued his sabbatical in Taiwan over the summer. He made presentations and participated in workshops at the Center of Teacher Education, Tunghai University and at the City University of Hong Kong.

Vanessa Buehne with the Department of Campus Recreation was a lifeguard for the 2016 swimming Olympic trials in Omaha, Nebraska. She served during all the competitions that featured the fastest swimmers in the United States, and watched them make their way onto the Olympic team.

Ted Ayres, director, Community Engagement and Opportunity, interviewed Jeffrey Toobin, author of “American heiress, The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst.” Toobin is also known for bestsellers, “The Nine,” “The Oath” and “The Run of his Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson.”

The Wichita State High Energy Particle Physics Group contributed to the neutrino experiment NOvA over the summer. Read more about their findings at and

Shirley Lefever, dean, College of Education, has been named to the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education's (AACTE) new Clinical Practice Commission (CPC). Lefever joins the group of higher education and K-12 leaders from across the country, which will examine the state of clinical practice (commonly known as "field experience") in teacher preparation. CPC is charged with identifying a set of criteria that define clinical practice, lifting up exemplary models in the field and ultimately publishing a set of recommendations for teacher preparation programs nationwide.


The Office of Academic Affairs announced new Emeriti faculty:

  • Deborah E. Baxter, associate professor Emerita of Music
  • Tina L. Bennett, professor Emerita of English
  • Patricia A. Bunton, instructor Emerita of Physician Assistant
  • Kathy L. Coufal, professor Emerita of Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • Randolph A. Ellsworth, professor Emeritus of Counseling, Educational Leadership, Educational and School Psychology
  • Barbara W. Hodson, professor Emerita of Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • Walter J. Horn, professor Emeritus of Aerospace Engineering
  • Sharon Iorio, dean Emerita of the College of Education and professor of Communication
  • Ramona Liera-Schwichtenberg, associate professor Emerita of Women’s Studies
  • Victor A. Markovich, professor Emeritus of Music
  • Nancy McCarthy Snyder, associate professor Emerita, Hugo Wall School of Public Affairs
  • Kenneth G. Miller, professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics
  • Hari G. Mukerjee, professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics
  • Eunice D. Myers, associate professor Emerita of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures
  • Frances K. Shelly, professor Emerita of Music
  • Nicholas E. Smith, professor Emeritus of Music
  • James J. Snyder, professor Emeritus of Psychology


Jonelle Turner died on July 20, 2016, in Wichita, at the age of 64. She was the assistant director of the Hugo Wall School of Urban and Public Affairs and retired after more than 30 years of service at Wichita State University. Turner enjoyed life with her family and friends and treasured the memories and moments with all. She was preceded in death by her parents. Survivors include her husband of 41 years, Leonard; daughter, Amy (Justin) Owens; and sisters, Barbara (Larry) Hays and Elizabeth (Jerry) Highfill.

W.D. “Dean” Vickery, 83, passed away Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016. Vickery was a retired professor of Business at WSU, and was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity at Oklahoma University. He is preceded in death by brothers, Rollin and Kent Vickery. He is survived by his wife, Anita Meyer Vickery; sister, Lucretia (Harold) Ottaway; children, Derrick (Laurie) Vickery, Leslie (Kip) Boie, Molly (Hal) Marron, Wade (Carol) Vickery, Amy Vickery, Lupita (Ricky) Olsen; and many grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.