News & Events

IWU Adds 24 to Faculty for 2006-07 Academic Year

August 29, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Twenty-four new faculty members have been added for the 2006-07 academic year at Illinois Wesleyan University.

The eight new tenure-track faculty members are Patrick Budelier, instructor of music; Robert Erlewine, assistant professor of religion; Sven Miller, assistant professor of theatre arts; Natalie Smoak, assistant professor of psychology; Kevin Sullivan, assistant professor of religion; Marcia Thomas, associate professor in The Ames Library; and Brian Walter, assistant professor of biology.

William Brandon, who has served in a visiting role since 2003 has been added as a tenure-track faculty appointment as assistant professor of physics.

The new visiting faculty members are:

Juan Gabriel Gomez Albarello, visiting assistant professor of political science; Bernadette Brennan, visiting instructor of theatre arts; Laurine Brown, visiting associate professor of environmental studies and health; Robert Brown, visiting assistant professor of religion; Renee Countryman, visiting assistant professor of psychology; Aswini Dash, visiting assistant professor of chemistry; David Gauthier, visiting assistant professor of political science; Kathleen House, visiting assistant professor of chemistry; Jean MacDonald, visiting associate professor in The Ames Library; Andrew Pavelich, visiting assistant professor of philosophy; Brandi Reissenweber, visiting assistant professor of English; Sarah Riehl, visiting assistant professor of business administration; Denise Riggio, visiting assistant professor of business administration; Meg Rincker, visiting instructor in political science; Xiaofei Tu, visiting instructor of religion; and Eric Wilson, visiting assistant professor of mathematics.

As previously announced, Ron Rose has joined the IWU faculty as associate professor of physical education and head men’s basketball coach and Emily Enemark was named assistant athletic trainer.

For the 2006-07 academic year, Illinois Wesleyan employs 189 full-time faculty members, up from 188 in 2005-06.

William Brandon—B.A. and Ph.D., University of Tennessee

Brandon came to IWU from Middle Tennessee State University, where he taught inthe department of physics and astronomy. He has much practical research experience in atomic physics and in the physics of aeronautical engineering, having worked as an experimental physicist at Oak Ridge National laboratory and as a physicist/engineer for Sverdrup Technology at Arnold Air Force Base (Tenn.). Among other things, he has used lasers to study the properties of negatively charged ions, and has participated in a number of studies of the aeronautical properties and propulsion systems of high-speed aircraft. His theoretical physics interests include formulating a hypothesis on the origin of mass and gravity.

Patrick Budelier—B.Mus., St. Ambrose University, M.M., Indiana University, Ph.D. (forthcoming) Indiana University
Budelier has taught courses in music theory, aural and keyboard skills, counterpoint, and analysis at St. Ambrose University, where he also taught music appreciation and computer programming in the University’s ACCEL division. His primary research interest is holistic analysis of post-tonal music, particularly that of Elliott Carter, whose recent works are the subjects of Budelier’s forthcoming dissertation. His additional research interests include transformational theory, musical form and proportion, Schenkerian approaches to pre- and post-tonal music, interrelationships among theory, analysis, performance, and audition, and the teaching of music theory and aural skills, including computer-assisted instruction. Budelier is also a pianist with an undergraduate degree in piano performance and further studies with Michel Block at Indiana University. Budelier is active as a piano performer, teacher, and adjudicator, and has recently expanded his interests to include organ performance and liturgical music.

Robert Erlewine—B.A., St. Mary’s College of Maryland; M.A. Boston College (Philosophy); Ph.D., Rice University (Religious Studies)

Erlewine began his graduate career at Boston College where he studied philosophy, focusing on the history of philosophy and contemporary German and French thought. At Rice, he was enrolled in the Religious Studies program, where he primarily studied philosophy of religion and its intersection with modern Jewish thought. He also has training in the historical-critical study of the Hebrew Bible and the history of Judaism and its holy texts. His primary research concerns the tension between the structural worldview more or less shared by the Abrahamic monotheisms (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and the modern principles of pluralism and tolerance.  Erlewine has published and presented on issues ranging from the Holocaust to the Dead Sea Scrolls. 

