Faculty transition to new roles and restructured departments

September 11th, 2014



Students at John Carroll University will be seeing quite a few new faces this fall—and they won’t just be fellow students. The University has hired several new faculty members who will begin their term this academic year.

Many JCU professors retired last spring, leaving various positions open. Over the 2013-2014 academic year, faculty retired from seven different departments. Carl Spitznagel and David Stenson, both mathematics professors, were two of the faculty members who retired.


Spitznagel worked at JCU for 42 years. According to Spitznagel, teaching has evolved since he began in 1972. “While it has been a challenge to keep up with changing technology and learning styles, these challenges have also helped to keep teaching from becoming a stale activity that is simply repeated over and over.”


Other retirees included theology and religious studies professors John Spencer and Thomas Schubeck, S.J.; classical and modern languages and cultures professors Antonio Perez-Romero and Thomas Nevin; finance professor LeRoy Brooks; history professor Robert Kolesar; communications professor Joseph Miller; and English professor Thomas Hayes.


As a result, the University was left with many vacant positions to fill.


Associate Academic Vice President Jim Krukones explained that each department seeking to fill a vacant position must submit a request to one of the deans. The deans then decide which positions need to be filled first.

“Sometimes the request to hire a tenure-track faculty member is temporarily put on hold, and permission is granted to hire a visitor instead,” said Krukones. Then the deans send their decisions to the Provost and Academic Vice President, and from there to the President of the University. According to Krukones, “Once permission to hire is granted to a department, a search committee within that department is formed.”


JCU issued several press releases this past summer informing the JCU community of new additions to the faculty.


One of these new faculty members is Rodney Hessinger, who joins the University as Associate Dean of the humanities. Hessinger previously worked at Hiram College as Associate Dean and professor of history for 14 years. “When I saw that JCU was looking for someone to lead the Humanities division, it seemed like a natural fit and exciting opportunity for me,” said Hessinger. Since beginning at JCU, the campus has already left an impression. “Because most students live on campus,” he said, “there is a tremendous energy here.”


In addition to the new hires, several positions were created.


Terry Mills will be the University’s first Assistant Provost for Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer. During The Carroll News’ weekly meeting on Thursday, Sept. 4, the Rev. Robert Niehoff explained his aspiration for JCU to become a more diverse community, as well as his excitement to have Mills at JCU. “If I could do one thing to change John Carroll, I would make it more diverse,” Niehoff said.


Pamela Mason, associate professor of political science, recently became associate dean of social sciences, education and global studies. Mason said that she was honored to be given this position. As associate dean, Mason said she looks forward to “working with faculty and departments across the University to advance the liberal arts.”


Several visiting assistant professors have joined the University, including Joseph Consiglio and Christopher Lin in mathematics, and Kristen Tobey in theology and religious studies.


New assistant professors include Sokchea Lim in economics and Kristen Ehrhardt in classical and modern languages and cultures. Both instructors were previously visiting professors, and now hold tenure-track positions.


Assistant professors who are new to the University are Feng Zhan in finance, Marcus Gallo in history and Elle Wu in management, marketing and logistics. Wu, assistant professor of marketing, comes to John Carroll from the University of Wisconsin-Steven’s Point, where she taught for two years. “Everyone [at JCU] is extremely friendly,” Wu said. Wu encourages undergraduate students to use their summers to gain professional work experience through internships. “Use that time to really find out what you want to do,” she added.


The Boler School of Business also gained William B. Elliott, who is the Edward J. and Louise E. Mellen Chair in finance.


However, professors are not the only new additions. Jaleh Fazelian has joined the Grasselli Library and Breen Learning Center as the head of research learning and information. According to Fazelian, she likes that “JCU is a small campus with a focus on service.” Additionally, she is looking forward to getting to know the students and faculty at JCU. “It helps me help you,” she added.


The Center for Service and Social Action welcomes a new director this semester, Katherine Feely, and the department of counseling gained Martina Moore as a visiting instructor.


In the spring of 2015, James Watling will join the JCU community as assistant professor of biology, and Coburn professor of environmental science.


Despite the departure and subsequent influx of faculty members, the professors and staff are handling it well so far. According to Krukones, “Faculty, as well as the other members of the University community, are good about dealing with changes, especially when they can see the benefit that will come of them down the road.”