Six projects, ranging from studies of gender equity in education to encouraging homeowners to adopt energy-efficient retrofits, have been selected for support in the 2008 Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment (ISCE) Summer Scholars Program.

“The aim of this program is to provide funding to help faculty members develop interdisciplinary proposals to funding agencies to support research and scholarship in the social sciences, arts, and humanities,” said Karen A. Roberto, interim director of the Institute for Society, Culture, and the Environment. More than $90,000 was awarded as part of this competitive grants program.

The awards were made to interdisciplinary teams whose proposals addressed the institute’s targeted research areas: Global Issues Initiative (GII); human development and behavioral health; rhetoric, representation, and public humanities; social complexity and individual risk; and community arts, built environments, and urban formations.

The 2008 ISCE Summer Scholars are

  • Kelly Belanger, associate professor of English and director of the Center for the Study of Rhetoric in Society; Barbara Ellen Smith, professor of interdisciplinary studies and director of Women’s Studies; Stephen Prince, professor of communication; and Robert Leonard, professor of theatre arts, for their preliminary work on a documentary film, book, and outreach project that examines the discourses around Title IX, the 1972 landmark law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded educational programs;
  • Brett D. Jones, assistant professor of educational psychology; Serge F. Hein, assistant professor of educational research and evaluation; Marie C. Paretti, assistant professor of engineering education and director of the Engineering Communications and Professional Development Program ; and Tamara W. Knott, associate professor of engineering education, to support the development of external grant proposals for a longitudinal study to examine how gender stereotypes and self-beliefs are related to women engineering students’ selection of a major, achievement in engineering courses, and likelihood of withdrawing from engineering;
  • Heike Mayer, assistant professor in the National Capital Region urban affairs and planning program, to examine how transatlantic relationships support innovation and entrepreneurship at the regional level;
  • Annie R. Pearce, assistant professor of building construction; Deborah E. Young, assistant professor in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction; Casey J. Dawkins, director of the Virginia Housing Research Center; and C. Theodore Koebel, professor of urban affairs and planning, to determine key factors associated with a transformative increase in the adoption of sustainability technologies among inhabitants of existing housing structures;
  • Eric Standley, assistant professor of art and art history; Steve Harrison, research scientist in computer science; and Carol Burch-Brown, professor of art and art history, for development of prototype elements for linking art and science venues through performance, exhibit, and electronic medias; and
  • Kris Wernstedt, associate professor of urban affairs and planning in the National Capital Region; Patrick Roberts, assistant professor with the Center for Public Administration and Policy (CPAP); and Matthew Dull, assistant professor with the center in the National Capital Region, to strengthen an existing, highly-rated proposal for a federally funded research project to understand emergency managers’ use of climate signals and assess the relative importance to forecast utilization of the communication of climate signals, the political and institutional context of emergency management, and forecast characteristics.

Established in 2006, the Institute for Society, Culture and Environment is tasked with strengthening the university’s competitive position in the social sciences, humanities, and arts. With a presence in Blacksburg and the National Capital Region, the institute provides organizational and financial support for targeted creative, interactive, multi- and interdisciplinary research endeavors.


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