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Sustainability Research

At Gordon, faculty are engaged in sustainability research in abundance and try to involve students in their research as much as possible. Sustainability research focuses on a key principle of sustainability; addresses a sustainability challenge; and/or furthers our understanding of the interconnectedness of societal and environmental challenges. Sustainability research promotes efforts to secure ecological health, economic prosperity, and social well-being for current and future generations.

ART

Jim Zingarelli, professor of art

  • Stone Table Suites, sculpture carved from recycled stone—cast-offs from the construction trade using marble for tile, countertops, and the like. Zingarelli's goal was to return the stone to something of its organic nature and away from its industrial use.

BIOLOGY

Dorothy Boorse, professor of biology

  • "Protecting Our Water, Small Pockets at a Time" discusses the area around Gordon and its connection to the West Virginia chemical spill. Boorse's article also addresses a new report and proposed EPA policy. 
  • Environmental Science Textbook:
    Wright, R and D. Boorse 2013. Environmental Science. 12 Ed. Pearson.
  • A report with contributions from Dorothy Boorse: 
    Boorse, D. L. Anderson, C. Shore, K. Wilson, T. Ackerman, G. Carey. J. Lyon. 2011. Loving the Least of These: Addressing a Changing Environment. National Association of Evangelicals. Washington, D.C. 48 pp.
  • Compiled by faculty and students:
    Keller, R., K. Hallenback, S. Gerard, K. Spaulding, and D. Boorse. 2010. "Molecular analysis of spotted salamander populations: Amplified fragment length polymorphism and genetic diversity's correlation to breeding success," poster presented at The 9th Annual Undergraduate Symposium on Sustainability and the Environment. Bridgewater State College. Nov 20, 2010.
  • K. Preedom, R. Ainslie, S. Lord, and D. Boorse, 2010. "Effects on Water Quality on Breeding Effort in Spotted Salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) and Wood Frogs (Rana sylvatica)," poster presented at The 9th Annual Undergraduate Symposium on Sustainability and the Environment. Bridgewater State College. Nov 20, 2010.
  • Public Health in Togo:
    Mattos, Trevor, Miranda McKinnon, Dorothy Boorse. 2012. The Intersection of Gender, Education, and Health: A Community-level Survey of Education and Health Outcomes for Women in Southeastern Togo. Paper presented at Gordon College Undergraduate Research Symposium.
  • Marine Science:
    Zuidema, S and D. Boorse. Dietary preference of intertidal snail Littorina litorea for either an invasive algae Heterosiphonia japonica vs a native alaga. In progress.
  • Wetland ecology:
    Heilmann, K. and D. Boorse 2013. Effects of Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) Removal on Abundance of Native Plants in Wetland Plots. Poster presented at Bridgewater State Undergraduate Research Symposium 2013. 

Gregory Keller, associate professor of biology; curator of birds and mammals
This research is being conducted with students and is in the process of being published: 

  • Effects of natural heterogeneity versus human-induced habitat degradation on abundance and behavior of wintering songbird communities in Belize
  • Effects of edge type, human-induced fragmentation, and vegetation measures on abundance and behavior of wintering songbirds in Massachusetts
  • Effects of edge type and human-induced fragmentation on small mammal communities, black-legged tick populations, and prevalence of Lyme Disease in Massachusetts—research is being conducted with Justin Topp, associate professor of biology
  • Influences of coral bleaching in coastal Belize on abundance of four characteristic fish species
  • Carnivoran abundance related to habitat fragmentation in northern Massachusetts
  • Responses of migratory songbirds to landscape-level habitat fragmentation, edge type, and vegetation measures in northern Massachusetts
  • Effects of beach development on abudance of migratory shorebirds

Biology Department

  • Parasites of eiders: parasitology study dealing with what is affected the Great Eider
    Chuck Blend, Craig Story
  • The effects of papaya in decreasing cooking time of pigeon peas: Students' senior research project. Positive results could be used to promote the use of papaya to reduce cooking time and save fuel in developing countries.
    Ming Zheng, Dorothy Boorse

