University of Southern Indiana

Faculty and Staff Achievements

Joyce Rietman, director of Advanced Clinical Experiences and Co-Teaching, will be serving on the selection committee for Indiana’s 2018 Teacher of the Year. As part of that committee, she and other members will interview finalists and observe them teaching in their classrooms. (September 2017)

Dr. Kevin Valadares, Dr. Katie Ehlman and Dr. Marie Pease have received a three-year grant from the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) to develop and implement a health care quality improvement project on advance care planning at 15 nursing homes in southwest Indiana. Details of the grant will be announced during an upcoming conference, “Sharing the Experience: Advance Care Planning in the State of Indiana,” which will be held Wednesday, September 27, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at The New Harmony Inn Conference Center. This continuing education program will explore the current state of advance care planning in Indiana including resources available across the state, programs that are available to facilitate advance care planning conversations, discussion of new ideas related to planning, hospice and palliative care facts, and the future of advance care planning in Indiana. For more information about the advance care planning conference, visit fall-programs/#acp

Darla Perigo, administrative assistant in Romain College of Business; Shannon Hudson, instructor in business law; and Dr. Jill Oeding, assistant professor of business law, had an article titled “An Assessment of High Deductible Health Plans and Affiliated Savings Accounts in the Current Market” in the International Journal of Healthcare Management. (June 2017)

Dr. Leigh Anne Howard and Dr. Erin Gilles accompanied numerous students and alumni to the Kentucky Communication Conference, sponsored by the Kentucky Communication Association in Carrollton, Kentucky. Students and alumni presented work they completed in the Master of Arts in Communication Program. Funding for the trip was made possible by the USI Graduate Studies Research and Travel Award. Students who presented: Thawn Khai, Dilek Ocak, Shannon Hoehn, Mary Beth Reese, Ben Luttrull, Coralie Lowicki, Lorena Banquerizo-Gellibert and Serge Pre. Alumni who presented: Michelle Duran, Andrew Bolin, Theresa Ohning.

Dr. C. Elizabeth (Beth) Bonham, associate professor of nursing, has been selected to join the prestigious Fellows of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN). She is one of 173 nurse leaders to be inducted into the 2017 class during the Academy’s annual policy conference in Washington, D.C., October 5-7, 2017.

Dr. Wendy Turner and Dr. Veronica Huggins presented their paper, Standing in the Gap:Benefits of Cross-racial and Interracial Mentoring, at the Seventeenth International Conference on Diversity in Organizations, Communities & Nations: Urban Diversity and Economic Growth, 26-28 July 2017 at University of Toronto-Chestnut Conference Centre, Toronto, Canada. (September 2017)

Dr. James Dickerson was recently elected President of the Vanderburgh County Community Corrections Board. He is serving a three-year term on this board. (September 2017)

Dr. Thomas and Mrs. Julie Bordelon presented their paper, A Distance Learning Model for Rural Native American Students to Access a Public Mainstream University, at the 42nd National Institute on Social Work and Human Services in Rural Areas last July in Jackson, TN. (September 2017)

Angel Nelson, assistant registrar, received the Enrollment Management Innovation Award. The award recognizes an individual or team whose innovative work or suggestions significantly improve operational efficiencies, introduces a new or modified business practice or improves work process, workflow or customer service. (August 2017)

Laura McDaniel, data manager, received the Enrollment Management Knowledge for Life Award. The award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions beyond his or her position to professional development, thereby enhancing the quality of professionalism in Enrollment Management. (August 2017)

Will Pool, transfer credit supervisor, received the Enrollment Management Outstanding New Professional Award. The award recognizes a new Enrollment Management employee who has made outstanding contributions toward achieving departmental goals, divisional goals and Enrollment Management core values. (August 2017)

Carolyn Campbell, senior administrative assistant in the Registrar’s Office, received the Enrollment Management Outstanding Support Staff Award. The award recognizes an Enrollment Management staff member who exhibits exceptional performance beyond his or her normal job duties. (August 2017)

Heather Bauer, program director of Student Support Services, received the Enrollment Management Outstanding Administrator Award. The award recognizes an administrator who exhibits exceptional performance above and beyond his or her normal job duties. (August 2017)

Jayne Tang, programmer manager in Information Technology, received the Friend of Enrollment Management Award. The Award recognizes individuals and/or groups outside Enrollment Management who have made outstanding and/or sustained contributions to the mission and vision of Enrollment Management. (August 2017)

Gina Videa, senior admissions counselor, received Enrollment Management Collaboration Award which recognizes the team leader and team members who have spearheaded a collaborative effort that has substantially impacted a department, several departments, campus, faculty and staff or students and families. Gina, along with others, has played a crucial role in helping students from Latino communities be more aware of our academic programs and scholarship opportunities. (August 2017)

