Go back

APSU welcomes new faculty, new directors

August 19, 2003

Thirty new faculty and three new directors have joined the Austin Peay family.

The College of Professional Programs and Social Sciences, under the leadership of Dr. David Denton, interim dean, has many new faculty members. Within the School of Business, College of Professional Programs and Social Sciences:

*Dr. Neil Thorburn is the interim director of the APSU School of Business. He earned a PhD in history from Northwestern University. Both his masters and bachelors degrees in history are from the University of Connecticut.
August 19, 2003

Thirty new faculty and three new directors have joined the Austin Peay family.

The College of Professional Programs and Social Sciences, under the leadership of Dr. David Denton, interim dean, has many new faculty members. Within the School of Business, College of Professional Programs and Social Sciences:

*Dr. Neil Thorburn is the interim director of the APSU School of Business. He earned a PhD in history from Northwestern University. Both his master's and bachelor's degrees in history are from the University of Connecticut.

He was president of Wilmington College in Ohio from 1982-95. Most recently, he was interim president of McPherson College in Kansas. During 1999-2001, he served as interim provost for The College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University in Minnesota and, during 1997-99, as interim president of Holy Names College in California. In 1995-97, he was interim vice president for academic affairs for Bellarmine University, Louisville, Ky.

Thorburn has been the chair of the board of directors of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio, Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education and the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges. He was chair of the Ohio College Association and vice chair of the board of the Greater Cincinnati Consortium of Colleges and Universities. He served on the State of Ohio Higher Education Facilities Commission by gubernatorial appointment.

He has written many scholarly articles and more than 40 book reviews in such professional journals as American Quarterly, Journal of American History and The Historian.

*Dr. David Eichelberger, assistant professor of accounting, is not new to APSU, having taught as a temporary faculty member in 1988-91 and 2000-03. He earned a bachelor's degree in business education from Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio. His master's degree and doctorate are from The Ohio State University. A certified public accountant, Eichelberger's past teaching posts include Miami University of Ohio, Wright State University, Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio, and Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, Penn.

His professional affiliations include the American Accounting Association, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, American Taxation Association and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), in which he held various leadership positions on the local, regional and national levels. He was listed in “Who's Who Among America's Teachers” and was named IMA Dayton Chapter's Member of the Year for 1999-02.

*Dr. Hassan A. Said, associate professor of accounting, comes to APSU from the College of Business, Albany State University, Albany, Ga., where he has been teaching since 1998. Prior to 1998, he taught at the University of West Alabama, Livingston, University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa, Stillman College in Tuscaloosa and The College of Insurance in New York City.

Said earned a master's degree in finance, an MBA and a doctorate, all from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. His bachelor's degree in accounting and high diploma in insurance management are from the University of Baghdad in Iraq.

In addition to professional affiliations, Said's articles have been published in numerous scholarly publications. He was named to “Who's Who Among America's Teachers” in 1997 and nominated in 1992 for Outstanding Professor of the Year at the University of West Alabama.

Within the School of Education, College of Professional Programs and Social Sciences:

*Dr. John Mitchell, a former adjunct faculty member in APSU's department of education, is interim director of the School of Education. He served as supervisor of student teachers at APSU from 1993-2002. Previous work at Wayland University included dean of arts and humanities, assistant vice president and assistant to the president.

He earned his doctorate in educational leadership from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. His bachelor's degree and secondary teaching certification in English are from Western Kentucky University. He did postdoctorates at Texas Tech University and Wayne State University.

Mitchell has written several scholarly articles for publication, and his book, “Creating User-Friendly Classrooms,” was named “Outstanding Academic Book for 1992” by The American Library Association. Other publications include “User-Friendly Classrooms,” “Re-Visioning Educational Leadership” and the article, “Being an Educational Leader,” published in “Scholar and Educator” (Spring 1987).

*APSU's new coordinator of school-based teaching, Dr. Bettie Barrett, assistant professor, comes to the University from the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, where she was an instructor in the department of educational leadership and research and also the assistant director of educational field experiences for student-teachers.

