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EMU Announces New Faculty

Posted on July 12th, 2006

Eastern Mennonite University will have nine new undergraduate teaching faculty members when the fall semester opens Aug. 30, 2006.

The new faculty, announced by Dr. Beryl H. Brubaker, EMU provost, and Dr. Marie S. Morris, vice president and undergraduate academic dean, are:

Peter Dula

Peter Dula, assistant professor of religion and culture. Dr. Dula earned a BS in history from EMU, an MATS from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Ind., and a PhD in theology and ethics from Duke University.

Dula has taught at Lancaster (Pa.) Mennonite High School, Duke University, Meserete Kristos College in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and at Babel College in Baghdad, Iraq. He is a member of the Peace Committee of the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and has served with MCC in Burundi and most recently in Iraq.

Dula says he “will seek to offer students theologically disciplined models of relating to other religions and thinking about other religions. Education, at its best, draws the self into question. Christian education subsumes that questioning under the great question mark of the cross, allowing the life and death of Christ to interrogate all our human projects and fantasies.”

Vi Dutcher

Violet A. Dutcher, associate professor of English. Dr. Dutcher earned BA, MA, and PhD degrees in English, rhetoric/communication from Kent (Ohio) State University. She has given numerous presentations related to her dissertation topic and writing and comes to EMU with many years of teaching experience at Kent State and The University of Akron.

Dutcher incorporates service-learning into her teaching and engages in community literacy research. “My pedagogical theories and practices are informed by my faith and by my commitment to helping meet the needs of students and the community,” she states.

Toni Flanagan

Toni M. Flanagan, associate professor of teacher education. Dr. Flanagan earned a BS in biology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, an MT in science education from the Curry School of Education at University of Virginia and an EdD in educational leadership from Liberty University.

Flanagan comes with over 13 years of teaching experience as a science and mathematics teacher (grades 5-7), as a biology and earth science teacher (grades 9-10) and several years tutoring students in reading and mathematics. She wants to interact with local school systems in developing teacher mentoring programs and linking the university with these mentoring programs.

“Christian liberal arts education should weave Christ into the fabric of each course – not as the fringe, but as the very fiber of the cloth,” Flanagan says.

Greta Ann Herin

Greta Ann Herin, assistant professor of biology. Dr. Herin earned a BS in biochemistry and psychology from Kansas State University and a PhD in neurobiology from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Herin has taught at Kansas State University and at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Most recently, she completed a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany. She has numerous publications to her credit and received the Scottish Rite Schizophrenia Research Fellowship.

She notes that “a liberal arts atmosphere and Mennonite tradition” were primary reasons for applying to teach at EMU.

Karen L. Madison, associate professor of nursing. Madison earned a BS in nursing from George Mason University, an MS in psychiatric-mental health nursing from Catholic University of America and completed a post-MSN Adult Nurse Practitioner Program from George Washington University. She has more than 15 years of professional and teaching experience in nursing with 10 years of private practice as a therapist.

Madison has teaching experience at George Mason University, Marymount University and Northern Virginia Community College and has served as a consultant, pulmonary hypertension nurse specialist and nurse practitioner. She holds professional certification from the American Nurses Association as an adult nurse practitioner and a clinical specialist in adult psychiatric-mental health. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau and the Northern Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners.

Lara Scott

Lara L. Scott, associate professor of visual and communication arts. Scott earned a BA in art from Yale University and a MFA from the University of Pennsylvania. She comes most recently from Greenville (Ill.) College where she taught digital video, graphic design, digital imaging, digital photography and painting. She has numerous solo and group exhibitions and was a panel participant at a Pew Graduate Summer Seminar held at The University of Notre Dame on “Christian Scholarship in the Visual Arts.” She also received the Lawrence Shprintz Award at the University of Pennsylvania.

Scott says that her teaching goal is “to create an environment where students will engage with the whole fabric of aesthetic, political, cultural and theological questions as they make art. Together with my students, I hope to create a learning community where we engage with the created and creating world, in the context of Christian faith, through the process of artmaking.”

Matthew Siderhurst

Matthew S. Siderhurst, assistant professor of chemistry. Dr. Siderhurst earned a BA in chemistry and molecular biology from Goshen (Ind.) College and a PhD in entomology from Colorado State University. He has taught at Colorado State University and just completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship as a research chemist/entomologist for USA ARS PBARC in Hilo, Hawaii. In addition to having received several major academic and teaching awards, he has three patents pending for termite feeding stimulants and one patent pending for a western corn rootworm feeding stimulant blend.

“Learning is a lifelong process, and the small college setting is a particularly exciting learning environment with its class sizes, opportunities for undergraduate centered research and close interactions between students and teachers,” Siderhurst states.

Heidi Vogel

Heidi Winters Vogel, associate professor of theater. Vogel earned a BA in theater from the University of Minnesota and an MFA in directing from Pennsylvania State University. She comes with teaching experience at Webster University Conservatory of Theater Arts, St. Louis University, Washington University in St. Louis and Pennsylvania State University. In addition, she has directing and costume design experience at Huntington College, North Hennepin Community College and Normandale Community College.

“Theater, at its best, fires an audience’s imagination and reveals truth to them,” Vogel notes. “If a production doesn’t capture our interest, the truth is buried. Without substance, the effect is fleeting. Without ‘truth and action’, theater is ‘sound and fury, signifying nothing,’ ephemeral and boring. The same applies to my Christian
faith.”

Judith H. Wilfong, associate professor of teacher education. Dr. Wilfong earned a BA in education from Bridgewater College, an MA in reading from James Madison University, and an EdD in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University.

Wilfong brings more than 20 years of teaching and administrative experience in the local public school system to her new role at EMU. Most recently she was principal of Fulks Run (Va.) Elementary School where under her leadership the school won the Distinguished Title I School of Virginia award in 2005. She will retire from the public school system in December this year and join the EMU faculty full time in January 2007.

“When I learned that a position in elementary education was open, I was ecstatic,” Wilfong notes. “Teaching students aspiring to become educators is exactly what I want to do. I love working with student teachers. I choose to live my life in service to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and will be delighted to work in an atmosphere that is openly Christian.”

In addition, the modern languages department at EMU will have four teaching assistants through a program sponsored by Mennonite Central Committee:

Rachel HannebicqueL (French), France
Jakob Kneisler (German), Germany
Leonardo Chavarria (Spanish), Honduras
Rolando Urquizo (Spanish), Bolivia

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