UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Archives for May 2016

Grape polyphenols help counter negative effects of high fat diet

Firsts in their class: Stories of six college graduates

Bringing muscle to the ceremony, DiAnne Borders carries the mace

050416Feature_DiAnneBordersPerhaps no one bears the weight of a commencement ceremony like the Faculty Marshal.

Dr. L. DiAnne Borders, who began her five-year term in the Fall 2014 semester, will carry the mace on May 6. Elected to five-year terms, the Faculty Marshal carries the UNCG Mace at formal events.

Hand-chased in sterling silver, the UNCG Mace is a ceremonial insignia of the university. The UNCG Mace bears motifs depicting the history of this campus: daisies, the official university flower; pine cones (UNCG’s yearbook was titled “Pine Needles”); and a depiction of Minerva. The Class of 1926 presented the UNCG Mace to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of its graduation and the Bicentennial of the nation, notes UNCG Archives.

“In preparation for the first commencement ceremony, I increased my bicep curls and practiced at the gym with a weight about the same size and shape but that is heavier than the mace,” said Borders. “I also got pointers on how to hold it.”

Although she is not UNCG’s first female Faculty Marshal, she said, she is the first female to carry the mace.

“I was told I could ask a faculty friend to carry the mace and march with me,” said Borders. “But my Spartan feminist pride would not allow that. I carry it without any harness, although that was suggested to me also.”

Since 1987 Borders has researched clinical supervision at UNCG, focusing on the educational process of facilitating counselors’ effective application of their knowledge and skills in their work with clients. The UNCG Counseling and Educational Development program, part of the School of Education, is rated second best in the nation by US News & World Report.

She holds an undergraduate degree in English education from UNCG.

“I do hope the mace and the procession add to the significance, dignity and honor of the occasion for the parents, families and friends there, and the pride they feel for their graduate,” said Borders. “I think about that as I march in and look into the stands where my parents once sat.”

By Daniel Wirtheim

Note: Commencement will be livestreamed at https://reg.uncg.edu/commencement-central/video/.


Dr. Gregory Grieve is BOG honoree for teaching excellence

050416Feature_GrieveBOGHonoreeDr. Gregory Grieve researches and teaches in the intersection of Asian religions, digital media, popular culture and ethnographic approaches to the study of religion.

“I approach teaching as an intellectual and creative endeavor that is an important element of my own research and scholarship. Like the curious problems that drive my own research, I believe the key for creating in students the habit of lifelong learning is posing curious questions. Excellent teachers make the material interesting and pertinent to students.”

He will receive at Spring Commencement the UNC system’s highest award for teaching. The Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching is presented to one faculty member at each UNC university.

He wrote “Cyber Zen: Imagining Authentic Buddhist Identity, Community and Practices in the Virtual World of Second Life” [in press] and “Retheorizing Religion in Nepal.”

He is co-editor of the books “Buddhism, the Internet, and Digital Media: The Pixel in the Lotus;”  “Religion in Play: Finding Religion in Digital Gaming;” and “Historicizing ‘Tradition’ in the Study of Religion.”

Grieve is professor and department head of Religious Studies and the Director of MERGE: A Network for Interdisciplinary and Collaborative Scholarship at UNCG.

He received his doctorate in divinity at the University of Chicago, with a concentration on the history of religions. He also received his master’s there. He received his bachelor’s at San Francisco State University, in film production and philosophy.

He recently reflected on his own learning, as a student. “It was in my first year of college that I decided to become a professor. After all the trouble I caused them, my elementary school teachers would laugh to find that I have become an educator. … In college I was introduced to professors who cultivated my curiosity and creativity rather than attempting to tame them. For the first time in my life, caring, knowledgeable faculty inspired me, and I saw school not as a set of arbitrary rules, but as an intellectual feast.”

It’s a feast his students enjoy each semester.

“My area of expertise is religion in popular culture,” he explains. “Because religion is where people describe their highest values, religion plays a crucial role in understanding what it means to be human. Many look for the essence of humanity in high art. I want students to see the humanity in themselves. And I want them to critically look at popular culture.”

Photograph by Martin Kane; Grieve (center) with students

Dear Mr. Trump … Dear Ms. Clinton. UNCG helps New Yorkers send a message.

