COLLEGE SPOTLIGHT – College of Arts and Sciences

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COLLEGE SPOTLIGHT – College of Arts and Sciences

Back row (left to right): Brad Ensor (Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology), Howard Cass (Music & Dance), Jeff Guthrie (Chemistry), Peter Higgins (Women’s and Gender Studies), Patrick Koehn (Physics & Astronomy), Matt Kirkpatrick (English Language & Literature), Mike Angell (Biology)
Front row (left to right)
: Jenny Kindred (Communication, Media, and Theatre Arts), Marisol Garrido (World Languages), Gabriela Dumitrascu (Mathematics), Katherine Ryker (Geography & Geology)
CAS council members not pictured: Ana Monteiro-Ferreira (Africology & African American Studies), Ryan Molloy (Art & Design), Pam Moore (Computer Science), Abdullah Dewan (Economics), Jill Dieterle (History & Philosophy), Nitya Singh (Political Science), Rusty McIntyre (Psychology)

Reported by: Kristina Reppert

I have had the honor of working with the College of Arts and Sciences Council Chair, Peter Higgins, Ph.D. to provide you with some updates and information. The College of Arts and Sciences houses eighteen departments and schools with two interdisciplinary programs. With more than 80 undergraduate majors, over 50 master’s programs and one doctoral program (Clinical Psychology), the College of Arts and Sciences employs 350 faculty members to teach the 7,547 undergraduate students and 800+ graduate students.

New Programs

In the last year several new programs have been created:

  • Fermentation Science Major (Chemistry)
  • Geospatial Information Science & Technology Major (Geography and Geology)
  • Neuroscience Interdisciplinary Major (Biology, Chemistry, Psychology)
  • Public and Non-profit Administration Major (Political Science)
  • Data Science Major (Computer Science, Mathematics, and COB’s Computer Information Systems)
  • Master of Science in Clinical Psychology (Psychology)

New Faculty – Art

Pamela Stewart, Ph.D. comes to the Art Department as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Stewart specializes in the visual culture of the Italian Renaissance and Baroque, with a focus on the intersections of art, ritual, and devotion in lay confraternities in sixteenth-century Milan. She is more broadly interested in religious art following the Catholic Reformation; the materiality of the sacred; early modern art theory; patronage and politics; spectacle and ephemera; ritual and performance studies; the production of place; the history of the body; modes of viewership; and somaesthetics and the senses.

Dr. Stewart holds a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Michigan (2015) and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research has been recognized by grants and fellowships from the Renaissance Society of America and the Rackham Graduate School and International Institute at the University of Michigan. She has presented at national and international conferences and her article on Bernardino Luini’s Passion cycle in the church of San Giorgio al Palazzo in Milan was published in The Sacralization of Space and Behavior in the Early Modern World (ed. Jennifer M. DeSilva, Ashgate, 2015). Her current book project, provisionally titled Imagining Christ, Performing the Passion: Visual Culture and Confraternal Devotion in Renaissance Milan, explores the ritual use of images in devotion to Christ’s Passion by Milanese confraternities from circa 1500-1630.

Dr. Stewart has previously held teaching appointments at the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, and Michigan State University and recently appeared as a contestant on Jeopardy!®. When not in the classroom or the archives, she can be found being bossed around by her spoiled corgi, Lancelot.

New Faculty – Biology

Paul “Skip” Price, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, received a B.S. in Microbiology with minors in Molecular Biology and Chemistry from Brigham Young University, and a Ph.D. in Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis from the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis for his studies on the disease mechanisms involved in pneumonic plague. He completed his postdoctoral training at Brigham Young University, examining the beneficial interactions between microbes and agriculturally important plants. Dr. Price’s research focuses on the host-bacterial communication involved in biological nitrogen fixation. He is excited to bring his passion for teaching and microbiology research to EMU.

