Campus Scholarship Showcase

Every year, the Faculty Center highlights the excellence of our faculty, librarians, and staff at Westfield State University. Department chairs and directors are asked to nominate two or three faculty, librarians, or staff in their department for his or her outstanding scholarship. Recently published, presented, or commissioned work (e.g. book, book chapter, scholarly article, conference presentation, original art or musical piece) will be given preference.

The Faculty Center Advisory Committee will select up to 4 presenters based on the scholarship and the diversity of presentations.

Once selected, the faculty member will prepare a 10 minute presentation for the annual campus scholarship showcase event, which is sponsored by the Faculty Center. There will be time provided for a question and answer period.

Scholarship Award Recipients (Spring 2016)

Dr. Carol Bailey (English): A Poetics of Performance: The Oral-Scribal Aesthetic in Anglophone Caribbean Fiction 

Picture of Carol Bailey

A Poetics of Performance: The Oral-Scribal Aesthetic in Anglophone Caribbean Fiction examines the impact of orature-performance on Caribbean prose fiction. Arguing that orature-performance is the structuring device for many contemporary novels and short stories, this work extends the critical consensus that Caribbean oral modes infuse all genres of literature from the region. This book also demonstrates how the formal and thematic synergies between Caribbean orature and literature constitute an inter-performative relationship between the region’s literary and performance cultures. Beginning with a retrospective analysis of New Day and The Lonely Londoners, two harbingers of an aesthetic of orality, A Poetics of Performance offers fresh readings of fictions by post 1950s writers Earl Lovelace, Merle Collins, Marie-Elena John, Marlon James and Collin Channer alongside calypso, reggae, and different modes of Caribbean oral storytelling. Bailey elucidate what may be termed the most consequential aspect of Caribbean literary self-fashioning: an “inward turn” to the expressive resources and discursive tools of folk and popular culture. This recuperation, she argues, has in turn forged a literary tradition grounded, not only in the folk and urban working-class performance cultures, but inevitably in a “woman”-centered poetics.     


Dr. Sinuk Kang (Communications): Feeling on the Face: Measuring Facial Expressions of Emotion and Predicting Consumer Preference

Picture of Faculty Member Sinuk Kang

This study examined the role that facial expressions of emotion play in marketing research and consumer choice. In particular, it explored how individuals emotionally and cognitively experience their preference in response to fragrance stimuli, and the extent to which their facial emotional responsiveness to the fragrances predicts their choice and ratings of the products. The results of self-report indicated that overall rating were somehow problematic in predicting preference choice. High scores on overall rating did not always lead to high frequencies on preference selection. The overall pattern for emotions suggested that there was a significantly higher rate of expression of negative emotions for the non-selected products than the selected products. Although positive emotions were not clearly evident, negative emotions seemed to be a decent indicator of non-selection. The results of this study suggest the possibility that facial expressions of emotion may be used as a reference point of consumer preference as well as lead to more valid evaluation of consumer preference than self-reported measure alone. 


Dr. Shoba Sharad Rajgopal (Ethnic & Gender Studies): Queer in South Asia: Queering South Asia?

Picture of Shoba Rajgopal

In this article I examine the representation of alternate sexualities in South Asia in both the precolonial and the postcolonial eras and their repercussion on the body politic of the nation state. For the first time in its history, India has seen gay parades organized across the country, and not merely in its big cities.  After an epic battle that lasted nearly two decades, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalized queer relationships, was struck down by the Delhi High court and then upheld as recently as December 2013 by the Supreme Court of India.  But how far has this legal action helped raise awareness of these issues in the country?  Moreover, have states also legislated in favor of queer rights? These are key questions in terms of this study.  Among the films examined are Navarasa (2005) by Santosh Sivan and Bombay Talkies (2013) by Karan Johar.


Dr. Karl Leiker (Geography & Regional Planning):  A Meteorological  Insight into the 2011 Tornado in Western Massachusetts

Picture of Karl Leiker

Massachusetts is not known for it s frequent tornadoes - we average slightly more than one per year, but the 2011 tornado was quite strong, caused the death of four people, many injuries and the millions of dollars in damage. The purpose of the discussion is to  look at the meteorological factors in the cause of this tornado.


Scholarship Award Recipients (Spring 2015)

Dr. Christopher Gullen (Communication): The Taboo of the Tiara: Examining how Toddlers and Tiaras sexualize the Child Female Body

This article expands on existing research into the phenomenon behind child pageants and modeling, especially based on the success of programs like Toddlers and Tiaras and its spinoff, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, to investigate the legitimation of the taboo that intermingles children and pornography. This paper argues that through the safety of the screen, an acceptable overt sexualization of the child female body is promoted and celebrated creating a treacherous politics.


Dr. Enrique Morales-Diaz (World Language Studies): Unhinging the Closet Door: LGBTQ Faculty of Color in and out of the Classroom

Head Shot of Enrique

For me coming out on campus and in the classroom was about challenging my students “so that schooling is not the site where students are indoctrinated to support imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy or any ideology, but rather where they learn to open their minds, to engage in rigorous study and to think critically” (hooks, 2003, p. xiii).  In this essay I share some insights into my own process – what was important to consider as I deliberated whether to come out in and out of the classroom.  While this is not reflective of everything that went into making my decision, they were the questions and concerns that most influenced me.  I hope that my experience and what I share will help a millennial fresh out of graduate school figure out whether they should, or should not, come out as an LGBTQ faculty of color.


Dr. Kate Terzano (Geography and Regional Planning): Do wealthier Neighborhoods have better Conditions for Walking and Bicycling? A Comparison Study in Springfield, M

Head shot of Terzano

A growing literature supports a link between characteristics of the neighborhood environment and physical activity such as walking and biking. This study looked at three wealthier and three poorer neighborhoods in Springfield, Massachusetts, defined initially by looking at the median house values of the neighborhoods, to examine whether inequities exist in the physical conditions that may influence active transportation. This study modified an existing integrated index for operationalizing walkability using parcel-level information and took into account the prevalence of vacant housing and the relatively high crime rates in the city to create two modified walkability indices. These indices were tested against field investigations of the neighborhoods to verify other characteristics, such as the upkeep of sidewalks, the presence of physical incivilities (e.g., litter and graffiti), and the presence of benches. This research extends previous research that has established which physical incivilities tend to have a bearing on people’s perception of a neighborhood.


Dr. Karsten Theis (Chemical and Physical Science): Molecular origami: How Proteins and Nucleic Acids fold and refold

Theis in front of projected screen

Proteins and nucleic acids are biomolecules that serve as the construction workers and the construction blue prints in our cells. Chemically, these biomolecules are made of building blocks linked together to form a linear polymer like beads on a necklace. Different from a necklace, however, they self-organize into defined three-dimensional structures that are crucial for their function. In one story, I will tell you about RNA polymerase, the protein that reads one type of nucleic acid, DNA, and uses it as the template to make another type of nucleic acid, RNA. While performing its job, the polymerase changes its shape drastically, enabling it to switch gears from starting the copying process (initiation) to doing the actual copying (elongation). In a second story, I will tell you about how the product of this process, RNA, folds into its final shape. It turns out that it makes a difference whether the RNA is produced in one uninterrupted session, or whether the polymerase takes a break in the middle, allowing the first half of the RNA to fold before the second half is made. I am particularly excited about the second story because students at Westfield are looking into this process as part of an upper-level course this semester.