HIGH POINT, N.C., Sept. 29, 2022 – High Point University is continuously growing in enrollment, academic programs and new faculty. The university welcomed 40 new faculty members for this academic year across the university’s 11 schools. Here is a glimpse of the new scholars and practitioners who recently joined the HPU family.
You can view all the new faculty photos here.
Dr. Muhammad Ali Shazib, Chief Clinical Officer, Associate Professor and Assistant Dean
As chief clinical officer and assistant dean, Shazib helps develop the oral health network in the Triad. He does this by establishing the best clinical practices, providing patient-centered care and authentic learning environments for dental students. This will include ongoing quality assurance programs. In his role, he provides students with access to state-of-the-art technology, patient-centered care and faculty who are focused on providing extraordinary education with life skills.
Before HPU, Shazib was the medical director for a North Carolina-based oral medicine hospital. He also owned a multi-specialty private practice for more than five years. His educational background includes a Bachelor of Dental Surgery, Doctor of Dental Medicine and a residency in oral medicine at Harvard University. While there, he was the recipient of the Joseph Henry award, which recognizes a resident who demonstrates outstanding contributions to patient care and research.
“I’m excited to create an extraordinary learning experience for students and a health care system that puts patients at the center of what they do,” says Shazib. “The ability to create partnerships with organizations who share our values for innovation and life skills is a blessing.”
Dr. Michael Wolcott, Chief Academic Officer
Wolcott drives the educational mission for the Workman School of Dental Medicine. He designs, implements and evaluates the new curriculum to ensure the faculty are preparing graduates for the future of dental medicine. He supports efforts to create exceptional educational experiences from admission to alumni and to develop practice-ready graduates who are skilled clinicians, advocates, researchers and entrepreneurs.
“My hope is to help foster an educational learning environment that brings together diverse voices and experiences to assist graduates who can address the complex challenges they will face in the health professions,” says Wolcott. “My aim is to foster deep and meaningful learning through evidence-based educational practices, immersive experiential practice opportunities and the chance to customize their learning to address their specific interests.”
Wolcott has experience working at a dental school before coming to HPU. His previous role focused on curriculum development and conducting educational research in health professions. Before that, he worked as a clinical pharmacist at a university hospital, supporting various pharmacotherapy needs across emergency medicine, infectious diseases and surgical care areas. He has a Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Philosophy and a Bachelor of Science degree.
Dr. Scott Goodspeed, Founding Director of the Master of Healthcare Administration Program and Professor of Medical Sciences
Goodspeed plays a significant role in the strategic planning of the curriculum, mission and outcomes of the program within the Congdon School of Health Sciences. This includes accreditation processes, hiring and leading faculty and staff, and admissions processes. Goodspeed says the MHA program provides students the opportunity to expand their knowledge of health care and prepare for a career in health management.
“I am excited to be with one of the fastest growing universities in the United States to provide an extraordinary MHA education for students who will make a positive impact on a range of health care organizations,” says Goodspeed. “We will offer a competency-based curriculum and students will be prepared with new knowledge and practical life leadership skills necessary to lead in the most challenging health care environments.”
He has had a wide variety of leadership roles in health care, including at the university level as a program director and professor, as the president and CEO of four hospitals in three states, and as a nationally recognized speaker. Goodspeed has authored and delivered more
than 500 presentations to various professional associations and health care organizations. In 2021, he was recognized by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) for its Senior-Level Healthcare Executive award.
His educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in administration of health care services, Master of Hospital Administration and Doctor of Health Administration and Leadership.
Dr. Pamela Rogers, Assistant Professor of Nursing
Her responsibilities in the Department of Nursing include teaching adult health in the classroom, skills lab, simulation and clinicals. Rogers says students will be challenged to be extraordinary as they excel in their classes by learning nursing concepts, the pathophysiology of disease processes across the lifespan, health and physical assessment, clinical judgment, pharmacology applications and clinical skills.
“I am excited to be a part of a nursing program that is student-centered, transformative and intentional with producing extraordinary nurse leaders with exceptional skills as they enter the workforce,” says Rogers.
Rogers has held several positions as a nurse over the last 36 years. Her prior work includes working as a nursing educator for 14 years, acute care as a staff nurse in medical-surgical, telemetry, renal and orthopedic nursing, and experience in home health care. She has also worked as a unit manager for the renal unit and handled home health and case management. Her education includes a Bachelor of Science in home economics with a concentration in child development family relations, Bachelor of Science in nursing, Master of Science in nursing, an associate degree in theology and a Ph.D. in education leadership.