She completed her master's degree in 1997 and PhD in educational administration in 2000, both from the University of Southern Mississippi, earning a perfect 4.0 GPA in both instances. In 1978, she earned a doctor of jurisprudence degree from Atlanta Law School while working full time. Her bachelor's degree is from the University of South Alabama, Mobile.

Barrett's long list of scholarly presentations, publications and papers is impressive. She also has been a consultant in several projects. In 2000, she was a mentor for the National Board Certification for Professional Teachers on dissertations, educational statistics and technology. She also has served in myriad professional organizations and received numerous honors for her work.

*Teaching since 2001 as a temporary assistant professor of education at APSU, Dr. Mary Jane Hayes of Clarksville earned a doctorate from Tennessee State University (TSU) in May 2003. Her master's degree in special education is from TSU and her bachelor's degree in East Asian Studies is from Vanderbilt.

From 1998-2001, she was an instructor for undergraduates admitted to the teacher-preparation program; in 1997-98, she was a special education teacher for Metro Nashville Schools.

In addition to her scholarly publications and presentations, she is a member of the Mid South Educational Research Association, the Council for Exceptional Children and The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

Within the School of Nursing, College of Professional Programs and Social Sciences:

*Martha Fiese of Elkton, Ky., assistant professor of nursing, graduated summa cum laude from Murray State University with a bachelor's degree in nursing. She was named Outstanding Nursing Student for 1995. In 1999, she earned a master's degree in nursing from Murray State, with a 4.0 GPA.

Fiese is board certified in psychiatric nursing by the American Nursing Association and is a member of the Kentucky Nurses Association, serving as president of District 11 in 2002.

*Amy S. Hamlin is a new assistant professor of nursing, who earned a master's degree in nursing and a family nurse practitioner degree in May 2002 from Michigan State University. Her bachelor's degree in nursing is from Carson-Newman College.

Since August 2002, she has been a clinical instructor at Belmont University and has worked as a registered pediatric nurse at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Previous work includes nursing appointments with Skyline Pediatrics, Nashville, Lansing Pediatrics, Lansing, Mich., a travel nurse for Children's Heathcare of Atlanta and travel nurse for Seattle Children's Medical Center.

*Brenda G. Armstrong is a new assistant professor of nursing. She earned both her BSN and MSN from Murray State University. Since 1990, she has been a staff nurse and relief charge nurse on a medical-surgical unit of Murray-Calloway County Hospital.

She is member of several professional organizations, including Sigma Theta Tau and the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists.

In the department of psychology:

*Dr. Paul Nicodemus, assistant professor of psychology, comes to APSU from the department of psychology, Delta State University, where he was an assistant professor.

He earned his doctorate in experimental psychology from Texas Tech University in 1997. His master's degree in psychology is from Florida Institute of Technology and his bachelor's degree in psychology is from Trevecca Nazarene University, Nashville.

Nicodemus has had articles published in professional journals and has made several scholarly presentations. He is a member of the American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society and Southeast Psychological Association.

In the sociology and social work department:

*Dr. Elgin Mannion returns to APSU from the University of Kentucky (UK), where she has been working as a research assistant in the Appalachian Center while completing her doctorate in sociology, which she recently received from UK. She earned a master's degree from Middle Tennessee State University in 1997 and bachelor's degree from APSU in 1994.

From 1998-2002, she was an adjunct sociology faculty member at APSU, and during 1998-2000, she was an instructor at UK. Her scholarly activities include several invited presentations and publications, and she is a member of the American Sociological Association, Appalachian Studies Association and Southern Sociological Association.

*David Foster Steele, instructor of sociology, is completing his doctorate at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. He earned a master's degree in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1993 and completed additional graduate work at the Center for European Integration Studies, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitat in Bonn, Germany. His bachelor's degree is from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Among his honors: In 2002-03, he held the Yates Dissertation Fellowship at UT; he won first place in the Society for the Study of Social Problems National Student Paper Competition for 2003; and he was president of the Sociology Graduate Student Association in 2001-02.

