Congratulations to Stetson’s faculty!
March 27, 2013
Stetson University extends congratulations to 16 members of Stetson University’s faculty who have recently earned tenure and/or promotion. The new status for these 16 faculty members will be effective August 2013, with the start of the 2013-14 academic year.
“Stetson teacher-scholars facilitate transformational learning in our students,” said Provost Elizabeth Paul, who made the announcement Wednesday, March 27. “They are themselves passionate lifelong learners who, through their scholarly, creative and professional engagement, make important contributions to the advancement of knowledge, disciplines and society. And they are leaders of the continual progress of Stetson University in realizing our important mission. Each and every one of these individuals exemplifies teacher-scholar excellence. I celebrate their accomplishments and thank them for their inspiration and impact.”
Cindy Bennington – Promotion to Professor of Biology
Dr. Cindy Bennington has conducted ecological research in Alaska, West Virginia, New Jersey, and Florida. At Stetson, she teaches courses on ecology and botany; she actively engages students in research on arctic and temperate plant species. Central Florida’s dry, sandy, nutrient-poor soils, coupled with a rich diversity of animal attackers, provide ample opportunities for her to pursue long-standing interests in plant adaptation to stressful environments. She also regularly involves Stetson students in environmental service-learning projects both on and off campus. Currently, she and Dr. Karen Cole, Director of the Gillespie Museum, are working to develop the Volusia Sandhill Teaching Landscape, a project adjacent to the Museum where visitors can learn about the longleaf pine ecosystem that historically dominated the sandhills of central Florida.
David Bjella – Promotion to Professor of Music
A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Cellist David Bjella has had a multi-faceted career as a teacher, chamber musician, orchestral player, and soloist. He directs the Chamber Music program at Stetson and is Co-Principal in the IRIS Chamber Orchestra. He is also a member of the Inman Piano Trio. One of the featured IRIS chamber musicians for the Naxos-released CD “Music of Stephen Hartke,” chosen by the New York Times as a “Top 10 Classical Recording of 2003,” Bjella has held appointments as Visiting Associate Professor of Cello at Florida State University and Professor of Cello at the University of Central Florida. He has also taught in the Valade Master Teacher program at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan.
Debbi Dinkins – Promotion to Professor and Associate Dean of the duPont-Ball Library
Debbi Dinkins, Associate Dean of the duPont-Ball Library, works closely with the Dean of the Library on administration and planning. She is responsible for all aspects of Technical Services, including acquisitions, cataloging, periodicals, and computer systems. Dinkins manages the library’s materials budgets and operating budgets. She oversees the acquisition and cataloging of the library’s collections, which include over 300,000 volumes of books and bound periodicals, more than 70,000 electronic books, and access to over 64,000 electronic journals. Management and maintenance of the 46 public computers in the library are also her responsibility. Dinkins’ research and professional interests include patron-driven acquisition of eBooks, library collection evaluation, and cataloging. Her articles have been published in such journals as College and Research Libraries and The Journal of Academic Librarianship.
Tishia Dunham – Promotion to Associate Professor of Legal Skills
Tishia Dunham teaches legal skills and is Director of Bar Preparation Services. Prior to joining Stetson’s faculty, Professor Dunham practiced law in the areas of employment law, commercial litigation, and real property with an emphasis on community associations. Dunham teaches and writes primarily in the area of state constitutional law. She is the co-author of Florida Constitutional Law: Cases and Materials (Carolina Academic Press, 2013).
