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Inside WFU

Wake Forest news for faculty and staff

Priscilla Wood

Dean Franco named director of Humanities Institute

dean.franco.300x175Professor of English Dean J. Franco has been named director of the Wake Forest University Humanities Institute beginning January 2017. The Institute, which was established in 2010, supports humanities scholarship which draws on disciplines like philosophy, literature, religion, history, and other fields to interpret the human experience, understand our world, and engage the issues of our time.

In the past six years, nearly 200 College faculty from 35 departments and programs across the humanities, natural and social sciences, and the arts, and 30 faculty from law, medicine, divinity and business, have collaborated with the Institute — helping bring together top scholars and leaders to produce new scholarship, inspire new directions in teaching, and demonstrate how the humanities can inform and impact important issues of our time, such as:

  • Envisioning a community that protects the world’s citizens from the effects of climate change — especially the poorest countries and communities.
  • Addressing the challenges of mass incarceration and the criminal justice system.
  • Recognizing the importance of humanities training for the future of medicine and exploring holistic healing through storytelling and narrative medicine.

Franco along with Mary Foskett, Wake Forest Kahle Professor of Religious Studies; Sally Barbour, professor of Romance Languages; and David Phillips, associate professor of Interdisciplinary Humanities — laid the groundwork and secured the funding that made the Institute possible.

“Having played a leading role in the Humanities Institute since its inception, Dean is perfectly poised to become the Institute’s next director,” said Foskett, the Humanities Institute founding director. “He will not only carry on its mission, which he helped craft, he will infuse the Institute with his unique combination of brilliance, creativity, vision, and energy. I can’t wait to see what the Humanities Institute will do with Dean leading it forward.”

The Institute has also supported transformational programming in the College such as the Interdisciplinary Humanities Pathway to Medicine Program, which offers guaranteed admission to Wake Forest School of Medicine for up to five undergraduates majoring in the humanities or fine arts, and new interdisciplinary initiatives like a growing digital humanities community at Wake Forest.

Wake Forest was recently awarded a $650,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of engaged humanities – teaching, learning, mentoring and real-world problem solving that moves beyond the classroom. With support from this grant, the Humanities Institute will offer new programming in narrative medicine and will collaborate with Reynolda House Museum of American Art to host new scholarly conferences.

“I am excited about working with Reynolda House to implement the Mellon Grant funded Reynolda Conferences in 2018 and 2019,” Franco said. “This is a dream scenario — the opportunity to assemble scholars working on the same sets of questions for extended, deep learning.”

Franco joined Wake Forest 2001. He directs the Jewish Studies minor, has recently served as associate chair of the English department, and was the Scott Family Faculty Fellow from 2012-2014. He researches and publishes on race and literature.

Read more…

Humanities Institute established

Humanities Institute lands 500K grant

Humanities Institute receives $1 million donation


Human Resources announces new long term care benefit

This is a guest post from Human Resources:

Wake Forest is offering a new Genworth long term care benefit for services you or your family receive at home, in the community, or in a nursing facility. Active full-time benefits-eligible faculty and staff may enroll today through November 18, 2016, and will receive more information at their home address. Additionally, Genworth representatives will host information sessions across campus, October 31 – November 2.

When you click to enroll, you will need to enter the following:

  • Group ID: wake
  • Access Code: groupltc

The benefit will be effective January 1, 2017, and will not affect the University’s current coverage or premiums.

WISE 2017: Registration now open

This is a guest post from the WISE Conference:

Nine years ago a small cohort of Wake Forest faculty participated in a small workshop designed for developing intercultural skills and awareness. The Workshop on Intercultural Skills Enhancement, now known as the WISE Conference, has grown into a comprehensive forum hosting more than 270 domestic and international participants. The upcoming event — scheduled for February 8-10, 2017 at the Downtown Winston-Salem Marriott — will feature pre-conference workshops and sessions relevant in preparing educators to help students embrace their study abroad experiences on a deeper level – whether that be outside the U.S. or on the Wake Forest campus.

The main WISE Conference (February 9-10) will feature a plenary and more than 30 sessions covering a wide range of subjects applicable to out-bound and in-bound study abroad. Wake Forest University faculty and staff can attend at no charge, however registration is required.

Pre-Conference workshops are offered on February 8 and require a registration fee. Workshops are facilitated by well-known intercultural faculty/trainers: Steve Folmar, Wake Forest associate professor of anthropology; Tara Harvey; Mick Vande Berg; Adriana Medina-López-Portillo. These seasoned professionals will guide day-long or half-day workshops of a highly experiential nature, providing participants with in-depth perspectives on various intercultural topics.

Visit the Center for Global Programs & Studies’ website for registration and session details at

President to present State of the University Address Nov. 10

President Nathan Hatch will deliver his annual State of the University Address, at the invitation of the Faculty Senate and Senate President James Cotter, on Thursday, Nov. 10 at 3 p.m. in Brendle Recital Hall.

