Faculty Focus Friday is a Q&A series that highlights individual faculty members in various academic programs around Spalding University. Today’s featured faculty member is Dr. Jennifer Doyle, Associate Professor of Biology and Chair of the School of Natural Science, which awards the Bachelor of  Science in Natural Science and offers biology, chemistry, math and other science courses that many undergraduate students need to apply to health-related professional schools such as med school, dental school, vet school, physical therapy school and pharmacy school. Dr. Doyle holds a bachelor’s degree from Xavier University and earned her master’s and doctorate from the University of Kentucky.

What do you like about working and teaching at Spalding?

My favorite thing is the family aspect I get here at Spalding between the faculty and staff and also my students. I really get to know my students and their family background and really just get to help be their support system, which you cannot always get at large universities.

What is your academic specialty, areas of expertise or research?

I am a biologist, so I teach various biology classes, but some of my favorites are cell biology and genetics. My doctorate is in plant pathology, and I studied how pathogens and host cells interact on the cellular level. My current research is on viruses that can hopefully glean new findings that could benefit scientific knowledge about human diseases.

LEARN MORE | Overview of the Bachelor of Science in Natural Science
RELATED | Q&A with Natural Science faculty Jeremy White, math professor
RELATED | Spalding, Sullivan announce pathway for pharmacy students

Why is natural science a good option for new students to consider as their major?

The natural science program at Spalding really has one-on-one interactions that help students because they are taking difficult courses. Personalized instruction allows professors to tweak their teaching to better fit the smaller classes. The opportunities that exist at large universities to take challenging science courses also exist here, but just at a more personalized level.

What is an interesting thing that you keep in your office?

I have a fish fossil that my dad brought back from Brazil for me when I was 6 or 7 years old. It is one of those things that reminds me that even though in high school I did not think I would be a biologist, it has always interested me. So I keep that to remind me that deep down it is who I am and that the field of study you choose to go into should be something that really fascinates you.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

When former students come back after graduation and they are continuing doing what they love. For example, I just had a former student who just graduated from veterinary school and received a master’s degree in public health. Her coming back and having such a good experience in graduate school was rewarding. I love hearing from former students and knowing they got everything they needed to be successful from Spalding.

At Spalding, we like to say, “Today is a great day to change the world.” How do you think your role at Spalding is helping you change the world or the world of your students?

I think it helps change the world because I am putting future scientists into the world. I see future doctors, researchers, veterinary scientists and physical therapists, and I know they will go out and do something great. It is almost like a logarithmic scale because it keeps growing and inspiring others to do great.

FACULTY FOCUS FRIDAY ARCHIVE | Read all of our professor Q&As

Faculty Focus Friday is a Q&A series that highlights individual faculty members in various academic programs around Spalding University. Today’s featured faculty member is Dishant Pandya, Assistant Professor of Economics and Finance in the School of Business. Read bios of the School of Business’ faculty here.

What do you like about working and teaching at Spalding?

I like the small class sizes, so I can connect with my students. I usually am able to connect with them because I get them all the way from freshman through senior year. By then we have a stronger relationship than just student and teacher, so I get emails after graduation about where they work and what they are doing.

What is your academic specialty, areas of expertise or research?

I teach economics and finance here at Spalding. I have my master’s in economics, and I am currently getting my doctorate in finance. We just started a Certified Financial Planning concentration for the Business Administration major, which helps students manage other people’s money. This a new program that we just started this year, and I am excited about it. Spalding is the only university in Louisville where you can concentrate on financial planning as part of your undergraduate degree.

LEARN MORE | School of Business programs
BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION CONCENTRATIONS | Details on marketing, financial planning, sports management, HR Management
MS IN BUSINESS COMMUNICATION | Learn about Spalding’s innovative alternative to the MBA

Why is business a good option for new students to consider as their major?

No matter your education or major, business is always something you need. Even if you go into a different field or degree program, you should at least take some basic business, finance and economic classes. With economics, I like to tell students that they should be able to listen to a political message on the news and realize if the information is true or not. With finance, you always want to be able to manage your own money and not rely on someone else to do it.

What is an interesting thing that you keep in your office?

I have a lot of interesting things in my office like Yoda, Dumbledore and Darth Vader figures, and it’s always a mess.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I always tell my students that in 10 years you should be able to make more money than me and that if you aren’t, then you need to find another job. So, when students tell me they are making more money than me I am really happy.

At Spalding, we like to say, “Today is a great day to change the world.” How do you think your role at Spalding is helping you change the world or the world of your students?

I am hoping my economics and finance classes allow students to manage their own money but also help their family members manage their money. It’s kind of like the saying, “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, and you feed him for his lifetime.” That’s the same thing I am hoping for with my students.

