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 on a Fulbright Fellowship in African Studies. My M.S thesis was entitled:Improving Seed Germination in Two Multi-Purpose Tree Species from Sierra Leone, West Africa (Cassia sieberiana and Dialium guineense)..  My Ph.D. 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.

As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone, West Africa, I worked with a team of natural resource professionals to found the nation’s first wildlife refuge, Tiwai Island, and helped train local people as refuge administrators. As an international agriculture and parks consultant, I have worked with governments and non-profit organizations in Costa Rica, Jamaica, Haiti, Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania.

Prior to joining the faculty at Philadelphia University, I was a curriculum development specialist at the University of Florida where our team created innovative written graduate level materials and teacher’s guides on the sustainability of water quality, biodiversity, land-use, soil erosion and economic and energy analysis using video production, satellite delivery, case study, group participatory and hands-on field exercises to compare the sustainability of different farming system in the USDA Southern Region. Participating universities included University of Florida, Florida A & M University, Clemson University, South Carolina State University, Auburn University and University of Kentucky. Evaluating Sustainability won the 1996 National Award of Excellence in Communications

I led a consultant monitoring and evaluation team in data collection, analysis and community feedback of the impact of the $26 million Natural Lands Restoration and Environmental Education Project from the William Penn Foundation to the City of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Department. As a visiting faculty member of Yale University, I oversaw an evaluation budget of $600,000, supervised six graduate students thesis research, facilitated quarterly meetings and was liaison to numerous city, state and federal agencies involved in the project

As a conservation biologist at Philadelphia University interested in both how people learn science and their interactions with the natural world, I have designed and taught over 17 different courses for both general education and science majors, ranging from freshmen to senior levels. I served as co-principal investigator on a National Science Foundation funded science pedagogy initiative which measured how students learn via discovery-based. The research results were presented at numerous professional conferences including the Lilly Conference on College Teaching, the SENCER Capital Hill Symposium, and was published in Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal. My international collaboration with the Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners based at the American Museum of Natural History was a study to assess student knowledge and skills in the acquisition of biodiversity. The research was published in Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology. I have been awarded the University Excellence in Teaching Award.

I led the NASA SCRIBE outreach to high school students, and coordinated Environmental Science service-learning projects for 600 freshman non-science majors, working with over 40 agencies in the Delaware Valley. I directed the design, planting and continued monitoring of an on-campus butterfly garden by non-science majors. I have organized and led several student environmental trips, including: hawk watching, horseshoe crab tagging, whale watching, and carnivorous plant canoe trips. I also organized and led a study abroad course to Jamaica to collect data for the Portland Environmental Protection Agency (NGO) to use in the establishment a marine park. I have co-developed and led field study courses to Yellowstone National Park, USA and Guanacaste National Park, Costa Rica.

My long term ecological research has focused on management of several different threatened and invasive species. I have presented findings at over twenty different professional meetings including the International Society of Conservation Biologists, Ecological Society of America, the Mid-Atlantic Invasive Exotic Plant Pest Council and the Society for Ecological Restoration. As the lead scientist on a grant from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Wild Resources Program, I have studied the migratory and movement patterns of Red-Bellied Turtles (Pseudemys rubriventris) via radio-tracking and GPS technology at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. I have collected 10 years of monitoring data on the relationship between deer management and plant communities at Schuylkill Center. In an interdisciplinary collaboration, we analyzed the impact on soil properties for erosion control of innovative turkey feather fabrics. The study was published in International Nonwovens Journal. In addition, I mentored upper-level science majors in the research process to: 1) monitor macro-invertebrate populations in response to stream restoration in the urban Northeast (funded by a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Delaware Valley Estuary Program grant), 2) assess restoration of the soil food web through invasive earthworm control trials at SCEE and 3) complete a bioassay of antibiotic properties of soil isolates in Jamaica. Research studies were published in the Journal of Young Investigators.