Amber Scott, Assistant Professor and Clinical Coordinator of Nursing
In this new position, Scott works with the clinical partners to create and manage schedules for students to complete their clinical hours. She also works with Dr. Racquel Ingram, founding dean of the nursing department, to identify and secure educational agreements with new clinical partners. She says the work she does will impact students by providing real-world clinical experiences to enhance what has been taught in the classroom and lab environments.
Scott has been a nurse for 18 years and a nurse educator for six years. She has worked in oncology, ambulatory care, telephone triage and college health. As a nurse educator, she taught both practical nursing and associate degree nursing programs. She earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing, a master’s degree in nursing education and is pursuing her post-master’s certificate in nursing leadership.
“I am excited to join the team and work with an amazing group of people to build the best nursing program in the state and country,” says Scott. “I am equally excited to work with the students, faculty and clinical partners to establish great relationships and prepare competent nurses to enter the workforce upon graduation.”
Haley Horbaly, Assistant Professor of Exercise Science and Medical Sciences
Horbaly teaches various anatomy courses to undergraduate and biomedical science students pursuing a master’s degree. She also teaches forensic anthropology to undergraduates. She will also enlist students to help with her research lab on a variety of projects. Horbaly aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of human anatomy and osteology to students of all levels. She says understanding why the human anatomy is organized in a specific way will assist students in their future applications of anatomical knowledge, whether that is in a clinical setting, a forensic context or otherwise.
“I’m excited to spark students’ interest in understanding the human body, especially through hands-on exercises such as cadaveric dissection and mock forensic cases,” says Horbaly. “Watching students become passionate about content or careers they previously didn’t know existed is extremely rewarding. I also look forward to collaborating with HPU students on research. One of the most exciting parts of science is being able to investigate questions you have, and I look forward to coaching students through that process.”
Horbaly previously taught and assisted with anatomy courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level. She also spent time working as a principal investigator conducting forensic casework through another university’s forensic anthropology center. She has a Bachelor of Science in anthropological sciences, a Master of Arts in anthropology and her Ph.D. in anthropology.
Dr. Jason Cossey, Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies
Cossey primarily provides didactic education to first-year PA students, specifically teaching basic sciences, clinical decision making, pathophysiology and pharmacology. He has been a practicing physician assistant for 21 years, and his specialty is pulmonary and critical care medicine. In addition to teaching, Cossey works clinically at Novant Health’s Pulmonary and Critical Care practice in Charlotte, North Carolina. He also served for nearly 20 years as a PA in the Army National Guard, where he was deployed in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
“I am excited to educate and train the next generation of health care providers at HPU,” says Cossey. “Many of the students I teach will one day be taking care of me in return as the future health care leaders.”
Cossey earned a Bachelor of Science in biology and in medical studies, a master’s degree in physician assistant studies and his doctorate in medical science.
Jason Pelletier, Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy
He teaches the classes involving the Doctor of Physical Therapy students’ fundamental neuroscience content to prepare them for clinical practice. He also teaches several other courses during their three-year curriculum. Pelletier’s experience as a neurologic physical therapist provides him the knowledge needed to teach the DPT students. He has treated patients ranging from acute hospital rehab to independent exercise coaching and training.
“Alongside a team of professors focusing on neuroscience content, our students will continue to excel in providing these patients with physical therapy that keeps them moving strong and accomplishing all their physical goals in life,” says Pelletier. “We impact students who impact the world of people living with neurologic conditions.”
Before working in physical therapy, he was a collegiate track and field coach and athlete. This wide range of experiences will help students in his classes be equipped with treating patients of any neurologic conditions at any ability level. Pelletier earned his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology with an emphasis in movement science and a Doctor of Physical Therapy. He is also a board-certified neurologic clinical specialist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties, a certified brain injury specialist and holds an Advanced Olympic Lifting certification.
Dr. Michael Mueller, Assistant Dean for Student and Professional Affairs, Professor of Clinical Sciences
Mueller’s primary focus is on student life and professional development of the pharmacy students. He also handles major events like the white coat ceremony, pinning ceremony and the hooding ceremony for graduation. In his role, he also organizes orientation for incoming students, plans career days, helps in the recruiting process and advises pre-pharmacy students. e w
“My job is all about student contact from before they get here during their interviews to beyond graduation where we are working to engage our alumni to continue to be active members of our family,” says Mueller. “I meet with students in class and one-on-one to help them development their professionalism and to help them find the right pharmacy career that fits their personality and career goals. My office is a safe place for students to come and share what they need during their journey in pharmacy school.”
