RESEARCH AT XAVIER UNIVERSITY
 
 
 
Departments/Divisions
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Arts and Humanities

Art: Art department faculty are active in community-based arts-focused projects, including the “HOME, New Orleans” project, which involves sustainable ways to use art to contribute to ongoing neighborhood life and the “Transforma Projects New Orleans,” which seeks to unite creative thinking with communities’ physical and social needs by imbedding the arts into the decision-making processes that affect them. Art faculty are collaborating with Pharmacy faculty to develop a campaign of targeted diabetes health communication products which aims to improve overall diabetes management in the local community. This campaign will be tested in two clinics: the Algiers Community Health Clinic and the Tulane Community Health Center. In addition, faculty are active in curatorial work including development of a retrospective exhibition of Lubaina Himid's work which charts the lengthy career of one of the most significant artists of twentieth century Britain.

Communications: The Communications Department houses three separate and distinct academic disciplines: Mass Communications, Speech-Language Pathology/Audiology, and Communication Studies. Within these three disciplines there are nine full time faculty with their own diverse areas of interest and research. Mass communications research interests include: welfare policies and representations of female-headed families in media; family restoration and romance narratives; apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic film; and the study of Motion Media Attributes and the potential for creating, and/or enhancing a desired message. Communications Studies research interests include: performance studies with an emphasis on cultural performance in New Orleans; African Americans and the performance of gender; culture, ethnic identities, and communication; and rhetoric and applied communication.  Speech-Language Pathology/Audiology research interests include: the characteristics of low income children's abilities to retell stories and the possibility that central auditory difficulties contribute to academic failure even at the college level.

English and African American Studies: English faculty research focuses on writers, genres, movements, and cultures that have been historically marginalized within the literary canon. Many faculty are the authors of books in their subject of expertise or the authors of fiction and poetry; faculty also publish in peer-reviewed journals covering a variety of fields: the African Diaspora, cultural studies, literary studies, popular culture, rhetoric and composition, translation, and women’s studies. Faculty’s publications have both a regional and global dimension. In the context of American literary studies, they focus on writers of Louisiana and the American South such as Marcus Christian, Kate Chopin, John Faulkner, and Jean Toomer, and on the cultures of Creoles and of New Orleans. Others, however, publish on English, Irish, Japanese, Latin-American, Serbian, and Spanish writers. Several faculty present at international conferences in Africa, Europe, and Asia, and their writing appears in international journals or is translated into other languages. A senior professor is recognized internationally as a leading authority on Japanese haiku. Faculty at all ranks are committed to research and have earned grants and fellowships for literary and cultural studies, for the scholarship of teaching and teaching language, for writing and the environment, and for the support of undergraduate research. Faculty from the department edit and publish a semi-annual journal Xavier Review and monographs for Xavier Review Press. Both the journal and the press publish scholarly and creative works in the arts and humanities.

History: The Department of History has faculty working in various thematic and geographic areas including: the role of women in revolutionary activism in the Dominican Republic in the 1940s, 50s and 60s; gender and authoritarianism in Caribbean regimes of the twentieth century; recent Vietnamese history, particularly the US-bound migration of Vietnamese whose fathers were American soldiers; racial mixture in the history of the American South, looking specifically at Louisiana Creoles; West African history and culture, including globalization, music, and youth culture; integration of schools staffed by Sisters of St. Joseph in Louisiana and Mississippi; culinary history in and around the New Orleans region; and black activism in new Orleans, 1925-1941. One faculty member has published nine books, with the latest two focusing on the 1960 political campaign and post-1945 U.S. political, diplomatic, social, and cultural history.  His most recent project involves politics in the Eisenhower era.

Languages: Faculty research in the Languages department includes: contributions of marginalized groups of Hispanic studies such as the pre-Columbian indigenous civilizations of the Americas, the enslaved African populations throughout Latin America and their Diaspora descendants, and the cross-cultural legacies of the Jewish, Moorish, and Arabian citizens of the Medieval Iberian Peninsula. Other scholarship focuses on: gender issues and psychological and socio-historic phenomena in eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and early twentieth-century literature of Spain and Latin America including: an anthology of Spanish women writers from Medieval Spain to the present, the role of mysticism in the early twentieth century novel Dulce Dueno by Spanish woman writer Emilia Pardo Bazán, the role of eugenics in a play written during the Spanish Civil War by Spanish woman writer Halma Angélico, the representation of autism in the work of twentieth-century Argentine woman poet Olga Orozco, enactments of  disillusion as a reaction to the hardships of post-Imperial Spain in poetry, prose, and drama of modern Spanish male and female writers, and use of Spain as a device to exemplify decadent literary style in Théophile Gautier's Voyage en Espagne.  Additional scholarship focuses on the importance of language and the role of language proficiency in multilingual cultural communities in southern Louisiana including: research on how Louisiana will maintain its Cajun and Creole heritage through encouragement of using both spoken and written French and Creole in official as well as informal contexts, oral histories on the New Orleans Garífuna community as a means for dissemination of information about their culture, history, and languages, and a series of interviews with French-speaking members of the United Houma Nation in southern Louisiana.

