The Summer Seminar Series, held in CL 1148 on Wednesdays at noon throughout the summer, is an opportunity for faculty, staff, and students to share ideas, enjoy fellowship, and learn over lunch.

Summer 2014

May 28

Critical Thinking and High-level Discourse: Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development in a 1:1 Environment
Ryan and Val Zonnefeld

Learn the highs and lows of our experience co-teaching and using 1:1 tablets in the learning lab to foster high level discourse and critical thinking. An innovations grant supported the purchase of 30 iPads for the learning lab which facilitated a move away from a textbook to a dynamic research-based curriculum designed around professional standards and integral utilization of apps and web 2.0 tools.

Understanding Commotio Cordis and the Effects of Chest Protectors
John Van Weelden  (Kayt Frisch)

June 4

Get LinkedIn: Why and How to Use this Networking Tool
Sarah Moss

LinkedIn is a useful business-oriented social networking service that educators, employers, and students may find beneficial. So, how can we as educators and students take full advantage of LinkedIn? How might we optimize our own LinkedIn profiles or groups? What are some of the latest pages and tools that LinkedIn offers? What industries are buying into what LinkedIn offers? In this presentation, Sarah Moss will talk about why LinkedIn is useful, how to use LinkedIn to stay in touch with former colleagues and students, why LinkedIn’s job search engine is handy, and much more.

Aging in the Workplace: A look at the benefit of using our experienced population to mentor and train those who think they already know everything
Tony Jelsma

Our technologically advanced culture tends to favor younger people, who have a greater facility in adapting to new situations and new technologies (how many of us ask our teenagers to help us with our computers?). However, this youth bias fails to take into account the experience and resilience of the more mature employee. This presentation will delve into ways in which one’s experience can be availed of to justify their value in the workplace.

June 11

Heresy and Crusade and Inquisition, Oh My!: Rethinking Medieval Heresy, Religion, and What it Means to be a Heretic
Walker Cosgrove

There has been much debate about the nature and origin of 12-century heresy in southern France. Today, scholars generally emphasize doctrine and choice when discussing medieval heresy. In other words, arguing that medieval heretics self-selected to believe heresy in opposition to the Catholic church. In light of this paradigm, scholars tell a story of the growth in southern France of a full-fledge dualist, Cathar church that stood vis-à-vis the Catholic church. I suggest a paradigm shift, and thus want to reconsider this question of heresy in southern France, especially in the time before the Albigensian Crusade (1209 to 1229)—a 20-year crusade waged in the region against those who protected heretics. 

While I do not completely eschew doctrine, I take seriously the role of daily practice in shaping religious life in southern France, a religious world that itself focused more on orthopraxy than orthodoxy. A close reading of inquisitorial records from the 1230s and 1240s reveals that 12-century daily life in the region created a religious environment that many in the church’s hierarchy considered heretical, but which locals understood as orthodox. The Albigensian Crusade was a crucible of sorts that caused many people to seriously think about doctrine for the first time, and where they stood regarding various doctrinal statements, all of which created the Cathar heresy.

Student Research
Tim Martin (John Zwart)

June 18

How did the Moon Form?
Channon Visscher

Although the Moon is our closest cosmic companion, the details of how it formed have long remained a mystery. In this talk we will briefly explore the available scientific clues from lunar exploration and some historical proposals for the Moon’s formation. In the currently favored “giant impact” hypothesis, the Moon formed out of a disk of debris produced by the collision of a planet-sized object with the early Earth. We will explore the main features of the giant impact scenario and implications for the chemistry of the Moon, an active area of research since the Apollo era.

Creating Active Laboratory Learning Experiences for First-year Chemistry Students
Aziel Brito and Hannah Van Maanen (Carl Fictorie)

As a result of a major restructuring of the chemistry curriculum, the lab portion of the curriculum is also in need of reworking. In particular, we want to redesign the labs of Chem 101 and 111 to make it involve more active thinking about experiments before, during, and after the lab period. This past fall, three secondary education students conducted a study in Chemistry 101 on this topic. They looked for patterns that could tell us what type of introductory lecture was the most beneficial for the students’ performance and attitude in the lab. This talk will discuss the results of the study and outline the curriculum materials that are being developed for Chem 101 and 111.