He has previous experience working at a pharmacy school as a clinical assistant professor. He then moved on to another university in Florida where he taught in the pharmacy school for 11 years. Mueller earned his Bachelor of Science in psychology and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in pharmaceutical sciences.
Dr. Patti W. Black, Professor and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences
Black is the associate dean of Academic Affairs whose responsibilities involve oversight of the review and assessment of the Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum, assessing the program’s other key performance indicators, and supporting students who may be struggling academically.
She brings more than 15 years of experience teaching in higher education, with the last 11 years in academic pharmacy. With an administrative background in academic affairs, she led two academic departments prior to joining HPU in April. She earned her Bachelor of Science in political science, a Master of Science in biology and her Ph.D. in basic medical sciences with an emphasis in pharmacology. She also later earned a Master of Science degree in organizational leadership and a Master of Business Administration. She completed an Academic Leader Fellowship through the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and became a trained accreditation site evaluator for the American Council for Pharmacy Education.
Black works closely with the Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy committee on curriculum and assessment, with the assistant dean for professional and student affairs, the associate dean for experiential education and the school’s academic standards committee. She hopes to provide students support both directly and indirectly via effective learning strategies and collaborative efforts with faculty to ensure “curriculum is continually improving to meet the needs of our students and prepare them to provide high quality patient care and push the profession of pharmacy forward.”
Black says she is most excited about getting to know HPU students during the fall semester.
“I have already begun to develop important relationships with faculty and staff within and outside of the School of Pharmacy, and have had a wonderful experience here so far,” says Black.
Dr. Omar Saldarriaga, Assistant Professor of Mathematical Sciences
Saldarriaga’s responsibilities include teaching in the classroom, collaborating on campus committees and conducting research in mathematics.
“I want to provide my expertise in teaching to give the students an excellent education and to welcome undergraduate students into research,” says Saldarriaga. “I am very excited to be at HPU, to continue growing professionally as a professor, to offer the best of me to the students of my courses, and also to continue growing as a researcher.”
Saldarriaga earned his Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts and a Ph.D. in mathematics.
Dr. Hilda Goins, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Goins joins HPU in the Webb School of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Her role is to educate undergraduate students in electrical engineering. She plans to equip students with research-oriented knowledge and skills so that they will be better prepared to make career and/or advanced education choices.
“I plan to raise the level of awareness of research-involved learning and exploration at the undergraduate level,” says Goins. “In doing so, students will carve out their own career direction.”
Goins earned her Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Ph.D. in electrical engineering. Throughout her career, she has educated students from middle and high school levels to both undergraduate and graduate levels. She also performed extensive research in machine learning applications.
“Recently, while employed as a postdoctoral researcher, I continued to conduct research in my areas of expertise by expanding machine learning and artificial intelligence to health-related fields of study as well as to cybersecurity areas of research,” says Goins. “During my five-year postdoctoral term, I led a research team of undergraduate and graduate computer science students at various levels in their degrees, from beginning juniors to master’s level students to all but dissertation level.”
Goins looks forward to adding to the fervor and energy at High Point University by becoming a vibrant educator for engineering students.
Dr. Eve M. Klopf, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Klopf’s duties include teaching, developing new class content and working on tasks to support the department of electrical and computer engineering.
“I also mentor undergraduate engineering projects and research,” says Klopf. “It’s exciting to be working at a new engineering program. I’m looking forward to supporting the growth of the department.”
Klopf earned her Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Ph.D. in electrical engineering. She comes to HPU after serving as an associate professor and program director of electrical engineering.
Dr. Mike Dalton, Assistant Professor of Computer Science
Dalton joins HPU in the Webb School of Engineering, where his responsibilities include teaching courses, advising students and contributing to the scholarly community.
Dalton earned his Associate of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Ph.D., all in electrical engineering. He brings 17 years of experience teaching computer science.
“Many students are intimidated by math and science,” says Dalton. “I like to think that they can be successful if they try. I try to alleviate fear. I will teach in a way that is engaging and fun so that my students will enjoy class and not be afraid of learning.”
Dalton says he values teaching at an institution that really cares about students.
