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provost’s report 2012

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ideals in practice

A Message from the Provost The ideals of Jesuit education that guide our work at Loyola University New Orleans permeate all aspects of university life. These ideals, prescribed by St. Ignatius of Loyola more than 400 years ago, have been crucial to creating a campus culture in which characteristics such as critical thinking, a global scope, service to others, and a holistic approach to scholarly pursuits are paramount. The research and creative work of our faculty reflect these ideals and show the power of ideals in practice, particularly in the frequent scholarly and creative collaboration between Loyola faculty and undergraduate students. Such collaborative work is one of the distinctive features of a Loyola education, as the opportunities for students to work with faculty across the disciplines are unusually rich at our institution. And the partnerships forged through collaborative projects nurture core Jesuit values such as the pursuit of excellence, learning from experience, and, most importantly, the magis, that commitment always to strive for more. The student-faculty research featured in this report shows the magis in action—both from the point of view of the faculty who are striving to give their students more opportunities to learn and of the students who go far beyond the requirements of the classroom in their pursuit and discovery of new knowledge. I hope you will enjoy reading about the exciting work taking place at Loyola, through the research and creative work of individual faculty and the research partnerships between faculty and undergraduate students. Sincerely,

Marc Manganaro Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Research at Loyola University New Orleans



ideals in practice

Loyola University New Orleans is a Jesuit university guided by ideals of education set forth by St. Ignatius of Loyola. These ideals influence everything that takes place on campus, from teaching and student life to community engagement and research. This report highlights current research at Loyola for the academic year 2011 – 2012, and throughout the projects described herein we find the influence of the Jesuit ideals of education:

Pursuit of Excellence Learning from Experience Critical Thinking and Effective Communication Respect for the World, Its History and Mystery Special Concern for the Poor and Oppressed International and Global Perspective

Research at Loyola University New Orleans


Table of Contents




A New Method for Joint Regeneration A biologist and her team of undergraduates discover a new method for prompting regeneration in joints.

Through the Lens of Motion A professor and student collaborate to examine the role of travel in Woody Guthrie’s iconic art.

ideals in practice

14 Teamwork to Launch Loyola partners with NASA to launch a device that monitors atmospheric conditions.

16 Giving History a Public Face A new honors class at Loyola brings history out of the archives and into the public eye.

18 Beyond the Music A jazz studies student illuminates Max Roach, the quintessential Civil Rights Era jazz musician.

20 The Importance of Being Interdisciplinary A Research Profile of Marc Manganaro, Ph.D., Provost of Loyola.



Continuing Walker’s Work The Walker Percy Center for Writing and Publishing hosts its inaugural conference.

The Value of Our Spiritual Roots The Center for Spiritual Capital works to reaffirm Judeo-Christian values in the U.S. business community.

24 Summers of Science SCORE engages Loyola undergraduates and New Orleans high school students in scientific research during the summer months.

28 A Human Touch for Under-Told Histories Justin Nystrom uses multiple media to explore lesser-known facets of New Orleans history.


32 A Global Perspective on Infectious Diseases A rare convening in the United States by an acclaimed international conference brings scholars to Loyola’s campus.

A Force in Education Reform Robert Garda’s recent articles provide critique and recommendations for reforming New Orleans’ troubled school system.

STudent-Faculty Research Spotlights Provost Research profile Research from our Centers of Excellence Research Features

Research at Loyola University New Orleans



ideals in practice

Student-Faculty Research Spotlights Loyola University has a long history of collaboration between faculty and undergraduates on research projects. Research provides undergraduates hands-on experience that puts the skills they learn in the classroom into practice. The support of undergraduates in laboratories and other research centers provides our faculty instrumental assistance to their work and continually cultivates the strong culture of mentorship that thrives on Loyola’s campus.

Research at Loyola University New Orleans


Discussed in this article: Rosalie Anderson and Jeffrey Coote. “Regeneration of the elbow joint in the developing chick embryo recapitulates development.” With B. Duygu Ozpolat, Mariana Zapata, John Daniel Fruge´, Jangwoo Lee, and Ken Muneoka. Developmental Biology. 372 (2012).

A New Method for Joint Regeneration Developmental biologist Rosalie Anderson and her undergraduate research assistants have devised a groundbreaking method of joint regeneration in embryonic chickens, providing exciting possibilities for treating degenerative joint conditions in humans. Working with a team of Loyola undergraduate researchers, Rosalie Anderson, Ph.D., associate professor of biological sciences, has devised a new method of prompting regeneration in vertebrate synovial joints. Her work, which holds exciting possibilities for applications in human medicine, has earned her and her team a grant—and, this year, a rare renewal—from the National Institutes of Health, as well as recent mention in the “Editor’s Choice” section of Science, one of the world’s top scientific journals.

Professor: Rosalie Anderson, Ph.D., associate professor of biological sciences

Undergraduate: Jeffrey Coote, biology major

Support: National Institutes of Health

The method involves cutting a “window” of tissue from the limb containing the elbow joint of an embryonic chicken. Cells from the surrounding tissue fill in the hole and regenerate a new elbow joint. Previous attempts by other biologists involved severing the entire limb, which resulted in no regeneration or the fusion of the joint’s limbs. But Anderson’s method results in a highly unusual and potentially groundbreaking circumstance: regeneration in a nonregenerating organism. Anderson and her team hope to use her method to isolate the particular genetic characteristics important to the regeneration process so that it might be replicated in humans. Loyola senior biology major Jeffrey Coote is one of Anderson’s undergraduate researchers and a co-author of a paper describing the research in Developmental Biology. Coote plans to go to medical school after graduation and is interested in orthopedic surgery, a field in which his research with Anderson could one day have dramatic implications. Forty-seven million people in the United States alone suffer from some form of arthritis or chronic joint symptoms, many of which are degenerative and could be remedied by


ideals in practice

regeneration. Anderson hopes her findings will also one day aid in the regeneration of joints in humans with proximal amputations—those that sever the limb above the joint—by allowing the amputees’ joints to regenerate, thereby easing their mobility and increasing their quality of life exponentially.

“It’s a marvel to think about where we could go with the research that started here at Loyola.” The NIH’s renewal of Anderson’s grant is an indication of the organization’s increased support of undergraduate research. Foundations across the country have recognized the importance of engaging potential future scientists in meaningful research, and Anderson’s grant allows her to pay student researchers such as Coote to work in her laboratory. Coote and his fellow undergraduates perform nearly every step in the process of the chick regeneration, including preparing the embryo beforehand and running staining tests after Anderson performs the incision to see where different genes are localized. The implications of this research for humans, especially in the field of regenerative medicine, are tremendously exciting. “If you can coax your own body cells into making something, you don’t have to worry about rejection issues,” Anderson said. “It’s a marvel to think about where we could go with the research that started here at Loyola.”

Rosalie Anderson and undergraduate researchers examine a computer image of an embryo.

Research at Loyola University New Orleans


Discussed in this article: Mark Fernandez. “’Every Buck I do Buck and Every Twitchy I do Twitch’: Movement, Travel, and Transportation in the Life and Art of Woody Guthrie.” Paper presented at the conference Woody at 100: Woody Guthrie’s Legacy to Working Men and Women. Pennsylvania State University (2012).

Professor: Mark Fernandez, Ph.D., professor of history

Undergraduate: Mara Steven, history and pre-law major

Support: Loyola University Marquette Fellowship; Woody Guthrie Fellowship from the BMI and Woody Guthrie Foundations


ideals in practice

“This land is your land, this land is my land from California, to the New York island. From the redwood forests, to the Gulf Stream waters This land was made for you and me.”

