Global Research at Westminster 

Westminster College in Fulton, MO
At Westminster College, we excel at developing young men and women to be leaders in a global community (learn more in the Columns Concept and the Concept for Student Development).  Westminster College faculty members have been pursuing research activities that help create a learning environment where leadership and global interdependence thrive.  Read more about the recent globally-themed research, professional development, and faculty-led student research initiatives below.


Dr. Linda Aulgur
(Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Education) oversaw the accreditation process of the Westminster College Department of Education and it was given interim approval of a new 16th area of teacher certification—foreign languages, grades K-12 in Spanish and French.

Dr. Rabindra Bhandari (Assistant Professor of Economics) Taught a course in Seoul, South Korea, and visited with political leaders and students in Nepal. Authored the following journals articles:  1) “Exchange Rate volatility and FDI Movements South and South East Asia, with Kamal Upadhyaya, forthcoming in International Journal of Economic Policy in Emerging Economies, Inderscience Publishers, 2011; 2)  “An Empirical Look at Kuznets Curve” in International Journal of Economic Science and Empirical Research with Gyan Pradhan and Mukti Upadhayaya.  Dr. Bhandari also gave a paper at the American Economics Association Conference in Denver (Jan 6-9, 2011) on “The Exchange rate movement and its impact on FDI in India”, at Association of Indian Economic and Financial Studies Session, with Kamal Upadhyaya.

Dr. Cliff Cain attended a seminar at the Natinoal Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, had four book reviews published, and read a paper at an international theologian gathering in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Dr. Susan Divine (Assistant Professor of Spanish), Prof. Jill Olson (Instructor of Leadership Studies), and Dr. Carolyn Perry (Vice President of Academic Affairs/Dean of Faculty and Professor of English) taught a service-learning travel course in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico designed to improve cultural awareness and strengthen Spanish skills in May 2011.  Dr. Divine also had a journal article accepted with Westminster student Benjamin Jones.

Dr. Lisa Fein (Assistant Professor of Sociology) presented two papers in August 2011.  One at the Society for the Study of Social Problems: “Can Everyone be an Estonian?: National Boundaries in a Civic State” and the other at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association:  “Multiculturalism in a Nationalizing State?: Integration and Minority Rights in Estonia.”

Dr. Tobias Gibson (Assistant Professor of Political Science), Dr. Kurt Jefferson (Director of the Center for Engaging the World and Professor and Chair of Transnational and International Studies), and Dr. John Langton (Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science) took five students to the Illinois State University Political Science Student Conference in April 2011.  Students presented on an array of topics (written in the professor’s courses) including “Happiness in Denmark,” “Immigration in the European Union,” “Truman’s decision to drop the Atomic bomb,” “Genocide and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” and “Comparing civil society in Burma and China.” 

Dr. Robert Hansen (Executive Director of the Emerson Center for Leadership and Service and Associate Professor and Chair of Leadership Studies) completed the following professional development: In Rwanda in summer 2011 – 1) conducted health needs assessment (with WC students) in rural villages in Eastern Province; 2) developed a community partnership initiative between Fulton, Missouri/Callaway County and Kibungo/Ngoma, Rwanda that raised over $100,000 to build two clinics; and 3) established an innovative microfinance/microloan program in the Ngoma District of Rwanda that targets women entrepreneurs in small villages.  Also presented on the psychology behind the Rwanda genocide and the reconciliation process underway in Rwanda.  He also worked in Tanzania on developing partnerships with the Maasai Women’s Development Organization and Sauti Moja in order to establish health and economic development projects among the Maasai, including a fair trade collaboration that brings beadwork and other jewelry to fair trade stores in the United States.  He also presented in 2011 (with Prof. Jill Olson and WC student Hannah Minchow-Proffitt) at the Heartland Conference of Campus Compact on High Impact International Service-Learning Experiences.

Dr. Rob Havers (Vice President of the Churchill Institute and Executive Director of the National Churchill Museum) participated in the Getty Leadership Institute at Claremont Graduate University and the paperback edition of his book, The Changi POW camp:  From myth to history was published in 2011.

Dr. Kurt W. Jefferson (Director of the Center for Engaging the World and Professor and Chair, Transnational and International Studies) authored a book, Celtic Politics:  Politics in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales (Lanham, MD:  University Press of America, 2011).  He also authored “Genocide: Balkans,” Encyclopedia of Race and Racism, 2nd ed. (New York:  Macmillan Reference, 2011). He also won a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York which allowed him to participate in the Council of Independent College’s “Teaching about Islam and Middle East Culture” seminar at the American Center of Oriental Research in Amman, Jordan (January 2-19, 2010).  He also served as visiting professor of global business and politics (teaching a short course on globalization and United States-Russian relations) in the Franco-Russian double magistratura program at ICN Graduate Business School, Nancy, France (February 2010).   He also published commentary pieces in area newspapers on the Arab Spring revolutions and US-Pakistani relations in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death in January, February, and May 2011. 