Dr. Jeremy Whitson, Assistant Professor of Biology
Whitson joins HPU’s biology department, where he teaches courses such as human physiology and advanced genetics. He also mentors students in research related to the biology of the aging process. His other duties include advising students and assisting with departmental activities. One of his primary goals in teaching and research is to always train students to think like a scientist and develop their own scientific questions.
“Some students I’ve mentored have written scientific manuscripts and submitted them to peer-reviewed journals as well as presented the research on campus or at national meetings,” says Whitson. “I am very excited to get to know the faculty and students at HPU, as well as to launch at the university my research program, which focuses on how we can use the eye lens to better understand aging and ways to promote healthier aging.”
Whitson comes to HPU after serving as a visiting assistant professor. He earned his Bachelor of Science in biology and molecular biology with a minor in chemistry. He also earned his Ph.D. in pathology on the molecular and cellular basis of disease track. As a graduate student and postdoctoral researcher, Whitson performed a variety of research related to the biology of aging, using techniques such as nuclear magnetic resonance, proteomics and qPCR. Additionally, he gained teaching experience in these roles and developed courses such as “Critically Evaluating Health Claims in the Modern Age.”
Dr. Yul E. Sim, Instructor of Biology
Sim is a teaching scholar who instructs biology courses in the Wanek School of Natural Sciences. He earned a Ph.D. in microbiology and worked as a researcher and a mentor. Sim has mentored several graduate students and looks forward to mentoring HPU students’ research projects as well.
“As a teacher, I want my students to learn subjects and be prepared for the future and their next classes,” says Sim.
Dr. Prashant Waiker, Instructor of Biology and Teaching Postdoctoral Scholar
Waiker teaches genetics and cell biology and focuses on pedagogy innovation, which includes brainstorming with HPU faculty and administration to improve the effectiveness of teaching biology. He hopes to engage students in excitement for biology by focusing on research-based interactive teaching.
Waiker has six years of experience teaching at a university. He is a trained biologist with a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science dual degree in biological sciences. He recently earned his Ph.D. in environmental health sciences, which focused on the genomic analysis of social insects.
“I am excited to teach genetics at HPU,” says Waiker. “I am also looking forward to work with scholarly members of Wanek School of Natural Sciences and administrators of HPU Academic Affairs to continually enhance STEM education at HPU.”
Jacob Brooks, Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics
He teaches students in the physics lecture and lab course and teaches critical thinking skills. Brooks also mentors students in interdisciplinary independent undergraduate research projects. Brooks isn’t a stranger to HPU, having graduated from the university with his Bachelor of Science degree in 2015.
Brooks has experience teaching undergraduate students through his graduate school studies and tutoring students as well. For the last six years, he has conducted academic research as a graduate research assistant.
“I am excited about the opportunity to teach students and to work with students in research projects in the sciences,” says Brooks. “I am also excited to be able to work alongside faculty who taught me when I was a student.”
He holds a bachelor’s degree in physics, a master’s degree in physics and is pursuing his Ph.D.
Robin Lindner, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Strategic Communication
Lindner was promoted as an assistant professor of the practice of strategic communication. She teaches classes and advises students in the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication.
“I hope to use the classroom as a springboard to help students develop the skills they will need as they break into the communication field,” says Lindner. “Success in the job market is my ultimate goal for each of my students.”
Lindner earned a Bachelor of Arts in history and worked as a broadcast journalist. She moved into public relations and media relations for a behavioral health organization for about 15 years and then returned to school to earn her Master of Arts in strategic planning with a dual concentration in corporate/nonprofit and digital communication. She currently works as a communications consultant and media director of the Winston-Salem Open, an international professional men’s tennis event.
Jeffrey Bullins, Instructor of Media Production
Bullins joins HPU in the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication to teach introductory audio/video production courses. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts and brings 15 years of experience teaching audio/video production. Bullins looks forward to sharing those life skills with HPU students.
“I’ve enjoyed getting to know the students in the school of communication, including the graduate students in the Master of Arts in Communication and Business Leadership program,” said Bullins. “We’re also developing a student audio production club, and I look forward to seeing what they produce.”
Dr. Nicholas Buzzelli, Instructor of Strategic Communication
Buzzelli joins HPU teaching foundations of strategic communication, introduction to human communication and research methods.
He brings experience as an instructor of journalism on the university level and working for a digital marketing firm as a content writer to develop a new web presence for clients. He says he is most excited to get to know his new students, other faculty members and being in the classroom with a talented group of people.
