Academics typically categorize service in the following ways:
- Service to the University Community
- Service to the Professional Community
- Service to the Local Community (or what I tend to think of as Public Service & Outreach)
I strive to be active in all areas of service.
Service to the University Community
I arrived at Marshall University in August 2007. Since then, I have been instrumental in a complete redesign of the Anthropology Program at the undergraduate and graduate levels. These efforts lead to creation of the Bachelors in Anthropology where there was previously only a focal area with the Bachelors of Sociology. My work in program development has included the creation of several new courses and the re-design/designation of a dozen others. Further, I have established courses that facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration for curricular development. This includes a course in medical anthropology and sociology (ANT 362 and SOC 362) which continues to open up an area of overlap between the social and health sciences—an effort which has been recognized by the Department of Family and Community Health at the Marshall School of Medicine.
In early 2008, I began as a member of the newly formed Undergraduate Curriculum Committee of my department. Beginning in 2011, I served as Chair of this committee until last year. I continue to serve on the committee. During my first semester at Marshall During, the Department underwent a crucial Five Year Review for the Department for which I served as a principle reviewer and editor of the application—both for my academic program and the Department as a whole. I continue to work in the area of assessment, having drafted and revised (most recently for the HEPC’s Open Pathways Initiative) an assessment plan for the Anthropology Program.
I have served on four successful faculty searches for my department: Two searches in academic year 2007-2008 (a statistics position in Sociology and the departmental Chair); A search in academic year 2009-2010 (a sex and gender theory position); and, most recently, I served as Search Committee Chair for a socio-cultural position in Anthropology during the 2011-2012 academic year. This was an extensive and exhaustive search with well over 100 applicants, many of whom had extraordinary credentials. I am pleased to say that we hired Dr. Robin Conley, a linguistic and legal anthropologist with whom I am now working along with Dr. Nicholas Freidin to further develop the Anthropology Program to meet the challenges of a new generation of students and a rapidly changing world. I have served my department as Member of the Promotion and Tenure Committee since 2013. I also served as Chair of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee for two years from 2011 until 2013.
Since my arrival, I have continually advised at least 12 undergraduate majors in our program each semester (and as many as 30 in a single semester) while also advising graduate students in the Department—both those who are not my formal advisees and not given that they are engaged in work on subjects at least peripherally in my areas of expertise. Among these, I have formally served on four thesis committees including once as Chair. The Anthropology Program does not have a Masters level degree and thus this service was to the Department as a whole. I have served as Chair of the first Honors Thesis in Anthropology and I am now chairing another anthropology student to achieve “Honors in Anthropology.” I am very pleased to have helped create this option for students working together with the past Chair of the Department, Dr. Anders Linde-Laursen, and the former Dean of the Honors College, Dr. Mary Todd. I refined the process of forming an Honors Committee and developing materials to assist students going through the sequence to, among other things, develop an outstanding literature review.
In Fall 2008, I taught an Independent Study (Amanda Payne, “Oral History of Appalachia”) and in so doing provided a model for the redesign of how the program offers these studies as well as providing impetus for a new internship course listing (ANT 489) that is now a popular option with students. Since that first independent study, I have taught a total of four independent studies. These have all been instrumental in the work of the students involved with each having directly led to successful thesis (two at the BA level and another at the MA level). I have been active in eCourse Development, the first attempt in my program being the online offering of ANT 201 (Cultural Anthropology). I also developed ANT 362 (Health, Culture, & Society) for online delivery. As noted above, I continue to be active in service to my department through course and program development, particularly in response to changes to General Education requirements. Specifically, I created the first departmental offerings for Critical Thinking (CT) designated courses (ANT 201 (CT)). I also helped to develop the Honors Section for our introductory course in the Anthropology Program (ANT 201-H). Demands from the Higher Education Policy Commission regarding implementation of assessment through the so-called “Open Pathways Initiative” has been a preoccupation of mine during the last year as I developed assessment plans on behalf of the Anthropology Program.
I am very active in the area of recruitment and self-presentation of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology having created three informational/promotional videos for the Anthropology program (a DVD is included with the Portfolio so that you may view these videos), participated in Green and White Day and other informational events as a representative for our program, and especially in my role as departmental Webmaster. I am now working with IT at Marshall to incorporate the departmental website into a total redesign of the University’s site.
At the end of the First Semester 2008-2009, together with Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Dr. David Pittenger; Dr. Eric Lassiter, Director of the Graduate Humanities Program; Dr. Anders Linde-Laursen, Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology; and, Dr. Daniel Holbrook, Associate Professor of the Department of History, I helped to draft documents proposing a Center for Ethnographic and Oral History Research (CEOHR) at Marshall University. Beginning in the Second Semester 2008-2009, I took on the task of exploring potentialities for such a research center—a role I filled for almost eight months during 2009. In the following year, I began working with faculty persons from the several different departments to create a degree program in Environmental Studies.
