Classes are in full swing and The University of Tulsa’s beautiful campus is bustling with activity. Among those walking to and from lectures are our newest faculty members eager to share their expertise and invest in the success of their students.
“We are excited to welcome 16 new faculty members to TU this fall,” said Provost George Justice, himself a relative newcomer. “They will inject energy and intellectual brilliance into our classrooms, labs and libraries. Our students will be enriched by their presence, and we hope that their time at TU will be productive for their careers and for their lives.”
With vibrancy, sharp minds and diverse perspectives to boot, TU’s newest professors and instructors are sure to build upon the academic excellence and innovative research taking place across our colleges. Please join us in providing them with a warm welcome to the TU family!
Browse the list below to learn more about our new faculty members’ varied areas of expertise:
Toby Joplin – Applied Assistant Professor of Management Reza Alizadeh Kordabad – Visiting Assistant Professor of Data Analytics
Steve McIntosh – Adjunct Professor of Computer Information Systems Nathan Woolard – Applied Assistant Professor of Marketing
College of Engineering and Natural Sciences
William Aaron Ball – Instructor in Geosciences Stephen Flowerday – Professor of Cyber Studies Neil Gandal – Applied Distinguished Professor of Cyber Studies
Vijay Gupta – Applied Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering
Weiping Pei – Assistant Professor of Cyber Studies
Oxley College of Health Sciences
Christy Hedges – Clinical Associate Professor of Speech-Language Pathology
Abigail Kimball graduated from The University of Tulsa in 2021 with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology and a minor in Spanish. She came to Tulsa in 2017 from Fort Worth, Texas, as a walk-on track athlete, but soon realized that track was not her passion. After taking Beginning Spanish, Kimball got involved with TU’s Spanish club, La Tertulia. She became a regular at their meetings, helping with assignments and organizing tasks for the club. Abigail was also involved with RUF Campus Ministry.
During the spring semester of her junior year, Kimball traveled to Madrid, Spain, on a study abroad program with the International Education Services (IES Abroad). After only two months overseas, however, the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm and she had to return to the United States.This fall, Kimball will return to Madrid this year for an internship with Cru, formally known as Campus Crusade for Christ. Before Kimball embarks on this international adventure, we had an opportunity to chat with her to learn a little more about her study abroad experience in Spain, how her studies at TU had prepared her to excel and what her hopes are for the next sojourn.
Where in Spain did you study? Where all did you visit?
I studied in Madrid. When I first considered studying abroad in Spain or Latin America, I initially avoided the idea of Madrid since everyone goes there. But a friend told me about a Spanish-speaking church in Madrid that sounded interesting. After praying and deliberating, I decided Madrid was the best option for me. I was there from January to March 2020 until COVID-19 happened.
I also visited Segovia, which is a small village an hour outside of Madrid and Toledo, another small city. I also went to Caceres in East Spain, close to the border with Portugal. One weekend, I went to Paris. Unfortunately, since I was sent home early, I did not get to go to many of the places I had planned to visit.
What were your favorite places that you visited in Spain?
In Madrid, there is a park called El Retiro which is like Central Park in New York City. It’s like Madrid’s Central Park. I loved to go there after class to journal and watch the sunset. El Palacio Royale, Madrid’s royal palace, had a lookout point to watch the sunset. I’m a huge sunset person! Toledo was also beautiful. There was a picture of Toledo in one of my Spanish classrooms at TU, so it felt surreal to be in that exact place.
How were you able to apply what you had learned from your Spanish minor to your visit to Spain?
I went in with a solid base of knowledge from beginner and intermediate Spanish at TU. I took conversation and composition classes and had so much practice conversing in Spanish. I felt that I had the grammar down and just needed the experience of speaking the language with people from the country. I went to Madrid knowing that if I took anything away from this trip, it was going to be improving my Spanish speaking skills.
It was easy to fall into a comfort zone of speaking English because it was easier, but I knew I had all the tools to effectively speak Spanish and that I just needed to throw myself into situations where I could practice. I also lived with a Spanish homestay, so I made the effort to get to know her by spending time with her, whether it was watching TV or eating meals togetherI also made a conscious effort to get involved with a Spanish-speaking church and joined a Bible study group to put myself into situations where I was having to speak Spanish, no matter how uncomfortable it was and just powering through my mistakes.
