Penn State New Kensington has first-rate faculty, many of whom are recognized nationally and internationally in their disciplines.
New Kensington faculty bring exciting new developments from their fields into the classroom and are at the forefront of a national trend to bring hands-on, student-centered, active-learning techniques into the classroom. They are committed to collaborative work, including challenging discussions in class, team projects, multi-media presentations, and interactive Web use.
Our faculty welcomes opportunities to incorporate internships, service-learning projects, and community involvement into their courses and programs as employers continue to look very closely for these experiences in applicants' resumes.
UNSUNG HEROS OF ACADEMIA GIVE THEIR TIME TO THE CAMPUS AND COMMUNITY
Adjunct instructors are the unsung heroes of academia. A staple of most colleges and universities, adjunct faculty supplement the teaching loads of full-time faculty.
At Penn State New Kensington, adjuncts do more than teach. The part-time instructors, who specialize in a variety of disciplines, are indispensable outside of the classroom as well as inside the classroom.
“We are very fortunate to have a group of adjunct faculty who are loyal to our campus and who serve in a wide variety of service roles,” said Donald Bruckner, assistant director of academic affairs. "The extra effort of these professionals helps the campus to be the focus of activity that it is, and not merely a place where learning takes place in classrooms and labs.”
Adjuncts at the campus are active in a variety of extra-curricular activities that serve the campus and the local community. Some work with students, some work with faculty and staff, and some work with the administration.
Jane Viti, adjunct instructor in biology, serves as a volunteer mentor for the campus’ annual Females Interested in Reaching for Science, Technology and Engineering (FIRSTE) program. The summer program targets ninth through 11th-grade girls considering careers in science, technology or engineering. The Fox Chapel resident joined the campus faculty in 2001. She teaches courses in anatomy, physiology and microbiology.
“The FIRSTE program provides an invaluable service by fostering young girls’ interest in science as a career choice and in exposing them to a college environment," said Viti, who holds a doctorate in neurobiology from the University of Pittsburgh. “The campus creates a very supportive environment.”
Adjunct instructors Frances Blanco-Yu (Chemistry), Tamanna Sultanna (Chemistry) and Dave Wohleber (Chemistry and Computer Science) also serve as mentors in the FIRSTE program.
Alumnus John Powell, adjunct instructor in engineering, played a pivotal role in reconfiguring the Engineering lab, including designing and building new programmable logic controller training modules. He also teamed with fellow engineering adjunct Mark Ripepi to lend their expertise to the Summer Preparation for Academics in the College of Engineering, or SPACE as it is known on campus. SPACE is a two-week academic session designed to strengthen the skills, knowledge, and experience of those seeking to major in engineering. The program includes classes in pre-calculus, chemistry, physics, and English, as well as workshops on study skills and course scheduling strategies. Peer mentoring and networking with current students help ease the transition from high school to college.
Powell’s campus service isn’t limited to the academics. He was a member of the campus Advisory Board and served as the board’s president for two years. In the fall, he collaborated with Danielle DeStefano, assistant director of admissions, on organizing a Motorcycle Run for the campus' annual Fall Festival.
Many adjuncts are asked to be faculty advisers to student clubs. Rebecca Mertz, adjunct instructor in English, was the adviser to the Anime Club. Anime is a Japanese animation style that is characterized by colorful graphics, characters and themes. Dave Nixon, adjunct instructor in radiological sciences, works with the X-ray club that is geared to students in the Radiological Sciences program. Nixon also sits on the program’s Assessment and Advisory committees that oversee the three-year accreditation cycle.
In addition to teaching, adjuncts are a vital part of campus committees. Carole Walcher, adjunct instructor in business administration, and Stewart Lewis, adjunct instructor in chemistry, serve on the campus’ Green Team. The Green Team takes specific actions to help the campus operate in a more efficient, innovative, and healthy way. The group operates under the Penn State Campus Sustainability Office that is charged with ensuring that Penn State is ecologically sound, socially responsible, and financially strong, while serving as a living laboratory for global sustainability to educate and serve our students. Leslie Wolf (Business) and David Jordan (Business) are adjunct faculty representatives to the Faculty Senate. The senate is the legislative body representing the campus' academic unit in matters such as instructional programs, courses and programs of study, academic admissions standards, graduation requirements and scholarships and honors.
Bruckner, a former adjunct at the campus, emphasized that while full-time faculty are obligated to perform service activities such these as part of their faculty appointments, adjunct faculty contractual obligations extend only to the courses they are teaching.
“That’s what makes this kind of service so impressive, so appreciated, and so clearly above and beyond the call of duty,” said Bruckner, who earned his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh. “We have a ton of adjuncts who are volunteering for these and other service activities out of the kindness of their hearts, because they believe in what we’re doing here and want to be a part of it.”
Bruckner, who assumed his administrative position in 2003, continues with his teaching responsibilities as assistant professor of philosophy. He teaches courses on ethics, logic and environmental philosophy.
While adjuncts are part-time faculty, a majority of the campus group have enjoyed a long term relationship with the campus. Last August, thirty-seven adjunct faculty were honored for service of five years or more. Wohleber tops the list with 21 years of service followed by Carol Dilliott, adjunct instructor in nutrition, with 20 years of service.
Faculty receive public recognition in April at the campus’ Academic and Student Achievement Awards ceremony. A committee of students, previous award recipients, and the Director of Academic Affairs selects one full-time and one part-time faculty member to receive the “Excellence in Teaching” award. The award is given for excellent classroom performance including teaching methods, techniques or activities. Excellence in other activities such as advising, supervision of learning outside the classroom, and course development are also considered. James “Frank” Roach, adjunct instructor in physics, was the 2012 recipient.
Annual event recognizes faculty accomplishments
Faculty publications, awards, tenure and sabbaticals were reasons to celebrate Dec. 11, at a special reception in Blissell Library at Penn State New Kensington. Jennifer Gilley, head librarian, hosted the tenth annual faculty publications party, meant to honor the accomplishments of faculty members at the New Kensington campus.
“New Kensington campus faculty produce a breadth of excellent scholarship, and this is a time when we can showcase the knowledge that they bring to their academic disciplines and to their classrooms,” said Andrea Adolph, director of academic affairs at the campus. “Our students are the beneficiaries of an amazing range of scholarly and creative talent."
Honored for receiving a 2012 Excellence in Teaching award were John “Craig” Hammond, assistant professor of history (full-time), James “Frank” Roach, adjunct instructor in physics (part-time), and Joseph Stahl, adjunct faculty (Continuing Education).
Tenure was garnered by Yang Xu and Rujirutana “Dr. A” Mandhachitara. Both were promoted to associate professor of business administration. Richard Harnish, associate professor of psychology, earned a sabbatical.
Among the numerous articles written by the New Kensington faculty was a book of inspirational poetry by adult student Hannah McBean, a junior in the Organizational Leadership program. “Silence Speaks: Sounds from Within” features poetic verses that help people take stock of the strengths and weaknesses of their own lives. The book delves into three phases of life--The Struggle; The Mountaintop; and The Awakening--that are essential to living a meaningful life.
Reference librarian Amy Rustic, library assistant Yesenia Figueroa-Lifschitz and staff assistant Beth Matocha assisted in planning the afternoon reception.
To access all of the recent Penn State New Kensington faculty publications, click here.
Dr. Robert Bridges, associate professor of psychology, Dr. Richard Harnish, associate professor of psychology, and Deborah Sillman, senior instructor in biology, co-authored an article, “Teaching Undergraduate Positive Psychology: An Active Learning Approach Using Student Blogs,” for Psychology Learning & Teaching. Drs. Bridges and Harnish co-authored an article, “Promoting Student Engagement: Using Community Service-Learning Projects in Undergraduate Psychology,” for PRISM: A Journal of Regional Engagement.
Dr. Donald Bruckner, assistant director of academic affairs and assistant professor of philosophy, wrote an article, “Against the Tedium of Immortality” for the International Journal of Philosophical Studies.
Jennifer Gilley, head librarian, wrote an article, “This Book is an Action: A Case for the Study of Feminist Publishing,” for The International Journal of the Book.
Dr. William Hamilton, assistant professor of biology, and Deborah Sillman, senior instructor in biology, blogged “Ecologist’s Notebook” for their “Hiking Western PA: Observations of Western PA’s Ecosystems.”
Dr. John “Craig” Hammond, assistant professor of history, wrote an article, “Slavery, Settlement, and Empire: The Expansion and Growth of Slavery in the Interior of the North American Continent, 1770-1820,” for the Journal of the Early Republic, and co-authored an article, “Evaluating Advice: Self-Presentational Biases Between High and Low Self-Monitors,” for Psychology & Marketing.
Myron Hartman, instructor in engineering, authored a series of articles for TechNation Magazine: “The Future: What I Did During My Summer of 2011,” “The Future: An Idea or a Plan,” “The Future: Top Skill Needed for an Entry Level BMET,” and “The Future: Back to the Future.”
Dr. Jyotsna “Josi” Kalavar, associate director of human development and family studies, wrote an article, “Elder Abuse in India: Extrapolating from the Experiences of Seniors in India’s ‘Pay and Stay’ Homes,” for the Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect.
Ronald Land, Ronald, associate professor of engineering, wrote an article, “Engineering Technologists are Engineers,” for the Journal of Engineering Technology.
Dr. Robert Mathers, assistant professor of chemistry, co-authored an article, “Cationic Olefin Polymerization using Tris (pentafluorophenyl) Gallium and Aluminum, and wrote an article, “How Well Can Renewable Resources Mimic Commodity Monomers and Polymers?” for the Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry. He co-authored two articles for Macromolecular Rapid Communications: “Lactide Cyclopolymerization by an Alumitrane-Inspired Catalyst” and “Critical Evaluation of Microwave Effect on Radical (co)Polymerizations” and another article, “Ligands for Highly Active ATRP Catalysts,” for ACS Macro Lett.
Dr. Michael McGinnis, associate professor of business administration, co-authored two articles, “Cross-Cultural Validation of the Factorial Structure of a Logistics Strategy Model: A Three-Country Study,” for the Journal of Transportation Management and “An Empirical Study Comparing Guatemalan and United States Logistics Strategies,” for the International Journal of Logistics Management.
SPECIAL STUDENT PUBLICATIONS
Hanna McBean, a junior in the Organizational Leadership program, wrote a book,
“Silence Speaks: Sounds from Within.”
Dr. Yang Xu, promoted to associate professor of business administration
Dr. Rujirutana “Dr. A” Mandhachitara, promoted to associate professor of business administration
Dr. Richard Harnish, associate professor of psychology
Dr. Jyotsna “Josi” Kalavar, associate director of human development and family studies, was the 2012 recipient of the John Romano Faculty Diversity Recognition Award. She is also completing her master’s degree work in Sanskrit.
EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING AWARDS
Dr. John “Craig” Hammond, assistant professor of history (full-time)
Dr. James “Frank” Roach, adjunct instructor in physics (part-time)
Dr. Joseph Stahl, adjunct instructor in organizational leadership (Continuing Education)
PSEAS OUTSTANDING TEACHING AWARD
Myron Hartman, instructor in engineering and coordinator of Biomedical Engineering Technology program
- Resources for Faculty
- About Our Faculty