CHEMISTRY

Irv Levy, professor of chemistry and computer science

  • Clay catalyzed dehydration of alkenes: studying conversion of alcohols to alkenes using greener conditions. Montmorillonite clay catalyst in place of strong, concentrated acid.
  • Aldehyde synthesis via hydrogen peroxide and octamolybdate catalysis: studying the generality of aldehyde oxidation via hydrogen peroxide and a novel catalyst; this method replaces chromium-based stoichiometric oxidations—hazardous reagent in hazardous solvent—by benign catalyst in aqueous solvent.

Dwight Tshudy, associate professor of chemistry

  • The use of TAML (tetraamido macrocyclic ligands) for polymerization: research in using TAML activators for synthetic polymerization. Current research focus is on molecular transformation (i.e. amine to ketone) and polymerization. TAML allows for more environmental friendly synthesis and the corresponding green chemistry focus is concerned about sustainability in chemistry.
  • The use of TAML (tetraamido macrocyclic ligands) for molecular transformations: research in using TAML activators in the creation of synthetic molecules. Current research focus is on molecular transformation for organic synthesis (i.e. amine moiety to ketone). TAML allows for more environmental friendly synthesis and the corresponding green chemistry focus is concerned about sustainability in chemistry.

Joel Boyd, chemistry

  • Polymeric Materials Optimization for Photocatalytic Water Purification: the crosslink density and porosity of polymeric support materials used in polymer-metal oxide composite materials will be investigated for the purpose of maximizing hotocatalytic activity and composite durability. This is a continuing part of water purification research.

GREEN CHEMISTRY

Gordon places a huge emphasis on Green Chemistry. Faculty, staff and students are involved in these efforts. To learn more about what the campus is up to, visit Green Chemistry.

Professor Irv Levy has been instrumental in the promotion of green chemistry both nationally and internationally. He is a leader in educating chemistry students about safety, sustainability and much more. As renowned chemist John Warner, the founder of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, has said, the solution to future problems lies in the education of future chemists in environmental toxicology, law and policy, and sustainability. In a world bombarded by news of toxic and harmful molecules, we need chemists who know how to create benign and even environmentally beneficial substances. Warner also touted Gordon College as a "pioneer in the education of green chemists."

  • Levy, I. J. It’s Not Easy Being Green. In Chemistry for Changing Times, 13th edition, Hill, J. W.; McCreary, T. W.; Kolb, D. K.; Pearson: Boston, 2013, p 369.
  • Levy, I. J. Sustainability: It’s Basic (And Acidic). In Chemistry for Changing Times, 13th edition, Hill, J. W.; McCreary, T. W.; Kolb, D. K.; Pearson: Boston, 2013, p 182.
  • Presentation: “Green General Chemistry: Using GEMS to create a budget friendly general chemistry laboratory manual for non-chemistry majors in small colleges.”, Van Kirk, K. and Kaufman, J., American Chemical Society National Meeting, March, 2012.
  • Presentation: “Rapid Degradation of Fluoxetine using Fe(III)-TAML/H2O2 System Inspiring Green Pharmaceutical Design” by Longzhu Q. Shen, Dwight J. Tshudy, Edward P. Zovinka, Mark Bier, and Terrence Collins. Poster presented at the 59th Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Applied Topics, Denver, CO, June 2011.
  • Levy, I.; Tshudy, D. My View: 'Green chemistry' a breath of fresh air, really. The Salem News, Oct 22, 2009, p 7.
  • Levy, I.; Tshudy, D. Faith + Ideas = Forty Shades Of Green. Faith + Ideas = Gordon College [Online], volume 2, issue 16, http://www.gordon.edu/faith+ideas (accessed 10/21/2009).
  • Green Chemistry Education: Changing the Course of Chemistry; Anastas, P. T.; Levy, I. J.; Parent, K. E., Eds.; ACS Symposium Series 1011; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 2009.
  • Kay, R. D.; Levy, I. J. Student Motivated Endeavors Advancing Green Organic Literacy. In Green Chemistry Education: Changing the Course of Chemistry Anastas, P. T.; Levy, I. J.; Parent, K. E., Eds; ACS Symposium Series 1011; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 2009, pp 155-166.
  • Levy, I. J. Sustainability: It’s Basic (and Acidic). In Chemistry for Changing Times, 12th edition, Hill, J. W.; McCreary, T. W.; Kolb, D. K.; Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2009, p 176.
  • Levy, I. J. Forty Shades of Green. In Chemistry for Changing Times, 12th edition, Hill, J. W.; McCreary, T. W.; Kolb, D. K.; Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2009, p 365.
  • Kwon, S. Y.; Levy, I. J.; Levy, M. R.; Sargent, D. V.; Tshudy, D. J.; Weaver, M. A. The dose makes the poison: Measuring ecotoxicity using a lettuce seed assay. In Greener Education Materials for Chemists (GEMs database), http://greenchem.uoregon.edu/gems.html (accessed 10/10/09).
  • Wetter, E.; Kay, R.; Levy, I. Zeolite-Catalyzed Multicomponent Reaction: Preparation of a β–Acetamido Ketone. In Greener Education Materials for Chemists (GEMs database), http://greenchem.uoregon.edu/gems.html (accessed 10/10/09).
  • Haack, J.; Levy, I. GEMs for chemists: a community-based approach to develop greener education materials. Spring 2006 CONFCHEM on Web-Based Applications for Chemical Education: Experiences and Visions. http://www.chem.vt.edu/confchem/2006/b/gems/ (accessed 10/10/09).

