Faculty

Department Faculty

Timothy Jussaume Headshot

Timothy Jussaume, Ph.D.

  • Director of the Honors College, Associate Professor
  • 703 S. High Street, Room 204
  • Email Timothy Jussaume
  • Phone: 610-738-3448

I joined the Honors College as Director in Fall 2023. This role combines my passion for honors education and my belief in the power of ideas to make a positive difference in the world. I have seen firsthand the many ways in which honors transforms the undergraduate experience and prepares students for life after graduation.

I have a Ph.D. and M.A. in philosophy from Villanova University and a B.A. Honors in philosophy from the College of the Holy Cross. My research and teaching interests include the history of philosophy, environmental ethics, and biomedical ethics. My work also emphasizes best practices in honors education, especially creative high-impact learning experiences, equity and inclusion, and building a culture of excellence and belonging.

Gerardina Martin Headshot

Gerardina Martin, D.P.A.

  • Chair, Associate Professor, Assistant Director
  • 703 S. High Street, Room 101
  • Email Gerardina Martin
  • Phone: 610-738-0496

As a full-time Honors College faculty member, Assistant Director, and current Interim Chair of the Honors College, I enjoy learning how students learn, and my goal is to help students learn from opportunities in service to others. The courses I teach, HON 311 - Stewardship and Civic Engagement and HON 490 - Capstone involve learning more about the community of West Chester to assist students in asking the right questions and be more inquisitive of their future communities. Through strong support of diversity and inclusion, we navigate together through non-profit organizations and their functions within society. Funding sources remain scarce, but students can help their communities in sustainable ways, which can help alleviate stressed financial periods. At West Chester University, we have a commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as a commitment to providing students with access to education and scholarly and creative activities. I plan to work hard to fulfill the mission of the University for our students, as well as fulfill the Honors College mission of preparing students to be forces of positive social change.

David Levasseur Headshot

David Levasseur, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Decision Making and Public Discourse
  • 703 S. High Street, Room 203
  • Email David Levasseur
  • Phone: 610-405-9009

I joined the Honors College full time during the Spring of 2020, after having taught for over 20 years in the Communication and Media Department at West Chester University. My appointment in Honors really combines two of my academic passions.

That first passion is for public speaking. My interest in public speaking started all the way back in high school when I competed on my school's debate team, and that interest further developed when I became involved in college forensics (competitive public speaking) as an undergraduate at the University of Maryland. Much of my teaching and research in graduate school (M.A. in Speech Communication at the University of Maryland and Ph.D. in Communication Studies at the University of Kansas) and since graduate school has revolved around public speaking (courses I have taught include basic public speaking, advanced public speaking, speechwriting, and a graduate level course on training public speakers). I also continue to work as a speechwriter and as a speaker trainer for individuals both within and outside the University. Now I bring that passion for developing public speakers to the HON 211 (Decision Making and Public Discourse) course.

My other real academic passion resides in the area of political communication. Much of my teaching and research in this area centers on the concept of public opinion—how we define and construct the meaning of public opinion in our political discourse. I now bring that passion and interest in public opinion research to the HON 313 (American Government, Democracy and Public Opinion) class.

Harvey Rovine Headshot

Harvey Rovine, Ph.D.

I have learned much from my teachers.
More from my colleagues.
But most of all - from my students.

Zachary Wooten Headshot

Zachary Wooten, Ph.D.

Teaching in the Honors College at WCU is one of the greatest joys of my life. I am thankful to learn from both my colleagues and students, and I am glad to belong to a community committed to leadership, service, scholarship, and civic engagement. My teaching, research, and other scholarly inquiry focuses on interfaith leadership, ethics and moral decision-making, grief and crisis leadership, self-awareness and development, visions of human flourishing, and leadership theory. I love helping students develop confidence and cheering them on as they work to strengthen their communities.

I also teach religious studies courses for the Department of Philosophy and serve as the Director for WCU's Interfaith, Meaning-Making, and Spirituality Project. I am currently leading three grant-funded research projects exploring: 1) religious leadership on TikTok; 2) interfaith leadership amongst hospital chaplains during the COVID-19 pandemic; and 3) the grief experiences of undergraduate students considering the climate crisis. I serve on WCU's Undergraduate Research Council, the Council for Diversity, Inclusion and Academic Excellence, and the project planning team for Yale's Center for Faith and Culture related to expanding the "Life Worth Living" network.

Spencer Camacho Headshot

Spencer Camacho

It is with gratitude I call the Honors College my home. Whether you are a student, staff, or faculty, Honors is an opportunity to invest in yourself…if you take it. I find great joy in teaching incoming first year students during our summer symposium orientation into the fall as we introduce leadership theory. During their latter semesters, I provide my students an artistic lens to community building while also facilitating retreats in preparation for life beyond WCU. With prior scholarship in music education and technology and current research in leadership and creativity, I aim to foster a community of innovators to dream big and inspire change.