But I didn’t realize how much Spanish I knew until I arrived in Spain! I think TU’s program prepared me for the balance of conversation and grammar. While the classes can be challenging, I was able to learn so much. Something that excited me when I was first learning Spanish at TU was how fast I was learning and progressing — it motivated me to keep going. When I was in Spain, I knew I had a lot to learn, but I was excited to seek opportunities to get out of my comfort zone.
What was it like being sent home at the onset of the pandemic?
It was very hard, because the two-month mark is where you start to really hit your stride. I was feeling more comfortable in Spain and really enjoying my routine. To watch that all come crashing down and to have to leave so abruptly was heartbreaking. It was hard not being able to say goodbye to my study abroad friends and church friends. There was so much buildup to the trip and to be sent home felt like such a loss.
It all happened so fast. Seeing the city shut down was also disappointing. I remember walking down the street and seeing no cars, no people — it was silent. It wasn’t the Madrid I knew. I had to finish my study abroad program online, but I was still able to stay in touch with my homestay and the friends that I made in Madrid.
Where in Spain will you be interning? What company/what will you be doing?
I’m going back to Madrid, which I’m really excited about. I’m going with a missions organization called CRU, formally known as Campus Crusade for Christ. I will be an international intern and I will work on a college campus in Madrid, getting to know students and helping the ministry.
There are a variety of organizations that students can get involved in, such as English clubs, art clubs, movie nights, picnics and more. I’ll be leading a team of three other girls and living in the city and being a friend to the students there. I will be there for a year, and after that year, I will assess if I want to do another year as an intern.
What do you hope to accomplish on this visit to Spain that you didn’t get to last time?
With my work, I won’t have the same freedoms that I had as a study abroad student to travel every weekend, but I do hope to visit some of the places that I didn’t get to after being sent home for Covid, such as Barcelona, Valencia and Alicante.
I was also bad about trying new foods when I was in Spain, so this time around, I want to immerse myself more in their food culture and not just eat pancakes at brunch. I want to honor the Spanish cuisine!
What tips would you give to a student wanting to study abroad?
I suggest going in with a defined set of goals. Assess what you want to prioritize while you’re abroad. For me, it meant not going on every excursion I could and going out in the community to meet people and practice speaking Spanish. It ended up being so worth it. I think it’s important to prioritize getting to know people in your country, whether it’s through a specific program or getting to know your homestay. Making relationships that carry on once I left was important. I recommend resisting the urge to only be with Americans and to make an effort to get to know the people in your community. For me, it was church and living with my señora.
Also, go in with reasonable expectations. I went in fantasizing about study abroad, thinking I was going to discover everything about myself and have the best time of my life. While this can be true, there is an adjustment period the first month or two that can be difficult to navigate. You can be in shock thinking everything is supposed to be perfect, but the transition can feel lonely. You have to make new friends in a new culture that don’t speak your native language. Give yourself grace navigating your new life!
Were there any courses, professors or staff members who were particularly inspiring and helpful during your time at TU?
It’s hard to pinpoint one course because I loved all of them. All of them were challenging and they all instilled a sense of confidence in me.
Beginning Spanish with Professor Chamarro was an influential course. She helped me believe that learning the Spanish language was possible. Professor Garmy’s courses were challenging, but the grammar lessons she provided whipped me into shape. Professor Willis was so invested with giving us feedback and involving us in conversation. I was never bored in his course because we were constantly interacting.
Are you eager to spread your wings while learning in another country? If so, get your passport in order and contact the Center for Global Engagement today!
This report and visualization discusses the “56 values that drive all human behavior” as they vary and compare across cultures and languages. This information could prove useful in developing new marketing and management strategies.
Annie Duke, author, speaker, and former poker player, discusses the importance of decision-making. She advocates for utilizing the psychology of the brain to improve our odds and the “quality of [our] decisions”.
The NOVA Fellowship at The University of Tulsa (TU) has a mission to build and support the culture of innovation on campus and in our communities. We do this by providing small grants to help innovative student projects, faculty involved in innovative programs, and curating content related to current trends and recent developments in technology and innovation. This content includes topics relevant to the entire campus, including health sciences, economics, arts management, biology, computer science, finance, artificial intelligence (AI), communication, engineering, and global issues. Because NOVA students are studying in a variety of TU majors, our interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving is one of our great strengths.
