Faculty Members Present Research at Annual Fall Forum
November 11, 2003
Three members of the faculty at Mount Union College made presentations at the annual fall semester Faculty Forum, held in Bracy Hall, Monday, November 10. Dr. Santosh Saha, associate professor of history, has been coordinating these forums twice a year since 1994 so that faculty members can share their research with the college community.
Opening remarks were made by Dr. Richard Marriott, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College and introductions were given by Dr. John Kirchmeyer, professor of computer science and information systems.
Dr. John Bienz, professor of English, presented "The Ghost of the Real: How Embodied Experience Combines with Imagination." Bienz framed his presentation with ideas from the book: The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind's Hidden Complexities by Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner. He discussed the way the human mind comprehends ideas in literature and art. Using an example from The Far Side comic strip by Gary Larson, he noted that the human brain uses a combination of personal experiences and learned concepts to understand various topics.
Dr. James Klayder, associate professor of computer science and information systems, used a humorous and informative video for his presentation of "Maya Mania: The Creation of 3D Graphics and Animation." Maya is a computer program used to create computer graphics. It has been used in many Hollywood movies, including "Spiderman," "Star Wars," "Lord of the Rings," "Shrek" and "Finding Nemo." Klayder has been using the program for about two years and plans to continue teaching it to students in upcoming classes.
Dr. William Cunion, assistant professor of political science, analyzed the ways that politicians influence public opinion in "How Politics Is Like Horse Racing: Harry Truman, Taft-Hartley and the 1948 Presidential Campaign." He asked the question: "Do political elites lead public opinion or follow public opinion?" Opinion polls do not provide a satisfactory answer to this question, because the opinions of people are often unstable. The opinions of people on certain issues can change from moment to moment.
Cunion suggested that public opinion should be seen as a "process," where continuing dialogue helps public opinion take shape.
Dean Marriott provided concluding remarks.