9 Objects: The Office of NU Terrorism and Policing Scholar Travis Morris

Norwich University Office of Communications
September 13, 2016

It’s been a busy year for Norwich Assistant Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice Travis Morris. Recently named the director of the university’s Peace and War Center, Morris organized a NATO-sponsored advanced training course on counter terrorism in Macedonia for South Eastern Europe this past spring. He’s also brought a Canadian Fulbright scholar to campus and co-led a summer trip to Israel and Palestine. The trip enabled students from Norwich and the Royal Military College of Canada to explore the roots of the Middle East conflict. All that while teaching and continuing his wide-ranging scholarship, which explores how ideas have shaped modern terrorism. His book, Dark Ideas: How Violent Jihadi and Neo-Nazi Ideologues Have Shaped Modern Terrorism is slated for publication later this year. Morris shares the backstory of nine objects from his office in Ainsworth Hall.

Great Moments in Aviation History Print
A gift from Morris’s father, a retired Air Force colonel, who taught at the Air Command Staff College at Maxwell AFB. “As a kid, I wanted to be a pilot and fly A-10s. But I didn’t have 20/20 vision, so I had to let that dream go.” Morris says the poster is a nod to his father and “reminds me a little bit of growing up surrounded by aviators.”

Kentucky Colonel Certificate
When Morris was a police officer in Kentucky, his in-laws nominated him as a colonel in Kentucky’s honorary state militia. He received the certificate among his wedding gifts.

Mountain Bike
As a PhD student and father in Nebraska, Morris cycled to work to squeeze in a workout. “The problem was the wind.” Today, Morris still bikes to the office, albeit less frequently. “I don’t have time just to go to the gym. So that’s where that fits in.” More often he drives, dropping his kids off at school along the way.

Florida Folksong Book
“My grandfather was a fourth-generation Floridian.” His brother, Alton C. Morris, PhD, was an ethnographer who recorded and preserved folk songs and taught English at the University of Florida. Morris’s grandfather constantly sang Florida folksongs to him as a child. The book speaks to the academic side of his family tree.

Miniature of Point Arena, Calif., Lighthouse
A gift from his father recalling Morris’s early childhood. The family lived on a remote USAF radar base in northern California that scanned the West Coast for the Soviet threat. “There were only several hundred people that lived on this remote mountain top. We had a doctor once a week.”

Scrimshaw Whale Tooth
Another memento from that time. Morris remembers it mostly as kid heaven. “It was like living in some outpost away from the rest of civilization—miles and miles and miles and miles of huge redwoods around us, and wild boars, and the long winding access road that made us car sick almost every time.”

Carnegie Foundation Mug
Part of the grant writing endeavors Morris has taken on as director of the Peace and War Center.

Haifa Photo
Morris spent two years living in Israel with his wife and young daughter while studying Hebrew and doing research for his master’s thesis on the Israel national police. “Believe it or not, that’s looking out our porch. If you turn your head slightly to the right you can see Lebanon.”

Family Photo Taken in Israel
“The girl in the middle is my little daughter, Eden. She was 6 months [old] when we lived there. She happens to be sitting on the Horns of Hattin, which is the site of a historic Crusader battle.” The 12th-century battle marked the turning point of the religious war. There’s no park, just a “small beat up metal sign at the end of a dirt path. You looked down from the battlefield to see the Sea of Galilee.”

Norwich University Announces Dana Professor, Faculty Awards

NORWICH UNIVERSITY OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

May 19, 2016

Recognizing outstanding scholarship and teaching, Norwich University faculty have named Mathematics Professor Daniel McQuillan a Charles A. Dana Professor. The prestigious award carries a $10,000 annual stipend.

McQuillan (pictured above) has taught 17 different mathematics courses since arriving at Norwich University in 2002, teaching most often: Discrete Mathematics; Calculus; Mathematics: A Liberal Art; and the Mathematics capstone (senior seminar) course.

