Notre Dame College Faculty Discuss Areas of Academic Research Expertise

Notre Dame College faculty in biology and business, education and English, nursing and national security showcased their research expertise during the College’s 2019 Faculty Research Symposium.

A total of nine faculty members presented scholarship this year on topics ranging from blockchain technology and construction of self in girls’ war-time diaries to cybersecurity for homeland defense and evidence-based practices that address the underrepresentation of women in STEMM fields. Areas of professional education included notable children’s books in language arts, multicultural literature to promote peace and justice and behavior intervention plans for classrooms. Other course-related presentations featured new pathways in math education and integrating human trafficking into the undergraduate nursing curriculum.

The Faculty Research Symposium is part of the College’s fifth annual Celebration of Scholarship. The weeklong program each year includes the Notre Dame Faculty President’s Lecture, Student Research Scholars Day, the Senior Art Gallery Exhibit and All Student Juried Art Show.

The theme for this year’s Celebration of Scholarship was “Highlighting Student and Faculty Collabo.ration.”

The event sponsored by the College’s Faculty Affairs Development Committee allows undergraduate, graduate students and faculty members to present their academic achievements, be recognized for their scholarship and appreciate each other’s work. The forum also allows scholars at all levels and in all disciplines at the College to share ideas, inspiring new research associations.

Faculty members and abstracts of their projects featured in the 2019 Faculty Research Symposium were:

  • Sue Corbin, Ph.D., chair of the Division of Professional Education
    Notable Children’s Books for the Language Arts
    Writing a children’s book is not as easy as it seems, and writing a notable children’s book is infinitely more difficult. Children are wise readers and know what they need from a good story. Unfortunately, children’s books are written, published, sold, and bought by adults who may or may not know the characteristics of a well-told tale. In order to provide guidance for librarians, educators, and parents, a number of organizations provide “notable” lists of the best books each year for a variety of purposes. The American Library Association has a notables list that spans genres and age levels. The International Literacy Association has the Notables List for a Global Society that celebrates diversity in children’s literature. The committee on which I serve as a member is the Notable Children’s Books for the Language Arts, sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English. Each year, 30 books are chosen for the list that identifies the top titles in picture books, poetry, novels, and nonfiction for children between the ages of preschool through middle school. This past year, my colleagues from across the country and I presented the books to a packed ballroom at the NCTE Conference in Houston, TX. I am honored to present an overview of the titles to my fellow faculty members at Notre Dame College who may be looking for a good book for their children or themselves.
  • Sandra Golden, Ph.D., associate professor and director of schools and community partnership in professional education
    Using Multicultural Literature Books to Teach Peace Literacy and for Social Justice
    For the last four years, I have provided literacy instruction for former foster care youth. We engaged them in book discussions through literature circles(e.g. vocabulary development, writing activities),cultural awareness activities, and brainstorming sessions on developing a social justice or peacemaking community service project.  The book discussions encouraged critical thinking and analysis of the story and the characters, as well as fostering the cultivation and nurturing of a community of learners. Further, the activities allow the participants to develop/enhance their communication and listening skills. The use of multicultural literature books have been the foundation of the reading activities. These books, I believe, empower the readers to think critically about peace and social justice. Peace literacy through the platform of using children and adolescent multicultural literature books is one way of engaging readers in literacy development for academic success and for creating a peacemaking discourse of self and the world.
  • John W. King. Ph.D., associate professor of national security and intelligence studies
    Highlights from the Center for Homeland Defense and Security Conference
    Cyber security is without a doubt one of the most important aspects of today’s national security environment, both in addressing vulnerabilities and educating the next generation of cyber security professionals. This presentation highlights the cyber security theme as part of the Center for Homeland Defense and Security conference held in Albany, NY (Oct. 2018).
  • Greg Knapik, Ph.D., D.N.P., assistant professor of nursing
    Integrating the Important Global Problem of “Human Trafficking” into the Notre Dame College B.S.N. Nursing Curriculum
    Human Trafficking has been called “modern day slavery” and is a major global problem, and illegal business, second only to drug trafficking in generating illegal revenue (nontaxable). Human trafficking is often devastating to victims and their families, and has dire health consequences. Healthcare professionals, especially nurses, are often at a crucial position to help the victim by caring for any medical problems, but also as opening a door to escape from the brutal trafficking life. Typically, this can be done safely, protecting the victim, and having them start the recovery process. By being educated on this topic, BSN students will be better able to assess and serve such patients/clients that they will encounter as RNs.
  • Tracey T. Meilander, M.Ed., Ph.D., Marie Goetz Geier Distinguished Professor of STEM, associate professor of biology and Choose Ohio First STEMM @ NDC program director
    Recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences: Evidence-Based Practices that Address the Underrepresentation of Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM)
    The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine serve as the independent advisors to the government on scientific matters and issues. They publish reports and journals, convene conferences, and hold education and outreach events on important topics in science, engineering, and medicine. On March 11, 2019, the NAS hosted a “Symposium Highlighting Evidence-Based Interventions to Address the Underrepresentation of Women in STEMM” in Washington, DC. This presentation will summarize the major themes and ideas of the conference that strive to promote equity and inclusion for women in STEMM education, in the STEMM career pipeline, and in STEMM workplaces. Gender equality is at the forefront globally and nationally. The United Nation’s identified gender equality as one of the sustainable development goals to help transform our world and aid in global problem solving. Implementation of implicit bias training, development of structured programs and policies, creation of family friendly programs, developing a culture of accountability and metrics, and making strategic leadership decisions are key recommendations from the meeting. Scientific and evidence-based studies provide the rationale for these recommendations and have demonstrated progress toward parity, equity, and justice for women in the STEMM disciplines. Higher education institutions play a key role in expanding opportunities and roles for women in educational programs, as faculty, and in leadership positions.
  • Donna Morlani, M.S., assistant professor of mathematics
    New Pathways in Mathematics
    After attending the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics annual conference in Akron, Ohio with students from the Mathematics Educator Club, many of the ideas from the presentation on Pathways in Higher Education were discussed with the mathematics department.  This presentation will discuss the state of mathematics in higher education and how one small college in Ohio developed and implemented their pathways. We will then discuss the new mathematics pathway that is being developed at Notre Dame College.  
  • Michele Polak, Ph.D., assistant professor of English and director of composition
    *Honorary Mention, President’s Lecture*
    Girlhood in Conflict: The Construction of Self in Girls’ War-Time Diaries
    During the Bosnian War, when eleven-year-old Zlata Filipovic’s house was bombed, she wrote in her diary, “We had redone it so nicely […] and its beauty was our reward” (Filipovic 61). She then continued the entry with discussion about the neighbors that had died in the bombing. Eight-year-old Bana Alabed brought attention to the Syrian conflict with minute-by-minute tweeting of the bombs falling on Aleppo. A year later she had moved to Turkey and out of the war zone. Appearing at the Oscars in 2018 she tweeted, “Dear #Oscars, tonight we must stand up for the children who are dying in Syria” (Alabed, “Oscars”) and two days later above a tweeted image of dead babies, “This is happening in our world. #Syria” (Alabed, “This”). Like entries fill the diaries of girls living in war zones: sixteen-year-old Clara Solomon during the US Civil War; Rutka Laskier, fourteen, during WWII; fifteen-year-old Hadiya living through Iraqi occupation by US troops; seventeen-year-old Fanny Stone, living in Cairo during the War of 1882; Shiran Zelikovich, fifteen, living in Israel and Mary Masrieh Hazboun, seventeen, living in Palestine during the Second Intifada in 2000. These diaries tell two tales: narratives of the political environment each girl is enmeshed within and her own growing awareness of a sense of self. The duality of being female during wartime while confronting adolescence and an oncoming adult identity is consistent within the diaries—emotional angst, familial bonding and frustration, girlhood crushes—are all evident within the telling of each girls’ stories. While we know Anne Frank as a diarist of WWII hiding from the Nazis, the real story that presents in her diary is about the author’s developing self. Differentiated by time and culture these wartime diaries reveal more than narratives of war; they construct similar patterns about the construction of self, building of identity and how a girlhood in conflict is defined.
  • Natalie Strouse, M.B.A., associate professor of accounting and chair of the Division of Business, and Sandra Grassman, M.B.A., associate professor of management information systems
    *Honorary Mention, President’s Lecture*
    Blockchain Technology – Is It Our Future?
    Blockchain is often regarded as synonymous with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. In fact, it is a distributed ledger framework that enables much wider potential applications in business and other areas. Many industry analysts predict that blockchain will be the most transformative new technology since the Internet. In December 2018, a team of two faculty members and three students from the Business Division attended Blockland, the inaugural blockchain conference in Cleveland to learn more about the nature of blockchain technology, its real-world applications, and its implications for the future.
    Featuring Student Participants: Vasean Davis, Alexandra Kaeberlein, and Austin Treneff
  • Kelli Tibbitts, M.Ed., assistant professor of education
    Applying Behavior Intervention Plans in Classrooms to Decrease Targeted Behaviors
    A Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) is a plan of action based upon the Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and the identification of target behaviors and function. Results of an FBA can guide educators to create effective BIPs, which lead to a reduction in behaviors with appropriate recommendations. BIPS have been found to be extremely beneficial in reducing targeted behaviors with training and practical application. It is essential for staff to understand and apply the strategies that are included within the BIP. This session provides information about the components of a behavior intervention plan, specific training provided for staff prior and during implementation of BIPs including coping techniques, prompting, visual supports, environment checks, and positive reinforcement systems with specific data to document targeted behavior prior to and after implementation of the BIPs in schools. This session also provides information regarding the documentation and data connected to the implementation of crisis plans in schools prior to and after implementation of BIPs.

April 2019

About Notre Dame College

For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master's degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information contact Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or


May 20
11:30 AM
Monday May 20, 11:30am
Softball Field
E.g., 06/20/19
E.g., 06/20/19