Faculty/Staff Accomplishments and News Briefs 2/23/22

In this issue, we celebrate the accomplishments of faculty and staff in Business, Career Planning, Child Development, English, Music, and Religious and Ethical Studies. We also share a news brief about the CRC Disability Services Panel.

Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies Steven A. Benko and Religious and Ethical Studies/Sociology & Criminology major Scout Burch had an article published in The Palgrave Handbook of Popular Culture as Philosophy. Their article, “Dave Chappelle as Philosopher: Standing Up to Racism” examines the ways that Chappelle has infused his humor with challenging observations about race and identity. Examining sketches from Chappelle’s Show and his recent stand-up specials on Netflix, they argue that Chappelle’s understanding of the constructedness of race has evolved over time. On his eponymous Comedy Central Show, Chappelle used the tools of comedy to try to liberate people from the falseness of race-based stereotypes by showing that race is a social and historical construction and racism is a learned behavior. The Chappelle of the stand-up specials on Netflix seems more circumspect about the possibility of being liberated from those same stereotypes. He interrogates whether their constructedness makes people more or less responsible for perpetuating them (as Chappelle sometimes does in his humor). Complicating Chappelle’s attempt to locate blame and responsibility for the persistence of racism and racist stereotypes is his sometimes subtle, sometimes overt, ranking of the violence suffered by people of different religious, ethnic, and gender identities. Benko and Burch conclude that while Chappelle’s insights and observations are important and incisive, his blindspots towards women (generally) and trans individuals (specifically) are made worse by his otherwise clear understanding of how race is used as a cudgel to divide, marginalize, and undermine different communities. This is the second article Benko and Burch collaborated on; their first, “Dave Chappelle Does Not Trust Us” was published in Dave Chappelle and Philosophy: When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong. Their collaboration stemmed from funding Burch received to complete summer undergraduate research.

Associate Director of Employer Relations Jane K. Matthews received the Roy N. Anderson Award from the North Carolina Career Development Association (NCCDA) during the NCCDA Conference on February 4, 2022. This award recognizes an individual in North Carolina who has made an outstanding contribution to career development, both in the state and at the regional or national levels for at least 10 years.

Professor of English Kelly Morris Roberts presented at the North Carolina Association of Elementary Educators spring conference in late January.  Her presentation, “Teaching Empathy, Perspective Taking, and Anti-Racist Themes in YAL and Children’s Literature,” featured respondents from DEI and ESL initiatives with two local school systems.

Assistant Professor of Child Development Amy Scrinzi has been nominated to serve on the Board of Directors for the B.H. Rowland Foundation. This special non-profit organization is named in honor of Dr. Bobbie Rowland, a life-long teacher, mentor, and UNCC professor of early childhood. This organization is dedicated to recognizing and supporting the work of high-quality early childhood educators in North Carolina.  Scrinzi’s term is for three years. Scrinzi also recently served as an expert early childhood mathematics panel member for the North Carolina standard-setting study conducted on behalf of the NC Office of Early Learning within the NC Department of Public Instruction. The purpose of this study was to provide expert recommendations regarding standards for kindergarten readiness. Recommendations made will help guide the state in identifying the most appropriate skills and behaviors associated with kindergarten preparedness.

Director of Instrumental Activities Jim Waddelow and Adjunct Professor of Music Chelsea Waddelow performed My Funny Valentine: Songs of Love and Loss with the Hillsborough Street Jazz at Bosendorfer Hall on February 12, 2022, in Raleigh. 

Professor of Finance Bing Yu and co-authors Mary Jane Lenard and Shengxiong Wu had a paper published in the Journal of Risk and Financial Management. The paper, “Do ethical companies have high stock prices or high returns?,” investigates the performance of an impact investing strategy using the most ethical firms to build a portfolio and finds that investing in the most ethical companies’ stocks generates a higher risk-adjusted return. 

News Briefs
Cooperating Raleigh Colleges Workshop: Disability Services Panel
Meredith employees are invited to participate in a free webinar presented by Cooperating Raleigh Colleges (CRC).

Meredith Assistant Director for Disability Services Carolyn Koning joins Tiffany Tuma (Assistant Dean for the Center of Academic Success and Accessible Education at Saint Augustine’s University) and Mark Newmiller (Director for the Disability Resource Office at N.C. State University) as panelists during this CRC Professional Development webinar on Monday, February 28, 2022, 12 p.m.–1:30 p.m. 

The Disability Services Panel Discussion will cover topics such as accessibility regulations, common misconceptions about Disability Services, providing accommodations for students with disabilities in the online learning environment, and what staff and faculty need to know about the Americans with Disabilities Act. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions during the webinar. Register for the webinar via Zoom

Melyssa Allen

News Director
316 Johnson Hall
(919) 760-8087
Fax: (919) 760-8330