From the College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Campus Notes

Alumna is New Air Force Commander

Growing up, Karilynne Wallace was fascinated by space. She enrolled at Utah State University in 1990 because of its world-class aerospace program, hoping for the chance to explore the skies overhead. Wallace never imagined she would one day direct them. After graduating with a degree in math and ROTC program, she served as a range control officer at Vandenberg Air Force Base where she was in charge of air, land and sea traffic before satellite launches. Wallace served as the first female commander at the Vandenberg satellite tracking station and was later hand-selected to serve in the Pentagon, integrating space and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance budget submissions for the Air Force. Lt. Colonel Wallace now directs USU’s Aerospace Studies program and commands its Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps.

USU Hosts First Mental Health Court Conference

More than half of the inmates in state prisons are estimated to suffer from severe mental health disorders, making prisons the largest provider of mental health services in the nation. Yet many do not receive the treatment they need to take responsibility for their illness and their actions, social workers from USU argue. Mental health courts may be part of the solution. The USU social work program hosted the state’s first Intermountain Mental Health Court Conference this summer. Hundreds of professionals in the fields of social work and criminal justice connected at the event to share best practices of therapeutic jurisprudence.

Sociologist Tapped to Lead Food and Agriculture Reform

A new national initiative charged with transforming food and agricultural policy tapped Douglas Jackson-Smith, professor of sociology, to serve as one of nine members on its research committee. The members of AGree, a nonpartisan initiative funded by the nation’s leading foundations, are responsible for helping facilitate dialogue about ways to improve the country’s food and agricultural systems. The effort involves examining food production, food safety, environmental sustainability, economic viability and the well-being of farm communities. “It is going to be a complicated conversation,” Jackson-Smith said. “Farm policy in the United States has been relatively unchanged since the 1930s. Stakeholders are heavily entrenched. However, the budget crisis today has produced a historic opportunity for change.”

New Faces in Political Science, SSWA

This summer professors Richard Krannich and Roberta Herzberg stepped down from their posts as department heads after 10 and 5 years of service. During his tenure leading the programs in sociology, social work and anthropology, Krannich expanded graduate school programming, grew the social work program, and secured external funding for facilities and research. As head of political science, Herzberg hired exceptional new faculty members, developed an online major and balanced the budget. Professor Michael Lyons will serve as interim head during the 2011-12 year. Sociologist Leon Anderson joined the faculty from Ohio University where he was head of the department. He took the reins of SSWA this fall.

Beat Collection Expands with Potts Gift

In the basement of the Merrill-Cazier Library, nearly 80 linear feet of untouched correspondence, literary manuscripts, diaries and small press, and first edition books of poetry lie waiting for someone to explore their contents and write their history. The collection comprises nearly five decades of writing and communications of Charles Potts, a prolific poet from Idaho, with ties to some of the great American writers. Potts donated it to Utah State University the fall, aiming to open the archives to humanities researchers. The gift adds a regional perspective to the university’s section of Beat poetry as well as a primary source material, said Brad Cole, associate dean for special collections and archives. “Hopefully, it will attract scholars to USU. Potts really worked hard to publish a lot of lesser-known poets.”

Office Hours Blog

In the fall, faculty members launched Office Hours—a blog highlighting the research and teaching happening in the college. So pull up a chair. Don’t worry. There are no tests in this classroom. Just friendly conversations. So please join us at