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Summer Session Faculty Spotlights

Meet some of the University of Nevada, Reno’s outstanding Summer Session instructors.

Benjamin Birkinbine

Benjamin Birkinbine is an Assistant Professor in the Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism & Center for Advanced Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. He earned a BA in Communications from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, an MA in Media Theory & Research from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and PhD in Media Studies from the University of Oregon. His research interests include Media Studies, Political Economy of Communication, Open Source Technology, Digital Media & Culture, Communication Law, and International Communication. Dr. Birkinbine was recently awarded the International Research Fellowship in Critical Digital and Social Media Studies from the Westminster Institute for Advanced Studies. He will be teaching Journalism 401: First Amendment and Society this during Mini Term this summer.

I think Summer courses provide a great opportunity for focused study in a way that classes during the regular semester do not. Because we meet every day for three weeks, students are able to actively build off of their knowledge from the previous day while it is fresh in their minds. By the end of the term, students have developed a strong conceptual framework for understanding the general topic of the course. In my case, students gain an understanding of the extent and limits of First Amendment protection, specifically as it applies to free speech and free press. —Benjamin Birkinbine, Assistant Professor, the Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism & Center for Advanced Media Studies

Tom Nichols

Tom Nichols is an adjunct professor in the University’s Civil Engineering Department. He earned a B.S in Civil Engineering from University of California, Davis, and participated in Post-Baccalaureate Construction Engineering classes at the University of Nevada, Reno. He has taught construction management and construction engineering classes at the University of Nevada, Reno since 2001, and he is currently employed as a private consultant for project management services to Fulcrum BioEnergy for a waste-to-energy facility in Sparks, Nevada. He is teaching CEE 460: Construction Engineering this summer.

My class focuses more on real world applications of construction engineering/management techniques rather than theoretical studies. I feel this method properly prepares the student for success in the business world. One of the benefits of teaching a construction engineering class during the summer session is that many of my students are also working during the summer in construction and engineering intern positions. I encourage them to share their daily work challenges and experiences with the other students and relate them to relevant class topics. And, in turn, I can tie in my daily project management experiences with the material addressed in my lectures, guest speaker presentations, and the class textbook. —Tom Nichols, adjunct professor, Department of Civil Engineering

Clayton Peoples
Photo credit: Martha Stewart of Cambridge, MA

Clayton Peoples is an Associate Professor in the University’s Department of Sociology. He earned a BA in Psychology from Bowling Green State University, and an MA and PhD in Sociology from Ohio State University. He also currently serves as the Director of the School of Social Research and Justice Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. His research interests include Social Stratification, Political Sociology/Social Movements, Social Psychology/Social Networks, State-Corporate/White-Collar Crime, Courts, Peace/War/Conflict, and Comparative/Cross-National Sociology. He will be teaching SOC 480/680 this summer.

I love teaching, but I especially love the intensity of summer courses with the abbreviated time window. In a regular semester, I sometimes remind students of a topic by saying, ‘remember last month when we discussed X?’ In summer, it’s more like, ‘remember yesterday when we discussed X?’ There’s a nice flow and focus when working on a single course over three or five weeks, and students really seem to enjoy it. —Clayton Peoples, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

Adam Reed

Adam Reed is a lecturer in the University’s Accounting & Information Systems Department. He earned a BS in Computer Information Systems from the University of Nevada, and an MS in Management Information Systems from Texas A&M University. He has taught Information Systems classes at the University of Nevada, Reno since 2010 and was hired as a full-time Information Systems faculty member in Fall 2014. Adam is also the recipient of the 2016 COBA Outstanding Faculty Member Award. He will be teaching IS 101 and IS 301 this summer.

I believe that it’s important for every student to have an understanding of technology, regardless of their major or career path. It’s my hope that students that successfully complete my courses in Information Systems will leave this University with that understanding and a technological skillset that’s necessary to set themselves apart from the competition in the workforce. —Adam Reed, lecturer, Accounting & Information Systems Department

Melodi Rodrigue

Melodi Rodrigue is a lecturer in the University’s Physics Department. She has earned a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Nevada, Reno, and has been teaching at UNR since 1998. Her research interests include science education K-12, classroom technology, space mission research facilities, interacting galaxy research, Brown Dwarf and extra-solar planets. This summer, she is teaching Physics 152: General Physics II.

I love my job, and the best part is the students. Summer classes allow us a chance to get to know each other quickly since we see each other every day while we immerse ourselves in my favorite topic, physics! —Melodi Rodrigue, Lecturer, Department of Physics

Glenn Wilson

Glenn Wilson is a visiting professor in the University’s Psychology Department. He earned a Ph.D. in Psychology from University of London, and a master’s in Psychology from the University of Canterbury. His research interests include personality and individual differences: measurement and theory; social and political attitudes; sexual attraction, deviation and dysfunction; partner compatibility; startle reflex modulation as a measure of emotion; and psychology applied to performing arts. He has taught courses at University of Canterbury, University of London, and King’s College, and has served as a visiting professor at many universities around the United States. He is teaching Physiological Psychology this summer.

Students interested in learning more about Dr. Wilson should visit his Wikipedia page: Glenn Wilson (psychologist).

I have previously been Visiting Professor in Reno and enjoyed the experience enormously. Both the area and the people are highly rewarding. Teaching Physiological Psychology is a challenge because neuroscience is such a fast-moving field, requiring some keeping up with. I look forward to sharing this excitement with my students next summer. —Glenn Wilson, PhD, visiting professor, Department of Psychology