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New Faculty

September 2007

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New academic year ushers in new faculty, new perspectives

To run your eye down the list of new faculty members arriving at the start of an academic year is to imagine something of the future of a college. Their diverse scholarly backgrounds, research interests and experiences open up new possibilities for students and colleagues alike.

“We always, of course, regret the loss of seasoned colleagues, with their accumulated scholarship and expertise,” says Michael Marsden (Academic Affairs). “But we also welcome new ideas and new energies, and people who are bringing us new perspectives on their disciplines.”

Marsden says he’s been very pleased with the recruitment of new faculty members. “We have been able to attract some very fine new colleagues and we very much look forward to welcoming them.”

Who’s new at St. Norbert this year? Read on to learn more about our new professors.

Leonard Biallas, visiting professor of religious studies, recently retired from Quincy University, where he had taught since 1973. He has published three books: “Myths: Gods, Heroes, and Saviors” (1986), “World Religions: A Story Approach” (1991) and “Pilgrim: A Spirituality of Travel” (2002). His research interests and publications have centered on Roman Catholicism, world religions, Native American Indian religions and mythology.

Luke Buffenmyer, visiting assistant professor of art, received a B.F.A. in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design and an M.F.A. in photography and drawing from the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University. He spent the last year at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., where he integrated digital technology into the art department.

David Hunnicutt (Biology) is a microbiologist who joins St. Norbert from Pennsylvania State University-The Behrend College (Erie, Pa.). Hunnicutt’s teaching duties will include microbiology and immunology, and he is particularly eager to engage undergraduate collaborators in his research studies.

Charles Jacobs (Political Science) will serve as assistant professor of judicial process and American politics. Jacobs joins St. Norbert from Kent State University.

Ricardo Jose is a history professor visiting from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, as part of the Philippine Exchange Program. He specializes in military and diplomatic history.

His lifelong interest in World War II has led him to pursue history not only as a profession, but also as a hobby. He has been interviewing World War II veterans since he was a student, and has gone on research and study trips in the Philippines, Japan and the United States.

Among his published works are “The Philippine Army, 1935-1942” (1992), volume seven of a multi-volume illustrated series on Philippine history, and “Kasaysayan” (1998). (“Kasaysayan” is Filipino for history.)

His wife, Lydia Yu Jose, will also be teaching at St. Norbert for the fall semester. A political scientist, she has served as director of the Japanese Studies Program of Ateneo de Manila University and chair of its department of political science, and is currently the director of the Ateneo Center for Asian Studies. Her major research interest is Philippines-Japan relations, about which she has written two books and several journal articles.

Scott Kirst (Education) joined St. Norbert last year as a visiting assistant professor and will continue in the discipline, teaching the math and science methods courses for elementary as well as secondary teacher education candidates. Scott has a Ph.D. in education from Walden University with a specialization in educational technology. He is an alumnus of the M.S.E. program at St. Norbert College.

Joel Mann (Philosophy) has been working at the University of Central Arkansas. He received his Ph.D. in the Joint Classics-Philosophy Graduate Program in Ancient Philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin.

Yi-Lan (Elaine) Niu (Music) is a voice specialist, who has served on the faculties of both Ripon College and the Madison Academy of Music, and has taught voice at the Summer Music Clinic at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Niu performs internationally, and is a regularly featured soloist in the United States and Asia. As an early music enthusiast, she has performed masterworks by Bach, Dowland, Monterverdi, Strozzi and Vivaldi. Her numerous operatic roles have included Clorinda in “Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda,” Costanza in “La Griselda,” Serpina in “La Serva Padrona” and Papagena in “The Magic Flute.”

Kent Paulsen (Music) has taught courses in piano and sight singing at St. Norbert, and this year is a visiting instructor of music and director of choirs.

Paulsen is a past winner of the Wisconsin Choral Directors Young Conductor Award. Among his appearances as a pianist, he has performed at the Lincoln Center and the Boston Conservatory of Music. For many years, he was the assistant conductor and chorus master for the Pamiro Opera Company.

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