NOVA also helps provide training to students and faculty in creativity, problem-solving, innovation, and entrepreneurship. We offer training on the TU campus in meetings and workshops, and through an exciting partnership with Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Every year since 2015, NOVA has sent several TU students and faculty to Stanford for 4-5 days of training with experts and interaction with fellow scholars from around the world. The student program is University Innovation Fellows (www.universityinnovationfellows.org) and the program for faculty is the Teaching and Learning Studio Faculty Workshop (http://universityinnovationfellows.org/teachingandlearningstudio/).
In these ways, NOVA exposes TU faculty, staff, and students to many processes and tools used in modern companies related to creativity, problem-solving, innovation, and entrepreneurship. One of these is “design thinking.” It is one of the most well-known problem-solving approaches used around the world today, used to develop concepts for new products, education, buildings, machines, toys, healthcare services, social enterprises, and more. According to the people who developed this tool, Dave Kelley and Tim Brown of the design firm, IDEO:
“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success…. Thinking like a designer can transform the way organizations develop products, services, processes, and strategy. This approach, which IDEO calls design thinking, brings together what is desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable. It also allows people who aren’t trained as designers to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges.” (https://www.ideou.com/pages/design-thinking)
As the innovation field develops, new perspectives are emerging. One promising approach we are beginning to bring into NOVA meetings and workshops is called “systems thinking,” which builds upon the emergent field of complexity research. Systems thinking recognizes the inherent interactivity of the dynamic processes in our world and focuses on problem-solving with that complexity in mind. This approach isn’t completely new, but recent work has made systems thinking more accessible to people interested in solving problems of most any type. For example, Derek Cabrera, Ph.D. (Cornell University) has proposed a useful taxonomy designed to improve systems thinking called DSRP (Distinctions, Systems, Relationships, and Perspectives). He defines it as: “The recursive distinguishing of things and their interrelationships and part-whole organization from various perspectives” (https://blog.cabreraresearch.org/what-is-a-system-what-is-systems-thinking). Elsewhere, DSRP has been described as a particular way to think about problems, and that the use of these four patterns notably improves people’s problem-solving abilities – demonstrated in sessions with Kindergartners all the way to CEOs. The complex, adaptive mental models that are formed during systems thinking attempt to identify the most approachable and simplest explanations for phenomena. In his book with Laura Cabrera, Systems Thinking Made Simple, examples of the simplicity that drives complexity include: the interaction of CMYK colors in our world, the amazing biodiversity derived from combinations of DNA’s core nucleotides ATCG, the fundamentals of martial arts which practitioners use together to improvise during sparring matches, the almost infinite variety of models that can be built with modular Lego blocks, and the billions of possible moves in a chess match with just 6 unique pieces.
We invite you to join us and collaborate as we learn more about effective ways to solve problems that you and others care about in the community, in corporations, and on campus! Please visit www.novafellowship.org or email Dr. Charles M. Wood, Professor of Marketing at TU: firstname.lastname@example.org.
When traumatizing nightmares plague a child’s sleep routine, parents often search for answers. University of Tulsa faculty and student researchers in the Department of Psychology have investigated this psychological condition since the early 2000s. Today, Associate Professor of Psychology and clinical psychologist Lisa Cromer leads a team of graduate and undergraduate students in nightmare treatment for children and adolescents.
The University of Tulsa’s specialization in sleep among children began with graduate student research that was mentored by Professor of Psychology Joanne Davis. She focuses on nightmare and sleep problems in trauma-exposed individuals and when Cromer joined the psychology faculty, Davis invited her to expand upon the original project. With her expertise in children and adolescents, Cromer developed manuals and workbooks to adapt the research more broadly. Since then, graduate and undergraduate students have helped her establish a children’s sleep lab. Cromer and her students currently are conducting their second clinical trial that provides a five-session therapy series for youth, ages 5 to 17, who experience nightmares.
Combining sports and child psychology
Second-year grad student Jack Stimson earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and worked with traumatized, abused and neglected children in Seattle, Washington, before beginning the psychology Ph.D. program at TU. A former rugby athlete, he is interested in both sports and child psychology. “That’s the reason I chose TU and Dr. Cromer in particular,” he said. “She is an expert in a lot of areas, and I have an immense passion for working with kids.”
