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Honors Faculty

Headshot of Samira Abdur-Rahman.
Samira Abdur-Rahman is Assistant Professor of English. Dr. Rahman earned her MA in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University and her PhD in English from Rutgers University. Dr. Rahman was a postdoctoral fellow in the Frederick Douglass Institute at the University of Rochester. Her teaching and research interests include: African American Literature; childhood studies; autobiography studies; literary geography; and African Diaspora travel writing.


Paul D’Angelo is a Professor in the Department of Communication Studies. He is an internationally recognized scholar of news framing analysis, a thriving research program in the communication discipline to which he has contributed two edited volumes—the first, Doing News Framing Analysis: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives (2010, Routledge), is considered a landmark publication.  He has also published numerous empirical articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries about news framing. Professor D’Angelo’s approach to news framing analysis intersects mass communication and political communication. Conducted in both national and comparative settings, his empirical work is guided by the concepts “media politics” and “mediatization,” which deal with ways that news organizations interact with, cover, and shape political campaigns and political policy. Professor D’Angelo also studies instances in which the news media’s performance is called into question and subsequently covered in news. Along with Dr. Erik Bucy (Texas Tech), he has developed an innovative model of “press priming,” in which exposure to news coverage of ethical and professional lapses by a journalist and/or news organization urges people to activate their own attitudes about journalism and use them to make credibility judgments. Professor D’Angelo has an ongoing interest in understanding the history of the communication discipline, specifically its roots in the study of politics and journalism. In two journal articles and in an ongoing research project, his research deals with normative issues—how journalism should work in a democracy—that scholars debate within the academy and journalists face when gathering and presenting political news.


Lois Fichner-Rathus is a Professor of Art at TCNJ. She received her MA from the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art and her PhD in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Art from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has authored grants, contributed to books, written exhibition catalogues and published numerous articles in professional journals including ARTS Magazine and The Print Collector’s Newsletter. Her textbook, Understanding Art (Cengage) is in its 9th edition and is a national and international best-selling title. Dr. Fichner-Rathus teaches the history of art and interdisciplinary studies and has been on the college faculty since 1982.


Headshot of Leigh-Anne ​​Francis.
Leigh-Anne ​​Francis is Associate Professor African and African American Studies and Women and Gender Studies at TCNJ. Dr. Francis obtained a BFA inPainting and Illustration, an MA in U.S. and World History, and a PhD in US and African American History. As a Rutgers graduate student, she was a volunteer instructor at Mountainvew Youth Correctional Facility for Men in New Jersey. Dr. Pfrancis’ article “Playing the ‘Lady Sambo’: Poor Black Women’s Legal Strategies in the Post-Civil War South’s Civil Courts” received Honorable Mention for the 2021 Paula J. Giddings Best Article Award. Her unpublished book manuscript, “Bad Girls: Race, Crime, and Punishment in New York State, 1893—1916,” analyzes the intersections of gender, race and class by exploring crime and punishment, labor and community, through the lens of black women’s experiences while offering comparisons with imprisoned native-born and European immigrant white women.


Matthew Hall received his Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning with a focus on Literacy from New York University in 2013. His research examines how youth make meaning when interacting with multimodal texts, shifting relationships between writers and audiences in digital, networked spaces, and how to best integrate these new practices in educational settings. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses focused on literacy instruction with a particular emphasis on elementary and middle school. Prior to pursuing his doctorate, Matthew Hall worked as a literacy coach and a public school teacher in New Jersey. He holds certifications in General Education, Special Education, Education for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and as a Reading Specialist. 


Holly Haynes is Associate Professor of Classical Studies at TCNJ. Dr. Haynes obtained her her PhD. in Classics and Comparative Literature at the University of Washington and specializes in the politics and literature of the early Roman Empire, with a particular interest in historiography. She previously taught at Dartmouth College and New York University. Her current projects include pieces on memory and trauma in the post-Domitianic period and on Petronius’ Satyricon.