Through the Lens of Motion: Travel in Woody Guthrie’s Life and Art A history professor and his student illuminate the ways in which Woody Guthrie tapped his extensive experience traveling the country to forge a deep understanding of the United States and its people in the industrial age. Woody Guthrie embodied a powerful American ideal—the socially conscious artist who becomes deeply familiar with the nation through engaged travel and interpersonal connections with its people. Guthrie documented his life and struggles— social, political, and personal—in a body of work that spans more than 20 years and includes thousands of songs as well as novels, essays, newspaper columns, and works of visual art. Now, Loyola history professor Mark Fernandez, Ph.D., and his student Mara Steven are exploring Guthrie’s life and work against the broader canvas of the Industrial Revolution, and in doing so they are fleshing out the story of the United States in the Industrial Age.   “This land is your land, this land is my land / from California, to the New York island. / From the redwood forests, to the Gulf Stream waters / This land was made for you and me.” So begins what is perhaps Guthrie’s most famous song, “This Land is Your Land.” Guthrie sang about a broad swath of America with great familiarity because, throughout most of his life—and particularly the years of his most prolific output, from the 1930s to 1950s—he was constantly traveling. Thanks to fellowships from Loyola, the Woody Guthrie Foundation, and music publishing house BMI, Fernandez spent much of the last summer tracking the rambling musician’s travels, by immersing himself in the Woody Guthrie archives in upstate New York, poring over Guthrie’s correspondence, notebooks, and unpublished songs. Meanwhile, Fernandez’s undergraduate research assistant, Mara Steven, was performing close readings of Guthrie’s published lyrics and building a database that categorizes language use and themes, including travel motifs. In doing

so, Steven, who began working with Fernandez as a freshman, has accumulated experience working rigorously with primary sources, which enriches her education as a pre-law history major. Guthrie’s oeuvre encompasses a period of revolution in transportation. “I see him as a great vehicle to study the industrial age in America, the idea of mobility and that our transportation modes have been changing so much,” Fernandez said. “People went, in his lifetime, from traveling in horse and buggy to traveling in airplanes. He traveled in all of those things, and he wrote about them.” Fernandez will use Steven’s database to build an historical narrative of Guthrie’s life in the context of the evolution of travel. But he will also look at the ways in which Guthrie’s own mobility decreased toward the end of his life with the onset of Huntington’s disease, a degenerative genetic disorder that immobilized Guthrie’s body, but not his mind. “The idea of this vibrant artist and traveler—whose work was partially driven by motion—ending up immobile was very interesting to me, as far as an abstract concept of motion,” Fernandez said. “And the idea that all of the motion in his art had to have been going on in his head when he couldn’t communicate is fascinating and tragic.” Fernandez believes that his work in the Guthrie archives is the beginning of what will be a decade-long project—one rooted in historical scholarship but encompassing a variety of disciplines—that will result in several articles and a book. With the help of Steven, Fernandez is creating an important new body of work on a largely unexamined facet of the life and legacy of a monumental American who helps us understand the history of our own nation. Research at Loyola University New Orleans


Teamwork to Launch A team of Loyola physics students received a crash course in real-world scientific procedures as they worked with NASA to build and launch a device that monitors atmospheric conditions.

Professor: Patrick Garrity, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics

Undergraduates: Taylor Kall, Dave Vumbaco, Thomas Slack, John Duhe, Riley Mayes, and Cameron McCormick Support: National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Louisiana Aerospace Catalyst Experience for Students

The collaborative nature of research in the workplace asserted itself for a group of Loyola physics students who participated in a project organized by the Louisiana Space Consortium last spring. Students of Patrick Garrity, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics, spent months preparing for a four-day excursion to NASA’s Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas, as part of the Louisiana Aerospace Catalyst Experiences for Students (LaACES) program. The students built a device, which they attached to a NASA weather balloon, that measured temperature, pressure, and humidity as it ascended through the atmosphere. Deadlines loomed in the development process, NASA imposed a strict standard of excellence, and the students learned important lessons in the transition from the classroom to a real-life research environment. “In the classroom, only you are depending on you getting things done,” physics student John Duhe said. “But in the project setting, everyone—your team, the organizers, the people paying for the project—is depending on each stage of the process being accomplished sequentially. So it’s a lot more about the community you’re involved with than a goal you accomplish only for yourself.” This collaborative approach often manifested in students realizing their individual talents and finding ways to efficiently make them mesh. The device the Loyola team flew contained two circuit boards and a cluster of sensors that recorded a data portfolio that illustrated how different variables change with altitude (pictured right). Garrity, who monitored the project, said the group functioned much as those he worked with at Lockheed-Martin’s space shuttle program before he came to Loyola.


ideals in practice

“They experienced real-life problems they’ll see in the workplace on scientific teams,” Garrity said. “Everybody brings something different to the table. We found out Cameron [McCormick] became very good at numerical modeling, Duhe is very good at programming. Thomas [Slack] happened to be our circuit board expert after a few weeks. The team naturally evolved the same way it would in the workplace.”

“It’s up to your imagination and your determination what you want to fly.” When they arrived at the NASA facility with their device, scientists there conducted a rigorous flight-readiness review of the team’s work. They grilled the students on their contingency plans, such as what will happen if the device’s power goes out or loses memory. The Loyola team not only passed the review but was the only team out of five others whose device—after ascending with the balloon and falling from the stratosphere— provided them with good, readable data. This project is only the beginning for the physics department’s involvement in LaACES. NASA set the parameters of what the team’s initial experiment would test, but now that the team has proven itself, the space agency will allow future Loyola teams to develop experiments according to their own curiosity. Garrity plans to pull in first-year physics students to work with the junior and senior veterans of this project and transition knowledge through new classes. Duhe said he and Slack have speculated about the next device they want to build, which would measure ionic mobility at different altitudes, potentially as a step toward learning how scientists might mobilize ionized particles to use as a renewable energy source. But their work will ultimately be determined by the team’s collaborative efforts. “There’s all kinds of things you can do,” Duhe said. “It’s up to your imagination and your determination what you want to fly.”

Research at Loyola University New Orleans


Discussed in this article: Teri Oaks Gallaway, Evan LaBranche, Gabrielle Landry, Mara Steven, and Naomi Yavneh. “Rediscovering 1912: A Hands-On Research Experience in Public History.” Presentation at the National Collegiate Honors Council conference (2012).

Professors: Naomi Yavneh, Ph.D., director of Loyola’s Honors Program; Teri Oaks Gallaway, interim director of public services at Loyola’s J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library Undergraduates: Students from “Rediscovering 1912” honors seminar