Prof. Henry Landry (Visiting Instructor of Transnational and International Studies) took 12 students to the American Model United Nations in Chicago, Illinois in November 2010. He also took 18 students to the Midwest Model United Nations (MMUN) in St. Louis, Missouri in February 2010 with two students (Brittney Regal, Jr, Las Vegas, Nevada and Abdullah Al-Hadeethi, Freshman, Baghdad, Iraq) winning “Outstanding Delegate” awards for representing Sudan on the MMUN’s simulated United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) committee.   Prof. Landry also served as lead instructor for the Center for Engaging the World’s inaugural “Asian Summer Experience” program in July 2011 in teaching nine American high school students a course on “Asian studies and culture.”  He worked with the program’s director, Dr. Kurt W. Jefferson, in organizing and carrying out the week-long, on-campus program that exposed nine American high school students to Asian culture and included a visit to the Westminster campus from 25 Chinese high school students from Xibo, China.

Dr. Heidi Lavine (Assistant Professor of English) authored several papers and publications.  “Reading Between the Lines: Translation as Postcolonial Literary Tactic.” Caribbean Studies Association Conference, Willemstad, Curaçao, June-July 2011.   “What Goes Unsaid: Translation, Regionalism, and Caribbean Literature.”  Popular Culture Association National Conference, San Antonio, TX, April 2011.  “Postnational Radio: Popular Media and Caribbean Literary Regionalism.” Popular Culture Association National Conference, St. Louis, MO, March-April 2010.  “To Know Each Other Better: Pan-Caribbean Sensibilities in La Revue du Monde Noir”  20th- and 21st- Century French and Francophone Studies International Colloquium, Minneapolis, MN, March 2009.  She published:  “Entries on Uzodinma Iweala’s Beasts of No Nation and Hari Kunzru’s The Impressionist” The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Fiction, 2010.

Dr. Sonia Manzoor (Assistant Professor of Economics) gave the following paper with Manzoor E. Chowdhury, “The ‘Great Recession’ Compared to the Previous Two Recessions: Evidence from Secondary Data,” presented at the International Business & Management Research Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii, June 9-12,  2010.  She also gave a scholarly presentation to faculty at Westminster College in 2010 on the Bangladeshi economy and financial pressures in the country.

Prof. Susan Marshall was appointed to the Ethnicity, Race, and Multilingualism Committee of the National/International Literacy Research Association.  She was appointed as a LRA 60th Yearbook manuscript reviewer, and a LRA 61st National Meeting proposal reviewer.

Dr. James McRae (Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies) has authored several publications and papers in recent years:  Books:  Environmental Philosophy in the Asian Traditions of Thought (with J. Baird Callicott, forthcoming from SUNY Press in 2012) and The Philosophy of Ang Lee (with Robert Arp and Adam Barkman, forthcoming from University Press of Kentucky in 2012).  Articles and book chapters:  “Triple Negation: Watsuji Tetsur? on the Sustainability of Ecosystems, Economies, and International Peace.”  Environmental Philosophy in the Asian Traditions of Thought.  Ed. J. Baird Callicott and James McRae.  Forthcoming from SUNY Press.  “Conquering the Self: Daoism, Confucianism, and the Price of Freedom in Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”  The Philosophy of Ang Lee.  Ed. Robert Arp, Adam Barkman, and James McRae.  Forthcoming from University Press of Kentucky. “Cutting the Cat: Zen Master D?gen on the Moral Status of Non-Human Animals.”  Rethinking the Nonhuman: Asian, Continental and Comparative Perspectives.  Ed. Neil Dalal and Chloe Taylor.  Forthcoming. “Zen and the Art of Cylon Maintenance.” Introducing Philosophy through Pop Culture. Ed. William Irwin. Cambridge: BlackwellPublishers, 2010.  “WATSUJI Tetsur? on the Sustainability of Ecosystems, Economies, and International Peace. ” Tenth East-West Philosophers’ Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii, May 2011. “Bonds without Attachment: Zen Master D?gen on Intimacy and Interpersonal Relationships.” American Academy of Religion Midwest Division Conference, Rock Island, Illinois, March 2010.

Prof. Wynter Miller (Visiting Instructor of Religion) published "Sacred River’s Pure Pollution: Clarifying Communication in the Debate Over the Status of the Ganges" in Testing the Boundaries: Self, Faith, Interpretation and Changing Trends in Religious Studies.  Edited by Patricia Iolana and Samuel Tongue. Newcastle:  Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011.

Prof. Jill Olson (Program Director in Community Engagement and Service Learning and Instructor of Leadership Studies) presented “From Rwanda to Mexico:  Developing High Impact Service Learning Experiences” with Dr. Bob Hansen and student Hannah Minchow-Proffitt at the Heartland Campus Compact Service-Learning Conference in September 2011.

Dr. Carolyn Perry (Vice President of Academic Affairs/Dean of Faculty and Professor of English) presented with Ken Hill, Kathleen Murray, Don O’Shea, and Scott Schneberger, “Educating for Global Citizenship at Baccalaureate Liberal Arts Institutions:  Maximizing the Benefits of International Student Integration,” at the Joint AAC&U/ACAD Conference. San Francisco, California on January 26, 2011. 

Dr. Jeremy Straughn (Research Associate, Churchill Institute and Academic Probation Counselor) published in 2009, “Culture, Memory, and Structural Change: Explaining Support for ‘Socialism’ in a Post-Socialist Society.” Theory & Society 38 5: 485-525.  Dr. Straughn is also writing a book with the working title Fragments of Memory: Narrative, Identity, and Recollection in Post-Unity Eastern Germany.