Headshot of Wayne Heisler.
Wayne Heisler is Professor of Historical and Cultural Studies in Music and currently Chair of the TCNJ Music Department. Dr. Heisler’s research and teaching interests embrace both art music and popular culture from the late-19th through 21st centuries, including opera, dance, and musical theater; collaborations between composers and choreographers; Gustav Mahler; Richard Strauss; historiography; music ethnography; and gender and sexuality in music and dance performance. Dr. Heisler studied piano in Chicago with Dmitry Paperno and Melody Lord. His performance activities include music of the late twentieth century, especially aleatoric and “minimalist” compositions, as well as gamelan.


Deborah Hutton is Professor of Art History at TCNJ. She has an MA and PhD in South Asian and Islamic Art History from the University of Minnesota. Her specific area of focus is Indo-Islamic art, but she teaches a range of courses covering the arts of Central, South, and East Asia from the Bronze Age to the present. These courses include Arts of South Asia, Arts of East Asia, Arts of the Islamic World, and upper level seminars on subjects such as the history of photography in India. Deborah takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of art history and strives to incorporate innovative assignments into her courses. For example, her students in her fall 2007 Arts of Iran class researched and wrote the catalog to accompany the TCNJ gallery exhibit, Parable of the Garden: New Media from Iran and Central Asia.


Headshot of ​​Marla Jaksch holding a book.
​​Marla Jaksch Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Coordinator of Competitive Post-Graduate Fellowships. She attended the Pennsylvania State University where she received a dual-title Ph.D. in Women’s Studies and Art Education. Her research and teaching interests include: transnational feminisms, development, art and microfinance schemes, STEAM, visual culture, cultural tourism, heritage, and preservation, feminist pedagogies and methodologies, and global community engaged learning.


Headshot of Richard Kamber.
Richard Kamber is Professor of Philosophy, Religion, and Classical Studies and is Coordinator of the Self-Designed Major Program and Interdisciplinary Concentrations at TCNJ. Dr. Kamber received his PhD from Claremont Graduate School and conducted postdoctoral study at Oxford University. His areas of interest include experimental philosophy, aesthetics, existentialism, pragmatism, film, genocide, and educational policy. Dr. Kamber is coordinator of TCNJ’s Experimental Philosophy Laboratory. He currently serves as President of The Association for Core Texts and Courses and is Board Member of The Greater Philadelphia.


Headshot of Alma Khasawnih.
alma khasawnih is Assistant Professor of Women and Gender Studies at TCNJ. She obtained a BS in Environmental Policy and Behavior from the University of Michigan, an MA in Community Art Education from Rhode Island School of Design, and a PhD in Feminist Studies from the University of Washington. Dr. khasawnih researches access to the street in post-colonial and settler-colonial nation-states as a site of understanding and articulating access to citizenship. alma’s research projects examine ephemeral visual culture production (graffiti, murals, and other forms of street/public art) as stand-alone material objects that orient, disorient, and reorient feminist debates on social political cultural movements within urban geographies and the phenomenology of erasure, co-optation, and resistance. alma is invested in examining how urban beautification projects and cleansing public spaces are part of authoritarian visual culture and politics of respectability that aim at policing minoritized bodies in public spaces.


Headshot of Lincoln Konkle.
Lincoln Konkle is Professor of English at TCNJ. Dr. Konkle received his PhD in English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, his MA in English (Creative Writing) at Kansas State University, and his BS in English at Indiana University. Dr. Konkle is a Board Member of the Thornton Wilder Society and is also an officer of the Edward Albee Society, which he co-founded with David Crespy in 2013. He teaches the First Seminar, World Drama, Modern European Drama, American Drama, and the English Major capstone course, Seminar in Theory and Research, on topics related to dramatic literature.


Elizabeth Mackie is Associate Professor of Art and Program Coordinator for Graphic Design. She has taught at TCNJ since 1989. In 1996-97 she was an Exchange Professor in the American Studies and Art Departments at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany. She received a BS in Mathematics from Salisbury University and a BA, MFA from the University of Maryland, College Park.


