Social Sciences on Tap

On the second Thursday of every month, faculty from the School of Social Sciences discuss topics of local, national, and global importance and engage in a lively conversation with the community. Come join us!

Next Event

Date: Thursday, May 9, 2019
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Topic: Dr. Cliff Staten, “Last Lecture:  Thirty Years at IU Southeast”

We have a memorable Social Sciences On Tap evening planned for May to mark the occasion of Dr. Cliff Staten’s thirty years at IU Southeast. As I meet with alumni, Dr. Staten’s name regularly emerges as one of the faculty who greatly impacted our students’ lives through his mentorship and by adding international depth to our curriculum and region. He’s made an indelible imprint on Southern Indiana and IU Southeast. In August 1989, Dr. Cliff Staten began his career at IU Southeast as an Assistant Professor of Political Science. He runs the Model United Nations simulations for local colleges and high schools, in addition to his extensive offerings in political science. Most recently, Dr. Staten began a radio show, called the International Power Hour on Horizon Radio. Join us to learn more about his experiences and impact on our region.

New Albanian Brewing Company Brewhouse
415 Bank Street
New Albany, IN 47150

Previous Talks

March 14, 2019 - "Civic Leadership – Solving Community Problems"

Topic: Civic Leadership – Solving Community Problems (Part of the Civic Engagement Series)
Moderator: Dr. Melissa Fry, Director, Applied Research and Education Center

  • Connor Allen, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
  • Rita Shourds, Align Southern Indiana

Discussion topics:

  • Defining the Problem
  • Building Coalitions
  • Funding Your Initiatives

February 14, 2019 - "Early Care and Education: Improving Everyone’s Bottom Line"

Presenter: Dr. Melissa Fry, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Applied Research and Education Center

An estimated seventy-seven percent of Southern Indiana children birth to five live in homes where all parents work. Less than half of these kids are enrolled in care that is subject to any regulation and less than one-quarter are in high quality care. More neural connections are formed from birth to age five than at any other stage in the lifespan. Stagnant U.S. incomes and gendered ideologies of child care, however, have created a dysfunctional market where workers cannot afford the cost of high quality early care and education. Child care workers earn roughly the same wages as fast food workers, creating little incentive for investments in training and education that can produce quality care. Our communities pay a high price for the failure to ensure that all children have quality language rich early childhood environments. Dr. Melissa Fry will discuss the economic and quality of life impacts of access to high quality affordable care for children birth to age five, nationally and in Southern Indiana.


Dr. Melissa Fry is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Applied Research and Education Center (AREC). She was recently named Indiana University Bicentennial Professor for 2019-2020. The AREC produces issue based regional studies, engages community-based research, and conducts needs assessments and program evaluations. Dr. Fry’s research interests focus on the relationship between public policy and social inequality and the role of nonprofit organizations in mediating this relationship. She also studies the roles of diverse sectors in building resilient communities.

January 10, 2019 - "Holidays in Asian Countries"

"Holidays in Asian Countries"

Presenter: Dr. Yu Shen, Professor of History & International Studies

Here in the U.S., the holiday season of 2018 is ending soon, but the holiday season in some other parts of the world is just beginning. Dr. Shen will take you to China, Japan and Korea, and share her knowledge and experience about how these countries set up and observe their holidays. The topic is fun and informative; it is also culturally and politically illustrative of the countries in the presentation.

Biography: Dr. Shen was born in Beijing, China. She came to the United States for her Ph.D. studies in history. She has regularly traveled to China, and has been to Japan numerous times. She was a Fulbright Scholar and spent a semester in South Korea. She offers history courses on these countries, as well as on the relationships between these countries and between Asia and the United States.

December 13, 2018 - "Twin Studies: So What's the Answer?"

Presenter: Dr. Deborah Finkel, Professor of Psychology

Dr. Finkel’s talk discussed the basic logic and methods of twin studies, then reviewed some results that show both what kinds of questions we can ask, and what kinds of answers Dr. Finkel has learned about aging.

