Faculty research


Dr. Alex Sider

Faculty research was celebrated at the annual year-end Dean’s Reception, led by Dr. Alex Sider, interim vice president of academic affairs.

grants support faculty scholarship

Academic scholarship by Bluffton University faculty members was recognized at the annual year-end Dean’s Reception. “We know that this important scholarly work enriches your teaching and the university,” said Dr. Alex Sider, interim vice president of academic affairs.

Faculty research is promoted through financial grants and by course release time which relieves faculty of teaching responsibilities to provide time for research or creative endeavors.

  • Dr. Steve Harnish, professor of mathematics, will develop computational simulations for use in research labs seeking to address the evolving climate crisis. This project will build on his past research to expand career opportunities for Bluffton mathematics and natural sciences students.

    Harnish received the Karl Schultz Faculty Scholarship Grant for 2024-26 which provides the equivalent of a six-hour course release over two years.

The following faculty received 2024 summer Bluffton University Research Center grants, which provide $2,000 and limited reimbursement for research-related expenses.

  • Dr. Lamar Nisly, professor of English, will build on his past research with a study of authors’ late-career novels. He writes, “Authors seem to be using these novels near the end of their writing careers to reflect on the nature of humanity and, often, the nature of the divine.” 

    This research aligns with the honors course, “Faith and Fiction,” that he will teach next academic year.
  • Dr. Jacob Buchanan, assistant professor of environmental science, will begin work on a permaculture garden within the Bluffton University Nature Preserve. Permaculture describes sustainable land management practices which works with (not against) nature, focusing on native plants and renewable resources.

    As the M’Della Moon Endowed Chair in Botany and Environmental Science, Buchanan seeks to further use of the Nature Preserve as a learning laboratory, and to increase efforts in sustainability and native plant restoration.

The C. Henry Smith Peace Lecturer is selected annually, alternating between faculty at Bluffton University and Goshen College. The purpose of this lectureship is to highlight Anabaptist peace perspectives for the Bluffton and Goshen campus communities.

  • Marathana Prothro, assistant professor of communication, will present the 2024-25 C. Henry Smith Peace Lecture. Her presentation intends to explore how “contemporary practices, tools and methods for presenting oneself online can, and do, inhibit one’s capacity as a peacemaker.”

Faculty members will present on their scholarship during the 2024-25 Friday Colloquium series which resumes in September.