Welcome New Faculty

Austin College Adds New Faculty Faces

Several new faces will be among the Austin College faculty as classes begin on campus next week, announced by Michael Imhoff, vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of the faculty, in preparation for the start of Fall Term 2012. The new arrivals bring records of excellent preparation and experience to add to the campus teaching culture.

Five tenure-track faculty members join the College, as do five visiting faculty who will fill one-year vacancies. Several individuals are new to the adjunct faculty.

Tenure-Track Faculty

Jessica Healy joins the sciences faculty as assistant professor of biology, having most recently served as a postdoctoral research associate at University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix. She earned a Ph.D. in zoology at Colorado State University, concentrating in ecological physiology, and completed her bachelor’s degree in biology at Central College in Iowa.

Two faculty additions are in Modern and Classical Languages, with Wolfgang Lueckel joining the department as assistant professor of German. He earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. at University of Cincinnati and his bachelor’s degree at University of Mainz. Most recently he served as a visiting assistant professor of German at Earlham College in Indiana. Andrew Pigott, assistant professor of French, earned his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University, specializing in 20th century French literature. He earned his master’s degree in French at Bryn Mawr College, and earned his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude at University of South Alabama, with University Honors, in French and English.

Erin Copple Smith joins the Department of Communication, Media Studies, and Theatre as assistant professor of media studies. She just completed three semesters as visiting assistant professor at Denison University in Ohio. She earned her master’s degree in media and cultural studies and Ph.D. at University of Wisconsin-Madison and a bachelor’s degree in communication at Denison University.

Joining the Department of Economics and Business Administration is Dan Zhao, assistant professor of economics. He most recently served as adjunct assistant professor of economics at the College of Saint Benedict of Saint John’s University in Minnesota and previously served as visiting assistant professor of economics at Central College in Iowa. Zhao earned a bachelor’s degree in money and banking at Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing, China, before completing his master’s degree and Ph.D. in economics at University of Kentucky. His concentrations were international trade; money, banking, and financial markets; and macroeconomics theory.

Visiting and Adjunct Faculty

Two Austin College graduates return to their alma mater as faculty members. Manijeh Badiee will serve and visiting assistant professor psychology and Kristen Streater will serve as visiting assistant professor of history. After completing her Austin College degree in Spanish and computer science, Badiee earned a master’s degree in counseling at St. Edwards University and a Ph.D. in psychological studies in education at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She taught last fall as an assistant instructor at Texas Woman’s University. After completing her Austin College degree, earned a master’s degree at Louisiana Tech University and a Ph.D. at University of Kentucky.

Other visiting faculty members are Rebecca S. Lehmann, visiting assistant professor of English, and Osvaldo de la Torre, visiting assistant professor of Spanish. Lehmann earned a bachelor’s degree at University of Wisconsin, a master’s degree at the University of Iowa, and a Ph.D. in English and creative writing at Florida State University. De la Torre earned a bachelor’s degree in English and American literatures at Baylor University, a master’s degree in Iberian and Latin American Studies at University of Notre Dame, and a Ph.D. in Hispanic studies at Cornell University.

New adjunct faculty members include Ekaterina Chernaya Oh, adjunct instructor in music; Xiaoxiang Liu, adjunct instructor in East Asian languages; Mary Nickell, adjunct instructor in exercise and sport science; Catherine Price, adjunct instructor in English; Michael Silva, adjunct instructor in exercise and sport science; and Brandon Stewart, adjunct instructor in music.

Additional appointments for Spring Term 2013 include Cedra Wood, visiting assistant professor of art, and George Schild, visiting assistant professor of history. Wood is an Austin College alumna who earned a Master of Fine Arts degree at University of New Mexico. Schild earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at University of Berlin and a Ph.D. at University of Maryland.

Austin College is a leading national independent liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas. Founded in 1849, making it the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original charter and name, the college is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA). Recognized nationally for academic excellence in the areas of international education, pre-professional training, and leadership studies, Austin College is one of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives.