Impressive New Faculty Members at Franklin Pierce University

Jan 9, 2014

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Prof. Thomas Bennet Lecturing Students

Franklin Pierce University hired nine new faculty members last semester for the 2013-14 academic year, five of them in the Natural Sciences Division. This burst of new energy and expertise, particularly in the sciences, illustrates the University’s determination to educate college graduates who are primed to enter the professional job market in areas of growth. The opening of the new Pappas Health Sciences & Athletic Training Center in 2012 was instrumental in enabling the expansion of science programs at the Rindge campus.

Each of the faculty members hired at Franklin Pierce brings their own unique and impressive set of experiences to bear on the educational experience at the University. Thomas Bennett, M.D., Assistant Professor of Health Sciences, did years of research and private practice before moving on to higher education; the experiences he gained in clinical practice and healthcare management have formed a solid foundation for developing instruction and advising strategies that optimize opportunities for students seeking careers in healthcare. Dr. Bennett says, “The students at Franklin Pierce University have such great potential. I work to facilitate the acquisition of the knowledge and skills they will require to succeed in their future lives and careers.” He is passionate about continuing the development of best practices in healthcare education and the advising and mentoring process for students in the Health Sciences.

Richard Desmond, Assistant Professor of Organic Chemistry, has research interests that include the development of environmentally-themed laboratories for general chemistry courses and aspects of the organic chemistry of the genetic disease dyskeratosis congenita (DKC). He and another new faculty member, Amy Piispanen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, teach courses in support of Franklin Pierce’s Health Sciences curriculum, which was launched in the fall of 2012. Mr. Desmond and Dr. Piispanen both plan to involve undergraduates in their research. Leila Jabbour, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Health Sciences, “wants her students to learn not only the details of the course contents but also to be critical thinkers and acquire life-long learning skills.” In addition to her teaching experience, Dr. Jabbour has extensive knowledge in Forensic Science, volunteering over 250 hours in coroner’s offices to learn appropriate procedures for handling trace evidence, blood typing, DNA extraction, and PCR techniques applied to forensic sciences.

Andrea McGill-O’Rourke, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Healthcare Administration, is in the unique position of working and teaching at both the Rindge campus and at the University’s College of Graduate & Professional Studies at its newly opened Manchester Center. Dr. McGill-O’Rourke’s extensive experience at the senior executive level in Healthcare Administration, coupled with over 20 years of teaching experience, provides Franklin Pierce with valuable depth as it expands its Healthcare Administration program. Dr. McGill-O’Rourke believes it is crucial to connect her professional experience with students’ interest in the healthcare administration field.

Verna DeLauer, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, says that her research and teaching use "social science methodologies from geography, anthropology, and psychology to learn how individuals and groups make sense of these environmental interconnections and, in turn, how that manifests itself in decision-making." Dr. DeLauer has obtained grants from NSF and NOAA to study citizen response to environmental change and their engagement in the resource management decision-making process. Dr. DeLauer has a network of connections in the Monadnock region that will be helpful as she develops internship and community engagement opportunities for students with environmental organizations. 

New hires focused on literature, creative writing, and essential communication skills include Jessica Landis, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Composition and First Year Experience, who comes to Franklin Pierce with a strong background in teaching composition and other courses for first-year students. She is also an experienced student advisor and enjoys pushing students to try new things and foster unexpected interests. Alan Schulte, M.F.A., Assistant Professor of Composition and Director of the Peter C. Wensberg Writing Center at Franklin Pierce, has been active in the campus community, working on the planning committee for the Academic Showcase and as faculty advisor to the University Literary Magazine, Nevermore. Lily Brown, Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, rounds out the roster of new faculty members for the 2013-14 academic year. Miss Brown is the author of a collection of poetry, Rust or Go Missing (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2011).

Franklin Pierce University’s mission to ground students with a general and liberal education that empowers them to achieve success in the professional world is well served by the addition of these new faculty members. Small class sizes and ample opportunities for individual attention enable Franklin Pierce students to take full advantage of this impressive group of professors.

Photo caption: Dr. Bennett in the classroom on Franklin Pierce University’s Rindge campus.

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