In addition to the teaching of standard courses, McQuillan’s work has included summer research mentoring, leading to the publication of four professional peer-reviewed papers with Norwich University student coauthors. He also organizes Norwich’s involvement in the Putnam Mathematics competition, which can involve weekly meetings with interested students in which connections between different areas of mathematics are explored by solving unusual problems.

“A Charles A. Dana Professorship is a tremendous honor and an even greater responsibility,” McQuillan said. “I will take it as an enormous, daily challenge to live up to the expectations that we should all have of Dana Professors—I will try! I am extremely grateful to Norwich University—and in particular to my wonderful colleagues—for providing an environment where it is possible to do great things.

“Our best work is still ahead of us.”

A committee of current Norwich University Dana professors selected McQuillan for the award, which was announced during Commencement ceremonies on May 14.

The university’s Dana program works to recruit and retain an outstanding full-time faculty recognized for their scholarship and teaching excellence. Tenured full professors from all academic disciplines are eligible.

In 1974, the Charles A. Dana Foundation, a philanthropic foundation that funds research nationwide, presented Norwich University with an endowment designed to supplement salaries of full-time senior faculty members. Since the first nominations in 1975, Norwich has named 23 Charles A. Dana Professors.

Board of Fellows Faculty Development Prize

The Norwich University Faculty Development Committee announced today that Joe Latulippe, Associate Professor, Dept. of Mathematics, will receive this year’s $8,000 stipend for the Board of Fellows (BOF) Faculty Development Prize for “Modeling the Effects of Synaptic Plasticity on the Firing Patterns of Neurons.”

The BOF Faculty Development Prize is funded annually by the BOF in its role of stimulating and rewarding the University Faculty for creative and pragmatic research efforts.

Other Faculty Awards

Norwich University officials announced the recipients of Independent Study Leave (ISL) awards; Charles A. Dana Research Fellowships; Curriculum Development Fellowships; and Charles A. Dana Category I Grants for the 2016-17 academic year.

Independent Study Leave

  • Brett Cox, Professor, Dept. of English and Communications, to work on several pieces of short fiction.
  • Eleanor D’Aponte, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture + Art, for “The Tapestry of Concrete: Design Research and Casting of Prototypical Concrete Wall Panels Using Fabric-Formwork.”
  • Lauren Howard, Professor, Dept. of Biology and Physical Education, for “Howard’s Handbook: A Guide to Native, Naturalized and Commonly Cultivated Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines in the Northeast.”
  • Carl Martin, Associate Professor, Dept. of English and Communications, for “Domesticating Henry V: Hoccleve’s ‘To Henry V and the Company of the Garter.’”
  • Penny Shtull, Professor, School of Justice Studies and Sociology, for “Stalking on Campus: Awareness for College Mental Health Counselors.”

Charles A. Dana Research Fellowships

 Megan Doczi, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biology and Physical Education, for “Localization of the Insulin-sensitive Kv1.3 Ion Channel During Brain Development.”

  • Elizabeth Gurian, Assistant Professor, School of Justice Studies and Sociology, for “Reframing Mass Murder Within Empirical Research.”
  • Yangmo Ku, Assistant Professor, Dept. of History and Political Science, for “The Politics of Economic Reform in Communist States: North Korea, Cuba, and Vietnam in Comparative Perspective.”
  • Tim Parker, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture + Art, for “Art and Architecture of Religious Pluralism: Historiography and Theoretical Framework.”
  • Tolya Stonorov, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture and Art, for The Design-Build Studio: Crafting Meaningful Work in Architecture Education.
  • Moses Tefe, Assistant Professor, David Crawford School of Engineering, for “A Strategy for Identifying High Pedestrian Crash Zones in Accra-Ghana.”

Curriculum Development Fellowships 

  • Gina Sherriff, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Modern Languages, for “Language Leadership Modules for the Spanish Program.”
  • Darlene Olsen, Associate Professor, Dept. of Mathematics, for “A Case Study Approach to Teaching Statistics to Health Science Majors.”