Music: The Department of Music is the center of cultural activity in the College of Arts and Sciences at Xavier University of Louisiana. The primary objective of the Department of Music is to prepare students to enter one or more of the several important specialized music fields as a career. Music classes, performance opportunities, seminars and other musical experiences are offered in the department’s efforts to prepare the student for graduate study and/or professional work in these areas. The department offers two degrees in three academic programs. They are the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music (any instrument or voice) with a Minor in another discipline, the Bachelor of Music Degree in Performance and the Bachelor of Music Degree in Education. In the Bachelor of Arts Degree, research interests include: the use of Music Technology and/or the Business of Music as it applies to the collegiate student and the professional in a variety of musical media. In the Bachelor of Music Degree: research interests include performance practices in the genres of Baroque through 21st Century literature as it applies to the soloist, chamber groups and the large ensemble as well as the study of the development of new technologies in Music Education that strengthen skills in teaching, performance and the composition of music.

Philosophy: The Department of Philosophy concentrates on scholarship and research in three areas. One area, ethics and moral philosophy, involves the analysis of values and norms as they affect the life of individuals and principles of individual conduct. A second concerns society and culture. This, for example, provides analyses of the relationships between science and the rest of culture and between science and religion. It also encompasses issues in political philosophy and philosophy of law. A third area focuses on interpretation of great ideas in the history of philosophy, with an emphasis by several faculty on movements such as Italian Humanism and Post-Kantian philosophy. Faculty of the Department publish their scholarship in books and articles and in presentations at professional international, national, and regional meetings and they employ parts of their work in their teaching and interchange with students.

Theology: The Theology Program enables students to understand the discourse of the human experience of God by means of an historical critical approach. The three areas in which scholarship and research take place are Fundamentals of Theology, Historical Theology, and Biblical Studies. In Fundamentals of Theology, human suffering is the context and the starting point in seeking to make sense of human history. Human suffering is greater than all human resources which, though necessary, are ultimately inadequate. The challenge is to affirm the existence, the importance and the value of both the other and the Other who is God. For God is greater than what humans can fashion, and the ultimate response for the person of faith is and always must be resistance, trust, and love. In Historical Theology, there is an interdisciplinary approach to better understand the past and present social, political, economic, historic, and theological factors at work in the development of the Christian Faith. The historical and current relationships between Christianity and other religions such as Judaism, Islam, and other world religions are also explored. In Biblical Studies the foundation is interdisciplinary methodologies to understand the biblical texts and their important influence on the world, including historical, literary, textual, source, feminist, redaction, and African American criticism. Also explored in this area is the role archaeology plays in better understanding the Bible’s historical context, both in the times that the stories were set, the times in which the authors wrote and the editing of the text. Historical and cultural traditions are examined that influenced the Bible, and the religious beliefs of ancient Israel and their later development in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Business and Education

Business: Research methods used in the Division of Business involve investigations that are aimed to confirm or refute positive analysis of consumer behavior or business decisions as they react to changes in their environment. These observations are hypothesized for conducting empirical tests or modeled to stipulate the directional movement of decision variables. Investigative methods include examining the quantitative and qualitative impacts of decisions made internally by management or globally through government policies.  Ultimately, the intent of the Division’s research is to engage the unit in the dialogue of its various disciplines and eventually contribute towards expanding the parameters of knowledge in business.

Education: The research interests of the education faculty represent a wide range of issues including spirituality, professionalism, diversity, social justice, poverty, and equity. Also, race, ethnicity and gender issues permeate the publications and presentations conducted by the faculty. There is a strong interest in studying service learning which has been incorporated in various classes throughout the division. Several faculty members also have conducted research on children with exceptionalities ranging from learning disabilities to academically gifted and in areas of counseling including emotional and behavioral disorders. Teacher education faculty work closely with local schools on research projects in an effort to improve the academic achievement of all PK-12 students. Counseling faculty are particularly interested in the incorporation of creative techniques in counseling throughout the lifespan and educating the public about the profession of counseling. The amalgamation of these studies has enabled faculty to enrich and expand course content and discussions to further expand the knowledge and understanding of initial and advanced candidates. Faculty members are committed to both independent research and collaborative efforts with one another as well as with candidates.

