News from Colleges


International Business Faculty Development


Steve Thorley, a professor of finance; Cynthia Wallin, an associate professor of marketing; and Anthony Vance, an associate professor of information systems in the Marriott School traveled to Namibia and South Africa in May 2016 with other U.S. business professors in the program “Faculty Development in International Business,” sponsored by the Center for International Business Education & Research (CIBER) at the University of South Carolina School of Business.

Thorley presented an academic paper on portfolio management to a group of bankers and fund managers associated with the Chartered Financial Analyst Society of Johannesburg, South Africa.

The CIBER group visited and met with personnel at several companies and university-based business schools. They also visited national parks in South Africa and Namibia and participated in business sessions, academic visits, and tours in locations including the University of Namibia, Discovery Health, and Etosha National Park.



Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices

Stefinee Pinnegar and Melissa Newberry, associate professors of education, presented a session at the International Conference of Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices in East Sussex, England, during summer 2016. Pinnegar conducted a pre-conference workshop, pairing experienced scholars with emerging scholars helping them refine their research through to publication.  She was a co-presenter in three paper sessions.

Newberry co-presented a session with Pinnegar on “The Role of Teacher Educator in a World of Alternative Routes to Teaching.” The paper from their study is published along with the other papers of the conference, in the official proceedings: Enacting Self-study as Methodology for Professional Inquiry, edited by Dawn Garbett and Alan Ovens.


Parents Assist to Maximize Benefits of Special Education Programs for Children

Blake Hansen, Shauntel Isham, Chase Adams, Laura Knecht, Lucy Orton, Ari Kokol, Kris Wiscomb, Sophie and Todd Rindlisbaker

Macedonia, part of the former Yugoslavia, is an ethnically diverse country and has had a difficult transition over the last twenty years as an independent nation. The country has fewer economic and professional resources than other countries in Western Europe or the U.S., so the transition has been especially difficult for Macedonian families who have children with disabilities.

Blake Hansen, a professor of counseling and special education, and his group of graduate and undergraduate students wanted to learn whether parents could support and train each other on a variety of skills (e.g., adaptive, coping, learning, and behavior skills) in a pyramidal model. If successful, this pyramidal teaching of important skills could free other resources for more critical needs.

In summer 2016, Hansen’s group collaborated with Professor Vladimir Trajkovski and three of his students at Saints Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje. They recruited eighteen parents of children with autism to participate in “Pyramidal Training” where a therapist trains a parent on a behavioral skill, then the parent trains another parent, who trains another parent. The results of their study demonstrated that 1) the children’s behaviors improved significantly over the course of the study, 2) parents’ confidence improved, and 3) in most cases parents were effective at training each other.

One of the team, Chase Adams (linguistics), who served an LDS mission in Skopje provided language training and support for the team. Laura Knecht and Sophie Rindlisbaker (psychology) will use data from the study for their graduate program theses, and undergraduate students Ari Kokol (European studies), Shauntel Isham (journalism), and Lucy Orton (special education) also participated in the study.



Politics of Slavery

Matthew Mason, a professor of history, is a joint founder and co-director of the organization Historians Against Slavery (HAS) in the U.S. and, while in the UK (April 2016), he participated in the founding meeting of HAS–UK in Hull, England.

Mason also presented “Biography and the Politics of Slavery: The Competing Priorities of Edward Everett and John Quincy Adams” to the Oxford University American History Research Seminar.

He discussed Edward Everett and John Quincy Adams and their need to juggle their antislavery commitment with their dedication to preserving the American Union, as well as with their commitment to moral and economic reform and improvement. Sometimes those priorities complemented one another, at other times they clashed. Material for the presentations came from two of his books:

  • Apostle of Union: A Political Biography of Edward Everett, Matthew Mason,  (University of North Carolina Press, 2016)
  • John Quincy Adams and the Politics of Slavery: Selections from the Diary, David Waldstreicher and Matthew Mason, eds., Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2017)


BYU-Jordanian Archaeology Team Discovers Largest Known Cache of Ancient Nabataean Pottery

F-B: Rachel Huntsman, Victoria Loose, Alexandra Blankenship, Allison Lee, Josie Newbold, Cassandra Ball, Deborah Harris, and Bruce Allardice. Showing a small portion of the Nabataean and Byzantine pottery recovered in 2016 from Cistern B on the Ad-Deir Plateau, Petra, Jordan.