I am actively involved in the community. I have been an announcer for the Philadelphia Flower Show, demonstrated field research techniques at many elementary schools, high schools and colleges. I have guest-lectured and been a judge for the Pennsylvania Envirothon competition for area high schools. I served on the Board of Trustees at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education (SCEE) for 7 years as Vice-President and Chair of the Wildlife Rehabilitation, Education, Land Restoration & Facilities and Stewardship Committees as well as leading the search process for the Executive Director. Most recently, I collaborated with SCEE, The Natural Lands Trust and the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to complete an extensive planning, management and legal process which resulted in a Conservation Easement of 325 acres in perpetuity within the city of Philadelphia. I am an active participant, moderator, session chair and presenter at multiple professional organizations including: Ecological Society of America, Mid-Atlantic Exotic Plant Pest Council, National Science Teacher Association, Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development, Society for Ecological Restoration International and the Society for Conservation Biology.

Diana Cundell

Diana Cundell, Ph.D.

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


I joined Philadelphia University in 1996 and am the Pre-Medical Studies Program Director, Clinical Coordinator, Committee Chair, and the Faculty Advisor for the student-run Asclepius Society. I also currently serve on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology and review for five other journals several times a year.

I earned my B.S. in Immunology and Microbiology from King’s College in the United Kingdom in 1981, and Ph.D. in Medicine from the Royal Postgraduate Medical Federation in London in 1993, followed by postdoctoral research in Molecular Microbial Pathogenesis at Rockefeller University in New York. I also spent 10 years in medical research and as a Clinical Laboratory Manager at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in 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. In connection with working with the Asclepius Society, I have also won Advisor of the Year twice; once in 2005 and the second in 2008.

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, in order to develop novel antimicrobial hospital textiles. This has resulted in the formation of a company, Aries Medical, to bring the textiles to the marketplace. We have also developed four patents of the process and concepts behind these textiles, which are currently going through examination by the U.S. Patent Office. Two should be finalized either this year or in early 2014.


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

I earned my Ph.D. at Rutgers University in Third World Settlement Systems with a concentration in Middle Eastern Regional Development; my M.A. from Brandeis University in Islamic and Middle East Studies; and my B.A. from SUNY Albany in Asian Studies and the Middle East.

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 topics 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 Alaskan 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 In this class, we critique and interpret political cartoons and animations, both domestic and from the region. Some favorite include Porky Pig, the Flintstones, South Park, the Simpsons, Bugs Bunny, and Popeye. We also analyze some full-length animated films and two graphic novels. I'm not sure who enjoys themselves more—myself, or the students.

Most recently I have been working with the Robert H. Arnow Center for Bedouin Studies and Development at Ben Gurion University, in Be’er Sheva, Israel. I was a co-recipient with Dr. Sarab Abu-Rabia-Queder, Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University to work on a research project, titled: “Ethnic Identity Development among Bedouin Arab Adults who studied in Bedouin schools and in Jewish schools”.

Edward Dowden, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology

I have an undergraduate degree from Duke University and a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. I have been at Philadelphia University since 1966, when I was still 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. I am currently teaching Biology I and II, Principles of Genetics and Medical Genetics. In the fall semester of 2012, I introduced a new course, called Developmental Genetics.

My favorite part of teaching is my interaction with my students. I consider them my friends as well as my colleagues in the search for knowledge. One of the best moments in teaching for me is when I see my advisees, who were pre-medical or physician assistant 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.

When I’m not at the University, my hobbies include the restoration of antique cars, gardening and relaxing at my Nags Head, NC vacation home.


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. Throughout my career I have worked clinically with individuals with mental illness and have taught psychosocial content at universities in New York and Philadelphia. I am proud to part of the founding faculty of the Occupational Therapy Program at Philadelphia University.

I am also in private practice, working with adults and teens with mental illness.

I served as the principle investigator on a two-year grant project funded by the Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation, to create Philadelphia Inmate Services and Healthcare (PHISH), designed to improve the ability of female inmates with psychiatric disorders to manage their healthcare after release.

I am a past President and member of the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association (POTA) where I also served as Vice President and Legislative Chair, member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), past chair of the Mental Health Special Interest Section and of the Representative Assembly, and a Fellow of AOTA.