Glen Epley – Awarded tenure as Professor of Teacher Education
Dr. Glen Epley has been a sportswriter for a metropolitan daily newspaper, a high school history teacher, a professor at three universities, a deputy superintendent of the Volusia County Schools, and an executive with Brown & Brown, Inc., one of the premier insurance brokerages in the nation and world. Since joining Stetson, Dr. Epley teaches primarily in the graduate program for educators who are pursuing masters’ degrees in educational leadership. His specialties are school law and school finance. He also teaches a seminar on the legal rights of students in public schools. Dr. Epley’s research focuses on constitutional jurisprudence as it affects public schools, and he has published in NASSP Bulletin, Phi Delta Kappan, Education Law Reporter, Kappa Delta Pi Record, and The Clearing House, among others. He is a frequent presenter at national conferences on school law and school finance. His current research project involves the legal concerns for school officials when they attempt to regulate student speech off school grounds on the internet and social media sites.
Eric Kurlander – Promoted to Professor of History
Dr. Eric Kurlander teaches classes on modern German, European, and world history. His recent book, Living with Hitler (Yale, 2009), examines the ways in which German liberals negotiated, resisted, and in some ways accommodated the Third Reich. He is also author of The Price of Exclusion: Ethnicity, National Identity, and the Decline of German Liberalism, 1898-1933 (Berghahn, 2006). His articles have appeared in Central European History, The Journal of Contemporary History, The Historian, and other journals. Kurlander has held fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the German Historical Institute, and other granting agencies. He is currently at work on two additional book projects: a textbook co-authored with colleague Dr. Kimberly Reiter, The West in Question: Continuity and Change (Pearson-Longman), and Nazi Monsters: A Supernatural History of the Third Reich (Yale trade division, forthcoming).
Lance Long – Awarded programmatic tenure and promoted to Professor of Legal Skills
Lance Long joined Stetson after having taught legal research and writing at J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, and at the University of Oregon School of Law. Before teaching, Professor Long practiced with Morrison & Foerster in Orange County, California and Hill, Johnson & Schmutz in Provo, Utah. His practice focuses on appellate and motion practice in the areas of intellectual property, contract, and construction law. Professor Long’s scholarship currently centers on empirical analyses of language patterns in appellate briefs and opinions. His two most recent articles, “Does the Readability of Your Brief Affect Your Chance of Winning on Appeal?” and “Clearly Using Intensifiers is Very Bad—Or Is It?” were published, respectively, in the Journal of Appellate Practice & Process and The Idaho Law Review.
Brigid Noonan – Promotion to Professor of Counselor Education
Dr. Brigid M. Noonan, Ph.D., LMHC, NCC, ACS, chairs the Department of Counselor Education. She has more than 19 years of clinical experience working with a range of diverse clients, with a focus on addiction, eating disorders and depression, disability, career issues, and sexual identity. Her research focuses on international counselor education, advocacy and social justice, working with families, and sexuality and spirituality. Her recent articles have been published in such venues as International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling and Professional Issues in Counseling. She is also co-author of a chapter in Handbook of Counselor Preparation: Constructivist, Developmental, and Experiential Approaches (Sage, 2011).
Jason Palmer – Awarded programmatic tenure
Jason Palmer joined Stetson after teaching legal writing and oral advocacy at George Washington University Law School. Most recently, he worked for the Department of State, representing the United States in international arbitration cases before the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal. He also spent four years in Switzerland working as a claims judge for the Claims Resolution Tribunal for Dormant Accounts, adjudicating claims of victims of Nazi persecution; for the United Nations Compensation Commission, coordinating review of Palestinian claims against Iraq as a result of its invasion and occupation of Kuwait; and for the Europa Institute at the University of Zurich, creating and teaching a course for Swiss lawyers on U.S. legal writing. Before working in Switzerland and at the Department of State, Professor Palmer spent several years in private practice in Washington, D.C., focusing on commercial litigation and international arbitration. He is author of numerous articles on international law, and he has served as editor of several legal journals.
Leila Roach – Awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor of Counselor Education
Dr. Leila Roach coordinates the Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling Program. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, an approved supervisor for Mental Health Counselors in the state of Florida and a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). Dr. Roach has 22 years of experience counseling children, adolescents, adults, couples and families, including members of the Deaf community, in a variety of settings. She has advanced training in play therapy, couples counseling, and disaster mental health. Her research interests include wellness in counseling and counselor education, the personal and professional development of counseling students, and spirituality in counseling.
