Milligan professor to lecture on Wilderness Road hike

Dahlman_SimonMILLIGAN COLLEGE, TN (April 8, 2014) — Simon J. Dahlman, associate professor of communications at Milligan College, will present a faculty lecture on Tuesday, April 15, at 7 p.m. in Hyder Auditorium, located in Milligan’s Science Building. The lecture is free and open to the public.

His lecture is part of Milligan’s inaugural RISE Above Research Conference, which showcases mentored undergraduate research at Milligan.

The title of Dahlman’s lecture is “A Familiar Wilderness: Searching for Home on Daniel Boone’s Road.” It will focus on a 300-mile hike he made in summer 2013 from Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area (Elizabethton, Tenn.) to Fort Boonesborough State Park (Richmond, Ky.). He traced the route of the old Wilderness Road laid out by Daniel Boone and his crew in 1775.

Through his trip, Dahlman learned how the region developed since Boone’s trek almost 240 years ago. Dahlman is at work on a book about the present-day Wilderness Road and his journey. During his lecture, he will read a short excerpt from his book-in-progress.

“In many ways—socially, culturally, religiously, economically—today’s Appalachia and America were profoundly shaped by the legacies of pioneers and settlers,” Dahlman said. “I hope the audience comes away with a greater understanding of how our history has shaped us and continues to affect us.”

Dahlman graduated from Milligan in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible and humanities. He earned a master’s degree in English from the University of Cincinnati and will complete a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction from Goucher College (Baltimore, Md.) this year.

In addition to teaching, he serves as faculty adviser to Milligan’s student news service. He is a regular contributor to Christian Standard magazine and currently serves on the governing board of the Buechner Institute in Bristol, Tenn.

His lecture will conclude a day of undergraduate research presentations.

“My presentation will offer an example of how research takes many forms and, just as importantly, informs and enhances all kinds of projects, whether in the academy, or — as in my case, literally — on the road,” Dahlman said.

Prior to Dahlman’s lecture, Milligan students will present their own research projects from 2-6:30 p.m. in Milligan’s Derthick Hall.

The conference is a culminating event for students who have been engaged in mentored undergraduate research at Milligan. Presentations will showcase scholarly and creative research from many disciplines and majors.

“Though this isn’t the first undergraduate research conference hosted on our campus, this will be the first time that we have held a conference to showcase our new mentored research initiative,” said Joy Drinnon, professor of psychology and director of undergraduate research at Milligan.

Beginning in spring 2013, the college implemented a program titled RISE Above, which stands for “Research Increases Student Engagement.” The program seeks to significantly increase the number of students who participate in undergraduate research.

Students who wish to pursue undergraduate research for credit identify a faculty mentor who supports and facilitates the research initiative, including the completion of one or more courses in which the research is the focus.

Fourteen students will present at the RISE Above Research Conference on April 15, with topics ranging from Latino students’ perception of higher education to differences in obituaries of men and women.

“I started this event because students need access to an easy venue where they can share their research findings,” Drinnon said. “I also want the conference to be an opportunity to get more students excited about trying research.”

The conference will be split in different sections, which are free and open to the public. From 2:10 to 3:30 p.m., students with research posters will present their pieces on the second floor of Derthick. Oral research presentations will follow from 3:45 to 5:30 p.m. Students in fine arts research will perform from 4:45 to 5:30 p.m., and Dahlman’s 7 p.m. lecture will wrap up the conference.

For more information on the RISE Above program, visit To learn more about Milligan, visit

Posted by on April 8, 2014.