Focus on Faculty

Read news and highlights about faculty from the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters.

Faculty Adapt Labs During Pandemic


Biology faculty members had to rethink how they ran their lab classes during the fall semester to safely meet the health restrictions caused by the pandemic.

For his General Biology labs, David Ingber, Ph.D. used Panopto to create video demonstrations of the experiment his students would then complete in a lab session.

“The demonstration video shows the students what they will be doing in that lab. The video shows a top-down view where you see my hands as I do the experiment, in addition to multi-camera views where it shows me and a whiteboard or the screen of my laptop if we are using a specific program. The goal is to have the students know exactly what they have to do when they get into the lab,” said Dr. Ingber, who also had to rotate students through the lab periods in order to meet the social distancing constraints of the space.

Dr. Ingber also customized pre-lab lessons using an online tool (Lt by ADInstruments) that included graphs, questions, downloadable items and pop-ups with videos and vocabulary to help the students understand the significance of the procedure they would be performing. He moved the instructional time online in order to have in-classroom time strictly focused on data collection. Following the lab, the students then used the data they collected to complete their analysis and write their lab reports.

Read about how other biology professors Ashley Driver, Ph.D. and Tara Fay adapted,  here.

Accounting Faculty Research Ranked Among the Top in the World

The recently released 2020 Brigham Young University Accounting Rankings have placed The University of Scranton Accounting Department and faculty among the best in the world.

The BYU report ranks accounting programs and faculty throughout the world based on their success in publishing in top-tier accounting journals. The report is updated annually and includes ranks for specific categories of research and for specific time periods. The recently released BYU update ranks the Accounting Department at The University of Scranton as the fourth most prolific department in the world for accounting education research (excluding cases) over the most recent six-year period. The department was also ranked internationally for all methods, audit and experimental accounting research.

With respect to authorships of individual accounting faculty in the area of accounting education, three Scranton faculty members were ranked internationally. Douglas M. Boyle, D.B.A., associate professor, chair of the Accounting Department, and director of the DBA program was ranked No. 7. James F. Boyle, D.B.A., assistant professor and director of the MAcc program, and Brian W. Carpenter, Ph.D., professor, ranked No. 22 (tied). Additionally, Dr. Douglas Boyle was ranked for all methods, auditing, and experimental research and Dr. Carpenter was ranked for all methods.

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools (AACSB) estimates that there are more than 13,000 business schools in the world. Since 1990, only 664 of those 13,000 schools had any publications in any of the top-tier journals used in the BYU rankings, and only 336 of these schools had any publications in the top-tier accounting education journals used in the BYU rankings.

This student-centered approach to scholarship is integral to our Jesuit mission and tradition."
- Jeff Gingerich, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs

The University of Scranton’s Accounting Departmental fourth place ranking is a continuation of research accolades received by the department, faculty, and students. Last year, the department was ranked No. 1 in the nation in “The Intersection of Academia and Practice: Publishing in Leading U.S. Accounting Organizations’ Journals” (Issues in Accounting Education, May 2020), for the number of publications in the leading refereed accounting practitioner journals, over the most recent five-year period. Four Scranton accounting faculty received individual national rankings: Dr. Douglas Boyle ranked No. 1, Dr. Carpenter ranked No. 2 (tied); Daniel P. Mahoney, Ph.D., professor, was ranked No. 3 (tied), and Dr. James Boyle was ranked No. 7 (tied).

“We are very proud of the scholarly accomplishments of our Accounting department faculty and especially glad to see their commitment to publishing with students. This student-centered approach to scholarship is integral to our Jesuit mission and tradition,” said Jeff Gingerich, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

Read on, here.

Norcross Research Cited Again in New Year

Research on how people succeed with their resolutions and behavior change by University of Scranton Distinguished Professor John C. Norcross, Ph.D. is often cited in the new year.  Here are some highlights from the news that quoted Dr. Norcross or cited his research recently.

On Impact of Pandemic

“Particularly in the United States, resolutions are invariably cast as an individually oriented deprivation task, and this may be exactly the worst time to put that onto yourself,”   Washington Post

On Scaling Back

"Most of us are preoccupied with pandemic concerns," Norcross says. "We can't bring the same commitment, motivation, or prioritization to our resolutions as we could in other years. Think of it like trying to drive while distracted." -  Newsweek

On Nature's Power

"We call it ‘vitamin N." -  WebMD News 

On Meeting Goals

"Norcross says that contrary to public opinion, a considerable proportion of  New Year resolvers do meet their goals. About 40% to 44% of people who set  New Year’s resolutions will be successful at six months, he says." -  Washington Times

On Finding Support

"There’s hundreds of studies in the health psychology literature suggesting in fact that social support does in fact make a difference," he says. -  CBS Baltimore

On Mulligans or Cheat Day 

[Excerpt from CNN]

Slipups happen. So factor them in. Rather than trying to meditate every day, your goal could be to meditate five out of seven days per week.

That's one way to avoid what behavior change researchers call the Abstinence Violation Effect, in which you say "screw it" after missing a day of routine and let it slide even more. So use your slips as an opportunity to learn. 

"Don't let a slip become a fall," said John Norcross, distinguished professor and chair of psychology at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania and author of the book " Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions." -   CNN

On Success

(Excerpt from The Atlantic)

The four habits associated with successful resolutions are mostly positive: practicing self-liberation (that is, strengthening willpower by reinforcing the belief that one can change); rewarding oneself for ongoing success; avoiding situations of temptation; and engaging in positive thinking (envisioning success). Resolution failure is associated with negative thinking, such as focusing on the harm from the old behavior; berating oneself for slipping up; wishing that the challenge didn’t exist in the first place; and minimizing the threat (denying the importance of the resolution). In sum, the key to success is positive motivation.   The Atlantic

On Timing

“My resolutions will begin in June, when enough of the vaccines are out to get something done,’” he says. -   Yahoo Life

Professor Awarded Six-figure NSF Career Grant

Nathaniel Frissell, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics and electrical engineering at The University of Scranton, was awarded a highly-competitive National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER grant that integrates original research on the effects of lower and middle atmospheric waves on ionospheric disturbances with course instruction and undergraduate and graduate research and education. The five-year $616,054 NSF CAREER grant is a special funding program that is only available only to early-career, tenure track faculty members and must include tightly integrated research and education components.

In a press release, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright applauded the NSF’s $616,054 federal grant awarded to Dr. Frissell.

“America’s leadership in technology is due in large part to the work that goes on in places like the University of Scranton,” said Rep. Cartwright, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “This kind of research not only moves us forward on innovation, the students who take part in it can then become part of a highly skilled workforce that attracts space and technology businesses to our area. I applaud Dr. Frissell and The University of Scranton for their pioneering work. In Congress, I will continue to support National Science Foundation initiatives that lift up Northeastern Pennsylvania’s best minds.”

Dr. Frissell’s NSF CAREER proposal builds on his previously awarded $1.3 million NSF grant to develop modular, ground-based space science observation equipment and software that will be used to collect and analyze data from an international network of amateur (ham) radio users, which includes a newly formed a student radio club at Scranton.

“Space weather significantly impacts important modern technological systems, and the effective operation of such systems is dependent on the state of the ionosphere. Understanding the connection between traveling ionospheric disturbances and atmospheric gravity wave sources in the lower atmospheric regions could improve the ability to predict the ionospheric state and thus its impact on navigation and communications systems,” said Dr. Frissell in the introduction of his grant proposal.

Read on, here.

Read more faculty news, here.


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