EMU welcomes new faculty for 2021-22 academic year

Eastern Mennonite University welcomes several new faculty for the 2021-22 academic year. (This article features only full-time faculty).

Tarek Maassarani JD, visiting professor of restorative justice, Center for Justice and Peacebuilding and the Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice 

Tarek Maassarani will teach at CJP and in SPI, advise graduate students in practica, staff the Zehr Institute, and consult on a pilot program sponsored by the Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Maassarani is currently assisting in establishing restorative diversion programs, facilitating restorative justice processes with a focus on cases of sexual harm, directing a religious peacebuilding project in Chad and Cameroon, and offering training for the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).

In 2015, Maassarani co-founded Restorative DC, a community-based initiative of the organization SchoolTalk, that provides technical assistance and professional development to help schools implement restorative justice practices, as well as divert arrested youth out of the juvenile system.

Previously, Maassarani worked in a variety of dialogue, youth development, restorative justice, and environmental and social justice advocacy settings, such as the Latin American Youth Center in D.C. and Seeds of Peace in Maine. He has also taught at Georgetown University, the American University School of International Service, and other institutions. 

He holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University and a juris doctor degree from the Georgetown University Law Center. 

Maassarani co-authored the Corporate Whistleblower Survival Guide: A Handbook for Committing the Truth (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2011), and published a variety of journal articles on human rights and USIP religious peacebuilding action guides. 

Gaurav J. Pathania PhD, visiting professor, sociology and the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding

Guarav Pathania brings research and teaching expertise on social justice and critical inquiry, with special interest most recently in the South Asian diaspora in the United States. His ethnographic research examines the intersection of caste, class and ethnic politics and explores issues of education and health among socially marginalized communities. 

He comes to EMU from teaching positions at Georgetown University, Catholic University,  George Washington University. His current research affiliations include the Pullias Center for Higher Education, University of Southern California; and as researcher at a project for the Pacific University supported by the Commission on Global Social Work Education.

He is the author of The University as a Site of Resistance: Identity and Student Politics (Oxford University Press, 2019), which explores the ways in which student activists mobilize, network and strategize on and off-campus, leading to dynamic and transformative social movements and change.

Pathania holds a doctorate in sociology and two master’s degrees in the sociology of education and sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, as well as master’s degrees in public administration and English literature from Kurukshetra University. His anti-caste poetry has appeared in the J-Caste journal of Brandeis University.

Kyle Remnant DMA, director of bands

Kyle Remnant will direct EMU’s wind ensemble, jazz band and pep band, as well as teach and offer solo lessons. He earned his BA in music at Bridgewater College and an MM and DMA at James Madison University. A trombonist, Remnant has appeared with the Charlottesville, Waynesboro and Middletown, Ohio, symphonies, in the Staunton Music Festival and with the Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra. He debuted internationally with the Sulzbach-Rosenberg International Music Festival. In addition to his work at EMU, he serves in adjunct teaching roles at Bridgewater College and James Madison University, and directs the jazz band at Harrisonburg High School.  

Allison M. Wilck PhD, assistant professor of psychology

Allison Wilck joins EMU’s psychology department. She earned her doctorate in cognitive psychology at University at Albany, State University of New York, in 2021 while also teaching several courses, including statistics for psychology and memory and cognition. Her dissertation, recognized  by the university with a Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award, was titled “Intense News: The Role of Emotion in the Perception of (Fake) News.”

Wilck was honored in fall 2020 with the Daniel and Wendy J.L. Keyser Teaching Excellence Award by the College of Arts and Sciences, University at Albany. The award is for a graduate student who shows outstanding teaching ability.

She also holds a master’s degree in psychology from University at Albany and a BA with High Honors in psychology and sociology from State University of New York Geneseo.

Wilck spent five years as a supervisor within the Cognition and Language Laboratory, and has conducted research, published and presented on numerous topics, including the bilingual brain, metacognition, memory, emotions, conflict and child development, and the survival processing effect.

Ashok Xavier MA ‘04, PhD, Fulbright Scholar-In-Residence, social work

Ashok Xavier comes to EMU from Loyola College in Chennai, where he has been head of the social work department since 2014 and a faculty member since 2000. He is also the current academic director of the Caux Scholars Programme, Asia Plateau, based in Switzerland, and an adjunct faculty member at the Management Centre in Austria.

He holds a PhD from University of Madras. He earned an MA on conflict transformation while a Fulbright Scholar at EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, and also holds a master’s degree in social work from University of Madras.

Xavier has advised, consulted and provided training within projects related to human rights advocacy, capacity building, organizational structures, peacebuilding and mediation, and social and microcredit enterprises. He’s worked with refugees, displaced persons, HIV/AIDS patients, churches, nonprofit organizations, and tribal communities, among many other groups.

He has also written scripts and produced 11 documentary films, as well as explored the power of theatre for healing trauma. 

Florina Xavier MA ‘04, PhD, Practitioner In Residence, Center for Justice and Peacebuilding

Florina Xavier will be a Practitioner in Residence at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding and teach one class in the spring semester.

She balances teaching roles at the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute, Philippines, and in the Caux Scholars Program, Switzerland with regular consulting work. A recent role was as a regional return and reintegration advisor with projects and partnerships in Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and Myanmar for the Australian organization ACT for Peace. She worked with Afghan refugees through Tabish Social Health Education Organization (TSHEO) and with Kyrgyz Republic refugees through UNHCR. 

Xavier is a graduate of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at EMU. She also holds a master’s degree in social work from Madras College and a doctorate in social work from Osmania University. She is a Fulbright Scholar and Oxford Fellow. 

She has conducted trainings in more than 30 countries on a range of topics including psychosocial healing, mediation, trauma healing and gender-based violence. Xavier brings extensive experience in project management and consulting, including a recent tsunami relief project managing a budget of $5M with multiple international partnerships among nonprofits and the United Nations.