Stimson contributes to the clinical trial by asking questions and assessing participants once they have received therapy for nightmares. So far, 14 kids and teenagers have entered the treatment with encouraging results. Stimson said the youth and teens are “almost glowing” when he meets with them following the successful therapy sessions. They sleep sounder, feel better and experience fewer nightmares. “In supervision, we’ll sometimes watch tapes from earlier assessments before they went through treatment, and it’s amazing to see the shift in body language,” he said. “Instead of having nightmares every single night, they now maybe have one once or twice a month.”
As an undergraduate, psychology senior Andrew Helt also serves an important purpose in Cromer’s lab. He discovered his career interests in trauma psychology while working with children with communicative disorders at Happy Hands Education Center his freshman year. Helt’s research is the focus of a Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge (TURC) project and his final class project. After learning about the enriching environment of Cromer’s lab, basic literature reviews and data entry led him to explore a sub-study within her clinical trial. “We started to notice that while there’s a lot of kids with nightmares, some of them were reluctant to get into research,” Cromer said. “We wanted to understand the hesitation for either seeking treatment or seeking treatment for a research study when the therapy is free.”
During the summer, Helt learned how to use software systems and review literature to understand the psychological constructs associated with children who suffer from frequent nightmares. Overcoming barriers to treatment can help make it more accessible for children who desperately need relief. “I’m looking at what factors play into whether a parent decides to express interest in joining the trial (before) and what impact the nightmare treatment has in reducing symptoms (after) related to cognitive, behavioral functions,” Helt said.
Additional benefits of nightmare treatment
Published findings show parents who pursue therapy typically are of a higher socioeconomic status, and Cromer’s lab wants to learn how to make therapy and research more accessible to diverse groups. Helt’s sub-study also looks at how treatment can improve executive functions such as impulse control, working memory, task switching and goal-directed behavior. “For most of the medical studies I’ve read about, it’s not about convenience but rather factors like a person’s evaluation of the risks vs. benefits of participating,” Helt explained. “Underprivileged populations, for various reasons, have lower executive function, which plays into poor academic and social outcomes. It’s important to find any way possible to improve those executive functions in kids. We want nightmares to go away, but we also want to see if nightmare treatment can help in other areas too.”
Cromer and TU have built a credible reputation nationwide for sleep research, but her lab also encompasses other important areas of study, including psychological resilience amid adversity. “Dissertations that have come out of my lab have focused on special populations such as athletes and military families,” she said. “Through the ongoing SHAPE (Student Health, Academic Performance and Education) program, we work directly with TU teams and coaches on goal setting, mental toughness and preventing anxiety.”
Cromer’s research in child and sports psychology is extensive, and her special interest in how sleep affects other aspects of physical and emotional health inspires students like Stimson and Helt to continue working in the field. “The cool part of being in Dr. Cromer’s lab is that we view sleep as this underlying thing that we’re finding pops up in so many disorders and problems,” Stimson said. “We’re on the leading edge of this kind of research.”
The University of Tulsa Institute of Trauma, Adversity and Injustice is an interdisciplinary research institute that brings together scholars, scientists, professionals and students in community-engaged research, education and service initiatives. Most of our efforts focus on three areas: intervention and dissemination of best practices, collective trauma and occupational health. Through the interdisciplinary network of faculty, students and community partners, participants gain a unique perspective of numerous individual and social issues facing local and global communities.
Approximately 20 graduate students currently work on various projects, and several are funded through external grants and gifts from the TU Department of Athletics, the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Students are active participants in cutting-edge research, from development to execution to dissemination. The institute currently has a dozen active studies. Professors Lisa Cromer and Joanne Davis are conducting a clinical trial evaluating a treatment for children with trauma-related nightmares and sleep problems. Graduate students serve as project manager, assessor and therapists.
Elana Newman, TU’s McFarlin Professor of Psychology, supervises a project evaluating a prison diversion program for substance-abusing women. “Women in Recovery” is the first of its kind in Oklahoma. Students assisted in the development of the assessment battery and conduct assessments of the participants prior to the treatment, at several points during treatment, and after they graduate. This interdisciplinary collaboration involves criminological, psychological, legislative, educational, sociological and economic approaches both in the program and the evaluation.
The institute also collaborates with numerous departments across the university as part of the Sexual Assault Education and Prevention Committee, whose mission is to raise awareness and reduce the incidence of interpersonal violence on campus. Graduate students serve on the committee and develop, administer and evaluate violence prevention programs
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