Recent Publications:

Haiman, S. and Learnard, L. (2010). Defining occupational therapy in mental health: vision and identity. In M. Scheinholtz, (Ed.) Occupational therapy in mental: Considerations for advanced practice. Bethesda, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association

Haiman, S. and Slater, D. (2013) Ethics in mental health: When good boundaries aren’t enough. In J. Scott (Ed.) Applications for Occupational Therapy Ethics Standards: Case Studies. Bethesda, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association

Valerie Hanson

Valerie Hanson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Writing

I grew up in Maryland and first came to Philadelphia to go to college at the University of Pennsylvania. I stayed to study creative writing at Temple University and received an M.A. 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 identified visual and verbal rhetoric at play in writing and images about the new field of nanotechnology.

I began at Philadelphia University in 2004 and have enjoyed working with Philadelphia University students and faculty ever since.

Apart from teaching and participating in the academic community at PhilaU, 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. I’m also beginning a new project that explores how the rhetorics of communicating arguments through data-rich images that builds on my work on the visual rhetorics of scientific digital images. My future research plans also include writing articles about how people make arguments that combine writing and images, and writing poetry.

One of my favorite teaching moments: I am truly inspired when students who start out a semester saying that they are not good writers can 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


I received my B.S. in Occupational Therapy from Boston University, M.B.A. 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, academic, 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 clinical 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’m Mary Beth Kurilko, interim director of the Professional Communication program. 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 is a B.A. in journalism (photography concentration) and Spanish. From there, I went on to earn a Master’s in education. My first career was in travel, as a marketing and sales executive for a tour company and a cruise line. You’ll see by the photos how much I still enjoy it!

Our Program

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.

Modern communication professionals need to know more than how to update a Facebook status. They have to build communication strategies using the latest technologies. This is the true strength of our program.

Our students do some great things. They get internships at places like Live Nation, Digitas Health, Enterprise, United By Blue, Nina Zucker Associates and the South Philly Review.

Take a look for yourself. Watch short videos of our 2011 seniors’ capstone projects. You can also see presentations from some of our other communication classes. Our active teaching style will keep you engaged and involved. No boring lectures here! For more, check out our Facebook page and say hi on our wall. Hope to meet you soon!

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


My Master’s degree in Physics is from Kazan University, Kazan, former USSR, 1971

I joined the faculty of Philadelphia University teaching physics in 1990.

My research interests are in polymer and biopolymer physics, and solid state and liquid state NMR of protein fibers and networks. I have given presentations on the results of my research at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia; the National Wool Counsel of New Zealand in Christchurch; the Hebrew University in Jerusalem; the Weitzman Institute of Science in Tel-Aviv, Israel; and at conferences in Tokyo and Milan and the United States. I have also authored several pedagogical papers in The Physics Teacher.

I have received research grants from the National Science foundation (Division of Molecular Biophysics), the National Textile Center (Division of Material Sciences), and from the industry.

I received a prestigious Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, given in recognition of outstanding achievement in education.

I cannot recall being bored while teaching physics in any class of mine. Physics is fun in many ways. Sometimes students’ answers contradict common sense – they forget that physics is about the real world.

For example, here is a quite popular kinematics problem: An NBA player has a vertical leap of 4’. What is his “hanging” time? Use kinematics to compute the answer. One of the students 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. When I finally counted 27 seconds and announced that, at last, our rebounder was back on the ground – BOOM! – laughter roared.

The right computation gives 1 second, which is very 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 approximately 1 second of a nonstop flight. That was a step in the right direction. Physics is fun.

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

B.A. (Economics), Mahatma Gandhi University (India), 1994

M.A. (Economics), Mahatma Gandhi University (India), 2002

M.A. (Economics), University of Miami, 2004

M.A. (International Studies), Florida International University, 2009

Ph.D. (International Relations), Florida International University, 2009

I teach Global Politics, The Global Economy, and the general education capstone seminar, Contemporary Perspectives. I also serve as the Director of the Global Portfolio and the Coordinator of Junior Seminars.

