Faculty and Staff Features for October 2016

Kirk Warren Brown, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Psychology, College of Humanities and Sciences

Brown, an associate professor of social psychology and health psychology, and Mark Leary, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, have edited the first-ever volume dedicated to hypo-egoic phenomena.

Kirk Warren Brown, Ph.D.
Kirk Warren Brown, Ph.D.

The Oxford Handbook of Hypo-egoic Phenomena,” (Oxford University Press), offers investigations into a variety of hypo-egoic phenomena that collectively have widespread implications for personal, social, and societal welfare.

According to the publisher’s description: “Egoicism, a mindset that places primary focus upon oneself, is rampant in contemporary Western cultures as commercial advertisements, popular books, song lyrics and mobile apps consistently promote self-interest. Consequently, researchers have begun to address the psychological, interpersonal, and broader societal costs of excessive egoicism and to investigate alternatives to a ‘me and mine first’ mindset.

“For centuries, scholars, spiritual leaders, and social activists have advocated a ‘hypo-egoic’ way of being that is characterized by less self-concern in favor of a more inclusive ‘we first’ mode of functioning. In recent years, investigations of hypo-egoic functioning have been examined by psychologists, cognitive scientists, neuroscientists and philosophers.

“In this volume, readers will find theoretical perspectives from philosophy and several major branches of psychology to inform our understanding of the nature of hypo-egoicism and its expressions in various domains of life. Further, readers will encounter psychological research discoveries about particular phenomena in which hypo-egoicism is a prominent feature, demonstrating its implications for well-being, regulation of emotion, adaptive decision-making, positive social relations, and other markers of human happiness, well-being, and health.”

  

Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., professor of psychiatry and human and molecular genetics, School of Medicine

Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D.
Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D.

JAMA Psychiatry has recognized Kendler as the No. 1 high value author in the world in psychiatry from 2011 to 2016. The Journal of the American Medical Association is a peer-reviewed medical journal published 48 times a year by the American Medical Association. The association examined journals that were published from 2011 to 2016 to determine the ranking.

 

 

 

 

 

Erin Stanforth, Director of Sustainability

Hannah Wittwer, Learning Garden Coordinator, Office of Sustainability

Erin Stanforth, director of sustainability
Erin Stanforth, director of sustainability

Stanforth and Wittwer shared their knowledge of sustainability planning, collaborative events and developing the Monroe Park Campus Learning Garden during the recent Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Conference, of which Virginia Commonwealth University was a top-tier sponsor.

In a welcome letter to conference attendees, President Michael Rao wrote that “VCU is partnering in this important conference because of our deep and very real commitment to sustainability as part of the educational experience at our premier 21st century urban, public research university. We are a recognized leader in sustainability, committed to incorporating sustainable practices in all facets of education and campus life.”

Stanforth and colleagues from the University of Richmond presented a session from the Virginia Power Dialog event, cohosted by both campuses in March, which focused on implementation of the Clean Power Plan.

Hannah Wittwer
Hannah Wittwer

Wittwer participated in a panel discussion on campus-community gardening with representatives from Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Arizona State University, Indiana State University and Portland State University. Topics included securing funding, reinvesting in neglected gardens, creating programming that generates new participants and allows for experimentation, and leveraging local and regional networks.

Stanforth also presented a session, “Climate Action Planning: Making Plans that are Ambitious AND Implementable,” with colleagues from Amherst College. She discussed planning, drawing community input and implementing the VCU Sustainability Plan.

The conference, held October 9-12 in Baltimore, focused on the theme of “Beyond the Campus,” collaborating with sectors outside academia to address sustainability issues. It drew an estimated 2,000 attendees.

 

 

Valerie Holton, Ph.D., director of community-engaged research, Division of Community Engagement

Valerie Holton, Ph.D.
Valerie Holton, Ph.D.

Holton was named the new executive editor of Metropolitan Universities, the journal of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities. The journal’s readership comprises presidents, senior leaders and administrators in higher education. CUMU is the longest-running and largest organization committed to serving and connecting the world’s urban and metropolitan universities and their partners. CUMU focuses on strengthening institutions that are developing innovative and sustainable responses to the pressing educational, economic and social issues of the day. VCU is a CUMU member.

Holton is the third editor of the journal, which was founded in 1989. She brings extensive administrative, teaching and community-based practice experience to the position. Holton joined the Division of Community Engagement in 2012 as its inaugural director of community-engaged research. In this role, she develops infrastructure to support VCU faculty, staff, students and community partners in establishing innovative and effective research collaborations that advance VCU’s impact in the region and bolster its commitments as a premier urban, public research university. A committed educator, she helps to prepare university and community members to engage in mutually beneficial research. Holton also leads efforts to collect and disseminate enterprise data on VCU’s engagement with and impact on communities.

Holton’s scholarship focuses on the role of urban universities in their communities and the infrastructure needed to enhance their impact within their institutions and across their communities.