Jeff Ashley

Jeffrey TF Ashley
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Program Director of Chemistry and Biochemistry

I graduated with a Ph.D. in Marine, Estuarine, and Environmental Science from the University of Maryland at College Park. I teach freshman courses such as Chemistry I and II, as well as upper-level chemistry courses such as Instrumental Methods of Analysis, Environmental Chemistry, and Oceanography.  

My research interests center on the sources, transport and fate of bioaccumulative, persistent, organic pollutants in urbanized and industrialized estuaries, such as the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays. Additionally, I conduct research on chemicals of human health concern in consumer products (for example, apparel and dietary supplements). I’m also a research associate at the Academy of Natural Sciences, where my students and I collaborate on environmental chemistry and ecology-based projects.

The most rewarding part of teaching for me is seeing upper-level chemistry and biochemistry majors present their scientific research projects at conferences. These venues allow students to showcase all the essential discipline-specific skills from their experiences at PhilaU.

In 2010, I was awarded the Lindback Foundation for Teaching Award.

Recent Publications:

Jeffrey Ashley, Joshua Ward, Christopher Anderson, Michael Schafer, Linda Zouadeh, Richard Horwitz and David Velinsky. Children’s daily exposure to PCBs from dietary supplements containing fish oils. Food Additives and Contaminants: Part A. (2013) Volume 30, Issue 3: 506-514.

Jeffrey Ashley, Marcel Vasquez, Paula Zelanko, Erin McKinley, Mike Schafer, David Velinksy, Richard Horwitz, and Heather Stapleton. Trophic transfer of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in a tidal freshwater marsh. Chemistry and Ecology. (2012) Volume 28/Issue 4:305-325.

Evaluating daily exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in fish oil supplements.
Jeffrey Ashley, Joshua Ward, Mike Schafer, Heather Stapleton and David Velinsky. Journal of Food Additives and Contaminants.  2010


Jean Bail, Ed.D, RN, MSN, MEP, CEN, EMT-P
Program Director of Disaster Medicine and Management

I am the Program Director for the Disaster Medicine and Management Program at Philadelphia University. I am a nurse and paramedic with more than 38 years’ experience in emergency medical services and education. I am a regional leader in emergency management education. I am active with Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council, the Emergency Nurses Association and the Delaware County Critical Incident Stress Management team. I serve as the Infection Control Officer for several volunteer fire and ambulance services. I also participate in the Southeast Pennsylvania Surge Medical Assistance Response Team and is the Training Officer for PA-4 Disaster Medical Assistance Team.

I received my B.S.N. from Widener University School of Nursing and her M.S.N. in Trauma, Burn and Emergency Nursing and an Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership and Administration from Widener University.

Amy Baker '02 M'04, PA-C
Associate Professor, Physician Assistant Studies
Health Sciences Program Director
Pre-Professional PA Program Coordinator

I am the first graduate of the Philadelphia University Physician Assistant Program to return to teach at my alma mater. After graduating in 2004, I worked full-time in a family practice setting for two years. While working at this practice I was an adjunct faculty member at PhilaU in the Physical Diagnosis lab, and was also a preceptor for Physician Assistant students from Philadelphia University and medical students from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

I am currently an associate professor in the Philadelphia University Physician Assistant Program. I also serve as the Health Sciences Program Director and Pre-Professional Physician Assistant coordinator, working to improve the education of the five-year BS/MS students. Aside from academics, I continue to work clinically with Talamo Family Practice Group in Collegeville, PA.

I live in Lafayette Hill with my husband, young son, and doberman. I am also pursuing a post-master’s certificate in Midwifery.

Academic and Research Interests;
Women’s Health, Pediatrics, Patient Education, Gastroenterology, Health Sciences advising

Charles W. Bock, Ph.D.
Professor of Computational Chemistry and Mathematics

I hold B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Physics from Drexel University. I have been teaching at Philadelphia University since 1989. I have also worked as a consultant for Molecular Modeling and Computational Chemistry at the Fox Chase Cancer Center since 1992.

Recent Publications:

Bhat, K.L., W.H. Brendley and C.W. Bock. Thermodynamics and Kinetics of MTBE Degradation: A Density Functional Theory Investigation. J. of Soil & Sediment Contamination (2004 in press).

Sztandera, L., M. Trachtman, C.W. Bock, J. Velga and A. Garg. Soft Computing in the Design on Nontoxic Chemicals. J. Chem. Inf. And Comp. Sci. (2003), 43, 189-198.