Biography: Dr. Finkel has been collaborating with Swedish researchers for many years, and since 2010 she has been part of the Interplay of Genes and Environmental across Multiple Studies (IGEMS) consortium that includes 16 twin studies of adult development and aging from five countries and more than 50,000 participants. Dr. Finkel has published over 70 articles and was named a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America in 2002.

November 8, 2018 - "Journalism Ethics in the Trump Era."

"Journalism Ethics in the Trump Era."

Presenter: Mr. Ron Allman, Professor of Journalism & Media

Professor Ron Allman will discuss the changes to the issues of journalism ethics due to the Trump presidency, including truth, privacy, conflict of interest, libel and hate.

Biography: Professor Allman is an eight-time nominee for Distinguished Teacher Award. He has been teaching at IU Southeast since 1999 and advised the student newspaper for 13.5 years. He has offered 17 different journalism courses at IU Southeast, including Journalism Ethics and Communications Law. His Journalism Ethics course is a General Education course.

October 11, 2018 - "Riding the Pink Wave: Gender in the 2018 Midterm Elections"

"Riding the Pink Wave: Gender in the 2018 Midterm Elections"

Presenter: Dr. Rhonda Wrezenski, Associate Professor of Political Science

Following the 2016 election, political scientists began to examine how the results of the presidential election might shape political interest and involvement by Democratic and Republican men and women. In this talk, Dr. Wrzenski will overview the trends and patterns uncovered in this research and explore how these findings have corresponded with subsequent candidate entry and victory rates (so far) in the midterm elections. Dr. Wrzenski will also discuss whether women have been successful and how we define success. This discussion will touch on candidate image, candidate messaging, campaign finance, and voter perceptions in 2018.

Biography: Dr. Wrzenski is an Associate Professor of Political Science at IU Southeast, where she teaches courses in introductory American politics, as well as advanced courses in state politics, gender and politics, elections and voting, public policymaking, and senior seminar. She received a PhD (2010) and MA (2005) in political science from Louisiana State University, and a BA in political science and media production (2003) from Hastings College.

Dr. Wrzenski’s research focuses on legislative behavior, the under-representation of women in politics, and campaign finance. In 2016, her chapter on state and local government was published in an American Government textbook along with an article in the journal Social Science Quarterly on the electoral benefits of bill sponsorship and passage. She also published two pieces on teaching in the 2015 edition of the IU Press book, Quick Hits – Teaching Tips for Adjunct Faculty and Lecturers. This summer, Dr. Wrzenski collaborated on a forthcoming textbook project focusing on our nation’s foundational documents and their role in state policymaking and voting and participation, among other areas. Dr. Wrzenski was on sabbatical in the spring of 2018 and is currently working on a project focused on comparing the qualifications, interest group scorecard ratings, and committee assignments of every male and female state legislator in 2016.

September 13, 2018 - "Neoliberalism: Poison or Panacea?"

"Neoliberalism: Poison or Panacea?"

Presenter: Dr. Veronica Medina, Associate Professor of Sociology

Economic transformations and their consequences for societies and individuals have long been an important topic of inquiry for sociologists. The current trend toward “neoliberalism” is no exception.

In this talk, Dr. Medina will define the concept of neoliberalism from a sociological perspective and address its origins, applications, and implications. This presentation will discuss the ways in which neoliberal economic and social policies and practices bear on the lives of individuals in both advanced capitalist and developing economies by examining findings from Dr. Medina’s ongoing research on reality television and microfinance, respectively. In her analysis, Dr. Medina seeks to determine whether neoliberalism is a poison or panacea to some of the most pressing social problems of our time.

Biography: Dr. Medina is an Associate Professor of Sociology at IU Southeast, where she teaches courses in introductory sociology, as well as advanced courses in the sociology of education, work and occupations, childhood, and family. She received a PhD (2012) and MA (2007) in sociology-- with a graduate minor in Women’s and Gender Studies-- from the University of Missouri, and a BA in sociology and English (2004) from the University of Kansas. She holds membership and committee chair positions in both the Midwest Sociological Society and the North Central Sociological Association.

