Research and Creative Activity Council
The Research and Creative Activity Council (RCAC) serves as an advisory committee
to the Associate Provost for Research and Creative Activity. The RCAC provides counsel
on a wide variety of matters relating to the research and creative enterprises of
WKU faculty, staff, and students. The group is composed of the following members:
Dr. Vijay Golla, PhD, MPH is Associate Dean for Research in the College of Health and Human Services at Western Kentucky University (WKU). He is a tenured Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Science (EOHS) in the department of Public Health at WKU.
Dr. Golla has been at WKU for almost 11 years and served as the Director of the Master of Science Program in EOHS prior to his current role. Dr. Golla has been active in community based participatory research focusing on exposure assessment of pesticides in farm populations, water toxins and birth effects in Kentucky, and hazardous materials and risk assessment. His current research pursuits are in the assessment of endotoxin exposures among farm workers in the equine industry.
Dr. Michelle Trawick serves as the Associate Dean for Faculty and Administration in the Gordon Ford College of Business.
Dr. Trawick has spent over seven years immersed in administration, serving first as Chair of the Economics Department and now as the GFCB Associate Dean for Faculty and Administration. Dr. Trawick’s current research interests include the determinants for student success in an applied college of business. More specifically, she is preparing a manuscript to aid other administrators promoting curricular change controlled by another academic college. Further, she and a colleague are testing the results of a multi-year study to determine the effectiveness of a theoretical math class in advancing an applied business curriculum.
Dr. Trawick has participated in several professional development opportunities to enhance her administrative skillset. She attended the Principles and Techniques of Fundraising course offered by The Fundraising School at the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy to assist the dean in fundraising to advance the college. Further, she participated in the Management Development Program offered through Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.
Jeff Hook is Director of the WKU Center for Research and Development and the Executive Director for the Central Region Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network. Jeff Hook brings over 20 years engineering/product development experience along with extensive experience in technical sales, marketing and business startups. Additionally Mr. Hook has managed the operations of the WKU Business Accelerator since it opened in 2004 and works with other regional strategic partners to deliver a variety of business development services to clients that include faculty, students and the general public.
Dr. Andrew McMichael is Associate Dean in the Potter College of Arts & Letters. His primary duties involve: fostering research and creative activity within the college, especially as it relates to securing outside funding through grants and fellowships; curriculum oversight; part-time faculty credentials; outreach to local K-12 schools; coordinating teacher education; academic program assessment.
Dr. McMichael's original scholarly interest was the colonial American Atlantic World, focusing on British colonial North America and its connections with Latin America. The University of Georgia Press published his first monograph, Atlantic Loyalties: Americans in Spanish West Florida, 1785-1810. His current research focuses on food and drink, most specifically in the area of alcohol consumption. He has recently published several short pieces on beer, and have two articles pending publication on the history of alcohol in the Atlantic World--one from 1450 to 1750 and the other from 1850 to 1950. Dr. McMichael is also the Co-Director, with Dr. Cate Webb, of the program in Brewing and Distilling Arts & Sciences at WKU.
Dr. Jenni Rediferis an Assistant Professor within the Department of Psychology. More recently she has been appointed as the Assistant to the Dean for Research within the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Mesa State College (now Colorado Mesa University), and both her M.A.E. and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Florida.
Her research examines cognitive factors related to student learning and achievement. She is also the Lab Director of the Attention and Memory Lab which examines cognitive factors related to student learning and achievement. The lab investigates how working memory capacity (the limited attentional resources we have available during effortful tasks) influences problem-solving and retrieval of information from long-term memory. Part of this work investigates methods for teaching effective strategies to individuals with low working memory capacity (i.e., fewer attentional resources). Effective strategy instruction can help students with low working memory succeed at tasks that tax working memory, such as reading comprehension and mathematical problem-solving.
Dr. Redifer has received over $287,000 in funding from the National Science Foundation and $7,500 through WKU’s Research and Creative Activities Program. She also served as a Research and Creative Activities Program Review Committee member from 2015-2017.
Dr. Merrall Price is Associate Dean for Potter College of Arts & Letters and Special Assistant to the Provost at WKU. She has previously taught at Oklahoma State University and the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She received a PhD. in English from the University of Rochester with a focus on medieval English literature and culture. Her monograph Consuming Passions was published by Routledge, and her coedited volumes Domestic Violence in Medieval Texts by the University Press of Florida, and Jews in Medieval Christendom by Brill respectively. She is currently working on an essay in a collection on teaching the Middle Ages and on an Oxford Bibliographies project.
Dr. Price has been funded by the NEH to attend a summer seminar, which resulted in the second coedited volume. She is PI on a $20,000 grant from Kentucky CPE targeting retention for underprepared students, and is working on a similar $25,000 grant to pilot increased supplemental education programs.
Dr. Cathleen Webb is presently serving as the Associate Dean of Research of the Ogden College of Science and Engineering at Western Kentucky University. Dr. Webb recently completed twelve years as Department Head of Chemistry. Prior to joining the faculty at Western Kentucky University in 2001, she taught for 11 years in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSM&T).
Dr. Webb has had continuous and diverse external research funding (federal – NSF, NPS, USGS, BLM, EPA, and USFS, state and private) since 1991, with over 40 grants totaling over $3M, including an SBIR Phase I and Phase II grant from the EPA. She has published over 40 articles, chapters, conference proceedings, and technical reports. Her research area of specialty is environmental and geochemistry and impacts on water quality.
Dr. Webb is the Principle Investigator on two interdisciplinary NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs. One hallmark of these NSF REU programs is the target population of students, which are first-generation college students from the Appalachian region. This is an important population of students at WKU; one particularly close to her personal values as an educator as she herself was a first generation college student.
Dr. Kevin Williams is a professor in the Department of Chemistry. His research interests are diverse but have focused primarily on the synthesis and reactivity of platinum anticancer drug analogs. He has received grant funding from both state (KY NSF EPSCoR, KBRIN) and national (NIH, NSF, Research Corporation) entities. He is currently the Principal Investigator of an NSF S-STEM grant that provides scholarship support for students pursuing careers in STEM fields and is part of an NIH-supported collaboration to study the hearing loss caused by platinum anticancer drugs.
Dr. Williams served as chair of the University Senate's ad-hoc committee on research in the Spring of 2015. The committee reached out to faculty across all colleges of the university to determine areas in which research could be facilitated at WKU. The committee reported to the provost and the Senate Executive Committee with recommendations for improvements.