Political and Social Sciences

Political Science: As is expected in a political science department, the general areas of research include the study of American national institutions, comparative political processes, social justice issues, and the politics of gender, religion and sexuality. Currently, faculty members conduct research on the following topic areas: motivations for changes in support of social policy; the social construct of race, class and culture and their effect on political behavior at the local and national level; the interaction of religion and politics on policy making; racial and socio-economic disparity in education; the effectiveness of education and health policy reforms in comparative context; social movement effectiveness in terms of public policy change via an examination of the LGBT movement across developed democracies; democratization in countries of Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe, still undergoing transition from command systems to market economies and democratic political structures; the political economy of development and social justice issues which focus on citizenship; environmental threat and security; student motivations and the etiology of student retention at historically Black colleges/universities; and broad issues of global (in)justice, particularly those pertaining to gender inequity, economic insecurity, and environmental sustainability in  developing nations.

Psychology: Because the science of psychology does not have one unifying paradigm, research in psychology at Xavier takes a number of forms. Faculty in social psychology, for example, work on studies related to stereotyping and prejudice. Recent work has centered on psychological and social barriers to women pursuing science careers. The so-called “glass ceiling” is familiar to many people, but issues such as self-stereotyping can be equally prohibitive to the success of women is science fields. Faculty in clinical psychology conduct research on dissociative identity disorder—formerly referred to as multiple personality disorder or split personality disorder. Xavier faculty are particularly interested in the incidence of this disorder among African Americans. Other faculty are pursuing research on the long-term effects of trauma, particularly Hurricane Katrina, whether experienced first-hand or by empathizing with other, more direct victims. Still other Psychology faculty at Xavier have published extensively on the process of writing and the scientific pursuit itself. One professor has published on the role of religion in science, focusing on Charles Darwin. 

Sociology: Faculty members in the Department of Sociology at Xavier University carry on extremely active research agendas. Faculty research interests within the department are wide and diverse. Research focuses on areas such as communities and neighborhoods in urban life, health disparities, the effects of immigration on the workforce, social support and mental health, the experience of chronic illness, and new teaching strategies. Funding for this research comes from a wide variety of sources including the National Science Foundation, Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium, and the Mellon Foundation, among others. The Concentration in Health, Medicine & Society provides opportunities for research in all aspects of health, illness, and health care. Importantly, all faculty members are devoted to including students in their research and consider this a vital part of their own research experience.

Science, Pharmacy, and Mathematics

Biology: Biology faculty are committed to providing students with research opportunities to help them become more competitive for a variety of career choices. Biology faculty conduct active research projects in the following broad categories: environmental biology; neuroscience: studying central nervous system abnormalities; gene targeting using C. elegans as a model system; bioinformatics: promoter analysis of the target gene(s); evolutionary and developmental biology; biochemistry: ergol biosynthesis, elucidating the biological function(s) of rare sugars and sugar alcohols; genetic regulation of mycotoxins (toxins made by fungi); studies of stress response of agriculturally and/or economically important plants; cancer research: studying the signaling pathways of controlling anoikis or detachment-induced apoptosis in cancer cells, characterizing Bit1 – a novel apoptotic protein important in cancers; studying adult stem cell and cancer cell migration in chick embryos; insect behavioral ecology specifically investigating environmental factors which influence an insect’s behavior, food plant selection, predator avoidance strategies, etc.; mammalian systematics (classification) and genome evolution in reptiles; and use of natural products as a promising potential for limiting or destroying cancer. Each project is well defined and ready for active student participation. 

Chemistry: Xavier chemistry faculty have diverse research interests that touch on a variety of interdisciplinary projects spanning the range of science including research that is biomedical, environmental, and related to energy and materials. Some faculty study drug metabolism and the human genome while other faculty have projects related to cancer (funded by the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium (LCRC) and/or Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI)).  These projects involve the search for and development of novel therapeutics, the development of cancer detection strategies, and the development of novel carriers for drug delivery. Another group of faculty have interests in materials research in which projects involve the synthesis of nanomaterials for energy storage, synthesis of new magnetic materials and thin films, and the development of new materials for fuel cells (funded through the NSF Partnerships for Research and Education in Materials (PREM) program). Environmental studies in the chemistry department involve analyzing treatment techniques for heavy metals in wastewater and tracking pollution levels in carcinogens. Finally, some faculty are studying mechanisms for chemical reactions on both small and large scales. The chemistry department at Xavier is well equipped for faculty and students to carry out a broad range of research activities. As an undergraduate institution whose mission is to develop leaders in their fields, all research active faculty in the chemistry department provide opportunities for chemistry majors to participate in meaningful undergraduate research experiences.

