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Faculty Awarded Tenure, Promotion 2015-16

Twelve members of Stetson University’s faculty have recently earned tenure and/or promotion. The new status for these faculty members will be effective August 2015, with the start of the 2015-2016 academic year.

“What a joy to recognize the accomplishments of these teacher-scholars,” said Provost Elizabeth Paul, who made the announcement. “Stetson’s teacher-scholar faculty inspire our university’s love of lifelong learning. They inspire our learning community through their generous interaction with students in and out of the classroom, and also through their scholarly, artistic, and professional engagement and contributions. Please join me in celebrating their important achievements.”

Anthony “Tony” Abbott – Promoted to Professor of Environmental Science and Studies

Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott

Dr. Tony Abbott, is a political ecologist based in the academic traditions of geography. His research foci have included: agricultural biodiversity, clean energy and greenhouse gas emissions policy, sustainability institutions and a regional interest in the Americas, especially the Andean countries. Through his work at Stetson, he has been strongly oriented to research collaborations with students resulting in numerous co-authored publications in peer reviewed journals, many sustainability reports and two mentored field excursions to Latin America. He helmed the Stetson Environmental Science Program for nine years, and was the sole permanent faculty of the Department of Geography and Environmental Science for two years. He played a key role in articulating Stetson’s emerging Institute for Water and the Environment, and growing enrollment in the Environmental Science Program fourfold since his arrival at Stetson in 2005. He holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.

Joel Davis – Promoted to Professor of English

Joel Davis

Joel Davis

Dr. Joel B. Davis specializes in sixteenth and seventeenth century English literature. He is a contributor to the Ashgate Research Companion to the Sidneys, 1500-1700, and he recently published The Countesse of Pembroke’s Arcadia and the Invention of English Literature (Palgrave 2011). He has published on Ovidian mythography, gender theory, neo-Stoicism, Petrarchism, reformation politics, and reactions to imperialism in the works of Philip, Robert, and Mary Sidney, Fulke Greville, Shakespeare, Thomas Wyatt, and Garcilaso de la Vega. Currently he is finishing work on a student edition of The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia and is working on a digital critical edition of the Arcadia. Davis holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Puget Sound, Master of Arts from the University of Wyoming and a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.

Michael Denner – Promoted to Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures

Michael Denner

Michael Denner

Dr. Michael Denner is the director of the University Honors Program, director of Stetson’s Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Denner is a leading expert on Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright and philosopher, having published over a dozen articles on Tolstoy’s works and Russian culture. He also serves as editor of the Tolstoy Studies Journal, an annual refereed journal. Denner holds a Bachelor of Arts, with high distinction, from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. in Slavic languages and literatures from Northwestern University.

Hala ElAarag – Promoted to Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science

Hala ElAarag

Hala ElAarag

Dr. Hala ElAarag joined Stetson’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science in Fall 2002, teaching 15 different courses in Computer Science and serving as a dedicated advisor for Computer Science students, including advising 28 senior research projects. ElAarag has additionally mentored five student recipients of the SURE grants, with two of her SURE advisees presenting their research on Capitol Hill at CUR’s esteemed Poster on the Hill event. ElAarag is active in presenting at national and international venues and has been published extensively, including numerous publications co-authored with Stetson students. She is the recipient of prestigious awards including Stetson’s Hand Award for Research in 2005, the best paper award at the 11th Communication and Networking Symposium held in Ottawa, Canada in 2008, and the Society for Modeling and Simulation International (SCS) Outstanding Service Award in 2012. ElAarag is vice president/president-elect of the Consortium of Computing Sciences in Colleges. She was co-general chair of Communication and Networking Simulation Symposium, in 2009 and 2015. She was vice general chair and general chair of SCS Spring Simulation Multi-Conference in 2011 and 2012, respectively. She has served as a councilor of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) 2011-2014. ElAarag holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Alexandria University and earned a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Central Florida in 2001.