Steele is a member of the American Sociological Association, Society for the Study of Social Problems, the Southern Sociological Society and the American Association of University Professors. He has had reports published, made scholarly presentations and attended many professional conferences.

*Dr. Joyce Avotri comes to APSU from Lane College, Jackson, Tenn., where she was an assistant professor of sociology.

She completed a master's degree and doctorate in sociology from McMaster University in Canada in 1997. In 1990 she earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Ghana, having received the Ghana Government Scholarship. She also completed a summer fellowship at the University of Oslo in 1993.

Several of her articles have been printed in peer-reviewed publications, and she has given various scholarly presentations and guest lectures.

The College of Arts and Letters, under the leadership of an interim dean, Dr. Jim Diehr, welcomes the following new faculty:

In the department of history and philosophy:

*Dr. David Snyder was appointed assistant professor of history, after serving as a visiting assistant professor of history at APSU in 2002-03. Graduating with a perfect 4.0 GPA, he earned his doctorate in modern European history from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, in May 2002. Both his master's and bachelor's degrees are from Indiana University.

Snyder, who has authored several scholarly articles for professional publications, has received myriad academic fellowships since 1998, including a fellowship at The Summer Institute on the Holocaust and Jewish Civilization, Northwestern University, and The Franklin and Orinda Johnson Fellowship, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

In the department of languages and literature:

*Dr. Blas Falconer comes to APSU from the University of Mexico, Albuquerque, where he was a poetry lecturer in the English department in 2002-03. He earned a doctorate in English with a concentration in creative writing in 2002 from the University of Houston. His MFA in English is from the University of Maryland, and his BA is from George Mason University.

Falconer has written numerous poems that have been published and has been invited to read his poetry at various academic conferences. His poem, “Homage,” won the 2000 Eyster Prize. His other honors include the Split Rock Writing Fellowship at the University of Minnesota.

*Dr. Judith Broome Mesa-Pelly, assistant professor of languages and literature, earned a doctorate in English from the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Fla., in 1999. She received a master's degree in English from the University of Miami in 1993 and, before that, a master's degree in translation and applied linguistics from the Graduate Center of City University of New York in 1990. Her bachelor's degree in English is from Rutgers University.

She comes to APSU from Florida Atlantic University where she had been teaching literature and composition, while also working as a faculty associate in the women's studies department.

She has received several honors and awards, such as the 1999 University of Miami Award of Academic Merit. She holds membership in the Modern Language Association, American Society for 18th Century Studies, American Conference for Irish Studies and the American Literacy Translators Association.

*Dr. Culley Jane Carson-Grefe comes to APSU from Eastern Arizona College, where she has been teaching since 1998. Other teaching experiences were at St. Cloud University (1986-91), Idaho State University (1982-86), Old Dominion University (1981-82), St. Lawrence University (1979-81) and Michigan Technological University (1977-78). In the early 70s, she taught English as a Second Language at the Franco-American Institute in Rennes, Lycee La Fontaine in Paris and Berlitz School, Barcelona.

She earned a doctorate and MA in romance languages from the University of Oregon. She received a BA in French from Pomona College, Claremont, Calif. She attended Universite de Lausanne and the Bryn Mawr Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education.

Carson-Grefe, who has authored and secured several grants and whose list of scholarly publications and paper presentations is extensive, has lived abroad in Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland and Mexico.

*Dr. Norbert Puszkar has been an instructor in the department of modern and classical languages, Georgia State University, since 1999. After completing undergraduate studies at the Freie Universitat in Berlin, he earned a doctorate in German from the University of Southern California in 1985.

He was a visiting professor in Germanic languages and literature at the University of Kentucky in 1997-99, having previously taught at the University of North Dakota, Louisiana State University, Michigan State University, Austin College in Sherman, Texas, Volkshochschule in Berlin and inlingua in both Arlington, Va., and Berlin.