Bock, C.W., G.D. Markham, J.P. Glusker and A.K. Katz. The Arrangement of First-and Second-Shell Water Molecules in Trivalent Aluminum Complexes: Results from Density Functional Theory and Structural Crystallography. Inorg. Chem. (2003), 42, 1538-1548.

George, P., J.P. Glusker, G.D. Markham, M. Trachtman and C.W. Bock. An Ab Initio Molecular Orbital Study Comparing the Bonding of the NH3 and H2O in the Monoamines and the Monohydrates of Main Group and Transition Metal Ions. Mol. Phys. (2003), 101, 2451-2467.

Brendley, Jr., W.H., H. Hamann, K.L. Bhat and C.W. Bock. Formation of Bis (Chloromethyl) Ether in the Vapor Phase: A Computational Investigation. J. Mol. Struct. (Theochem), (2002), 619, 207-228.

Anne Bower

Anne Bower, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Conservation Biology

I received my M.S. in 1991 and Ph.D. in 1996 from the School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida in Gainesville. My dissertation topic was Technology Transfer of Cocoa Management Practices in Agroforestry for Hillside Farmers in Jamaica.  As an undergraduate I double majored in Behavioral Biology and Psychology at Beloit College in Beloit, WI. I graduated cum laude and won the Ding Darling Research Award in Biology in 1983.

At PhilaU, I have developed a new Environmental and Conservation Biology major,and have designed and taught over 17 different courses for both general education and science majors, ranging from freshmen to senior levels. I serve as lead PI on an NSF funded science pedagogy initiative. I am the faculty coordinator on NASA SCRIBE outreach to high school students and am lead Coordinator of Environmental Science service learning projects for 600 freshman non-science majors working with over 40 agencies in the Delaware Valley. Designed and taught over 17 different courses for both general education and science majors ranging from freshmen to senior level. Organized and led student environmental trips including hawk watching, horseshoe crab tagging, whale watching, and carnivorous plant canoe trip. Directed design, planting and on-going monitoring of a butterfly garden on-campus by non-science majors. Designed and led a course to Jamaica to collect data for the establishment of a marine park by the Portland Environmental Protection Agency (NGO).

Mentored over thirty upper division research students per semester on long-term study of deer management and NE forest regeneration at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education. Active applied research program with students on: antibiotic potential of soil bacteria from Jamaica, erosion control using alternative fabrics, development and testing of organic control methods to manage invasive earthworm populations, and evaluation methods for measuring forest restoration in urban parks.

Diana Cundell

Diana Cundell, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology, Pre-Medical Studies
Coordinator and Clinical Coordinator of Pre-Medical Program

I joined the university in 1996. I earned a B.S. in Immunology and Microbiology from Kings College, (UK) in 1981 and a Ph.D. in medicine from the Royal Postgraduate Medical Federation (London) in 1993 followed by postdoctoral research in Molecular Microbial Pathogenesis at Rockefeller University (NY). I also spent 10 years in medical research at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital (London). I won the Norman and Rosita Winston Fellowship at Rockefeller University in 1993 and the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence at Philadelphia University in 2007. I serve on the editorial board of Journal of Clinical Microbiology and my research interests include microbial pathogenesis, such as risk factors for bacterial infection, novel therapeutic agents to treat bacterial diseases, and green building design. Most recently, in collaboration with Alexander Messinger of the College of Architecture and the Built Environment and Brian George of the College of Design Engineering and Commerce, I was the recipient of a $200,000 QED Proof of Concept grant from the Science Center of Philadelphia to develop novel antimicrobial hospital textiles. I am also the Pre-Medical Studies Program Director, Clinical Coordinator and Committee Chair as well as the Faculty Advisor for the student Asclepius Society.



Steven C. Dinero, Ph.D.
Professor of Human Geography

My primary area of research concerns the study of post-nomadic communities in social and economic transition. My case study communities include the Nets’aii Gwich’in of northeast Alaska and the Negev Bedouin of southern Israel.

My publications include work on community planning and development, education, gender, identity formation, religion, and tourism in post-nomadic environments. I hold a National Geographic Society/Waitt grant for my work on the impacts of globalization and climate change on Alaska Natives and the role of new technologies in helping such communities respond and adapt to these environmental challenges.

