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Saint Vincent College Faculty Blog

Jim Kellam

Recent Posts

Are my students ready to save the tiger?

Posted by Jim Kellam on Sat, Jan 23, 2016 @ 12:01 PM

This semester I am teaching a course called Endangered Species Conservation. I find that most people have no idea what a course with this title is about, so I’ll explain. First, an endangered species is an animal (or plant, or other living organism) that is exposed to one or more risk factors that could lead to the species’ extinction. Thus, a course on the conservation of endangered species should explore the reasons for the heightened risk and what can be done to lower it.

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Topics: Jim Kellam, tigers, extinction, conservation, problem solving

Doing Fly Like a Bird

Posted by Jim Kellam on Tue, Nov 17, 2015 @ 15:11 PM

I am a wildlife biologist, but I am just as likely to be found swimming in the Resnik Pool at Saint Vincent College as I am watching birds fly over the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve or the campus wetlands. I took some time during my sabbatical to consider how similar the transportation modes of swimming and flying are to one another and wrote an article to put my thoughts in order.

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Topics: Jim Kellam, Faculty, Swimming, Saint Vincent College, Ornithology

How to Find a Woodpecker Nest

Posted by Jim Kellam on Fri, May 8, 2015 @ 08:05 AM

Several colleagues teased me this week about my sabbatical being over now that the semester has ended. Fortunately though, I can continue my research activities until August. I started this blog to chronical my sabbatical and I had the intention of writing a post about once a week. I maintained that frequency through March, but the time between posts has gotten longer as my personal and professional lives have gotten busier. On the personal front, I have just become a first-time homeowner! I can’t imagine going through this process while teaching full time, so I am thankful that my sabbatical has coincided with this big life step. I am now moved in, and I know where most of my stuff is, even if it is still mostly in boxes.

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Topics: Sabbatical, Jim Kellam, Woodpeckers

Spring means it's time to go mist netting

Posted by Jim Kellam on Tue, Apr 7, 2015 @ 11:04 AM

It is finally spring! Like everyone else, I have been waiting and waiting for the cold temperatures of winter to break and the sun to come out. Spring weather means I can go for a run or bike ride… which I will do later today. The warmer temperatures have also allowed me to work on another planned sabbatical project that was on hold until recently.

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Topics: Sabbatical, Jim Kellam, Bird Banding, Mist Netting

Remembering Laura Wilkinson

Posted by Jim Kellam on Tue, Mar 17, 2015 @ 15:03 PM

We are grieving the loss of Laura Wilkinson this week.

Laura had several different roles in the Boyer School. She was an adjunct professor in the chemistry department, teaching one of the General Chemistry labs. She was also a lab manager, a position split between the biology and chemistry departments. Those were her official titles, but of course she was much more than those words on paper. She was a wife, a mother to 4 children, a friend to everyone. She was gentle. Her smile was golden, as was her laugh. Our students learned from her and leaned on her for emotional support. Laura was fun to be around.

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Topics: Biology, Laura Wilkinson

Open books, Open nets, Forward Directions

Posted by Jim Kellam on Mon, Mar 9, 2015 @ 15:03 PM

I waited a little longer to write this blog post because I couldn’t think of a topic to write about. Figuratively, I’ve got a lot of open books and none are very close to being finished. So here are a few things I’ve done since you last heard from me:

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Topics: Sabbatical, Jim Kellam

Flying like a Bird Underwater

Posted by Jim Kellam on Fri, Feb 20, 2015 @ 09:02 AM

I will write about writing this week. I am on sabbatical and  finding plenty of time to “write.” I put that word in quotes because not all writing is actual writing. Obviously, I write with the aid of a computer, and for me, the amount of text on the screen at the end of the day may not be much more than what was there in the beginning. Writing is a slow process. I can type a lot faster than I can write!  Confused? If so, maybe I should re-write this paragraph to make it clearer. But that will take too long. Like I said: slow.

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Topics: Sabbatical, Jim Kellam, Woodpeckers, Swimming

My guest speaker is named Dr. Fish but she cares for birds. Go figure.

