Connect is focused on telling stories of inspired ideas and creative thinking of the faculty at Eastern Illinois University.
Working in the classroom is just one part of teaching role. EIU faculty members are highly involved in many types of research and creative activity such as medical and scientific research, artistic and creative works, study abroad, publishing and more. These endeavors add to the collective knowledge of our society, provide greater understanding of problems and possible solutions.
So far, we've produced three installments of Connect, each featuring four members of the EIU faculty. Click each program below to expand a synopsis for each faculty segment.
Ann B. Coddington, M.F.A., Department of Art
- Ann’s artistic nature dates back to her childhood, exploring the woods near her home. From an early age, she explored making mixed-media objects with materials gathered from nature. Ann is a fiber artist who uses techniques from the traditional craft of basketry to create sculptural expressions that explore how life experiences are sensed, evinced, accumulated and stored in the body. She is passionate about using an ancient craft to create modern sculptural works. She is also just as passionate working with EIU art students in the areas of foundation drawing, 2D design, 3D design and graduate studies.
Kesha Coker, Ph.D., School of Business
- Kesha Coker’s love of marketing originated from when she was a child, with a passion for art and creativity, expressed through drawing as a hobby while in her native land of Trinidad and Tobago. Today, she is an Assistant Professor of Marketing, in the Lumpkin School of Business and is conducting research and teaching on social media marketing. The use of social media has changed the way people, businesses, and organizations alike do marketing. Though seemingly new to marketing, social media marketing is built on a foundation of core concepts in marketing and represents an evolution in marketing. Coker relies on these core concepts in teaching this new course; value, consumer needs and wants, and the power of word of mouth.
Heidi Larson, Ph.D., Department of Counseling and Student Development
- When Heidi Larson heard of a mentoring program called B.I.O.N.I.C. (Believe it or not, I care) she wanted to bring it to this area. Three years later, B.I.O.N.I.C. has been going strong at Mattoon High School and includes 4 teams of upper classmen who mentor freshmen, transfer students, extended absence students and anyone who has experienced loss. Thanks to Heidi, her graduate students, MHS administration, teachers and students, B.I.O.N.I.C. is creating positive change and a unique experience at MHS.
Michael Menze, Ph.D., Department of Biology
- Michael Menze is researching animals that can survive without oxygen for years or be completely dehydrated and yet be revived. His interest in this topic stems back to his postgraduate work at Louisiana State and has taken him to the ends of the earth. At EIU, Menze is trying to decipher the genetic code of brine shrimp that allows them to survive without any water for a long period of time and then come back to life. The goal is to create “biological factories” that can be stored or close to room temperature in the dried state to assist medical and basic research.
Isaac Slaven, School of Technology
- Dr. Slaven’s research interest comes from working high off the ground on towers and wind turbines. He wondered about the safety and life expectancy of the ropes he was hanging from. Along with his students, ropes and knots are put to the test in the materials testing lab. This data is shared with rope manufacturers as well as engineering publications.
John Bickford III, School of Education and Professional Studies
- Mention the course “social studies” and it may bring back memories of memorizing historical dates and people, Dr. Bickford’s research is helping middle school teachers turn their students into historical thinkers. Through analysis of textbooks, primary sources and trade books, historical subject matter is assessed for representations and misrepresentations, in turn providing teachers and students a richer and well rounded approach to the subject.
Susan Longley, Department of Psychology
- Seeing a need for mental health services in rural areas, Dr. Longley worked with Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System on a pilot project to deliver needed services via Skype. The project allows patients to visit their local primary care clinic for therapy that is provided from EIU, by Dr. Longley and her graduate assistant. The long-range goals of this pilot are the following: a) to address the chronic shortage of rural mental services where they are most needed and b) to train master-level clinical psychology students in rural mental health services.
Jamie Ryan, Department of Music
- Mr. Ryan comes from a family of percussionists. As a professor of percussion, Mr. Ryan and his students practice and perform on a wide range of percussion instruments, everything from drums, xylophones, tambourines and even wine glasses. When he’s not teaching Mr. Ryan composes and performs music with Africa>West Percussion Trio, a group he founded with his brother in 1999.
Marko Grünhagen, Ph.D., School of Business
- Dr. Grünhagen's research interest lies in the broader area of small business marketing and retailing in an international context. As an internationally recognized expert on franchising, his main interest over the past several years has focused on motivations of franchise owners, their satisfaction with the franchisor, the effectiveness of franchise support services, and most recently, consumer perceptions of franchise offerings in the emerging markets of the Middle East and China.
Andrew Methven, Ph.D., Department of Biological Sciences
- Dr. Methven is a mycologist and lichenologist with interests in the systematics, ecology, and phylogeny of fleshy fungi and lichens. He maintains the Cryptogamic Herbarium with more than 10,000 collections of fungi and lichens. This collection is in the process of being digitally cataloged and will be part of the Mycology Collections Data Portal (MyCoPortal) that will aid taxonomists, field biologists, ecologists, educators, and citizen scientists in the study of fungal diversity.
Angela Yoder, Ph.D., Department of Counseling & Student Development
- Dr. Yoder has extensive experience in clinical therapy with children. Her research interests include: foster parenting, play therapy, sexual abuse of children, and attachment disorders. Her expertise in play therapy and working with children, adolescents, and families led to the adaptation of the Child-Parent Relationship Therapy model for use with senior citizen volunteers in elementary schools.
Charles R. Foy, Ph.D., Department of History
- Dr. Foy’s scholarship focuses on the eighteenth century Black Atlantic. As a social historian Dr. Foy is interested in how individuals accommodate themselves to larger societal forces and how identities are transformed. His work on the development of a Black Mariner Database contains records on more than 26,000 black mariners and black maritime fugitives.