USAO Welcomes Nine New Faculty Members

Thursday, September 14, 2006

CHICKASHA – Oklahoma’s only public liberal arts university is taking advantage of new state funding and an internal strategic roadmap by bolstering its fall semester with nine new faculty members.

This advances the Mission Enhancement Plan, a 10-year strategy launched in May 2005 at the University of Science and Arts. And thanks to a five-year $2.2 million Programs of Excellence grant from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, USAO is beefing up its academic team with five new faculty positions. Four additional faculty members were hired to replace faculty retiring or leaving.

The faculty additions come in the wake of harsh budget cuts that caused the university to downsize its faculty and staff budget four years ago.

Dr. Sanders Huguenin, vice president of academic affairs, said the USAO community makes an ideal setting for the incoming faculty.

“Faculty are attracted to USAO because it’s a very idyllic environment for academics. It’s a small, familial campus with a tight-knit intellectual community. Unlike other small colleges, it offers real opportunity to students who couldn’t afford private schools,” he said.

Dr. Annick Bellemain, assistant professor of languages, comes to Chickasha from Salt Lake City Community College, where she taught French. Previously she taught French and Spanish at the University of Utah. Bellemain earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She earned a doctorate at the University of Utah in comparative literature with an emphasis in French studies in 20th century literature, culture and film. At UT, she was editor in chief of the Utah Foreign Language Review. At BYU, she wrote software to teach French by computer.

Serving as the new assistant professor of economics is Dr. Erik Guzik. He comes from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he completed his Ph.D. this spring in global trade policy. Guzik earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the same institution, where he received two teaching awards and the Galbraith Award for Outstanding Dissertation. He taught microeconomics, comparative systems, globalization and international trade theory. His writing and research have focused on problem solving, global trade and theories of market, state and society.

As the associate professor of English, Dr. Jennifer McMahon comes to USAO from Centre College in Danville, Ky., where she served four years as chair of the department of philosophy. She earned her bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. and her master’s and doctorate from State University of New York at Buffalo. Through 25 academic articles, conference presentations and lectures, McMahon has conducted and shared her research in philosophy, literature, existentialism, ethics and aesthetics.

Dr. Sean MacDonald joins USAO from the University of North Alabama as an assistant professor of mathematics. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama, and then both master’s and Ph.D. at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His research focus is topology and continuum theory.

An assistant professor of English, Dr. Susan Bussey comes to USAO from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. Before that, she taught at Washington University in St. Louis. Bussey earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, and then her master’s and doctorate from Washington University. Much of her study has centered on American Literature from 1830-1940, but her doctoral work focused on American culture studies. Currently she has five articles under review by professional or academic publications, including “The Racial Discovery Plot” in the Encyclopedia of African American Literature. She replaces Dr. Ann Frankland, longtime professor of English and chair of the Division of Arts and Humanities.

Dr. Steven Thomason, assistant professor of political science, taught previously at Arkansas State University and North Lake College in Dallas. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of North Texas in Denton and his master’s in liberal arts studies at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md. Later he earned another master’s and a doctorate in political theory at the University of Dallas in Irving. Thomason has written and lectured on Islam and Christianity, law and philosophy. He is awaiting publication of his first book, Philosophy and Law: A Translation and Commentary of Plato’s ‘Minos.’ Thomason replaces former assistant professor of political science James Pasley.

Since 2002, Assistant Professor of Drama Katie Simons has taught in the Corinth Theatre-Arts in Corinth, Mo. As artistic director, she led its education and outreach programs. Before that, she was a graduate instructor at the University of Mississippi, where she earned her MFA. Her bachelor’s degree was completed at Juniata College in Huntington, Pa. Simons also earned a master of arts degree from the University of Texas at El Paso. In addition to directing, she has experience in stage management, set design, acting and costume design. Simons replaces 18-year faculty member Roger Drummond, who retired in August.

Joining the art department as assistant professor of art is Tim Sullivan. Since 1987, his work has been displayed in more than 80 exhibitions, earned nine awards in competitions and been published in Oklahoma Today and university publications in Oklahoma and Texas. Sullivan earned his bachelor’s degree in art from the University of Oklahoma, a master of art degree and a master of fine art degree from the University of Dallas at Irving. He has spent the last four years teaching at North Lake College in Irving, Texas, where teaching courses took him overseas to Rome. Brandon Wood held Sullivan’s position previously as a one-year appointment.

The education faculty’s newest member comes from Oklahoma City University, where she has spent the last seven years teaching learning, reading, assessment, child development and instructional design. Dr. Sharon Brickman joins the education faculty as assistant professor of education. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Cameron University in Lawton, her master’s degree at Austin Peay State University in Clarkesville, Tenn. and her Ph.D. in instructional psychology and technology at the University of Oklahoma. Her writing, research and earned grants relate to early reading issues.

As part of the institution’s Mission Enhancement Plan, the faculty additions reduce the student-faculty ratios to 19:1 this fall. The target ratio over the next nine years is 16:1.

Dr. Sanders Huguenin said the new faculty members are a good fit for USAO’s growing campus community.

“We’re thrilled,” said Huguenin. “These are wonderful people we’ve hired. They’re impressive, they fit in and I think they’ve chosen us for the right reasons.”