July 2

The Complexities of Constructing Cities on Hills: A Kuyperian Critique of a Puritan Ideal
Scott Culpepper

The English Puritans and Separatists of the 17th century were visionaries with firm convictions regarding the ordering of church and society. They believed that a truly covenantal community, based on their interpretation of Scripture, would include the total submission of all social and cultural spheres to the ideal of creating a Christian society. The opportunity to test these ideals emerged in North America when Puritans planted colonies and in England when Puritans briefly established the only republic in that country’s long history.

In the process of seeking to establish their Christian Utopia, the Puritans inspired an American political tradition that continues to influence political rhetoric to the present day. John Winthrop’s famous allusion to the biblical phrase “a city on a hill” in his sermon “A Model of Christian Charity” has almost become a cliché in modern American politics. What are we to make of this early Puritan and American ideal from a Kuyperian perspective? How well does it comport with scripture? Does it hold up in the 21st century? For that matter, did it truly hold up in the 17th century?

We will examine together the Puritan social experiment through the wisdom gleaned from the Kuyperian Neo-Calvinist Tradition’s application of scriptural truths to complex pluralistic societies. Or to state the matter more simply: We will see what happens when you combine a 17th century Puritan politician with a 19th century Dutch politician and season it with a little Dixie flair.

July 9

Characterizing Mechanisms of Cancer Metastasis
Brandon Vander Stoep, Nate Gerdes, and Robbin Eppinga

Metastasis, the spread of cancer to different body regions, is the cause of most tumor-mediated death. Understanding cancer is therefore extremely important from a therapeutic and redemptive perspective. We are working on creating and characterizing in vitro models of cancer cell metastasis. We will describe recent efforts to mimic the spread of cancer through a tissue-like substrate, and will provide analysis on some of the proteins that these cells use to break out of their initial tumor environment and begin their journey to other body regions.

Identifying Proteins that Interact with Neuronal Motor Protein Myosin Va
Shannon Vander Berg and Robbin Eppinga

The motor protein Myosin Va has been shown to carry intracellular packages throughout brain cells, and mutations in this protein lead to mental deficiencies, and package-trafficking defects. We have performed a screen to look for proteins that interact with Myosin Va so that we can gain insight into how this motor carries so many types of packages, and to better understand diseases that result from the dis-function of this motor complex. We will present the candidate genes that we have pulled out of the screen and will discuss possible mechanisms of how they interact functionally with Myosin Va toward proper brain health.

Student Research
Mariellen Hofland and Anya Kalsbeek (Tony Jelsma)

July 16

Creating a Low-Cost Gait Analysis Laboratory at Dordt College
Juan Benitez and Adam Van Hal (Kayt Frisch)

This summer we are designing equipment for a gait analysis laboratory to be used in an engineering biomechanics course (EGR 357) this fall. The equipment we develop will allow students to understand the complexities of human motion, particularly the spatiotemporal aspects of walking/running (gait speed, step length, stride length, etc.), and the ground-person interactions (reaction forces, center of pressure, etc.) This summer we are developing the two central tools needed for these gait analysis activities: a force plate and a 3D motion capture system. Our presentation will introduce you to what motion analysis is and why it is important, as well as describe our work in developing and integrating the research apparatus for this new biomechanics lab.

Faculty Research
Robbin Eppinga and Jeff Ploegstra

July 23

These presentations will be held in the Music Building Choir Room.

An Experiment in (Music) Criticism: On the Reading of Musical Texts (Presentation to Include Live Music)
John MacInnis

In my class, MUS 308-Music Literature, we read C. S. Lewis's book, An Experiment in Criticism, in the context of studying a variety of musical compositions. This pairing of book and class is not without warrant, for Lewis repeatedly stresses that all the arts may undergo his experiment: What insights are gained into a text when we consider the ways in which one may read it? In the course of his argument, Lewis demonstrates that the poor reader "uses" a text and the best reader "receives" it with ordinate humility, intelligence, and imagination. Assuming, then, that music is a "text" which is "read" and conveys meaning (it is, of course, a commonplace of structuralism, for example, that texts may be literary or non-literary), I ask my students to articulate clearly and forcefully their readings of any given musical composition. 

