Faculty Experts

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

Animal Biology
John Rowe, Ph.D. William R. Angell Professor of Biology (

John Rowe specializes in the ecology of reptiles, with a specific interest in turtle biology. He studies the foraging activity and movements of turtles using GPS radio transmitters. He regularly performs animal behavior research with students at the Galapagos Islands.

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

David 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 (

Nicholas 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, Robert 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 also has published a book collection of dervish essays. His poems, essays and stories have appeared in many literary journals.

Exercise and Health
Alex Montoye, PhD. Associate Professor of Clinical Exercise Physiology (

Alex Montoye studies the accuracy and reliability of physical activity monitoring devices and also uses them as intervention tools to help individuals become more physically active. His research takes many forms. He examines the multiple ways to measure activity, ranging from self-reporting personal diaries to the use of elaborate devices that measure oxygen consumption to calculate the number of calories. He also tests the various methods of measurement against a wide variety of activities, ranging from sedentary to household to ambulatory exercise.

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

Karen 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.

Immigration and Latin America
Stephany Slaughter, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Spanish (

Stephany Slaughter has academic specialties in immigration, the Mexican Revolution and Latin American film, theatre and performance, especially focusing on gender studies. She was a field producer for “Which Way Home,” a 2010 documentary that won an Emmy for Outstanding Informational Programming Long Form. The documentary follows unaccompanied child migrants as they journey through Mexico on a train to the United States.

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

Derick 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 (

Britt Cartrite has research interests in nationalism and ethnic politics with a particular interest in Scotland and Western Europe. He 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, Patrick 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 Tim Rath, director of college communications, at (989) 463-7290 or