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Robert I. Strozier Faculty Lecture Series

2019-2020 Schedule

All lectures are held from 12:15 – 1:15 p.m. in the Student Union, Ogeechee Theater on the Armstrong Campus

Dr. Felix Hamza-Lup
Computer Science

Touching the Unreal: Exploring our Tactile Senses using Haptics

Friday, September 13, 12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

Student Union, Ogeechee Theater, Armstrong Campus

From an early age, we explore the world around us using multiple senses: we see, taste, smell, and touch objects. Our bodies include a variety of sensors that make us feel alive and facilitate environmental exploration. Haptic systems (those relating to our tactile sense or touch) can stimulate this human tactile system based on computer-generated data, opening new communication channels among their users. Current technological advancements in haptic interfaces combine multiple modalities: tactile, visual and auditory. Dr. Hamza-Lup explores fundamentals of human sensation while highlighting several advanced, haptic-based interfaces and their applications ranging from surgical simulation to elementary training.

Dr. James Brawner
Mathematical Sciences

Quantifying Gerrymandering

Friday, October 18, 12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

Student Union, Ogeechee Theater, Armstrong Campus

For over 200 years, state legislatures in this country have drawn oddly shaped voting districts, often with the intention of increasing the voting power of the party controlling the legislature. For just as long, critics have cried foul, denouncing such attempts as “gerrymandering.” More recently, technology has enabled legislatures to “gerrymander on steroids” and draw district maps that greatly favor one party over the other, even when there is a fairly even split among voters in the state. Dr. Brawner discusses recent mathematical attempts to quantify gerrymandering, featured in recent arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, and implications for the future.

Rethinking Press Freedom and the Politics of Information: Lessons from 19th-Century Mexico

Friday, November 15, 12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

Student Union, Ogeechee Theater, Armstrong Campus

In 1820, a revolution abolished the Mexican Inquisition and inaugurated freedom of the press as the new law of the land. Dr. Zeltsman explores the lively debates triggered by this legal transformation. These debates swirled around the printers who controlled access to Mexico’s printing presses and had suddenly become gatekeepers to an emerging world of free expression. Today, as powerful social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter inspire similar discussions around the world, the case of Mexico helps us think through the relationship among media purveyors, individual rights, politics, and society.

Dr. Marcus Mitchell
Writing and Linguistics

Physicality, Femininity, and Illustrations of Muscular Women in Victorian Periodicals

Friday, January 24, 12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

Student Union, Ogeechee Theater, Armstrong Campus

In the Victorian (1837-1901) periodical press, the figure of the muscular woman sparked debates about the value of strenuous physical fitness regimens for women and illuminated wider uncertainties about aesthetic ideals of British feminine decorum. While these debates and anxieties were largely documented in written commentaries, they were also advanced by contradictory illustrations of muscular women. Dr. Mitchell explores how these illustrations—along with the essays, anecdotes, and poems they often accompanied—revealed layered interpretations and subtexts that the aesthetics of the muscular female body evoked, thus capturing divergent attitudes toward female musculature in Victorian culture.

Dr. Michael Cuellar
Enterprise Systems and Analytics

The Coming Disruptive Impact of Technology On Business and Society

Friday, February 21, 12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

Student Union, Ogeechee Theater, Armstrong Campus

By enabling capabilities such as global outsourcing and the replacement of human workers in low skilled repetitive jobs, technology has already had a disruptive effect on society. Artificial Intelligence (AI), the ability of a machine to interact with its environment and take independent action to achieve its goals, is poised to accelerate these impacts. For example, the program Alpha Zero surpassed human capabilities in playing chess and, in fact, demonstrated better strategies for gameplay, IBM’s program Watson defeated the best human players on the game show Jeopardy, and driverless vehicles are being rapidly developed. Coupled with other technologies such as Data Analytics and the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence technology is poised to make disruptive changes to society that will transform all our lives. Dr. Cuellar discusses the progress of these disruptive technologies and their impact on employment, wage rates, and society while also highlighting the ethical issues involved in using these technologies.

Dr. Amanda Glaze
Middle Grades & Secondary Education

Southern Evolution: Science, Religion, and Culture in the Deep South

Friday, March 27, 12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

Student Union, Ogeechee Theater, Armstrong Campus

The United States faces an unusual problem in science education where the unifying theory in the sciences, evolution, is shrouded in controversy among the public and in the classroom. As a result, the teaching and learning of evolution has been described as “the greatest failure of science education in the 21st century”. The phenomenon is highly visible in the South, where culture, beliefs, and science intersect in politics, classrooms, and at the dinner table. Research in evolution education in the region provides a vibrant lens through which to view how we approach controversial topics in the classroom and in our communities. Dr. Glaze addresses evolution education in the South and across the country, explores our understandings of the public controversy, and discusses ways of communicating science in and out of the classroom to support science literacy for all.

Dr. David Owens
Middle Grades & Secondary Education

Bridging the partisan gulf: Employing compassion to successfully resolve socioscientific issues

Friday, April 3, 12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

Student Union, Ogeechee Theater, Armstrong Campus

Socioscientific issues (SSI) are issues with ties to science, but that cannot be resolved without also considering non-science aspects of the issue (climate change, bacteria’s develop.m.ent of antibiotic resistance, genetic modification, etc.).To resolve an SSI, citizens must evaluate the affordances of scientific ways of knowing (such as understanding informed by the systematic collection and analysis of data) alongside non-science considerations (e.g., morality, ethics, politics, and the like). Since SSIs are often contentious and involve a diversity of non-science views, they result in polarity on a spectrum of views about the issue, which make SSIs difficult to resolve. Finding viable common ground between scientific and non-scientific views can create cooperation and lead to resolution of SSIs. Dr. Owens considers the potential for compassion to serve as a common ground and proposes a framework for considering science and non-science ways of knowing to understand and resolve contemporary, contentious SSI.


Professor Emeritus and alumni, Robert Strozier, Ph.D., passed away April 28, in Savannah. Strozier is being remembered as a mentor, poet, acclaimed speaker and extraordinary English professor on the Armstrong Campus.

Strozier graduated from Armstrong Junior College in 1949 with a degree in liberal studies. He returned to Armstrong after getting an Applied Baccalaureate, a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. in American literature from other institutions. He taught generations of students for over 40 years and also served as director of public relations.

In 2015, Strozier received the 2015 Eminent Alumni Award, and the annual faculty Robert I. Strozier Lecture Series is named in his honor. Strozier, who was active in civic leadership, was a founding member of the foundation that purchased the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home and turned it into a significant literary center in downtown Savannah.