Professors honored for recently published works

RELEASED: October 1, 2009

By Leigh Ivey

DANVILLE, KYProfessors at Centre College are as extraordinary as their students, and like their students, they're constantly engaged in academic pursuits.

At a reception held on Monday, Sept. 28, six of Centre's professors were honored for books and articles that have recently been published. Those recognized for their work were David Anderson, Steve Asmus, Sarah Goodrum, Jane Joyce, Philip Lockett and Lisa Williams.

With expertise in the economics of law, crime and the environment, Dr. David Anderson, Paul G. Blazer Professor of Economics, has written and published a wide variety of books in his career.

The two recognized at the recent reception were Contemporary Economics for Managers and Treading Lightly: The Joy of Conservation, Moderation, and Simple Living.

Published in 2008, the first took about a year to complete. Anderson devoted almost eight years to Treading Lightly, which focuses on solutions to energy and environmental problems. 

Although he already has completed eight books, Anderson has no thoughts of slowing down. He is currently working on an Advanced Placement version of Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman's economics textbook, as well a "survey of economics" textbook.

Steve Asmus, Elizabeth Molloy Dowling Associate Professor of Biology and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, was honored for his research article "Neurochemical characterization of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive interneurons in the developing rat cerebral cortex."

The article was published in July 2008 in the journal Brain Research.  

"This particular research project explored the chemical characteristics of a subset of neurons in the rat brain that exhibit plasticity (i.e., flexibility) with regard to the neurotransmitter that they produce during development," Asmus says. "I'm especially pleased that 16 Centre students collaborated with me on the project over a span of about six years."

Because certain neurological disorders are caused by the loss of specific neurotransmitter-producing neurons, Asmus hopes that this research "ultimately will provide insight into human health."

Currently, he is extending this research by exploring the same subset of neurons in the human brain.

Dr. Sarah Goodrum, associate professor of sociology, was recognized for her article titled, "When the Management of Grief Becomes Everyday Life: The Aftermath of Murder," which was published in Symbolic Interaction by the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction.

Because she has long been interested in criminology, sociology of law, sociology of emotions, and research methods, Goodrum has devoted much time to researching the relationship between criminal justice workers and victims.

For the research described in the Symbolic Interaction article, she explored victims' experiences with the criminal justice system, focusing on those people who have lost loved ones to homicide, whom she terms "bereaved victims."

"The findings from this study," she says, "indicate that bereaved victims often received direct and indirect messages that their grief made others uncomfortable, creating awkward situations for potential supporters and leaving bereaved people without the support they need."

In her current research, Goodrum is exploring the relationship between bereaved victims and prosecutors following the murder of the victims' loved ones.

Dr. Jane Joyce, Charles J. Luellen Professor of Classics, was recognized for her translation and commentary on Statius' epic Thebaid: A Song of Thebes. This complex Latin narrative poem describes the civil war between the brothers Eteocles, King of Thebes, and Polynices, who leads his army to the city to claim his share of royal power.

Other works Joyce has published include a translation of Lucan's Pharsalia and a translation of Catullus's lyrics, which was included in a collection of Latin literature.

She has also published two collections of original poems: Beyond the Blue Mountains and The Quilt Poems.

Professor of physics Dr. Philip Lockett was honored for two papers recently published in the Astrophysical Journal. Both centered on astrophysical masers.

"A maser is a laser, but it operates in the microwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum," Lockett explains. "Astrophysical masers act as 'maser pointers' that allow astronomers to trace tiny regions of space very accurately. One of the papers dealt with masers in supernova remnants in our own galaxy, while the other dealt with very powerful masers produced by galaxies millions of light years away."

Collaborating with Moshe Elitzur, a theoretical astrophysicist at the University of Kentucky, Lockett devoted five years to one of the papers.

The other, Lockett says, required much less effort but "was rewarding because it showed the interest of the astrophysical maser community in the work I do at Centre."

Lockett is now planning to write a paper summarizing the work he has done with Brice Hamilton '11. Their work concerns the masers in the star-forming region of space known as W49. Hamilton recently presented a poster about their research last summer at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Pasadena, Calif.

Associate professor of English Dr. Lisa Williams was recognized for Woman Reading to the Sea, a collection of poems that was selected by Joyce Carol Oates for the 2007 Barnard Women Poets Prize.

Williams composed poetry for this collection, her second, for nearly 10 years. Musicality, she says, is the unifying thread in her work.

In a recent interview with The Tennessean, the daily newspaper of Nashville, Tenn., Williams discussed not only her collections but also her role of professor at Centre.

"My interactions with students are deeply meaningful to me," she said. "Reading poems with them, talking about ideas, art, literature—whatever it is—stimulates and prolongs thinking. My students keep me very actively engaged."

Whether they're exploring neurons, poetry or conservation, Centre professors remain committed to learning. Those recently honored are but six of the many who devote much time to expanding their own knowledge, as well as that of their students.

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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit

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