February 28, 2019


Gems from the MSU Billings Treasure Chest banner


MSU Billings Library announces spring lecture series

Five-part weekly series, “Gems from the MSU Billings Treasure Chest” begins March 12



University Communications and Marketing, 657-2266


MSU BILLINGS NEWS—“Gems from the MSU Billings Treasure Chest,” is the theme of the spring lecture series at MSU Billings Library, which includes presentations by some of MSUB’s finest faculty from each of the five colleges.


The weekly, five-part series will take place Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m., beginning March 12. They will be held in MSUB Library room 148; each lecture is free of charge and open to the public.


“One of the goals of the Library Lecture Series is to showcase the talented faculty we have here at MSU Billings and share them with our university and Billings community,” stated Library Director Darlene Hert.


Dr. Tom Nurmi, Assistant Professor of English, will open the lecture series on March 12 with his presentation, “The Prometheus Paradox: How Monsters Make Us Human.” Paying tribute to the 200 th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, Nurmi will explore the Prometheus myth and how it has influenced literature and film.


Dr. Nurmi joined MSUB’s Department of English, Philosophy, and Modern Languages in 2014 and has been teaching American literature ever since. Nurmi also instructs courses for the Environmental Studies and Native American Studies programs. Well experienced in research and publications, Nurmi written several books, his most recent, “Melville and Ecology,” to come in 2020 from the University of Virginia Press. His research explores how physical, legal, and social geographies influenced early American literary history. 


On March 19, Fire Science Instructor Kelly McCoy will present, “Red Fire Trucks and Big Mustaches: Reimagining Fire and Emergency Services in the Experience Age.” His lecture will reimagine the fire service and address what changes need to be made in order to adapt to today’s “Experience Age.” Fire services are still adhering to 1970s models and standards, leading to poor efficiency and slow responses. McCoy will explore what the service can do to move forward and progress further into this day and age.


In addition to instructing Fire Science classes, McCoy serves as director of the Fire Science program at MSUB’s City College, where he was instrumental securing full accreditation for the program from the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) in 2017, making City College one of around 35 accredited programs across the United States. McCoy is accredited as a Chief Training Officer (CTO) by the Center for Public Safety Excellence and holds a master’s degree in education.


Assistant Professor of Health and Human Performance, Dr. Jeffery Michael Willardson will present “Physical Inactivity: The major public health problem of the new millennium” on March 26. Focusing on the recently released physical activity guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Willardson will speak on the association between physical activity and health, specific actions that account for better health, proper nutrient intake, and the dosage of certain exercise models to accrue benefits.


Dr. Willardson currently teaches Biomechanics, Exercise Physiology, Kinesiology, and Research Methods courses at MSUB. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees with emphasis on Exercise Science from Utah State University before receiving his Ph.D. from Arizona State University. There, he was recognized as the Outstanding Graduating Doctoral Scholar. Since then, he has written over 90 scientific manuscripts on improving health and performance and has presented his research across the globe. Increasing his experience and accreditation, Willardson is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and also serves as an Education Board Member for the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association.


The series will continue on April 2 with a presentation by Brian Gurney, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Management, titled “Cyber Security: A 21st Century Industry.” Gurney will talk about the current cyber landscape and what defensive measures must be done to protect ourselves and our information. With many banking, defense, and medical companies under constant cyber-attack, few people know what they can do to ensure their own safety.


Gurney holds a BSBA in Production Operations and a MBA in Information Systems from the University of Colorado. Well experienced in quality control, research, and management, Gurney has served in many positions including Lead Researcher under a NASA contract, Principal Investigator for  energy projects, and Project Manager for energy technology at MSUB. Gurney currently teaches numerous classes in the areas of Management, Operations, and Economics both in-class and online. Utilizing his expertise in computers and information systems, Gurney has designed four online classes that are being taught today at MSUB.


Assistant Professor of Educational Theory and Practice, Dr. Christopher Harrison will conclude the series on April 9 with his lecture, “The Noble Profession: Contextualizing recent teacher strikes and considering the profession of teaching in Montana.” Harrison will focus on the recent trend of teacher strikes for better pay and working conditions in several states, analyzing the current opportunities and challenges that can affect the recruitment and retention of high-quality educators for Montana’s students.


Dr. Harrison began teaching at MSUB in the fall of 2017 and has since obtained great recognition for his research and education efforts. In Nov. of 2017, Harrison was featured as a guest contributor on a popular education blog by Education Week. He currently teaches courses on philosophical, legal and ethical issues in education for both undergraduate and graduate students. He received his Ph.D. from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master’s degree in Social Studies Education from Florida State University, and a Bachelor of History degree from the University of South Florida.


“All of the five faculty presenting are first-time Library Lecture Series presenters,” said Hert. “It is especially exciting to have their participation and introduce them to our community of lecture series attendees.”


For more information, contact Library Director Darlene Hert at 406-657-1655, or dhert@msubillings.edu.


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