The discovery of a huge cache of Nabataean pottery in the bottom of a large cliff cistern on the Ad-Deir Plateau in Petra stunned both BYU and Jordanian archaelogists working to preserve the Ad-Deir Monument. In an ancient cistern labeled “Eastern Cliff Cistern B.” Anthropology Professor Cynthia S. Finlayson, the project’s director, said, “This is potentially the largest collection of Nabataean pottery ever found in Petra in one single location. At the bottom of 7½ meters of erosion debris, we have a sealed context for a massive amount of Nabataean pottery ranging in dates from the early Nabataean period to the cusp of the Byzantine era when Petra was Christianized.” (See Figure 3) Pieces of particular interest are the Nabataean and Roman era lamps, including a fragment hosting an image of Pegasus, another fragment depicting a winged male deity holding a pick and chipping at an ashlar piece of stone, (a possible depiction of an ancient god associated with the masons of Petra) (See Figure 6).

Eastern Cliff Cistern B
Eastern Cistern B showing the depth of the Nabataean cistern. The cistern is so large it will take four years to clear all 2,000 years of erosion fill and restore the cistern to modern use with solar pumps.

The Late Hellenistic and Roman-era Nabataeans are also renowned for their abilities to control and store erosion water in desert environments. For the past three years, BYU has partnered with the Jordanian Department of Antiquities and the Petra Archaeological Park to conserve the Ad-Deir Monument by restoring the three most important Nabataean water control structures to safeguard Petra from seasonal water erosion: 1) Eastern Cliff Cistern B has an area of 430 cubic meters and is 7½ m. deep, 2) the Great Circle, a giant 60m diameter pool, and 3) the Temenos Slot Entrance to the Ad-Deir Monument’s courtyard.

BYU Classics student Cassandra Ball said of her experience, “It was a remarkable opportunity to learn and develop skills in the field. The thing that makes this project special is also its positive impact on the local community, and not only are BYU team members are involved.” The team was assisted by the Jordanian Department of Antiquities representative Sate Massadeh and forty Department of Antiquities employees (local workmen and women from the Bedul Bedouin tribe in Umm Sayhun).

Great Circle

Finlayson directed work on the Great Circle with Assistant Directors Allison Lee (MA archaeology, BYU, and doctoral student at Durham University, UK) and Glenna Nielsen-Grimm of the Utah Natural History Museum. BYU undergraduate students Victoria Loose, Rachel Huntsman, and graduate student Josie Newbold also assisted. Loose observed, “I think this was the first time I felt like I was doing real archaeology. I could see the features in person as we excavated and that meant a lot to me.” (See Figure 2)

Temenos Slot Area

Assistant Director Deb Harris, historic archaeologist for BYU’s Office of Public Archaeology (MA archaeology, BYU), continued excavation on the temenos slot area to the north of the Ad-Deir Monument. Harris was assisted by Alexandra Blankenship, an undergraduate student in archaeology, who said, “I’ve really liked working with a group and team, especially the local Bedouin workers.”

Readers may enjoy this film of Petra in summer 2015 (Photography by Mark Philbrick). Journey to Petra: Preserving the Ad-Deir Monument

All this work is made possible by a number of generous donors and the Jordanian Department of Antiquities.



Art Education in the Himalayas

In summer 2016, Tara Carpenter, an assistant teaching professor of art, and Mark Graham, a professor of art, traveled with thirteen students to the Himalayas of Nepal and India, where they studied Tibetan, Sherpa, Nepali, and Indian culture, art, and education. The group visited monasteries and schools to research art-making practices. They hiked in the Solukhumbu region of Nepal, and some continued to Ama Dablam base-camp to sketch the landscape at 22,349 feet.

In Kathmandu the students visited Buddhist stupas, Hindu temples, and Newari palaces. In Hattiban and Bhaktapur, they visited with contemporary artists exchanging ideas and methods and enjoying cultural and artistic interchanges with students of Kathmandu and Tribhuvan Universities about studying and creating art.

In the north Indian Himalayan region of Dharamsala (the home of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama), the students and faculty experienced the culture, learned from Tibetan Thankga painters, and observed curriculum and methods of art teaching at refugee schools.

The group included two graduate students in art education, a graduate student in art history, four undergraduate science students, and four undergraduate art students studying studio arts, education, photography, and film. Each student worked on a different aspect of the research project, which included studies in Nepali art and architecture, multicultural and holistic education, and creative film and photography projects.



George Whitefield and Methodism 18th Century

In 2015–16 Brett McInelly, a professor of English, was a visiting research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History (OCMCH) at Oxford Brookes University. McInelly’s research focused on ways non-Methodists responded to the revival in the eighteenth century and how public disputation shaped Methodism. He examined the responses of critics in colonial America to Methodism and George Whitefield. Though extremely popular among the colonists, as he was in Britain, Whitefield attracted his share of negative press, to which he responded both in print and practice. The research suggests that the hostile literature in America was shaped by the unique cultural and religious landscape.