“I intend to impact HPU students in my role by offering them with practical guidance, both in and outside of the classroom, in the realm of strategic communication and public relations,” says Buzzelli. “I know how intimidating certain courses can be, and I plan to break down those barriers in a way in which I can connect with my students by sharing my own personal experiences.”
Buzzelli earned his Bachelor of Arts in communication, his Master of Arts in magazine journalism and his Ph.D. in communication and information sciences.
Dr. Matt Jenkins, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Strategic Communication
Jenkins joins HPU to teach both undergraduate and graduate-level courses in strategic communications. He also advises students in studies of advertising, public relations and social media. Jenkins will assist students in a student-run agency to provide opportunities for them to work with nonprofit and governmental clients on real-world projects. He will perform research in his area of expertise within the field of communications.
Jenkins began his career as a graphic designer in the Midwest and brings experience from the creative side of the advertising and marketing industries. During his more than 25-year career, Jenkins progressed into greater leadership roles to offer strategy, research and analysis while he developed campaigns and programs for several Fortune 500 brands. Most recently, as the communication officer for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety Administration, Jenkins helped orchestrate successful awareness campaigns for juvenile justice, victim services and human relations recruiting.
“I hope to bring a real-world, pragmatic understanding and insight to the classroom,” says Jenkins. “I believe I can help prepare students for the rigorous expectations employers will have as they enter the workforce in a highly-competitive communications industry.”
Jenkins earned his Bachelor of Science in communications and his Master of Arts in strategic communications. He is preparing to defend his Ph.D. dissertation in communications.
Jenkins says he is excited to engage with the next generation of communication leaders, share his experiences and help them take the industry further into the future.
Jesse Galas, Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre
She advises, mentors, builds and recruits for the musical theatre program. As a certified teacher of the Michael Chekhov Acting Technique, Galas will introduce current techniques in voice, acting and movement, marrying script analysis into physical expression of character.
Galas has a great deal of real-world experience with New York City and international stages and will bring contacts and networking opportunities for her students. Her classes include foundations of theater, fundamentals of acting, voice & dialect and movement for the actor. Galas will direct students in the winter play “Lost Girl” by Kimberly Belflower
A professional actor and singer for more than 25 years, Galas comes to HPU after two years as an assistant professor and musical theatre program co-coordinator. Prior to that, she was a lecturer for two years. She also developed and delivered online/hybrid theater arts courses for several different universities. She has been an International Baccalaureate examiner of theater and directing.
Galas earned her Bachelor of Arts in theater and her Master of Fine Arts in acting. Her professional training includes the Society of Fight Directors, Great Lakes Michael Chekhov Association and Theatre Intimacy Educators.
“I am delighted to join a dedicated team of faculty and students with whom I can collaborate on future projects,” says Galas. “HPU is gaining a reputation for excellence across many disciplines, and I am proud to add my voice to many.”
Brandon Wallace, Assistant Professor of Technical Theater
As technical director for the HPU theatre and dance department, Wallace oversees the technical aspects of each production. This includes design, build, load in and strike of each of the unique shows HPU produces each school year. He also instructs students in his role as assistant professor of technical theater.
“As many educators involved in the arts will tell you, our hope is that theatre and the various other forms of art will help students hone basic skills and find a passion for what they really enjoy doing,” says Wallace. “Jumping into a new theatre program is always exciting. The faculty have been welcoming and open to making positive changes in the department to help push us toward the future.”
Wallace earned his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry, and his Master of Fine Arts in technical direction. For four consecutive years, he also worked to develop theatrical arts skills in children ages 10-18 at Stagedoor Manor, a theatre summer stock camp in Loch Sheldrake, New York.
Dr. Bradley Venable, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Supply Chain Management
Venable is developing a new concentration in supply chain management for the school’s Master of Business Administration program. This consists of recruiting new students and developing new classes that apply to this concentration. He has worked at HPU as an adjunct professor for the last 15 years, using his direct practical experiences to help teach students. He has about 25 years of experience working in engineering, manufacturing, quality control, supplier development and operations.
He has a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering, an MBA in management from HPU and his Ph.D. in manufacturing technology management.
“What makes me excited for my new position at HPU is that it is a new and interesting topic that wasn’t considered as important many years ago in many industries,” says Venable. “Just recently is when the consumer has seen that the supply chain affects all entities and not just manufacturing, but the service industry as well.”
Dr. Jason Williams, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Management
Williams primarily teaches the new undergraduate supply chain management minor courses, including operations and supply chain management, project management and construction management. More courses are expected to be added.