050416Feature_UNCGHelpsNewYorkersANearly 60 UNCG students armed with manual typewriters set up tables in New York City’s Bryant Park last week. Passers-by had the opportunity to compose a message to the presidential candidates, as the UNCG students typed away.

Click, clack, clack, clack …. bing!

It was performance art – with a larger purpose. People had a chance to have their say.

In Sheryl Oring’s “I Wish to Say” performances, the public is invited to dictate postcards to the presidential candidates. The notes are always typed verbatim on manual typewriters, and forwarded to the candidates. The work last week was presented as part of the PEN World Voices Festival in Bryant Park.

About 40 student volunteers from the UNCG Art Department participated in “I Wish to Say” on Wednesday, April 27.

Additional students were from the UNCG honors class Art & Politics. It’s a UNCG Lloyd International Honors College course taught by Dr. David Holian (Political Science) and Oring (Art).

Holian said “The course examines the links between politics, culture and contemporary art practice to provide students with a critical framework that we hope will prove useful for those intending to document or create art as well as those seeking to broaden their overall knowledge of contemporary culture and politics.”

Oring’s book on this ongoing performance art project will be published in September. She plans a performance at SECCA in Winston-Salem on Nov. 1, and there will likely be a performance in Greensboro this year as well.

Had these undergraduates ever used a typewriter? Oring said, “A few of them said their families had typewriters in the attic and a few had typed a bit.” She gave typewriter workshops for the students in the weeks before the bus trip to New York.

What do you think the students who participated that day got out of it? “The students learned a lot about various aspects of creating a large-scale public art project, from project management and planning to documentation and promotion,” she said. “They also learned about teamwork as this project definitely required us to work together.”


Sheryl Oring

This performance makes a difference, one person at a time. She showed a note she received afterward from a New Yorker. “Until I arrived and sat down with one of your typists, I don’t think I realized the extent of my desire to communicate with our candidates. While some people find Facebook comments (rants) empowering, I found being heard by your typist and knowing that my letter will be mailed to Senator Sanders far more effective. Thank you.”

Hear the NPR report and read the San Francisco Chronicle feature about last week’s event.

By Mike Harris
Photograph in Bryant Park by Jiyoung Park

Dr. Randy Penfield will be Dean of the School of Education

050416Feature_PenfieldProvost Dunn has made an announcement regarding the UNCG School of Education deanship:

I am very pleased to announce that, following a national search, Dr. Randy Penfield has been appointed to serve as Dean of the School of Education effective June 1, 2016.  Randy has served as Interim Dean of the School of Education since July 1, 2015.

After serving on the faculty of the College of Education of the University of Florida (2000-2004) and the University of Miami (2004-2012), Randy joined UNCG in 2012 to assume the position of Chair of the Department of Educational Research Methodology in the School of Education.  During his time at UNCG he has led a range of innovative initiatives aimed at expanding experiential learning opportunities for students, including the development of the Office of Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Services (OAERS) and the establishment of the Nonprofit Evaluation Support Program (NESP) in collaboration with the SERVE Center of UNCG.

Dr. Penfield received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto with a specialization in educational measurement and assessment.  He is a leading expert in the area of fairness in testing, having published extensively on the development of methods to identify bias in educational assessments and the promotion of fair and equitable testing practices.  He has also been actively engaged in funded research, being an investigator on a variety of federally funded grants focusing on improving teacher professional development in multicultural settings and the assessment of science readiness for multilingual student populations.  In recognition of his research productivity, he was awarded the 2005 Jason Millman Early Career Award from the National Council on Measurement in Education, and in 2011 was named a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association.

Please join me in congratulating Randy on his appointment as Dean of the School of Education.  I am confident he will work collaboratively with faculty and staff and the university community to move the School of Education further along its trajectory of success and impact.

Dana Dunn

Many are celebrated at College of Arts and Sciences

050416Feature_CollegeArtsSciencesIn the College of Arts & Sciences last week, a remarkable number of retiring professors received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

Eleven, in fact.

Twenty retirees (with a cumulative 563 years of service) were recognized. Also honored were three CAS Teaching Excellence recipients, three CAS Staff Excellence recipients and several service pin recipients, including Dr. Denise Baker with 40 years of service.