Extended Faculty

Cecilia Chien Headshot

Cecilia Chien, Ph.D.

Dr. Chien is the Department's East Asia specialist (Ph.D., Harvard). During her graduate studies, she traveled in East Asia and lived in Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan for several years. Before coming to WCU in 2005, she taught for 10 years in Hong Kong during its transition from British colony to Chinese sovereignty.

Dr. Chien's first book was a study of merchant-state relations as seen in middle-imperial China's salt industry from the 10th-13th centuries. Her new research involves regional and family history. Her ancestor, the king of a wealthy kingdom in the Yangzi delta in the 10th century, is the centerpiece of contemporary efforts to promote cultural heritage, nationalism and identity, environmental conservation, and global tourism.

Dr. Chien teaches courses on pre-modern and modern East Asia, East Asian history and film, the Asian American diaspora, and world civilizations. She has encouraged and mentored dozens of students to participate in programs for English teaching overseas, study abroad, and other exchanges. She aims to spread the word on how the rich cultural traditions of Asia in the curriculum enhance liberal arts education and promote cross-cultural understanding in today's mobile world of diverse societies.

Peter Loedel Headshot

Peter Loedel, Ph.D.

Dr. Loedel is originally from San Diego, California and received his university education in California. After gaining degrees, he taught one year at the University of Utah and another year at the University of Puget Sound before coming to West Chester University. He is married with three children and lives in Downingtown. All three kids are successful WCU Alums.

Dr. Loedel has also published numerous articles in leading journals, and book chapters on the subject of European monetary politics as well as teaching/pedagogy in the field of international relations. His most recent publication focuses on the impact of gender on attitudes toward European monetary union and the Euro.

Leadership and service are important pieces of Dr. Loedel’s portfolio on campus. Dr. Loedel is active on campus via a number of service and committee projects. He has been involved in University Strategic Planning, Curriculum Agreements at the PA State level, Tenure and Promotion, as well as number of campus activities, including the Division of Student Affairs Leadership Team and the Friar's Society. He is also active and supportive of the Honors College and the Honors Service Project: Aid to South Africa. He has been awarded the Division of Student Affair’s Legacy of Leadership Award for outstanding contributions to student leadership at West Chester University.

Robert Maggio Headshot

Robert Maggio

  • Professor, Music, Theory, and Composition
  • 335 Swope Music Building
  • Email Robert Maggio
  • Phone: 610-436-2914

I have taught music theory and composition in the School of Music since 1990 and have offered seminars in the Honors College on topics ranging from Improvisational Comedy to Music, Power and Politics. WCU is a dynamic and creative environment; as a composer and an educator, I'm inspired by all the amazing colleagues and students I interact with on a daily basis, whether it be in the classroom or at ensemble concerts and recitals. I have always enjoyed coming to "work" because it has always felt like an advanced form of "play," which is to say that I feel lucky that my job is to spend my day doing things that I enjoy and care about deeply in a place where the students and my fellow teachers are similarly engaged and enthusiastic about their shared passions. My creative work includes composing music for concerts, dance and theater, often in a collaborative setting. For more information, visit my website: www.robertmaggio.com.

Donald McCown Headshot

Donald McCown, Ph.D.

Donald McCown, PhD, MAMS, MSS, LSW is an Associate Professor of health, director of the minor in contemplative studies, and director of the center for contemplative studies at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. He holds a Master of Applied Meditation Studies degree from the Won Institute of Graduate Studies, a Master of Social Service from Bryn Mawr College, and a PhD in Social Science from Tilburg University. He trained as an MBSR teacher through the Center for Mindfulness at University of Massachusetts and at Thomas Jefferson University. His primary research interests include the pedagogy of mindfulness in clinical applications and higher education, applications of complementary and integrative medicine in the community, and the contemplative dimensions of the health humanities. He is author of The Ethical Space of Mindfulness in Clinical Practice, primary author of Teaching Mindfulness: A Practical Guide for Clinicians and Educators, New World Mindfulness: From the Founding Fathers, Emerson, and Thoreau to your Personal Practice, and primary editor of Resources for Teaching Mindfulness: An International Handbook.

Paul Morgan Headshot

Paul Morgan, Ph.D.

  • Professional & Secondary Education
  • 512 Wayne Hall
  • Email Paul Morgan
  • Phone: 610-436-6945

My scholarly work here on campus is devoted to exploring the historical precedents, philosophical rationale, and practical means of reorienting educational institutions toward sustainability. I am the directorof the undergraduate and graduate certificate programs in education for sustainability and I am a longtime member of the University's Sustainability Advisory Council. I teach HON 312 and co-teach HON 314. I hold a B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Education from Columbia University, Teachers College.

