Four CHESS faculty members earned promotion to full professor. Their appointments were approved by the Purdue University Board of Trustees in April and became effective at the start of the fall semester.
Dean Elaine Carey praised the devotion and hard work of the new full professors.
“Promotion to the rank of professor is the pinnacle of success in academia,” she said. “After undergoing a rigorous peer review process, all of the faculty promoted to professor have demonstrated their success in learning, discovery, and engagement to their colleagues within the university and in their academic disciplines.”
Mita Choudhury, a faculty member in the English department since 2005, began her career with a focus in theater history and performance studies in the context of British colonialism and imperialism. Eventually, she became more interested in broader social and cultural issues in 18th century Britain’s pursue of empire.
A native of India and cultural historian of Great Britain, Choudhury finds in her latest book remarkably modern patterns of the corporatization of culture, particularly its dependence on and collusion with commerce.
“I am interested in the long-term impact of this period on society, politics and culture on both sides of the Atlantic,” she said.
Choudhury is committed to creating “global classrooms” in Northwest Indiana and Britain, where students have taken her spring and summer courses since 2007. Her students have visited The British Museum, the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, and the home of Samuel Johnson, one of the greatest literary figures of the 18th century. This is a key factor that connects her research and teaching, and also motivates her scholarly interests.
“My goal has been to open the eyes of PNW students to a completely different view,” she said.
Choudhury’s next book will focus on the role of material acquisition and charity in 18th century British consumer culture. She hopes to explain the foundations of recent controversies surrounding charitable donations to universities and museums.
Mary Jane Eisenhauer, a PNW faculty member since 2006, believes the present time is exciting in early childhood education.
In the past 20 years, Indiana began offering state funding, required a state license to teach and the former Purdue University North Central began offering bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education. She sees a bright career path for students who earn the bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, though she concedes the compensation for teachers generally is inadequate. She hopes to help change the dialogue.
“Teachers have had no time and access to have influence in increasing compensation and creating policies,” she said.
Eisenhauer, who began her career as a kindergarten teacher, believes the success of early childhood education program is part of the effort to create a strong support system for families. She said the best chance to have a positive impact on the quality of life for adults begins at the early childhood level.
“There is so much literature that shows the significance of early childhood education in having an impact on the social and emotional development of children, and their ability to get along and become self-regulated.”
Eisenhauer’s professional agenda includes work as a senior fellow for the Indiana Campus Compact, a consortium of the state’s colleges and universities that collaborate to create engaged citizens and vibrant communities. She won the compact’s award for outstanding contribution to the scholarship of engagement in 2015.
Mark Mabrito, a Purdue faculty member since 1989, has been interested in the intersection of computer technology and writing since the early 1980s.
He cultivated a scholarly agenda that extended beyond the use of the computer as a production tool.
“I was interested in the impact of computer technology on the communication process. This was before the Internet and New Media.”
More recently, his scholarly interests have focused on games, gamification and digital badging, which is a micro credential that allows users to digitally document skills and achievements.
He emphasizes that students need to develop their individual brands, which might include a different one for professional work and one for their personal lives. Sometimes, students have trouble discerning the need for separating them.
His advice to students: “Never stop learning. What works in the marketplace now won’t be the same in five years. You must continue to learn and adapt.”
Megan Murphy, director of the master’s degree program in marriage and family therapy since 2013, used her powers of observation during a volunteer experience at a psychiatric hospital to start her career path.
“I saw the patients with family members who were actively engaged were getting discharged,” she said. “The patients without family members involved were not.”
The experience stimulated Murphy’s interest in systems theory to help explain the factors that influence family relationships and their involvement in therapy.
Her future plans include finishing editing a book on therapy for couples and charting the future of the MFT program. The latter challenge offers many opportunities, including the potential for creating a center for relational ethics.
Central to the program’s focus is its commitment to serving the diverse population of Northwest Indiana.
“We ensure that all the students in the program know that they must serve all sorts of people,” she said.