The eleven retiring faculty members who were honored with the state’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine award:

Walter Beale
Patricia Bowden (not present)
Julie Brown
Robert Cannon
James Clotfelter
James Evans
Alice Hill
Elizabeth Lacey (not present)
Paul Mazgaj
Karen Patrick
Jeffrey Soles

This award is presented to individuals for exemplary service to the State of North Carolina and their communities that is above and beyond the call of duty and which has made a significant impact and strengthened North Carolina.

Two received the Caswell Award, which honors those with 45 years of service to our state:

Walter Beale
James Evans

Dean Tim Johnston noted that many of the recipients of university-wide faculty awards this year were in the College.

At the end of the ceremony, Johnston noted that he would not be at UNCG for next spring’s ceremony. In 2015, he had announced his retirement. Dr. John Z. Kiss will become dean effective July 1.

The faculty and staff gave Johnston a lengthy standing ovation.

Visual of some of the event’s honorees:

Front row (left to right), Paul Mazgaj, Karen Patrick, Marcia Payne Wooten
Back row (l-r), James Clotfelter, Patricia Fairfield-Artman, Hephzibah Roskelly, James Evans, Robert Cannon, Walter Beale, Alice Hill, Jeffrey Soles

By Mike Harris and Lori Wright

Denise Turner Roth will deliver commencement address Friday

050416Feature_RothDenise Turner Roth, the 21st Senate-confirmed administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), will deliver the address to the Class of 2016 at UNCG’s Spring Commencement.

The ceremony will take place Friday, May 6, at 10 a.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum. It will be livestreamed at https://reg.uncg.edu/commencement-central/video/.

UNCG will award approximately 2,466 earned degrees and two honorary degrees.

Roth, who previously served as Greensboro’s city manager, arrived at GSA in March of 2014 as deputy administrator and assumed the role of administrator in August of 2015.

As administrator, Roth leads the GSA’s efforts in delivering the best value in real estate, acquisition and technology services. GSA provides workspace to more than 1 million federal civilian workers, oversees the preservation of more than 480 historic buildings and facilitates the federal government’s purchase of goods and services from commercial vendors.

Roth’s dedication to public service began on Capitol Hill in the office of Congressman Jim Moran. Later, she served as a special assistant for legislative affairs in the office of District of Columbia Mayor Anthony Williams and as the public space manager for the District’s Department of Transportation, overseeing a $36 million revenue stream and managing public space access for major utility and telecommunication companies.

As the city manager for the City of Greensboro from 2012 to 2014, her leadership helped pave the way for several creative management changes in the city, including the reorganization of city departments and divisions to promote efficiency and improve service delivery.

In her capacity as vice president for governmental affairs at the Greensboro Partnership, Roth successfully advocated for $60 million in state funds to establish UNCG and NC A&T State’s Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN).

Additionally, Roth served on the UNCG Board of Visitors from 2008 to 2011.

Full story at UNCG Now.

By Alyssa Bedrosian

Faculty Senate meeting today (May 4) at 3 p.m.

The final Faculty Senate meeting for the 2015-16 year will be today (Wednesday, May 4) at 3 p.m. in Alumni House.

Chair Anne Wallace and Provost Dana Dunn will offer remarks.

Susan Shelmerdine (Academic Policies and Regulations Committee) will present two resolutions and John Lepri (Faculty Assembly) as well as Anne Wallace and past chair Spoma Jovanovic will present two resolutions.

Nora Bird (Affirmation of Faculty Scholarship Recipients) and Marianne LeGreco (Sustainability Council) and Spoma Jovanovic (Plans for a Retired Faculty Council) will speak as well.

Julia Jackson Newsom and Lisa Goble will give an update on Conflict of Interest and External Professional Activities for Pay.

The agenda may be viewed at http://facsen.uncg.edu/Content/AgendaPackets/1zFaculty%20Senate%20Agenda%20Packet%2005-04-2016.pdf

UNCG undergraduate researcher on Capitol Hill

050416Feature_CapitolHillUNCG honors student Amanda Baeten and her mentor, Dr. Blair Wisco of the UNCG Department of Psychology, took their research to Capitol Hill last month. Amanda’s research project, titled “How Rumination Affects Emotions,” examines the harmful effects of rumination, a negative thinking style that increases risk for depression. Amanda’s research reveals that individuals suffering from depression can be helped by using healthy distraction techniques instead of ruminating about their problems, particularly when managing feelings of anger.

