New Faculty Projects

Building Boundaries or Building Bridges? A Study of In-Law Relationships
Autumn Behringer, Sociology and Anthropology
Dr. Behringer has previously studied the version of in-law relationships presented in popular jokes versus the reality, which is that most sons-in-law have warm relationships with their mothers-in-law. She proposes to examine constructive and destructive relationship behavior by conducting semi-structured, in-depth interviews with sons-, daughters-, mothers-, and fathers-in-law. Her aim is to improve contemporary understanding of these commonplace but understudied family relationships.

Adam Smith and the Euthyphro Problem
Robert Fudge, Political Science and Philosophy
In one of Plato’s dialogues, he discusses the foundations of morality with Euthyphro, a young man who is bringing charges of manslaughter against his own father. Plato asks Euthyphro to define morality in a universal way, and after some discussion, obtains a definition that morality (or holiness, or piety) is that which all the Gods approve. That is, he argues that morality is not grounded in some fundamental principle, but is based on the whim of some higher power. This is called by philosophers “The Euthyphro Problem”. Dr. Fudge examines whether some of Adam Smith’s writings fall prey to this logical fallacy, as others have argued. He will be presenting these findings at the 18th Century Scottish Studies Society conference in April 2006.

4th International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities
Colleen Garside, Communication
Dr. Garside is a specialist in service learning, and serves as a member of the Faculty Consulting Corps for Utah Campus Compact, which helps coordinate and promote service learning at college and university campuses in Utah. She plans to present her paper on student perceptions of service learning at the above-referenced conference to be held at the University of Carthage in Tunisia. The completed paper will be submitted, after presentation, to the International Journal of the Humanities.

Revision of the Athletic Training Major
Valerie Herzog, Health Promotion & Human Performance 
The Athletic Training major at Weber State is becoming an increasingly popular program, and accreditation standards require a thorough revision in light of new standards published in June 2005. In addition, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Education Council has issues new Educational Competencies. These new standards will affect six clinical classes in which these standards and competencies are taught and measured.  Also, five new courses have been added and 16 courses have been substantially revised.  The self-study for the next accreditation cycle will be written in fall 2007; changes must be implemented and tested before that date.

Theories of Motivation in Addiction Treatment: Testing the Relationship of the Transtheoretical Model of Change and Self-Determination Theory
Kerry Kennedy, Social Work
Dr. Kennedy’s paper has been accepted for presentation at the 5th Annual Hawaii International Conference on the Social Sciences. This will be her first professional presentation since joining the Weber State faculty. She will explore the relationship between two prevailing theories of motivation, the Transtheoretical Model of Change and Self-Determination Theory. Both are relevant to Dr. Kennedy’s studies on addiction and its treatment.

Presence of the Diapause Hormone Gene in the Brine Shrimp Artemia from the Great Salt Lake
Nicole Okazaki, Zoology
One of the most common organisms of the Great Salt Lake is the brine shrimp Artemia.  When food is plentiful, females produce larvae; when food is scarce, they make hard-shelled eggs, or cysts, which are resistant to environmental damage. Dr. Okazaki proposes to study the hormone “switch” which determines which of these modes is used: the diapause hormone gene.

Stable Isotope Probing to Identify Active Methylotrophic Bacteria in the Great Salt Lake
Michele Zwolinski, Microbiology
Unusual organisms such as methanotrophs (bacteria that “eat” methane) and methylotrophs (bacteria that “eat” methanol and other simple carbon-containing compounds) likely exist in the Great Salt Lake, but have not yet been identified there.  Global warming experts believe methanotrophs might be harnessed to remove harmful methane, a greenhouse gas. Dr. Zwolinski proposes to determine whether there is evidence that these bacteria live in a salty environment.  She will use stable isotope probing and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to identify genes needed for methane or methanol consumption, if present, in samples from the Great Salt Lake.