Faculty research


Faculty awarded grants, sabbaticals

Bluffton University faculty members were recognized at the annual Dean’s Reception, an academic year-end event recognizing faculty who have been awarded grants, sabbaticals and other scholarly endeavors.

The following faculty received summer 2019 Bluffton University Research Center grants, which provide $2,000 and up to $300 for research-related expenses:

  • Dr. Daniel Berger, professor of chemistry, for his project, “Toward Creative-Commons Organic Chemistry Textbooks,” where he will be updating and writing new material for chemistry textbooks to be used as educational resources that are free of charge.
  • Jeanna Haggard, assistant professor of food and nutrition, for her project “Studying the Farm to Table Movement,” which will include a two-week apprenticeship under Vivian Howard, a North Carolina based chef who is known for her PBS television series “A Chef’s Life.”
  • Marathana Prothro, assistant professor of communication, for her project, “Branding and Being,” where she will develop an approach to personal branding that aligns with the mission and values of Bluffton University.

Three faculty members, meanwhile, have been granted sabbaticals, including:

  • Dr. Perry Bush, professor of history, spring semester 2020. Dr. Bush will be writing a major monograph on the history of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), which was founded by Bluffton alumnus Baldemar Velasquez.
  • Dr. Crystal Sellers Battle, associate professor of music, spring semester 2020. Dr. Sellers Battle will research the teaching and history of gospel singing, as well as the African American church experience, specifically gospel preaching.
  • Dr. Zachary Walton, associate professor of communication, will identify, select, analyze and critique instances of thought experiments in contemporary cultural artifacts in a variety of media, such as film, television, video games, comics and social media.

Bluffton also offers three endowed faculty scholarship grants. Each grant provides the equivalent of a six-hour course release over two years.

  • Dr. Jackie Wyse-Rhodes, assistant professor of religion, was awarded the Karl Schultz Faculty Scholarship Grant for the 2019-21 academic years. Dr. Wyse-Rhodes will use her time to begin her next book project, a commentary on the Old Testament Book of Numbers, for the Believers Church Bible Commentary series.
  • Dr. Amy Mullins, assistant professor of education, continues with the Trollinger Faculty Scholarship Grant for the 2018-20 academic years. Dr. Mullins is using the course release time to engage in a collaborative project researching the decisions of novice teachers compared to what they learned about teaching and assessing reading.
  • Dr. Perry Bush, professor of history, concluded the Naomi E. Lehman Faculty Scholarship Grant for the 2017-19 academic years. Dr. Bush has used his release time to advance his research of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC).

Granted a spring 2020 mini-leave—typically a one-course reduction in teaching—is Jamie Lyn Smith-Fletcher, assistant professor of English, to continue work on her draft of a book manuscript aimed at inspiring young writers to compose new poetry, short fiction, memoir and lyric essays.