The Senate invites all faculty, staff and students to attend as President Hatch reflects on the past decade, speaks about Wake Forest today, and anticipates opportunities and challenges ahead.

A reception will immediate follow in the lobby of Brendle Recital Hall, to which all are invited.

Comings and Goings for September 2016

See a list of employees joining and leaving the University in September 2016:

Continue reading »

October 2016 faculty and staff milestones

See a list of faculty and staff milestones for October 2016: Continue reading »

Proposals funded: Lachgar, Mihalko, Silman, Williams

Congratulations to Abdessadek Lachgar, professor of chemistry, whose proposal entitled “Empowering Pakistani Women through Scientific Research, Technology Development, and Entrepreneurship: Waste-to-Energy Technology Development” has been funded by the USAID and by [subaward/subcontract from] National Academy of Sciences (WFU funding agency).


Congratulations to Shannon Mihalko, associate professor of health and exercise science, whose proposal entitled “Understanding and Predicting Fatigue, CV Decline and Events After Breast Cancer Treatment” has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and by [subaward/subcontract from] Wake Forest University Health Sciences (WFU funding agency).


Congratulations to Miles Silman, professor of biology, whose proposal entitled “FESD Type 1: The Dynamics of Mountains, Landscape, and Climate in the Distribution and Generation of Biodiversity in the Amazon/Andean Forest” has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and by [subaward/subcontract from] Duke University (WFU funding agency).


Congratulations to Richard T. Williams, professor of physics, whose proposal entitled “Collaborative Research: ARI-MA: Realizing High Performance Inorganic Scintillators at Low Cost” has been funded by the US Department of Homeland Security.

Faculty publications: September 2016 updates

Chapman, Gary, & Shannon Warden. (Counseling). Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents. Northfield Publishing. September 2016.

Pinder, Jonathan P. (Business). Introduction to Business Analytics Using Simulation. Academic Press. September 2016.

Voss Roberts, Michelle, Ed. (Divinity). Comparing Faithfully: Insights for Systematic Theological Reflection. Fordham University Press. September 2016.

Wake Forest Magazine’s Maria Henson speaks at Pulitzer event

Wake Forest University opens the Words Awake! conference, in which alumni writers return to campus to talk about their craft, with a reception at the Byrum Welcome Center on Friday, March 23, 2012. Magazine editor Maria Henson.

Wake Forest Magazine editor-at-large, journalism lecturer and associate vice president Maria Henson (’82) recently spoke at the Pulitzer Centennial Celebration at Harvard University (video).

Henson is Wake Forest’s only Pulitzer Prize winner. She won in 1992 for a series of investigative editorials on domestic violence while at the Lexington Herald-Leader (Ky.). In 2005, she edited a series on Yosemite National Park in The Sacramento Bee (Ca.) that won for editorial writing. In 1993-94, Henson was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard.

In a powerful 11-minute speech before more than 1,000 people, she recalled the impact of “To Have and to Harm,” a yearlong series of 30 editorials that made recommendations for improved response and protections for battered women in Kentucky. In 1992, the Kentucky state legislature passed every aspect of domestic violence reform the Lexington Herald-Leader editorial board recommended and the courts changed their practices as well.

“All these years later, at a time of such discouragement and disenchantment over our public life, I look back and remember the power of the press and ordinary citizens to effect change – both of them out of a love of community and a passion for fairness. And all these years later, I have not given up on what is possible,” Henson said.

Henson was inducted into the Wake Forest University Writers Hall of Fame this year, in conjunction with Words Awake 2! Read an Inside WFU interview with her commemorating that occasion.

Secrest Artists Series begins season with Fretwork


Wake Forest University will host Fretwork on Thursday, Oct. 13. at 7:30 p.m. in Brendle Recital Hall. The performance launches the 2016-17 season of the Secrest Artists Series.

Celebrating their 30th anniversary, Fretwork is the world’s leading viol consort—a historically-informed chamber ensemble who plays the music of early modern England on Renaissance instruments that are the forerunners to modern-day stringed instruments. Their recordings have won both the Grand Prix du Disque and a Gramophone Award, and they have been featured on the soundtracks of two films by the American director Jim Jarmusch. The concert program will feature works by Byrd, Gibbon, Purcell, Taverner and Tye.

A pre-concert talk, led by Stewart Carter, chair of the Department of Music at Wake Forest University, past-president of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music and also of the American Musical Instrument Society, will begin at 6:40 p.m.

Wake Forest and WFUBMC faculty, staff and retirees receive free admission for themselves and one guest to each Secrest Artists Series performance. WFU and WFUBMC students receive free admission for themselves. Simply show your WFU I.D. at the door.

Tickets for members of the community range in price from $5-$18. Tickets and more information at or (336) 758-5757.

A list of Secrest Artists Series performances for 2016-17 is available here.