Faculty Shop Talks

Fall 2019 Schedule

Presenter: K. Angelique Dwyer
Title: "Gringos Mexicanos" An Intercultural Podcast in Complex Times
Time and Place: September 20, 2019 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center

Abstract:  This presentation will discuss the recent creation of Dwyer's podcast "Gringos Mexicanos" featuring 5 of her creative non-fiction stories written in Spanglish. The narrative voice in these stories/podcasts provides a unique perspective broadening dialogue(s) on Mexican American identity. It questions times of fixed borders and selected national identities. The podcast additionally features relevant commentary by academics, professionals and community members. Specific commentary relates to the topics covered in each story: identity negotiation, gender dynamics, death, spirituality, pets, siblings, sexuality, family relations, classism, religion, rituals and rites of passage. The podcast will serve as engaged scholarship, free of use with educators from many disciplines in mind.

Presenter: Jeff La Frenierre
Title:  "Taking the Temperature of Tropical Glaciers: A Report from Recent Fieldwork in Ecuador"
Time and Place: October 18, 2019 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center

Abstract: In our steadily warming world, mountain glaciers remain a key indicator of global climate change. Glaciers in tropical mountain regions are especially sensitive to climate change, and these glaciers are at considerable risk, and unless the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions changes in the very near future, many of these ice masses may be lost, with considerable environmental, socioeconomic, and cultural implications. In this talk, we will explore the state of glaciers on two of Ecuador’s highest mountains, examine the spatial and temporal patterns of recent ice loss, and reflect on the methods my students, collaborators, and I use to measure glacier change in these remote and challenging environments. 

Presenter: Kjerstin Moody
Title: "Contemporary Sámi Visual Art and Practice"
Time and Place: November 1, 2019 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center

Abstract: This shop talk investigates the work of three contemporary Sámi visual artists and the ways their work questions sovereignty, land-use rights, and exploitative practices of natural resources and indigenous cultural identity. Focus will be given to Anders Sunna, Outi Pieski, and Marja Helander. Together their recent work, commissions, and awards represent historically peripheral Nordic indigenous artistic creation being brought into visibility and conversation on a more global stage. 

Presenter: Madeline Harms
Title: "Age, Experience, and the Explore-Exploit Dilemma"
Time and Place: November 15, 2019 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center

Abstract: The interplay between the decision-making processes of exploration (gathering new information, potentially at the expense of immediate reward) and exploitation (taking advantage of known information to obtain reward), has long been of interest among cognitive scientists. However, few studies have examined age-related changes in exploration and exploitation. In this talk, I will review a study in which we examined developmental changes in decision-making strategies during the explore-exploit dilemma from pre-K to young adulthood. I will also discuss the next steps in this research, which involve identifying and examining environmental and life history factors that may push people to explore or exploit.

Presenter: Jessica Imholte and Darsa Donelan
Title: Effect of supplemental video instruction on introductory science labs
Time and Place: December 13, 2019 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center

Abstract:. Many college students come into introductory science laboratories unprepared to work with equipment for the first time. Students can be given a pre-lab quiz that forces them to read the manual ahead of time. However, without seeing a demonstration of the equipment they will be working with or techniques they will be doing, reading the lab manual can be like translating a foreign language. As an inclusive solution to this, we provided the students with supplemental videos. These videos allowed the students to visualize portions of the labs (experimental set-ups, new techniques, and anticipated results) before arriving. Students were able to access pre-lab videos outside of lab time, allowing for more time during lab for other pedagogical applications like post-lab discussions. Having dedicated time at the end of a lab period to discuss thoughts and observations while the lab is fresh in the student’s mind allowed them the opportunity to think critically about its application, benefitting future engagement with academic content.

Spring 2020 Schedule

Presenter: Anna Versluis
Title: Southern Minnesota Farmers’ Negotiation of a Changing Agricultural Landscape
Time and Place: February 21, 2020 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center

Abstract: In this talk, we provide an overview of our faculty+student interdisciplinary research on southern Minnesota farming and discuss our main findings. We elicited farmers' personal stories and perspectives on changes in agriculture and ways of life through semi-structured, on-farm interviews with randomly selected conventional farming families in southern Minnesota. These farmers shared their reflections on the dramatic shifts in agriculture over their lifetimes involving new technologies, consolidation, uncertain financial well-being, erosion of community, and growing public concerns about food production. Farm families are resorting to a number of strategies to withstand these changes, though for many, farming ultimately proves unsustainable.

Presenter: J. Blake Couey
Title: Isaiah 16:3-4 as an Abolitionist Proof-Text
Time and Place: March 6, 2020 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center

In the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Isaiah chapters 15-16 are a prophetic poem about the ancient kingdom of Moab (modern-day Jordan). This obscure text seems to have attracted minimal attention from Jewish or Christian interpreters for millennia, until two verses from it became a popular abolitionist proof-text during the North American slavery debates in the first half of the nineteenth century: “Hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth. Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler” (Isaiah 16:3-4, King James Version). This talk will explore both the ways that abolitionists used these verses to justify hiding runaway slaves and some pro-slavery responses to their arguments, and offer some reflections on the ongoing relevance of the hermeneutical issues raised by this debate. 

Presenter: Thia Cooper CANCELLED
Title: "Josephus, the Pharisees, and the Afterlife: A Study in Translation"
Time and Place: March 20, 2020 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center

Abstract: Development aims to raise the living standard of the world’s poor, mainly through small-scale projects that increase economic growth. A theology of liberation provided a critique to development practice, but a specific theology of development is still lacking. I’ll offer a brief theology of development, which emphasises empowerment, justice, and being with the marginalised at the intersections of their marginalisation: race, class, sex, environment, religion, etc. This theology would ask aid agencies to address the entrenchment of unequal power relations, and embrace a holistic notion of development, defined by the needs of those most marginalized. 

Presenter: Lynnea Myers CANCELLED
Title: Physical Anomalies in Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Time and Place: April 3, 2020 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center

Abstract: Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), including autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are diagnosed in a significant minority of children, adolescents, and adults worldwide. Physical examinations are recommended for children undergoing assessment of NDDs, including evaluation of the presence of morphological variants, which are altered physical features of the body such as low-set ears, curved finger digits, narrow lips, etc. Morphological variants have been shown to appear more frequently in children with some NDDs, such as ASD, and in children with genetic syndromes. Physical examinations for morphological variants may help identify children undergoing assessment for NDDs who would benefit from further screening or testing (i.e., genetic). However, these physical examinations are often subjective, timeconsuming, and require a high level of expertise to perform. This presentation will describe four studies I conducted using a cohort of twins recruited in the Roots of Autism and ADHD Twin Study in Sweden (RATSS) who received detailed in-person clinical and automated morphological assessments, neuroimaging, and molecular genetic testing. The aims of the studies was to identify characteristics of morphological variants to support NDD screening and risk assessment, to test whether it is possible to obtain reliable morphological assessments using low-cost, automated technology, and to utilize the twin design to explore the potential genetic and environmental influences on the development of morphological variants.

Presenter: Joshua Brown
Title: "How to Talk about Things that don't Exist"
Time and Place: April 17, 2020 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center



  • their session was cancelled due to virus - -Thia Cooper and Lynea Myers
  • Spanish Program – 5 faculty (Angelique Dwyer)
  • Amanda Nienow - updates to the chemistry department curriculum, particularly CHE 106/108, a new approach to lab in CHE 251, and some unique things happening in our 300 level courses
  • Sharon Marquart
  • Lisa Heldke
  • Sean Easton
  • Shu Ling
  • Carlos Mario Mejía Suárez
  • Valerie Banschbach - Dean