Sven Miller—University of Freiburg, M.F.A. Carnegie Mellon University

At Illinois Wesleyan, Miller’s first directing project will be Nickel and Dimed, based on Barbara Ehrenreich's book. At Carnegie Mellon, Miller taught Improvisation, acting for non-majors, physical theatre, Shakespeare and directing, and was on the School of Drama's pre-college faculty in 2005. Miller Sven has worked extensively as an actor in theatre, television, film and radio in New York City and his native Germany. His professional directing credits include his acclaimed currently-running production of Edward Albee's The Goat or Who is Sylvia? at the German National Theatre in Weimar as well as the Young Playwright's Festival at Pittsburgh's City Theatre in October 2005. Miller will return to the German National Theatre in 2007 to direct the German classic Judith by Friedrich Hebbel, and My God Rides a Skateboard, a community based devised work, co-sponsored by the German Cultural Foundation. Miller has a state acting degree from the Performance Arts Zentrum in Munich and is a graduate of the American Repertory Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard.

Natalie Smoak—B.A., Ball State University; M.A. and Ph.D., Purdue University

Smoak is a social psychologist whose primary areas of research include intergroup bias, implicit attitudes, the impact of romantic relationships on health behaviors, and gender stereotypes. While at Purdue, Smoak’s research focused on emotion-based intergroup bias. In particular, in her dissertation, she examined how lessening the implicit associations between negative emotions and outgroup members would influence nonverbal behaviors within an intergroup interaction. Additionally, she has examined the role of relationship commitment in contraceptive behaviors and the malleability of implicit gender stereotypes. At the University of Connecticut as a post-doctoral research associate, she examined the role of implicit associations between condoms, sexuality, and positivity as related to HIV risk behaviors. In addition, she also meta-analytically examined the effectiveness of HIV interventions delivered through mass media, the effectiveness of HIV interventions in developing countries and the role of condom distribution on sexual frequency. Her newest line of research involves using virtual reality technology to study health behaviors.

Kevin Sullivan—B.A. and M.A., University of Michigan; M. A., University of Notre Dame; Diploma, Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies; D.Phil. University of Oxford

Sullivan, who specializes in the development of early Christianity, was a visiting assistant professor in the IWU religion department from 2002-04 before taking a job at Marquette University As an undergraduate, Sullivan double-concentrated in economics and Biblical studies and did his doctoral research at the University of Oxford as a member of Queen's College. His dissertation, "Wrestling with Angels: A Study of the Relationship between Angels and Humans in Ancient Jewish Literature and the New Testament" was published by Brill Academic Publishers in 2004. Last spring, he was one of two recipients of the Catholic Biblical Association's Fellowship Award.  He used that to support his research into his current book entitled, "Spreading the Word: The First Christian Missionaries," which examines the challenges in travel and communication that the early Christian missionaries faced. He is also currently the chair of the Society of Biblical Literature's Early Jewish and Christian Mysticism Group.

Marcia Thomas—B.A., Illinois Wesleyan University; M.S. in Library Science, University of Illinois

Thomas returns to The Ames Library as director of technical services, a position she held from 1998 to January 2005.  Most recently she was library director at University of Wisconsin – Baraboo/Sauk County. Prior to 1998, Thomas’s professional career was in the field of public libraries.  In addition to contributing to library publications on a variety of topics, she compiled an annotated bibliography of works by and about John Wesley Powell (Praeger Press, 2004).  She presented her most recent paper on Powell last summer at the third International Rivers Conference in La Crosse, Wis.

Brian Walter—B.S., Eastern Illinois University; Ph.D. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Walter has had considerable teaching experience at the University of Illinois in integrative biology as well as molecular and cell biology.  He also has experience with the Merit Program for Emerging Scholars for undergraduate students at Illinois. Walter’s current research interests are in cell and structural biology and his recent research has appeared in Gene Expression Patterns and Molecular Vision.

Juan Gabriel Gomez Albarello—Universidad Externado de Colombia, M.A., Washington University, Ph.D.(forthcoming)

Albarello is interested in democratic theory, particularly in the role of impartial reasoning in deliberative settings. His work covers various aspects of this topic such as the relationship between democracy and human flourishing; the distribution of economic and political power and its impact on democratic deliberation; the use of statistical content analysis to study deliberative exchanges; and the use of formal models to generate hypotheses concerning communication and decision-making under various conditions. Before studying political science, Albarello was trained as a lawyer, worked in the human rights field, and did research on constitutional law and judicial politics.

Bernadette Brennan—B.A., Clemson University; M.F.A. Illinois State University

Brennan was IWU’s recruitment coordinator and lighting supervisor during the 2005-2006 academic year and has held a variety of positions as a scene designer and scene artist in central Illinois and in Pennsylvania.  She was the scene designer and a scene artist at the Upper Darby (Pa.) Summer Stage and visiting assistant professor of scene design at Western Illinois University.  She has also held positions as scene designer and scene artist at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival.

