Slippery Rock University welcomes 34 new faculty members


Jennifer Nightingale teaching a class

New Slippery Rock University faculty member Jennifer Nightingale, associate professor of management information systems in the School of Business, began teaching a course in management information systems Aug. 29.

Sept. 1, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University freshmen aren't the only ones adjusting to a new environment with anticipation, excitement and some jitters. The University welcomed 34 new faculty members Aug. 29 as the fall semester commenced.

The nine tenure-track and 25 temporary faculty cover a myriad of disciplines, including: humanities, science, business, health care and new program areas such as industrial and systems engineering, petroleum and natural gas engineering and physician assistant studies.

"From faculty and administrators to staff and students, I have never felt such a sense of belonging and camaraderie amongst a group of people," said Jennifer Nightingale, a new SRU associate professor of management information systems in the School of Business. "I am honored and excited to be a member of the SRU family and am appreciative for how welcomed everyone has made me feel."

After a brief introduction and discussion of the syllabus with her students on the first day of class, Nightingale said she jumped right into teaching with a discussion of how businesses use technology to be more effective.

"I'm excited to be at SRU and have the opportunity to help students learn how their technical skills can help them be successful both in college and throughout their career," Nightingale said.

"My number one goal is to get students excited about technology by presenting them with challenging scenarios and allowing them to discover its beauty through problem solving and decision making. I believe that a course isn't successful unless the students enjoy it and I will work hard to do just that."

David Wilmes, associate provost for student success, who joined SRU in July, said faculty play a huge role in student success.

"Not only do they impact (students) daily through their teaching, but they often help them to develop their educational aspirations," Wilmes said. "Additionally, faculty members are usually the first people on campus to notice when a student might be struggling. Via office hours, advising appointments and short conversations after class, they can connect the student to appropriate campus resources. Faculty members are our most important partners in ensuring that students persist and graduate."

For Lindsay Viatori, dance instructor, the University wasn't all that foreign on her first day, as she had previously served as a guest artist and instructor.

"I am incredibly excited to be joining the dance faculty at SRU," she said. "The dance department has a wonderful reputation for developing hard-working students who think and perform as mature artists. The faculty foster incredible relationships with current students and alumni and have always been so approachable, warm and welcoming to me."

SRU's new crop of professors arrived on campus Aug. 22 for a three-day orientation program. Organized by Mary Hennessey, assistant to the provost for academic and student affairs, the group learned in detail about SRU's commitment to student success, diversity, academic excellence and study abroad programs.

Hennessey said the new faculty members are credentialed with "the three pillars of tenure - research, service and teaching."

"Because we're a teaching institution, we put a lot of emphasis on just that," she said. "They bring new perspectives, including perspectives from other countries in some cases, and that is an exciting thing."

Hennessey said the orientation included a new element this year - a presentation by four students. Students briefed the professors on the D2L system; how they use social media and email; and answered questions. Brad Wilson, interim associate provost for transformational experiences, spoke about global engagement and study abroad; while. Kristina Benkeser, director of student health services, briefed professors on SRU's Behavioral Intervention Team.

Hennessey said the new hires were driven by SRU's increasing enrollment trends, content needs and the general needs of the University.

Faculty joining SRU for fall 2016 are:


  • Justin Siebert, biology
  • Allison Brungard, library
  • Liang Xu, School of Business
  • Rajeeb Poudel, School of Business
  • Nitin Sukhija, computer science
  • Yi Li, School of Business
  • Shawn Davis, parks and recreation
  • Jennifer Nightingale, School of Business
  • Alexander Ufelle, public health and social work


  • Vern Miller, music
  • Lindsay Viatori, dance
  • Kathryn Tamulonis, geography, geology and the environment
  • William Harris, history
  • Mary Stein, exercise and rehabilitative sciences
  • Danielle Dumbeck, mathematics and statistics
  • Kimberly Glover, music
  • Obeng Addai, mathematics and statistics
  • Nichole Matthews, mathematics and statistics
  • Debra Holmes, theatre
  • Mark Haas, English
  • Brittany Sturm, chemistry
  • Robert Mellin, English
  • Ryan Stryffeler, English
  • Pedro Salas Camus, modern languages and cultures
  • Lisa Ann Goldsmith, theatre
  • Stephanie Harrison, counseling and development
  • Paul Shafer, safety management
  • John Vera, music
  • Lori Buglak, special education
  • Theresa Calderone, nursing
  • Michael Aleprete, political science department
  • John Christie-Searles, political science department
  • Abby Sarver, chemistry department
  • Shane Killian, political science

MEDIA CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine | 724.738.4854 |