In the time allotted for my presentation, I will share several examples of musical texts taken up by my class last year. Additionally, I will share aspects of my reading of Mozart's Violin Sonata in G, K.301, which I will perform with my colleague, Mrs. Lisa Miedema.

Memoir: Literary “Selfie”?
Howard Schaap

With its proliferation over the past couple of decades, the memoir has arguably become the literary form of note. Regrettably, it’s also the form that can be most like the selfie. In the Facebook age, however, the memoir is here to stay, meaning we need to distinguish between memoirs that are self-portraits and ones that are, well, plain old selfies. 

With all this talk about self, one might be surprised to be reminded that, as Daniel Mendelsohn puts it, the memoir’s DNA is “essentially religious.” Writing about the self in relation to God (dated no doubt from Augustine’s Confessions, circa 398) has a much longer tradition than writing about the self as subject (often dated from Rousseau’s Confessions, circa 1782)—though the latter is certainly the trend in many recent memoirs. Then, too, memoir remains a form with real political power—the memoir can put a face with horror, but memoirists are also notorious for blurring the lines between truth and fiction. 

What is the discerning reader to do? We will reflect on several recent memoirs as case studies for what the memoir does well, as well as how we might help student writers consider the topics of self and faith. As we all contemplate MSIGS, how do we align our individual stories with the tradition of Augustine as opposed to that of Rousseau? And how do we make those stories beautiful and truthful? We’ll ask—if not answer—these and other questions as a half-hour time block allows. 

July 30

SCOTUS 2013 in Review: Hot Button Issues
Donald Roth

This past term of the Supreme Court has been surprisingly full of decisions on politically charged issues. Join Donald Roth for a summer seminar discussing some of biggest developments of this past year. We will look at a few major cases and discuss their implications (along with any other questions you have); no need to worry if you don’t avidly follow legal news, a succinct case summary will be provided before we discuss each case. By way of a teaser, here are a few questions raised this term: May legislatures open their sessions with explicitly Christian prayer? Does the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate force for profit corporations to provide coverage for abortificants? Can states create protest-free zones around abortion clinics? Can Congress put caps on the contributions that individuals may make to political candidates or committees? What are the president’s recess appointment powers? Hope to see you there.

August 6

Dashboard Treasure Hunt
Jim Bos and Val Zonnefeld

Ahoy Mateys! Join Cap’n Jim and his deckhand Val t’ lern about data available t’ support ye work. Cast ye eye upon t’ Institutional Research website and t’ new dashboard, followed by a “Data Treasure Hunt”. Don’t forget t’ bring yer devices connected t’ the Internet t’ have a chance at ye portion o’ t’ pirate booty.    

A Call to Service:  A Quantitative and Qualitative Look at Students’ Decision to Pursue Social Work
Erin Olson

Social work as a discipline provides a unique opportunity for students and practitioners to live a life of service to others. In this seminar, we will look at two proposed research studies which will hopefully provide deeper insight into students’ decision to pursue social work as a major and career. The first research study, a quantitative study, will utilize an electronic survey which will be given to sophomore, junior, and senior social work majors at nine Iowa liberal arts colleges. This study will attempt to determine if and what kind of relationships exists between students’ sense of calling and other factors such as academic satisfaction, intrinsic religiosity, core self-evaluations, and meaning in life. The second study, a qualitative study, will consist of interviews with at least 12 individuals—a mixture of both current social work majors (four) and graduates of the program (four who graduated one year ago and four who graduated at least two years ago). These interviews will be used to develop a deeper and richer picture of what factors have influenced these students’ sense of calling to social work and if relationships with specific individuals (faculty, field supervisors, pastors) were influential on their decision to pursue social work. 

August 13

Structural Analysis of Dry Storage Hopper Cones
Peter Hoelsema

Accelerated Bridge Construction for Seismic Regions
Justin Vander Werff