Laurine Brown—B.S., University of Illinois; M.P.H. Boston University; Ph.D. Tufts University

Brown has taught at IWU as an adjunct faculty member for a number of years.  She brings a wide range of experiences in environmental studies and public health, including experience in directing programs in Thailand, Cambodia, and Bangladesh. Brown is also the co-founder of Living Upstream, a not-for-profit citizen group focused on health and environmental issues.

Robert E. Brown—B.A, Northern Illinois University, M.A., Indiana University, Ph.D., University of Iowa

Brown comes to IWU from the College of Wooster, where he was the Pocock Distinguished Visiting Professor in Religious Studies. His research is currently focused on religion in early America, with a specific interest in the colonial American intellectual transition toward modernity.  His book, Jonathan Edwards and the Bible (2002), considers Edwards’s appropriation of critical historical thought in his interpretation of the Bible.  He is currently editing a volume of Cotton Mather’s Biblia Americana, Mather’s massive and as yet unpublished notebook of biblical commentary. He teaches broadly in the field of religion, with an eye toward courses such as New Religious Movements, African American Religion, American Fundamentalism, and Religion in Early America. Brown has been a member of the Scholars in American Religion seminar at the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, as well as a visiting professor of religion at Princeton.

Renee Countryman–-B.S. and M.S., Western Illinois University; Ph.D., Tulane University; Postdoc. Res. Assoc., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

While pursuing her master’s degree, Countryman worked primarily within the field of behavioral psychopharmacology. Her projects examined the behavioral effects of prenatal exposure to Fluoxetine (Prozac) throughout the lifespan as well as cognitive deficits associated with use of Oxybutynin (Ditropan) in rodents.  During her studies as a doctoral student at Tulane University, she was trained in molecular and cellular biology techniques and physiological psychology. Her research examined expression of immediate early genes and transcription factors following learning and recall across multiple brain regions. As a postdoctoral researcher, Countryman has extended her knowledge of learning and memory and expanded her basic research skills in order to conduct experiments concerning age-related cognitive decline where she has developed a new task for studying learning and memory in the aged rodent.

Aswini Dash—B.S., Sambalpur University; M.S. Sambalpur University; Ph.D. Indian Institute of Technology

Dash’s research concentrates on the area of organometallic catalysis. In recent years, he has been a research fellow at Northwestern University, University of Chicago, University of Rennes in France and Israel Institute of Technology. He has 12 years of extensive research experience using multidisciplinary approaches in fundamental and applied research and development in organic, inorganic, organometallic catalysis, polymer chemistry, and surface science catalysis with an excellent record of publication in international journals. His works involve the (i) designed synthesis of organic ligand frameworks followed by synthesis and manipulation of air and moisture sensitive organometallic complexes using Schlenk line and Glove box techniques for catalysis, (ii) synthesis of man-made plastic materials of control architecture, (iii) development of a wide variety of reactions involving functionalization of unsaturated hydrocarbons, and (iv) surface anchored organometallic species on nano-structured metal oxide surfaces for catalytic organic transformation reactions.

David Gauthier—B.A., University of Texas; M.A. Baylor University; Ph.D. Louisiana State University  

Gauthier comes to IWU from Slippery Rock University, where he was an instructor for the 2005-2006 academic year. His doctoral work concentrated on contemporary political theory with a dissertation focused on politics of dwelling in the work of Martin Heidegger and Emmanuel Levinas. His current research interests include phenomenology, existentialism, and other areas of modern political philosophy.

Kathleen House—B.S., M.S. Illinois State University; Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign  

House has served as a visiting professor at Illinois Wesleyan since 1994. In 2001, House and her husband, James E. House (emeritus professor of chemistry at Illinois State University), published the textbook “Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry”, which provides a thorough text aimed at sophomore or junior level undergraduates and could be used as a supplement by students taking general chemistry. The text focuses on the descriptive and introductory aspects of this subdiscipline. House won four teaching awards during her graduate career and has done six major presentations on her research at conventions in the U.S. as well as England and Portugal.