Hannah Seidel, Ph.D., Assistant Professor holds a B.A. in Biology and Mathematics from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University. Her post-doctoral work was conducted in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Hannah is broadly interested in how organisms grow, develop, and reproduce in variable environments. She studies this process at the cellular level, working to understand how stem cells within tissues ‘know’ when to divide. Hannah is excited to develop her research program at EMU and looks forward to working with students on projects spanning the areas of cell and developmental biology, genetics, reproduction, and physiology.

New Faculty – Communication, Media and Theatre Arts

Keon Pettiway, Ph.D., Assistant Professor is a scholar of race, postcolonial identity, and visual culture. His current research explores the intersection between rhetoric, history of African photography, and black popular culture within the context of national and continental identities formation following African independence and liberation. Pettiway has continued this line of inquiry by investigating the possibilities and contradictions of identity formation and public diplomacy in recent efforts focused on postcolonial nation branding. He is passionate about helping students acquire critical and creative skills to be change agents and advocates for social justice and equity in their respective communities. Most recently, Pettiway received the Chancellor’s Creating Community Award at North Carolina State University for his teaching, and service contributions in the areas of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Prior to completing his Ph.D. at North Carolina State University, Pettiway received his Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from East Carolina University. Prior to joining academia, he worked as a designer and marketing consultant for a number of organizations and institutions, including one of the largest financial services holding companies in the U.S. Pettiway has used these experiences to help design and develop rhetorical digital humanities projects, including the Virtual Martin Luther King, Jr. project (Victoria Gallagher, P.I.) and Victoria’s Lost Pavilion (Paul Fyfe, P.I.). His research has been published in Across the Disciplines, Media-N, Journal of the New Media Caucus, and Communication and Global Engagement Across Cultural Boundaries. Pettiway also continues to work with a team of researchers on the rhetorical dimensions of HIV/AIDS health communication campaigns.

New Faculty – Computer Science

Andrey Kashlev, Ph.D., Assistant Professor is conducting research in big data management with the focus on big data modeling and large-scale scientific workflows. His broader interests include big data, data science, provenance, big data curation, Semantic Web, Internet of Things, and services computing. Andrey obtained his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Wayne State University. He joins EMU having taught a range of Computer Science courses for over five years at both Wayne State and the University of Texas-Pan American. He has published numerous research articles in peer-reviewed international journals and conferences, including IEEE Transactions on Services Computing, Data and Knowledge Engineering, International Journal of Computers and Their Applications, International Journal of Big Data, IEEE International Congress BigData, and IEEE International Conference on Services Computing (SCC).

New Faculty – English Language and Literature

Logan Bearden, Ph.D., Assistant Professor’s work focuses of multimodal literacy, writing program administration, and curricular transformation. He hopes this research will culminate in modes that exhibit how different kinds of composition programs can initiate, achieve, and sustain multimodal curricular transformation. He holds a Ph.D. with a specialization in Rhetoric and Composition from the Department of English at Florida State University. He also holds an M.A. in Rhetoric and Composition and a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in History from Florida State University as well.

New Faculty – Geography and Geology

Matthew Cook, Ph.D. joins EMU as Assistant Professor in the Geography and Geology Department’s Historic Preservation Program. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 2016, studying cultural and historical geography, which culminated in his dissertation, “A Critical Historical Geography of Slavery in the U.S. South.” His M.S., also from UT Knoxville, focused on public memory of the Holocaust in Germany, and he holds bachelor’s degrees (B.S. in Geosciences and B.S. in Communications) from the University of Tennessee at Martin. With a passion for critical pedagogy and extensive teaching experience as a graduate student, Matt is excited to join a faculty that emphasizes Education First. Matt’s current research interests build upon his dissertation, primarily focusing on geographies of memory, historical interpretation, and race relations in the U.S. South. He is also keen to expand this research to other areas including southern Michigan. Matt’s most recent article, “Counter-narratives of slavery in the Deep South: the politics of empathy along and beyond River Road,” is available in Journal of Heritage Tourism.

