Faculty Awarded Tenure, Promotion 2016-17
Nine members of Stetson University’s faculty have recently earned tenure and/or promotion. The new status for these faculty will be effective August 2016 with the start of the 2016-2017 academic year.
“It is an honor and a pleasure to celebrate the accomplishments of these teacher-scholars,” said Provost Elizabeth Paul, who made the announcement. “I am grateful to our teacher-scholar faculty for inspiring our students’ love of lifelong learning. Please join me in celebrating their important achievements.”
Shahram Amiri – Promoted to Professor of Decision and Information Sciences
Shahram Amiri, Ph.D., is professor and chair of the Department of Decision and Information Sciences at Stetson University’s School of Business Administration. He is a faculty member with Salzburg Seminars in Salzburg Austria http://www.salzburgseminar.org .
As a CIO and a senior executive for over 25 years, he has provided leadership and direction for large IT organizations at four different institutions of higher learning: Norfolk State University, Christopher Newport University, Williams College, and Stetson University. In each case, he posted a track record of successful, cost-effective and productive IT innovation and implementation.
Because of his strong commitment to serving the community and state, he founded and served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for the Study of Digital Inclusion (ISDI); a (501c3) Nonprofit Organization. ISDI’s mission is to promote the use of effective and affordable technology and enhance individual lives. Over 1000 students (2003-2011) from underserved communities in the state of Florida graduated from the Institute (The Make-It-Take-It After School Program) where they learned internet literacy and built and received their own computers.
Amiri has taught at Stetson University since 2003. His research includes the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on E-commerce, E-health, E-learning, E-government, socio-economics and Gross Domestic Product. His writing has been published in many academic and scientific journals including: International Journal of Applied Science and Technology, AI &Society, IBM Journal of Research and Development and International Journal of Business, Humanities and Technology, China-USA Business Review, and Business Review Cambridge.
Jason R. Bent – Tenured as Associate Professor of Law
Associate Professor Bent joined Stetson Law in 2011 and teaches in the areas of employment law and civil procedure. Professor Bent’s scholarly interests include systemic theories of employment discrimination, workplace safety regulation, and law and economics. His recent articles have been selected for publication in the Connecticut Law Review, the Ohio State Law Journal, the Buffalo Law Review, the Denver University Law Review, the Tennessee Law Review and the Michigan Journal of Law Reform. Prior to joining the faculty at Stetson, Professor Bent was a Shughart Fellow and visiting assistant professor at the Penn State University Dickinson School of Law.
Professor Bent graduated magna cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School, where he served as a notes editor of the Michigan Law Review and was a member of the Order of the Coif. Professor Bent earned his bachelor’s degree in economics, with honors, from Grinnell College. Following law school, Professor Bent served as a judicial clerk to Judge Cornelia Kennedy of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit and Judge Joan B. Gottschall of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Following his clerkships, Professor Bent practiced in the Labor and Employment and Appellate Practice Groups with Foley & Lardner LLP. He later became a principal and shareholder of Smith & Bent P.C., where he practiced employment law and environmental litigation. While in private practice, Professor Bent represented clients in International Chamber of Commerce arbitration proceedings, advocated for clients in systemic employment discrimination cases involving the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and assisted clients in interactions and negotiations with state environmental and human rights agencies.
Christopher Colwell – Tenured as Associate Professor of Education
Dr. Chris Colwell, Ed.D., is the chair of the Education Department at Stetson University. He joined Stetson University’s Department of Education in 2011. He is the author of the book Impact: How Assistant Principals Can Be High Performing Leaders published by Rowman & Littlefield in March, 2015. He serves as the Primary Investigator (PI) for the Florida Department of Education Centers of Excellence in Education grant awarded to Stetson University in 2014. Prior to joining the faculty at Stetson, Colwell served as a school principal at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. He was named the Florida Principal of the Year in 1996. He also served as an Assistant and Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for the Volusia County School Board. He is the past president of the Florida Association of Instructional Leaders. Colwell’s current research focuses on educational leadership at all levels of the K-12 sector. He holds Ed.D. and Ed.S. degrees in Educational Leadership from The University of Central Florida and a M.Ed. and B.A. degree from Stetson University.
Christopher Ferguson – Promoted to Professor of Psychology
Chris Ferguson, Ph.D., is an internationally renowned expert on media effects, having published numerous articles related to video game violence, gender in media, body dissatisfaction and advertising effects, many of these coauthored with Stetson students. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and received the APA’s Media Psychology and Technology Division’s Early Career Scientist award. Ferguson also published short fiction which can be found on his website at ChristopherJFerguson.com, as well as a mystery novel set in Renaissance Florence, titled, Suicide Kings. He lives near Orlando with his wife Diana and son Roman. Ferguson holds his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Central Florida, a M.S. in developmental psychology from Florida International University, and his B.A. in psychology from Stetson University.
David Hill – Promoted to Professor of Political Science
David Hill, Ph.D., is the chair of the Department of Political Science. His teaching and research interests are in the areas of American political institutions and voting behavior. He has a published a dozen peer reviewed journal articles and is the author of the book American Voter Turnout: An Institutional Approach, which explores the impact of governmental and electoral institutional arrangements on turnout in American elections. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Stetson University and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Florida.