Computer Science: Xavier University of Louisiana’s Computer Science Department faculty provide a scientific foundation for learning, discovery, engagement, and innovation. They contribute to computing through active research and professional service as they keep abreast of emerging technologies. The faculty have diverse research efforts including bioinformatics, data mining, graphics, information assurance, intelligent systems, narrative intelligence, robotics, sensor fusion, and wireless networks. Xavier’s Computer Science Department has successful researchers that (a) apply computational methods to complex problems; (b) contribute to relevant research using well-founded principles; and (c) advance the study of science using collaborative work with fellow researchers and fellow colleagues. All of the Computer Science research projects have student research opportunities. Faculty guide students in the scientific process of formulating a theoretical hypothesis, carrying out computational experiments to test the hypothesis, and communicating scientific findings at conferences or journals. These tasks are integral to preparing students for careers in the sciences and explicitly written in all funded research projects. Xavier’s Computer Science Department majors have a wide variety of research opportunities to prepare them for graduate school and advanced study in diverse computing areas.

Math: Xavier mathematics faculty are actively engaged in research areas that are at the forefront of mathematical and statistical research. A group of faculty members is studying the dynamics and global asymptotic behavior of discrete systems and difference equations with applications to mathematical biology, population dynamics, ecology, and epidemiology. Another group of faculty is collaborating with researchers from other universities and physicians in the area of statistical data analysis. One faculty member is working in the area of digital image processing to develop algorithms for segmentation of images, which is of paramount importance for national security. A second faculty member is using statistical models to accurately model the highly complicated behavior of Internet traffic. Another is working in classical analysis and investigating asymptotic expansions and analytical methods in combinatorics. The department also has faculty investigating algebraic models of non-classical logics. Although the faculty research interest is purely theoretical, non-classical logics are used in computer science, artificial intelligence, linguistics, representation of knowledge, philosophy of mathematics. The area of topology and the study of the behavior of continua in the complex plane under various maps is also an area of interest to members of the department. To fulfill Xavier University’s mission of developing leaders in their fields, the mathematics department provides research opportunities for students to participate in meaningful undergraduate research experiences. 

Pharmacy: The research endeavors of the College of Pharmacy (COP) faculty are nationally recognized and are integral to the education and professional development of their students. Through collaborative efforts, the COP is a member of the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium, the Louisiana Vaccine Center, and the South Louisiana Institute for Infectious Disease Research; It also has established the Center for Nanomedicine and Drug Delivery. Additionally, the College established the Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education to develop the research infrastructure needed to focus on the elimination of health disparities. Faculty members in COP’s Division of Clinical and Administrative Sciences and the Division of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences (DBPS) maintain a highly visible research agenda.  Examples of areas of research undertaken by faculty members in the College of Pharmacy include:

Division of Clinical and Administrative Sciences - polypharmacy and drug misuse; polycystic ovarian disease in African American women; use of critical care medicine in health systems serving minority patients; the effectiveness of phytopharmaceuticals; psychosocial factors associated with medicine use; faculty and student development and the effective use of technology in the classroom; diabetes and metabolic risk assessment in African American adolescents; treatment, management, and etiology of affective and psychotic disorders;  reducing stigma to aid in the prevention of communicable diseases; pediatric pharmacy education, pediatric medication safety, and pediatric critical care; medication error reduction and prevention; medication compliance in diabetic patients; pharmacotherapy in the treatment of HIV/AIDS; the relationship between knowledge and misuse of over-the-counter drugs; and the influence of health literacy on patient adherence.

Division of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences (DBPS) - development of multifunctional nano-particles for targeted drug delivery of a variety of therapeutic agents including amifostine and doxorubicin; preformulation and formulation of drug delivery systems; fundamental aspects of protein-ligand binding interactions; the design, synthesis and biological evaluation of novel small organic molecules as potential anti-opportunistic and anti-parasitic agents; controlled release technology and novel drug delivery; evaluating genes differentially expressed in breast and prostate cancers in patients from minority populations; the development of Nucleoside & Nucleotide Analogues for the treatment of cancer and AIDS; HLTV-I and its transformation mechanisms; the study of xenobiotic chemicals acting as ligands for steroid hormone receptors; and  novel estrogen receptor phosphorylation sites in sensitivity/resistance to SERMs.

Physics: Physics Department faculty members engage in research and creative activities in areas encompassing optical and magneto-chemical characterization of catalysts, astrophysics and astroparticle physics, material characterization, experimental nuclear and particle physics. One faculty member studies the freak waves generated by refraction of ocean waves through regions of random currents. Other faculty run the Radio JOVE, a NASA education and outreach project that build a radio telescope and use it to gather radio signals from sources in our galaxy. Another faculty is interested in the supernovae that are associated with gamma-ray bursts to determine how bright these events are compared with other supernovae. One faculty member is working in the characterization of nanostructures and biosystems. Projects of interest include molecular recognition and cancer cells characterization. Finally, a faculty member is exploring how quarks interact to form exotic particles. Research in the physics department, first and foremost, involves our students. Faculty maintain an active collaboration with researchers at Tulane University, the University of New Orleans, Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, NYU Materials Research Science & Engineering Center through the Xavier Partnerships for Research and Education in Materials (PREM), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Synchrotron Radiation Center (SCR).

 
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