FACULTY FOCUS FRIDAY ARCHIVE | Read all our professor Q&As

Faculty Focus Friday is a Q&A series that highlights individual faculty members in various academic programs around Spalding University. Today’s featured faculty member is Dr. Erica Lemberger, Associate Professor in the School of Nursing. Dr. Lemberger, who joined the nursing faculty in 2017, teaches in Spalding’s RN-to-BSN program and has also taught undergraduate population health courses. This past week, she took a large group of School of Nursing students to the the state Capitol in Frankfort to meet with legislators as part of Kentucky Nurses Legislative Action Day. Lemberger, a family nurse practitioner, was named a 2018 Louisville Business First Health Care Hero for excellence in patient experience during a career in which she’s worked with child abuse victims, cancer patients, homeless populations and pregnant teens. 

What do you like about working and teaching at Spalding?

Spalding’s mission statement says, “We are a diverse community of learners dedicated to meeting the needs of the times in the tradition of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.” The Sisters are prayerful women who in the 1800s went out into our community to provide care for individuals who were struck by cholera. I love that here at Spalding, we have the foundation of these courageous and caring women who see beyond themselves to do great things for our community. I also really appreciate that we are a diverse community of learners. It means that each student brings their own unique story to the classroom, which enriches the learning experience.

What is your academic specialty or areas of expertise or research? 

I’m celebrating my 21st year in nursing. I graduated with my BSN in 1998, with my MSN/FNP in 2001 and my DNP in 2014. I’m board-certified as a family nurse practitioner, an advanced forensic nurse, a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) of adults, adolescents and children, and as a faith community nurse. I’ve worked in a variety of areas, including in-patient oncology, domestic violence and homeless shelters, hospice, retail health, public high schools for pregnant and parenting teens, and the military.

LEARN MORE | Spalding’s online RN-to-BSN program
SCHOOL OF NURSING | Check out all the programs offered at Spalding
NURSING FACULTY | Read bios of all Spalding professors

LEADERSHIP | Educator, scholar Bro. Ignatius Perkins returns as nursing chair

Why is nursing a good option for students to consider as their major?

Nursing offers the opportunity to blend a love of science with care for individuals and communities. Our students also learn about leadership, research, health equity and how to make this world a better place for all.  At Spalding, we really get to know our students, and it feels like a family. I often tell people that there are so many opportunities in nursing from the bedside to the community to health care management and everything in between. You will always have a job, many opportunities for career growth, and the blessing of helping to make a difference in people’s lives.

What is an interesting thing that you keep in your office? 

I have a calligraphy print of the Serenity prayer. It says “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” My grandmother helped to raise me, and this frame hung in her dining room growing up. She was an incredible person, and she really inspired me to do good in the world.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? 

It’s really wonderful when our students have “aha” moments. There are times when students are able to connect the dots, relate what they are learning to their own personal experiences, and it’s as if light bulbs illuminate and things begin to click. We often have former students return to visit after graduation – and online students who send emails. It brings me great joy to hear that what former students learned in class is actually seen in practice. It’s very rewarding to know that we are helping to plant the seeds for nurses to do good in this world.

At Spalding, we like to say, “Today is a great day to change the world.” How do you think your role at Spalding is helping you change the world or the world of your students? 

Nurses can most definitely change the world.  Nursing is our nation’s largest healthcare profession, with more than 3.8 million registered nurses nationwide. We are the largest component of the healthcare workforce and are the main providers of care at the bedside. For the past 18 years, Americans have rated nurses as the No. 1 most ethical and honest profession. Nursing is both a profession (it’s something you are) and an occupation (it’s something you do). As faculty, it’s an honor to provide Spalding students with information, resources and opportunities to change the world for the better.

Faculty Focus Friday is a Q&A series that highlights individual faculty members in various academic programs around Spalding University. Today’s featured faculty member is Shawn Hennessey, Assistant Professor of 3D Art and Studio Technician for Spalding’s Creative Arts department (BFA in Studio Art program). He teaches courses and supervises Spalding’s new Makerspace, which features a range of woodworking, metalworking, 3D printing and laser-cutting equipment. Hennessey studied sculpture as an undergraduate at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, and he holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting and drawing from Ohio State University. Hennessey was an adjunct instructor at Spalding before joining the faculty full-time in 2019. Hennessey and his wife, Nora Christensen, run Squallis Puppeteers, a prominent nonprofit organization that builds puppets and does puppet shows across the community.

What do you like about working and teaching at Spalding?

