Columbus State University Welcomes its New Faculty

COLUMBUS, Ga. – As the 2014-2015 academic school year begins, Columbus State University welcomes 33 new faculty members to its staff.

“I was able to meet with them on Monday and got a chance to talk to quite a few of them,” said Tom Hackett, Columbus State provost and vice president for academic affairs. “My takeaway is they are an exceptional group of entering faculty.  That is not surprising because I think our entering faculty cohorts for past four or five years has been stellar. Our faculty are the reason for the strides Columbus State continues to take in enhancing its instruction and moving the university to the next level.”

Here are the new faculty members by instructional unit:

College of the Arts

Department of Communication

Chris Robinson is a 15-year broadcast media veteran with experience in consulting, management,  marketing, television production, social media and new technologies. Chris starting his broadcast media career in 1999 at WTVM-TV in Columbus, Georgia.  Chris was hired to build graphics for newscasts as part of the production team.  He continued his career in news production mastering every broadcast system becoming the youngest Technical Broadcast Director in the South East at age seventeen.  Having a strong desire to advance, Chris continued through the broadcast ranks working and supervising field production events and operating in a dual role as News Photographer/Editor and Technical Broadcast Director. At age 22, Chris was promoted to the position of Production Manager at WTVM a subsidiary of Raycom Media making him the youngest Production Manager in the company and the first African American manager in WTVM history.  During his tenure as WTVM Production Manager, Chris put himself through college earning the Bachelor of Science in Business and the Master of Business Administration Degrees.  Throughout his career, Chris has been an advocate for education and media technology.  He has been at the forefront of various high school and college media programs and has lectured fro Shaw High School and Auburn University.  He also established a groundbreaking internship program for Raycom Media that offers students the opportunity to work in and contribute to the daily news operation.  Chris also works with various non-profit groups helping them understand new media and how it can be utilized to deliver their message.  He has a passion for new technology and finding tools to assist with work flow changes in the current media landscape.  During his tenure at WTVM, Chris developed the “Team Work Initiative” which uses teams to tackle proects and marketing initiatives.  Chris regularly hold technology workshops that cover editing, composition, planning and many other forms of new media technologies.  He enjoys spending time with his wife, 4-year-old daughter, and English Bulldog Sasha. He loves making family videos and helping others make technology purchases.


Schwob School of Music

Anna Dodd has been appointed Lecturer in Music to teach horn at the Schwob School of Music for the current academic year. She is the founder of the Atlanta Horn Clinic and performs with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School and a Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory. She has performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Brass Quintet, Atlanta Opera, and Alabama Symphony Orchestra.

Beibei Lin is Visiting Lecturer in piano at the Schwob School of Music for 2014-15. She holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in piano pedagogy from Florida State University, where she is currently completing a doctorate in piano pedagogy under Heidi Williams. She taught group piano at FSU from 2010 to 2014. She has performed Prokofiev's First Piano Concerto with the Masterworks Orchestra, and taught piano and worked as a collaborative pianist at the Brevard Music Festival and the FSU Summer Piano Institute.

Keith Matthews has been appointed assistant professor of music education. Formerly the band director at West Forsyth High School, with previous appointments in Gwinnett and Cherokee County Schools, Matthews comes to Columbus State from Florida State University, where he has completed the Ph.D. in Music Education with a minor in Instrumental Conducting. At FSU, he performed as a trumpet player, taught several music education classes and was coordinator of the 2013 Prism Concert and the FSU Summer Music Camps.

Bradley Olesen has been appointed Visiting Professor of music education for the 2014-15 academic year. He has served as assistant professor of Choral Music Education at West Chester University, and has taught at Louisiana State University. He taught high school choirs for nine years in Texas and Ohio. He holds the Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Miami and Master's and Bachelor's degrees from Texas Tech. In Philadelphia he also served as director of the Kennett Symphony Children’s Chorus Youth Chorale.

Department of Theatre

Christopher Head is the new visiting assistant professor of lighting design. Chris earned his Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with a History minor from the University of North Texas. His Master of Fine Arts in Lighting Design is from the University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music, where he designed lights for William Saroyan’s, The Time of Your Life and Alison Vodnoy-Wolf’s new stage adaptation of James Joyce’s Ulysses.  Chris has designed lights for such prominent artists as Liza Minnelli, Ray Charles and Bernadette Peters. His most personally rewarding concert was designing the lights for the world premiere for the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Sing for the Cure, which was performed by the Turtle Creek Chorale and narrated by Maya Angelou.

Turner College of Business

Janet Colbert, Visiting Professor of accounting, earned her Ph.D. in Accounting from the University of Georgia. She has served on the faculty of Auburn University and Eastern Kentucky University.