Giving History a Public Face A new honors class at Loyola immerses students in humanities research, providing them experience working with original source documents they use to bring history out of the archives and into the public eye. Historians argue that knowing our past is crucial to our ability to understand the present. But the lessons we can learn from history are not useful if they exist only in archives and academic journals. Naomi Yavneh, Ph.D., director of the Loyola Honors Program, is working with faculty and students to conduct original historical research and find innovative ways to share it with wide audiences. The three public exhibitions put on by her class “Rediscovering 1912” in conjunction with high-profile events throughout Louisiana last spring were evidence that research is only as important as what you do with it. “Let’s say you’re doing research on a cancer drug,” Yavneh said. “You do the clinical studies for a treatment that’s going to work—then, the most important thing is the dissemination. It doesn’t mean anything if you’ve discovered that taking calcium is going to cure prostate cancer if nobody knows that. You have to disseminate your findings. And it’s the same with humanities research.” “Rediscovering 1912,” which Yavneh co-taught with associate professor Teri Oaks Gallaway, interim director of public services at Loyola’s J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library, provided honors students hands-on access to original historical documents related to the State of Louisiana’s bicentennial, the centennial of the Girl Scouts of America, and the centennial of Loyola University New Orleans, all of which took place in 2012. The public exhibitions they created were displayed at the capitol in Baton Rouge during the state’s bicentennial celebrations, the Girl Scout Centennial Extravaganza in Gonzalez, Louisiana, and on Loyola’s campus during its centennial celebrations. Yavneh, Gallaway, and students from the class later attended the 2012 National Collegiate Honors Council conference, at which they


ideals in practice

presented their work and the methods of the class, which received high marks from national jurors. The projects leveraged Yavneh’s expertise as a history scholar as well as her students’ technological savvy. Students in Loyola’s honors program come from a variety of majors, and those in “Rediscovering 1912” included the editor of Loyola’s newspaper, The Maroon, who collaborated with students from Loyola’s music industry studies program to create digital platforms. Their efforts translated material from source documents in archives related to the Girl Scouts and centennial documents from Special Collections and Archives at Loyola into information users could access from iPads and smart phones. The Loyola exhibition, which focused on student life, was supplemented by a smart-phone app that asked users questions about their own backgrounds and related historical facts that would have influenced them in prior times. For instance, female users learned that they would not have been able to attend Loyola until the 1920s— unless they enrolled in the university’s dental school, which graduated its first female in 1913. “Rediscovering 1912” was the first of what Yavneh, who joined Loyola’s faculty in 2012, envisions as an ongoing series of research-based humanities courses. She emphasizes the use of primary documents, and next year her students will work with papers from the Blair House, which houses guests to the White House in Washington, D.C. The papers document, among other things, the protocol for John F. Kennedy’s funeral, and Yavneh plans to present historic exhibitions in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination. The National Collegiate Honors Council’s conference will take place in New Orleans next year, and Yavneh and student Mara Steven have been selected for its advisory council.

top left: Loyola’s centennial documents top middle: Major General Jackson gold medal for troops conduct in the defense of New Orleans. middle: Ann Stauder, who joined the Girl Scouts in 1928, shared her experiences with students. bottom left: public exhibition Yavneh’s students created displayed at the capitol in Baton Rouge during the state’s bicentennial celebrations. Research at Loyola University New Orleans


Discussed in this article: Sam Shahin. Max Roach: A Social, Cultural, and Musical Analysis. (2012).

Professor: Johnny Vidacovich, instructor of percussion

Undergraduate: Sam Shahin, jazz studies major


top: Max Roach was the topic of Shahin and Vidacovich’s collaborative work; bottom left: cover of Roach’s iconic Freedom Now Suite; bottom right: Johnny Vidacovich ideals in practice

Beyond the Music A jazz studies student takes inspiration from his mentor and delves deep into the oeuvre and activism of Max Roach, the quintessential jazz musician of the Civil Rights Era. Great artists do not create work in a vacuum—they converse with the social and cultural milieu of which they are a part. Max Roach was arguably the best drummer of the modern jazz age and is legendary not only for his technical contributions to the art, but also for the ways in which he engaged the American Civil Rights Movement that was gaining momentum as his career began to ascend. Last spring, jazz studies student Sam Shahin collaborated with his mentor—renowned New Orleans drummer Johnny Vidacovich, instructor of percussion at the Loyola School of Music—on a multifaceted research project that was both an homage to Max Roach and a deep excursion into Roach’s importance as a musician and a sociopolitical figure. Shahin’s project included an original composition inspired by Roach’s iconic album We Insist! Freedom Now Suite. Roach’s landmark 1960 record prompted increased involvement among the jazz community in the Civil Rights Movement and has endured as an artwork in the decades since. Shahin, who graduated from Loyola with honors in May 2012, used Roach’s work as inspiration to compose his own four-movement Hailu Suite, which he based on the story of a young man he met in Ethiopia who was drafted as a child soldier but escaped to become a successful farmer. The loose narrative in Hailu Suite reflects the narrative in Roach’s Freedom Now Suite, which tracked the African-American struggle from slavery through Civil Rights. Shahin’s project also includes a critical biography of Roach that examines Roach’s life and work in cultural and social contexts. He points to the “duet” Roach composed to coincide with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech as an example of Roach’s politically engaged work, as well as compositions such as “Garvey’s Ghost,” a tribute to the Jamaican political leader Marcus Garvey, who advocated for black power in the United States until he was deported and mysteriously died. But the cornerstone in Roach’s oeuvre most

significant to Shahin in this regard was the Freedom Now Suite. This album marked a turning point in Roach’s career and life as a musician-activist. Along with the radically political and haunting music, the cover features Roach and two other musicians who play on the album sitting at a lunch counter in front of a nervous-looking Caucasian server—a reference to the sit-ins at white-only diners that were taking place across the South to protest segregation.

“[Shahin’s] project is probably something I’m going to use as an instructional tool, as an inspirational tool, for years to come.” Shahin performed the Hailu Suite and a selection of Roach’s compositions for his recital last winter. He had become deeply familiar with Roach’s songs over the course of the project, particularly while completing its final component— transcriptions of eleven of Roach’s solos into musical notation. He credits Vidacovich with instilling in him the passion and knowledge of percussion one requires to even approach Roach’s work on a conceptual level. Shahin came to Loyola specifically to study with Vidacovich. Vidacovich is best known for his work in the Astral Project, which formed in 1978 and earned international critical acclaim. Throughout Shahin’s research on Roach, Vidacovich said he remained enthusiatic that his protégé was so impassioned by a musician he had loved in his own youth. “All drummers know that Max Roach is important,” Vidacovich said. “Sam took it not just on a musical level, but he went down and made it deep. He embraced it, and he ravished the meal. His project is probably something I’m going to use as an instructional tool, as an inspirational tool, for years to come.”

Research at Loyola University New Orleans


Discussed in this article: Marc Manganaro. Culture, 1922: The Emergence of a Concept. Princeton University Press (2002). Marc Manganaro. Myth, Rhetoric, and the Voice of Authority: A Critique of Frazer, Eliot, Frye and Campbell. Yale University Press (1992). Marc Manganaro (ed.). Modernist Anthropology: From Field-Work to Text. Princeton University Press (1990).

The Importance of Being Interdisciplinary A Research Profile of Marc Manganaro, Ph.D., Provost of Loyola University New Orleans Culture is a slippery subject. Perhaps the only characteristic scholars will agree it maintains is its tendency to elude definition. Scholars who have attempted to capture it in broad theories have created spirited controversies, in some cases alienating as many readers as they convince. Others who have written on the subject find themselves tangled in culture’s complexities. Marc Manganaro, Ph.D., who became provost of Loyola University New Orleans in August 2012, has built his scholarly career examining the ways in which societies construct culture and depict it. His research draws from deep understandings of literature, literary criticism, and anthropology, and top academic publishing houses have put out his work. His interdisciplinary approach has not only gained him wide respect in several scholarly fields—it has also prepared him well to act as administrator for Loyola faculty’s research pursuits. “As a provost, you’re working with faculty from fields as different as chemistry and English and business,” Manganaro said. “I believe my work, which bridges several fields—literary criticism, anthropology, and to an extent myth and folklore— prepares me to work well as a provost serving and supervising some very different disciplines across our university.” Manganaro began his scholarly career as a literary critic, outlining the ways in which anthropology influenced the work of T.S. Eliot, whose poem The Waste Land is a pillar of literary modernism. But Manganaro soon realized that the influence ran both ways—anthropology, as a discursive act whose most authoritative texts succeed because of their compelling writing, is indebted as much to literature as literature is to it. Since this pivotal realization, Manganaro has immersed himself in the interplay between what he argues are parallel pursuits—anthropology, literature, and literary