Oh, my gosh, I love Spalding. Spalding is the school I wanted to teach at when I moved here to Louisville. The thing I liked about Spalding is that it wasn’t too big, wasn’t too small, wasn’t too exclusive, and I just always really loved the students. (As a Spalding adjunct,) I taught a lot of adult-accelerated classes, and I always had non-art majors, and they were just always great folks. I like the atmosphere here. I like the place. It didn’t take itself too seriously as a school. People were serious about learning, but it was unpretentious. The faculty has always been very friendly, and I just felt comfortable here.

What has been like to join the full-time faculty in the art department?

It’s a dream come true. It’s a job I always wanted. … (In an initial meeting with Program Director Deb Whistler), we really hit it off about some key things, primarily about the idea that art didn’t have to be about making things for galleries, or making things for rich people to buy. It could be, but it could also be about solving problems and interacting with the community and making your town or your world a little bit better place – that art has the power to do that. We both had this idea of how art functions. For me, that came from being a puppeteer for about 10 years at that point.

Spalding professor and student in the woodshop of the Spalding Makerspace
Assistant Professor Shawn Hennessey demonstrates a wood saw cut to student Sarah Thornsberry in the Spalding Makerspace.

What is your academic specialty or area of experience?

My art expertise is all over the place. Photography and print-making are the two things I haven’t done much of, but other than that, I’ve dabbled in pretty much everything. I’m totally a jack of all trades. My undergrad is in sculpture and 3D art. My grad is in painting and drawing. My graduate thesis show was mostly conceptual art; it was almost like graphic design murals. I was making weird books. Then I got more and more into conceptual art when I got out of graduate school. Because I hate going to gallery openings and things like that – it’s just not my bag – I stopped participating in the art world for a while. Then I met Nora and started doing puppet shows. The story I always tell is being on stage with My Morning Jacket in a puppet I finished that day in front of 9,000 people. I thought, “I’m spoiled now.” I really like the interactivity of puppetry. So I would say through Squallis, my focus in terms of being an artist is really on art and social practice, making art that is interactive and somewhat performative and that is collaborative. That’s where my heart lies. Academically, I’m very interested in art and music, and art and culture in general. I taught an art and music class, so a lot of what I taught wasn’t just about art-making or music-making. I would bring in television and being able to explain that “Flight of the Conchords” and Stephen Colbert are perfect ways to understand post-modernism. That would get my students’ attention. But while I was an adjunct teaching these classes, I would also be trying to make some extra money by remodeling people’s homes and building kitchens and bathrooms and getting really good at making stuff. So when this job came along – a combination of teaching two- and three-dimensional art and running a shop and studios – it was everything I’d always done. It’s working with tools, I always run the spaces at Squallis and keep them organized, and I’ve been teaching for 20 years. So it all fit together perfectly for me.

LEARN MORE | Spalding’s Creative Arts department and the BFA in Studio Art
MEET THE FACULTY | Spalding’s full slate of Creative Arts professors

What do you in your role as Studio Technician at Spalding?

Shawn Hennessey welds in the Spalding Makerspace
Hennessey uses welding tools in the Spalding Makerspace.

I’m the manager of the Makerspace and studios. I manage this MakerSpace (in Mansion East), and I keep an eyeball on all the other spaces. If they need something, or if something needs fixed or set up, I take care of it. Like we’ve been setting up lots of new equipment and making sure spaces are safe and free of hazards, and I have been working really hard at making sure we are maximizing usage of our space. We’ve also been trying to open our spaces to be more collaborative. This (Mansion East) Makerspace is now a collaborative space that any faculty or staff can come through during open hours. We’re working with occupational therapy and other departments.

Why is Creative Arts at Spalding a good option for high school students looking to study art in college?

I think what sets Spalding’s art department apart – it’s in the name. Instead of calling ourselves “Fine Arts,” we call ourselves, “Creative Arts.” I feel like that opens it up a lot. Fine arts implies that you’re doing something that is so polished, and that is fine. You can still make gallery-style art. But to say it’s “Creative Arts,” that puts a focus on the creativity and the problem-solving part. We’re interested in teaching people how to use creativity as a tool. We want to train people to utilize their own creativity and expand and hone that. Students who come in may not know what they want to do. I think that’s what’s great about this program. You don’t have to pick. You don’t have to come into this program and say, “I’m a sculptor,” or “I’m a painter, or “I’m a ceramicist.” You can say, “I’m a creative person, but I’m not sure what I want to do.” And we will teach that person and sort of mold them, and (let them find a path.) Who knows what these students will do, but we’re going to set them up to use the skills.

How do you summarize the new equipment in this Makerspace as a resource for students?

Oh, man, we are so lucky. We’ve gotten a lot of great tools. We have this great confluence of high and low tech. So have all of the low-tech tools – a drill press and a band saw – things that most wood shops have. We have all these low-tech options, people can still work with their hands. I still teach my students how to make boxes and measure with a tape-measure and things like that. We also have all these high-tech things like a laser cutter and a plasma cutter. There are all these opportunities for students to utilize their technical prowess or use a computer to make something physical. I think it’s a cool program because you can go back and forth between the two.