Puszkar, who has an impressive list of scholarly publications, papers and translations, was named to “Who's Who Among America's Teachers” in 2002.

In the department of art:

In 1984, Rusty Barwick earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting and design from Ringling School of Art and Design, Sarasota, Fla. His master of fine arts degree in sculpture is from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge.

He has been a freelance artist since 2000. Previously, he was a scenic artist for Green Enterprises, Nashville, and technical coordinator for APSU's Trahern Theatre.

In the department of music:

*Dr. Gregory Wolynec earned a doctorate in wind conducting from Michigan State University in 2002. His master's degree also is from Michigan State University. In 1994, he received a bachelor's degree in music education and clarinet performance from SUNY Potsdam/Crane School of Music.

Among his honors, he received a Graduate Merit Fellowship from Michigan State University to study in Europe in Summer 2001. In 2001-02, he received a Fulbright Fellowship to do research on composer Johann Went, while studying at the Prague Conservatory, Czech Republic.

He comes to APSU from Castleton State College in Vermont, where he was assistant professor of music, directing wind and jazz ensembles as well as teaching music courses. During 1995-99, he was band director and orchestra conductor at two educational institutions in New York.

*Dr. Karen Kenaston-French has been appointed assistant professor of music and director of choral activities at Austin Peay. She holds a doctor of musical arts degree in choral conducting from the University of North Texas, Denton. She received a master of music degree from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, and a master of sacred music degree from Perkins School of Theology.

She earned a BA in music (vocal performance) at West Virginia Wesleyan College, Buckhannon.

She was a teaching fellow at the University of North Texas in 1999-2003 and an adjunct instructor of choral conducting at Southern Methodist University in 2001-02. She was director of music ministries for Plymouth Park United Methodist Church, Irving, Texas, during 1986-98 and director of music ministries for Lakewood United Methodist Church, Dallas, in 1984-86. She has an extensive list of service as a guest clinician/conductor.

*Bernard H. Flythe earned both his master of music in performance and specialist in music performance degrees from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. His bachelor's degree in music performance is from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

Last year, he was a substitute tubist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. From 1994 through 2002, he was a substitute tubist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra. In 2001-02, he taught tuba and euphonium at the University of Toledo.

Other university teaching experience include stints at the University of Michigan All-State Program at Interlochen, University of North Carolina-Greensboro Summer Music Camp and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He participated in summer music festivals at the National Orchestral Institute, College Park, Md., National Repertory Orchestra, Breckenridge, Colo., Eastern Music Festival, Greensboro, N.C., and Brevard Music Festival, Brevard, N.C.

Among Flythe's honors, he was a semifinalist in the Leonard Falcone International Tuba Artist Competition and a state winner in the Music Teachers National Association Solo Recital Competition.

*Louis C. Fantasia is this year's occupant of the Acuff Chair of Excellence in the Creative Arts. After earning a bachelor's degree in English from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., he did graduate work in theatre at the NYU School of the Arts, New York City, and earned a diploma in directing from the American Film Institute, Center for Advanced Film Studies. His MFA in directing is from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia.

Since 1989, he has been the education director for the Shakespeare Globe Centre, Western Region, Los Angeles. Since 1997 he also has been director of the Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance Institute, Shakespeare Globe Centre. In addition to his work as a private acting coach and teacher in Los Angeles, he is the host of “Theatre Talk” and the commentator of “The Politics of Culture,” both on National Public Radio, Los Angeles.

Between 1981-91, Fantasia directed “Shakespeare Today,” a summer acting institute at the International Shakespeare Globe Centre in London. Besides this 10-year effort, he was involved in an impressive array of professional productions, such as directing the world premiere of “Anais” in Los Angeles in 2002. That same year, he directed “Rumors” by Neil Simon at the Creede Repertory Theatre in Creede, Colo. He also directed “Much Ado About Nothing” by William Shakespeare at London's Shakespeare Globe Theatre.