“I hope to impact HPU students by applying practical knowledge and skills from the industry to make topics relevant for each student to understand the field for today and the future,” says Williams.
His background is originally in logistics and supply chain management. Williams served in the military as an Army reservist in the Quartermaster field and deployed to Iraq. From there, he gained experience as a logistics officer in the Army Reserve for 12 years. He also worked in operations for Lowe’s supply chain and distribution, then transitioned to Walmart’s E-commerce as a process improvement manager.
Williams has worked in higher education previously as a program mentor and evaluator while pursuing his doctorate degree, as well as an adjunct instructor. He has a bachelor’s degree in biblical literature, a master’s degree in management and leadership, and his doctorate degree in global supply chain management.
Dr. Brandon Dragone, Visiting Instructor of Economics
In this position, Dragone teaches the principles of macroeconomics, and may teach other courses in business and economics. He previously taught in the spring 2022 semester. He says some of his students have shown interest in learning more about money, banking and personal finance. He brings many years of experience in higher education to his position at HPU as a former economics professor.
“This is my second semester teaching at HPU, and I have to say that the thing I am most excited about is simply being part of the community,” says Dragone. “There is a culture here at HPU that is admirable. I’ve noticed that my students here are remarkably engaging, curious and insightful, and I am honored to continue teaching as an economics professor.”
Dragone earned his master’s degree in economics and studied international business as an undergraduate. Currently, he is pursuing a doctorate in business administration. In addition to his educational background, he has worked for several years as a financial advisor and in data science, supporting industries in aerospace engineering and insurance.
One thing his students say about his classes is that they are not just about economics, but about life. He encourages his students to grow and improve in the areas that are most important to succeed in life, which are reading, writing and communication.
Dr. Tina Johnson, Associate Professor of Leadership Studies
Johnson ensures teachers and school leaders have the educational experiences to meet the rigors of schools. She also serves as the director of the grant-funded program called HPU PREPARE (Piedmont-Triad Residency Educator Program). Her goal is to impact HPU students with the knowledge and life skills needed to be successful in the field of education. Johnson retired from the Guilford County Schools system after teaching for 22 years. Her most recent educational position was as a principal at Ronald E. McNair Elementary in the Triad.
“I am most excited about the opportunity to share best practices with teacher and school leader candidates with the goal of increased learning and life outcomes for scholars,” says Johnson.
Johnson has a plethora of degrees in education under her belt. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in education, Master of Arts in conflict resolution, Master of Education in educational leadership and Doctor of Education in educational leadership from HPU. She also has a North Carolina superintendent’s license.
Dr. Jordan Widelock, Assistant Professor of Educator Preparation
In this position, he teaches primarily within the teacher preparation section. Widelock hopes to teach his students the life skills they need to tackle the real-world problems they will face in the current primary and secondary education environment.
Before joining HPU, he held numerous roles within K-12 education, including classroom teacher, department head, instructional coach and an assistant principal in a Triad school district. Widelock holds a Bachelor of Arts in bioethics, Master of Arts in teaching with an emphasis on secondary science, a Juris Doctor and a Doctor of Education in educational leadership.
“I am most excited about the opportunity to help future K-12 educators become amazing practitioners who are ready to hit the ground running when they enter their own classroom,” says Widelock.
Dr. Doris Brown, Assistant Professor of Special Education
In her role, she provides instruction for students, works in collaboration with area schools to provide practicum experiences for HPU students and serves in advising capacity for individual students and student organizations.
Brown has worked in both private and public education systems for more than 30 years. She started her teaching career working with special education students and has taught from pre-kindergarten through high school. She moved on after 13 years in the classroom to serve as a school administrator. During her time in public school, she taught at the community college level working with adults with and without disabilities.
“It is my hope that by bringing a wealth of experience in the public and private education sectors, that my knowledge will bring a broad lens through which to view education,” says Brown. “It is my intent that students leave with a wider breadth of knowledge and a more positive perspective and desire to be the change in education they want to see for the betterment of students they will eventually teach.”
She holds a Bachelor of Science in special education, a master’s degree in supervision and curriculum instruction and her doctorate in education with superintendent’s license from HPU.
Dr. Hilary Tanck, Assistant Professor of Educator Preparation
Tanck is excited to teach a variety of methods courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the education field at HPU. She hopes her background teaching in K-12, international and higher education settings will foster a learning environment where students can take risks, try new strategies and reflect as they develop into educators.