What is an interesting thing that you keep in your office?

I have a puppet show in my office. You could say I have a time machine in my office. It doesn’t work. (Laughs.)

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Working with students, working with young people. But really just working with all different kinds of people – so the faculty, too. It’s no fun to be in a vacuum, especially as an artist. That was the thing I really hated about the presumed life of an artist. When you come up in the art world, you’re made to think you have to work in your studio, head down, make stuff, and that’s the life of an artist. I found that to be very miserable. I wanted to be around other people, and I wanted to make stuff with other people and help other people make stuff. When people come to me and say, “I want to make this thing,” I say, “Great, let’s talk about it! What does it have to do? How do you see it?” That’s really exciting to me.

At Spalding, we like to say, “Today is a great day to change the world.” How do you think your role at Spalding is helping you to change the world or helping your students to change the world?

One things I’m really proud of is I’m empowering people to use tools, particularly young women. A lot of our art students are women. When I started teaching here, very few of the young women I had in classes would go near the tools.  I’ve been really trying to challenge my students: “Go use the welder.” I want to empower them to feel like that they can do it. Also, just teaching all students simple but important skills like how to use a tape measure and how to do these concrete things that will affect other areas of their life. I’m excited about that and proud of that.

READ MORE | Faculty Focus Friday archives

Faculty Focus Friday is a Q&A series that highlights individual faculty members in various academic programs around Spalding University. Today’s featured faculty member is Dr. Amy Young, Associate Professor and Associate Director of Clinical Training in the School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Young, who earned a PsyD in Counseling Psychology from Carlow University in Pittsburgh, is a member of the American Psychological Association and Kentucky Psychological Association. 

What do you like about working and teaching at Spalding?

I get to help with training the next generation of psychologists, which is something I never thought I would be doing as a student. I never saw myself as being an educator, which is a wonderful surprise and is just as rewarding as having a practice.

What is your academic specialty, areas of expertise or research?

I am a clinical psychologist, so my area of area expertise is around mental health and abnormal psychology. I had a forensic internship experience at a men’s prison with the department of corrections. My specialty has been addictions, so I deal a lot with substance abuse treatment, homelessless and individuals who end up incarcerated due to their mental illness. Today in my private practice I still focus on addiction work, but I also do a lot of couples counseling (as well as counseling of) families in crisis, and families who struggle with infertility. In Louisville there are not a lot of resources for individuals who have miscarriages or in the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF), egg donation or surrogacy. The Food and Drug Administration now requires mental health screenings, and there are not a lot of psychologists who are willing to do that and certainly not for an affordable price. For about three years now, I have been doing those screenings, which is again not what I thought I would be doing, but because of the needs of the community and the women in need, I wanted to do it. Getting to help all of these people have families has been very rewarding.

LEARN MORE | Bachelor of Arts in Psychology program
LEARN MORE | Doctor of Clinical Psychology (PsyD) program
LEARN MORE | School of Professional Psychology faculty bios

Why is psychology a good option for new students to consider as their major? 

I think psychology gives you a good background for lots of different things. Certainly if you want to be a therapist and want to do counseling or work with folks in crisis, obviously a psychology degree is for you and can give you great preparation for that. I also really feel like if people want to do work in business, sales, marketing, human resources and all of those jobs that require you to have people skills, I feel like psychology is a good place to start your education. We have lots of students that end up going to graduate programs, but their psychology degree has set them up to understand human behavior and help them be a leader in their career. All of that knowledge can be applied to so many different aspects of your life and will just make you a happier person.

What is an interesting thing that you keep in your office?

Everything in my office has meaning to me, and I love interior design, so when I decorated my space I tried to bring in things that make me feel inspired and connected. When people come to my office the things people usually notice first are the women in my office. A picture of my great-grandmother is hanging up on my wall, and she was incredibly lucky because she was able to go to school during a time when only men went to school. My great-great-grandfather made her promise that her children would all go to school and receive an education. So her daughter, who is my grandmother, became the first woman in her county to graduate from high school and receive a diploma. Of course, when I was growing up with her, she told me how important it is to have an education and if you have degrees and skills, you are able to be self-sufficient and you do not have to rely on others. So I think this was a strong legacy of women who believed in education and that it is a way to be self-empowered and fulfilled. When I see that picture I feel like they got me started on a good path, and I would not be the person I am today if I didn’t have that legacy about women and education. That portrait makes me smile, and I feel like they would be proud and would love Spalding and Mother Catherine.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I had my babies last year, so this past Commencement season was the first time I had ever seen graduation from a parent’s perspective. It was really rewarding to watch the ceremony and the recognition of completing their degree. We have a specific hooding ceremony for the doctorate and master’s student, but it was the first time I had seen it through the lens of the parents. I watched students look for their families and giving their parents hugs afterwards and seeing grandparents crying, and it was so rewarding. It reminded me of all the people in the students’ lives that helped them get to graduation day. As professors we see students in our world, but it reminded me of all the people that love that student. Being a parent, it made it really rewarding because parents are trusting us with their children.