ideals in practice

criticism. He examines the ways in which master narratives in each discipline are formed by culture, and how the narratives influence the cultures from which they emerge. The concept of culture, Manganaro points out, has been embroiled in tugs-of-war for centuries. His area of focus concerns primarily the early 20th century, the heyday of modernism, when authors such as James Joyce challenged concepts of “high culture” with novels like Ulysses, a monumental artistic achievement that describes the common—and, some alleged, vulgar—aspects of culture in Dublin. At the same time, anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski conducted firsthand fieldwork in the South Pacific, pushing anthropology toward a participatory practice—a stark departure from previous “armchair anthropologists” who made proclamations about primitive tribes while never leaving their Victorian parlors. In his most recent book, Culture, 1922, Manganaro navigates the work of modernist authors and anthropologists to dissect the two fundamental ways in which they constructed and conceived of culture— as elite products and pursuits and as common and shared systems of values. Manganaro argues that these “high” and “common” concepts of culture are not mutually exclusive, but intermingle in complex and interesting ways. He also shows how

“As a provost, you’re working with faculty from fields as different as chemistry and English and business. I believe my work as an interdisciplinary scholar, which bridges several fields—literary criticism, anthropology, and to an extent myth and folklore—prepares me to work well as a provost serving and supervising some very different disciplines across our university.” the formal shifts in literary criticism and anthropology that helped mark the beginning of what we consider modernism took place in concert, moving away from comparative studies to examine cultures and texts according to their own logic. Throughout his studies of culture, Manganaro has continuously studied the history of modern universities and the ways in which scholars conduct research across disciplines. His understanding of the history of research, coupled with his own extensive interdisciplinary research experience, places him in a strong position to lead Loyola’s faculty through its myriad research pursuits, and to ensure that a vibrant research culture at the university persists.

Research at Loyola University New Orleans


Continuing Walker’s Work

Discussed in this article: The Moviegoer at 50 conference

The Walker Percy Center for Writing and Publishing, which hosted its inaugural conference last year, is a source of instruction and scholarship about and inspired by the great New Orleans novelist and philosopher Walker Percy. New Orleans novelist and Catholic intellectual Walker Percy, who won the 1962 National Book Award for The Moviegoer, is a presence that still looms large in the national literary consciousness. Popular publications such as The Paris Review and Slate both recently featured essays about his life and work, and academics still produce Percy-related scholarship at a steady rate. But few places pay him greater homage than Loyola University, where the Walker Percy Center for Writing and Publishing memorializes his legacy. The Walker Percy Center’s mission is to foster young writing talent, much as Percy himself did when he taught at Loyola in the 1970s. Percy was famously responsible for the publication of A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole, which won Toole a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1981. The center hosted three community writing workshops in the fall, and its director, Mary McCay, Ph.D., Moon and Verna S. Landrieu Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities and Natural Sciences, says she hopes to initiate a three-credit course at Loyola about Percy’s novels. “The whole point of the center is to encourage young writers,” McCay said. “There are interests in young, Southern, Catholic writers, but whether they line up with Percy’s ethos is not really an issue for us. If they’re good writers, that’s what we want to encourage.”


ideals in practice

The center also supports research and scholarship on Percy and his work. Its inaugural conference, The Moviegoer at 50, attracted more than 150 scholars from throughout the nation and Europe to discuss Percy’s most well known novel. Percy expert Jay Tolson, whose book Pilgrim in the Ruins: A Life of Walker Percy won the 1992 Southern Book Award, delivered the keynote address. The conference proceedings are currently being edited into a book, and a call for papers is out for the second bi-annual conference, Still Lost in the Cosmos: Walker Percy and the 21st Century. The center is constructing a database of scholarly work by and about Walker Percy, which will be available to the public through the center’s website. Meanwhile, Christopher Chambers, professor of English and former editor of the New Orleans Review, is editing a collection of short fiction the center will publish by writers who consider Percy a mentor or guiding spirit.

“The whole point of the center is to encourage young writers.” Fifty years after The Moviegoer’s publication, the Walker Percy Center for Writing and Publishing continues the author’s legacy of cultivating young talent and maintaining the legacy of a great New Orleans writer, whose presence has not diminished in the national imagination.

The Value of Our Spiritual Roots The Center for Spiritual Capital undertakes research and outreach in the business and academic communities to reaffirm the Judeo-Christian heritage that has traditionally brought out the best in the United States. Social capital has been widely accepted as a non-monetary form of value—the theory, made famous by political scientist Robert Putnam in his groundbreaking book Bowling Alone, asserts that social bonds between people and communities are valuable assets because they enable information flow, mutual aid, collective action, and solidarity-building. Nicholas Capaldi, Ph.D., Legendre-Soulé Distinguished Chair in Business Ethics and professor of management, has subsumed the tenets of social capital—in particular, their positive influence on business practices—and leveraged them to illuminate the value created as a result of spiritual pursuits. His efforts have resulted in a new book, America’s Spiritual Capital, and a new center for research and outreach that seeks to reinvigorate Judeo-Christian values in the American business community. The Center for Spiritual Capital, of which Capaldi is founder and director, operates according to the belief that the United States’ ability to build its great civilization has been directly linked to the country’s Judeo-Christian heritage. But, Capaldi argues, that heritage has eroded in recent years and needs to be reaffirmed. Capaldi posits spiritual capital—the aspect of social capital linked with religion or spirituality—as a means of spurring innovation and providing an ethical

Discussed in this article: Nicholas Capaldi. America’s Spiritual Capital. With Theodore Roosevelt Malloch. St. Augustine’s Press (2012).

framework in which to ground business practices. The Center for Spiritual Capital recently hosted an international conference that brought business and academic leaders to Loyola’s campus for a series of discussions and events on corporate responsibility. Plans are currently underway for a colloquium to be held this year for business school deans from universities across the country that will focus on aligning faith-based values with management education frameworks in the 21st century. Capaldi coauthored America’s Spiritual Capital with Theodore Roosevelt Malloch, research professor for the Spiritual Capital Initiative at Yale University. Capaldi and Malloch’s book is the authoritative primer on spiritual capital, which is gaining broad traction among business and university communities. It outlines the concept of spiritual capital and its applicability to business, articulating its relationship with modernity, globalization, economy, and politics. As an advocate of free market principles at a Catholic university, Loyola’s College of Business is in a unique position to promote the ideals laid out in America’s Spiritual Capital. The college’s Center for Spiritual Capital, supported by its faculty’s teaching and research, places Loyola on the cutting edge of this valuesbased business education endeavor.

Research at Loyola University New Orleans


Discussed in this article: Thomas Spence and Precious Esie. “Noise Analysis Using Field Programmable Gate Array Simulations.” Jai Shanata and Ha Nguyen. “Visualization of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Equilibria in Biphasic Systems.” Frank Jordan, Aimée Thomas, Thomas Sevick, and Jake Gibson. “Study of Riparian and Upland Spider Communities in the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize.”

Summers of Science The Summer Collaborative Outreach and Research Experience (SCORE) was a massively successful five-year program that engaged Loyola undergraduates and New Orleans high school students in scientific research during the summer months. Hurricane Katrina ravaged more than New Orleans’ physical cityscape—it also decimated social, economic, and educational systems and led to a “brain drain” as highly qualified professionals moved away from the community. But the massive restructuring that went on in the years following Katrina presented opportunities for reorganization and reconfiguration. It provided space for new ideas and initiatives designed to increase the region’s educational and professional capacities.

