To launch the inaugural Cynthia Behrman Dinners Celebrating Extraordinary Scholarly and Professional Achievement, several Wittenberg faculty members have been selected to discuss their work. They include Shelley Chan, professor of Chinese language and cultural studies; Kristin Cline, John W. Barker Endowed Chair in Chemistry; and Lauren Crane, associate professor of psychology.
Named in honor of one of the first female professors at Wittenberg, Cynthia Behrman, professor emerita of history, the new program sponsors a dinner for up to 12 University colleagues to discuss the work of the selected faculty members. Each faculty member selected has been nominated by their respective department chair based on exceptional achievement in their field. The Wittenberg Faculty Development Board then reviews all nominations and selects between one and five faculty members each year to receive this dinner.
Recipients of the award choose the venue for the dinner, the Wittenberg guest list, and the date and time of the dinner. Faculty Development subsidizes the dinner depending upon available funds. These dinners allow for vibrant conversations among faculty and staff over the course of a shared meal and in an atmosphere of collegiality in honor of Behrman’s accomplishments as a teacher, scholar, and exemplar of living well.
“Cynthia Behrman would say to her students ‘that the meaning of life was to work well and to love well.’ For many of her students, she became the very model of living and working well,” said Cynthia Richards, the Richard P. Veler Endowed Chair in English and director of the Faculty Development Board. “One student remembers, ‘She was such a trailblazer as a woman in a department of men, and who at the same time had such a vibrant social life, with family and friends, alongside her professional work and achievements.’ Colleagues felt the same, especially those who garnered a coveted invitation to her dinners. Emerita Professor of English Mimi Dixon remembers fondly, ‘All the beautiful meals, the long conversations in that dining room surrounded by reference books—for checking our facts—and the wine bottles up on the shelf above the books. The motets we’d sing, as I struggled to keep up with the sight reading. The visits to her vegetable garden to see what’s new, or out to her gazebo, to contemplate the lake. The rich smells of cooking, Cynthia’s warm smile as she strides to the door to greet us.’ Professor Behrman exemplified what these dinners are intended to promote. These dinners are intended as opportunity to share research and to celebrate accomplishment in a vibrant, social setting.”
Chan and Cline are being celebrated for a long history of accomplishment in their respective fields, and Crane for her work on a Global Religion Research Initiative International Collaboration grant, funded by the Templeton Religion Trust and administered by the University of Notre Dame. Each will be recognized with an informal dinner. Requests for future nominations will be sent at the beginning of each semester. The Faculty Development Board plans to select at least two more recipients next semester.
Chan earned her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado-Boulder, her MA from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her BA from Hong Kong Baptist University. She is the author of A Subversive Voice in China: The Fictional World of Mo Yan (New York: Cambria Press, 2011), and the editor of Mo Yan - Year 2000 Series: Close Readings on China (Hong Kong: Ming Po Press, 1999). Her articles, translations, and book/film reviews on Chinese literature and culture have appeared in the United States, France, Germany, Australia, Sweden, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Specializing in modern and contemporary Chinese literature, culture, language pedagogy, and gender studies, she taught at Stanford University, the University of Colorado-Boulder, Beloit College, and Kalamazoo College before joining the Wittenberg faculty in 2004.
Her dinner took place on the evening of Dec. 3 at Stella Bleu in Springfield. Those attending included current members of Wittenberg’s Department of World Languages and Cultures. The group spent the evening talking with Chan about her research on the author Yan Lianke, among other things.
Cline, earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from The Ohio State University in 1993, and both a B.S. in mathematics and a B.A. in secondary education from Texas Lutheran University in 1988. Her research interests include design and characterization of electrode surfaces and solid extraction phases for analytical applications and the detection and characterization of microplastics in environmental water samples. Her most recent publication was onElectroanalysis in 2018 and most recent presentations were in 2020 on investigating the attachment of nitroaniline to grafted and nongrafted glassy carbon electrodes and the preliminary survey of microplastics in surface water from Springfield, Ohio.
Her dinner also took place at Stella Bleu, but on the evening of Dec. 14. Members of her the chemistry department, Cline’s family, and others enjoyed great conversation, including that of her recently being named the inaugural John W. Barker Chair in Chemistry.
Crane, also director of Wittenberg’s interdisciplinary East Asian Studies Program, is a cultural psychologist with a focus on the question of how cross-cultural differences emerge and are maintained over time. She and her research students investigate the socializing effects of language use and religious engagement in the United States, Japan, and India. Her courses address how culture and language reflect and support human psychological functioning, including psychology and culture, psychology of language, and cultural research in psychology. Off-campus, she provides cross-cultural training seminars to American business executives and U.S. Air Force personnel. Crane has taught courses at Kenyon College, Williams College, Stanford University, and Nagasaki Junior College in Japan, and has lectured at Banaras Hindu University in India. Additionally, she has carried out social science research and development work in a corporate setting at Sociometrics Corporation. She earned her B.A. from Yale University and her Ph.D. from Stanford University.
Crane’s dinner will be scheduled upon her return from Wittenberg’s Costa Rica semester trip in May.