At Spalding, we like to say, “Today is a great day to change the world.” How do you think your role at Spalding is helping you change the world or the world of your students?

Helping people to see all the ways people are struggling helps them to be better in the world. So if you see someone who has an anger problem, it is probably because that person is in pain. If you see someone that is acting more hostile, or someone who is discriminating against others, it’s because that person is suffering and isn’t thoughtful. Helping students understand that when you see people in distress it is because of a whole bunch of complicated factors. People are not good or bad, but some combination of the two, so the more students get that and understand human behavior, it makes them more thoughtful and compassionate as they go out to change the world.

RELATED | Faculty Focus Friday blog archives

A new historical marker was unveiled on Thursday morning at Spalding University’s Columbia Gym that commemorates the building at 824 S. Fourth St. as the location where a young Muhammad Ali learned to box.

The marker unveiling took place one day before what would have been Ali’s 78th birthday on Jan. 17. On Ali’s birthday two years ago, Spalding officially changed the name of its athletic building back to Columbia Gym.

A red bicycle hangs over the entrance of Columbia Gym as a tribute to Ali and his first encounter with Louisville Police Officer Joe Martin, who ran a boxing gym in the lower level of the building and became Ali’s first trainer.

Bronze Columbia Gym historical marker reads: At Columbia Gym, a young Muhammad Ali, then Cassius Clay, told Louisville Police Officer Joe Martin he was going to "whup" whoever stole his bike. Martin became Alis first train. Martin introduced Ali to regional audiences through the local boxing show, Tomorrows Champions and encouraged him to compete in the 1960 Rome Olympics.
The new historical marker outside the front entrance of Columbia Gym, where a red bike also hangs as a tribute to Muhammad Ali.

The Columbia Gym historical marker, which is located next to the front steps of the main entrance, is one in a new series of Ali-related markers around the city that are produced by the Kentucky Historical Society and that celebrate the legendary humanitarian and boxer’s Louisville roots. The series of markers is supported by Louisville Tourism, which also developed the Footsteps of Greatness tour of Ali-related landmarks in Louisville that includes Columbia Gym.

On Thursday, Ali’s brother, Rahman Ali, joined Spalding President Tori Murden McClure in pulling off the cloth cover to reveal the Columbia historical marker.

“That sense of striving, that sense of passion, that sense of wanting to make the world a better place is what (Muhammad Ali) stood for,” McClure said.

In what has become a key piece of Louisville history, in 1954, 12-year-old Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, parked his new red bicycle outside the building at 824 S. Fourth St. while he went inside to attend the Louisville Home Show. When he came back out, the bike had been stolen. An angry Clay found Martin there and reported the crime, telling Martin that he planned to “whup” whoever took the bike.

Martin told Clay that before he could do that, he better first learn to fight. He then introduced Clay to training at the Columbia Gym, setting in motion what would become a storied amateur boxing career that included winning a gold medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

Tori McClure addresses crowd at press conference outside Columbia Gym
President McClure addresses the crowd outside Columbia Gym.

Spalding acquired the building years later, and Columbia Gym is now the home of Spalding’s NCAA Division III volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as the Golden Eagles’ athletic department offices and the historic Columbia Auditorium, where many campus and community events are held. Spalding’s student fitness center, weight room, athletic training room, locker rooms and health clinic are located on the lower level, where Joe Martin’s boxing gym once was.

A series of photo panels on the wall of the lower level pay tribute to the red bike story and Ali’s ties to Spalding. As a teenager, Ali had a part-time job across the street from the Columbia Gym at what was then the Spalding library.

Muhammad Ali Center President and CEO Donald E. Lassere, Louisville Tourism Vice President of Destination Services Zack Davis, Kentucky Historical Society Community Engagement Coordinator Ali Robic, Spalding Dean of Graduate Education Dr. Kurt Jefferson and Spalding Athletics Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Danielle Lavender also spoke at Thursday morning’s dedication.

Lavender, who trains Spalding’s student-athletes in the Columbia Gym, said they draw inspiration from training in the same general space where Ali began his journey to athletic greatness.

