MCLA's 20-21 faculty accomplishments

Business Administration & Economics Department

The Department has reached the final stage in its pursuit of ACBSP Accreditation — the self-study. It anticipates a campus visit during the fall semester from the accrediting authority and accreditation by the end of 2021.


Dr. Lisa Arrastia, assistant professor of education

Dr. Arrastia was awarded a spring 2021 MCLA IAH Fellowship and a 2021 Faculty Incentive Award. She launched an MCLA satellite of the Ed Factory’s Young People’s Archive Student Listening Intern Collective (SLIC). Members of SLIC use audioethnography, a humanities-based qualitative research methodology designed by Arrastia, to transform the educational process and disrupt notions of difference. MCLA’s SLIC is helping to facilitate Pre-K-8 workshops for teachers at Keys School and build an Ed Factory Teachers’ Institute and Young People’s Archive for Keys and the Silicon Valley, where the school is located. This summer at Keys, Dr. Arrastia launched the Ed Factory’s Laboratory for Integrative Arts. LIA is a supra-disciplinary humanities hub using aesthetics-based education to work at the intersection of the arts, social theory, and pedagogies of culture. Dr. Arrastia also signed with Neurodiversity Press.

For the annual 2021 North Dakota Study Group, Dr. Arrastia presented her County of One, an Ed Factory Pocket Film on racial dissonance in teacher observations. Dr. Arrastia also joined the global steering committee of Inspiring Girls Expedition, which empowers young women through science, art, and wilderness exploration, and she has been working on the launch of a $3.6 million capital campaign along the Hudson River for Kite’s Nest, a liberatory education center of which she is board president. Partnering with the Dean of Graduate Studies of Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC, Arrastia will help to design a program to increase Black and Indigenous students in Canadian doctoral programs, and she is a member of our local NAACP’s Innovation School Committee and the Advisory Committee for the Creative Compact for Collective and Collaborative Impact.

Dr. Margaret Clark, assistant professor of education

This year, Dr. Clark co-authored an essay with Dr. Sarah Hart titled “Walking Lightly: Teaching and Learning in a New World” for the journal Empathetic Educators: Interdisciplinary Narratives. Dr. Clark also coauthored a chapter, with Dr. Rebecca Buchanan, for the forthcoming book Exploring Professional Development Opportunities for Teacher Educators: Promoting Faculty- Student Partnerships, edited by Leah Shagrir and Smadar Bar-Tal. In addition, she presented two papers at national education conferences focused on the intersection between critical literacy, reflective practice, and a pedagogy of transformative care.

Environmental Studies

Dr. Daniel Shustack, professor

Dr. Shustack presented his research, “Using the USGS Bird Banding Lab Database to Assess Dispersal in Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis),” at the quadrennial international North American Ornithological Conference in August 2020, and “Birding Banding Records Demonstrate That Some Northern Cardinals Disperse Long Distances” at the October 2020 annual meeting of The Wildlife Society. Also presenting at these meetings were student collaborators Hannah Wait and Noah Henkenius, presenting their research on migratory connectivity and avian ectoparasites. Dr. Shustack and his co-authors published their species account on the “Northern Cardinal” in February 2021 as part of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Birds of the World research database.

Dr. Elena Traister, department chair, professor of environmental studies, campus sustainability coordinator

Dr. Traister, in her capacity as coordinator of campus sustainability, and Renee Royal, the production manager for MCLA dining services, were invited speakers for the fall 2020 WasteWise Forum hosted by RecyclingWorks Massachusetts. They spoke about the practices MCLA has put in place to reduce waste on campus, including food waste reduction, E-waste, and singlestream recycling.

Dr. Traister and Royal were also joined by Dianne Manning, director of MCLA residential programs and services, and Tony Fiorentino, head chef of MCLA dining, for their presentation “Community-Engaged Learning Opportunities with Campus Sustainability Programs of all Sizes” at the Campuses for Environmental Stewardship 2021 Summit, hosted by the Campus Compact. They are also scheduled to present at the 2021 COPLAC Annual Meeting.

English and Communications

Dr. Caren Beilin, assistant professor, English and communications

Dr. Beilin’s fourth book, Revenge of the Scapegoat (a novel), will be published by the feminist press Dorothy in Spring 2022. Dr. Beilin’s short fiction appears in the winter issue of the literary magazine Fence. Upcoming features on her work as an author will be in Art in America and on the popular books podcast Between the Covers. She is a presenter on the panel “Writing Illness: The Pandemic & Beyond” at the 2021 Literary Cleveland Inkubator conference and will be a visiting writer at the University of Mary Washington in the fall of 2021.