J. Dana Eckart, associate professor of computer science, earned his Ph.D. in Information and Computer Science from Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. He came to us from Aflac where he was the Senior Software Enterprise Architect/Manager.

Rania Hodhod, assistant professor of computer science. Hodhod earned her Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of York in England. Hodhod came to us from Georgia Tech where she was a postdoctoral researcher and visiting lecturer in the area of artificial intelligence.

Tesa Leonce, associate professor of economics, earned her Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Wyoming. Leonce most recently taught at Eastern Illinois University where she won awards for teaching and service. She teaches courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics and industrial organization.

Adam Maiga, associate professor of accounting, has a Ph.D. in Accounting from the University of Memphis. He comes to us from Florida International University where he taught cost and managerial accounting and financial accounting. His research interests include management controls, ethics and healthcare.

Hoda Mehrpouyan, assistant professor of computer science, is currently a doctoral candidate in the Complex Engineered Systems Design Lab at Oregon State University. Through collaboration with other researchers at OSU, Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), NASA Ames Research Center, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Linköping University, and the University of Sydney working on DARPA and NASA funded research, she has gained a diverse and deep knowledge of the challenges of designing cyber-physical systems.


College of Education and Health Professions

Counseling, Foundations and Leadership

Michael T. Johnson holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Emory University and a MEd and EdS in Administration and Supervision from Troy University.  He served as a high school social studies and computer applications instructor for Muscogee County School District for 13 years, and for 17 years served as an administrator – including 13 years as a middle school principal in Muscogee County. At CSU since retiring from K-12 in 2012, Mike has served as an intern coach and assistant coordinator of the educational leadership program; and now is an instructor, the interim coordinator of the educational leadership program, and the recruiter for the College of Education and Health Professions.

Pamela A. Lemoine has an ED.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology, and a Bachelor of Arts in English. Lemoine’s experience includes work as a classroom teacher, media specialist, principal, and supervisor of elementary and middle schools, and federal programs in Louisiana, as well as experience in Okinawa, Japan, Germany, and Canada as a media specialist, K-12 administrator, and adult education supervisor. Her research interests include educational leadership, educational technology, as well as classroom management and student performance. Lemoine has also been a Social ShapeUp consultant for the Teaching Research Institute in Baton Rouge, La. and a coach for the National SAM Innovation Project at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Lemoine was the recipient of the Jindal Foundation Award in 2010.

Robert E. Waller did his undergraduate work at the University of Georgia, received his Master of Arts and Educational Specialist degrees from UGA before attending Georgia Southern University where he received his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership in June of 1997. He has served as a teacher, high school principal and assistant superintendent, and superintendent in public school systems across the state of Georgia for more than 37 years. He started his career in higher education as an assistant professor at Georgia Southern, and was then hired as associate professor of educational leadership with Argosy University in Atlanta. His areas of academic interest include educational law, school facility planning, school business management, school finance, leadership, communication and the superintendent in public school systems. Dr. Waller has published in his areas of expertise in national and international journals. He also presented at state and regional conferences on various topics in educational law, school finance and school level leadership development.


School of Nursing

Susan Greer, instructor in the School of Nursing is a clinical nurse specialist in adult health with her Master of Science in Nursing from Troy University. She comes to us from Columbus Tech nursing program and previously was a part-time clinical instructor for CSU. Her interests are critical care and geriatric nursing.

Kim Hasbach, assistant professor in the School of Nursing is a family nurse practitioner with her Master of Science and Doctorate of Nursing from Troy University. She will be teaching fundamentals and medical surgical nursing this year. Her interests include pain management and adult nursing. She has taught online for Troy University in the family nurse practitioner program since 2009.


Teacher Education

Toni M. Franklin, assistant professor of special education earned her PH.D. in Special Education from Auburn University. Prior to coming to Columbus State University she taught at Armstrong State University. Franklin has also taught for 11 years in the public schools as a special education teacher and an elementary general education teacher. Her research interest includes teacher preparation and academic interventions for students with disabilities in an inclusive setting.

Shannon Lewis, limited term instructor in early childhood education, earned her Ed.S. degree from Troy State University, a M.ED. from Columbus State University, and the B.S.ED. from the University of Georgia. Shannon has extensive experience as a classroom teacher, resource teacher for the Columbus Regional Mathematics Collaborative, and part-time faculty in CSU’s Teacher Education Department.  Shannon was also named the COEHP Outstanding Alumni in 2010.

