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New Faculty at SDSU

Twenty-two new faculty members are joining the SDSU community.

Twenty-two new faculty members will be in the classrooms when San Diego State University's fall semester begins on Aug. 26.

New faculty will teach in six colleges, covering a variety of subjects including Africana studies, political science, history, management, accounting, social work, public health, chemistry, mathematics, physics, psychology and film.

It's all part of the university's strategic plan, "Building on Excellence," which outlines initiatives and goals to improve student success and expand research and creative activities.

In order to meet these goals, SDSU plans to hire 67 new faculty before the start of the 2014-2015 academic year

New Faculty for Fall 2013

College of Arts and Letters
College of Business Administration
College of Education
College of Health and Human Services
College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts
College of Sciences

College of Arts and Letters

Department of Africana Studies

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Antwanisha Alameen

Antwanisha Alameen-Shavers, Ph.D. (Temple University, 2013) Alameen-Shavers is originally from Richmond, California and is a proud alumna of SDSU. She received her Ph.D. in African American Studies from Temple University in spring 2013. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Africana Studies at SDSU and her Master of Arts from The Ohio State University.   Her research interests include the role of African women in African civilizations, the role of African American women in liberation movements, gender relationships in the Black community and Black female embodiment. She has presented her research at several conferences such as the Cheikh Anta Diop Conference, National Conference for Black Studies and Africana Womanism Conference. She is happily married to Dwayne Shavers.

Department of History

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Annika Frieberg

Annika Frieberg, Ph.D. (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 2008) Originally from Sweden, Frieberg studied Modern and Central European History at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She has taught courses in 19th and 20th century European and East European history, most recently as East European lecturer at Indiana University-Bloomington. Her research and teaching interests center on war and genocide, conflict resolution, media and national  and transnational questions in Central Europe. She has published several articles, including “Reconciliation Remembered. Early Activists and the Polish-German Relations” in Re-Mapping Polish-German Memory, published by Indiana University Press in 2011. Frieberg is currently working on her book manuscript, “Costly Reconciliation: Transnational Networks and Media in post-war Polish-German Relations.”

Department of Political Science

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Cheryl O’Brien

Cheryl O'Brien, Ph.D. (Purdue University, 2013) O’Brien joins SDSU’s Political Science Department after receiving her Ph.D. in Political Science from Purdue University in 2013. Her dissertation is titled “Beyond the National: Transnational Influences on (Subnational) State Policy Responsiveness to an International Norm on Violence Against Women.” Through a set of qualitative case studies and a broader statistical analysis in the dissertation, she explores the role that international norms and transnational actors play in shaping state policy responsiveness in Mexico and Nigeria. Her international and domestic research interests center on women’s human rights, social and environmental justice, food security, policy and norms diffusion, and social movements. She became interested in the study of public policy and human rights working for NGOs in the U.S., Africa and Latin America. UNHCR Staff cited her NGO work on gender and environmental issues as a key factor that led to an NGO’s implementing partner status, allowing for scaled-up efforts to address gender and environmental concerns in refugee camps in east Africa. She has also earned two bachelor of arts degrees from the University of Notre Dame, a Master of Education from Harvard and was inducted into Purdue University’s Teaching Academy.

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College of Business Administration

Charles W. Lamden School of Accountancy

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Brett Kawada

Brett Kawada, Ph.D. (Missouri, 2013) Kawada is an assistant professor of accounting.  His areas of interest include office-level audit quality, going concern opinions and voluntary disclosure.  He is currently researching the role of the local auditor office in financial statement comparability and the consequences of increased comparability on earnings quality.

Department of Management

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Mujtaba Ahsan

Mujtaba Ahsan, Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2006) Ahsan’s teaching and research interests are in the areas of entrepreneurship, technology innovation and management and strategic management. His research lies at the intersection of these three streams and has primarily focused on entrepreneurial activities in the high-tech domain. His current research focuses on the offshoring activities in small firms and its impact on innovation. Ahsan’s research has been published in various journals such as Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, International Journal of Management Reviews, Journal of Strategy & Management and Journal of Managerial Issues. He previously worked at Pittsburg State University, where he successfully earned tenure and at Cal Poly Pomona.

Ben Galvin, Ph.D., (W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, 2010) Galvin is an assistant professor in the College of Business. His areas of research contribute to the understanding of how social processes, personality and identity influence leader behavior and follower perceptions of leaders. His work has been published in leading management journals such as the Academy of Management Review, Personnel Psychology and Leadership Quarterly. Galvin is currently working on several projects looking at how narcissism influences CEO identity and behaviors in a positive and negative manner. Before joining academia Galvin spent several years working at the corporate level for national retailers in buying and product development capacities.

