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Spotlight on Student-Faculty Collaboration

SFC-Ratliff-honors-thesisDarby Ratliff ’16, stumbled into her honors thesis topic during her freshman year in Dr. Robert Butler’s Honors 101 course. He offered his class a variety of topics for a final paper but encouraged fresh ideas. Darby came to him with the idea of writing about Captain America as the embodiment of changing American ideals and values since World War II. Dr. Butler didn’t hesitate to approve her rather unorthodox final paper and off she went. In the following semesters, he reminded Darby that the subject would be a good focus for an All-College Honors thesis and so as she prepared for her thesis, “Captain America: The Hero with a Thousand Masks,” Dr. Butler was the natural choice for her thesis advisor.

Doing research for her thesis involved paging through hundreds of Captain America comics, from their beginnings in the late 1930s and early 1940s to contemporary issues. The star-spangled hero has been explored before in critical theory and so Dr. Butler encouraged her to explore what makes his story so appealing. Why was he, as a superhero, more important to consider within American traditions than Superman? What draws people to Captain America? Dr. Butler pushed Darby to dust off her knowledge of mythology, wondering if there was a relationship between Captain America and the traditional tales of mythological heroes. Sure enough, it was clear from Joseph Campbell’s text The Hero with a Thousand Faces, that Captain America was consistently undergoing many of the trials and tribulations faced by his ancient counterparts while at the same time serving as an embodiment of what this nation values. In order to better help her understand, Dr. Butler offered a number of literary examples to operationalize the ages in which Captain America lived and at the same time Darby was taking a course he was offering on modern heroes and antiheroes.

The mentoring and collaboration between faculty and students at Canisius can lead to exciting opportunities beyond the classroom. In April of this year, Darby will present a modified version of her thesis titled “Redefining a National Hero: Captain America as an Indicator of Nation-State Relations in the U.S” at the New York State Political Science Association Conference at SUNY New Paltz.

Submitted by: Sara Morris, PhD, associate vice president, academic affairs

Hockey Regular Season Finale

Cuddemi_Niagara1_0315Your Canisius Hockey Team will host its final regular season home game on Friday night with playoff seeding at stake. The Griffs meet first place Robert Morris at 7:35 p.m. in HARBORCENTER. Tickets are available by calling 888-TIXX.

Make sure you ask about our Friday Night Fan Pack that includes food and adult beverages. Friday’s game will be the final regular season appearance at HARBORCENTER for seniors Ralph Cuddemi and Mathew Backhouse. The two will be honored in pre-game ceremonies that will start at approximately 7:30 p.m.

Canisius has clinched a first round home playoff series, however final seeding will not be determined until games are played this weekend. Playoff games, against an opponent to be determined, will be held Friday, March 4 and Saturday, March 5, with a game on March 6 to be played, if necessary. Stay tuned for ticket information.

Submitted by: John Maddock, associate athletic director, external affairs

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul to Discuss Sexual Assault Prevention on College Campuses

New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will discuss “Sexual Assault Prevention Efforts on College Campuses” on Thursday, March 3 at 1:00 p.m. in the Grupp Fireside Lounge. Hochul is a dynamic speaker addressing a timely and important subject to help kick off Women’s History Month. All interested students, faculty and staff are welcome to attend.

This event is sponsored by the History Department, Women and Gender Studies Program, All-College Honors Program, Andrew L. Bouwhuis Library and the Archives and Special Collections.

Light refreshments will be served. Send questions to Kate Dierenfield, PhD at

Submitted by: Kate Dierenfield, PhD, adjunct professor, history

The Video Institute Presents: “The Poverty Parallel”

PP_Poster_WebThe Canisius College Video Institute presents the premiere screening of “The Poverty Parallel,” a documentary that challenges perceptions of poverty, on Wednesday March 2 at 7:00 p.m. in the Science Hall Commons. The event is free and open to the public. Following the screening there will be a panel discussion and refreshments.

“The Poverty Parallel,” by journalism and religious studies dual-major Katie Cosgrove ’15 and digital media arts and communication studies dual-major Tyler Kauffmann ’16, examines how Westernization increases a desire for modernization in an underdeveloped nation and challenges what it means to be rich or poor. The documentary explores this parallel and the increase in Westernization in Marangu, Tanzania through: agricultural history, tourism in the Kilimanjaro region and cultural shifts in society. The documentary came to be through a course coordinated by religious studies professor Timothy Wadkins, PhD, education professor James Oigara, PhD, and the Institute for the Global Study of Religion at Canisius College.

This documentary is a must-see event for anyone interested in the relationship between cultural shifts and global social issues.

Watch the trailer here.

For more information about the event, email Jamie O’Neil at

Submitted by: Sarah Seiler – student

Women’s Business Center Presents Twitter for Business

Learn how to utilize Twitter as a free or inexpensive marketing tool as part of your social media strategy! Our three-hour hands-on workshop will be held in the computer lab at the Canisius Center for Professional Development, 300 Corporate Parkway, Amherst, NY on Thursday, March 3, from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Call Karen Burke at 888-8282 or register online:

Submitted by: Karen Burke, coordinator, women’s business center