College of Letters and Sciences

Dean’s Office

Dennis M. Rome, dean of the College of Letters and Sciences, joins us from the University of Wisconsin–Parkside (UWP) where he served as associate provost and associate vice chancellor for academic affairs. While serving in this central administrative position, Rome focused on improving student retention rates and he created more opportunities for faculty development. In addition, Rome led university-wide efforts to create new degree and certificate programs including alternative methods for delivering course content.

Prior to Rome’s tenure at UWP, he served as Professor and Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and previously Rome served as a tenured faculty member at Indiana University-Bloomington – Rome has held faculty appointments at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio; DePaul University in Chicago and Wilmington University in Wilmington, Ohio.

Rome has authored and co-authored several academic books and he has published numerous research articles and reports. Rome has presented at more than 50 national and international conferences and events on topics related to social justice, human rights and curriculum/pedagogical development. Rome currently serves as the Director of the Honors Program for the American Sociological Association, holds a doctorate degree from Washington State University in Pullman, Wa.; a Masters of Arts degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C.; and a bachelors of sciences degree from Bradley University in Peoria, Il. – all in the discipline of sociology.


Department of Biology

Lauren King, assistant professor of biology, earned her Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Mississippi Medical Center under the mentorship of Larry McDaniel. Her dissertation research focused on hospital acquired infections of Acinetobacter baumannii and its evasion of the innate immune system. She also discovered a novel serine protease in A. baumannii responsible for serum resistance and inhibition of biofilm formation. King comes to us from the Wake Forest School of Medicine where she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow studying the interaction between the otitis media pathogen Haemophilus influenzae and human phagocytes. In addition, she served as an adjunct instructor at Lenoir-Rhyne University in the department of biology. King will teach Principles of Biology and Microbiology lecture and lab classes as well as advanced undergraduate and graduate microbiology classes.

Amy Sandy, lecturer of biology, earned her Master of Science in biology from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, where her research focused on aquaculture and fisheries. Her thesis research analyzed the diets of double-crested cormorants and largemouth bass in Lake Chicot, Arkansas. Sandy comes to us from Columbus Technical College where she served as Dean of the School of Sciences. Sandy will teach lecture and lab sections of Principles of Biology as well as anatomy and physiology classes.


Department of Chemistry

Renat R. Khatmullin, assistant professor of chemistry, earned his Ph.D. in 2013 in Photochemical Sciences with a focus in Organic Chemistry, Electrochemistry, and Steady State Spectroscopy at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio. Khatmullin comes to us from a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel-Hill. Khatmullin’s current research interest involves the kinetics and mechanism of singlet oxygen production in heterogeneous biomimetic media, such as vesicles and micelles and tracking singlet oxygen by trapping to make nitroxide free radicals, which are then detected by electron paramagnetic resonance for the purpose of mapping the depth of action of singlet oxygen in photodynamic therapy for cancer treatment. Khatmullin will teach Organic Chemistry and other chemistry courses as assigned.

Jonathan M. Meyers, assistant professor of chemistry, earned his Ph.D. in 2012 in Biological Chemistry at Indiana University under the mentorship of Richard DiMarchi. Meyers comes to CSU from Coastal Carolina University where he served as a lecturer over the past academic year. Meyers also held a postdoctoral associate position at IU in DiMarchi’s Lab. In this position he was responsible for all aspects of design and production of novel single chain insulin analogs with improved pharmacology, including solid phase peptide synthesis, bacterial expression, purification, and analytical and biochemical characterization. His work as a postdoctoral associate resulted in potent single chain analogs that were subsequently patented and licensed to Merck Research Labs. Other research interests include cellular uptake of polyphenols in a bacterial protein expression systems and development of synthetic methodologies for the total synthesis of insulin and insulin-like peptides that improved over existing schemes. Meyers will teach biochemistry and other chemistry courses as assigned.

Ekaterina Mirzakulova, Lecturer/Stockroom manager, earned her Ph.D. in 2013 in the Department of Chemistry and Center for Photochemical Sciences at Bowling Green State University. Mirzakulova comes to CSU from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C., where she occupied a post-doctoral research associate position in the department of chemistry. Mirzakulova’s current work involves the identification of the photodegradation products of polymers due to exterior weathering induced by artificial sunlight, temperature and moisture. Mirzakulova has a wealth of experience in the laboratory setting interacting with undergraduates. She will teach a variety of introductory undergraduate courses and serve as the stockroom manager in the department of chemistry.


Department of Criminal Justice

Rhonda E. Bone, Temporary Lecturer of criminal justice, joins the criminal justice and sociology department as a full time lecturer in the Criminal Justice program. She earned her B.S. in Criminal Justice and her Master of Public Administration at Columbus State University. Bone comes to CSU with 12 years of law enforcement experience. She started her career at the LaGrange, Ga., Police Department as a patrol officer, and later served as a state probation officer with the Department of Corrections. Bone has obtained many certifications from the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth, Ga. Bone will be teaching Criminology, Policing, and Corrections.