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College of Education

Department of Child and Family Development

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Diana Schaack

Diana Schaack, Ph.D. (Loyola University Chicago/Erikson Institute 2011) Schaack is a child developmentalist whose research integrates psychological and educational theory and methods. Her work focuses on improving childcare settings, teacher practices and children’s social-emotional well-being. She is a principal investigator on an evaluation examining the outcomes of an infant/toddler professional development initiative.  She is also completing a study examining the effects of daily caregiving discontinuity in childcare on children’s development and a study examining non-parametric methods for determining thresholds on child care quality measures that differentiate levels of children’s social and cognitive development. She is starting a follow-up study on the influence of childcare providers’ own attachment histories on caregiving practices and relationships with children.

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College of Health and Human Services

School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences

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Antoinette Domingo

Antoinette Domingo, PT, Ph.D. (University of Michigan, 2009) Domingo’s research goals are to elucidate the best methods for locomotor rehabilitation after neurological injury based on principles of biomechanics, motor learning and control. She seeks to understand how different types of errors impact motor learning in intact and disordered nervous systems. Related to this, she also looks to understand the role of proprioception in the recovery of balance and gait. She aims to use this knowledge to develop and optimize the use of physical guidance and rehabilitation robotics in restoring gait in individuals with spinal cord injury and in older adults.

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Sarah Gombatto

Sara Gombatto, Ph.D. (Washington University in St. Louis, 2007) Gombatto received her bachelor degree and master degrees in physical therapy from Ithaca College.  After practicing in an orthopedic outpatient physical therapy clinic for several years, she pursued her doctoral degree in movement science in the physical therapy program at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. Her area of research interest includes examining the mechanisms underlying chronic-recurrent low back pain.  Using information from a physical therapy examination and a 3-D movement analysis laboratory, she has described differences in movement characteristics between different subgroups of people with low back pain.  Currently, she is investigating the relationship between posture and movement and the development and persistence of a low back pain problem.  She is particularly interested in how people move during functional activities.  At SDSU, Gombatto will continue this research using 3-D movement analysis, but also plans to use new tools such as MRI and portable devices for movement analysis.

Lori Tuttle, PT, Ph.D. (Washington University in St. Louis 2011) Tuttle’s research program encompasses aging, metabolism and women’s health.  She has experience working both with human and animal models and has used clinical non-invasive and basic science measures to answer clinically relevant questions.  She has previously published her work on the effects of exercise in the area of diabetes and peripheral neuropathy, but her current research interest is in the area of female pelvic floor dysfunction. She is currently investigating the role of skeletal muscle architecture and surrounding structures on pelvic floor function and the role of rehabilitation on these structures.

Graduate School of Public Health

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Heather Corliss

Heather Corliss, M.P.H., Ph.D. (University of California, Los Angeles, 2004) Corliss is a social and behavioral epidemiologist specializing in health disparities adversely affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and other sexual-and gender-minority populations. She uses developmental and life-course perspectives and draws on theories and frameworks from multiple disciplines (e.g., psychology, sociology, anthropology, public health, medicine, gender studies) to inform her research and teaching. She uses quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods approaches to examine population disparities in health and adjustment with a particular focus on substance use and disorders, mental health, and chronic disorders including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. For the past eight years she has been working on two large longitudinal cohort studies of adolescents (the Growing Up Today Study) and women (the Nurses’ Health Study II).

School of Social Work

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Maria Zuniga

María Luisa (‘Mari’) Zúñiga, Ph.D. (UCSD, 1999) Zúñiga is an epidemiologist who conducts community-based participatory research to study the intersection of alcohol and drug use, mental health, sexual risk behaviors and self-care practices that contribute to poor health among diverse, vulnerable populations.  She has worked extensively with Latinos living with HIV, U.S. Latino immigrant populations, and international and domestic migrants and their families in the U.S. and Mexico. Prior and ongoing research include substance use and HIV risk behavior among vulnerable, minority youth, and behavioral intervention research with HIV positive men and women with depression, severe mental illness and alcohol and drug addictions. Zúñiga’s research also involves improving cross-cultural communication between Latino patients and their clinicians.

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College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts

School of Public Affairs

Bruce Appleyard, Ph.D. (UC Berkeley, 2010) Appleyard specializes in applied research and policy guidance at the intersection of transportation, land use and urban design. One area of Appleyard’s research is to develop better ways for measuring, understanding and realizing sustainability, livability and social equity. His approaches vary broadly from highly quantitative geo-statistical (GIS) econometric analyses, to qualitative interview and case methods. A range of planning and design decisions are informed by Appleyard’s work, from developing sustainable local and regional plans, to redesigning streets and corridors for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders. Appleyard is also researching the benefits and applications of public/private partnerships, civic innovations and entrepreneurial governance. He is currently involved in several research projects with funding from the NAS, HUD, EPA, and Caltrans on innovative GIS-Based scenario planning efforts to help communities and regions make more informed policy and design decisions.

School of Theatre, Film and Television

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Robert Meffe

Robert Meffe (Bachelor of Arts University of Notre Dame 1989, Master of Music University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, 1991) Meffe is a music director specializing in live performance of musical theater. Professional experience includes: Broadway: Associate Conductor of Little Women and the last six years of Les Miserables, keyboards for Evita (2012 revival), Newsies, The Phantom of the Opera, Avenue Q, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Grey Gardens and Bombay Dreams.  National Tours: Music Director of The Phantom of the Opera, Associate Conductor of Sunday in the Park with George. Off-Broadway: Violet, The Prince and the Pauper, Gutenberg! The Musical! and Lightin’ Out. Research interests include development of new musicals, the intersection of art and commerce and contemporary musical theater.