Dr. Julia Galbus has been appointed as chair of the English Department. She begins her new duties immediately. (August 2017)

Dr. Daniel Bauer recently published book reviews of "A Future for Amazonia" (University of Texas Press, 2012) and "The Mermaid and the Lobster Diver" (University of New Mexico Press, 2012). The reviews were published in The Latin Americanist and the Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology. (August 2017)

Xavia Harrington, instructor of English,  has successfully completed all doctoral coursework and examinations related to pursuing said Ph.D.; thus, she has now been given the title of Ph.D. candidate (ABD). Upon successful completion and defense of her doctoral dissertation in the near future, Harrington will graduate with full rights and privileges of the Ph.D. in which she is currently pursuing.

Harrington began her doctoral studies soon thereafter at Bellarmine University (Louisville, KY) to pursue a Ph.D. in Leadership within Higher Education, where she currently has a concentration in Social Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within Higher Education. For the past three years, Harrington has worked simultaneously as both full-time instructor of English at USI and full-time doctoral student at Bellarmine. (August 2017)

Dr. Phonesia Wells, assistant professor of health services, received the 2017 USI Summer Research Award for Junior Faculty for her project, "Empowering Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Receipients."

Valerie Allen, international undergraduate admissions coordinator, participated in the U.S. Department of State’s eighth annual EducationUSA Forum in Washington, D.C.  More than 570 U.S. university representatives from 46 states, 60 EducationUSA regional coordinators and advisers from around the world, and U.S. and foreign government officials convened to discuss international student recruitment and retention strategies. (July 2017)

Alisa (AL) Holen, associate professor of ceramics, will be featuring work in two exhibitions: Nuanced Relationships, at the Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science (on display until September 3); and Nature/Nurture: Norman and Alisa Holen, a joint exhibition at the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota in October. (July and October 2017)

Dr. Jeff Thomas led a state mentoring workshop in Lafayette for K-8 science teachers. This was a collaborative project with ISTEM and three other universities across Indiana. (July 2017)

Dr. Julian Davis coauthored the study, Ontogeny of bite force in a validated biomechanical model of the American alligator, which was published in the Journal of Experimental Biology. Davis collaborated with faculty at the University of Missouri to develop three-dimensional models of the skulls of American alligators to collect bite data. (June 2017)

Dr. Wes Durham has been appointed as Director of the Bachelor of Professional Studies Program. The BPS Program has moved from the Outreach and Engagement Department to the College of Liberal Arts. (June 2017)

Dr. Vaughn DeCoster has been appointed as chair of the Social Work Department. (June 2017)

Doug Goeppner, ADA coordinator in Human Resources, conducted an ADA workshop for the staff and Commissioners of the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Human Relations Commission. (June 2017)

Dr. Rocco Gennaro, chair of the Philosophy Department, presented his research, “The Neuroscience of Psychiatric Disorders, the Metaphysics of Consciousness, and the Prospect of an Afterlife” at the Science of Consciousness Conference in San Diego.

The Science of Consciousness is an interdisciplinary conference on all aspects of the nature of conscious experience, awareness, feelings and existence. (June 2017)

Mary Willman was chosen as the Sodexo District and Regional Winner for exceptional customer service. Winners are selected by the customer experience ambassadors that included all of the Exceptional Customer Experience rating cards for the month.

One student commented: “Mary in the Loft is always so kind and welcoming. She obviously loves her job, and loves the students even more. Every time I see her she has as kind word to say to a staff member, or to a student. The best part is you can always count on Mary to have a smile on her face. Today we spoke about how wonderful the USI students are and she got choked up about a few that told her they were leaving after this semester. The students tell her their stories and she loves to listen. She has such a giving heart and USI is a better place because of her.” (May 2017)

Dr. Trent Engbers, assistant professor of political science and public administration, placed in the Tenth Annual E-PARCC Teaching Case and Simulation Competition with his case study, “Pioneer Scouts of Rose Ravine.”

The case study examines the challenges of nonprofit conflict, collaboration and change in an era of shrinking resources. It has been recognized by the Maxwell School’s Collaborative Governance Initiative. The peer reviewed competition fosters the development of outstanding teaching case studies and simulations. Winning case studies are published electronically by Syracuse University and are translated into Spanish and Chinese to encourage wider dissemination. Dr. Engbers was recognized alongside faculty for the University of North Carolina, Syracuse University and Creighton University School of Law for the impact of his case study.

The Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC) at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University is a multi-faceted, interdisciplinary research center that advances both theory and practice in the fields of conflict and collaboration.(June 2017)

Dr. Sudesh Mujumdar will be traveling in June to his alma mater, the University of Mumbai where he will be delivering a workshop of economic modeling to Mumbai School of Economics and Public Policy. (June 2017)

Dr. Vaughn DeCoster and Dr. Kathy Elpers collaborated with USI alumni, Dr. Takashi Armano and Missy Johnson. Their article, “Effectiveness of a psycho-educational staff training program on attitudes of staff in a long-term care facility: A pilot study and framework,” was published in the peer-reviewed publication, Journal of Education Gerontology. (May 2017)

Dr. Julia Galbus, associate chair and associate professor of English, presented a PLENARY paper at the International Auto/Biography Association of the Americas Conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The talk was titled “Revising What’s Past: Compassionate Interpretation in the Work of Marlene Kadar and Louise DeSalvo.”(May 2017)

Dr. Colleen Walsh, contract assistant professor in Nursing, was invited to participate in the Clinical Review Panel (CRP) series for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on the topic of extremity joint replacements in the Medicare FFS population. She has expertise in orthopedic nursing and has served as president of the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses. She was also recently named to the founding advisory board of the American College of Perioperative Medicine. (May 2017)

Dr. Jessica Garcés Jensen, assistant professor of French, was selected by the Faculty Senate's committee, Faculty Awards for Service, Teaching, and Research as the 2017 winner of the USI Outstanding Academic Advisor Award. Nominations for this award can come from students or colleagues. Nominees must meet the following criteria:

  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Availability to advisees, faculty, and/or staff
  • Frequency of contact with advisees
  • Appropriate referral activity
  • Use and dissemination of appropriate information sources
  • Caring, helpful attitude toward advisees, faculty and/or staff
  • Monitoring of student progress toward academic and career goals
  • Mastery of institutional regulations, policies, and procedures (May 2017)

Doug Goeppner, ADA Coordinator in Human Resources, was selected to serve as a presenter at the Exceptional Family Member Training Summit being held in Fort Knox, Kentucky from May 8-12. The Exceptional Family Member Program provides services and support to active duty U.S. Army families from around the world who have family members with disabilities. He will be providing training on accessibility in the built environment. (May 2017)

Dr. Elissa Mitchell, assistant professor of social work, gave a presentation “Youth adjustment after parental intimate partner violence and separation: Age and gender differences” at the Society for Research on Child Development in Austin, TX. (April 2017)

Elizabeth A. Ramos, MS, RD, LDN, CD, instructor of Food and Nutrition, was elected as regional director of the Foodservice Systems Management Education Council’s East Midwest Division, which includes the states of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. All new officers were installed March 14 during the council’s annual meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her term is for two years, through 2019.

Dr. Daniel Bauer, associate professor of anthropology presented a paper titled "Market, Conservation, and Community in the Northwest Amazon" at the 77th Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Dr. Todd Schroer, chair of the Criminal Justice Department, was just accepted to participate in the 2017 Memorial Library Summer Seminar on Holocaust Education which is being held this June in New York City.

Dr. Melissa Stacer, associate professor of criminal justice, and Lydia Moll, a junior majoring in Criminal Justice and Sociology, presented their paper, “New Opportunities or Closing Doors? How Correctional Facility Tours Impact Students’ Thoughts about Careers,” at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences’ Annual Meeting on March 22, 2017. 

Dr. Sheri Jenkins Keenan has authored a single encyclopedia entry published in the Encyclopedia of Juvenile Delinquency and Justice. The Encyclopedia of Juvenile Delinquency and Justice is published both in print and online; Wiley Online Library. The Encyclopedia is designed for a diverse audience of scholars looking for information on a particular topic and/or broader understanding of said topic.

Dr. Melinda Roberts, associate professor of criminal justice, and Melanie Belarmino, gender studies student, presented their paper, “Gendered Violence and Victimization in Japan: The Dynamics Associated with Feminism and Violence Against Women” at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences’ Annual Meeting on March 22, 2017. 

Dr. Cristina Gilstrap’s article “People Just Don’t Understand:” Challenges Communicating Home Hospice Volunteer Role Experiences to Organizational Outsiders, has been accepted for publication into Management Communication Quarterly, a top tier publication in both business and organizational communication as well as strategy and management. 

Dr. Sheri Jenkins Keenan has co-authored a book chapter titled A Brief History of School Violence & Disturbance in America published in Critical Examinations of School Violence and Disturbance in K-12 Education. The project looked at incidents of school violence in K-12 in the United States since 1764. It included violence committed by faculty, staff, student, or community member on faculty, staff, and student on school property. It did not include suicides or accidents. As first author, she was responsible for all of the historical research and document construction. This was an IGI Global Publication. 