Dr. Medina’s current research focuses on issues of representation in popular culture. She has published collaborative research examining immigrants’ work experiences in the Midwest (Journal of Counseling Psychology, 2011) and the intersections of race, immigration, and “new urbanism” in New Orleans, LA, post-Hurricane Katrina (Sociation Today, 2006 and 2007).

Dr. Medina’s most recent publication “The Promises and Pitfalls of Microfinance in Pakistani Women’s Lives” is co-authored with Dr. Priya Dua (USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service) and appears in the anthology Women of Asia: Globalization, Development, and Gender Equity (Routledge, 2018).

May 10, 2018 - "Working Well: Managing Stress in the Workplace" and "Prescribing Persuasion: Which Persuasive Messages Influence Elderly Patients' Medication Compliance"

"Working Well: Managing Stress in the Workplace"

Presenter: Darlene Young, Director of Staff Equity & Diversity/Title IX Deputy Coordinator at IU Southeast

Effective management of stress is important to the welfare of all workers. Financial costs from lost productivity, absenteeism, associated healthcare, and turnover are on the rise because of chronic workplace stress.

My analysis will discuss findings obtained from social science and business research focused on identifying what workplace stress is; how it affects the mind and body; the main causes of workplace stress; and how healthy outcomes can be achieved through the utilization of coping strategies, and organizational resources.

Biography: Darlene Young currently serves as Director of Staff Equity & Diversity, and Title IX Deputy Coordinator for Indiana University Southeast (IU Southeast) in New Albany, Indiana. She works collaboratively with internal campus and external community members to develop and implement initiatives that create spaces where respect and diversity can thrive on and off campus.

Young received her bachelor’s degree from the IU Southeast School of Business; is a Six Sigma Green Belt; holds certification as a Senior Certified Affirmative Action Professional (CAAP); and is an ATIXA Level Three Title IX Investigator. Before joining administration at IU Southeast in 2008, Young served as Vice President of Business Support and Operations for Bank of America Merchant Services, and performed in various Information Technology and Human Resource roles for Brown-Forman Corporation in Louisville, Kentucky.

"Prescribing Persuasion: Which Persuasive Messages Influence Elderly Patients’ Medication Compliance"

Presenter: Michelle Churchman, IU Southeast Master of Interdisciplinary Studies student

Patients who fail to comply with medical recommendations for treatment or to take prescribed medications affect the cost and effectiveness of our nation’s health care system. Patients with chronic conditions who fail to follow medical orders get sicker, need more expensive interventions and die earlier than patients who regulate and maintain their health with consistent care. A careful examination of existing literature reveals health care practitioners struggle to address the problem of noncompliance.

Abundant research shows how effective marketing and sales professionals use persuasion and compliance-gaining techniques to influence the public’s behavior. It would seem, then, that creating persuasive messages that effectively use these empirically-tested psychological techniques and strategies could create an effective way for health care practitioners to obtain higher compliance rates from patients. In other words, using psychological principles to influence the way most humans make decisions about what toothpaste to buy could be used to influence the way they make decisions about their health, particularly their decisions to follow medical advice with regard to medications.

Biography: Michelle Churchman is a student in the IU Southeast Masters of Interdisciplinary Studies program. She has 14 years of health care experience at John-Kenyon Eye Center, where she is currently a refractive surgery counselor and scheduler. She hopes to use her degree to pursue a career in training and education in a health care setting or a post-secondary position. She is married and has lived in New Albany for over 30 years.

April 12, 2018 - "Civility in Public Discourse: Can We Get It Back?"

"Civility in Public Discourse: Can We Get It Back?"