At the close of his work McInelly addressed the Annual Ecclesiastical History Colloquium at Oxford Brookes University. See more


Student Internships in Eastern Europe 2016

Tony Brown, a professor of German and Russian, supervised these student internships in the Baltic States.

In Riga, Latvia, Ethan (physics/Russian major) and Emily (physics/astronomy major) Welch interned at the Baldone Astrophysical Observatory, which houses 22,000 astroplates dating 1966–2001. Emily digitized some 5,000 plates to be processed and used in modern research. Ethan modernized the observatory’s optical system and translated/formatted two scientific articles for publishing. He also traced back the orbit of Pluto in the newly digitized plates and traced back fifty asteroids, including seven which were, at the time of observation, the earliest known observations of the asteroids.

Kaylee DeWitt, a communications/Russian major, interned in Latvia with the Russian newspaper Vesti Segodnya (Russia Today) and freelanced for other papers, including The Baltic Times. In addition to writing articles and finding story ideas, DeWitt interviewed influential people, which included members of the Latvian Olympic team, the British ambassador after Brexit, and the first lady of Latvia. She published six articles during her internship and contributed to several others.

Christopher Wagstaff, a chemical engineering major, interned in Lithuania at the newly opened Center for Physical Sciences and Technology affiliated with Vilnius University. While there, he led research on a unique enzyme immobilization process that synthesized a conductive, yet relatively unstudied, polymer. Wagstaff is currently writing an article based on preliminary findings from his research for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.



Family: The Foundation of Human Rights

In June 2016, Lynn Wardle, a law professor, presented a paper on “The Family: The Foundation of Human Rights” at the Ninth Annual Symposium of the International Academy for the Study of the Jurisprudence of the Family at the Universidad Católico San Pablo in Arequipa, Peru. Wardle also moderated an additional session of the symposium.



New Zealand Grassland Ecology

Richard Gill, an associate professor of biology, spent January through July of 2016 in Dunedin, Southern New Zealand, where he worked with scientists at the University of Otago and Landcare Research (a Crown Research Institute) studying the evolution of unique plant traits in tussock grasslands. New Zealand is a hot spot for the development of biological novelty (from flightless birds to carnivorous snails) and the plants of New Zealand fit into the biological quirkiness of the islands. A majority of the deciduous grass species globally can be found in New Zealand’s grasslands.

Using intensive physiological measurements in a common garden experiment, coupled with extensive ecological modeling, Gill and his team examined this hypothesis: The tussock grasslands have so many deciduous grasses because the absence of mammals allowed them to exploit more light environments once they became deciduous. Some evidence was found supporting this hypothesis among the genus Chionochloa.

Gill also developed teaching modules on ecological succession based on the glacial and volcanic landscapes of the south and north islands of New Zealand.



Visiting Scholar at Paris Institute of Political Studies

Earl Fry, a professor of political science, was a visiting professor at Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) in 2016. Fry shared his work through

  • seminars on sub-state international relations at Sciences Po and the Academia Belgica in Rome,
  • a seminar on Canada–U.S. relations at University College London,
  • speeches at the Aspen Institute, Arthur Burns Foundation, CDU (Christian Democratic Union) and SDP (Social Democratic Party) institutes in Berlin, and presentations to business, academic, and political party institutes in Vienna and Graz,
  • presentations at the Foreign Affairs Institute and the University of Helsinki in Finland, and, interviews with European newspapers, magazines, and radio stations.

Many of his presentations were linked to the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the future of North America–European Union relations, and the U.S. presidential and congressional elections.



Recreation Management Study Abroad

The Recreation Management Study Abroad in spring 2016 took thirty-six BYU students to Europe and Iceland for 5½ weeks in twenty-one cities across eleven countries to observe, ask questions, and understand the workings of a tourist attraction or venue.

The purpose of this trip was to expose recreation management students to the ways events, businesses, and venues are run differently in Europe than in the United States. The students visited with some business owners and managers, made site visits at other locations, observed the differences, and wrote reports of their observations.

The students had prepared in-depth questions on running venues, attractions, and tourist sights. They learned about turning something like a Holocaust concentration camp into a place where tourists would like to come. The personnel at Disneyland Paris and the Blue Lagoon were especially impressed with the students’ questions and genuinely appreciative of the students’ preparation and desire to understand the workings of an attraction or venue.  Even the transportation and housing accommodations were analyzed. The food, people, and cultures were particularly fascinating to the students as they made friends along the way.