The course I enjoy the most is Imaging the Middle East We critique and interpret political cartoons, watch and critique animations both domestic (Porky Pig, the Flintstones, South Park, the Simpsons, Bugs Bunny, Popeye) and from the region, and analyze some full-length animated films and two graphic novels. I'm not sure who enjoys themselves more--the students, or myself.


Edward Dowden, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology

I have an undergraduate  degree from Duke University, and a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, and have been at Philadelphia University since 1966 while I was a graduate student.  I am a tenured Professor of Biology and teach in the Pre-Medical Studies, Biology and Physician Assistant Studies Programs. Over my tenure, I have helped in the development of several programs including life sciences, biology, physician assistant and pre-medical studies.

When not at the university my hobbies include the restoration of antique cars, gardening and relaxing at my Nags Head, NC vacation home. My interests at the university is my interaction with my students.  I consider them my friends as well as my colleagues in the search for knowledge.  I am currently teaching Biology I and II, Principles of Genetics and Medical Genetics.  In the fall semester of 2012 I will introduce a new course Developmental Genetics

One of the best moments in teaching for me is when I see my advisees who were pre-medical or PA students a scant five years ago return with their new titles and maturity.  I am especially proud when they thank me and the University for guiding them toward their career goals.


Kathryn Johnson Gindlesparger

Kathryn Johnson Gindlesparger, Ph.D.
Director of the Writing Program
Assistant Professor of Writing

I earned my Ph.D. in Rhetoric, Composition and the Teaching of English from the University of Arizona in 2010. Before coming to Philadelphia University, I worked in nonprofit media, managing VOICES: Community Stories Past and Present, a center for youth journalism in Tucson, Arizona. Here at PhilaU, I direct the Writing Program, teach writing courses, and work with faculty across the curriculum to integrate writing into their classes. My scholarly interests include community literacy, writing program administration, and writing pedagogy. If I am not in my office, I’m probably a) trail running in the Wissahickon or b) curled up with my dog on the couch amid a sea of newspapers.

I have many favorite teaching moments, but I truly loved teaching the Service-Learning linked Writing I Seminar.

Susan Haiman

Susan Haiman, MPS, OTR/L, FAOTA
Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy

I received my B.S. in occupational therapy from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master’s of Public Services and Certificate in Mental Health Administration from the New School. I am part of the founding faculty of the Occupational Therapy Program at Philadelphia University.

I am also in private practice and serve as the program director of a faith-based community program for adults with mental illness. I have served as principle investigator on a two-year grant project funded by the Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation

Philadelphia Inmate Services and Healthcare (PHISH) was designed for female inmates with psychiatric disorders to improve the ability to manage healthcare after release. I am a past President and member of the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association (POTA); member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); past chair of the Mental Health Special Interest Section of the Representative Assembly and a Fellow of AOTA.

Valerie Hanson

Valerie Hanson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Writing

I grew up in Maryland, and came to Philadelphia to go to college at the University of Pennsylvania. I stayed to study creative writing at Temple University and received an MA in English. I then studied rhetoric and composition at Penn State and received my Ph.D. in English, Rhetoric and Composition from Penn State in 2004. My dissertation combined my interests in writing, visual studies, and science studies, as it identifies visual and verbal rhetoric at play in writing and images about the new field of nanotechnology. I came to Philadelphia University in 2004 and have enjoyed working with Philadelphia University students and faculty. In addition to teaching and working with other faculty, I have published articles on the rhetoric of nanotechnology and images, ethics of emerging technologies, and rhetoric of scientific digital images. I am currently finishing a book based on my dissertation. My future research plans include writing about teaching, digital images, writing poetry, and continuing to enjoy teaching.

One of my best teaching moments: I am truly inspired when students begin a semester saying that they are not good writers realize that they actually are or have become better writers!

Katharine Jones

Katharine Jones, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies

I spent my childhood in Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. I received my Ph.D. in Sociology and a Certificate in Women’s Studies from Rutgers University. I teach courses about gender, race and class; globalization; sports; and Britain. My latest research project investigates gender, sports, fandom, and identity construction.

When I am not writing about sports, I love to hike, plant flowers in my yard, or watch “football” with my dog and cat.

Katharine lost her husband, Steven, a prolific writer, journalist and poet, to cancer in 2009.

