Faculty Experts

Alma College faculty experts make excellent sources for commentary on news and issues in the print, broadcast and online media. 

Animal Communication and Evolution
David Clark, Ph.D. Charles A. Dana Professor of Biology (

Clark’s research focuses upon animal communication and the evolution of visual displays. Actively engaging undergraduate students in his research, he studies a variety of animals including spiders, lizards, fish and turtles. In 2012, Clark was the visiting scientist on site with British broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough on a 3D documentary, The Galapagos 3D. The documentary included a segment featuring Clark’s research using robotic lizards to test questions about lizard signaling and communication.

Applied Ethics
Nicholas Dixon, Ph.D. Elmer C. and Wesley C. Dykstra Professor of Philosophy (

Dixon specializes in applied ethics. He has published articles on a variety of social and political issues, including gun control, health care, abortion, euthanasia, and the legal adversary system. He served as editor of the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport and President of the International Association for the philosophy of Sport.

China/International Cultural Relations
Liping Bu, Ph.D. Professor of History (

Professor Liping Bu is an expert on international cultural relations. She has published extensively on U.S.-China educational exchange, Western medicine and modernization of public health in China. She is the author of the book Making the World Like Us: Education, Cultural Expansion and the American Century.

Creative Writing
Robert Vivian, Ph. D. Associate Professor of English (

An excellent resource on creative non-fiction, Vivian is the author of The Mover Of Bones, Lamb Bright Saviors, Another Burning Kingdom, Water And Abandon and two books of meditative essays, Cold Snap As Yearning and The Least Cricket Of Evening. He just published a book collection of dervish essays and is currently at work on a new novel.

Environmental Public Policy/Civic Empowerment
Ed Lorenz, Ph.D. Reid-Knox Professor of History and Political Science (

Lorenz is the chair of the legal and public health committees of the Pine River Superfund Task Force, a U.S. EPA Community Advisory Group for sites in the Pine River watershed in mid-Michigan. He is the author of Civic Empowerment in an Age of Corporate Greed. Currently he is working with students on two projects: 1) a U.S. Department of Commerce funded project to educate university students in Michigan on the benefits of creating worker-owned cooperatives to promote sustainable development and a joint project with Emory University School of Public Health to study the health consequences of human exposures to fire retardants.

Gender and Society
Joanne Gilbert, Ph.D. Charles A. Dana Professor of Communication (

The author of Performing Marginality: Humor, Gender, and Cultural Critique, Gilbert’s work on advocacy and the discourse of marginalized voices has appeared in Women’s Studies in Communication, Text and Performance Quarterly and other publications.

Health Science
Karen Ball, Ph.D. Professor of Integrative Physiology and Health Science (

Ball’s research focuses on the biochemical regulation of cardiac and skeletal muscle function. Specifically, her work examines modulation of force production under physiological (organismal development) and pathological (e.g. heart failure, diabetic cardiomyopathy) conditions. More recently, the laboratory has moved to cell culture models to examine regulation of skeletal muscle growth with broad implications for clinical medicine and human performance.

Maurie Luetkemeier, Ph.D. Professor of Integrative Physiology and Health Science (

An expert resource in nutrition, human physiology, and exercise physiology, Luetkemeier’s research and publications focus upon sports drinks, thermoregulation, sweating, and kidney physiology. He was the first faculty researcher in the nation to conduct research at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute as part of their new visiting faculty program.

Politics and Sport
Derick Hulme, Ph. D. Arthur L. Russell Professor of Political Science (

Hulme is an innovative leader in experiential learning, directing Alma’s nationally recognized Model UN team and offering undergraduate students on-site research opportunities at the Kennedy presidential library. His research focuses on politics and sports (Moscow, Afghanistan, and the 1980 US Olympic Boycott) and international terrorism (Palestinian Terrorism and US Foreign Policy).

Scottish and Western European Politics
Britt Cartrite, Ph.D. Professor of Political Science (

Cartrite has research interests in nationalism and ethnic politics with a particular interest in Scotland and Western Europe. Most recently, he has provided media commentary on Scotland’s 2014 referendum for independence and the impact of Britain’s 2016 withdrawal from the European Union. He has led five Spring Term courses and an Alma College alumni trip to Scotland.

South Africa
Patrick Furlong, Ph. D. Professor of History (

A South African native, Furlong is the author of Between Crown and Swastika: The Impact of the Radical Right on the Afrikaner Nationalist Movement in the Fascist Era, and has written extensively about South African political history (especially Afrikaner and African nationalism) from the 1930s through the apartheid era to the present.

For additional faculty expert resources from Alma College, please contact Mike Silverthorn, Director of Communication at (989) 463-7290 or