She started her teaching career in Missouri, then taught elementary English in Beijing, China, for a year. When she returned to the United States, she taught sixth grade math in her hometown before pursuing her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction. Additionally, Tanck has experience working in higher education as an assistant professor of practice where she taught mathematics methods courses.
“I am excited to join a community of educators with a shared vision of developing successful teachers in an environment where growth and collaboration are valued,” says Tanck.
Tanck earned her Bachelor of Science in middle school education with an emphasis in math and social studies. She went on to receive her Master of Science in Education and a Ph.D. She holds Missouri Career Teaching Certificates in 5-9 mathematics and social studies.
Dr. Tara Shollenberger, Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies
Shollenberger works on developing and teaching courses in the new higher education certification program that the Stout School of Education has to offer. Coming from both an academic and practitioner background, she hopes to impact students by giving them real-world examples and context in which to frame their academic research.
“I am excited to be in the classroom sharing my experience and expertise with the education students,” says Shollenberger. “The hope is for these students to go out into these fields and make an immediate impact.”
She has worked in higher education for 18 years, with the last 15 years working at HPU in the evening degree program and then in the Norcross Graduate School. She finished her doctorate in 2013 and was offered a position in the Office of Student Life, working with conduct, Title IX, and fraternity and sorority life.
Shollenberger has a Bachelor of Art in psychology, a master’s degree in sport psychology and a doctorate in education.
Dr. Shannon Lalor, Instructor of Latin American History
Lalor joins the history department teaching classes related to Latin America’s colonial and modern history. She also teaches courses on the medieval and early modern history of Spain, women in the colonial Spanish empire, and the general history of western civilization.
“I strive to provide students with tangible experiences with history as well as with the processes by which historians research and write about history,” says Lalor. “My expectation is not that my students will want to be Latin American historians, but rather that they will engage with history in a way that is meaningful to them and their lives.”
Lalor earned her Bachelor of Arts in anthropology with a specialty in historic archaeology, a master’s degree in Latin American history, and a Ph.D. in Latin American history. She taught courses at the University of Florida and at UNC-Charlotte. Her experience also includes more than a decade of designing interactive exhibits and educational programs for museums in Florida, Illinois and California.
“My passions are history and teaching,” says Lalor. “My own research is centered in archives in Spain, where I consult documents written centuries ago. One of the great pleasures of teaching for me is introducing students to primary sources much like those I use in my own work. These sources reveal in a tangible way the ubiquity of human experience, showcasing the connections we share with people who lived in very different places and times.”
Carmen Calhoun, Instructor of Spanish
Calhoun teaches beginner and intermediate Spanish courses. She also attends departmental meetings and assists in other departmental initiatives as needed.
“I will teach HPU students the foundations of the Spanish language, the second most spoken language in the U.S. and in the world, so they can go off into the world and to the workforce with an ability to communicate with many more people and with a newfound cultural sensitivity and awareness,” says Calhoun. “I am excited to watch the growth and development of my students’ Spanish skills and to share interesting cultural aspects and popular culture from the Spanish-speaking world with them.”
Calhoun brings experience as a teacher of both Spanish and English at the university level in North Carolina and in Brazil as a Fulbright scholar, respectively. Calhoun also worked in the corporate world, primarily as a communications and marketing specialist and liaison for the Latin American market.
Calhoun earned her Bachelor of Arts as a double major in Hispanic linguistics and global studies, with concentration in Latin America and international politics, nation states and social movements, with a minor in Portuguese. She earned a Master of Arts in languages, literatures and cultures with a Spanish concentration.
Autumn Grosser, Instructor of English
She teaches professional writing and is developing further courses on topics of interest to HPU students. In her classes, she offers mentorship in writing and self-development to help students grow as individuals.
“I provide experiential learning both inside and outside the classroom,” says Grosser. “Students learn to think on their feet in my classes, participating in coursework that builds their confidence and extends their critical thinking skills. When they leave my classroom, these young adults are confident communicators who can structure their ideas and articulate them clearly across disciplines.”
Grosser was a professional ghostwriter for 10 years, writing two dozen books for clients on subjects ranging from finance to romantic fiction. She also writes content and copy in a wide range of subjects. For the last three years, she worked in higher education as an honors faculty teaching ghostwriting and other honors courses. She earned her undergraduate degree in women’s health, a master’s degree in special education and her doctoral work is in clinical psychology.
