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Bates names administrators for college

By Sally Harris

Spectrum Volume 21 Issue 05 - September 24, 1998

Robert C. Bates, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, has appointed nine new program administrators and department heads to serve in the areas of Air Force ROTC, Navy ROTC, the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (CIS), Black Studies, Women's Studies, the Department of Chemistry, the Department of Communication Studies, the Department of Computer Science, and the Department of Philosophy.

Colonel Con Rodi, head of AFROTC, is professor of aerospace studies. He is a 27-year veteran of the United States Air Force and came to Virginia Tech this past summer from an assignment as the vice wing commander at Osan Air Base in Korea. He is a command pilot with over 3,200 flying hours, primarily in fighter aircraft. He flew 17 combat missions in Operation Desert Storm. He has commanded a fighter squadron, served as an operations officer in two squadrons, and served the Air Force in a variety of communications-computer officer assignments, most recently as director of architecture and engineering for the Single Agency manager, Pentagon Information Technology Services. Captain Robert K. Blanchard, who heads NROTC, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1972 with a bachelor of science degree in oceanography. He graduated from the Navy's Nuclear Power School. He served on three nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, where he was responsible for the safe operation and maintenance of the propulsion plants.
He was an assistant professor of Naval Science in the NROTC program at Rice University from 1978 to 1980. He commanded the frigate U.S.S. Harold E. Holt during Operation Desert Storm. Blanchard served as the counterdrug division chief for the Commander in Chief of U.S. Forces in the Pacific, coordinating armed-forces support for law-enforcement agencies prosecuting the war on drugs.

Barbara Carlisle, new interim chair of CIS, has spent 30 years working in professional and university theater and 20 in university teaching. She has served as the Diggs teaching scholar at Virginia Tech and is a playwright whose work is published and produced around the country.
A director and choreographer, she has most recently served as director of Women's Studies. An article on inter-disciplinary teaching that she wrote two years ago for a music journal has been reprinted in an anthology in Interdisciplinarity. Carlisle has participated in a number of interdisciplinary programs, one sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities at Eastern Michigan University and another in the humanities for non-traditional weekend students at SUNY-Brockport.
"This CIS assignment brings together my interest in inter-disciplinary approaches to learning and teaching and an energy I have always enjoyed for supporting colleagues through the administrative system," Carlisle said.
Laura Gorfkle, interim director of Women's Studies, teaches Spanish and women's studies. Her areas of expertise include early modern Spanish prose and theater, cultural history, and Hispanic women writers of Spain, Latin America, and the U.S. She is author of Discovering the Comic in Don Quixote.
As director of Women's Studies and in keeping with the university's cross-cutting initiatives, she will encourage inter-disciplinary collaborations in research and teaching within and across the colleges and, in particular, in the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. She hopes to provide greater opportunities for outreach in the on-campus Women's Studies classroom through the introduction of service-learning components and distance-learning courses for students at NOVA and elsewhere.
Graduate studies in Women's Studies will be expanded to lead to a graduate certificate. Additionally, new course offerings and new modes of instruction involving experiential learning and the applications of instructional technology will be created in undergraduate studies. Finally, Women's Studies will play an instrumental role in the College of Arts and Sciences' efforts to foster a campus climate conducive to diversity and gender equity.
Larry Taylor, a recipient of the NASA Public Service Medal and new head of chemistry, joined Virginia Tech as an assistant professor in 1967. He has taught more than 13,000 students and written more than 300 refereed technical publications plus numerous technical reports for government and industry. He and his research group periodically teach American Chemical Society-sponsored short courses on supercritical fluid extraction/chromatography in the United States, Europe, and South America. He has directed the research theses or dissertations of approximately 70 master's and Ph.D. students.
Taylor is the co-author of 10 patents in the areas of analytical and materials chemistry and serves as associate editor for the Journal of Chromatographic Science. He has served as co-organizer for the past four international symposia on supercritical fluid extraction/chromato-graphy. He received the Sporn award for excellence in freshman teaching and is a member of the Virginia Tech Academy of Teaching Excellence. He is the author of a book entitled Supercritical Fluid Extraction.
James B. Weaver III, new head of communication studies, is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Psychology. He comes to Virginia Tech this year from Auburn University, where he served as associate professor of communication and adjunct in the psychology department. Weaver is the co-editor of the book Horror Films: Current research on audience preferences and reactions. His research involves three areas: the social and psychological effects of mass communication, communication theory, and the uses of media messages.
"More specifically," he said, "my attention is currently focused on exploration of the consequences occasioned by exposure to media content and development of a theoretical explanation of how personality and individual difference factors impact the communication process." Weaver has earned numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Foundation Research Grant and several Top-Three and Top-Four Paper Awards from the National Communication Association, the Speech Communication Association, and the International Listening Association.
Dennis Kafura, head of computer science, has been a Virginia Tech faculty member for 16 years. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from Purdue University in 1972 and 1975, respectively. His research and teaching interests are in software engineering, operating systems, object-oriented programming, and problem-solving environments. He is the author of a web-enhanced book entitled Object-Oriented Software Design and Construction with C++ (see http://www.prenhall.com/kafura).
Lawrence Roger Ariew, new head of the Department of Philosophy, has been at Virginia Tech since 1980. He works primarily on 17th-century philosophy and science. He has received numerous grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation and has published more than 15 monographs and 50 articles. He is associate editor of Perspectives on Science, a quarterly journal on the historical, philosophical, and social dimensions of science published by M.I.T. Press.
This year he co-edited and co-translated Descartes' Meditations: Background Source Materials, for Cambridge University Press, co-edited Modern Philosophy: An Anthology of Primary Sources, and wrote Descartes and the Last Scholastics for Cornell University Press. "I look forward to working in collaboration with other departments and units of Arts and Sciences, especially with the various departments in Major Williams--geography, foreign languages, history, political science, etc.--and the various programs of CIS, such as Science and Technology Studies (STS), Humanities, Science, and Technology (HST), Humanities, Religious Studies, and Judaic Studies," Ariew said.
These new appointments are in addition to the appointment announced earlier of E. Fred Carlisle as interim director of Black Studies.