August 30, 2017, BY Beth Kaszuba

Professor T. Joel Wade
Professor T. Joel Wade, psychology. Photo by Brett Simpson

A study of the role that hormones play in decisions to end relationships and an academic look at theatrical magic are just two of the scholarly projects that endowed academic positions will allow Bucknell professors to pursue in the coming academic year.

Endowed academic positions, which are funded by external gifts and awarded for specific terms, are offered to Bucknell's most accomplished scholars and effective teachers.

Presidential Professorships, supported by grants from the Hewlett and Mellon foundations, were awarded to two professors, whose three-year terms begin this September:

Professor T. Joel Wade, psychology, chaired the psychology department from 2002 to 2014, and in 2014 received the Bucknell Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence. A social psychologist specializing in the study of mate selection and attraction, Wade is president of the Northeastern Evolutionary Psychology Society. Wade also played a leading role in the creation of the Bucknell Community College Scholars Program, which enables high-achieving community college students to complete their bachelor's degrees at Bucknell. A prolific scholar, he often provides undergraduate students with opportunities to collaborate on his research.

Wade plans to use his Presidential Professorship funding to study the role that hormones play in humans' decisions to end relationships or "poach" another's mate.

Professor Katherine Faull, German studies and comparative humanities, is one of the foremost authorities in the field of Moravian Studies. A member of the board of directors of the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem, Pa., she is a founding editor of the Journal of Moravian History and author of the book Moravian Women's Memoirs. Faull was instrumental in the creation of Bucknell's Humanities Residential College, which enables students with an interest in the humanities to live and study together. In 2013, she received the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Faull plans to use her Presidential Professorship funding to continue a collaborative project with international scholars who are collecting and digitizing materials in the worldwide Moravian Church archives. "Moravian Lives" aims to develop a new digital platform that will provide scholars and the public greater access to archival materials.

Professor Doug Allen, Markets, Innovation & Design (MIDE), has been appointed the David J. & Deborah West Professorship in Management. Allen played a leading role in the management program's transition from department to college and was key to the creation of the MIDE major. He will use the endowed funding to continue to build bridges between management and the liberal arts.

Professor Alan Cheville, chair of the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, will continue to hold the T. Jefferson Miers Chair in Electrical Engineering. Under Cheville's leadership, the department adopted a new curriculum that has helped increase diversity within the program. The percentage of women in the Class of 2021 is the highest in program history. Cheville also spearheaded expansion of the Maker-E, a facility that allows students, faculty and staff to work on electronics and programming projects of their own design.

Professor Donna Ebenstein, biomedical engineering, has been appointed the William C. and Gertrude B. Emmitt Memorial Chair in Biomedical Engineering. Ebenstein's research focuses on micro- and nanoindenters, which measure the mechanical properties of small and irregularly shaped biological materials. She plans to use the endowed funding to enhance students' opportunities to learn about the expanding field of tissue engineering using technologies such as nanoindentation and 3-D printing.

Professor Jason Leddington, philosophy, has been appointed a National Endowment for the Humanities Chair in the Humanities. Leddington, who studies the philosophy of perception and philosophical aesthetics, will use the chair funding to expand students' understanding of philosophical traditions outside the standard canon. Leddington will also work toward completion of a book-length academic study of theatrical magic.

Professor Ryan Malone, music, has been appointed the Samuel L. Williams Professor in Music. Malone plans to build upon his study of Moravian church choral music composed circa 1760-1820 by working toward creation of the first critical edition of composer J. F. Peter's choral works. Malone seeks to increase understanding of the way in which Moravian composers responded to changing philosophical ideals and musical aesthetics, related to American independence.

Professor Benjamin Wheatley, mechanical engineering, has been appointed the inaugural John P. & Mary Jane Swanson Professorship in Engineering and the Sciences. Wheatley's research focuses on understanding how muscle tissues behave from a solid-mechanics perspective, with the goal of developing more effective treatments for neurological diseases and injuries. He will use the endowed funding to advance his studies and enhance classroom instruction.

Professor Wendelin Wright, jointly appointed in mechanical and chemical engineering, has been appointed the Heinemann Family Professor in Engineering. Wright studies the structure of metallic glasses  which are stronger than steel but shatter catastrophically with the goal of making them less brittle. If metallic glasses, already used to manufacture sporting goods and electronics casings, could be made less prone to shattering like traditional glass, these unique materials could be used for broader practical applications.