“It’s awesome working in this building every day,” Lavender said. “It’s me with 150 athletes, and every day they are trying to come in and do better. Over our doors, (inspirational messages) say, ‘Effort is everything,’ and they know that.  With this historical marker now and everything we have up in the hallways (alluding to Ali), they know, ‘You better give it your all down here.'”

About the Kentucky Historical Marker Program: The Kentucky Historical Marker Program, administered by the Kentucky Historical Society in cooperation with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, tells Kentucky’s story through on-the-spot history lessons that connect the history, communities and items housed in the Commonwealth’s many historical organizations. The program makes Kentucky’s history accessible to the public not just on markers along the state’s roadways, but also online at www.history.ky.gov/markers and via the Explore Kentucky History smartphone application available free at iTunes and Google Play. 

Faculty Focus Friday is a Q&A series that highlights individual faculty members in various academic programs around Spalding University. Today’s featured faculty member is Sabrina Pletz, Assistant Professor in Spalding’s Master of Science in Athletic Training program as well as the assistant athletic trainer for Spalding’s NCAA Division III athletic department. Professor Pletz earned a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in athletic training from Cumberland College and master’s in exercise science from Fort Hays State University. She previously served as an instructor and assistant athletic trainer at the University of Charleston (W.Va.) and the clinical education coordinator for the athletic training program at St. Catharine College. (Read full bios of Spalding’s MSAT faculty.

What do you like about working and teaching at Spalding?
I like the fact that I get to do what I teach. While I teach in the MSAT program, I am able to provide athletic training services for Spalding Athletics. Spalding is a diverse campus. I love seeing students from all walks of life and different ethnic and geographical backgrounds. I’ve seen a trend of first-generation college students at Spalding as well. This is a place they can call home and be welcomed with open and helpful arms.

What is your academic specialty or areas of expertise or research?
My academic specialty is in athletic training. It is such a rewarding privilege to be able to educate and influence future professional athletic trainers. I am currently a first-year doctoral student at Spalding in the Doctor of Education: Leadership program.

LEARN MORE | Athletic Training master’s program and undergraduate tracks to enter it
REGISTER | Student athletic training/sports medicine workshop on July 22
SUPPORT THE EAGLES | Spalding Athletics’ official site 

Why is athletic training a good option for students to consider for their academic studies and future profession?
Athletic training is one of the most exciting and rewarding professions. A good number of our students are former athletes or other highly active individuals who like to be around athletics and sporting events.  The National Athletic Trainers’ Association website nata.org describes the profession well: “Athletic trainers (ATs) are highly qualified, multiskilled health care professionals who render service or treatment, under the direction of or in collaboration with a physician, in accordance with their education, training and the state’s statutes, rules and regulations.  As a part of the healthcare team, services provided by athletic trainers include primary care, injury and illness prevention, wellness promotion and education, emergent care, examination and clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.”

What is an interesting thing that you keep in your office?
I have a skeleton of an arm. I teach Evaluation of the Upper Extremity, and I use it in class. People usually give it a double take when they walk into my office.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Seeing our students finally have that light-bulb moment and connect what they learned in the classroom to their practical fieldwork.

At Spalding, we like to say, “Today is a great day to change the world.” How do you think your role at Spalding is helping you change the world or the world of your students?
There’s the phrase, “Practice what you preach.” The version of it for me is, “Practice what you teach.” I stand in front of my class and teach technical, ethical and leadership skills. Staying true to myself and my students, I strive to be a positive role model for practicing our profession the way it was designed to be practiced. Another way I feel I have made and hope to continue to make an impact is seeing a need and jumping in with both feet to address it. One example is the creation of our student health clinic, Eagle Care. (Retired graduate nursing faculty leader) Dr. (Pam) King, (MSAT Program Director) Dr. (John) Nyland and I saw a need for health care access for our students, and we worked tirelessly to bring this necessity to fruition. This clinic has really come a long way over the past three years. We now have a part-time Nurse Practitioner and MSAT and nursing students who rotate through the clinic.


Faculty Focus Friday is a Q&A series that highlights individual faculty members in various academic programs around Spalding University. Today’s featured faculty member is Dr. Chris Kolb, Associate Professor of Anthropology in the School of Liberal Studies. (Read his bio on the liberal studies faculty page.) He holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Kentucky, a master’s from George Washington University and a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Kolb is also a member of the Jefferson County Public Schools Board of Education.

What do you like about working and teaching at Spalding?
I like the students and the small class size because it allows me to build relationships with students. We have a diverse campus and student body, which challenges professors to communicate with many different types of people. I really enjoy it.

What is your academic specialty or area of expertise or research?
I am a cultural anthropologist, and we do everything under the sun, but my specialty is urban anthropology focusing on drug use, race, policing, homelessness and how cities function. I did my field research from 2005-07 in Cincinnati not long after the riots there. Unfortunately, for society these issues are prevalent and people hear about them more easily now, which makes it an interesting time to be studying these issues.

