2015 Outstanding Dissertation and Clinical Project Awards

Outstanding Dissertation Award

Eike Mueller

Title: Cleansing the Common: A Narrative-Intertextual Study of Mark 7:1-23

Program: Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Eike Mueller tackles the challenging passage where many interpreters feel Jesus abolished the distinction between clean and unclean foods. Bringing together historical-grammatical, narrative, purity and intertextual methodologies to focus on the question, Mueller skillfully demonstrates that in Mark 7:1–23 neither Mark nor Jesus abrogates the clean/unclean distinction of Leviticus. Instead, Mark in v. 19 correctly summarizes Jesus’ position that new “traditions,” established during the Second Temple period, overextended God’s requirements and are hence invalid. In the larger context (Mark 6–8 and particularly Mark 7:24–30), κοινός defilement from Gentiles is therefore an invalid expansion of God’s law and, instead, mission to all people is a divine imperative (Gen 12:1–3; Mark 7:24–30; Acts 10–11).

Well known and respected Gospels narrative scholar Elizabeth Struthers Malbon was the external examiner. She stated at the defense, “The interpretation of Mark 7 that I have been taught in classes and learned from my reading is here turned quite on its head—but with painstaking argumentation, and I will have to teach about this passage (and Acts 10) differently in the future . . . Mueller is in creative dialogue with the relevant scholarly literature AND is also an innovator at certain points . . . He makes a clear contribution to scholarship by sifting through, presenting, and critiquing the arguments of other scholars on Mark 7 and Leviticus, especially Leviticus 11 . . . to present a convincing argument that many, if not most, scholars (including me) have been misreading a central aspect of Mark 7.”

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Outstanding Dissertation Award

Rachel Miller

Title: Crisis Communication and University Presidential Leadership: A Rhetorical Analysis of Three Case Studies

Program: School of Education

Rachel Miller’s  study creatively researched a rhetorical analysis using a multiple case study approach. The study analyzed the apologia (crisis communication) campaigns of three (3) university leaders following a major crisis at their respective universities. The university leaders include the chancellor of the University of California at Davis following the 2011 pepper-spray incident, the president of Bluffton University (Ohio) following the 2007 baseball team bus accident, and the president of Virginia Tech following the 2007 on-campus mass shooting. Rachel was mentored by the president at another university and her study earned the praise of President Andreasen.

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Outstanding Dissertation Project Award

Nicholas Smith

Title: Case Report: Treatment of Secondary Otalgia of Temporomandibular Joint and Cervical Spine Origin with Orthopedic Manual Therapy.

Program: School of Health Professions

When patients report ear pain to their physicians, they hardly expect to be referred to physical therapy for a biomechanical assessment. Perhaps this is about to change. Ear pain (including symptoms such as perceived hearing loss, hypersensitivity to sound, pressure, fullness, dizziness and vertigo, or ringing in the ears) is only related to pathology within the ear about 50% of the time. Neck and jaw dysfunction have been identified as a common causes of secondary ear pain. Nicholas Smith’s study provides a detailed description of the differential diagnosis and successful treatment of such a patient by a physical therapist using Orthopedic Manual Therapy techniques. Upon publication, we hope his work will lead more patients and physicians to consider a biomechanical cause of ear pain and the potential benefits of physical therapy treatment.