“Before I came to Loyola, I wanted to be some kind of doctor. But I think now it changed. I like doing research more.” Support: Louisiana Board of Regents’ Post-Katrina Support Fund Initiative

At Loyola University, professor of biology and chair of the department Frank Jordan, Ph.D., took the lead to devise a program aimed at recruiting and retaining students into the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The program he led—the Summer Collaborative Outreach and Research Experience (SCORE)—was a multifaceted effort that facilitated collaborative research for undergraduates and faculty at Loyola and exposed local high school students to scientific research. It received $625,000 from the Louisiana Board of Regents to operate for five years. From 2007 – 2012, SCORE took place each summer and helped initiate dozens of students into the world of handson scientific study. It buoyed scholarly pursuits for faculty throughout the sciences and was perhaps the most ambitious single undergraduate research program at Loyola in the years since Hurricane Katrina. “There were a lot of voids after Katrina, and this was a catalyst to start filling those voids and to step up when things were


ideals in practice

pretty low,” Jordan said. “But even if there were no Katrina, no disaster of any kind, it would still be a very valuable undergraduate experience.” The obstacles that prevent students from pursuing study and careers in the STEM disciplines have been a source of concern for education administrators nationwide for years. In New Orleans, a dysfunctional and underfunded K-12 educational system has historically exacerbated these obstacles. But even students who enter college with an inkling they might be interested in science are not readily exposed to opportunities that might nurture their curiosity. Most student researchers at the nation’s universities are graduate or postdoctoral students, while undergraduates are relegated to highly structured and predictable lab work for their courses. In providing undergraduates the opportunity to do collaborative research through SCORE, Jordan was offering students the chance to follow the path of inspiration he had found years ago. “I went to Florida State University as an undergraduate, with about 1,000 majors in my department, so undergraduate research was basically unheard of,” Jordan said. “But I was lucky and got that opportunity, and it made all the difference for me. I’m a first-generation college student, and I didn’t know about research, so that really opened up a world of opportunity and sent me down this career path that I’m on.”

A GATEWAY TO CAREERS IN SCIENCE Loyola students who participated in SCORE can testify that it helped them find their way to research. Ha Nguyen, a junior chemistry major, moved to New Orleans from Vietnam in 2008 and took part in SCORE’s high school component, which brings high school students from throughout New Orleans to Loyola’s campus for research-related classes and activities.

Ha Nguyen, junior chemistry major New Orleans by way of Vietnam Nguyen took part in SCORE first as a high school student and later as an undergraduate at Loyola. Last summer, she worked with assistant professor of chemistry Jai Shanata, Ph.D., to visually monitor how changes in pH lead to changes in the distribution of carcinogenic compounds in research that can lead to advances in environmental cleanup.

Frank Jordan’s tropical ecology class in Belize. Research at Loyola University New Orleans


Precious Esie, senior computational mathematics major Lafayette, Louisiana Last summer, Esie worked with associate professor of chemistry Thomas Spence, Ph.D., to develop analytical methods to quickly identify trace amounts of chemicals, such as explosives, using a special laser. Esie also served as a teaching assistant for the statistics course SCORE offered to the New Orleansarea high school students.

SCORE by the Numbers (2007 – 2012)

A breakdown of involvement and results 41 Loyola undergraduates 14 Loyola faculty members 72 New Orleans-area high school students 36 different high schools 33 presentations at professional meetings 12 publications in peer-reviewed journals


ideals in practice

Loyola students and professors collaborate to test water and fish from the Mississippi river delta.

Upon enrolling at Loyola, Nguyen took part once again in SCORE, and the program encouraged her to focus on what she has found she enjoys most: research. “Before I came to Loyola, I wanted to be some kind of doctor. But I think now it changed. I like doing research more,” Nguyen said. Nguyen collaborated last summer with assistant professor of chemistry Jai Shanata, Ph.D., whose research in organic chemistry, in part, examines the distribution of a particular type of carcinogen in the environment. The class of carcinogen in which Shanata is interested, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, includes potent atmospheric pollutants that occur in substances such as oil, coal, tar, and fuel emissions. Nguyen collaborated with Shanata in an attempt to use UV light to monitor the movement of these carcinogens. As pH changes, these carcinogens can become water soluble, and the research could have important implications for our ability to contain damage from toxic spills. “If we know more about the physical properties of these compounds, it can be helpful for environmental cleanup,” Nguyen said. Precious Esie, a senior computational math major from Lafayette, Louisiana, also gravitated toward research thanks to SCORE. Last summer was the second Esie spent conducting research as part of the program. She worked with associate professor of chemistry Thomas Spence, Ph.D., to create and monitor simulations for a device that uses lasers to analyze gases. The device their research is working toward could help instantaneously determine whether a suspicious object contains explosives, potentially providing great use in the realms of security and military. Esie’s research gave her extensive experience crunching numbers to calculate the exponential decay of lasers as they moved through different types of gases. She gained an intimate understanding of MATLAB, a sophisticated computer program used at the highest levels of the field. These skills made her the ideal person to act as a teaching assistant in the statistics course that is part of the high school outreach component of SCORE. This component brings groups of local high school students interested in STEM pursuits to Loyola’s campus for classes and laboratory demonstrations, and then out into the surrounding area with Jordan on research-related field trips. Esie’s experience mentoring high school students in the statistics class makes her lament that she did not have the same opportunity they do. “I wish we would’ve had SCORE

in Lafayette,” Esie said. “I didn’t even consider research as a possibility before I started college, because I didn’t know much about it before I heard about the SCORE program.” After graduation, Esie hopes to pursue graduate studies in public health and a career doing research in epidemiology or biostatistics.

AN END AND A STARTING POINT Over the course of five summers, SCORE engaged 41 Loyola undergraduates in research projects with 14 faculty members that resulted in the publication of 12 articles in peer-reviewed journals, with more on the way. The projects facilitated by SCORE were the topic of 33 presentations at professional meetings and helped faculty throughout the sciences secure funding for additional research. SCORE brought 72 high school students from 36 different schools to Loyola’s campus for an introduction to science research, helping recruit muchneeded local talent into the STEM disciplines. SCORE was not an isolated example at Loyola. The university has a long history of mentorship and collaboration between undergraduates and faculty on research projects. In fact, the university’s strong record of undergraduate research was what, in large part, allowed SCORE to thrive. “The culture of undergraduate research was already in place—SCORE just allowed us to go to 11 on the dial,” Jordan said. Now that the five-year funding SCORE received from the state board of regents has expired, Jordan and others involved in SCORE are looking for ways to keep the project afloat. Departmental shifts are taking place to enhance undergraduate research across the university, and Jordan says the teams that conduct research during the summers—the foundation of SCORE’s undergraduate component—will continue. Although SCORE was a great success by any measure, there remains a shortage locally and nationwide of students in the STEM disciplines, and programs like SCORE remain important to our region’s and country’s science infrastructures.

Thomas Sevick, senior environmental science major New Orleans, Louisiana Sevick traveled to historic research sites in the Mississippi Delta with professor of biology Frank Jordan, Ph.D., to monitor populations of fish, shrimp, and crabs in the aftermath of the BP oil spill. Sevick also traveled to Belize with Jordan and visiting assistant professor of biology Aimée Thomas to study spider communities in upland and riparian habitats.