Posted by Jim Kellam on Fri, Feb 13, 2015 @ 11:02 AM

I am trying to stay away from my normal work responsibilities while I am on sabbatical, but this is hard for two reasons: (1) I like what I do at work, and (2) there are some parts of my work that would be left undone if I was not there to do them. Both these reasons are true for the annual Bioethics Forum in the biology department.

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Topics: Biology, Sabbatical, Jim Kellam, Birds, Ethics

Why Blue Jays play with their food.

Posted by Jim Kellam on Wed, Feb 4, 2015 @ 11:02 AM

I just resubmitted an article to a peer-reviewed journal. As I mentioned in one of my first blog posts, my former student Dakota Hutchinson, C’14, and I took his senior thesis in Biology and converted it into manuscript form. We sent it to the editor of a national journal that publishes undergraduate work, and she sent the paper to two anonymous reviewers. The reviews came in, and over the last month, Dakota has done most of the work responding to the criticisms and suggestions of the reviewers.

I took a look at Dakota’s revisions, made a few revisions of my own, and sent the 22-page manuscript back to the editor today. I expect she will accept the changes we made and then forward it to the publisher. There are lots of details here I am skipping over because I want to share with you what our research was about.

Dakota studied “anting” behavior. I will let our article’s abstract speak for itself:

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Topics: science, Sabbatical, Jim Kellam, Blue Jays

Serving others while on sabbatical

Posted by Jim Kellam on Mon, Jan 26, 2015 @ 16:01 PM

Is this really my 5th blog post? Already? Maybe this sabbatical of mine is going to go even faster than I thought.

That’s certainly true of this past week. Where did the time go? I spent less time in the office and more doing personal things with family and friends. The work on campus I did include another couple of letters of recommendation, purchasing a book and some software for my research, planning the bioethics seminar I am coordinating next month, and making sure my junior and senior research students are being attended to while I am absent. I also read some scientific articles about animal home ranges, and unsuccessfully searched for a data file I need to finish my home range analysis manuscript.

All of these are possible topics for a blog post. But today, I want to talk about community service--because that was what occupied a lot of my time this week. 

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Topics: community service, Sabbatical, Jim Kellam

About the Authors

Michelle Gil-Montero is an associate professor of English and director of creative writing at Saint Vincent College. She runs the visiting writers series on campus, oversees the student literary magazine, and serves as guru to aspiring poets on campus. She received her MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2007, and she has been on the Saint Vincent faculty since that year. She is an active poet and literary translator from Spanish. She is spending part of the 2016-17 school year travelling to Argentina on a Howard Foundation fellowship and Fulbright grant. 

Dr. John J. Smetanka has been a member of the full-time faculty since 1997 and currently serves as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean of Saint Vincent College, a position he has held since January 2008. Dr. Smetanka has taught courses in Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry and Geology as well as interdisciplinary seminars. He has published scientific research articles in physics and astrophysics journals, numerous conference proceedings and also works in science education reform and the interaction between science, technology and theology.

Jim Kellam is an associate professor of biology at Saint Vincent College and our resident ornithologist. He received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2003, and is taking this semester as a sabbatical. What does that mean? He'll explain in his blog posts.

Dr. Michael J. Urick is Graduate Director of the Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence program, and Assistant Professor of Management and Operational Excellence at the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government. Dr. Urick teaches courses related to organizational behavior, human resources, culture, leadership, diversity, conflict, supply chain, operations and research methods. Professionally, Urick serves on the board of the Institute for Supply Management (Pittsburgh) and belongs to the Society for Human Resource Management and APICS. For fun, Urick enjoys music and, since 1998, has led and performed with Neon Swing X-perience, a jazz band that has released multiple albums and toured portions of the US. He enjoys watching movies, is an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction, and also likes to fence.

David Safin, C'00, has been a lecturer in the communication department since the Fall of 2003, and has served in a variety of administrative roles since the summer of 2004. Currently, he teaches multimedia in the communication department as an assistant professor. 

Dr. Michael Krom received his Doctorate in philosophy at Emory University in 2007 and is currently the chair of the philosophy department at Saint Vincent. He has authored a book on religion and politics and continues to publish works in Catholic moral and political thought. Dr. Krom also directs the Faith and Reason summer program every summer. 

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