Charles A. Dana Category I Grants 

  • Natalia Blank, Associate Professor, Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Danner Friend, Associate Professor, David Crawford School of Engineering
  • Emily Gray, Associate Professor, Dept. of History and Political Science
  • Llynne Kiernan, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing
  • Rob Knapik, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Physics
  • Yangmo Ku, Assistant Professor, Dept. of History and Political Science
  • Emily Meyer, Assistant Professor, School of Justice Studies and Sociology
  • Judith Stallings-Ward, Associate Professor, Dept. of Modern Languages

About Norwich University˜

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).www.norwich.edu 

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Norwich University will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Transformation” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu.    

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Assistant Director of Communications
Office Tel: (802) 485-2886
Mobile: (802) 595-3613
dlarkin@norwich.edu

5 Questions For … Surveillance and Media Culture Scholar Amy Woodbury Tease

Norwich University Office of Communications

September 18, 2015

Assistant Professor of English Amy Woodbury Tease began teaching at Norwich in 2011 after completing her PhD at Tufts. It was during her first year at Norwich that she joined the Council on Undergraduate Research, a faculty body dedicated to fostering undergraduate student research. She now serves as Program Director for the university’s Undergraduate Research Program. A modernist specializing in post-1950 British literature and film, Woodbury Tease focuses her own scholarship on surveillance and media culture. Among other projects, this fall she is co-teaching an honors course with Criminal Justice professor and terrorism expert Travis Morris called, “The Other Side of Innovation.”

Woodbury Tease sat down in her office in Webb Hall to discuss her research interests and why she is such a passionate supporter of independent student scholarship.

What questions do you explore in your research?

I’m really interested the ways in which the ubiquity of technology forces us into this space where we feel really comfortable with our devices. We feel as if they are part of us. But my theoretical perspective is this concept of difficulty. So the ways in which when technical difficulty happens, that’s when we become aware that our positions in the world are not as secure, not as comfortable. That they’re constructed. We are media subjects. Even if we think we’re off the grid. You’re still part of this culture where globally someone is able to see you, right? You can be found or traced in some way. Especially now and in ways we’re unaware of.

So I guess one of the questions is, what does it mean to be a media subject? What are our responsibilities as consumers of media? Things that we watch for entertainment have real world implications. Even if we’re watching a reality television show, there are things about it. What are we actually participating in? What stereotypes are being enacted on those programs? What are we OK with? What are we not OK with? How do we in some ways abandon our ethics and our morals to the screen? That’s one set of questions.

What’s another?

In what ways can surveillance help us? In what ways do these technologies add to our communication? I’m quick to say, and others are quick to say, the screen culture is harming us in more ways than it’s helping us. But in what ways does it allow us to communicate better and talk to people from across world and read text that we wouldn’t otherwise get to read? To share our work with people that wouldn’t necessarily get access to it? So thinking about what I call the possibilities and pitfalls of the media in our digital age.

Do you have a Facebook page?

Yes.

Do you post actively?

I do, but it’s very selective. That’s the other thing. To recognize also that our Facebook selves are constructed. A lot of [my students] are like, huh? A lot of them have grown up into this world. What does it mean for them, too? Because in some ways, there is a generation gap that I’m going to have to deal with. They’re born into this world. Whereas, I’ve become accustomed to it. A lot of things I’ve resisted. With Facebook, I’m one of the few people where I’ve been grandfathered into this space where people can’t actually find me. So I was very paranoid about it when I first started teaching at the college level to allow anyone to see anything. Now I feel more open about it. I don’t post anything that I wouldn’t talk to my students about.

Shifting gears, why is undergraduate student research important?