LEARN MORE | Spalding’s School of Liberal Studies
MORE FACULTY FOCUS FRIDAY | Check out all our past faculty interviews

Why is liberal studies a good option for students to consider as their major?
There are many different reasons.  I will start with the money-making aspect, which is that employers are realizing no matter what their business is, they need people who can communicate well and write well. Beyond that, it’s a great foundation for many paths such as, advocacy, the nonprofit sector, graduate studies, business and law.

What is an interesting thing that you keep in your office?
There is a drawing with colored pencils from a guy in Cincinnati who was well-known and struggled with homelessness and mental illness. He was a gifted artist, and he sold me this for $5-10, and if you look at it, I think it’s actually George Washington.  I think it’s a brilliant piece of art work done on a piece of cardboard.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I think getting to do something that really interests you. Of course there are aspects that aren’t as entertaining as others such as paperwork and administrative pieces, but there are rewarding factors. I have a lot of independence and get to experiment within the classroom. I really enjoy finding ways to reach students and get them to take an interest and ownership in the material.

At Spalding, we like to say, “Today is a great day to change the world.” How do you think your role at Spalding is helping you change the world or the world of your students?
I think the topics we discuss in class open my students’ eyes to ideas they have probably heard about but didn’t know a lot about. We go into much further detail about prominent Civil Rights figures such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King and how our superficial view of these individuals is actually much more complicated than we think. I hope I am helping my students become more curious about the world and not rely on the news media to create the world for them.

Faculty Focus Friday is a Q&A series that highlights individual faculty members in various academic programs around Spalding University. Today’s featured faculty member is Dr. Dorina Miller Parmenter, Associate Professor of Religious Studies in the School of Liberal Studies. Dr. Parmenter teaches a variety of religious studies courses and has also served as director of Spalding’s Study Abroad in Ireland program. Dr. Parmenter earned her PhD in Religion from Syracuse University. She also holds two master’s degrees in religion from Syracuse, a Master of Arts in Fine Arts from Ball State University and a bachelor’s degree from Central College in Pella, Iowa. (Check out her bio on the School of Liberal Studies’ faculty page.)

What do you like about working and teaching at Spalding?

I like being at a school that values compassion and social justice and recognizes that learning about both of those goals requires broad-based knowledge about history, society and human creativity. I appreciate that the faculty and staff here are always striving to share with Spalding students the best of what they have to offer in order to instill in students the values of the school.

What is your academic specialty, areas of expertise or research?

While I teach a broad range of Religious Studies courses, my research falls in a field called “material religion,” and I try to bring that into all of my classes somehow. It involves looking at how religion is created through and reflected in material objects and embodied practices rather than through abstract ideas. More specifically, my research field is the materiality of the Christian Bible, or how the Bible is a ritual object and material image rather than just a text to be read. My most recent publications have been on miniature Bibles and on the American Evangelical movement called “Bring Your Bible to School Day.” I am currently working on a project on digital Bibles.

Why is the program/department in which you teach a good option for new students to consider as their major?

Surveys of employers consistently indicate that they are looking for employees who are self-motivated and who can think critically and creatively, communicate well, and make ethical judgments. The School of Liberal Studies at Spalding offers several interdisciplinary majors that emphasize the importance of broad-based knowledge, independent thinking and the skills required to address complex social problems. Our majors do not provide specific job training but do allow graduates to enter or advance within the workforce with a social conscience and with the ability to come up with creative solutions to and expressions about whatever might come their way.

What is an interesting thing that you keep in your office?

Five years after I graduated from Central College in Pella, Iowa, when I had just finished a master’s degree in art and was starting a graduate program in religion, I was featured along with some of my college classmates in an issue of our alumni magazine. The cover of one of the books I made in art school engulfs the cover of the publication, with the headline, “Artists Give Credit to the Liberal Arts.” I have that magazine cover framed in my office. Now, several decades later, I am trying to impart that love for the Liberal Arts to Spalding students.


What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I love to see students taking the issues that we are discussing in class and relating them to other classes or their lives outside of the classroom. It is like watching the students build a sculpture out of their knowledge and experiences.

At Spalding, we like to say, “Today is a great day to change the world.” How do you think your role at Spalding is helping you change the world or the world of your students?

I think that studying religion in a college atmosphere where questioning is encouraged and diversity is valued is one of the best ways for students to grow as individuals and as members of local and global communities. This growth helps to break down boundaries and allows for greater respect for and collaboration with others so that oppressive systems can be challenged and the most life-affirming aspects of shared human existence can be utilized to bring about change.