“The need is still there, if you’re looking at it in terms of building capacity in the state,” Jordan said. “Anything we can do to facilitate the flow of students into and through the STEM pipeline, I would advocate for. I had a list of reasons of why I wanted to do SCORE when I started out, and that list has only grown over time as I’ve seen the potential for what we can do.” Research at Loyola University New Orleans


Discussed in this article: Justin Nystrom. This Haus of Memories. Documentary film (2012). The Documentary and Oral History Studio

A Human Touch for Under-Told Histories Assistant professor of history Justin Nystrom uses multiple media to explore lesser-known facets of New Orleans history through the Center for the Study of New Orleans and Loyola’s new Documentary and Oral History Studio. Justin Nystrom, Ph.D., is a champion of the under-told story. The incessantly busy assistant professor of history has devised myriad ways to share the stories he uncovers, often with the help of his undergraduate students. “I love the under-told story,” Nystrom said. “I’m not likely to write a book about jazz. It’s just not what I do.” Nystrom’s current projects include a history on Sicilian immigrants in New Orleans—a crucial group in the city’s development often overlooked in popular history—as well as a history of longshoremen on the Port of New Orleans during its radical transformation in the 20th century. “I’m a universalist when it comes to writing about New Orleans,” Nystrom said. “New Orleans is unique, to be sure, but it’s also universal. I write about New Orleans as a world city, as a port city, as an immigrant city. I like to make parallels between New Orleans and New York and Chicago, which, to me, are patently obvious.” As the co-director of the Center for the Study of New Orleans, Nystrom helps organize public programming that brings important figures in New Orleans’ modern history to campus for presentations and performances. In 2012, Nystrom released his first documentary film, This Haus of Memories, an oral history of New Orleans’ famed (and now demolished) Deutsches Haus German community center. The film grew from a collaboration with undergraduate students and is a taste of what will come from Nystrom’s most recent project: Loyola’s new Documentary and Oral History Studio, which will provide resources for faculty, undergraduates, and visiting scholars working in oral history. Nystrom is the studio’s founder and director, and from it we can expect a steady flow of captivating, under-told New Orleans histories.


ideals in practice

FORAY TO FILM: THIS HAUS OF MEMORIES In spring 2010, Nystrom taught a first-year seminar to Loyola freshmen called “Documenting the Immigrant Experience,” for which students recorded interviews and edited them into short films. They covered Honduran musicians, Russians who created a local theater troupe, the history of New Orleans’ French Opera House, and other strains of immigrant life, including a German community center called the Deutsches Haus, which was a landmark in New Orleans’ Mid-City neighborhood for decades. Loyola first-year students Kristen Blomeyer and Elizabeth Wadsworth chose the Deutsches Haus as their subject. They arranged a series of interviews with members of the Deutsches Haus, which was scheduled to be demolished along with a huge swath of Mid-City to make room for a new hospital complex. Nystrom tagged along to help set up the video equipment, and then decamped to the bar while the students conducted interviews. But while he was listening to the German-New Orleanians’ memories about their beloved haus, he realized there was a larger story to be told. He used the students’ film as a starting point for a six-month project for which he gathered stories about the Deutsches Haus, documented the club’s preparations for its final Oktoberfest, and finally the building’s demolition. This Haus of Memories, which includes original interviews by students Blomeyer and Wadsworth, is a 90-minute meditation on the club’s history, what it means to be a German in New Orleans, and what often proves the price of “progress” such that the hospital complex’s development promised. It begins by outlining the important role German immigrants played in 19th-century New Orleans, and continues through the tumultuous period of the first and second World Wars,

top left: students conduct interviews for This Haus of Memories; others: stills from the film

Research at Loyola University New Orleans


NolaLoyola Events Present History Live Nystrom’s documentary This Haus of Memories premiered in October 2012 to a packed house on Loyola University’s campus. It was the second event of Nystrom’s within two weeks that was an overwhelming success. In late September, Beats of the Streets: The Brass Band Tradition in New Orleans attracted more than 400 attendees to a day-long series of events that included musical performances, documentary film screenings, and presentations about the history of brass bands in New Orleans. The event, like This Haus of Memories, was a product of the Center for the Study of New Orleans. It was part of the annual NolaLoyola event series, which launched in 2011 with Live to Eat, a day-long exploration of New Orleans food culture that culminated in a panel discussion with several of the city’s most prominent restaurateurs and academic papers on New Orleans cuisine. Each of the Center for the Study of New Orleans’ events is documented on video, which is available online along with transcriptions of the proceedings that are searchable by keyword. Nystrom also plans to use edited parts of the transcriptions, along with still photography, to produce print pamphlets for further distribution.


ideals in practice

when anti-German sentiment was sometimes at a fever pitch. The film concludes by documenting the Deutsches Haus’ final Oktoberfest, with melancholy interviews that provide a human perspective on the historic house’s importance. Finally, the film sees the clubhouse demolished to make way for the hospital complex.

THE NEXT STEP: DOCUMENTARY AND ORAL HISTORY STUDIO Nystrom’s work and success with This Haus of Memories dovetailed into a much larger project that will provide students, faculty, and visiting scholars at Loyola University the resources to complete similar oral history documentaries, and more. The Documentary and Oral History Studio, housed on Loyola’s campus, will feature state-of-the-art recording equipment and an active workspace for transcribing interviews, as well as a small staff to provide transcription assistance and training in oral history methods and techniques. Student workers have already gained experience transcribing the 20plus hours of interviews shot for This Haus of Memories, which prepares them for several large-scale upcoming projects. Nystrom hopes to leverage the studio for oral history courses in order to provide history majors the opportunity to engage with multiple storytelling media. One project Nystrom is undertaking with the help of undergraduate students and the studio’s resources is a history of the Port of New Orleans and the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), both of which were dramatically affected by developing port technology. Nystrom and a team of students from his “New Orleans Stories” class are conducting interviews with ILA members who were working the docks during the transition from nearly universal use of break-bulk cargo—cargo loaded on ships individually—to nearly universal use of shipping containers. With the widespread adoption of shipping containers and the mechanization they allowed, thousands of jobs on the docks and in related industries were lost as need for manpower to move freight decreased.

Students working on the ILA project will present their work at a labor history conference in March at the Southern Labor Studies Association Annual Conference in New Orleans. They will collaborate with Southern Spaces, a Southern history and culture journal based at Emory University, to publish the proceedings. Students will also edit a 15-minute cut of the interviews they record to publish as a video on Southern Spaces’ website. They will transcribe all of the interviews and store them in a new archive for the International Longshoremen’s Association in the special collections of Loyola University’s library, where it will be a resource for scholars.

A RESOURCE FOR SCHOLARS Nystrom also plans to partner the Documentary and Oral History Studio with author and independent scholar Jack Davis, a former newspaper editor and publisher who is working on a book-length survey of New Orleans’ political and social transformation during the 1960s and 70s. Nystrom and his students in the Documentary and Oral History Studio will assist in the recording and transcription of the interviews Davis conducts for the book. The interviews and transcripts will also be permanently archived in the special collections of Loyola’s library. These stories—of Sicilians and Germans in New Orleans, the longshoremen who work the port, of the city’s transformation during the Civil Rights era—are integral histories, the understanding of which can flesh out our view of the city as a whole. Nystrom’s methods—which tell macro-level stories through oral interviews with people who are experts only because they lived through and experienced the effects of historical events—give us a textured, layered sense of history that only a scholar with an acutely human eye could. His involvement of undergraduate students and outside scholars in his work at Loyola enriches his research, and provides opportunities that do not exist at other universities.