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Michael Slowik

Michael Slowik, Ph.D. (University of Iowa, 2012) is a film scholar specializing in American film history.  His research interests include film sound (especially film music); film’s intersection with theater, radio, and phonography; early cinema; film and technology; and film genres (especially noir, the musical, and the Western).  His work appears or will appear in Cinema Journal; The Journal of American Culture; Journal of Popular Film and Television; Music, Sound, and the Moving Image; Nineteenth-Century Theatre and Film; and Quarterly Review of Film and Video. His book titled After the Silents: Hollywood Film Music in the Early Sound Era, 1926-1934 — which offers the first comprehensive assessment of film music in the early sound years — will be published in 2014 by Columbia University Press.  

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College of Sciences

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Jeffrey Gustafson, Ph.D. (Yale University, 2011) Gustafson is an organic chemist specializing in enantioselective catalysis and chemical biology. His areas of interest include the development of atropisomer selective catalytic methodologies, the investigation of atropisomer selective ligand preorganization on ligand-protein binding, and the study of small molecule-vanadate complexes as a novel strategy for the inhibition of phosphatases.

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Byron Purse

Byron W. Purse, Ph.D. (The Scripps Research Institute, 2005) Purse is a synthetic and physical organic chemist currently working on three main project areas. The first is the development of fluorescent nucleoside analogues, designed to mimic the structures of the natural building blocks of DNA and RNA. Inspired by the challenges of using these molecules to study living cells, he is also working on chemically based methods to deliver molecular probes and drug molecules across cell membranes. The other major effort of his research is focused on developing unusually stable molecular capsules, incorporating them into polymers and using them to control the responses of materials to mechanical stress.

Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Christopher W. Curtis, Ph.D. (University of Washington, 2009) Curtis is an applied mathematician working in the area of nonlinear waves.  In particular, he focuses on nonlinear phenomena in fluids, optics and low-temperature physics.  His work incorporates various techniques from analysis and numerical simulation.  Currently, he is most interested in the role nonlinearity plays in the field of honeycomb optical lattices, and in particular, the role of nonlinearity in the propagation of topologically protected edge modes.

Department of Physics

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Lyuba Kuznetsova

Lyuba Kuznetsova, Ph.D. (Cornell, 2008) Kuznetsova is a physicist specializing in nanophotonics, ultrafast lasers, and cavity quantum electrodynamics. Her areas of expertise include high energy short-pulse generation in fiber laser systems, mode-locking in quantum cascade lasers, blue LEDs, microcavities, and metamaterials. She is currently investigating quantum electrodynamics effects in GaN-based lasers and silicon microcavities.  Research in her lab focuses on the different ways of controlling light on the subwavelength scale via modifying the photonic environment. Projects include ultrafast nanocavity LEDs for visible light communications, emerging metamaterials for light control, and microcavity-based optical sensors for bio-medical applications.

Department of Psychology

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Phillip Holcomb

Phillip Holcomb, Ph.D. (New Mexico State University, 1984) Holcomb is a cognitive neuroscientist specializing in language processing in the brain. He is co-director of the NeuroCognition laboratory which is funded by the National Institutes of Health to study reading, reading acquisition, bilingualism and second language acquisition. Holcomb’s research focuses on providing a better understanding of the brain bases of sensory, perceptual, linguistic and cognitive processes involved in native and second language word comprehension. This research has important implications for clinicians interested in language disorders (such as developmental dyslexia) as well as educators interested in innovative approaches to teaching and assessing foreign language learning.

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Kristi Wells

Kristen Wells, Ph.D., M.P.H. (University of South Florida, 2006; Emory University, 2000) Wells is a clinical health psychologist specializing in cancer-related disparities and cancer communication.  Her areas of interest include patient navigation; community health workers; innovative methods of cancer communication; community engaged research; scale development; and systematic reviews.  Her current research projects include: the development and evaluation of patient navigation programs to improve cervical cancer prevention and breast cancer survivorship care; the development of an embodied conversational agent computer application to provide education to Spanish speakers about cervical cancer, cervical cancer screening, and human papillomavirus; and the evaluation of multimedia interventions providing education about cancer-related research.

Library and Information Access

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Patrick McCarthy

Patrick McCarthy, MLS (University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, 1995) McCarthy is an experienced academic librarian with more than 15 years of experience leading core library programs including reference, instruction, outreach, and collection development. His areas of interest include educational leadership, library science, learning theory, and program assessment. He has an extensive background in strategic planning and has held multiple leadership positions overseeing major organization restructuring, consolidation, and program development. In addition, he has completed extensive study in the Doctor of Philosophy program from the School of Education at Colorado State University.  

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