Katy Van Kirk, assistant professor of chemistry

  • Presentation: "Green General Chemistry: Using GEMS to create a budget friendly general chemistry laboratory manual for non-chemistry majors in small colleges." Van Kirk, K. and Kaufman, J., American Chemical Society National Meeting, March, 2012.

STUDENT RESEARCH

Students studying chemistry at Gordon have the benefit of learning in the premier science facility in the region—amazing labs, state-of-the-art equipment, and a collection of resources not found at other universities. But leave the confines of lab partners and community within the Ken Olsen Science Center is also a foundational component to the educational experience. Students worked with Beyond Benign to lead a special learning session on green chemistry at the Boston Museum of Science.

  • Gordon students have completed independent research and presented their work at national American Chemical Society meetings
  • Professor of Chemistry Irv Levy, a leader in Green Chemistry, is leading his students on a multitude of efforts—both research and outreach—in this field

ECONOMICS & BUSINESS

Stephen L.S. Smith, professor of economics & business
Bruce G. Webb, professor of economics & business (retired)

  • (Preliminary) The Moral Case for Growth in Economic and Theological Perspective: study of the debate about the merits of economic growth, viewed in economic and Christian theological terms, including consideration of (a) the strengths and weaknesses of the notion of "sustainability" as currently understood; (b) issuses related to the environmental impact of economic growth

Stephen L.S. Smith, professor of economics & business
Bruce G. Webb, professor of economics & business (retired)
Edd Noell, professor, Westmont College

  • Economic Growth: Unleashing the Potential of Human Flourishing (2013, AEI Press—part of their Values & Capitalism series)

    Chapter 4 of the book, "Objections to Growth: Environment and Sustainability," addresses sustainability directly, and argues that economic growth is essential for attaining long run environmental protection, poverty reduction, and social wellbeing. The chapter, and the book as a whole, offers a sustained argument about how best to achieve the joint goals of prosperity and sustainability.

Kristen Cooper, assistant professor of economics & business

  • "Welfare Effects of Biofuel Policies in the Presence of Fuel and Labor Taxes" (with Dusan Drabik). Presented at the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Annual Meeting, Seattle, August 12-14, 2012. Working paper.
  • "Strategic Complementarity and Substitutability: Experimental Evidence" (with Ori Heffetz and Michael Waldman). Working paper.

