Elon faculty showcase research during Planning Week

Planning Week marks the start of the academic year and provides an opportunity for faculty receiving funding from the Faculty Research and Development Committee to present their work.  

Four Elon faculty members from across a range of disciplines on Thursday presented the results of research conducted during the past year with the support of the Faculty Research and Development Committee. 

The presentations were part of Planning Week, a week that marks the start of each academic year with a variety of events and workshops for faculty and staff. The week precedes the arrival of students on campus for the start of classes. 

The Faculty Research and Development Committee allocates funds for sabbaticals, summer fellowships, release time fellowships, research, development and advanced study. 

Presenting this year were: 

Haya Ajjan, associate professor of management information systems
“A road to empowerment: Technology use by women entrepreneurs in South Africa” 

Cyberfeminism is a woman-centered perspective that advocates women’s use of new technologies for empowerment. This study explores the role of technology in empowering women entrepreneurship in emerging economies via increased social capital and improved self-efficacy. Results from a survey of 199 women entrepreneurs engaged in the South African marketplace suggest that ICT use can expand and enhance network ties among women and, in turn, lead to greater sense of goal internalization, self-determination, competence, and impact. Thus, enabling and encouraging technology use among women entrepreneurs will likely lead not only to greater financial security for these women but also positive change across various aspects of society.


Jeff Carpenter, associate professor of education and director of the Teaching Fellows Program
“Opportunities and Challenges of Using Technology to Teach for Global Readiness in the Global Read Aloud”

Technology can create new opportunities for learning with and from people of other cultures, not just about them. The Global Read Aloud (GRA) offers an example of such learning possibilities. The GRA is a project that connects classrooms via digital technologies to discuss common texts. This exploratory research examined the pedagogical opportunities and challenges associated with using technology to teach for global readiness in the GRA. Findings are based upon the survey responses of 516 teachers who participated in the GRA and the observation in two schools of 16 lessons during the GRA Although technology broadened how and with whom GRA students read and discussed literature, the depth and quality of technology-facilitated teaching specifically for global readiness was somewhat unclear.


Mary Jo Festle, Maude Sharpe Powell Professor, professor of history and associate director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
“Using Scholarship to be an Effective, Inclusive, and Sane Teacher”

We teachers now have access to a rich and helpful body of scholarship about what motivates students, how they learn, and what can get in the way of their learning. There’s also research about what contributes to a successful long-term career as a faculty member. This presentation will highlight a few insights from the literature.


Tom Mould, J. Earl Danieley Distinguished Professor and professor of anthropology
“Legends and Personal Witness Stories of Welfare: Breakthroughs in Folklore”

More than forty years after Ronald Reagan first began telling the story of Linda Taylor, the legend of “the welfare queen” remains in popular and political discourse, shaping not only our views of public assistance, poverty, and the poor, but our policies as well. Scholars in fields throughout the social sciences have provided numerous answers to why the legend persists. Narrative analysis of the oral tradition, however, provides new and disturbing answers. In this talk, I will focus on one type of story—the personal witness story—a widely ignored narrative genre that not only sheds new light on why virulent stereotypes about the poor persist in the U.S. today, but provides clear evidence in the debates of two of folklore’s most persistent questions about genre and narrative performance.