I think it’s the most important aspect of their education. That they move from being a student in a classroom who is consuming information to being a producer of information. From my freshman students up, I tell them this is where you find your voice. This is where you ask your questions. I’m not going to give you a topic to write about. I’m going to give you a theme or a general sense of a direction, and you need to find what you want. You need to find the thing that inspires you, which is hard. Sometimes you have to sit with them and say, Ok, talk to me a little bit about the things that interest you in class. And you don’t always get what you’re looking for. But I think if students don’t feel like they have the agency or the ability to ask a question that you’re not asking, they’re not really getting the same level of experience.

I can tell them to think what I think. But then in the end, what do they get out of that? They get my particular thesis, which they’re going to get anyway. That’s not to say I don’t have an agenda in my classes. I do. But in the end what I hope is that they will be able to take whatever foundation I’ve given them and think about how they might apply it to something they’re interested in.

And of course those who go out into the field and get to do stuff and get their hands dirty, I think that’s great too.

Interviewed condensed and edited for length and clarity.

 

Student Research: Visiting Shakespeare’s Birthplace to Study Religious Tolerance

Senior Jesse Abruzzi was one of 28 Norwich University undergraduates awarded a Summer Research Fellowship to investigate diverse topics across the arts, sciences and professional fields. Nurtured by the university’s Office of Academic Research, the competitive, six- and ten-week fellowships are entirely funded by university endowments dedicated to supporting student academic investigation.
Norwich University Office of Communications

August 20, 2015

Jesse Abruzzi, a senior history major, has long been fascinated by the intersection of religion and politics. So as a 10-week Norwich University Summer Research Fellow, he chose to study the lives of English Catholics during the Protestant Reformation in the second half the 16th century.

Abruzzi focused on the small English market town of Stratford-upon-Avon in the Catholic hotbed of Warwickshire. While practicing Catholicism could be a capital offense, a number of Catholics held seats of power in town government.

To conduct original research, Abruzzi used funds from his $4,000 fellowship stipend to visit two storied archives in England: the British Library in London, the world’s largest, and the Shakespeare Birthplace Record Trust Office in Stratford-upon-Avon.

In Stratford, Abruzzi spent days pouring over ancient manuscripts full of details about village life in the 1500 and 1600s. A main source was the Minutes and Accounts of the Stratford Corporation, or town government.

Notes recorded in the 16th century tome describe an array of ordinances that illuminate the concerns of the growing market town. Decrees ranged from efforts to control dogs, trade, and firearms to rules that sought to advert religious tensions or keep tavern owners from watering down their beer.

“Everything I was looking over slowly began to change the questions I was having,” Abruzzi says. “My question changed from a religious one to a more political one.”

He refocused his scholarship on the central issue of how Stratford-upon-Avon formed an autonomous government in such a religiously charged era.

Abruzzi found that despite anti-Catholic rhetoric and actions by the monarchy in London, religion took a back seat to political and economic interests in Stratford-upon-Avon. “[This] fostered an environment that allowed a stable town to form,” he says.

“What I just found really interesting was how a religious reformation that began in Europe resulted in a political reformation in this small English town. [One] that ultimately created, oddly, this religious diversity” imperfect though it was, he says.

Norwich University Assistant Professor of History Emily Fisher Gray advised Abruzzi on his project.

“This is a story that has been investigated by other historians relating to the larger rural county of Warwickshire, but Jesse [is] the first to ask these questions of the town of Stratford,” Gray says.

To help him with his project, Gray visited the British Library and the Shakespeare Birthplace Record Trust Office ahead of time to secure research access and canvas source material on his behalf.

“Jesse was interested in researching the experiences of ordinary people,” Gray says. “I was excited because the stories of regular folks rarely get told, and they are often the most interesting.”

Of his research, Abruzzi says, “I was doing work that I’ll probably be doing at the PhD level one day. So it was great practice actually being in the ‘field’ on my own and getting firsthand experience having to solve certain problems without help.”

He says his greatest takeaway from his fellowship experience this summer was a greater sense of personal and academic independence. “I had some help in the archives the first few days,” he says. “But after that, I was on my own.”

Related Stories on Norwich Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowships:
Photograph courtesy Emily Fisher Gray, PhD