Affinity Groups

For Research that Reaches Out implementation and to facilitate the University's emphasis on integrating research and service, we are connecting faculty (and staff and students, when applicable) with interest in common cross-disciplinary areas.

Participation in these "affinity groups" is voluntary and each group will meet 2-3 times each semester to discuss projects and ways to be involved in local, national, and/or global community issues. The purpose is to facilitate discussion and collaboration which ultimately result in cross-disciplinary projects that align with Research that Reaches Out.

Affinity groups were organized based on surveys received from the August 11 Kick-off  Workshop.  Did you miss the kick-off workshop and wish to be part of an affinity group?  (We also welcome all colleagues interested in the integration of research and service, regardless of home College or Mercer campus.)  You can download the form here. Please send completed forms to QEP Associate Director Judy Wilbanks.

2015-2016 Affinity Groups:

1. Local Engagement with the Arts & Impacts of the Arts

2. K-12 Education & Youth Development

3. Sustainability of Humans & Environment

4. Human Health & Disease

5. Humanities in Public Life

6. Atlanta Campus Research Collaboration

7. Blight, Housing, & Homelessness & Urban Planning/Revitalization

8. Cross-Community Relationships & Understanding via Dialogue

9. Global Development

10. Human Rights

11. Nonprofit & Small Business Development & Financial Literacy

Contact Dr. Bridget Trogden with questions regarding groups 1-6.

Contact Judy Wilbanks with questions regarding groups 7-11.

 

Local Engagement with the Arts & Impacts of the Arts

Description:

Members:

  • Ian Altman (MUS)
  • Jay Black (CLA)
  • Gary Blackburn (CLA)
  • Linda Brennan (BUS)
  • Craig Coleman (CLA)
  • Gordon Johnston (CLA)
  • Laurie Lankin (Penfield)
  • Marcus Reddick (MUS)
  • Eric O'Dell (CLA)
  • Creighton Rosental (CLA)
  • Katie White (MUS)
  • Virginia Young (BIO)
  • Theresa Rhodes (LIB)

Major questions discussed this year:

Projects our colleagues are working on:

K-12 Education & Youth Development

Description:

Members:

Major questions discussed this year:

Projects our colleagues are working on:

Sustainability of Humans & Environment

Description:

Members:

  • Randy Harshbarger (CLA)
  • Ryan Jennings (CLA)
  • Joseph Keene (CLA)
  • Ruth McCaffrey (GBCN)
  • Ania Rynarzewska (BUS)
  • Colleen Stapleton (Penfield)
  • Sabrina Walthall (Penfield)
  • Edward Weintraut (CLA)
  • Fletcher Winston (CLA)

Major questions discussed this year:

Projects our colleagues are working on:

Human Health & Disease

Description:

Members:

  • Vikraman Baskaran (Penfield)
  • Cheryl Gaddis (CHP)
  • David Goode (CLA)
  • Yuanting Lu (CLA)
  • Suzie Madden (CHP)
  • Mary Mathis (CHP)
  • Gail Morton (LIB)
  • Jose Pino (CLA)
  • Jimmie Smith (CHP)

Major questions discussed this year:

Projects our colleages are working on:

Humanities in Public Life

Description:

Members:

  • Fred Bongiovanni (Penfield)
  • Laura Botts (LIB)
  • Wesley Barker (Penfield)
  • David Davis (CLA)
  • Abby Dowling (CLA)
  • Jonathan Glance (CLA)
  • Elizabeth Harper (CLA)
  • Matt Harper (CLA)
  • Craig McMahan (University Minister)
  • Mary Alice Morgan (Sr Vice Provost)
  • Tom Scott (CLA)
  • Kathryn Wright (LIB)

Major questions discussed this year:

Projects our colleagues are working on:

Atlanta Campus Research Collaboration

Description

Members:

Major questions discussed this year:

Projects our colleagues are working on:

Blight, Housing, & Homelessness & Urban Planning/Revitalization

It's no secret that Macon is a city committed to reducing blight and revitalizing neighborhoods. This group comes together to discuss the topics listed above, share projects and events happening in the Mercer/Macon community, and find ways to form interdisciplinary collaborations on future projects.

Members:

  • Sarah Abney (CLA, Student)
  • Debbie Blankenship (CLA)
  • Heather Bowman-Cutway (CLA)
  • Austin Harrison (CLA, Student)
  • Jarred Jenkins (CLA)
  • Adam Ragusea (CLA)
  • Aaron Scherf (BUS, Student)
  • Scott Schultz (EGR)
  • Margaret Symington (CLA)
  • Charlie Thomas (CLA)

Major questions discussed this year:

  • What is blight and why does it matter?
  • How can we get rid of the red tape associated with starting microbusinesses in local neighborhoods?
  • What is the best way to market the materials collected from Habitat deconstruction projects?

Projects our colleages are working on:

Scott Schultz

  • Faculty advisor for the Mercer chapter of Habitat for Humanity.
  • Advisor for a senior design project in which 4 engineering students are studying the process used by Habitat for Humanity to deconstruct blighted homes. The students found the process to deconstruction to be a financially viable option over demolition. The students also identified denailing as a bottleneck in the deconstruction process and have built and designed a denailing station to reduce the time it takes to remove nails from recovered and reusable materials.

Margaret Symington

  • Instructor for INT 201: Building community. Her students study community through the lens of a service-learning project at Daybreak, a resource center for the homeless.

Cross-Community Relationships & Understanding via Dialogue 

This group comes together to discuss ways in which our campus community is currently facilitating dialogues amongst those from differing backgrounds and to brainstorm ideas for improvement.  