Dr. Sheri Jenkins Keenan has been named the 2017 Chairman of the Tom Barker Award for Undergraduate Student Service by the Southern Criminal Justice Association (SCJA). The Southern Criminal Justice Association is a regional organization affiliated with the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. SCJA is a professional association serving criminal justice educators, researchers, practitioners and students committed to the ongoing development of criminal justice science and practice. Member states include Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Dr. Phoneshia Wells, assistant professor of Health Services in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, was selected to be a member of the Henderson Leadership Initiative’s Class of 2016, a leadership development program in Henderson, Kentucky. The mission of HLI is to expand the circle of leadership throughout Henderson by identifying, nurturing, mentoring, training and placing a new generation of leaders within the organizational infrastructure of the community. This year’s group practicum assignment followed the “Compassion Henderson” movement, which was introduced by the HLI Class of 2015.

Dr. Mary (MT) Hallock Morris presented two research papers in Las Vegas at the end of January. Her paper “The Rise of a Nuclear-Free New Zealand: Investigating the Roles of Organized Interests, Labour Party Politics, and the Influence of Foreign Countries at the American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences on January 30, 2017. Her second paper, “Mapping Policy Subsystems: Developing a Deep Understanding of the Politics of Louisiana’s Crumbling Coast,” was presented at the Ethnographic and Qualitative Research Conference on January 31, 2017.

Dr. Jeff Seyler has been named the recipient of the 2017 Local Section Outreach Volunteer of the Year Award for the IN-KY Border Section of the American Chemical Society. He will be listed along with other award winners in the Chemical and Engineering News.

Andrea Gentry has been promoted to director of development within the USI Foundation. The change is effective February 1, 2017.

Gentry graduated from USI in 2005, and immediately began working for the USI Foundation. In 2006 she was appointed assistant director of development and was promoted to associate director of development in 2015. In 2013 she obtained the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CRFE) designation from CRFE International. She also obtained the Certificate in Fund Raising Management through the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy in 2012. The Evansville Business Journal and Courier & Press selected Andrea in 2011 as a member of its second annual class of 20 under 40, honoring young emerging leaders in the community. She serves on the board of directors for the Evansville Area Fundraising Council (president 2011-2013), Koch Family Children’s Museum of Evansville, and the United Way of Posey County.

Dr. Jack Smothers, assistant professor of management, has been appointed as the next MBA director for Romain College of Business.

Dr. Tamara L. Hunt has been appointed to the role of director of Master of Liberal Arts. Her goals including creating degree tracks within disciplines that students can specialize in and will be reflected in transcripts. She also plans to expand the courses and concentrations to departments without existing graduate programs of their own as well as incorporating some classes from existing graduate degrees. The creation of certificate programs for those not requiring a full master's degree and teaching certification for high school teachers to teach dual credit and AP classes is also on the agenda. She will also explore the creation of 4 + 1 programs for seniors who are excellent students to begin taking graduate courses before graduation and finish the master’s degree in a year.

David A. Bower, director of development and president of the USI Foundation, has been promoted to vice president for development while continuing as president of the USI Foundation. He is a graduate of Saint Meinrad College and has master's degrees from the Catholic University of Louvain Belgium and the University of Evansville. He began his position in the USI Foundation 23 years ago as a special gifts officer and worked his way to the top post, leading the Foundation for the past decade. He earned the Certified Fundraising Executive designation in 1999.

Richard Toeniskoetter, executive director of Information Technology has been promoted to chief information officer. He joined USI more than five years ago from Northern Arizona University where he was a technology director for eight years. Prior to that, he worked in the telecommunications industry for 16 years. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University with both bachelor's and master's degrees.

Dr. Katherine Draughon, executive director of Planning, Research and Assessment, has been promoted to chief data officer. She has been employed at the University for 10 years. Originally appointed as director of Institutional Research, she also has taken on the duties of overseeing the grants office. Prior to USI, Draughon served as a private research consultant in higher education. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Arlington, a master's degree from Colorado State University and both a master's and her doctorate from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Kristalyn Shefveland, associate professor of history, has published her first book: Anglo-Native Virginia: Trade, Conversion, and Indian Slavery in the Old Dominion, 1646-1722, with the University of Georgia Press as part of the Early American Places series, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Doug Goeppner, USI ADA coordinator, will be presenting at the 2016 Conference on Disability being held in Indianapolis by the Indiana Governor's Council on Disability. He will be conducting a breakout session on the topic of accessibility in the built environment.






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