Mercer to co-edit series on human enhancement technologies

East Carolina University professor Calvin Mercer has been named co-editor of a new series, “Palgrave Studies in the Future of Humanity and Its Successors.”

Calvin Mercer

Calvin Mercer

The series addresses human enhancement therapies and technologies, applying multiple disciplines to examine an intellectual and cultural movement that advocates the use of emerging technologies including genetic engineering, regenerative medicine, robotics and nanotechnology.

These emerging technologies may enhance desirable human mental and physical abilities while ameliorating human conditions deemed undesirable. Advocates suggest the developments could permit humans to take control of their own evolution and alter the human condition in fundamental ways. Economic, ethical, political, religious, social and other implications of such enhancements are increasingly being discussed.

Sharp disagreements over the social value, morality and feasibility of human enhancement have emerged in early conversations. Mercer said the series will not take an advocacy position. Rather, it will provide a forum for thoughtful debate.

Mercer is an ECU professor of religious studies and director of ECU’s religious studies program. He was the founding chair of the American Academy of Religion Transhumanism and Religion Group, now in its seventh year of successful programs at the annual national meetings. Mercer has co-edited three books and authored several articles on this topic.

His co-editor is Steve Fuller, Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology, Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick.

“The questions and issues addressed in the series play critical roles in our welfare and our future,” Mercer said. “I anticipate that increasingly public policy experts, politicians and political think tanks will take up human enhancement technology. An established and reputable series will be well positioned to contribute to this expanded conversation.”

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ECU faculty team with community partners on issues

Graduates from EOSA are, seated left to right, Anthony Kennedy (Chemistry); Eric Anderson (Biology); Intae Yoon (School of Social Work): Alex Manda (Geological Sciences); Michael O’Driscoll (Geological Sciences): Daniel Elliott (School of Art and Design): Bomna Ko (Kinesiology); Mark Johnson (English); Nancy Winterbauer (School of Public Health); and standing, left to right, Vic Aeby (Health Education and Promotion); Alleah Crawford (Hospitality Leadership); Christine Avenarius (Anthropology); Olga Smirnova (Political Science); Jeannie Golden (Psychology); Sharon Rogers (Health Education and Promotion); Linda May (School of Dental Medicine). (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Graduates from EOSA are, seated left to right, Anthony Kennedy (Chemistry); Eric Anderson (Biology); Intae Yoon (School of Social Work): Alex Manda (Geological Sciences); Michael O’Driscoll (Geological Sciences): Daniel Elliott (School of Art and Design): Bomna Ko (Kinesiology); Mark Johnson (English); Nancy Winterbauer (School of Public Health); and standing, left to right, Vic Aeby (Health Education and Promotion); Alleah Crawford (Hospitality Leadership); Christine Avenarius (Anthropology); Olga Smirnova (Political Science); Jeannie Golden (Psychology); Sharon Rogers (Health Education and Promotion); Linda May (School of Dental Medicine). (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

 

By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services

East Carolina University faculty members who have teamed up with nine eastern North Carolina community partners to solve a wide range of issues were honored at a graduation ceremony on Dec. 8.

The new graduates of ECU’s Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy are working on projects ranging from the effects of climate change on water to empowering the elderly in Carteret, Johnston, Lenoir, Pitt and Wilson counties and the Outer Banks.

“The evidence is clear to me that engagement is central to who we are as a university,” said Chancellor Steve Ballard at the graduation ceremony.

Interim Provost Ron Mitchelson said EOSA projects are one of several ways that the university engages students and maximizes their success. By working with communities, the student and faculty experience is enriched. “Solutions that come from our understanding of the processes means more when we appropriately involve the communities that we are intending to help,” he said.

The program pairs a faculty member and a coach who previously graduated from the program with an ECU student. Each team receives $11,000 for their work. ECU now has 68 EOSA alumni from every college on campus.

“One of the important benefits of the academy is we’re able to extend faculty and student work beyond classrooms, labs and the campus to community organizations,” said Dr. Sharon Paynter, interim director of the Office of Public Service and Community Relations. “For each project, there is a community partner. The range of topics comes together around students, public service and regional transformation.”

The program started in 2009.

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Business faculty report publications

Faculty in the College of Business have reported the following recent publications:

By Frederick Schadler and Jack Karns (Finance), “Supreme Court Rules on Moench Fiduciary Presumption: Courts may now Face Challenging Corporate Financial Issues,” in the Journal of Deferred Compensation: Nonqualified Plans and Executive Compensation.

By William Rowe and James Zemanek (Marketing and Supply Chain Management), “Salesperson Slotting Allowance Authority in Manufacturer-Retailer Negotiations,” in the Journal of Marketing Channels. And by Rowe, “Praise in Public, Criticize in Private? An Assessment of Performance Feedback Transparency in a Classroom Setting,” in Marketing Education Review.

By Denise E. Dickins (Accounting), “Insights on Auditor Rotation,” in the Management Accounting Quarterly.

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School of Communication director honored with scholar award

Dr. Linda Kean

Dr. Linda Kean

East Carolina University School of Communication Director Linda Kean was honored Oct. 9 with the 2014 NCA Health Communication Division’s Outstanding Scholar Award.

This award is one of the highest academic honors presented by the organization.

Kean’s research focuses on health communication with an emphasis on mass media, including mass media campaigns that promote positive health behaviors and the effect of health-related media messages on individuals’ perceptions, attitudes and behaviors.

Her work has been published in “Communication Research,” “Health Communication,” “Media Psychology,” the “Journal of Health Communication” and “Women & Language.”

Kean began her career at ECU in 2003 as an assistant professor in the School of Communication. She was promoted to interim associate director in 2006 and appointed director of the school in 2009.

Kean holds a bachelor of science degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Illinois. She earned her master’s and doctorate degree in communication from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1994 and 1998.

The National Communication Association is an internationally recognized communication scholarship organization with thousands of members. This year, the NCA will celebrate its founding in 1914 with a centennial celebration. Kean will accept the award in Chicago in late November at the NCA’s annual meeting.

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Zipf Named president, Historical Society of North Carolina

Karin Zipf

Karin Zipf

East Carolina University history professor Dr. Karin Zipf was elected president of the Historical Society of North Carolina Oct. 24 at the organization’s biannual meeting in Montreat.

Zipf has been a member of the HSNC since 2006, and previously served as vice president. Her tenure as president will last for one year.

The Historical Society of North Carolina was established in 1945, and traces its origin from an earlier organization begun by former North Carolina Governor David L. Swain in 1833. The society promotes the scholarship, publication and preservation of North Carolina History.

The HSNC sponsors several awards recognizing research, scholarship and teaching, and coordinates presentations of research projects at its meetings. They maintain a close association with the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources and the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association. Members include professional historians, archivists, librarians, political scientists and a former N.C. Supreme Court Justice.

For additional information, contact Zipf at 252-328-6774 or zipfk@ecu.edu.

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