Melissa Gibbs – Promoted to Professor of Biology

Melissa Gibbs

Melissa Gibbs

Dr. Melissa Gibbs received her Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from the University of California—Santa Cruz, followed by a Master of Science in Marine Science from the Moss Landing Marine Laboratory, a multi-campus marine research consortium with degrees administered through San Jose State University. Gibbs continued her studies at the University of Delaware where she studied the visual systems of fish and earned a Ph.D. in Neurobiology, going on to complete post-doctoral studies at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography where she studied the development of the lateral line in sturgeon. Gibbs joined Stetson University in 1998 and soon after started the Aquatic & Marine Biology Program. Since then, Gibbs’ research has focused on Blue Spring fish ecology, especially the invasive armored catfish, Pterygoplichthys disjunctivus.

Laura Gunn – Tenured at the rank of Associate Professor of Integrative Health Science                                       

Laura Gunn

Laura Gunn

Dr. Laura Gunn is an applied biostatistician with broad interests throughout public health. She holds a Ph.D. and a Master of Science in Statistics from Duke University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Jacksonville University. Gunn joined Stetson University’s Department of Integrative Health Science as Chair in August 2013, and she maintains an Honorary Research Fellow position in the School of Public Health at Imperial College London. She has co-authored 29 publications and has been a co-investigator or PI on over 45 grants, contracts, and sponsored research. Gunn held a fellowship with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and was a statistical consultant for Duke Medicine. She was one of the founding faculty and co-built, through CEPH accreditation, the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University as Director of Biostatistics, for nearly seven years, including Interim Associate Dean for a term. She was awarded both Faculty Awards of Excellence for Teaching & Mentoring as well as for Service. In Spring 2011, Gunn was an Honorary Visiting Fellow in the Department of Maternal and Child Health within the School of Community and Health Sciences at City University London. From October 2011 through July 2013, she was a Research Fellow in Public Health-Biostatistics and associate director of the Global eHealth Unit at Imperial College London’s School of Public Health. During this time she was also Lead Biostatistician for Research Design Service London, part of the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health Research.

Camille King – Promoted to Professor of Psychology

Camille King

Camille King

Dr. Camille Tessitore King holds both a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Biological Psychology from the University of Virginia where she also earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She completed post-doctoral positions at the University of Michigan and the University of Florida, working there with Dr. Alan C. Spector with whom she has collaborated for 15 years. King has published numerous articles on the effects of taste nerve degeneration and regeneration on neuronal activity and taste-related behaviors in rats. She has served as co-investigator on a number of grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. King’s passion is teaching, especially about the brain. Her teaching includes Biological Psychology, Drugs, Mind, and Behavior, Consciousness: The Final Frontier, as well as Introduction to Psychology and Great Experiments in Psychology. In 2011, she received the William Hugh McEniry Award for Excellence in Teaching. King was also honored for her work with and support of undergraduates with a Faculty Advisor Research Grant from the International Honor Society in Psychology (Psi Chi) in 2009, and from Stetson an Excellence in Advising Award in 2010, and a First Year Student Advocate Award 2013.

Andrew Larson – Promoted to Professor of Music

Andrew Larson

Andrew Larson

Dr. Andrew Larson is associate director of Choral Activities. He has written for the Choral Journal, and is currently serving as president of Florida ACDA (state section of the American Choral Directors Association). The Stetson University Women’s Chorale performed at ACDA Southern Division Conferences in Memphis and Jacksonville, twice at FMEA, and twice at FLACDA conferences. Stetson choirs have premiered many of his compositions in concert and recording, which are published with Hinshaw Music, Santa Barbara Music under the Lorenz catalog, and on Clear Note Studio. He has conducted concerts in 11 states and he regularly adjudicates choirs from all over the country. Larson’s compositions, arrangements, and orchestrations have been performed by high school, collegiate, community and church ensembles across the country. He has performed as singer and pianist in numerous recitals and concerts. His pioneering research on Eric Whitacre has been continuously referenced in student papers and journal articles for over a decade. Larson earned a Bachelor of Music at Utah State University, a Masters of Music from Brigham Young University, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Jason Palmer – Promoted to Professor of Legal Skills