“The culture at HPU is one of excellence with a strong student support system, which matches my own philosophy of teaching and mentorship,” she adds. “Last semester, I was an adjunct in the freshman writing program, and I found the students to be highly engaged and willing to challenge themselves.”
Dr. Jonathan Sorensen, Visiting Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
Sorensen joined the School of Humanities and Behavioral Science teaching violent crime, corrections and a death penalty course in addition to several other courses. He hopes he will impact students by helping them think critically about issues in criminal justice.
He has worked in higher education for more than 30 years at five different universities. Sorensen also has experience working with defense counsel as an expert witness regarding different capital murder trials. He earned his Ph.D. in criminal justice in 1990.
“I love the enthusiasm and excitement exhibited by President Qubein, the students, faculty and staff,” says Sorensen. “Being on campus is a very positive vibe, and I am happy to be back in the classroom again.”
MaryEllen Martino, Visiting Instructor of English
This is a new position in the Department of English, with Martino teaching approaches to writing, research and communication as a first-year writing instructor. In this role, she’s helping students prepare for the types of writing and analysis they may encounter in other classes.
“I would like students to feel confident in their writing and research skills when they leave my class,” says Martino. “I also hope to be an instructor they can come to for support and assistance.”
She has been a full-time instructor in the North Carolina Community College System for more than 10 years. She also taught in the humanities department at a pharmacy college. Martino earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. She is also certified in online course management from two different programs.
Gordon Ballingrud, Assistant Professor of Political Science
Ballingrud returns to HPU teaching American politics, upper-level electives and seminars. He hopes to teach classes on public law, constitutional law, constitutional politics, judicial politics and more. He taught at HPU from 2018-2020 after completing graduate school to earn his Ph.D. in American politics and political theory. He has taught at other universities since 2020.
“I’m excited to return to a campus and student body that I remember well from a few years ago,” says Ballingrud. “I have excellent memories of HPU students–their curiosity and industriousness especially–from the years I have worked here in the past. I’m excited as well to put into practice some new classroom games and experiments to teach students about the patterns, difficulties, dilemmas and practices of politics in a hands-on way.”
Ballingrud will teach students who plan to become political science majors and those who have not yet selected a major who may be new to the study of politics.
“My aim is to provide and model a different way of looking at politics, where moral indignation is not absent but directed and controlled, and institutional processes and opinionated political reasoning are all laid bare, and students appreciate the interrelationships between their own ideals, the basic commitments of the U.S. political system, and the constraints imposed upon them, and all of us, to getting the kind of world we want,” says Ballingrud.
Morgane Haesen, Assistant Professor of French
Haesen joins HPU teaching classes in French, ranging from a first-semester language course to teaching French majors and minors and a course on the Francophone world.
“I aim to teach students a new language, in addition to introducing them to new cultures and world views to contribute to their overall life skills,” says Haesen. “I am excited to contribute to students’ overall life skills to further their education beyond my classroom –
from critical thinking tools to furthering their studying habits.”
Haesen taught on the university level as a graduate teaching instructor and served as a teaching coordinator and curriculum developer for the past seven years. She also worked with publisher Vista Higher Learning as a university faculty specialist. Before that, she taught at the high school level and served as an English French interpreter in the medical field.
Originally from Belgium, Haesen earned her 5-12 Grade Teaching License and Bachelor of Arts in French in 2014, her Master of Arts in French in 2017 and her Ph.D. in French last summer.
Dr. Mark Plume, Associate Professor of Sociology
In his position, Plume develops, prepares and teaches several sociology courses. He advises and mentors students and also hopes to involve students in undergraduate research while continuing his own research and writing.
Plume earned a Bachelor of Arts in behavioral science and a Ph.D. in sociology, with his graduate education funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Plume has taught undergraduate and graduate students at several highly selective universities and colleges while conducting, presenting and publishing research. He is involved now with a study that examines the influence of mindfulness on wound healing among cardiac surgery patients. Over the past few years, he has been writing three sociology textbooks and revising them for new editions.
“I am currently completing the latest edition of one of my textbooks and working on an ethnographic manuscript that examines professional men who grew up poor and focuses on social mobility and intergenerational family relations,” says Plume. “Hopefully through my instruction of sociology, students will become more aware of the social forces, many that are beyond their control, which impact their lives and the lives of those around them.”
Plume is also a NAUI certified advanced scuba diver who meets and learns from local people while diving worldwide, from Bora-Bora in the South Pacific to the Red Sea in Egypt. He brings these experiences to his classes through photographs, videos and stories.