Justin Nystrom and Alyssa Mercado in the Documentary and Oral History Studio

Research at Loyola University New Orleans


Discussed in this article: The 2012 conference on Molecular Epidemiology and Evolutionary Genetics of Infectious Diseases

A Global Perspective on Infectious Diseases Thanks in large part to the global reputation of biology professor Patricia Dorn’s research on Chagas disease, an acclaimed international conference on infectious diseases convened on Loyola University New Orleans’ campus. Loyola faculty members regularly engage the broader academic and research communities by partnering with scholars at other institutions around the nation and the world. They share findings and co-author papers with researchers at other universities to contribute to wider scholarly conversations and increase the number and diversity of resources to which they have access. This year, Patricia Dorn, Ph.D., professor of biological sciences, was instrumental in expanding Loyola’s access to a global network of researchers by bringing to Loyola’s campus the eleventh international conference on Molecular Epidemiology and Evolutionary Genetics of Infectious Diseases (MEEGID).

“It really puts Loyola on the map in the international scientific community.” The conference, founded by French evolutionary geneticist Michel Tibayrenc, Ph.D., in 1996, has been hosted in countries such as Thailand, Senegal, Brazil, and the Netherlands, and this year’s was only the third to take place in the United States. Tibayrenc, who is also the editor-in-chief of the conference’s companion journal, Infection, Genetics, and Evolution, founded it to enhance interdisciplinary approaches to the study of infectious diseases by bringing together bacteriologists, virologists, insect vector biologists, and other scientists working in different disciplines on similar problems.


ideals in practice

Nearly 200 scientists from countries such as Nigeria, Italy, Pakistan, Tunisia, Australia, Japan, and top universities from throughout Latin America attended the four-day conference that began October 30. Several of Dorn’s students were on hand for the conference, which was most exciting for Dorn for its global scope. “The international networking is essential,” she said. “Science is global now. I’ve already written requests for samples, heard from others who want to collaborate, and people want to come to my lab and work with me or send their students to my lab. Having the conference be so international is incredible. It really puts Loyola on the map in the international scientific community.” Conference presentations on new findings in HIV research proved some of the most exciting for many in attendance. Scientists across disciplines have begun examining the genetic evolution of diseases, their carriers, and the humans they infect to better understand how to fight the diseases. For instance, Dorn has for years researched the genetics of the insects that carry Chagas disease to determine which taxa of the bugs might pose significant risk to humans. But armies of HIV researchers across the globe have been working on similar pursuits for years, and Dorn and others gained a great deal by piggybacking on their knowledge and research. Sixteen hand-picked Loyola biology research students gained complimentary access to the conference by volunteering to run its audio-visual components. While the MEEGID conference generated an air of excitement throughout the

“The international networking is essential. Science is global now. I’ve already written requests for samples, heard from others who want to collaborate, and people want to come to my lab and work with me or send their students to my lab.” natural sciences departments, it provided these undergraduates a stellar opportunity to interact with and learn from world-class scientists. Nick de la Rua, a 2010 Loyola biology graduate, conducts research with Dorn and presented a paper with her at the conference, which will be submitted for publication to Infection, Genetics, and Evolution with other proceedings. Many of Dorn’s students already know the importance of global scientific partnerships from collecting insects alongside local investigators at study sites in Central America, then working in Dorn’s laboratory and studying insects—or, parts of insects— along with researchers in far-flung places. “It’s kind of funny,” Dorn said. “We take one bug, and the head goes to Guatemala, the wings go to Argentina, the gonads go to Uruguay, we get the abdomen, and the legs might go to Vermont. So it’s one little bug, but we can look at it comprehensively because we have this international collaboration.” International scientific gatherings such as the MEEGID conference supplement the pre-existing collaborations ongoing between researchers at Loyola and around the world. The caliber of scientists in attendance reflects the stature of Loyola in the international scientific community, and allows the university to play a role in some of the most exciting research battling deadly infectious diseases today.

Research at Loyola University New Orleans


Discussed in this article: Robert Garda. Culture Clash: Special Education in Charter Schools, 90 N. C. L. REV. 655 (2012). Robert Garda. The White Interest in School Integration, 63 FLA L. REV. 605 (2011). Robert Garda. The Politics of Education Reform: Lessons Learned from New Orleans, 40 J. L & EDUC. 1 (2011).

A Force in Education Reform Distinguished professor of law Robert Garda recently published three articles in high-profile journals that provide critique and recommendation for reforming New Orleans’ troubled school system. Before 2005, New Orleans schools were some of the nation’s worst. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a dizzying array of interested parties began a process that radically transformed the city’s school system. As Robert Garda, J.D., Fanny Edith Winn Distinguished Professor of Law, pointed out in a 2011 paper, the new reforms made Orleans Parish School District the only district in the United States with a majority of students attending charter schools. It also became one of the few school districts where the state has taken control of a vast majority of the schools under state accountability laws. New Orleans is now effectively the proving ground for modern education reform in the United States. Garda’s paper, “The Politics of Education Reform: Lessons from New Orleans,” amounts to a map of the territory and a broad consideration of the factors that led education in New Orleans to its current state. It discusses “the political divides and hurdles that arise when choice and charter models are adopted” and the way in which political battles shape education reform. Garda exposes political fault lines between key players and provides a window into how similar political forces will affect education reform elsewhere in the country, as school districts nationwide move toward the charter model. “The Politics of Education Reform” largely steers clear of judgment concerning the charter school debate. But in two papers published in 2012, Garda asserts strong arguments, tackling the culture clash between the charter model and special education and positing a novel critique and counterpoint to traditional approaches to school desegregation. Garda’s articles are timely and have broad implications for schools in New Orleans and nationwide.


ideals in practice

SPECIAL EDUCATION: TROUBLE IN THE CHARTERS The charter school model embraces the notion of accountability, which uses outcomes—gauged by test scores—as the primary means to determine a school’s quality. Accountability was legally formalized in 2001 with Congress’ passing the No Child Left Behind act. Charter schools are autonomous entities, with little oversight from a central authority other than monitoring their students’ test scores. This is meant to make schools accountable for student achievement on a school-by-school basis, but as Garda points out, the culture of accountability is not always amenable to educating students with special needs. “Special education has been the leader in showing us where the current structure of our school system fails,” Garda said. “Special education, more than anything else, requires unified governance and structural cohesion that [the New Orleans school system] completely lacks.” A major lawsuit filed in 2010 against the Louisiana Department of Education on behalf of all New Orleans students with special needs brought special education to the legal forefront. Garda’s paper, “Culture Clash: Special Education in Charter Schools,” argues that New Orleans’ model of charter school use has led to violations of disabled students’ civil rights. Charter schools need their students to achieve at a certain level to maintain their charters, which provides a strong disincentive to schools to enroll students with disabilities.

Research at Loyola University New Orleans



ideals in practice

“In your normal, traditional school district, it doesn’t matter; you have to take these kids [with special needs],” Garda said. “Here, it’s a real problem, with all our charter schools being able to selectively admit or deny students. It’s just going to push more and more out of the charter schools and into traditionally run schools as sort of the last choice.”

Garda argues that incentives for white parents to support integration are already in place. The world is becoming increasingly multicultural, and the job and social environments into which students will enter upon graduation require skill sets that white students do not learn in schools in which they need not engage with non-white students.

Garda does not argue that accountability in itself is harmful to special education. In fact, it often results in students with special needs receiving stronger curricula and becoming more integrated into normal classrooms. Because charter schools have the means to refuse enrollment of disabled students—thereby denying them access to equal education choices—the special education question becomes one that must be dealt with before New Orleans’ charter school model succeeds, and before it becomes a viable alternative to traditional school models around the country.

“America’s youth will be entering an unprecedented era of heterogeneity during their lives. Integrated schools, and only integrated schools, will equip children with these newly essential skills.”

