Academe March-April 2018

Awards and Honors

Marlene Schommer-Aikins received the Best Paper Award at the ASBBS 2018 Annual Conference. Her collaboration with the music department and music student helped the paper presentation at the Kansas Music Educators Association and the student’s presentation at GRASP. Her paper is titled “Cognitive flexibility, procrastination and need for closure linked to online self-directed learning among students from emerging markets”.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion proudly celebrated the tenth annual Phenomenal Women Awards. This award is highlighted during Women’s History Month. There were so many phenomenal nominees. This year’s award recipients are Kavya Natesan, Ricki Ellison and Sandra Peer. Learn more about the nominees and the 2018 award recipients at

The WSU Office of Special Programs’ magazine won first place in the Kansas Professional Communicators Communications Contest under the public relations materials newsletters—nonprofit, government or educational category. This marks the third year in a row the magazine has won first place. The entry now moves on to the national competition. The Office of Special Programs includes TRIO and GEAR UP programs and is in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. The magazine committee consists of Larry Ramos (chair), Alan Dsouza, Ph.D., Travis Feeney, Ashley Cervantes, Carla Williams and Fennie Christensen. The magazine may be viewed at

Robert Weems was honored by Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority as an outstanding citizen in the community on Saturday, May 5, 2018.

Judy Espinoza

Judy Espinoza

Judy Espinoza has been selected to receive the 2018 Midwest Region HR Excellence Award. This award honors transformative HR work in higher education, recognizing individuals or teams who have provided HR leadership resulting in significant and ongoing organizational change within their institutions. Midwest Region awards recipients were honored at the CUPA-HR Spring Conference April 30-May 2, 2018 in Salt Lake City.


Jose Enrique Navarro, assistant professor of Spanish, presented a paper at the 52nd Annual Conference of the Southwest Council of Latin American Studies in San Antonio. His presentation examined the pioneering cultural role played by the publishing house Losada in the second-third of the 20th century, Argentina’s Golden Age of publishing.

Noell Birondo, associate professor of philosophy, had his teaching innovation recognized by the American Philosophical Association. He was selected to give a presentation on “Teaching the Intellectual Virtues” at the APA’s Pacific Division Meeting March 28-31, 2018 in San Diego. Birondo’s presentation was titled “Fostering Virtuous Inquiry: Ownership and Other Intellectual Virtues.” Birondo has also been invited to serve on the Program Committee for the APA’s 2019 Central Division Meeting in Denver, and is currently doing so.


Susan Parsons, associate professor, Veronica Ramos-Blanford, clinical instructor, School of Nursing and colleague Peggy Hernandez, published an article "Innovative Service Learning" in “American Nurse Today,” December 2017. 

Michael Rogers

Michael Rogers

Michael Rogers, along with colleagues from Asahi University, Yokkaichi University, Trident College of Sports, and the National Institute of Fitness and Sport in Japan, published “Effects of a 12-week marching in place and chair rise daily exercise intervention on ADL and functional mobility in frail older adults” in the “Journal of Physical Therapy Science.” 

New Appointments

Michael Rogers was appointed as chair of the Exercise is Medicine (EIM) Older Adults Committee and will serve a three-year term. EIM is a global health initiative managed by the American College of Sports Medicine that encourages primary care physicians and other health care providers to include physical activity when designing treatment plans. The committee serves in an advisory capacity and as a work-group for EIM initiatives related to older adults.

Shareika Fisher, assistant director of First Year Programs, was named the chair person for the American College Personnel Association: College Student International in March at the national convention is Houston. She will serve as chair for two years leading the commission for Admissions, Orientation and First-Year Experience. Fisher currently serves as the Assistant Director of First-Year Programs in the Office of Student Success.


Wichita State University police officer Matthew Rose completed an undergraduate degree in philosophy, and has been accepted into the MBA program. Rose will also present an essay at a philosophy conference at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

Amy Chesser

Amy Chesser

Associate Professor Amy Chesser’s Health Communications and Aging course was recently certified by Quality Matters, an organization that certifies high quality online courses and programs. Chesser is a professor in Aging Studies in the Department of Public Health Sciences.

In the News

Peer Moore-Jansen, biological anthropologist, was quoted in an article on Mashable March 12, 2018. He discussed the difficulty in finding Amelia Earhart’s bones, and said that the likelihood that they have been found is greater now than it ever was before.

Professor Gaylen Chandler was featured in WalletHub's piece about business credit cards. Read more at

In Memoriam

Former Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) President John W. Miller has died at age 70. Miller was a long-time educator and advocate for underrepresented populations in higher education. Before CCSU, Mill was chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater; dean of the College of Education at Florida State University; and a professor and administrator at Georgia Southern University and Wichita State University. The family is planning a memorial service on CCSU’s campus this summer.

Naomi Werne McGuire, 81, retired Registered Nurse and nursing instructor at St. Mary of the Plains and Wichita State University, died Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Funeral Mass was held Saturday, April 7, at Church of the Magdalen Catholic Church. Memorials have been established with Soroptomist International of Wichita, Church of the Magdalen Altar Society. Share tributes online at

Marie Darlene Rariden, 100, passed Saturday, March 24, 2018. She was born to parents Eugene and Emily Raleigh July 2, 1917, and was a loving wife, mother and grandmother. Marie was an independent and posed lady who excelled in school. She loved sports, especially Wichita State basketball, the Atlanta Braves and the Kansas City Royals. She worked 18 years alongside her husband in the WSU bookstore. Services were held Saturday, March 31, at Resthaven Mortuary. Memorials may be made to Linwood Senior Center.

Kathy Hull, 60, died on Monday, March 12, 2018. She was an artist, writer, dancer, musician and educator, having worked for 29 years in the art department at WSU. A celebration of life was held Saturday, March 31. Memorials can be made to Trust Women at

Sharon K. Ehrsam, age 76, passed away Thursday, March 15, 2018. She was a retired WSU Foundation gift records manager. In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established with Plymouth Congregational Church. To sign the guest book or to leave a condolence, go to

Philip H. Schneider was born on January 19, 1941 and passed away on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. He joined the faculty of the English Department at Wichita State in 1967 and spent the next 39 years helping writing students to make their fiction better, and literature students to be more understanding readers. His own fiction was published in the “Best American Short Stories” and in various other literary magazines, and he was an awardee of a National Endowment for the Arts grant, among lesser awards. Philip directed the MFA creative writing program at WSU for a number of years, before his retirement in 2006. Services were held Saturday, March 24, 2018, at Downing & Lahey East Mortuary. A memorial has been established with Eagle Valley Raptor Center, a nonprofit organization.

C. Patric Mitchell was a doting husband, father and a lecturer in Wichita State University’s mathematics department. He was found dead in his office on Monday, April 16, 2018. He died of natural causes at age 52. He was born June 23, 1956, in Omaha, Nebraska. He spent the first 18 years of his life there before moving to Wichita, where he earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in mathematics at Wichita State University. For the past 10 years, Mitchell has taught calculus, basic algebra or whatever was needed in the curriculum.

Wanda Szymborski Sanborn, 94, passed peacefully at home on Friday, April 13, 2018. She led scout troops, earned a bachelor’s degree in English at Wichita State University and was active in the Wichita arts community. In 1998, her husband placed a paver in Wanda’s honor at Wichita State’s Plaza of Heroines, citing her achievements.

Everald Mills, a former faculty member of the computer science department, passed away Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. He began teaching in the computer science department in 1972 and served as chairman and director. He also wrote and developed the curriculum and requirements for the bachelor’s and master’s programs in computer science.