Q & A With New Faculty Members
Faculty & Staff News
Westminster College welcomed eight new members to its outstanding list of faculty at the beginning of the fall semester 2010. From Physics to Caribbean Literature --- this new group of professors represent an impressive variety of academic disciplines and are ready to take the lead in Westminster's mission of shaping students into critical thinkers and global leaders of character.
The Question & Answer session below reveals the new faculty's excitment about teaching at Westminster and their hopes for making valuable impacts on their students, their departments, and the College as a whole.
Elise Bartley joins the Westminster faculty as a new Assistant Professor of Accounting.
She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Accounting, both from the University of Missouri. For the past two years, she worked at Ernst & Young LLP in Kansas City, MO. This semester Elise is teaching courses in Principles of Accounting and Intermediate Accounting.
What do you think makes the classroom experience at Westminster unique?
“I think the classroom experience at Westminster is different because of the international focus the college has taken to every subject. This prepares students for the global climate they will enter after their time at Westminster.”
What new ideas do you hope to incorporate into your department?
“I hope to bring a perspective to my classes and department that includes an emphasis on writing and community service.”
Cliff Cain comes to Westminster as a new Professor of Religious Studies.
He holds a Bachelor’s in Religious Studies and Philosophy, a Master’s of Divinity in Systematic Theology, a Doctorate of Ministry in Theology and Pastoral Care, and a Ph.D. in Religion and Ecology. This semester Cliff will teach courses in Introduction to World Religions, Introduction to the Bible, and Spirituality and Ecology.
What are some of your most memorable professional highlights?
“A few professional highlights would include serving as Interim Pastor of the American Protestant Church of The Hague, The Netherlands in 1998, and delivering professional papers at conferences at Oxford, England, Bad Boll, Germany, Bangkok, Thailand, and Capetown, South Africa.”
What makes you most excited about teaching at Westminster?
“I am excited to teach at Westminster because of its reputation for high academic standards, diverse student body, accent on international leadership and service, and personal interest in, and care for, students. I have thus far found Westminster to be a welcoming and helpful place, with persons being quite generous with their time and knowledge.”
What new courses do you hope to teach in the future?
“I have an interest in teaching future classes on topics such as contemporary Christian thought, theology and science, genocide and the Holocaust, death and dying, a seminar on religions in the Middle East (anticipating a travel course next May to Israel and Jordan), and a section of the Westminster Seminar.”
Jim Concannon is an Assistant Professor of Education at Westminster.
He holds a Bachelor’s in Biochemistry, a Master’s of Education in Science Education, a Ph.D. Minor in College Science Teaching, and a Ph.D. in Science Education.
How are you involved in the Westminster community outside your classes?
“I am the sponsor of the Westminster Education Association, and I’ve had the honor of serving as the Athletic Advisor for several sports groups.”
What do you like to do when you’re not working on campus?
“When I have time I enjoy writing, reading, fishing, and riding motorcycles. I am married to an attorney, Joy, who recently made partner to her firm. I have two children, Jack and Sophia. Jack is two, and Sophia is 5 and just started Kindergarten this year.”
Lisa Fein joins the Westminster faculty as an Assistant Professor of Sociology.
She holds a Master’s in Russian and East European Studies and a second Master’s and a Ph.D. in Sociology. This semester Lisa is teaching courses in Introduction to Sociology, Gender and Society, and Sociological Theory.
What global educational opportunities have you personally experienced?
“While working on my Ph.D., I was involved in a multi-national, multidisciplinary project that studied identity and social issues in Estonia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. I spent one year in Estonia collecting interviews and ethnographic data on citizenship and ethnic relations in Estonia, which became the basis of my dissertation. I also spent 4 months in Belarus examining the emergence of independent women’s organizations.”
What makes you excited to be teaching at Westminster?
“I am excited to teach at Westminster because of the small class sizes and my ability to work closely with students to achieve their academic and personal goals. Although I have not been on campus very long, I can already sense the spirit of community, cooperation, and common purpose among faculty, students, and staff.”
“I am also excited about teaching on a campus that values an international perspective and has such a high proportion of international students. I believe that students learn best when they learn from each other. Having international students in my classes will not only help them better understand U.S. society, but will also help students from the U.S. appreciate the diversity of social experiences outside of the United States.”
Ingrid Ilinca comes to Westminster as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature.
She holds a Master’s and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with a specialty in 19th Century French Literature and Culture. This semester Ingrid is teaching three courses in French.
What courses do you hope to incorporate into your department in the future?
“I am interested in teaching Introduction to the Francophone World, French literature survey courses, and perhaps accelerated intermediate courses for highly motivated students. Also, there will be a number of significant changes in the French curriculum for both majors and minors in the coming years including new course offerings.”
What made you want to teach at Westminster?
“One of the most important reasons for which I accepted the position here is because I was so impressed with this feeling of belonging to a community that animates both students and faculty. My professional and personal values coincide with those stated in our College's mission.”
Heidi Lavine is welcomed to Westminster as an Assistant Professor in the English Department.
She holds a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. in English.
This semester Heidi is teaching courses in Academic Writing, Introduction to Literature, and British Literature.
What do you hope to contribute to your department and to the College?
“I'd like to organize some exchange opportunities for Westminster students in the Caribbean. The University of the West Indies has several excellent campuses in Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, etc., and I'd love to help our students spend time in the archipelago.”
What classes do you enjoy teaching the most?
“I'm very excited to teach electives in my field (Caribbean Literature and Postcolonial Studies), but I always enjoy the conversations that arise around classic texts in Introductory classes. Last year, for example, I started thinking about Lolita (a novel that I've probably read 15 times) in a whole new way thanks to class discussions with students from Iraq, Swaziland, Germany, Algeria and Missouri.”
What global educational opportunities have you personally experienced?
“In my studies of Anglophone/Francophone Caribbean Literature, I spent a month researching in archives in Kingston, Jamaica, presented at a conference in Puerto Rico, and taught at a French university for a year.”
Laura Stumpe is an Assistant Professor of Physics in the Department of Mathematical Sciences and Physics.
She holds a Bachelor’s and Ph.D. in Physics. This semester Laura is teaching four Physics courses.
What do you think is unique about Westminster’s classroom experience?
“The classroom experience at Westminster is different than other schools because students have a more active learning environment due to the smaller class sizes. In addition, faculty members are able to interact with students in office hours much more often than at larger institutions. Often times, faculty even eat lunch with their students and converse with students as they walk across campus.”
Why are you excited to teach at Westminster?
“I am excited to teach at Westminster because of the faculty and students. I enjoy getting to know faculty from various disciplines, which is often difficult at larger schools. I also enjoy the academic excellence and high commitment level of the students.”
Michelle Vaughan is welcomed to Westminster as an Assistant Professor of Psychology.
She has a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. This semester Michelle will teach courses in Psychology as a Social Science and Human Sexual Behavior.
What do you think is special about Westminster’s classroom experience?
“The opportunity for individual attention, the focus on critical thinking and applying classroom concepts to real-world issues.”
What do you hope to contribute to the Psychology Department?
“I hope to incorporate current research on ‘hot’ topics in Psychology and encourage students' involvement in conducting and presenting research.”