Jason Palmer

Jason Palmer

Professor Jason Palmer joined Stetson after teaching legal writing and oral advocacy for six years as a professorial lecturer in law at George Washington University Law School. Most recently, he worked for the Department of State as a team leader 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, Palmer spent several years in private practice in Washington, D.C., focusing on commercial litigation and international arbitration. Palmer was a judge for the 2010 Michael Greenberg Writing Competition for the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Bar Association. He was also a deputy editor of the “International Year in Review” published in The International Lawyer in spring of 2010 and was an assistant editor for Volume 16 of the Legal Writing Institute’s Journal of Legal Writing. He is a corresponding editor for International Legal Materials, which is published quarterly by the American Society of International Law.

Matthew Schrager – Tenured and promoted to Associate Professor of Integrative Health Science

Matt Schrager

Matt Schrager

Dr. Matthew Schrager teaches courses in human anatomy/physiology, the physiology of aging, exercise physiology, biomechanics and research methods. His research focuses primarily on aging, bioenergetics, and functional capacity. He has a secondary research focus on the physiology and biomechanics of mobility and human performance. In his aging research, Schrager analyzes large-scale databases through the National Institute on Aging, and he has recently published an intervention trial in the journal, Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, assessing blueberries as a potential countermeasure to the functional effects of aging. He is also interested in the role that the “built environment”/bicycling infrastructure has on encouraging or inhibiting physical activity. Schrager received a Bachelor of Arts from Grinnell College, Master of Science from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. from University of Maryland.

Alicia Slater – Promoted to Professor of Biology

Alicia Slater

Alicia Slater

Dr. Alicia Slater teaches introductory biology, molecular biology, and molecular ecology. In addition to teaching, she serves as a Provost Faculty Fellow and the Program Design and Learning Assessment Coordinator (PDLAC) at Stetson University. Slater maintains an active research program in the molecular ecology of freshwater invertebrates and her research program is currently funded by a State Wildlife Grant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. She has conducted research with numerous Stetson students and collaborators at other universities, with whom she has co-authored several publications in peer-reviewed journals and made presentations at regional and national meetings. In 2014, Slater received Stetson’s Hand Award for Excellence in Scholarship. As PDLAC, Slater is helping lead the effort to use outcomes-based course design to measure student learning at Stetson. Prior to becoming PDLAC, Slater initiated and coordinated a multi-year assessment of the introductory biology course sequence and designed Stetson’s first SCALE-UP classroom (Student Centered Active Learning Environment for Upside Down Pedagogies), which is now used by faculty across disciplines. As Provost Faculty Fellow, Slater helped organize new faculty orientations, designed and led the first Brown Innovation Fellow Institute, and co-developed the Faculty Excellence Seminar Series.

Kirsten Work – Promoted to Professor of Biology

Kirsten Work

Kirsten Work

Dr. Kirsten Work’s passion for aquatic ecology and conservation began in the University of Wisconsin’s Limnology Laboratory working as a lab tech on fish predation studies. This training led to master’s research on sockeye salmon fry predation on zooplankton in SW Alaska and dissertation research on exotic zooplankton in southern Oklahoma. During her dissertation research, she also worked on side projects on cyprinid fishes and freshwater mussels. Finally, before arriving at Stetson, Work did postdoctoral work on the carbon dynamics of the Lake Okeechobee food web, including bacteria, protozoa, rotifers and zooplankton. This wide array of experiences has given her a broad perspective geographically and taxonomically. At Stetson, she has worked on spring ecology, primarily at Volusia’s Blue Spring, with projects on algae, snails, fish ecology, and the effects of invasive snails and fish on ecosystem function. She also has worked on the ecology of local lakes, as central Florida is one of the areas of the country with the highest densities of lakes due to its karst (limestone) geography. In her courses, Work regularly collaborates with students on community-based research projects in which students apply the knowledge they gain in class to real world problems proposed by local resource managers. These various projects have resulted in publications and attendance at conferences with Stetson students.

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