Dana Morrison Headshot

Dana Morrison, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor, Educational Foundations and Policy Studies
  • Wayne Hall 928
  • Email Dana Morrison
  • Phone: 610-436-2942

Dana Morrison joined the faculty at West Chester University in the Spring of 2018. She holds a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Delaware, specializing in Sociocultural and Community-Based Approaches. Dr. Morrison also holds a B.A. in Sociology from West Chester University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. in Liberal Studies from Villanova University.

Before joining the Department as Assistant Professor, Dana worked as an adjunct instructor at West Chester University for five years.

Meg Niiler Headshot

Meg Niiler

  • Assistant Professor, Languages and Cultures
  • 236 Mitchell Hall
  • Email Meg Niiler
  • Phone: 610-436-2382

Meg Niiler has a MA in Spanish Literature and a PhD in Applied Linguistics and Composition Studies. Her research interests include: second language acquisition, educating English learners, cross cultural communication, social justice and educational policy.

Matt Pierlott Headshot

Matt Pierlott

  • Chairperson
  • Philosophy
  • Business and Public Management Center 510
  • Email Matt Pierlott
  • Phone: 610-436-2429

I came to West Chester University in 2005. In 2010 I was invited to teach a course in the HON Seminar Program, "Ideas of Freedom," and later another course on “The Concept of God.” I had already become familiar with the vibrant community of students through colleagues, like Dr. Ruth Porritt, but this was my first experience in the classroom with some of them. I truly enjoyed the engaging discussions from thoughtful individuals across varied majors. Even more, I was impressed with the positive, supportive and constructive interactions among the students.

In 2012, I joined the Honors Council and teamed up with Dr. Tischio in offering the HON 490: Capstone courses. It is such a privilege to work with the students one-on-one and in our group working sessions to realize their visions. So many students have shared with me their passions and their developed ideas to serve their community. It continues to be a tremendously rewarding experience.

As an undergrad at the University of Scranton, I also took part in a program in which a small cohort of varied majors took one or two classes together each semester. That experience was so important to me, and I am thrilled that our program has a similar model. But what is truly rare about our Honors College is the focus on leadership and service, and the carefully designed curriculum that provides the skills and opportunities to get out of the class and make a difference.

Meghan Ramick Headshot

Meghan Ramick, Ph.D.

Matt Saboe Headshot

Matt B. Saboe, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, Economics and Finance
  • 421 BPM Center
  • Email Matt Saboe
  • Phone: 610-436-2964

Dr. Matt Saboe is an Associate Professor in the Economics and Finance Department at West Chester University and his earned his Ph.D. in economics from Lehigh University. He founded the West Chester student-led investment club, developed the MBA business analytics certificate, and is the co-chair of the Committee for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT). His teaching interests are in microeconomics, urban economics, economics of public issues, statistics, and applied econometrics. Dr. Saboe's areas of research include entrepreneurship in cities, entrepreneurial finance, the city's role in entrepreneurial success, urban problems, entrepreneurship-lock, college choice, SAT-optional policies, and campus crime. He has published articles in journals such as Review of Regional Studies.

Victoria Tischio Headshot

Victoria Tischio

Maria Urrutia Headshot

Maria Urrutia

Cuban Born, maria urrutia, holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College, an EdM from Temple University and a BFA in Dance from The University of the Arts. She is an Associate Professor of Dance at West Chester University and member of Cardell Dance Theater (CDT), which tours nationally and internationally. In addition to this company work she continues to perform with various internationally recognized artists. Her solo dance and scholarship practice focuses on Cuban Rumba and has been presented in London, Montreal, Trondheim, Miami, Angers, New York and Edinburgh. In her latest collaborative work, Carnival of Ruin, she has moved into both performative and curatorial presentations at The Chester County Arts Association, John H. Baker Gallery, and East Goshen Township Park. The Carnival of Ruin collaborative was recognized with the Woman Warrior Award by the West Chester Green Team.

Zach Voras

Zach Voras

Dr. Zachary E. Voras earned a Bachelors of Science in Forensic and Toxicological Chemistry in 2011 from West Chester University of Pennsylvania, and his Doctorate of Philosophy in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Delaware in 2017. At the University of Delaware he worked under the tutelage of Dr. Thomas P. Beebe, Jr., and produced a Dissertation titled “Binding Medium Alteration and its Effects on Fine Art Paintings as Observed by Surface Analysis”. He completed a post-Doctoral assignment at the University of Delaware Interdisciplinary Sciences Learning Laboratories prior to starting in the Chemistry Department at West Chester University of Pennsylvania in 2019.

His current research interests include studying the pathways of interaction for complex soft materials with their local environment as observed by a variety of surface and bulk analytical techniques. Chemical investigations include molecular alteration, diffusion, interfacial interactions, and electronic structure change. Research efforts are focused on chemical degradation for cultural heritage research, although novel materials and applications are also of interest.