Headshot of Mindi McMann.
Mindi McMann is Associate Professor of English at TCNJ. She received her PhD in English from the University of California, Davis. Her research and teaching interests focus on the intersections of literature, politics, ethics, and nationalism, using contemporary British and Anglophone literature as the center point of her work. More specifically, her work addresses the ways in which literature both shapes and represents shifting national identities in a globalized context based on a range of factors such as race, ethnicity, class, and religion. Her work has appeared in Modern Fiction Studies. Currently, both her work and teaching continue to explore perceptions of alterity in South Africa, the Caribbean, and Britain. She teaches classes at TCNJ in postcolonial literature and contemporary Anglophone literature.



Headshot of Janet Morrison.
Janet Morrison is Professor of Biology at TCNJ. Dr. Morrison earned her B.A. in Biology from Oberlin College and her Ph.D. in Ecology & Evolution from The State University of New York at Stony Brook. From 2015-2018, she was the Barbara Meyers Pelson ’59 Chair in Faculty-Student Engagement. A plant ecologist who teaches courses in botany and ecology and conducts research with undergraduate students, Dr. Morrison’s scientific and conservation interests center on biological interactions in nature that can have important ecological/evolutionary effects on plant populations and communities, and most of her work has been on plant-pathogen interactions or the ecology of non-indigenous invasive plants. She is particularly interested in understanding plant ecology in landscapes that are heavily influenced by human activity. Most of her current research effort centers on an NSF-funded project aimed at understanding the ecological interactions between invasive plant species and white-tailed deer in suburban/exurban forests.


Headshot of Lisa Ortiz-Vilarelle.
Lisa Ortiz-Vilarelle is Professor of English at TCNJ. Dr. Ortiz-Vellarelle received her PhD from Wayne State University. Her work specializes in 20th-century Multiethnic and Inter-American literature and autobiographical studies with specific interest in narratives of exile, immigration, and dictatorship throughout the Americas and their Diaspora. She regularly teaches courses on Latino/a/x literature in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. She is currently completing a book about Latina and Latin American women’s life writing on dictatorship tentatively titled Overwriting the Dictator: Americanas, Autocracy and Autobiographical Innovation.


Headshot of Tracy Perron.
Tracy Perron is Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and Chair of the Department of Nursing. Dr. Perron earned her nursing degree from Framingham Union Hospital School of Nursing, her BSN and MSN at Kean University and her PhD from Rutgers. She joined the College of New Jersey in September of 2014 and teaches a variety of courses from Wellness and Health Promotion Across the Lifespan, Caring in Community Health Science and School Nursing. She is a certified school nurse and a certified nurse educator with over 18 years teaching experience in higher education. Dr. Perron has an extensive background in community health nursing, school nursing and public health nursing. Her research interests focus on bullying among school-age children, school health, childhood obesity and community health. Dr. Perron is a recipient of the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Nurse/Faculty Scholarship. She is a Johnson & Johnson School Health Leadership Fellow with over 20 years of school health nursing experience. In 2017 Dr. Perron was the recipient of the March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Award for Community/Public Health Nursing.