In 2013, I began serving as an advisor to the Marshall University Food Pantry. Related to this contribution, in November 2014 I began to serve in my role as Faculty Advisor to the Food Service Network (Student Organization). This organization will serve to collect leftover food from the campus dining halls, thereby preventing waste, and coordinate with local agencies to distribute to those in need. In 2012, I served as a member of the search committee for the Dean of the Honors College. Since that same year, I have served as a member of the Society of Yeager Scholars Admissions Committee, including as a finalist interviewer. I will be working with the Dean of the Honors College to establish a Fulbright Committee. As a Fulbright Scholar to the Republic of Indonesia, I am very pleased to work with students at Marshall to see that they too have the opportunity to take advantage of this extraordinary program of international acclaim. Finally, I have served since 2013 as a Marshal for the Marshall University Winter and Spring Commencement Ceremonies.
Service to the Professional Community
Most recently, I am serving as Conference and Program Chair of the 51st Annual Meeting of the Southern Anthropological Society, to be held in downtown Huntington 07-09 April, titled “Reinventing and Reinvesting in the Local for the Common Good.”
I have organized and chaired six conference sessions since coming to Marshall University. Most recent among these was the session “Home work: Doing anthropology in the United States,” prepared for the Southern Anthropological Association for inclusion in their 49th Annual Meeting in Cherokee, North Carolina. As with four others that I have prepared, this session was designed as a way to provide several of our students a means of presenting their scholarship as well as to deepen my commitment to developing a local research agenda—one that built solidly on my previous work in both Michigan and Indonesia through developing my ongoing interest in ethnographic methods and research ethics.
I have been active in support of my professional peers through such high-profile service as my role as Chair and Organizer of two conference sessions at the American Anthropological Association annual meetings (one in 2007 and another in 2009). The session in 2009 was an invited session for the AAA General Anthropology Division. I served as a Guest Editor for the journal City and Society (published by the American Anthropological Association) on a special journal volume of articles based on the aforementioned session and in this way assisted my colleagues in finding a respected venue for the publication of their important work.
Since beginning at Marshall, in addition to my review of manuscripts as a Guest Editor, I have completed thorough reviews of a total of 16 manuscripts (both journal articles and books). As I take my potential contribution to the next generation of textbooks very seriously, I have served as reviewer for several presses including Oxford University Press for two editions of the text Cultural Anthropology: A Perspective on the Human Condition (Schultz & Lavenda) as well as a member of an Oxford focus group tasked with addressing the changing student population and current challenges for providing an introductory that appeals to these students. I worked extensively with McGraw-Hill Higher Education on three revisions to their bestselling text Cultural Anthropology (Kottak). Finally, I served Pearson Education in revisions to the text Cultural Anthropology in a Globalizing World (Miller). During the period under review, I also served as reviewer for several well-regarded, international journals including Current Anthropology, Ethnology, and the Journal for Population Research.
I have served as a consultant on the Robert C. Byrd Center for Rural Health Grant project titled “Exploring Inter-Hospital Acute Care Transfers from Rural Hospitals” that was awarded to Department of Family and Community Health at the Marshall School of Medicine in 2013. I previously served as a consultant to Dilip Nair, MD of the Department of Family and Community Health on the project “The Effect of Constructing a Genogram on a West Virginia Extended Family’s Health Consciousness.” As a Humanities Consultant for the Michigan Humanities Council, I worked in 2010 as a grant counselor to Long Haul Productions, an acclaimed documentary production outfit known for their work for National Public Radio, on their study titled “Community Anthology: The Region of Three Oaks.” Early in my career at Marshall, I sought opportunities to develop local research including collaboration with other scholars within the University. These efforts lead to my becoming Co-Principle Investigator of the Evaluation Team for the Marshall University Early Education Center Outreach Program on a grant to the United States Department of Education.
Public Service and Outreach (Service to Community)
Over the past several years, I have served the community of Huntington and State of West Virginia in a variety of ways. Most recently, I completed my two-year term as Vice President of the Board of the Create Huntington organization. I had served as board member since May 2012. I served as a member of the Board of the Southside Neighborhood Organization for two years beginning in January 2011. In addition, I have served on the Create Huntington “Image and Attitude Community Team” as well as a member of the Planning Committee for the Create West Virginia annual conference and the “Place Track” organizing committee. Through the work that I did in cooperation with the volunteers of the Create Huntington organization and the incoming Director of the Cabell-Huntington Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, we were able to convince the planners for the annual Create West Virginia conference to convene the meeting of nearly 500 leaders in business, non-profit, and government in Huntington thus giving the city and the area a substantial economic and self-confidence boost.
In addition to this local community development work, I also continue to avail myself of opportunities for public outreach of my scholarship and that of my colleagues in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. I accomplish this through contributions to popular press articles including those in the local Herald-Dispatch newspaper as well as for international news such as the Globe and Mail and specialty publications such as Training Magazine. My outreach is also achieved through maintaining the departmental website, in general, and specifically through preparation of videos that highlight student experiences in our program and serve as illustrations to the public of the value of the education that we provide.