Barbara Kimmelman

Barbara Kimmelman, Ph.D.
Professor of History
Associate Dean, College of Science, Health, and Liberal Arts

I hold an undergraduate degree in Biology and a doctorate in the History and Sociology of Science, and currently teach courses on international issues, American history, biomimicry, and design process. I have published on the history of genetics in the context of American agriculture, and have developed related research interests in the history of plant breeding and plant introduction in the context of economic and cultural globalization in the 19th and 20th centuries. I also have research and teaching interest in the history of technology and medicine. This varied background makes me comfortable and fulfilled collaborating with colleges across all the University and offering and receiving expertise across a wide range of teaching and research activities.

Wendy Krupnick

Wendy Krupnick, Ph.D., MBA, OTR/L
Associate Professor and Program Director, Occupational Therapy Program

II received my BS in Occupational Therapy from Boston University, MBA in Marketing from George Washington University and Ph.D. in Occupational Therapy from Nova Southeastern University.

My doctoral research was on caregiver well-being and lifestyle enrichment. During my career I have held a variety of clinical, educational, administrative and consultative positions within business and health settings, including the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) where I served as Director of Public Affairs, and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

Before becoming an educator I worked in mental health and early intervention settings. In addition to directing the Occupational Therapy Program, my teaching responsibilities include seminars around therapeutic communication, professional issues, and facilitating students’ capstone practice platforms.

Mary Beth Kurilko

Mary Beth Kurilko
Interim Program Director of Professional Communication Kurilkom@PhilaU.edu  

I’ve been teaching for about 10 years and have worked in the communications field for most of my career. My undergraduate degree from Temple University was a BA in journalism (photography concentration) and Spanish. From there, I went on to earn a Master’s in education. My first career was travel. You’ll see by the photo from Italy how much I still enjoy it.

I love this field! Talk about flexible. Whatever your interest, you can make a communications career around it. And we teach you all about the latest technologies: social media, local and mobile - skills that companies tell us they need.

One of my favorite teaching moments was accidental. I overheard one of my students telling her seatmate, “Professor MB is making me question everything!” This was probably the best compliment I could ever hear from a student. One of our main goals is to help our students become critical thinkers. I don’t tell them what to think; I help them see what they should think about. We’re prying open minds – one at a time!

Evan Laine

Evan Laine, J.D., M.A.
Program Director, Law and Society

I’ve essentially had two careers. For 28 years I was a trial attorney heading my own practice in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, specializing in civil litigation. In early 2000, I decided to change careers and dedicate myself to teaching because I discovered that my roles as a lecturer and athletic coach, in motivating and guiding the intellectual growth of young people, gave me great satisfaction.

When I retired from my law practice, I had the great fortune of being hired as a part-time professor, teaching history at Philadelphia University. I have since been promoted to Director of the Law and Society Program where my responsibilities include teaching, course creation, academic and professional advising and growing the major. I’m pleased to state that my career change led to personal, intellectual and professional fulfillment beyond even my expectations and hopes.

The best teaching moments are when you can see the light go on in your students’ minds. This is especially rewarding when the student is initially a shy and reluctant participant. Once coaxed into participating, they soon discover that they actually can significantly add to the class and earn the respect of their cohorts. You can see their confidence in themselves and in their intellectual ability grow. Suddenly, a world once closed or uninteresting to them has become open to their analysis and involvement. These are definitely the best moments.

Mark Liff, Ph.D.
Professor, Physics

I joined the faculty of Philadelphia University in 1990. My research publications are in polymer and biopolymer physics and solid state and liquid state NMR of protein fibers and networks. I received research grants from National Science Foundation (Division of Molecular Biophysics), National Textile Center (Division of Material Sciences), and Industry. My interests include teaching physics, and I authored several papers in The Physics Teacher. I have given presentations on the results of my innovative research in UNSW, Sydney, Australia; National Wool Counsel of New Zealand in Christchurch, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Weitzman Institute of Science in Tel-Aviv, Israel; and at conferences in Tokyo,Milan and all over the United States. I received a prestigious Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award given in recognition of outstanding achievement in education. In the beginning of my Philadelphia period I was on the faculty basketball team which I also coached. Evidently, I decided to keep my day job, and did not accept any basketball offers. Their loss is our gain, as the proverb goes.

Fiziks iz Phun. 