My areas of academic interest include international political economy, international politics, and area studies (India and South Asia). A common thread running through most of my research is the impact of democratization and the political economy on economic policy outcomes in developing countries. More specifically, my scholarship examines the national-international connection in the following areas of research: global developments in competition law (antitrust regulations), economic and political globalization, foreign investments, and trade disputes at the World Trade Organization (WTO). My recent publications in these research areas are listed below:

  • “Capitalism, Democratic Capitalism, and the Pursuit of Antitrust Laws.” (With Sherry Bartz-Marvez; forthcoming, Winter 2013 issue of The Antitrust Bulletin).

  • Guest Editor, “Symposium: Trusting Antitrust: Tracing the Global Embrace of Antitrust Laws.” The Antitrust Bulletin Part I: Vol. 57, No. 2/Summer 2012, pp. 195-366 and Part II: Vol. 57, No. 3/Fall 2012, pp. 409-589.

  • “Political Characteristics and Competition Law Enactment: A Cross-Country Empirical Analysis.” The Antitrust Bulletin Vol. 56, No. 3/Fall 2011, pp. 609-629.

  • “The Future of the WTO.” ICFAI Reader, February 2009.

I am currently working on developing an Index of Competition Law Enforcement, the first of its kind. This research project has been funded by a research grant provided by Philadelphia University. Other works-in-progress include examinations of democratic peace in WTO trade disputes, the politics behind foreign exchange reserves, and the impact of political globalization on foreign investment inflows.

Personal interests include tennis, soccer, cricket, and football. I am a rather rabid fan of the Miami Hurricanes (“The U”) and its football program – it’s just a ‘Canes thing.

Elizabeth Parr

Elizabeth Parr, CNM, MSN
Student Advisor/Clinical Coordinator

I received my B.A. from Beloit College, my B.S.N. from Case Western Reserve University, and my M.S.N. in 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. (Wiley, 1994.)

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

Since then I have worn many hats at the Midwifery Institute, including teaching students in distance and on-campus learning, mentoring new faculty, and developing curriculum. My current focus is on student advising, clinical coordination, and helping to administer the program.

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

Dana Perlman

Dana Perlman, MSN
Associate Professor, Interim Director, Midwifery Institute

I completed my Bachelor degree in Fine Arts (Studio), Magna cum Laude, from Brandeis University in 1989, my B.S.N., Summa cum Laude, 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, a variety of urban, federally-qualified health centers and private offices – all as part of one growing midwifery practice at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia! As a consultant midwife with Greater Philadelphia Health Action, I provided both group and individual prenatal and women’s health care in the community health center setting.

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 served as a founding board member and Vice President of the Pennsylvania affiliate of the ACNM and currently serve as a member of the legislative committee. My area of policy interest is the increasing diversity of midwifery practice, including increased access to Certified Midwives as well as Certified Nurse-Midwives.

I love the small victories and “ah-ha” moments of teaching and learning – both on-campus and online. 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 first starting clinical. Another time, 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 that remind me why teaching and learning with the students and faculty at the Midwifery Institute of Philadelphia University is such wonderful work.

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

Dolores Pfeuffer-Scherer

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

I graduated with a B.A. and an M.A. in American History from Rutgers University in Camden, NJ; and am currently a Ph.D. candidate at Temple University. My dissertation, a study of women and the recreation of the memory of the American Revolution, is in progress. My areas of specialty include women’s history, political history, and trans-Atlantic history. My dissertation is focusing on how Philadelphian women publically rewrote the history of the American Revolution to include women during the 18th and 19th centuries.

I have presented at the Pennsylvania Historical Association conference and am the recipient of six fellowships, from the Library Company of Philadelphia and 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, 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 have authored over 45 published papers. Most recently, I was involved in a federally-funded research program through the Laboratory for Engineered Human Protection. In this role, I conducted sensory psychophysical investigations of fabrics for potential use in military garments. I am currently working on a global study of cross-cultural differences in olfactory sensitivity, a project involving participants from 30 different countries.