Xining Yang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, joins the Department of Geography and Geology at Eastern Michigan University having served as an Assistant Professor at California State University, Chico. His research interests are in spatio-temporal analysis, social media, volunteered geographic information (VGI) and web GIS. Dr. Yang received a B.Eng. from Wuhan University, China in 2008, and a M.S. from Eastern Michigan University in 2010. He received his Ph.D. in Geography from the Ohio State University in 2015. Dr. Yang has published in Applied Geography, International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research, and Urban Remote Sensing. His doctoral dissertation was featured in Columbus Monthly as “one of the 8 fascinating OSU doctoral dissertations.”

New Faculty – Mathematics

Roxanne Katus, Ph.D., joins the Mathematics Department as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Katus received her B.S and M.A. in Mathematics here at EMU. She then applied these skills at the University of Michigan while she earned an M.S., Certificate of Plasma Science and Engineering, and PhD in the department of Climate and Space Science and Engineering. During her studies she completed fellowships at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and Los Alamos National Laboratory. Since then she completed postdoctoral work at West Virginia University and the University of Michigan and acquired teaching experience at EMU. Dr. Katus was hired to assist the Mathematics department in the development of the new Data Science curriculum.

Khairul Islam, Ph.D. joins Eastern’s Mathematics Department this fall as an Assistant Professor. He earned an MA in Mathematical Statistics from Ball State University and M.Sc in Statistics from Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh. Before coming to Eastern Michigan University, he held an assistant professor position at Texas A&M University‐Kingsville. He also worked as a research analyst at the University of Michigan and a research associate at Wayne State University and taught for several years in the departments of Accounting & Finance and Mathematics at Eastern Michigan University. Dr. Islam received his PhD in Statistics from Bowling Green State University. He has research interests in Applied Statistics and extensive research experience analyzing data from health sciences, particularly in cancer and mental health, using complex models such as Latent Model, Structural Equation Modeling, Categorical Data Analysis, Survival Analysis, Computational Statistics and Complex Survey Models.

New Faculty – Music and Dance

Deborah Pae holds degrees from the Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, and is a former Artist-in-Residence at the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth in Belgium. She has played concertos with Sinfonia Varsovia of Poland, Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, Ensemble Orchestral de Bruxelles, Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, and the Westchester Philharmonic under the batons of Vassily Sinaisky, Thomas Wilkins, Christian Arming, Augustin Dumay, and Itzhak Perlman. Many of her performances have been broadcast internationally on television and radio, most notably the 2003 Grammy Awards and the 75th Anniversary of the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth. A devoted chamber musician, Ms. Pae is the cellist of the critically acclaimed Formosa Quartet (winners of the First Prize and Amadeus Prize at the 2006 International London Quartet Competition) and founder of Trio Modetre (winners of the 2016 Tarisio Trust Young Artist Grant and Silver Medal at the 2012 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition). Her mentors include cellists Gary Hoffman, Laurence Lesser, and Joel Krosnick as well as violinists Miriam Fried and Sylvia Rosenberg, and violist Kim Kashkashian. Ms. Pae plays a Vincenzo Postiglione cello (c. 1885) generously on loan from the Arts and Letters Foundation.

New Faculty – Physics and Astronomy

Dr. Jonathan Skuza earned his Ph.D. in physics from the College of William and Mary (2011), M.S. in physics from the University of Toledo (2007), and B.S. in physics from Baldwin-Wallace University (2004). He is a condensed matter experimentalist with prior appointments as a Research Professor in the Center for Materials Research and Department of Engineering at Norfolk State University (2013–2016) and a postdoctoral researcher with the National Institute of Aerospace working with the Advanced Materials and Processing Branch at NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia (2011–2013). His research interests have focused on structure-property correlations in thin films and nanostructures, spanning many different topics including magnetism, magneto-optics, magneto-plasmonics, optoelectronics, and thermoelectrics. In addition to his research publications on these topics, he has authored a book chapter in The Handbook of Nanomagnetism: Applications and Tools (2015). Jonathan is also an enthusiastic teacher and mentor in the laboratory and classroom; he has received exemplary remarks from his Engineering students at Norfolk State University and an Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring from the College of William and Mary.