I cannot recall any boring class of mine. Fun often comes from student answers to questions or problems when students forget that classical physics is about the real world and cannot contradict common sense. Here is the quiz: an average NBA player has a vertical leap of 4’. What is his time in the air? Use kinematics to compute the answer. One student announced his answer to be 27 sec. “Is it feasible?” I could not help a question. The class was puzzled but silent. Then I began counting, “One second – Alan Iverson is not back, 2, 3, 4 seconds – he is still not back.” When I reached 10 seconds, many were smiling, and when I counted 27 seconds and announced that at last our rebounder was back on the ground-boom!, laughter was everywhere. The right computation gives 1 second, which is amazingly close to reality. One of the students observed that when Michael Jordan in the famous Nike commercial says, ”Come, fly with me,” he actually means only 1 second of a nonstop flight. That was a student comment in the right direction.

Ryan D. Long

Ryan D. Long, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Philosophy

I am originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin. I received my B.A. in Philosophy from Macalester College and my Ph.D. in Philosophy from The University of Chicago. Before coming to Philadelphia University, I was a Law & Philosophy Fellow at The University of Chicago Law School. My main research interests are moral and political philosophy. I am currently writing on the ethics of organ transplants, and on the relationship between responsibility and equality. I teach World Philosophies and Evil & Good. I love introducing students to philosophy. This is my first year at Philadelphia University and I am delighted by my students' receptivity to philosophy. I am inspired by the progress they have made both in terms of comprehending difficult texts, and in generating their own philosophical objections to those texts. Toward the end of my first semester, I was thrilled by the debate my students had on Pascal's Wager and decision theory. By that point in the course they were able to carry on a philosophical debate with minimal guidance from me, which was tremendously satisfying as a teacher.

Dale S. Michaels, M.S., LPC
Assistant Professor of Psychology

I am a licensed professional counselor, with over sixteen years’ experience in residential treatment and private practice. My areas of specialization include remediation of learning differences and attentional difficulties for children, adolescents, and adults, accompanied by supportive therapy addressing concerns regarding depression and anxiety, self-concept and esteem.

Dr. Matthew Milkevitch

Dr. Matthew Milkevitch, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Chemistry

I received my B.A. in Chemistry from George Mason University, and my Ph.D. in Synthetic Organometallic/Bioinorganic Chemistry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, in Blacksburg, VA in 2001. After postdoctoral fellowships at Temple University School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, I joined PhilaU as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry in 2006.

My research centers on synthetic organic & organometallic chemistry, synthesis of novel chelating ligands for polynuclear metal complexes, metal-based anticancer agents, synthesis/development of novel MRI contrast agents, biomedical NMR and molecular imaging, photographic chemistry and alternative photographic processes. I am a member of the American Chemical Society, AATCC, the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, and Alpha Chi Sigma.

By far, my best teaching moments have occurred in my upper-level course, Advanced Inorganic Chemistry. The focus on this course is organic synthesis; students must apply past knowledge from sophomore Organic Chemistry and new content to synthetic problems. It’s always a great pleasure to see these students apply what they know and display sound judgment in solving complex synthetic problems.

Raju Parakkal

Raju Parakkal, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of International Relations

I teach Global Politics and the capstone seminar, Contemporary Perspectives. My areas of interest include international politics, international political economy, and area studies (India/South Asia). Specific areas of research and scholarship include global developments in competition law (antitrust regulations), economic and political globalization, foreign investments, and trade disputes at the WTO.

Among other projects, I am currently working on a two-part Special Issue of The Antitrust Bulletin that explores the proliferation of competition laws in developing countries. I am an avid fan of the Miami Hurricanes (the U) and never miss watching the ’Canes play during college football season.

My best teaching moment actually occurred outside of class, during a winter break. A student who took my Global Politics course in the fall 2011 semester contacted me long after the semester had ended to discuss their final paper in light of a new global development.

This development affected the conclusions in the paper, and the student wanted to share their revised thoughts with me. While I have had such experiences before with majors at previous institutions I have taught, this was the first instance that a non-major displayed an act of continued learning beyond the duration of the course.

Elizabeth Parr

Elizabeth Parr, CNM, MSN
Senior Midwife Tutor

I received my BA from Beloit College, my BSN from Case Western Reserve University, and my MSN/Midwifery from the University of Pennsylvania.

I have practiced midwifery in a variety of settings, including a free standing birth center, a hospital clinic, and a private physician practice. I am the author of Choosing a Nurse-Midwife: Your Guide to Safe, Sensitive Care During Pregnancy and the Birth of Your Child (John Wiley, 1994.)