Jean MacDonald—B.A., Saint Olaf College; M.A., Washington State University; M.A., the University of Iowa (Library and Information Science)

MacDonald has been working at The Ames Library as a visiting associate professor since January 2006 and has 11 years of experience working in libraries, including eight years on the main floor reference desk at Illinois State University’s Milner Library. Her work there included conducting over 200 library instruction sessions in coordination with campus faculty, making a detailed analysis of hard-copy periodical use, and participating in the genesis of a database of faculty publications. In Colorado, she coordinated reference services for libraries in the public libraries within Weld County. Her current research interest includes exploring historical library responses to advances in book technology with respect to modern approaches to information innovations.

Andrew Pavelich—B.A., Fort Lewis College; M.A. Tulane University; Ph.D. Tulane University

Pavelich, a visiting assistant professor at IWU from 2001-2003, comes to IWU from the University of Houston. His areas of specialization are modern philosophy and the philosophy of religion.  His most recent presentation was at the International Association for Philosophy and Literature in Helsinki, Finland, for a session entitled, “Education as Politics: Lyotard and the Intersections of Knowledge, Language, Prescription, and Performance.”

Brandi Reissenweber—B.A., Purdue University, M.F.A., New York University

A fiction writer, Reissenweber’s stories have appeared in journals like Phoebe, North Dakota Quarterly and Rattapallax. She was a James C. McCreight Fiction Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and recent awards for her fiction include grants from Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and a summer residency at the Kerouac Project of Orlando. Her writings on the craft of fiction have appeared in Writing Fiction and in a bi-weekly question and answer column on The Writer magazine's website. She has taught fiction at New York University, University of Wisconsin, and University of Chicago as well as in a variety of non-classroom settings, including the Pediatrics ward at New York Hospital as a Starlight Fellow and at Goldwater Hospital, working with non-moving, non-speaking writers. She also founded a writing program focusing on creative expression at SafeSpace, a New York City drop-in center for homeless teens, and developed a library for recent Sudanese refugees in Chicago through the Chicago Association for the Lost Boys of Sudan. She is an editorial assistant for Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope: All-Story and she edits Letterpress, a free e-newsletter for fiction writers.

Sarah Riehl—B.A., M.A., The University of Nebraska

Riehl has previously been a visiting assistant professor and adjunct professor of business administration at IWU.  She has considerable professional experience as an accountant, having worked with Hundman and Woodward, CPAs and with Exxon Company USA as a financial analyst. 

Denise Riggio—B.S., M.S.A., Bradley University

While employed in the accounting department of a national retail firm, Riggio received her bachelor’s degree from Bradley University and passed the CPA exam.  She then worked as a public accountant in the tax department of Clifton Gunderson LLP. Since 2000 she has been an adjunct instructor at several area colleges and universities. In addition to her CPA duties at CG, academic pursuits and adjunct instructing, Riggio has served as a volunteer instructor for the IRS-sponsored VITA Program, as a volunteer tax preparer for military families through the Illinois State CPA Society and as Assistant Financial Director on the board of the Tazewell County Chapter of Thrivent Financial. 

Meg Rincker—B.A., Illinois Wesleyan University; M.A. and Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis

The focus of Rincker’s teaching and research has been in the area of comparative politics, with a focus on women and politics and the region of Central and Eastern Europe.  Her dissertation examines how decentralization, or creation of new sub-national parliaments in Poland, affects women’s access to and influence within these closer, lower-status political bodies.  She is in the beginning stages of a co-authored project that examines gendered trends of subnational governance in other new and developing democracies. In broader terms, Rincker is interested in questions of the relative access of historically marginalized groups across different levels of government, and across venues of representation, such as bureaucracies, legislatures and civil society groups. Her other activities have included a 1998-1999 Dunn Fellowship in Illinois State Government and serving as a member of the Graduate Health Advisory Council at Washington University. 

Xiaofei Tu—B.A., Peking University; M.Div., Harvard University; M.T.S., Yale University; Ph.D., (forthcoming) Syracuse University 
Tu has researched a number of topics in the general area of Asian religion and philosophy. His work includes studies on the current situation of Chinese Christianity; contemporary dialogue between East Asian and Western thought; and the political implications of 20th century Buddhism and Confucianism in Asia.

Eric Wilson—B.S., The Ohio State University, M.S., University of New Hampshire, Ph.D., Indiana University

Wilson has served as an associate instructor at Indiana University and has taught at the University of New Hampshire. His research concentrates on the study of manifolds and their relationship to classical lens spaces. Specifically, his work presents examples of manifolds that are homotopy equivalent to classical lens spaces but are not homeomorphic to any classical lens space. Among the honors and grants received by Wilson is the NSF VIGRE Fellowship.

CONTACT: Matt Kurz or Stew Salowitz, 309-556-3181