He is a member of the executive committee and board of directors of Shakespeare Globe Center (USA) and the advisory committee of the International Shakespeare Globe Centre, Ltd., London. He was the founding president of the Goethe Institut of Southern California.

Under the leadership of Dr. Gaines Hunt, interim dean, the College of Sciences and Mathematics has several new faculty members.

In the department of biology:

*Dr. Andrew Barrass, an APSU alumnus, returns to the University as director of the Center of Excellence for Field Biology, He worked as environmental program manager in the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, a position he held since 1994. From 1987-1994, he was manager of the Department of Health and Environment's Nonpoint Source Management Program. Prior to that, he worked as an environmental engineer and an instructor of biology at Alvin State Community College, Alvin, Texas.

Barrass received a research fellowship in 1982 from the Marine Science Institute of the University of Texas. From January 1984-June 1985, he was the principal field researcher for the Houston Toad Recovery Project.

His list of scholarly research, publications and presentations is extensive, and he is a member of many professional organizations, such as the American Society of Zoologists, American Water Resources Association and the North American Lake Management Society.

Barrass earned a doctorate in environmental science/environmental and water resources engineering from Vanderbilt University in 1985. He received both his bachelor's and master's degrees in biology from APSU.

*Cynthia J. Wallace, assistant professor of biology, will be teaching in APSU's Medical Technology Program. Her master's degree in public service management is from Cumberland University, Lebanon. Her bachelor's degree in medical technology is from APSU, with a one-year internship in medical technology at Vanderbilt University School of Medical Technology.

Wallace comes to APSU from the Tennessee Department of Health where she was director of the Diabetes Control Program. From 1993-2001, she was lab supervisor and then manager of the Tennessee Department of Health's Newborn Screening Laboratory.

She is licensed as a laboratory supervisor generalist by the state of Tennessee, an immunology specialist by the American Society of Clinical Pathology and a medical technology generalist by both the American Society of Clinical Pathology and the state of Tennessee.

In the department of chemistry:

*Dr. Sharon Parker, assistant professor of chemistry, earned her master's degree (1997) and doctorate (1999) in organic chemistry from Vanderbilt University and a bachelor's degree in 1992 from APSU with a double major in chemistry and computer science. In 1998-2000, she held a postdoctoral research position at Vanderbilt University.

She was the head chemist for an environmental consulting firm in 2000-01 and worked on contract with Procter & Gamble in 2001. Since then, she has been an independent contractor.

Parker has given several scholarly presentations and co-authored a published article.

In the department of computer science:

*Dr. Jiang Li, assistant professor of computer science, completed his doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May 2003. His master of science and bachelor of science degrees in electronics engineering are from the Beijing Institute of Technology.

Since 2000, he has worked as a research assistant in the department of electrical engineering at the University of Nebraska. Previously, he was project manager of Beijing Broadcasting Institute Information Technology Co., and a system engineer for Beijing Institute of Technology Industrial Group Inc.

He was a teaching assistant for the Institute of International Teaching Assistants at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2002 and a lecturer in 1998-99 for the College of Engineering, Beijing Broadcasting Institute.

The School of Technology and Public Management at the APSU Center@ Fort Campbell, led by Gerald Beavers, executive director, welcomes these new faculty.

*Dr. William H. Kraus comes to the APSU Center@ Fort Campbell from Lake Forest, Calif., where he had operated his own professional management firm, William H. Kraus & Associates, since 1983. Previously, he was the city manager of Norwalk, Los Alamitos, Beaumont and Redlands, all in California.

He was on the faculty of several Southern California colleges and universities since 1974, including five campuses of the California State University, as well as the University of San Francisco, the University of California-Los Angeles and Pepperdine University. From 1999-2001, he was dean of the faculty, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Los Angeles, and he chaired the business and marketing department, American College, Los Angeles, in 1997.