I was one of the founding faculty of the Community-Based Nurse-Midwifery Education Program (CNEP), where I functioned as a course coordinator, clinical coordinator, and student advisor. I was a founder of the Institute of Midwifery, and helped define the role of the Midwife Tutor with Phyllis Long, and the first certificate program class.

I love educating students in a model of education that parallels the best of the midwifery model of care.

Dana Perlman

Dana Perlman, MSN
Midwifery Admissions Coordinator and Midwife Tutor

I completed my Bachelor degree in Fine Arts (Studio) from Brandeis University in 1989, my B.S.N. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1993, my M.S.N. and Midwifery Certification from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995, and a post-master’s certificate in teaching from the Teacher Education Program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in 2010.

My clinical midwifery experience includes tertiary care settings, an in-hospital birth center, and a variety of urban, federally qualified health centers and private offices – all as part of one growing midwifery practice in Philadelphia!

As a consultant midwife with Greater Philadelphia Health Action I have provided group and individual prenatal and women’s health care in the community health center setting. In addition to my faculty work at the Midwifery Institute, I’ve been a preceptor for graduate midwifery and nurse practitioner students. I have also given guest lectures regarding obstetric nursing at the Community College of Philadelphia, and regarding state issues in midwifery and Problem Based Learning at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

I am the past Co-Chair of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) Region II, Chapter 4 (Eastern PA) where I was involved in prescriptive authority regulation for CNMs in Pennsylvania; I’m currently Vice President of the Pennsylvania affiliate of the ACNM.

I live in Pennsylvania with my husband, two children, a small,spazzy terrier and my ceramic pots and sculptures.

I love the small victories and “ah-ha” moments of teaching and learning. At one student’s final on-campus session, I was given a gift of fuzzy socks in appreciation for helping her with her “cold feet” when just starting clinical. After an exam review with a student who was struggling to understand difficult content the student exclaimed, “This review was so empowering! It makes so much sense now!” These events are just two of many like them, and why teaching and learning with the students is such wonderful work to be a part of at the Midwifery Institute of Philadelphia University.

Dolores Pfeuffer-Scherer

Dolores Pfeuffer-Scherer, Ph.D. Candidate, Temple University
Visiting Assistant Professor of American History

I graduated with a BA and an MA in American History from Rutgers University-Camden. I am currently a Ph.D. candidate at Temple University. My areas of specialty include women’s history, political history, and trans-Atlantic history. My dissertation focuses on how Philadelphia women publically rewrote the history of the American Revolution to include women during the 18th and 19th centuries. I have been fortunate to have received fellowships from the Library Company of Philadelphia/Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the American Philosophical Society, and the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Daughters of the American Colonists for research. I also held the Allen F. Davis Fellowship at the Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia where I was able to provide the research for a variety of exhibits.

My favorite teaching moments are when students are working with primary sources from the time period we are covering. These can be documents, photographs, political cartoons, posters, or video clips. Watching them explore history in a new way is wonderful because I bring them into the topic and they are able to read, see, and analyze what people at the time were thinking and saying. I also enjoy when students take the time out of class to email me with an article, video clip, etc., that relates to material we’ve covered. It shows me that they are creating links from past to present.

John D. Pierce

John D. Pierce Jr.
Program Director for the Psychology and Biopsychology
Associate Professor of Psychology

I’ve been at PhilaU since 1998. I earned a Ph.D. in psychobiology from the University of Florida in 1989, an M.A. from the University of Nevada Reno in 1985, and a B.S. from St. Joseph’s University in 1981. My postdoctoral research was at the University of Pennsylvania and affiliated institutions from 1989 to 1998.

My research interests are in the field of sensory perception and I am the author of over 25 published papers. I am currently involved in a federally funded research program through the Laboratory for Engineered Human Protection.  In this role, I conduct sensory psychophysical investigations of fabrics for potential use in military garments.

I was honored to be the recipient of the Philadelphia University President’s Award for Excellence in 2010.

Any teaching moment that generates interest and excitement in students is a best teaching moment. Instructors should not only communicate information, we should also convey the excitement of learning and the potential avenues of discovery that information can bring.

David Rogers

David Rogers, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric
Writing I Coordinator

I teach writing and rhetoric courses. My areas of interest include presidential rhetoric, American cultural studies, affect studies, and composition theories. My current research examines the role the presidential body plays in constructing an image of national citizenship and shaping feelings of national belonging.

