20 faculty members join the APSU ranks

By Brittany Hickey
News Editor

20 new assistant and associate professors have started their tenure at APSU this fall.

The College of Arts and Letters has six new professors, the College of Business has four, one new assistant professor joined the School of Technology and Public Management, six faculty were added to the College of Science and Mathematics and the College of Behavioral and Health Science has three new assistant professors.

“They all fit,” said College of Business Dean William Rupp of the faculty that are starting their first semester at APSU, speaking specifically of his department’s additions. “All of these people have the character and integrity to be in this department.”

Rupp collaborated with search committees for the open positions. Jennis Biser, an economy professor who came to APSU from North Carolina A&T University, was up against almost 50 other applicants.

“[Biser] has energy,” Rupp said. “She is able to relate to students and she is a good match with the current economist.”

Alongside Biser, the College of Business hired Michael Shen, who has experience in marketing and economics; Edward Conrad, a specialist in strategy, information technology and research methods; and Gloria Miller, a business management and organizational behavior doctoral candidate with 12 years of human resources experience.

The six new College of Arts and Letters faculty include Virginia Griswold, an assistant professor of art who was recently in Paris, France, for a residency fellowship; Wes Atkinson, who has a doctorate in English and specializes in American literature; and Christopher Bailey, an assistant professor of musical theater and voice.

John Steinberg is the new chair of the Department of History and Philosophy and an associate professor. Steinberg is a Russian military historian and is the co-editor of an international research project, Russia’s Great War and Revolution.

“I am deeply engaged in progressive educational ideas and converting them into practice,” Steinberg said. “I examined APSU and saw these ideas floating around the website.”

Steinberg said he brings his expertise as a military historian and experience as an international educator to the campus.

Also in the College of Arts and letters are new faculty such as John Steinberg, the chair of the Department of History and Philosophy and associate professor, who has studied Russian history; Christophe Konkobo, a French and Francophone Studies graduate of the University of Iowa, is a new assistant professor of languages and literature; and, from the University of Southern Mississippi, Andrea Spofford, another assistant professor of languages and literature.

Robert Keller is the sole new hire of the School of Technology and Public Management. Keller teaches engineering technology and has 12 years of experience in higher education, as well as a master’s degree in textile technology.

A Kentucky native, Jeffrey Thompson, comes to APSU by way of Alabama, where he studied social work at Alabama A&M University and received a doctorate of ministry from Palmer Seminary/Eastern University.

Thompson has spent years doing motivational speaking, seminars, and GED classes, and spent the last year as an adjunct professor before being hired as full-time faculty this fall.

“Hundreds of people work here,” Thompson said, “but it’s a really neat thing when I walk into an office and someone says ‘Hello, Dr. Thompson, how are you doing?’”

According to Thompson, he told one of the staff members he understands why the school was listed in the Chronicle for Higher Education’s list of great colleges to work for.

The staff, he said, has been extremely welcoming to him and his family.

In addition to Thompson, the College of Behavioral and Health Science also hired Ying Ma, a sociology assistant professor who was awarded two academic fellowships, and Michael Gruszczynski, assistant professor of political science, and a specialist in American politics, political psychology and methodology.

Six assistant and associate professors were added to the  College of Science and Mathematics, including Ukraine-born Roman Holovchak.

“I am trying to contribute to the goals of the department,” Holovchak said. “I like that our department involves undergraduates in research.”

Experiments are a way for undergraduate students to touch real physics, he said.

New to the College of Behavioral and Health Science are faculty members Colleen White, a graduate of APSU, who teaches biology; Christina Galben, another graduate of APSU from 1998, who has a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Auburn University and teaches agriculture; Holly Tapp is a new assistant professor of allied health sciences with a master’s degree in management and is also the clinical coordinator for the radiation therapy program; and Stefan Woltmann, biology assistant professor, whose research interests include conservation genetics and biology and bird migration.

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