A HARD LOOK AT DESEGREGATION Garda’s second notable article of 2012 puts forth the cold, hard argument that true racial integration of schools will not take place until white parents understand its benefits for their children. Arguments in support of racial integration of schools, which still does not effectively exist in the United States 50 years after Brown v. Board of Education, traditionally hinge on the assertion that segregation harms minority students. Garda uses what’s known as the “interest convergence theory,” which argues that the rights of the unempowered will never be advanced unless they converge with the rights of the empowered, to make his case. He concludes in his paper that “multiracial schools will not be created or sustained unless white parents believe it to be in their children’s best interest.” “It is a jaded, horrible way to look at the world,” Garda said. “But it’s been proven to be a very realistic way to look at the world—we’re not doing these things because we want to help minorities or other unempowered groups. We do these things, in the end, because it helps us or helps our children.”

Garda points to globalization of the business environment and the fact that the white population of the United States is projected to no longer maintain a majority by as soon as 2050. Whether white parents will act in such a way to bring about school integration remains to be seen, but to neglect to do so, writes Garda, is to their children’s peril: “America’s youth will be entering an unprecedented era of heterogeneity during their lives. The ability to effectively operate in and navigate through this multiracial and multiethnic world and business environment requires crosscultural communication and competence skills that their parents did not have to develop to succeed. Integrated schools, and only integrated schools, will equip children with these newly essential skills.” Each of these articles targets intensely large and important topics, and they do so with a degree of deftness and consideration for the greater good that characterizes the type of scholars working in Loyola’s College of Law. Garda’s work in education law at such a pivotal moment in the evolution of New Orleans’ school system makes articles such as these crucial to the local conversation. But since New Orleans has become a social laboratory for education reform nationwide, his work has far wider consequences and demands the attention of parties across the country invested in the future of schools in the United States.

Research at Loyola University New Orleans


Book Shelf

A Journey to Waco: Autobiography of a Branch Davidian By Clive Doyle, with Catherine Wessinger and Matthew D. Wittmer Rowman and Littlefield Continuing her expansive work on the 1993 federal raid of the Branch Davidian compound outside Waco, Texas, renowned scholar of millennialism Catherine Wessinger presents an oral history of the siege by Clive Doyle, a survivor of the attack and one of 11 of the Branch Davidians to be put on trial for murder and conspiracy (Doyle and the others were acquitted on all counts).


ideals in practice

The Textual Life of Airports: Reading the Culture of Flight By Christopher Schaberg Bloomsbury/Continuum The Textual Life of Airports shows how airports demand to be read. Working at the intersection of literary studies and cultural theory, Schaberg tracks airport stories in American literature, as well as in a range of visual texts. The book accounts for how airports appear in literature throughout the twentieth century, while also examining the influx of airport figures in markedly post-9/11 literature and culture.

Metaphor and the Slave Trade in West African Literature By Laura T. Murphy Ohio University Press

Decir nosotros: en la encrucijada del pensamiento indianista Josefa Salmón Editorial Autodeterminacion

Laura T. Murphy’s insightful new readings of canonical West African literature provide compelling evidence of the hidden but unmistakable traces of the transatlantic slave trade that persist in West African discourse. By analyzing unique codes through which West Africans have represented the slave trade, her book draws attention to the archive that metaphor unlocks for scholars of all disciplines.

Josefa Salmón’s new book, whose title translates To Say We: At the Crossroads of Indian Thought, explores the intersection of meaning and interpretation in indigenous language and thought, examining texts such as autobiographies of prominent Bolivian Indians and the country’s new constitution. Salmón remains acutely conscious of the tension wrought by discussing Indian thought in Spanish, making her book a deft consideration of the subject and an important bridge between cultures and languages.

An Appraisal of the Status of Chagas Disease in the United States By Rodrigo Zeledón, Charles B. Beard, J.C. Pinto Dias, David A. Leiby, Patricia L. Dorn, and José Rodrigues Coura Elsevier In her most recent contribution to cutting-edge scholarship concerning Chagas disease, Patricia Dorn works with a group of top scientists to illuminate what they consider a “new endemic” in the United States. Chagas disease, while prevalent and highly lethal in Latin America, has spread north, and this new book provides a thorough overview that will help scientists and health officials contain it.

Surregional Explorations By John Clark (as Max Cafard) Charles H. Kerr John Clark (writing as Max Cafard) presents a meandering critique of anarchism, surrealism, situationism, media, cinema, and regionalism in his latest work, a follow-up to his 1990 “Surre(gion)alist Manifesto.” The book presents an imaginative utopian vision that is ecologically sound, civically festive, carnivalistically joyous, and socially just, set against the backdrop of New Orleans and the Mississippi River delta region.

Daily Prayer 2013 By Daniella ZsupanJerome Liturgy Training Publications

Women of the American Circus, 1880-1940 By Katherine Adams and Michael L. Keene McFarland Press

Zsupan-Jerome’s new book is a functional resource for group and individual prayer, including daily selections of scripture, psalm, intercessions, and closing prayer. In it, the ministry and media scholar provides an introduction to Catholic prayer for those involved in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and an easy-to-use format for Catholics of all ages.

Women comprised between a third and a half of cast members during the circus’ glory days, and their experiences are documented from a diverse set of sources in this new book. Katherine Adams and Michael Keene draw comparisons between the perception of circus women and their lived experiences during this time by analyzing popular accounts and portrayals of female performers and contrasting those with women’s firstperson accounts.

Why Violence: Leading Questions Regarding the Conceptualization of Violence in Society By William Thornton, Lydia E. Voigt, and Dee W. Harper Carolina Academic Press A companion to Violence: Do We Know it When We See It?, published in 2011, this new collection offers critical analysis of the interplay between popular perceptions and myths with official trends and scientific data regarding violence. They ultimately address the puzzling question of why there is a “disconnect” between the public’s understanding of violence in society and scientific evidence.

Essays in Austrian Economics By William Barnett II and Walter E. Block Ishi Press This new collection of essays, with a forward by Ron Paul, draws from the work of economists such as Ludwig Von Mises to challenge and advance current concepts in Austrian economics. Barnett and Block proceed according to rigorous methodology, with strict attention to both technical and conceptual tenets of macroeconomics in order to assert their vision of free enterprise.

Jackson Squared By Tom Varisco Chin Music Press Design professor Tom Varisco’s new homage to one of New Orleans’ most iconic landmarks portrays it from myriad perspectives, capturing what the square can mean to locals and tourists alike. His playful yet thoughtful depictions dissect in essays and photographs the variety of functions public spaces can have while also mining the over-depicted plaza’s overlooked, surprising aspects.

Time Commences in Xibalbá By Luis de Lión, translated by Nathan C. Henne University of Arizona Press Writer and activist Luis de Lión was “disappeared” by Guatemalan paramilitaries in 1984. His groundbreaking novel, which tells the story of a violent crisis in a Guatemalan village, is considered a foundational text for contemporary indigenous Central American narratives. Nathan Henne’s elegant translation brings the story into English for the first time.

Publications, presentations and performances The research and creative work highlighted in this report is a small representation of the expansive body of scholarly work ongoing at Loyola University New Orleans. For a complete list of publications, presentations, and performances in the 2011 – 2012 academic year by Loyola’s faculty, go online to

Research at Loyola University New Orleans


office of academic affairs 6363 St. Charles Avenue New Orleans, LA 70118

Loyola University New Orleans Provost's Report 2012  

The student-faculty research featured in this report shows the magis in action—both from the point of view of the faculty who are striving t...