When I am not teaching or writing, I enjoy the outdoors, especially hiking, mountain biking, and skiing. I also enjoy wandering around Philadelphia, looking for new places to eat and listening to music. I really love teaching, so it's hard for me to identify one favorite teaching moment - however, my favorite moments occur when students express joy or excitement—or even better, love—for writing.

Hossein Rostami, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Science and Mathematics

My My Interests and Research Activities include: Development of Alkali Ash Material

In this project, a new type of construction material, called Alkali Ash Material (AAM) concrete, has been developed. AAM contains 40-95% Class F fly ash and is used as cement to bind sand, stone, and fibers creating concrete. Removal of Heavy Metals from Contaminated Water.

Contamination of water is a serious problem in the United States, and heavy metals account for 50% of surface and ground water contamination. I am developing an inexpensive, permeable, reactive barrier made of alkali-activated fly ash, called Alkali Ash Material. Removal of Heavy Metals from Contaminated Soil. Soil contaminated with heavy metals poses a significant risk to both human and terrestrial/aquatic ecosystems. This contamination comes from a variety of sources, especially mining and smelting of nonferrous metals ores. A common remediation technique is to remove contaminated soils. However, soil removal is labor-intensive, costly, disruptive to activities of the public, and requires clean soil replacement. I am in the process of developing Soil Stabilizing Fly Ash (SSFA) materials that can be used as soil amendments to chelate heavy metal contaminants. e) Preventing Steel Rebar Corrosion Using Alkali Ash Material (AAM).

Concrete is a construction material that is relatively easy to work with. However, the tensile strength of concrete is very weak in comparison to its compressive strength. Because of the low tensile strength, reinforcing steel bars are placed in regions of tension in a concrete member. This combination of concrete and steel provides a relatively inexpensive and durable material that has become widely used in construction of roadways, bridges, etc. A refined metal such as iron or steel has a natural tendency to corrode. In this project, rebar was coated with AAM and tested for resistance against corrosion. The results were compared with those of uncoated steel and epoxy-coated steel. As the preliminary results indicted, AAM-coated rebar demonstrates a five-fold increase in resistance of corrosion over uncoated steel.

Tom Schrand

Tom Schrand, Ph.D.
Program Director, Environmental Sustainability
Associate Academic Dean of College Studies

I am the program director for the Environmental Sustainability major, and the Associate Academic Dean of College Studies. I’ve been on the faculty at Philadelphia University since 1994. Because of my father’s Army career, I grew up in a variety of locations, but spent most of my childhood in Alabama.

I earned a B.A. in International Studies at Emory University, an M.A. in Russian and East European Studies and a Ph.D. in History at the University of Michigan. I live in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia with my wife Sue, my two daughters, and a variety of animals – including a puppy named Doug. My interests include food and cooking, rock climbing, running, music, vegetable gardening, and reading.

One of my favorite teaching activities lately has been getting my students engaged in urban farming. We’re lucky to have some great urban farms in our area of Philadelphia, so it has been really exciting to get our Environmental Sustainability students into the fields where they can learn about sustainable agriculture by getting their hands dirty with weeding, harvesting, and composting! Some of our students have been inspired to go further in this direction by getting farming internships, working with local food organizations, or studying permaculture.

Rick Shain

Rick Shain, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History & Area Studies

I am a cultural historian of Africa and the Caribbean. I received my Ph.D. in African History from The Johns Hopkins University. I’ve written two books: one is a co-edited collection on how Africans historically have conceptualized and manipulated spatial processes; the other is a study of modernity, popular culture and Islam in the West African nation of Senegal, focusing on Afro-Cuban music.

I have been the recipient of two Fulbright Fellowships (Nigeria, Senegal). Before coming to Philadelphia University, I was a professor in Nigeria for eight years. I have also been a visiting professor at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Senegal. At Philadelphia University, I have taught area studies, sustainability and development, the capstone course and several Junior Seminars. I have been the faculty adviser to the Black Student Union and the Latin American Student Organization.

My best teaching moment, which happens nearly every semester, is when the class dynamic crystallizes and the previously shy or silent students start participating.

Phil Tiemeyer

Phil Tiemeyer, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of History

I’ve taught at Philadelphia University since 2007, courses like American Transitions, US in the Recent Past, Global Politics, SERVE-101, Integrative Design Process, and a study abroad course in Germany. I’ve also served a year as a Guggenheim Fellow at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

I have opted to focus my research on history and international relations in the aviation industry. My book, Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants will be released in February 2013.