Joshua Rust – Awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor of Philosophy
Dr. Joshua Rust is the author of two books, John Searle and the Construction of Social Reality (Continuum, 2005) and John Searle (Continuum, 2009). He is also a coauthor of several articles in empirical philosophy concerning the behavior of ethicists as compared to other academic professionals. On the lighter side, he has coauthored two essays (with Dr. Susan Pepper-Bates) at the intersection of popular culture and philosophy: one on True Blood and the other on Harry Potter. Areas of interest include metaphilosophy, explanation, social construction, and Wittgenstein. He is also interested in the history of 20th century analytic philosophy and ancient philosophy. Joshua is the secretary/treasurer for the Florida Philosophical Association, co-chair on the Values Steering Committee, and a member of the Social Justice Lecture Series Committee.
Ranjini Thaver – Promoted to Professor of Economics
Dr. Ranjini Thaver, born in South Africa, completed her bachelor’s degree, with honors, in Economics at the University of Cape Town, and her master’s and doctoral degrees in Economics at the University of Notre Dame. She has taught at Stetson since 1992. She developed the first university-based microcredit program in the world, located in a poverty-stricken area in DeLand, and in Manio Village, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. She has partnered with local and national organizations to deliver economically empowering programs to the poor, such as personal finance education workshops, and volunteer income tax preparation (VITA). She is recipient of Stetson University’s McEniry Award for Excellence in Teaching. She has presented her research at international, national, and local conferences, and at universities such as Cornell, Notre Dame, and Mary Washington College.
Chris Tobler – Awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor of Finance
Dr. Chris Tobler teaches both undergraduate and graduate level course in finance and in the Executive MBA and JD/BMA programs. His teaching interests include investments, corporate finance and risk-management. His scholarship focuses on derivatives, asset pricing, and the role of overvaluation in mergers and acquisitions. He has published in various journals including the Journal of Finance and Accountancy, Banking and Finance Review and the International Journal of Global Business and Economics.
Louis Virelli – Promoted to Professor of Law
Louis Virelli teaches courses in administrative law, civil procedure, constitutional law, and federal pretrial practice. He co-coaches two of Stetson’s moot court teams and is faculty advisor to the Freethinkers Rhetoric Society and the Stetson chapter of the American Constitution Society. Prior to joining Stetson, Professor Virelli served as a trial attorney in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He also taught legal research and writing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, where he was named best oralist in the law school’s Keedy Cup moot court competition and served as articles editor on the Journal of Constitutional Law. Professor Virelli clerked for Judge Franklin S. Van Antwerpen of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Judge Leonard I. Garth of the Third Circuit. He has written on constitutional interpretation, congressional power, the teaching of evolution in public schools, and the role of scientific information in the regulatory process. His articles have appeared in such journals as the Miami Law Review, the Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy, the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, and the Administrative Law Review.
Becky Watts – Awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies
Dr. Rebecca Watts’ teaching and scholarship centers on the application of rhetorical theory and criticism to public culture, including Southern culture, political culture, and popular culture. She is interested in organizational crisis rhetoric as well as internet communication as a way of increasing participation in public culture (in everything from political culture to sports culture). Her book, Contemporary Southern Identity: Community through Controversy (University Press of Mississippi, 2008), applies rhetorical theory and criticism to Southern culture specifically and public discourse in general.
John York – Awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor of Chemistry
Dr. John York has expertise in inorganic, organometallic, and biological inorganic chemistry. His research focuses on using transition metal compounds to perform important chemical transformations. He is especially interested in understanding how copper can function in both biological and industrial systems to bind with important organic molecules like alkenes and thiophenes. In this research, Dr. York utilizes both synthetic chemistry and computational chemistry methods. He is also active in the field of chemical education and develops innovative techniques and materials for teaching chemistry to undergraduate students.