Members:

  • Alana Alvarez (CLA)
  • Caroline Brackette (Penfield)
  • Suneetha Manyam (Penfield)
  • Chinekwu Obidoa (CLA)
  • Jacqueline Stephen (Penfield)
  • Chanequa Walker-Barnes (THE)
  • Bryan Whitfield (CLA)
  • Andrea Winkler (Penfield)

Major questions discussed this year:

  • What's the best way to bring people of different cultures and backgrounds together?
  • How can we show our students that understanding does not constitute acceptance?
  • What are our students currently doing

Projects our colleagues are working on:

Dr. Bryan Whitfield - Dr. Whitfield began teaching a new course in the 15-16 academic year: CHR 170 Beginning with Abraham

Global Development

Our campus hosts a plethora of global development activities. This group is working to streamline development opportunities on our campus and find ways to better equip our students to be globally-minded citizens.

Members:

  • Bryant Hardin (International Programs)
  • Randy Harshbarger (CLA)
  • Eimad  Houry (CLA)
  • Achim Kopp (CLA)
  • Fend Liu (Penfield)
  • Craig McMahan (MoM Director)
  • Tanya Sharon (CLA)
  • Julie Strecker (International Programs)
  • Mike MacCarthy (EGR)
  • Fernando Palacios (CLA)
  • Ansley Booker (Educational Opportunity Center)
  • Melissa Browning (Theology)
  • Rob Nash (Theology)
  • Mary Alice Morgan (CLA) (SL)
  • Feng Liu (Penfield)
  • Lisa Vu (CLA)
  • Hannah Vann (Center for Community Engagement)

Major questions raised this year:

  • Would the campus benefit from a "Development Summit" as a way to showcase all of the development initiatives happening at Mercer?
  • What opportunities can we provide for our students in order for them to become more globally-minded?
  • How can INT 301 be more globally focused?
  • How can the Arts & Humanities take part in Research that Reaches Out?
  • What are other faculty members doing in regard to global development? How can we best share this information among colleagues?
  • How can we build on the momentum of Mercer on Mission after students and faculty return from their trips?

Projects our colleagues are working on:

Eimad Houry - helps to facilitate the South Africa internship program.

Tanya Sharon - Chair of INT 301: Engaging the World

Craig McMahan -Mercer on Mission

Human Rights

Description

Members:

  • Sara Appleby (CLA)
  • Elaina Behounek (CLA)
  • Tammy Crutchfield (CLA)
  • Andy Digh (CLA)
  • Adam Froerer (MED)
  • Linda Hensel (CLA)
  • Lori Johnson (CLA)
  • Kenyon Knapp (Penfield)
  • Joshua Kinsey (Pharm)
  • Clara Mengolini (CLA)
  • Scott Nash (CLA)
  • Whitney Phillips (Penfield)
  • Carla Smith (MED)

Major questions discussed this year:

  • What is Mercer's involvement with the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program and what can students learn from it?
  • What is a proper definition of "human rights" for Mercer?

Projects our colleagues are working on:

Dr. Sara Appleby -  Among Dr. Appleby's research interests are the topics of mass incarceration and the criminalization of poverty. This summer, Sara is attending the Inside-Out Training Institute to learn how to teach in the local prison system.

Dr. Tammy Crutchfield - Dr. Crutchfield teaches an upper-level marketing course in which her students take ownership of the brand, Traffick Jam. Traffick Jam is self-sustaining and exists for the purpose of teaching Middle Georgia teens how to Drive Out Sex Trafficking.

Dr. Lori Johnson - Dr. Johnson is interested in teaching inside the prison system. She will also be attending the Inside-Out Training Institute this summer.

Dr. Clara Mengolini - Dr. Mengolini's will be partnering with Crisis Line & Safe House next semester to give her Spanish students a service-learning experience working with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Dr. Carla Smith - Dr. Smith teaches in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Piedmont Hospital campus of Mercer School of Medicine. Dr. Smith is working to integrate service-learning into the curriculum and is interested specifically in working with victims of sexual assault.

Nonprofit & Small Business Development & Financial Literacy

Description

Members:

  • Tammy Crutchfield (BUS)
  • Kevin Honeycutt (CLA)
  • Mary Alice Morgan (Sr Vice Provost)
  • Geoffrey Ngene (BUS)
  • Tim Regan-Porter (CCJ)
  • Dr. Samantha Riley (MIC)
  • Briana Stenard (BUS)
  • Martin Zhao (CLA)

Projects our colleagues are working on:

Dr. Tammy Crutchfield - Dr. Crutchfield teaches an upper-level marketing course in which her students take ownership of the brand, Traffick Jam. Traffick Jam is self-sustaining and exists for the purpose of teaching Middle Georgia teens how to Drive Out Sex Trafficking.

Dr. Geoffrey Ngene -  Dr. Ngene is the advisor for the Bank on Program (B.o.P), which was initiated out of the Financial Management Association. This program aims to assess the degree of financial inclusion and access to conventional financial services by low income  households and neighborhoods in Macon.

Dr. Mary Alice Morgan - Dr. Morgan is Mercer's Senior Vice Provost for Service-Learning. She has been instrumental in bringing Operation Hope to Macon-Bibb. She would love to facilitate partnerships between Operation Hope and Mercer faculty, staff, and students.

Dr. Samantha Riley - Dr. Riley is the director of the new Mercer Innovation Center.

Dr. Briana Stenard - Dr. Stenard is a professor of Entrepreneurship and the advisor for Mercer's new social entrepreneurship club, ENACTUS.

Dr. Lee Olson - Dr. Olson is the Outreach & Assessment Librarian at Tarver Library. She is also a business-owner with a general interest in entrepreneurship.

Dr. Martin Zhao - Dr. Zhao is a professor of Computer Science. He is interested in developing a nonprofit aimed at developing skills for children with autism.