Dr. Jenna Sciuto, associate professor

Dr. Sciuto’s first book, Policing Intimacy: Law, Sexuality, and the Color Line in Twentieth-Century Hemispheric American Literature, was published in May 2021 by the University Press of Mississippi. Sciuto, who is a founding co-director of the Nordic Faulkner Studies Network, presented research connecting William Faulkner to Icelandic writers through the lens of colonial liminality and Whiteness studies at two international online symposiums organized in France and the UK. Dr. Sciuto chaired the roundtable “Anti-Oppressive Pedagogies: Social Justice & Community Engagement in the Classroom” at the Northeast Modern Language Association Convention. She has been named an American-Scandinavian Foundation Fellow for 2021-2022.

Fine and Performing Arts

Dr. Michael R. Dilthey, professor of music

Dr. Dilthey’s most recent music compositions include “Each and Every Day in December,” a Christmas song performed by Broadway star Lauren Zakrin and included in “New Sounds of the Season,” produced by NextStage; “See with the Eyes of God,” performed by Carin DeMayo-Wall on YouTube, with MCLA instructors Jamie Choquette and Patrick O’Connell, and MCLA alum Emmanuel Reyes; “Death is Nothing at All,” performed by MCLA instructors Erin Casey and Paul LaRosa on YouTube; and “Do Come to Vienna,” performed by Erin Casey and MCLA student Garrett Derosia on YouTube. In his role as artistic director of Greylock Opera Collective, Dr. Dilthey received two grants, from Assets for Artists and the Northern Berkshire Cultural Council, for recording and performing. The Collective completed two recording sessions this year, at the Church Street Center auditorium, and will produce a new musical on February 4, 2022.

Dr. Lisa Donovan, professor, arts management; director, MCLA Institute for the Arts and Humanities; co-director, Berkshire Regional Arts Integration Network, and director of the Creative Compact for Collective Impact initiative

Dr. Donovan facilitated the national webinar “Rural Arts Education Webinar: Finding Your Own Yellow Brick Road in Challenging Times – A National Dialogue,” and was invited to be a keynote speaker for the second networking conference of the program “Cultural Education in Rural Areas” (funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research). Both opportunities grew out of Dr. Donovan’s research on rural arts education.

Dr. Donovan has also been asked to speak to the Creative Youth Development Network at MA Cultural Council about creating networks. In addition, Donovan launched her new book, Teacher as Curator: Formative Assessment and Arts-based Strategies, in a webinar featured by Teachers College Press. Her work was also featured last summer by Berkshire Magazine.

This summer, Donovan and her team at the MCLA Institute for the Arts and Humanities, collaborated with BRIDGE, The Mastheads, the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council to launch a four-part symposium exploring the role of arts and humanities in equity centered change. MCLA IAH is funded by a three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and provides year round programming to catalyze opportunities for interdisciplinary engagements, and advance experiential teaching and learning practices, engaging with faculty, staff, students, and community partners.

Donovan’s work with the Creative Compact for Collective Impact created a dual enrollment opportunity for high school seniors who partnered with MCLA students in a course called The Art of Podcasting. Developed and hosted by students from both MCLA and regional high schools, the podcast illustrates the links that exist between creativity and contemporary workforce skills and will be featured on the Brainworks website (Berkshire Regional Arts Integration Network).

Donovan also released a monograph detailing the work of BRAINworks over the past four years of a national Department of Education and Innovation grant.

Dr. Tony Gengarelly, professor emeritus of fine arts, director of The Jessica Park Project at MCLA

Dr. Gengarelly published the book Art on The Spectrum: A Guide for Mentoring and Marketing Artists with ASD with Dr. Michael McManmon. Dr. Gengarelly also earned the Faculty Fellowship Award from the MCLA Institute for Arts and Humanities, with the primary goal of creating an Outsider Art curriculum supporting issues of neurodiversity, as well as the broader issues associated with autism, and general Outsider Art issues. The resulting curriculum can be used by teachers to customize the curriculum for their courses, and by students to support their own research, investigations and activities. Once refined, the curriculum will be shared with the larger public school and higher education arena.

Gregory Scheckler, professor of art

Scheckler’s artworks appeared in the exhibit “Vermont Utopias: Imagining the Future,” at the Bennington Museum. The show debuted Scheckler’s “pseudocomics” style of art. Compared to many contemporary graphic novels, the drawing style is much more gestural, and the storytelling provides a set of puzzle pieces that can be assembled by the viewer into a story-like sequence. Mixed within the show’s theme of a reimagined future Vermont, Scheckler’s drawings were full of science-fiction references: hints of Godzilla monster movies, films like Silent Running, and old-fashioned bubble vehicles, robots, and space elevators.