The project was one of 60 from across the nation selected from over 400 applications for the 20th Annual Posters on the Hill event sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research. This marks the second year in a row where a UNCG student has been chosen for this prestigious event. UNCG’s Director of the Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creativity Office, Dr. Lee Phillips. traveled with Baeten and Wisco to Washington, D.C. April 19-21, where they discussed their work and the importance of undergraduate research with staffers in Senators Burr and Tillis’s offices, as well as many NC representatives to the U.S. Congress.  The UNCG trio met with Representative Mark Walker (pictured above). They also met with White House staffers from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Bryan School celebrates faculty & staff excellence

Congratulations to the following Bryan School faculty and staff members, who were recently recognized for their outstanding contributions to the Bryan School in the areas of teaching, research or service.

Junior Research Excellence Award:  Dr. Seoha Min, CARS

Senior Research Excellence Award:  Dr. Nir Kshetri, Management

Non-Tenure Track Teaching Excellence Award:  Dr. Jeffrey Sarbaum, Economics

Junior Teaching Excellence Award:  Dora Gicheva, Economics

Senior Teaching Excellence Award:  Ken Snowden, Economics

Staff Excellence Award:  Beth Todd, Dean’s Office

Starfish updates: Summer 2016

With the spring semester coming to a close, the Starfish Outreach Team in the Students First Office would like to wish students, staff, and faculty a productive and restorative summer As the university transitions out of the spring term, please be advised that the ability to raise Starfish flags and kudos will be turned off on May 6 and will be unavailable until August 22, when Fall 2016 classes begin. Tutoring referrals will remain available during Summer Session I, and Academic Skills Referrals will remain available throughout the summer.

The following features will remain available over the summer:

*Available Summer 2016 features will also be advertised in an announcement at the top of your Starfish homepage

If you are new to Starfish or would like to refresh your knowledge, please consider attending one of our faculty/staff Starfish workshops over the summer. Advanced registration is required to allow for more individualized training sessions—please sign up through workshops.uncg.edu.

  • Thursday, June 2 @ 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Monday, July 18 @ 3-4:30 p.m.

For assistance using Starfish, please email starfish@uncg.edu. Students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to explore UNCG’s Starfish webpages (http://studentsfirst.uncg.edu/starfish/how-to.php) for additional information about Starfish and to see available training guides.

Spoon races, hula hoop marathon and lunchtime fun

Spoon race

Spoon race

An estimate 90-100 UNCG employees played games, got some fresh air and great exercise, and had lots of healthful fun, as they took part in UNCG’s annual Employee Field Day April 29. The lunch hour event had been rescheduled due to weather.

The hula hoop contest went longer than anyone would have imagined. Most were out before eight minutes. Two remained at the 10 minute mark: Cati Munoz (Human Resources) and Marcia Griffin (Genetic Counseling).

They were both going strong at the 15 mark. And the 20 minute mark.

Finally, organizers resolved to settle it by adding a second hoop for each person – they both kept right on going, now with two hoops. And they both stopped at about the same time. They were both declared winners.

How’d they get so adept at hula hooping? It turns out they each do Hula hooping as part of their exercise regimens.

By the way, HealthyUNCG offers fitness events and options throughout the year. They even have exercise items you can check out for no charge. See what they offer at healthy.uncg.edu.

Visual: A spoon race is set to start at the 2016 event

Dr. Spoma Jovanovic and students help make history in Participatory Budgeting

050416Spotlight_JovanovicGreensboro is the first city in the American South to attempt participatory budgeting. Community members from all five City Council districts will directly decide how to spend $100,000 per district. The idea is that participatory budgeting can deepen democracy in communities and build stronger communities.

Over the course of two semesters, about 50 UNCG undergraduates and two graduate students in UNCG Communication Studies have been involved in helping get the word out throughout the city and in helping facilitate the process.

They were led by Dr. Spoma Jovanovic, professor of communication studies.

Jovanovic is part of a local research board that, along with the public, will have access to the data. “It’s extremely transparent.”

She has published one article on this research so far. There will be more. And she has a book proposal on the topic of participatory democracy. The book would include research about this Greensboro participatory budgeting process.

She notes that some key participants in the local participatory budgeting process have been UNCG alumni or graduate students.

The city council gave approval to the participatory budgeting (BP) process by a 5-4 vote in 2014.

Through the BP process, citizens get involved in the government process as they propose ideas and ultimately vote on them, district by district. They research the feasibility and costs of the ideas. They see why some ideas are very costly. Government becomes more transparent. Citizens become more informed. Trust and understanding grows, Jovanovic explains.

