The benefits of parent-to-parent support for families with deaf or hard-of-hearing infants, game playing, artificial intelligence and climate change from the artist’s perspective are just a few of the thought-provoking topics under examination by California State University, Northridge faculty this year.
These topics will be explored by some of the seven faculty members selected for CSUN’s Research Fellows Program for the 2011–12 academic year.
The fellows program, founded in 2007 and funded collaboratively by the Office of the Provost, the colleges and the Oviatt Library, gives faculty the opportunity to engage in compelling research or creative activity during the year. According to Harry Hellenbrand, provost and vice president for academic affairs, research links ideas and evidence with teaching and service—a key goal of the university.
“If you do not know, or know how to know, you cannot teach intelligently in the university. These fellows are our exemplars,” Hellenbrand said.
Fellows are competitively selected based in part on the extent to which the proposed activity explores creative or original concepts, the likelihood of the achievement, how the research or activity will benefit society and the contribution to the field of study or across other fields. Research Fellows are required to report results to their deans and the provost. In addition, the Oviatt Library hosts a colloquium in the fall where fellows share their work with the campus.
Following are the seven selected Research Fellows and their respected projects:
Rachel Friedman-Narr’s (Special Education) research topic is “Examining the Nature of Parent-to-Parent Support to Families of Newly Identified Infants who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.” She has proposed novel research in conjunction with the Deaf Education and Families Project (DEAF Project) housed in the Family Focus Resource Center. Her study will use a mixed-methods approach to analyze the data in the DEAF Project database.
Lindsay Hansen’s (Music and Media, Oviatt Library) project will “identify little-known library and archival collections in California that are in some way related to Germany” and provide access to these collections to students and scholars. Her plan is to work with the museum and archival community to create an online repository of pathfinders and finding aids complementing existing, larger collections of materials related to Germany.
Florence Kyomugisha (Gender and Women’s Studies) will continue work on the Mbarara mothers’ project with women at the Holy Innocents Children’s Hospital. She has been working on establishing hospital and health education structures for women in Uganda. The project combines the study of science and health with the engagement and theoretical perspectives of the humanities.
Richard Lorentz (Engineering and Computer Science) has proposed a novel hybrid approach to the recently developed Monte-Carlo Tree Search algorithms. These algorithms have revolutionized artificial intelligence by allowing for the creation of programs that play some games of skill at levels that were undreamed of as recently as eight years ago. His approach shows promise for a number of other games.
Lois M. Shelton’s (Management) project entitled “Beyond Work-Family to Work-Life: A Multi-Domain, Multi-Cultural Examination of the Life Role Management Practices of Entrepreneurs,” reflects her research interests in entrepreneurship, the work/non-work interface and role theory.
Zeynep Toker’s (Urban Studies and Planning) proposal, “A Replicable Protocol for Designing Sustainable Parks in Asphalt Cities,” is based within the local community and also enhances the college’s work in the area of sustainability. A proponent of community design, she has been working with communities in different cultural settings helping them shape their built environments.
Joy von Wolffersdorff’s (Art) Research Fellow project, titled “26 Glaciers,” is an extension of her 2009 sabbatical work based on the effect of climate change on glaciers in Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes National Park from an artist’s perspective. This project will link artists around the world with sites specifically selected by scientists working on climate change.