Department of English

Shae Anderson, Temporary Lecturer of English, joins us as a full-time temporary lecturer, specializing in composition theory and rhetoric. She received her PhD in Rhetoric and Composition from Georgia State University. Prior to her appointment at CSU, Anderson served as QEP Writing Center director and assistant professor of English at Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, Ga. Anderson's areas of interest include composition theory and pedagogy and the history of African American rhetoric.

Carolina Peláez-Morales, assistant professor of English, specializing in Rhetoric and Composition and TESOL. She received her PhD in English as a Second Language (ESL) from Purdue University. Prior to her appointment at CSU, Peláez-Morales served as an Instructor of Writing and Linguistics at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon. Her research focuses on second language writing (L2) and English as a second language. Her current project explores the strategies that international and multilingual students use to navigate their transitions to English-medium academic institutions.


Department of History and Geography

Felix Harcourt, Temporary Lecturer of history, received his Ph.D. in U.S. History from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. His research focuses on issues of racial and religious bigotry in American history. Harcourt's dissertation, A Visible Empire: The Ku Klux Klan and American Culture, 1915-1930, seeks to provide insight into how the intolerant organization disseminated its ideas to a disturbingly receptive mainstream. He is currently preparing this dissertation for publication, as well as working on a new study of the Klan's national political power in the 1920s. Harcourt previously served as a fellow of the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project and is the assistant editor of two volumes of Mrs. Roosevelt's collected works.


Department of Political Science and Public Administration

David Kerr, assistant professor of public administration, joins us as Assistant Professor of Public Administration and Director of the Justice Systems Administration track. Kerr (pronounced Carr) was in law enforcement for 36 years beginning as a non-sworn parking officer, moving through various positions such as a communication officer, patrol officer, investigator, assistant chief and chief for two departments. He was a police chief for West Point, Ga., for over 22 years. Kerr was an adjunct professor for six years and upon retirement from law enforcement on December 31, 2009; he began teaching full time for CSU in the political science and criminal justice departments. Kerr was active in the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police where he has been on numerous committees and on the executive board in many positions, including chairman of the district representatives, vice-president, and president. In 2006 he was awarded the Outstanding Chiefs award. Kerr is a graduate of numerous law enforcement courses such as the U.S. Army Criminal Investigations (CID), Drug enforcement (DEA), executive management (North Carolina and Georgia), instructor training, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy (FBINA, 172d session). He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from University of West Georgia in Criminal Justice, a Master's degree in Justice Administration from Columbus State University, and a Ph.D. from Capella University in Organizational Management with a specialization in Human Resources.

Rebecca Toland joins the faculty as assistant professor in public administration and director of the health services administration track. She has a Bachelor of Science in Health Science, Master of Public Administration, and Doctorate of Health Education. She has worked in the healthcare industry for over 12 years in the private and public sector, which includes teaching in the health science program at Columbus State University. Her areas of focus include: public health, healthcare marketing, healthcare communication, community organizing, healthcare administration, public administration, and behavioral health science. Toland was recently awarded the Outstanding Alumna Award and Nominated for Distinguished Teacher of the Year from the College of Education and Health Professions (2014).


Command College

Dwayne Jones, Lecturer, comes to Columbus State with 28 years of law enforcement experience. He served his entire career with the Griffin, Ga., Police Department and retired as a captain in 2014. Jones earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Mercer University. He completed his Master of Public Administration through Columbus State University and is a graduate of the Law Enforcement Command College. He is also a graduate of the F.B.I. National Academy. He will teach in the Professional Management Program of the Command College.



The Schwob Library introduces Paul Luft as the new science liaison librarian.  Paul received his MLS at Indiana University. Paul also maintains an active Indiana pharmacist license, which he obtained after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from Butler University. He previously served as the reference librarian at Ancilla Domini College while simultaneously serving as the liaison for nursing and environmental science departments. He and a professor collaborated to create a digital project known as Plants of Ancilla College (PAC). Additionally, he has created workshops to help students improve information literacy. He welcomes any chance to be invited into classrooms or on projects.

David Owings serves as university archivist for Columbus State in the Simon Schwob Library. Prior to coming to CSU he served as archivist at the Alabama Labor Archives in Montgomery, Ala. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Columbus State University as well as a Master of Arts in History with specialization in archival and museum studies from Auburn University. His research interests include the World War II era, the experiences of prisoners of war, and memory studies specifically the role archives, museums, and similar institutions play in the construction of memory.