John C. Pollock, (PhD, Stanford; MPA, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse; BA, Swarthmore) is Professor, depts. of Communication Studies and Public Health, The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). Dr. Pollock’s favorite activity is co-authoring with students, including about 180 papers presented at state, national, and international conferences, about 40 articles and chapters, all co-authored with almost 500 students over a 31-year career at TCNJ. His teaching interests include Health Communication, Human Rights, Journalism, and International/Global Communication. Dr. Pollock taught at Rutgers University and City University of New York (Queens College) and conducted research in India and Latin America. He serves on four editorial boards: Journal of Health Communication, Communication Theory, Atlantic Journal of Communication, and Mass Communication and Society. He has authored or edited eight books, including: Tilted Mirrors: Media Alignment with Political and Social Change – A Community Structure Approach (Hampton Press, 2007) and Media and Social Inequality: Innovations in Community Structure Research (Routledge, 2013), which were both finalists for the Jane Jacobs Award for best book in urban communication by the Urban Communication Foundation.  The four most recent are Journalism and Human Rights: How Demographics Drive Media Coverage (Routledge, 2015); (co-edited with Mort Winston) Making Human Rights News: Balancing Participation and Professionalism (Routledge, 2017); (co-edited with Doughlas A. Vakoch) COVID-19 in International Media: Global Pandemic Perspectives (Routledge, 2021)’ and (co-edited with Douglas A. Vakoch and Amanda M. Caleb) COVID Communication: Exploring Pandemic Discourse (Springer, 2023). Dr. Pollock has published scholarly articles in Journal of Health Communication, Social Science and Medicine – Population Health, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Mass Communication and Society, Journal of Human Rights, Human Rights Review, International Communication Research Journal, Communication Research Reports, International Journal of Nursing Sciences, Newspaper Research Journal, Journal of International Communication, Mass Communication Review, Society, International Encyclopedia of Communication III, and Communication Yearbook IV, as well as The New York Times, The Nation, Industry Week, and Public Relations Journal. Winner of a Silver Anvil, the “Oscar” of public relations, Dr. Pollock received research grants from the Social Science Research Council, National Cancer Institute, and the United Nations Foundation.  He was a spring, 2010, Senior Fulbright Scholar in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Founder of the health communication specializations in departments of both Communication Studies and Public Health at The College of New Jew Jersey, Dr. Pollock co-chaired the college Public Health Task Force that created baccalaureate, certificate, and MPH programs in public health.


Headshot of Consuleo Preti.
Consuelo Preti is Professor of Philosophy at TCNJ. Dr. Preti received her BA in Philosophy from the George Washington University and her PhD in Philosophy from CUNY Graduate Center. Her areas of interest include the philosophy of language, the philosophy of mind, the history of early analytic philosophy. Dr. Preti is currently working on the development of G.E. Moore’s early philosophical views (The Metaphysical Basis of Ethics: The Early Philosophy of G.E. Moore, Palgrave/Macmillan, publication forthcoming). Recent works include “Some Problems of Moore Interpretation,” in Preston, ed. Analytic Philosophy: Interpretations (March 2017) and ”How to Read Moore’s ‘Proof of An External World’” (JHAP, March 2016).


Headshot of Lee Ann Riccardi.
Lee Ann Riccardi is Professor of Art History and Faculty Fellow for the Arlotto Family Center for Global Engagement. Dr. Riccardi holds a B.A.(Ohio State University), M.A. (Ohio State University), and Ph.D. (Boston University) in Art History. In her graduate work, she concentrated on Greek and Roman art and archaeology, and spent three and a half years as a member of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece. She is also a practicing archaeologist, and has worked on several archaeological projects in Greece, including Isthmia, Nikopolis, and the Athenian Agora, where she was a staff member from 1994-1998.


Headshot of Catherine Rosemurgy.
Catherine Rosemurgy is professor of English at TCNJ. She obtained an MFA in Poetry from the University of Alabama. Dr. Rosemurgy is the author of two poetry collections, My Favorite Apocalypse and The Stranger Manual and her work has appeared in places such as Boston Review, The American Poetry Review, and The Gettysburg Review. Dr. Rosemurgy is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts. She teaches courses in creative writing, poetry, and contemporary literature, and is coordinator of the Creative Writing minor.


John Ruscio is Professor of Psychology at TCNJ. Dr. Ruscio earned his MA and PhD in Social/Developmental Psychology from Brandeis University. His research interests include behavioral economics, taxometric analysis, modern and robust statistical methods, and citation-based indices of scholarly impact.


Headshot of Miriam Shakow.
Miriam Shakow is professor of Anthropology at TCNJ. Dr. Shakow obtained a BA from Swarthmore and a PhD from Harvard University. Her research has centered on how new middle classes in Bolivia interpret and respond to dramatic economic and political transformations. Her book, Along the Bolivian Highway: Social Mobility and Political Culture in a New Middle Class, was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2014. Dr. Shakow’s current research project focuses on the ways in which teenagers and young adults in Latin America and the U.S. are coping with widespread unemployment and public fears of young people as criminals. She is particularly interested in exploring how ideas about youth and their roles in society have changed since the late nineteenth century in both countries.