New Faculty – Psychology

Dr. Eamonn Arble joins EMU as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Arble’s clinical and research efforts are largely focused upon personality assessment and the psychometric evaluation and construction of new personality measures, as well as the primary prevention of trauma among vulnerable populations. His treatment approach is integrative and eclectic, with a particular interest in psychodynamic and interpersonal processes. He received his Ph.D. from Wayne State University, and earlier received an M.S. from Eastern Michigan University. He has trained at numerous facilities, including the Mary. A. Rackham Institute, the John D. Dingell Veteran’s Administration, the Center for Forensic Psychiatry, and Detroit Receiving Hospital.

Dr. Alexandros Maragakis received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno after completing his internship at the VA Maryland Health Care System and the University of Maryland, Baltimore Psychology Internship Consortium. His research interests include using quality-improvement methods to develop and implement integrated primary and behavioral healthcare systems, and developing brief interventions to be used in the primary care setting. His current primary research focus is on which components of integrated care systems account for improvements in health outcomes, reduction in healthcare costs, and overall improvement in satisfaction.

New Faculty – Sociology

Rachel Schroeder, Ph.D., Assistant Professor is a sociologist of culture, religion, and social change with global, international, and comparative focus. She holds M.A. degrees in Sociology and Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies from the University of Michigan, and she received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Western Michigan University. Her current work takes on the significant yet understudied issue of the impact of religious resurgences on minority rights and freedoms in formerly secularized societies, with Russia as her case of interest. Another area of her expertise deals with collective memories of state violence and repressions. She has extensive teaching experience and is excited to bring her skills and engagement with global and comparative themes to the students at EMU.

Highlights from the College of Arts and Sciences

  • The latest edition of Acta Cogitata, the EMU Philosophy undergraduate journal, has just been released: click here to view it on the Acta Cogitata website. Now in its fourth year, Acta Cogitata provides a venue for undergraduate authors of original philosophical papers to have their work refereed and published. Conceived and edited by Dr. John Koolage, the journal was borne of the EMU Undergraduate Conference in Philosophy, which, since it’s founding in 2011, has grown from a regional to a national to an international conference. Students have come from as far as Egypt to present their papers. The conference will be held for the seventh time in March 2017.
  • The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Eastern Michigan University a grant to increase the number of ESL-credentialed teachers in Michigan and study effective professional development for teachers of English learners. The WRITELL grant will recruit teachers and paraprofessionals who currently work with English learners who wish to pursue an undergraduate minor, endorsement, or Master of Arts in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). All teachers in the region are invited to apply. The grant is renewable for up to five years, with total funding of over 2.6 million dollars. WRITELL is collaboration between the Department of World Languages and the Eastern Michigan Writing Project. Dr. Zuzana Tomas is the principal investigator. For more information or to apply as a participant, contact Sarah Lorenz, Project Director, at
  • The Michigan Council of Teachers of English (MCTE) has selected Professor Cathy Fleischer as the 2016 recipient of the Charles Carpenter Fries Award, given in recognition of a distinguished career in the teaching of English and dedication to the advancement of the profession.
  • On October 28, a memorial bike rack was dedicated in honor of Dr. Chris Mayda, who passed away in March 2016. Her family members attended the dedication of the bike rack, located near Strong Hall.
  • The Department of History & Philosophy will be hosting a conference in honor our very own Professor Margaret Crouch, who is retiring at the end of the Fall 2016 semester. The conference will take place on campus on January 20th, 2017. Speaking in honor of Professor Crouch will be Professors Nancy Snow (Marquette), Lisa Schwartzman (Michigan State), Ami Harbin (Oakland University), and Maureen Linker (UM-Dearborn), as well as Provost Rhonda Longworth, and Associate Dean Kate Mehuron. It promises to be a day of extremely interesting philosophy in honor of an outstanding philosopher and colleague.