Kraus earned a doctorate in public administration in 1975 from the University of Southern California-Los Angeles. He holds a master's degree in urban studies from Occidental College, Los Angeles, and a master's degree in public administration from the University of Southern California-Los Angeles. His bachelor's degree is from the University of California-Riverside.

*Dr. Merriel Bullock is an associate professor of criminal justice in the department of public management, where she serves as program manager for the law enforcement program.

She earned a jurisdoctorate from American University in Washington, D.C., in 2000 and a doctorate in special education, also from American University, in 1977. Both her bachelor's degree in sociology/psychology and her master's degree in special education are from Howard University, Washington, D.C. She did postdoctoral studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

From 1996-2002, she worked at Delaware State University (DSU), Dover, as professor, NCATE coordinator of content area of the teacher education programs and director of the DSU Higher Education and Disabilities Project. She has been a consultant for various school systems in Tennessee, including the Nashville Metro School System. From 1977-98, she held several positions at Tennessee State University from director of the Institute on Developmental Disabilities to professor of special education.

Bullock has made numerous scholarly presentations and has an extensive list of research and scholarly publications, as well as an impressive number of successful grant proposals.

*Dr. Chinyere Ogbonna-McGruder, assistant professor of public management, earned a PhD in public administration from Tennessee State University in 2000 and a master's degree in health care administration from Western Kentucky University. Her bachelor's degree in parasitology and entomology is from Anambra State University of Technology.

Most recently, she worked as a private budgetary and management consultant for the construction of a $2,000,000 facility. Previously, she was a bioterrorism epidemiologist for the Tennessee Department of Health, director of planning and development for the Williamson Rural Health Clinic and study-abroad adviser and coordinator, Office of International Programs, Western Kentucky University. She has published several scholarly articles and papers.

*Jean M. Purdom, instructor and program manager of APSU's construction/welding technology program, holds a BS in nursing from Hampton University, Hampton, Va., and a BA in psychology from Christopher Newport University, Newport, Va. In May 2000, she earned an associate of applied science degree in constructional technology from APSU.

She has worked as chief nurse/operating room nurse at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, 86th Evacuation Hospital, Saudi Arabia (Desert Shield/Storm), Tripler Army Medical Center, Tripler, Hawaii and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C.

The staff of Woodward Library, led by the director, Deborah Fetch, welcomes two new faculty members.

*Lisa Ennis, associate professor, comes to APSU from the Russell Library, Georgia College & State University, Milledgeville, where she was coordinator of instruction and government documents. From March 2000-February 2002, she worked as instruction/reference librarian and during 1998-2000, as information systems specialist for Helen Ross McNabb Center, Knoxville. She also was electronic resources librarian, Mercer University, Macon, Ga., in 1998.

Ennis received a bachelor's degree in history from Mercer University and a master's degree, also in history, from Georgia College, Milledgeville. She earned a master's degree in information science from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 1997.

In addition to scholarly presentations, she has written many scholarly articles published in professional journals, contributed to several encyclopedias and served as a reviewer for such scholarly journals and magazines as “Tennessee Librarian” and “Journal of the American Society for Information and Technology.”

She is a member of the American Libraries Association, American Society for Information Science, Atlanta Area Bibliographic Instruction Group, Center for Appalachian Studies, Georgia Historical Society, Georgia Library Association and Tennessee Historical Society.

*Gina Garber is the digital services librarian/instructor in Woodward Library. She earned a master's degree in May 2003 from UT-Knoxville. That degree is in library and information science with an emphasis on information technology and academic libraries. Her bachelor's degree in history is from APSU.

From 1996-2003, she worked as Woodward Library's supervisor of reserves/University archives and special collections. She was a field artillery meteorological crewman in the U.S. Army, Fort Campbell, Ky., during 1984-87.

Garber is a member of the American Library Association, Tennessee Library Association and the Southeastern Library Association.