Why did I choose to study flight attendants? Having grown up a very loved, but somewhat bored child in the suburbs of St. Louis, MO, I always dreamed of traveling far, far away. I never had the charm, the patience, or the flexibility to become a flight attendant (I actually got rejected when I applied at Continental Airlines), so I opted instead to combine my academic interests with my childhood wanderlust.

What I've found is that this career--often overlooked as just another service profession--has been at the heart of helping change America's norms regarding women's rights and gay rights. Through interactions on the job, fights within their labor unions, and court cases designed to combat the sexism and homophobia of their employers; flight attendants have helped to create a more just and equal workplace through the last 80 years of commercial aviation.

Meriel Tulante

Meriel Tulante, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor Italian Studies
Chair, World Languages

I’ve been at Philadelphia University since 2007 and enjoy teaching Italian classes as well as literature and film. I earned a B.A. from Cambridge University (French and Italian), and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University (Italian.)

I have published on the contemporary Italian author Sebastiano Vassalli, who was the subject of my Ph.D. dissertation. My other areas of research interest include: Italian women’s writing, letteratura della migrazione, and fashion in Italian culture.

One of the best parts of preparing students to study abroad in Italy is hearing their stories and feedback when they return. A student wrote, ”My experience in Rome was amazing. I believe my two Italian classes at PhilaU before my departure for Rome prepared me pretty well for living in Italy. The interaction with the locals in bars and cafes was easier based upon my understanding of the language. Also, reading signs and cooking directions was a lot easier.”

Stacey Van Dahm

Stacey Van Dahm, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Literature and Writing

After earning my Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara, I was excited to join the Liberal Arts faculty at Philadelphia University in 2008 as an Assistant Professor of Literature and Writing. PhilaU offers wonderful opportunities for interdisciplinary thinking and teaching. I teach courses in world literature, film adaptation, first-year writing, and writing for science, health, and technology majors. What I most enjoy about teaching are the lively classroom discussions and presentations in which students share connections they've discovered between liberal arts themes and the intricacies of their professional fields.

A recent example of this was a student analogy linking architectural design and T.S. Eliot's challenging conceptualization of history in which the artist must perceive of the "pastness of the past," but also its "presence." Making connections with students in and out of the classroom through a variety of co-curricular activities is one of the most enriching aspects of my job.

My interests and research focus on questions of national belonging and citizenship, especially for immigrants and ethnic minorities. Currently, I am studying Philadelphia mural art and writing about how it functions to build community and a sense of belonging for those involved. I also love to travel, study languages, hike, and, of course, read lots of nerdy books.

Frank Wilkinson

Frank Wilkinson
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry
Coordinator of Biology

I’m a biological chemist with degrees including a B.A. Biology from La Salle University (Philadelphia PA) in 1992 and a Ph.D. Biochemistry from Temple University (Philadelphia PA) in 2000. I completed a Postdoctoral fellowship at University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine between 2001 and 2006.

My favorite moments are those outside of the classroom where I participate in the professional accomplishments of the students. Mostly these moments have been at regional and national scientific meetings where students present their research accomplishments.

Rachael Wilson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Biology

My research interests are in the physiology and biochemistry of plant development. I have studied the hormonal regulation of embryogenesis in beans (Phaseolus) and the roles of specific enzymes in the mobilization of stored protein during barley grain germination. More recently, I have become interested in the evolution of land plants which has led to a focus on spore germination in one group of charophycean algae (Zygnematales). I am also a research associate with the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.

Harry Woodcock

Harry Woodcock, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics

I earned a Ph. D. in theoretical physics (Special Relativity) from Temple University in 1972. I have published five papers in classical relativistic mechanics, the last one in 2005. I have taught both classical and quantum physics, and most of the elementary mathematics courses, while serving as the Coordinator of General Studies mathematics since 1996. From 1979 to 1986 I was Assistant Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physical Science. I am finishing my 50th year of university teaching.

I recently had an amazing teaching experience when I pointed out to the students in Phys201 that I hadn’t asked them anything about effects, only causes, in a class exercise on Newton’s Third Law of Motion. Apparently, I spoke at the exact right time, because a wildfire of recognition swept through the room and they all got the answer right on the exercise.