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Faculty Spotlight


Meagan Cole

 On September 28th, Fintel Library showcased the published works of some Roanoke College faculty including, but not limited to, Dr. Jason Hawke, Dr. Rob Willingham, Dr. Roland Minton and Dr. Mike Heller. Each of their novels was informative and definitely reflected the disciplines of which they’re interested.

For starters, Dr. Jason Hawke, a professor of history, wrote “Writing Authority: Elite Competition and Written Law in Early Greece”. The main theme is the evolution of Greek law and literacy in social, political, economic and dramatic ways and focuses on 7th Century BC. His publication was originally his doctoral dissertation; however, finding much interest in his research at a younger age, Dr. Hawke discovered inconsistencies in written law, specifically on two accounts and decided to publish his findings as proof.

The required research going into an academic novel is astounding.

“I looked at everything,” said Dr. Hawke. and deemed himself  “a legal anthropologist.”

The same could have easily been said by his History department co-worker, Dr. Rob Willingham, who also chose to publish his dissertation now titled on the shelves as “Jews in Leipzig, Germany Under Nazism, Communism, and Democracy”; it took three years to publish, but he’d been researching the material since 1999. He chose this particular topic because no one had ever done a comparative study between the Jews and Germans—only one of their differences. More importantly, he wanted to write about some of the survivor’s stories and give the public access to the Holocaust families via his book.

Dr. Roland Minton’s work, “Golf: By the Numbers”, required research in his field, because his discipline is Mathematics. Like the others he chose the mathematics of golf as his topic because he enjoys playing golf and felt compelled to combine his two passions for his publication. In “Golf: By the Numbers”, he highlights how the sport has become technical, what it means, and then explains it. Also, Dr. Minton cleverly wrote his publication at an intuitive level for which non-math oriented people can understand, so everyone will enjoy it without an ability to comprehend geometry.

Instead of following the trend of the previously mentioned professors, Dr. Mike Heller ended up being the single author of a publication that did not fall under the subject he teaches at Roanoke College; that being English. He decided to tell about Gandhi’s life after his famed actions in the 1920’s until his assassination within “Mohandas K. Gandhi: The Last Eighteen Years”. His overall goal was to discuss economic reform, Gandhi’s non-violent strategies, God and faith. Dr. Heller also specifically mentioned that he wanted to remind a world caught up in violence that “in reality, we are surrounded by kindness and acts of love.”

Overall, the hard work of our Roanoke College professors paid off; the average number of years it took for the professors to research and publish their findings totaled approximately seven years. The event was a marvelous success.

“It gave us a chance to see what our colleagues do,” Dr. Heller said.

In short, both the audience and the professors agreed the experience was a memorable one and it can now be shared with everyone through their publications.

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