Diane Scott, associate professor of arts management; chair, Department of Fine and Performing Arts

During the past year, Scott developed and administered three COVID-19 Arts Impact Surveys on behalf of Mid- America Arts Alliance (M-AAA). Information from the first two surveys were featured in articles in The New York Times and Hyperallergic. Scott also conducted a webinar for M-AAA entitled “Artist INC Cares: What We Know Today,” covering artist-specific information on accessing benefits from the CARES Act.

History and Political Science

Dr. Amanda Laury Kleintop, assistant professor

In 2020, Dr. Kleintop won a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend and Faculty Incentive Grant for Research from MCLA to complete research on her manuscript-in-progress, titled The Balance of Freedom: Abolishing Property Rights in Humans in the US Civil War and American Memory. In the fall of 2020, she was invited to present a chapter of the book, “Writing Uncompensated Emancipation into the Lost Cause,” at the Massachusetts Historical Society Malgeri Modern American Society and Culture Seminar. She was also invited by the Civil War Study Group of Youngstown State University, Ohio, to present on a related project, “Clinging to a Discredited Institution: Compensated Emancipation in Kentucky Civil War Memory.”

Dr. Samantha Pettey, assistant professor of political science

Dr. Pettey published two papers for the London School of Economics American Politics and Policy Blog. The first, “Why 2020 is Likely to See a Record Number of Women Elected to the US House,” is part of the series “Primary Primers.” The second is a follow-up of the 2020 election, titled “In 2020, Women Continued to Make Strides in Representation in Congress and the State Legislatures,” and examines women’s record numbers in the 117th Congress and across the state legislatures for the series “What Happened?”


Dr. Elizabeth Hartung, associate professor of mathematics

Dr. Hartung published two papers, “Resonance Structures and Aromaticity in Capped Carbon Nanotubes” in the journal Carbon and “Combinatorial Generation of Permutation Languages I. Fundamentals” in the journal Transactions of the American Mathematical Society. Dr. Hartung also co-organized a mini-symposium on Chemical Graph Theory for the 2021 CanaDAM (Canadian Discrete and Algorithmic Mathematics) Conference, and was a speaker in this mini-symposium.


Dr. Paul Nnodim, professor

Dr. Nnodim published the book Beyond Justice as Fairness (Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield) and the article “Justice as Fairness and Ubuntu: Conceptualizing Justice through Human Dignity” in Ethical Perspectives. Dr. Nnodim’s book Ubuntu: A Comparative Study of an African Concept of Justice will be published by Leuven University Press in 2022.


Dr. Paul Amy, adjunct assistant professor

Dr. Amy co-authored a paper, “Mapping Milky Way Halo Substructure using Stars in the Extended Blue Tail of the Horizontal Branch,” published by The Astrophysical Journal.

Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work

Dr. Ingrid E. Castro, professor of sociology, department chair

Dr. Castro published Childhood, Agency, and Fantasy: Walking in Other Worlds (Lexington Books, 2020) and contributed three chapters to the book: “Where Do We Belong? Childhood Studies, Agency, Citizenry, and Fantasy”; “The Boy Who Lives: Agentic Locations of Friendship Identity, Peer Culture, and Interpretive Reproduction in Harry Potter”; and coauthored “Being Scared in the Dark: Paradoxes, Perils, and the Promise of Fantasy for Urban Girls of Color.” She also published the chapter “Monstrosity, Ethic of Care, and Moral Agency in Stephen King’s Firestarter” in Children and Childhood in the Works of Stephen King (Lexington Books, 2020).

Dr. Castro’s project “Holistic Messages of Girls’ Belonging in Notable Illustrative Latinx Children’s Books” was accepted to the Child and Teen Consumption Conference in Camden, N.J. (cancelled due to COVID). She was the Discussant for the paper session “Cultural Capital, Equity, and Inequality” for the American Sociological Association’s Annual Meeting. She also presented twice for MCLA’s Mind’s Eye on publishing books and the ethic of care and witches. Dr. Castro Chaired the Committee for the Distinguished Early Career Award and was a member of the Nominations Committee for the American Sociological Association’s Section on Children and Youth, and was a member of the Eastern Sociological Society’s Charles V. Willie Minority Graduate Student Award Committee. At the close of 2020, Dr. Castro was elected to a three-year post on the Eastern Sociological Society’s Executive Committee.