Three SOU Professors Awarded Presidential Funds for Research, Creative Work

The SOU Seal(Ashland, Ore.) — An international study of teen bullying, an artist-in-residence program in Budapest and a live art performance in New York—these are just three of the scholarly and creative projects that Southern Oregon University faculty are pursuing.
Because of the significance of these projects nationally and internationally, SOU President Mary Cullinan chose them as recipients of the 2012 President’s Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Fund. This is the second year that these funds have been made available through the SOU Foundation.

“SOU faculty are being widely recognized. Their research and creative endeavors enrich their teaching and provide extraordinary experiences for students,” says Cullinan. “I want to increase the visibility of our faculty’s work on campus and beyond.”

This year’s recipients include Douglas Smith from the Department of Psychology and David Bithell and Marlene Alt from the Department of Art and Art History. Each will receive a portion of the $10,000 fund.
Smith is examining bullying and peer victimization in schools in the United States and internationally, including the timely subject of cyber bullying. He estimates 20 to 25 percent of students, from elementary to high school, experience some form of peer bullying. He is gathering materials and curriculum that will help create positive classroom environments and empower students within different cultures.

“I feel very honored and privileged to receive this,” Smith says. “Part of my research includes how to find ways to empower kids, so that they feel confident enough to take matters into their own hands by reporting what’s happening to them. I plan to hire a research assistant, which fits in with SOU’s mission of providing undergraduate research opportunities.”

Alt, an internationally recognized sculptor, will participate in an artist residency in Budapest, Hungary, this coming spring. Her visit will include at least one audio-visual presentation in Budapest.

“It was very gratifying to be chosen as a recipient of the President’s Fund for Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity,” Alt says. “I am enormously excited at the prospect of realizing a creative period of time, in an international setting, as an artist-in-residence in Budapest.”

Bithell is continuing his work on a creative project titled “The Difference Engine.” He is collaborating with New York City-based ensemble, Yarn/Wire, which recently commissioned him to compose a 30-minute performance. With wireless video, audio and sensor technologies, his work will include performers interacting with a network of mobile cameras in a theatrical and musical experience.

“This project has been in development for over a year, and these resources that this fund will provide will enable me to bring the work to completion as well as support the production process for the premier in late May,” Bithell says. “This fund will help me contribute my voice to the campus community as well as spread some knowledge nationally about all the great things going on at SOU.”

Recipients of Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity funds present each May at Southern Oregon Arts and Research (SOAR), SOU’s annual celebration of student and faculty work.

“I am very grateful to the SOU Foundation for these funds,” says Cullinan. “It is so important to support the amazing work of SOU faculty.”

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