Timothy Peter – Tenured as Professor of Music
Timothy Peter, D.M.A., is director of Choral Activities at Stetson University. Having joined the faculty of the Stetson University School of Music in the fall of 2012, Peter conducts the Stetson Concert Choir, which is the university’s touring SATB ensemble, comprised of select upper-class singers. In addition, he conducts the Stetson Men and teaches choral conducting and choral repertoire courses. He is the artistic director of the annual Stetson Christmas Candlelight Concerts and coordinates campus choral events and tours. He is involved in the National Collegiate Choral Organization and the American Choral Directors Association, having held positions as the divisional chair for repertoire and standards for college and universities and the state and divisional chair for men’s choirs. He is a native of Minnesota, received his undergraduate degree from Luther College and completed his doctorate of musical arts degree at the University of Arizona. Before coming to Stetson University, he was professor of music at Luther College and served as the head of the music department. He has been a high school choral director and church musician in Minnesota, Iowa and Arizona.
Tara Schuwerk – Tenured and Promoted to Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies
Tara Schuwerk, Ph.D., has developed/taught at least 12 different courses at Stetson including, Are We What We Eat? Food, Health, & Controversy, Intercultural Communication, Organizational Communication, Food and Nutrition in the Media, Health Communication, and Qualitative Theory and Methodology, as well as Senior Research. Schuwerk’s research focuses on the intersections of communication, culture, health and identity using qualitative research methods. Her projects have a focus on food within those intersections, such as hunger-relief, media representations of food and nutrition and public discourse of food issues. Schuwerk earned her interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Human Communication from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University.
Rajni Shankar-Brown – Tenured as Associate Professor of Education
Rajni Shankar-Brown, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor, Director of Education Graduate Programs, Co-Coordinator of the Master’s in Educating for Social Justice Program, member of the Nina B. Hollis Institute for Educational Reform and the Jessie Ball duPont Chair of Social Justice Education in the Department of Education at Stetson University. She teaches both undergraduate and graduate education courses. She is the Founder and Director of the Poverty and Homelessness Conference (PHC) and the Co-PI for the Volusia Center for Excellence in Education. She also serves as the faculty advisor for Stetson’s Student Homeless Coalition, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Nontraditional Student Organization. Shankar-Brown is an internationally recognized scholar in the areas of social justice education, poverty and homelessness, diversity and inclusion and transformative literacy and arts integration. She is a regularly sought after expert on Capitol Hill and by international/national organizations dedicated to inclusive educational excellence and working towards the elimination of poverty and homelessness. She is committed to advancing equity and inclusion through culturally responsive curriculum and instructional practices in K-12 schools and in higher education, as well as within community organizations serving youth and in carceral spaces. Shankar-Brown is widely published, including in top tier education journals and she has presented around the globe. She is a member of numerous university committees including Stetson’s Faculty Senate and Values Day Planning Committee, as well as the president of Stetson’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors. She also serves on several editorial and advisory boards and is actively involved with professional organizations at the international, national, state and local levels. Most recently, she has been nominated to serve on the Board of The National Coalition for the Homeless and elected as the chair of the Equity and Social Justice SIG for the International Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education. She is consistently recognized for her innovative leadership and longstanding commitment to service. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from George Mason University and a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Through her research, scholarship and service, Shankar-Brown is deeply committed to advancing social justice through community and civic engagement. In addition to being a passionate teacher-scholar, she is a dedicated mother, multi-media artist, and social activist.
Ciara Torres-Spelliscy – Tenured as Associate Professor of Law
Associate Professor Ciara Torres-Spelliscy teaches courses in Election Law, Corporate Governance, Business Entities, and Constitutional Law. Prior to joining Stetson’s faculty, Torres-Spelliscy was counsel in the Democracy Program of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law where she provided guidance on the issues of money in politics and the judiciary to state and federal lawmakers. She was an associate at Arnold & Porter LLP and a staffer for Senator Richard Durbin.
Professor Torres-Spelliscy has testified before Congress, and state and local legislative bodies as an expert on campaign finance reform. She has also helped draft legislation and Supreme Court briefs. She is the editor of the 2010 edition of the Brennan Center’s campaign finance treatise, “Writing Reform: A Guide to Drafting State and Local Campaign Finance Laws.”
She researches and speaks publicly on campaign finance law as well as judicial selection. She has spoken at symposia at 22 universities around the nation. She presented at the 2013 and the 2015 Annual Conventions of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) and at the 2014 Annual Convention of the American Constitution Society, and the 2011 and the 2014 Annual Conventions of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL).
As well as publishing in law reviews, such as the NYU Law Review, the University of San Francisco Law Review, the Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy, and the Montana Law Review, Professor Torres-Spelliscy has been published in the New York Times, New York Law Journal, Slate, L.A. Times, U.S. News and World Report, Boston Review, Roll Call, Business Week, Forbes, The Atlantic, USA Today, Business Ethics Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, The Hill, Huffington Post, The Root.com, Judicature, The Nation, Salon.com, Tampa Bay Times, The Progressive, CNN.com, Medium, and the ABA Judges Journal. She has also been quoted by the media in The Economist, The New York Times, Mother Jones, Newsweek on Air, SCOTUS Blog, Politico, Slate, The National Journal, USA Today, L.A. Times, Boston Globe, NBC.com, WMNF, Sirius Radio, National Public Radio, Fox, Voice America, CSPAN, DNA TV, and NY1.
In 2014, Stetson University College of Law awarded Professor Torres-Spelliscy the Dickerson-Brown award for Excellence in Faculty Scholarship. In 2013, Professor Torres-Spelliscy was named as a member of the Lawyers of Color’s “50 Under 50” list of minority law professors making an impact in legal education. In 2012, Professor Torres-Spelliscy was named as a Top Wonk by the website TopWonks.org.
Professor Torres-Spelliscy is a Brennan Center Fellow, a member of the Scholars Strategy Network, a member of the Board of Directors of the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, a member of the Board of Directors of the National Institute on Money in State Politics which was awarded the 2015 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.