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 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

At PhilaU, I teach writing and rhetoric courses, and my research interests include political rhetoric, cultural studies, affect studies, gender studies, and theories of composition. I earned my Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in English. My current research examines the role the presidential body plays in constructing an image of national citizenship and shaping feelings of national belonging.

Last year, I was awarded a faculty summer research grant for the 2013-2014 academic year. This year, I am working with a group of students to develop and launch a radio station and a mixed-media magazine.

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 at PhilaU, and it's hard for me to identify one favorite teaching moment. However, my favorite moments occur when students express joy, 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 places, but spent most of my childhood in Alabama.

I earned a B.A. in International Studies at Emory University, and an M.A. in Russian and East European Studies and a Ph.D. in History at the University of Michigan.

One of my favorite teaching activities 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’s been really exciting to get our Environmental Sustainability students into 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 with farming internships, working with local food organizations, or studying permaculture.

I live in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia with my wife Sue, my two daughters, and our dog and cat. My interests include food and cooking, rock climbing, running, yoga, music, vegetable gardening, and reading.

Rick Shain

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

I am a cultural historian of Africa and the Caribbean. I earned 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 (in Nigeria and Senegal and a post-doctoral fellowship in history from Rutgers University. I was a professor in Nigeria for eight years, and have also been a visiting professor at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Senegal.

At Philadelphia University, I have taught area studies, the service learning course, sustainability and development, the capstone course, several Junior Seminars and the DEC Ethnographic research course. I also have been the faculty adviser to the Black Student Union and the Latin American Student Organization.

In 2013, I co-led a short course that took 17 of our students to Cuba to study sustainability efforts there. In March 2014, I am co-leading a course on West African textiles and fashion that will take our students to the West African nations of Senegal and Burkina Faso.

I presently am working with Marcia Weiss from C-DEC on the Save Our Skills Project in Burkina Faso. This project seeks to raise rural living standards by preserving ‘traditional’ textile production techniques, sometimes modernizing them. Two years ago, I worked with two of our Industrial Design students on creating a human-powered washing machine for rural Africa.

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

Faculty Website

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 earned a B.A. in French and Italian language and literature from Cambridge University, and an M.A and Ph.D. in Italian language and literature from Harvard University. I joined the faculty at Philadelphia University in 2007 teaching classes in Italian, literature, and film.

I have published on the topic of contemporary Italian author Sebastiano Vassalli, who was also the subject of my Ph.D. dissertation. Other areas of my research interest include postcolonial / migrant writing in Italian, fashion in Italian culture, and Italian women’s writing.

Because of Philadelphia University’s strong Study Abroad programs in Italy, one of the most rewarding parts of teaching Italian is preparing students to study abroad in Italy, then hearing their stories and feedback when they return. A student writes, “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”. Through studying World Languages at Philadelphia University, students can get a glimpse into another culture and the practical skills to thrive as professionals and citizens in a globalized world.

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 in 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, as well as writing for science, health, and technology majors. One of the things 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 study best practices in teaching writing and literature, and I have worked in translation.

Apart from academia, I love to travel, study languages, hike, and, of course, read novels.

Frank Wilkinson

Frank Wilkinson
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry
Coordinator of Biology

I am a biological chemist. I earned my B.A. Biology from La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA in 1992; and Ph.D. Biochemistry from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA in 2000. I completed a postdoctoral fellowship at University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine between 2001 and 2006.

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

My research projects focus on the structure and function of proteins. Recent projects have focused on a protein called Yaf2 to describe its contribution to the developmental genetics of multicellular animals. I also guide students in purification of characterization of enzymes from a variety of bacterial species.

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, focusing on Special Relativity from Temple University in 1972. I have published five papers in classical relativistic mechanics, the most recent in 2005.

In my 50 years of university teaching, I have taught both classical and quantum physics and most of the elementary mathematics courses. I have served as the Coordinator of General Studies Mathematics since 1996, and from 1979 to 1986 I was Assistant Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physical Science.

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.