Curtis Blakely, associate professor of justice systems, and Michelle Blakely, student education and support coordinator, have just released their book entitled, “Socio-Physics: Applying the Natural Sciences to Criminal Justice and Penology.” It embodies Truman’s vision of promoting creative, innovative and progressive thinking within an interdisciplinary context. Efforts are brought to bear on current correctional processes through the lens of a liberal arts perspective. Overcrowding, budgetary deficits and skyrocketing recidivism rates place the prison at the forefront of national concern. Compounding these problems is a lack of ingenuity among our nation’s leaders about how to deal with these issues. The authors’ approach, referred to as socio-physics, provides a unique analysis of these challenges with the ultimate goals being offender rehabilitation and decreasing crime rates. By using an interdisciplinary perspective, the authors provide a firm foundation upon which new conceptual and theoretical models can be built. The ramifications for this work are far-reaching and are relevant to the understanding and improvement of most public service agencies. This book represents the first known effort to apply the natural sciences to the study of human behavior within a correctional context.

Vayujeet Gokhale, assistant professor of physics, recently secured a two-year NASA EPSCor grant for a total of $59,200. It will be used for student stipends and outreach, as well as materials and supplies. W. Lee Powell Jr. from the University of Nebraska at Kearney was the co-principal investigator.

Amber Johnson, professor of anthropology, presented a paper titled “Exploring Ecological and Evolutionary Process Using Binford’s Hunter-gatherer Data” in an electronic session on the synthesis of biology, ecology and ethnographic data within a global electronic symposium called Complex Systems-Digital Campus on Oct. 1. She was also co-author of a paper with Mark Moritz and Elizabeth Gardiner of Ohio State University in the same session titled “Comparative Study of Pastoral Tenure Systems.” Truman alumnus, Dr. Jacob Freeman, assistant professor of anthropology at Utah State University, also presented at the conference; Truman alumnus Rudolf Cesaretti (Ph.D. student at Arizona State University) served as the session moderator.

Huping Ling, professor of history and Changjiang Scholar Chair Professor of the Chinese Ministry of education, has been selected as a Visiting Research Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 in 2016. The Hoover Institution offered the fellowship to assist Ling’s research at the Hoover Institution of Libraries and Archives regarding her research project “Sward Blue: A Chiang-Kai-shek’s Man,” according to the appointment letter from the Hoover Institution. Ling’s research aspires to explore the currently under-explored areas of the Nationalist history in China from the 1930s to 1949, utilizing the newly unclassified records of Diaries of Chiang Kai-shek, T. V. Soong Papers, Kuomintang Project at the Hoover Institution Archives.

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