Staff

Michelle Wills Headshot

Michelle Wills

I joined the Honors College in 2014 and am the liaison for visitors, students, and constituencies connected with the Honors College both on and off campus. I coordinate and implement events related to Honors and the Honors Student Association, including the Omicron Delta Kappa Honorary, Outstanding Faculty Reception, Awards & Orientation Banquets, Summer Seminar, and the South Africa Service Projects. I train and supervise work study students and volunteers in the Honors College.

Jessie Hazell Headshot

Jessie Hazell

I graduated from WCU in December 2022 with a B.S. in Early Grades Preparation with minors in Theatre and Civic & Professional Leadership. I am currently participating in the Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs program at WCU and am so excited to continue my time in the Honors College as a Graduate Assistant. I joined the Honors College through the Bridge Program in December of my first year at WCU and I am truly grateful for the opportunities and experiences it has provided me.

Within my academic career, I was a TA for 4 different Honors College seminars, recognized as a Donna Carney Service Scholar, and Vice President of the Honors Students Association. Outside of my education, I was President of the High Street Harmonix a cappella group and Director of the Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS Benefit Concert, Silent Auction, been involved in over 10 theatre productions in University Theater, and a member of the GraceNotes a cappella group. I am honored to have been recognized by WCU as the recipient of the Senior Leader award, WCU Leader award, 1871 award, Outstanding Teacher Education Senior Award, President of Omicron Delta Kappa, and member of Alpha Psi Omega.

I am incredibly grateful for my professors, as well as all who have provided support for me here, at WCU and especially in the Honors College. Being involved at WCU has given me the gift of developing a stronger passion for education and personal growth. I can't wait to continue my WCU adventure in the Honors College in this new chapter!

Haley McDevitt Headshot

Haley McDevitt

I am a proud alumna of West Chester University, graduating class of 2020. I earned my B.S. of Marketing, minor in Civic and Professional Leadership and Honors Seminar certificate. My favorite course (and one that changed my life's trajectory) was Leadership and the Good Life where we dissected the meaning of "the good life" through the lenses of different religions, philosophies, and worldviews. I first took the course in Fall of 2018 and later joined Dr. Wooten in 2019 - 2020 as a Leadership Studies Fellow. Nothing fascinates me more than understanding human connection and existence. For this reason, it's no surprise that I run my own wedding photography business. I get to document arguably one of the most vulnerable and meaningful periods of human beings' lives. During my time here as a graduate student and research assistant, Dr. Wooten and I will be examining the intersections between North American religiosity and TikTok, and how the social media platform impacts societal views of leadership within North American Christianity.

Emeriti

Anita Foeman Headshot

Anita Foeman

Anita Foeman, Ph.D., is a scholar of intercultural and organizational communication. She holds a B.A. from Defiance College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Temple University. Dr. Foeman joined the faculty of West Chester University in 1982 before retiring in 2022.

Charles Hardy Headshot

Charles Hardy III, Ph.D.

Professor Hardy taught in Honors from 1996 until his retirement in 2022. His Honors courses included a student researched history of suburb spawl in Chester County; Climate Change and Sustainability; oral histories of the Honors College, the Vietnam War, and Philadelphia Immigration; and Goin' North: Stories from the First Great Migration to Philadelphia, which won the 2016 American Historical Association Roy Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History. He supervised Honors student internships at placements that included the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, Elwyn Inc, Independence Seaport Museum, and the Pennhurst Memorial & Preservation Alliance. A member of the faculty on the first Honors trips to South Africa (2001), China (2007), and Norway (2015), he since 2017 has been the signator of the Honors College Nobel Peace Prize.

John Helion Headshot

John Helion, Ph.D.

I have been teaching for 39 years. I've taught at all levels from elementary school through college. I have taught in both urban and suburban settings. I am involved in physical education teacher education as well as experiential education. I instituted the annual Katrina Relief trip to the gulf coast which is now in its fourth year. I have traveled to several countries including Ireland, Great Britain, Italy, Greece, Trinidad - Tobago and South Africa. These trips have been both professional and personal. I have been married for 36 years and am the father of two wonderful daughters, Courtney, an art conservationist and Chelsea, a doctoral fellow at Cornell University in the area of social psychology.

Ruth Porritt

I co-designed and team-taught the first HON 212 "Moral Choice in a Technological Age" course with Dr. Leslie Slusher in Biology. The Spring 2009 HON 212 students started the WCU chapter of National Students of AMF, a support group for students coping with the illness or death of a loved one. To encourage people with disabilities who want to pursue their artistic creativity, I serve on the Art Ability Committee at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital.

Donna Usher Headshot

Donna Usher

  • Professor of Art