Headshot of Felicia Jean Steele.
Felicia Jean Steele is Assistant Professor of English at TCNJ.  She  received her BA from the University of New Mexico and her MA and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. She teaches courses in introductory linguistics and the global history of the English language, as well as courses in early literatures and medievalism in British literature. Professor Steele’s main research is in historical linguistics, specifically auxiliary verb change over the history of the English language. She has also published essays in historical phonology (” Grendel: Another Dip into the Etymological Mere,” English Language Notes, 2003) and the uses of linguistic analysis in discussions of literary influence (“Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130, Explicator 2004). Steele will present two papers at the 2004 Modern Language Association Convention: “Encoding Colonial Discourse in a Swahili-English Dictionary” and “Traversing Corpora: Tracking Auxiliary Verb Change in English.” She also maintains research interests in writing assessment, cognitive linguistics, medieval literature, and the literature of the Inklings, particularly J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. She is one of the co-sponsors for Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honor Society.


Headshot of Glenn Steinberg holding lesson material.
Glenn Steinberg is Professor of English at TCNJ. Dr. Steinberg obtained a BA from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and an MA and PhD from Indiana University. His research focuses on the reception of classical and medieval texts in England during the late Middle Ages and Renaissance with a particular emphasis on the evolving reputations of Virgil, Dante, and Chaucer from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries. He has published essays in Medieval & Renaissance Drama in England, The Chaucer Review, Chung Wai Literary Monthly, English Literary Renaissance, the Modern Language Association’s Approaches to Teaching Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde and the Shorter Poems, Refiguring Chaucer in the Renaissance, Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, Modern Philology, and Forum Italicum. He regularly teaches courses in the history of the English language, Classical Studies, and in medieval and Renaissance literature.


Headshot of Michele Lise Tarter.
Michele Lise Tarter is Professor of English at TCNJ. Dr. Tarter received her BA from Roanoke College and her MA and PhD from the University of Colorado/Boulder. Dr. Tarter teaches courses on Early American Literature, The Witch in Literature, Literature of the Prison, and Women’s Autobiographies, Diaries, and Letters. She has established a memoir-writing program in New Jersey’s only maximum-security prison for women, working with TCNJ students in co-teaching an inmates’ 10-week writing workshop each spring semester. Dr. Tarter has also created two summer study-abroad courses in England: in “Literary Landscapes,” students live in a castle, read British texts, and travel to numerous literary sites and bring the literature to life; in “The Magic of Archival Research,” students conduct archival research in Cornwall’s famous Museum of Witchcraft. Professor Tarter’s research interests include transatlantic Quaker women’s prophesying and writing, the body and cultural studies in early American literature, and women’s prison literature.



Headshot of David Venturo.
David Venturo is Professor of English at TCNJ. Dr. Venturo received his AB from Rutgers University, and AM and PhD degrees from Harvard University. Dr. Venturo is author of Johnson the Poet: The Poetic Career of Samuel Johnson and editor of The School of the Eucharist . . . With a Preface Concerning the Testimony of Miracles. He writes and teaches about 1600-1850 British literature, baseball and American culture, and the Beatles and popular culture. His recent publications include “Baseball and Material Culture” (The Cambridge Companion to Baseball), “Understanding Genre: Epic, Mock Epic, and Some Versions of Heroism from Milton to Pope” (The Blackwell Companion to British Literature, 1650-1837), and “Poems on Poetry” (The Oxford Handbook to British Poetry, 1660-1800). On campus, Dr. Venturo edits TCNJ Journal of Student Scholarship and serves as president of TCNJ’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.


Headshot of Jeanine Vivona.
Jeanine Vivona is a professor of Psychology at TCNJ. Dr. Vivona obtained a BS from Union College and an MS and PhD from University of Massachusetts Amherst. As clinical and developmental psychologies, Dr. Vivona’s research focuses on psychotherapy process, language and identity development, and sibling relationships.