Mayor Greg Fischer and the Louisville Metro Police Department have called upon the community-building expertise of staff and faculty members at Spalding University to assist in a key initiative to improve relations between the police and residents in Louisville.

Chandra Irvin, Spalding’s Executive Director of Peace and Spiritual Renewal; Janelle Rae, Director of Inclusive Engagement; and Dr. Steven Kniffley, Assistant Professor in the School of Professional Psychology and the Associate Director of the Center for Behavioral Health; are members of the project management team of the city’s Synergy Project, a year-long program designed to bring police and residents together to discuss ways to strengthen their relationship. The Synergy Project is part of the city’s Lean Into Louisville initiative.

The public is invited to Spalding’s campus on Tuesday, Dec. 17 to learn about the Synergy Project and join the discussion. Spalding will host a public action session – a guided conversation in which residents can communicate and share ideas directly with police officers – from 6-7:30 p.m. at the College Street Ballroom, 812 S. Second St. It’s one of several action sessions that will take place around town in the coming year.

“When people talk about an issue that’s going on, they’ll say, ‘What can I do?’ (Participating in Tuesday’s action session) is definitely something you can do,” Irvin said.

Synergy Project Public Action Session
When: 6-7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 17
Where: College Street Ballroom, 812 S. Second Street

In the News | Courier Journal feature on the Synergy Project

Residents speak at a Synergy Project meeting on Spalding's campus
Mayor Greg Fischer, standing, and residents talked at a recent meeting for the Synergy Project that was held on Spalding’s campus. A public action session will take place 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, at Spalding’s College Street Ballroom.

The Synergy Project is intended to explore the tensions that exist between the significant societal values of public safety and individual rights and determine how to create and maintain a balance between the two, according to the city. Synergy will explore these tensions in order to mobilize actions for city-wide systemic change so every person in every part of the community can thrive.

The Synergy Project is modeled after The Illumination Project, an initiative undertaken in Charleston, South Carolina, after the 2015 hate crimes at Emanuel AME Church.

Irvin helped develop the Illumination Project, which also was a year-long program in which dozens of facilitated community conversations were held to discuss tensions between police and residents. At the end of the year, a strategic plan was unveiled, which continues to be revised and implemented today.

“There are lessons that we learned in Charleston that helped to inform how I am viewing and receiving feedback here,” Irvin said. “What I know is important is that we lean into the tension rather than leaning away from it. Really, that’s the only way that we’re going to connect in very genuine ways because clearly we don’t all have the same experiences and we don’t all think the same way.”

Irvin has helped the Synergy Project use a “polarity” framework that recognizes and values people’s different points of view.  It’s an approach that Irvin, Rae and others at Spalding have used to foster meaningful conversations on campus about a range of issues.

“We want to bring people together  despite differences – and actually invite differences – so that we can learn from one another and learn how to move to greater places with one another,” Irvin said.

The Synergy Project is bringing together individuals from all parts of the community – residents, academia, business, youth, faith-based organizations, law enforcement, and political leaders – in hopes of creating an opportunity for police and community to work together in a safe, open and respectful environment. The project hopes to identify root causes of distrust and find actionable solutions to move the city forward.

Irvin and Rae are helping to devise and carry out the programming and guided discussions of the Synergy Project. Kniffley, meanwhile, is researching and collecting data, along with Spalding Doctor of Clinical Psychology students Carson Haynes and Heather Dombrowsky.

Spalding's Chandra Irvin and Janelle Rae standing in front of a room of people seated around tables
Spalding staff members Irvin and Janelle Rae are part of the Synergy Project project management team. Psychology faculty Dr. Steven Kniffley is as well, working with grad students to collect and analyze data.

“This is a great example of a way to change the world,” Rae said of Spalding’s involvement. “Doing this work with the community and on behalf of community is in line with our Spalding mission. It’s our mission to embrace diverse people, and it’s our mission to create peace and promote social justice and to be of service in our communities. A big piece of this is learning from one another, learning about each other’s experiences so that we can actually be a connected community.

“I think it makes sense with our mission to train more and more people to engage productively with each other.”

Kniffley said that as a citizen of Louisville, he felt it was important to be a part of the Synergy Project.

“But then specifically as an African-American male,” he said, “just recognizing that there has always been tension between communities of color, specifically black communities, and law enforcement, to be a part of the effort that’s going to create a more meaningful relationship between the groups, I’m happy to be a part of that. Our goal is to use meaningful conversations that lead to actionable, tangible recommendations that the steering committee will then vote on and formulate into our final report.”

He added: “I think Spalding’s affiliation with the Synergy Project is consistent with our values of being a compassionate university, with being committed to issues of social justice and being at the forefront of change in the Louisville community.”