Each Friday during the Fall and Spring academic semesters, a faculty volunteer gives a 30 minute lunchtime talk on her/his scholarship and/or teaching practices. Faculty members are invited to learn a little more about their colleagues, chat with others that attend the presentations, and enjoy a wonderful buffet lunch. Talks start at 12:30 p.m. and are usually over a little past 1 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the Office of Academic and Faculty Affairs.

Spring 2019 Schedule

Jan 25     Julie Kingery (Psychology), Jamie Bodenlos (Psychology),                Laurence Erussard (English), Donna Davenport (Dance), &                Michelle Iklé (Dance)

Mindfulness in the College Classroom: Benefits and Practical Strategies

Abstract: What is mindfulness, and how can engaging in mindfulness practices be beneficial for our students? During this talk, members of the newly formed HWS mindfulness cohort will discuss what we learned at the “Contemplative Practices in Higher Education” workshop in the fall. We will engage the audience in various mindfulness practices that we have implemented in our own courses at HWS. We will welcome questions and feedback from the audience, and invite others to join us in this initiative aimed at increasing awareness about mindfulness on campus and helping to expand mindfulness-based offerings for students, faculty, and staff.

Feb 1       Renee Monson (Anthropology and Sociology)

How do you know? Probing inquiry, reporting investigations, and producing knowledge in the age of Trump

Abstract: In this talk, I argue that the examination of truth claims has been replaced with the posting of truth statements in our everyday discourse, that our students are losing some of the skills they need to engage in a collective effort to produce knowledge (however contingent and partial that knowledge may be), and that this is becoming a significant barrier to our work as educators. As evidence, I draw on findings from some of my SoTL research on the learning outcomes associated with group projects in my Research Methods course.

Feb 8       John Halfman (Geoscience & Environmental Studies)

Increasing our Understanding of Blue-Green Algae and their Toxins in the Finger Lakes

Abstract: Harmful algal blooms have increasingly impacted many lakes across the globe including all of the Finger Lakes in recent years. Their occurrence in the oligotrophic (nutrient poor) Finger Lakes is surprising as they were more common associated with eutrophic (nutrient-rich) lakes. Their toxins negatively impact water quality and thus threaten the tourist economy and recreational value of the Finger Lakers Region. They have also been detected in municipal water systems that draw water from Skaneateles, Owasco and Canandaigua Lakes. I will present data collected over the past few years with help with various colleagues that has shed some light on the occurrence of these bloom

Feb 15     Leah Shafer (Media and Society)

Springtime for Hatred: Downfall Memes and "Alt-Right" Internet Cultures

Abstract: Downfall (Oliver Hirschbiegel, 2004) purports to provide audiences with an “historical” account of Hitler’s last 10 days. Critics of the film have suggested that Bruno Ganz’s virtuosic performance of the Führer humanized a man who was, in fact, a monster. One of the defenses of the film, made by the filmmakers (and their apologists) was that it was strictly historically authentic. This presentation unpacks notions of “historical authenticity” and reframes the critical responses around the film by juxtaposing them with a reading of popular Downfall parodies that circulated on YouTube starting in 2007. The parodies’ DIY linkage of the casual erasure of history to Ganz’s hyperbolic performance of Hitler’s breakdown exemplifies the kind of ironic detachment that is symptomatic of so-called “alt-Right” Internet cultures. This trivialization and memeticization of ahistorical representations of Hitler mark the Downfall parodies as symptoms of the distressing rise of white supremacy and anti-semitism in popular culture and in culture generally.

Feb 22     Lina Žigelytė (Media and Society)

Alexa, What Happened at Stonewall? Processing Queer Lives

Abstract: Algorithms and data organization are transforming our interaction with information. In spite of technological strides across the globe, institutions that collect and archive queer history - where such initiatives exist - are already lagging behind. For example, in the global market of over 2 million mobile phone applications, only one of them is dedicated to LGBTQ+ history and it was launched independently by a young white lesbian community organizer from the Northeastern U.S.

My talk speculates on the future of mediated stories about queer lives in the era of increasingly seamless interaction between humans and machines. I argue that a shift from the representation of queer people to the processing of data about them is already shaping how and what the public is learning about LGBTQ+ experiences, both present and past. In my talk I will focus on recent student-led projects from Western New York and digital initiatives from outside of Western urban centers to argue that a shift from representation to data processing offers creative possibilities for the future of learning about historically underrepresented lives.

Mar 1       Susan Cushman (Biology)

Round Goby Rampage: Seneca Lake’s new "Monster"?

Abstract: Tales have been told of the Seneca Lake “Sea Monster” or “serpent”… and in the end, fish have been suspected in many of those cases. It turns out, a new “monster” is invading and lurking in our familiar waters. The Round Goby, Neogobius melanostomus, an invasive fish species now in the Finger Lakes has been known to forage primarily on dreissenid mussels and Lake Trout eggs, but their impact on other lake invertebrates is not well known. This presentation will provide background on the ecology, spread, and current distribution of the Round Goby in the Finger Lakes. Data will be shared from monitoring on Seneca Lake, and feeding studies conducted to assess diet preferences and likely impact on native and invasive prey as well as native fishes.

Mar 8       Brien Ashdown (Psychology)

Do you think our students are entitled? They think the same about you!

Abstract: Much has been made about the entitlement issues of today’s college students. But it is often unclear what we’re really talking about when we’re discussing student entitlement. How are we defining it? What might increase or decrease students’ entitlement? (Hint: one of the biggest predictors of students’ entitlement is how entitled they perceive their professors to be!) Is student entitlement always a bad thing? I’ll attempt to answer these questions and maybe a few more in my talk, using data collected from college students at a handful of institutions across the country.

Mar 15     Craig Talmage (Entrepreneurial Studies), Robin Lewis                (Environmental Studies & Sustainable Community Development),                and Katie Flowers (Center for Community Engagement and                Service Learning)

Community Innovation and Small Liberal Arts Colleges: Perspectives from HWS and Geneva

Abstract: In this presentation, we will discuss the role of liberal arts colleges in promoting community innovation and development. Drawing on recent colleges-community collaborations in Geneva and across twenty other liberal arts institutions, we will highlight the myriad ways in which such collaborations build capital and capacity while also facilitating the development of future leaders and change agents.

Mar 22      Spring Break - No Talk

Mar 29      Shannon Straub (Biology)


Abstract: TBA

Apr 5        Steven Lee (Philosophy)


Abstract: TBA

Apr 12      Janette Gayle (History)


Abstract: TBA

Apr 19      Jack Harris (Anthropology and Sociology) and Chris Annear                (Anthropology and Sociology)


Abstract: TBA

Apr 26      Bob Cowles (Music)


Abstract: TBA

May 3       David Galloway (Russian Area Studies & OAFA)


Abstract: TBA


Shannon Straub,

Robin Lewis,


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Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.