KINESIOLOGY

Jessica Ventura, assistant professor of kinesiology
Ventura's research centers around how to best educate students on how to foster their sensitivity toward people of different cultures who may have varying levels of physical disability. Her work includes:

  • "Developing Intercultural Sensitivity through Directed Global Education Programming," presented at ASEE 2012 regional conference. Ventura won the best paper award; additionally, her presentation on the material garnered much interest.
  • "Preparing Pre-Health Profession Students for a Life of Service: Inclusion of Multicultural Education in the Natural Sciences." Working paper.
  • An international seminar course titled "Living with a Disability in the Developing World" with the goal of cultivating students' understanding of the challenges people with physical disabilities face in countries with limited resources and the role local society, family and foreign support take in their lives. The course has been offered in Honduras (2011) and Belize (2013).

CENTER FOR BALANCE, MOBILITY & WELLNESS (CBMW)

The Center, affiliated with the Kinesiology Department, offers clinical, academic and research expertise for the treatment of individuals with neurological, vestibular (inner ear) and gait and balance disorders.

The efforts of CBMW contribute broadly to issues of sustainability; specifically relating sustainability to social well-being. The staff believe one's mental and physical health are associated with and impact an individual's ability to connect to the larger community and contribute to society. In our youth-focused culture, older adults often are marginalized and isolated. Age associated declines in physical health and overall well-being only fuel this thinking both in the mind of society and of the older adult.

The Center, through its various fitness programs, is making an effort to promote healthy, active aging for older adults living on the North Shore. The goal is that as these individuals experience improvements in physical health and wellness they make stronger connections within and contributions to the communities in which they live. To learn more, check out the CBMW webpage.

PHILOSOPHY

Brian Glenney, assistant professor of philosophy

  • Glenney offers Environmental Ethics as a course for students on campus

Lauren Barthold, associate professor of philosophy

  • Barthold has done extensive work in gender ethics, which contributes to the subject of sustainability

Mark Gedney, associate professor of philosophy

  • Gedney teaches Philosophy of Law which contributes to the subject of sustainability

RECREATION & LEISURE STUDIES

LeQuez Spearman, assistant professor of recreation & leisure studies

  • Trendafilova, S., Kellison, T., & Spearman, L. (Accpeted May, 2014). Environmental Sustainability in Sport Facilities in East Tennessee. Journal of Facility Planning and Design.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (minor)

Margie DeWeese-Boyd, associate professor of sociology and social work

  • "The Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association's Community Supported Fishery: Implications of 'going local' for the Cape Ann inshore fishery." In process.
  • "Vermont vs. Wal-Mart: Creating Public Policy for Smarter Growth & Sustainable Development." Presented at Ecocity World Summit, Palais des Congrès de Montréal, Montréal, Canada (August 22-26, 2011).

Nearly 20 faculty members are engaged in sustainability research—mixing their own academic specialties with sustainability and involving students as much as possible. Sustainable research at Gordon is exciting and always changing.

ADDITIONAL STUDENT RESEARCH

In addition to their academic research with professors, Gordon students are involved in other research projects that involve sustainability. Here are just a few examples:

  • Composting at Gordon College: From Waste to Stewardship
    A report prepared by students enrolled in the course SW401 Community and Sustainability
    https://go.gordon.edu/departments/physicalplant/recycling/documents/Compost.pdf
  • When student Kate Kirby joined Restoring Eden, a faith-based environmental group that organized college students to lobby senators from their states, she never imagined she would be invited to the White House to participate in the Clean Energy Economy Forum for emerging leaders. “I came back wanting to encourage my peers to take their stewardship role more seriously than ever,” Kirby said.
  • Students are participating in a variety of academic programs that focus on sustainability. 
  • Advocates for a Sustainable Future (ASF), a student club, seeks to involve Gordon students directly in environmental efforts and education on and around campus.
  • Undergraduate Research Symposium Day: every May, students present their research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium, the largest gathering of student researchers at Gordon.
    o 2012 winners