It’s takes a lot of time and effort, on the part of a lot of people, to work – as everyone involved listens, learns and finds out what people want and need. “Democracy is messy … in a good way, she says.”

Researchers such as Jovanovic study participatory budgeting from various angles. Jovanovic is interested from a communication standpoint.

Government staff and officials learn what citizens want. At the many meetings throughout the city, government staff were on hand to listen and answer citizens’ questions. Citizens learned. Staff learned. “There was a whole education process going on,” she explains.

As an example, those advocating for more or better bus shelters learned the cost breakdowns, the accessibility / ADA requirements, the surface requirements and more.

Citizens in five districts proposed ideas – ranging from a phone app to help bus riders with bus schedules and times, to shade canopies for community pools, to bicycle lane improvements. There were 675 suggestions, which were then narrowed down. Voting on these ideas ended earlier this month. Presentations to the city council on the most requested items will be later this year.

Jovanovic is currently doing research on the surveys.

“I hope the research shows how participatory budgeting increases citizens’ engagement,” she says, in addition to boosting the relationship people have with their government.

For the UNCG Communication Studies faculty and students it’s community engagement. And with an idea that began in Brazil and is being considered, she says, in places from Canada to Scotland to China, it becomes global engagement.

“People want to have a say in their lives.”

More information is at the City of Greensboro’s web site. The handbook may be viewed here.

By Mike Harris

Looking ahead: May 4, 2016

Faculty Senate meeting
Wednesday, May 4, 3 p.m., Alumni House

Board of Trustees general meeting
Thursday, May 5, 8:30 a.m., Alumni House

2016 Spring Commencement Ceremony
Friday, May 6, 10 a.m., Greensboro Coliseum

Softball SoCon Tournament begins
Wednesday, May 11, 10 a.m., UNCG Softball Stadium

Staff Senate meeting
Thursday, May 12, 10 a.m., Alumni House

Baseball vs. Mercer
Friday, May 20, 6 p.m.

Campus Weekly every other week till August

As is customary, UNCG Campus Weekly will publish every other week during the summer.


The weekly schedule is:

May 4

May 18

June 1

June 15

June 29

July 13

July 27


CW will resume weekly publication August 3.
If you have a submission for consideration for CW, please send it at least a week before the publication date.

With the Staff: April 2016


Shanna Eller, AVC for Facilities; Annette Packard, Dean’s Office, College of Arts & Sciences; Nancy Knight, Dean’s Office, JSNN; Erin Weigle, Intercollegiate Athletics; Lauren Pacheco, Financial Aid; Alaina Giesbreht, Financial Aid; Vickie Carter, University Relations; Joel Woods, Utility Operations; Stacey Elliott, Housekeeping; Kristi Crowther, UTLC; Felicia Crawford, Computer Science


Patricia Bowden, Religious Studies; Cameron Hall, Annual Fund; Steven Urbanick, Housing and Residence Life; Robert Owens, Building & Trades; Robert Griffin, Postal Services; Dana Williams, HDFS

Volunteer to help at SOAR

The office of New Student Transitions & First Year Experience offers employees the opportunity to volunteer with Spartan Orientation, Advising, & Registration (SOAR) this June. Volunteer shifts will take place for one hour intervals primarily through the first day of each session from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. The deadline to sign up is May 6.

The volunteers are a valuable part of creating a positive experience for all of the students and families that will be visiting campus throughout SOAR this summer. If you are interested in volunteering, please sign up through the short google survey” https://goo.gl/1rlO4I

If you would like additional information, contact New Student Transitions & First Year Experience at 336-334-5231 or email Ashley Rizzotto at A_Rizzot@uncg.edu.

Lincoln Financial Foundation gift to Weatherspoon

The Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro has received a $15,000 grant from the Lincoln Financial Foundation to support its “Education Programs for Youth & Adults.” These free programs are central to the museum’s mission of presenting and interpreting contemporary art for audiences of all ages. Funds will be used to support artists’ talks, school tours, public events, and targeted marketing to reach diverse audiences. This is the second consecutive year that the Lincoln Financial Foundation has lent support to the Weatherspoon’s artistic and educational activities.

See/hear: May 4, 2016

Spartans share some of their post-graduation plans.