Honors Program Rapid Response Salons on COVID-19.

Our faculty and alumni provide expert commentary in an engaging live format.

About the Salons

The Honors Program faculty developed the salons as a rapid response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

The salons are designed to present the research of Ithaca College faculty from across the disciplines and schools as it helps to sharpen our understandings of the impact of the virus on all aspect of life, work, and research.  The salons are also designed to open up necessary and urgent public dialogues about the pandemic.

Alumni are also invited to share their experience and work on the salons. 

Interdisciplinary and addressing the complexities of the current moment through inquiry, the short presentations at the salons open up new ways of considering the pandemic through multiple disciplines, positions, lens. 

Each hour-long salon features three to four speakers presenting a five to seven minute talk on COVID in an engaging live format meant to provide expert commentary.

The majority of the salon focuses on audience questions and conversation.

The salons represent a public-facing initiative for the Honors Program and Ithaca College, with participants ranging from accepted high school students, current Ithaca College students, Ithaca College faculty, staff, professors from other institutions, regional business owners, community members, and people from over twenty different countries.

The Working Group

Dr. Jonathan Ablard is Professor of History at Ithaca College. He is a historian of Latin America. His research and teaching focus include the history of public health, social and welfare policies, state-society relations, and mental health. He has published on psychiatry, military service, and nutrition. He has been at Ithaca College since 2005.

Dr. Stewart Auyash is Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education at Ithaca College. He studies and teaches public health policy, public health communication, and media representations of public health.  He has written and spoken about his observations and experiences living in Singapore during the SARS epidemic.  In his spare time while teaching online during the pandemic, he is revisiting the numerous books and articles that forewarned about a catastrophic global public health event and why so few paid attention to these projections.

Yolanda Clarke is the manager of Tutoring Services and Program Director of the Emerging and Professional Leaders Program at Ithaca College.  She teaches “Inequalities in Health” in the Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education and has taught an Ithaca Seminar, "High as a Kite:  A Nation under the Influence."  Yolanda has spent 30 years of in higher education.  In each roles, she directs special attention to historically underrepresented students. Prior to Ithaca College, she worked for the Monroe County Department of Social Services with unemployed families.  She is currently a doctoral student at the University of Rochester.

Dr. Brooks Miner is Assistant Professor of Biology at Ithaca College, where he conducts research on the ecology, evolution, and physiology of organisms that inhabit lakes and ponds. His broad interests as an educator have led him to develop interdisciplinary courses about topics such as the human relationship with alcohol and the environmental history of Alaska. He has co-authored thirteen peer-reviewed scientific articles, has contributed chapters to the bestselling undergraduate textbook Evolutionary Analysis, and has published data journalism articles for the website FiveThirtyEight

Dr. Alicia Swords has been a member of the sociology department at Ithaca College since 2006. Her research and teaching take political economic, ethnographic and engaged approaches to social change and social movements in the United States and Latin America. She has recently published about organizational change, food dignity, and neo-Zapatista network politics. As honors program director, she enjoys working with a fantastic steering committee and supporting students  excited by interdisciplinary studies, global learning. and civic engagement.

Dr. Patricia R. Zimmermann is Professor of Screen Studies at Ithaca College and Codirector of the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF). Her most recent books include Thinking Through Digital Media: Transnational Environments and Locative Places (with Dale Hudson, 2015); Open Spaces: Openings, Closings, and Thresholds of Independent Public Media (2016); The Flaherty: Decades in the Cause of Independent Film (with Scott MacDonald, 2017); Open Space New Media Documentary: A Toolkit for Theory and Practice (with Helen De Michiel, 2018); Documentary Across Platforms: Reverse Engineering Media, Place, and Politics (2019); and Flash Flaherty: Tales from a Film Seminar (with Scott MacDonald, 2021).

How to Get Involved

Membership on the working group is open to all Ithaca College faculty and staff. 

To propose a salon topic, please write to honors@ithaca.edu   

The vitality of the salons depends on ideas generated from the Ithaca College scholarly and research community, so do be in touch with your ideas and suggestions. 

Special Thanks to Other Working Group Members

Staff from the Office of Engagement and Constituent Relations at Ithaca are part of the working group and have contributed with logistics, idea generation, contacts, marketing, public, alumni engagement, development, and outreach. Quincy Davidson, Jon Gregory, and Melissa Risch. Special thanks to Dr. Wendy Kobler, Vice President, Institutional Advancement,  and Laurie Koehler, Vice President, Marketing and Enrollment Strategy,  for their support of and contributions to this project.