Presenter: Dr. Joe Wert, Professor of Political Science

It seems you can’t look at social media, read a newspaper or watch television anymore without hearing people scream at each other. The state of our public discourse (public conversations and debates about political issues) is abysmal. Public airwaves are filled with vitriol, name calling, and sometimes even violence. We seem to be in a place we have never experienced before. Are we doomed to an ever-spiraling decay of our public rhetoric? Or can we do something about it?

In the next Social Sciences On Tap, we’ll explore the state of Rhetoric in Public Discourse. We’ll put it into historical perspective, look at some causes, and talk about some potential solutions. We promise the conversation will be both interesting and civil, and maybe even fun!

Biography: Dr. Joe Wert is professor of political science. He teaches courses in public administration, the presidency, constitutional law, research methods, and ethics and public policy. He is currently working on researching (with Dr. Cliff Staten) how politically-constrained presidents can work with Congress to achieve their agendas.

March 8, 2018 - "Innovations in Higher Education: Roleplaying, Games, and Simulations"

"Innovations in Higher Education: Roleplaying, Games, and Simulations"

Presenter: Dr. Margot Morgan, Assistant Professor of Political Science

Most students' experience of college used to involve sitting and listening to seemingly endless lectures. But higher education is changing. While the lecture still has its place, other more innovative means of teaching have entered the scene. Researching in teaching and learning indicates that students learn more - and learn differently - when more engaging, interactive activities are brought into the classroom such as games, simulations, and collaborative exercises.

Reacting to the past is at the forefront of the active-learning movement. The Reacting curriculum is composed of role-playing games based on key movements in world history, such as the French Revolution or the American Constitutional Convention. Within the context of the game, each student is assigned the role ofa historical figure and given a set of goals that s/he needs to accomplish in order to "win" the game. Students must work together to achieve their goals and solve conflicts along the way. Reacting games empower students by helping them develop the tools they need to succeed in the world after graduation: public speaking skills, interpersonal communication skills, persuasive writing skills, and the ability to collaborate with others to address problems and create solutions.

Biography: Dr. Morgan teaches Introduction to American Politics as well as courses in political theory on themes such as power, political freedom, and ideology. She used the French Revolution Reacting game in her Ideologies course last semester and will be offering a course on Political Freedom incorporating three Reacting games next fall for the Honors Program.

Her current research is on the value of active learning in the classroom. Her first book,Politics and Theatre is Twentieth-Century Europe: Shaw, Brecht, Sartre, and Ionesco Comparedexplores the power of theatre to expand the imagination and to incite social and political change.

Please contact Dr. Kelly A. Ryan at if you would like more information on the series.

Campus Events

SGA Meeting

SGA Meeting

November 22nd, 2019

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Thanksgiving Break - CAMPUS CLOSED

Thanksgiving Break - CAMPUS CLOSED

November 27th, 2019

All day event

Thanksgiving Break - CAMPUS CLOSED

Thanksgiving Break - CAMPUS CLOSED

November 28th, 2019

All day event

Thanksgiving Break - CAMPUS CLOSED

Thanksgiving Break - CAMPUS CLOSED

November 29th, 2019

All day event

Graduate Business Spring Application Final Deadline
Thanksgiving Break - CAMPUS CLOSED

Thanksgiving Break - CAMPUS CLOSED

November 30th, 2019

All day event



November 30th, 2019

7:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Thanksgiving Break - CAMPUS CLOSED

Thanksgiving Break - CAMPUS CLOSED

December 1st, 2019

All day event

Natural Sciences Finals Study Events

Natural Sciences Finals Study Events

December 2nd, 2019
December 5th, 2019

12:15 PM - 5:00 PM

Intramural Basketball Deadline

Intramural Basketball Deadline

December 2nd, 2019

5:00 PM - 5:01 PM

Natural Sciences Finals Study Events

Natural Sciences Finals Study Events

December 3rd, 2019

All day event

Natural Sciences Finals Study Events

Natural Sciences Finals Study Events

December 4th, 2019

All day event

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