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Faculty Promotions and Tenure Approved at St. Norbert College

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From St. Norbert College, March 6, 2019
by Mike Counter,, 920-403-3089

The following faculty members were approved by the board of trustees for tenure and promotion, emeritus and sabbatical status at St. Norbert College.
Tenure and promotion:
Raquel Cowell to associate professor of psychology
Kathleen Gallagher Elkins to associate professor of theology and religious studies
Ryan King to associate professor of biology
Katie Ries to associate professor of art
More about Raquel Cowell

Raquel Cowell began teaching at St. Norbert College in 2014 and she is a faculty member in the Psychology discipline. Dr. Cowell has taught courses in General Psychology, Human Development (across the age range), Research Methods, and Childhood Adversity.
In her application for tenure, Dr. Cowell articulates a teaching philosophy that includes the following three pillars: (1) respecting diversity, (2) fostering trust, and (3) scaffolding student learning. It is clear that Raquel is a rigorous instructor who cares deeply about her students’ experiences. Students regularly note her passion, classroom environment, respect, availability, and the practical applicability of her classes to their daily lives. One of her colleagues, who has observed her teaching, notes: “She has high expectations for her students. In addition, Raquel’s enthusiasm for, expertise in and commitment to service-learning has been a wonderful addition to the SNC psychology program.”

Dr. Cowell’s research focuses on developmental decision-making across the human lifespan. Raquel regularly involves students in her research and she has been devoted to students in the McNair and Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship programs. She has demonstrated a robust conference presentation record and she has published papers in NeuroImage, Development and Psychopathology, Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, and Neuropsychologia.
Dr. Cowell is an active collegial citizen. Her committee service includes membership on a number of College committees, including the Faculty Advisory Committee and the Academic Service Learning Committee. She has also been a regular volunteer at SNC Day.

More about Kathleen Gallagher-Elkins

Kathleen Gallagher-Elkins began teaching at St. Norbert College in 2014 and she is a faculty member in the Theology and Religious Studies discipline. Dr. Gallagher-Elkins has taught Theological Foundations, Women in the Bible, Christian Traditions, New Testament, Judaism & Christianity: The Holocaust, Scripture & Biblical Interpretation, Christology, and the capstone course.

Kathleen envisions her teaching a journey that her students join her on. On this journey, she tackles difficult and emotionally charged topics that cause her students discomfort, all while creating a comfortable classroom climate that allows her students to feel safe to discuss a variety of perspectives. Students regularly share that they appreciate the positive classroom climate that Dr. Gallagher-Elkins creates, her care and concern for her students, and her enthusiasm and passion for the subject she teaches. One colleague noted: “She exhibits authority in the best sense of the word. It is the authority that comes from competence, authenticity, and integrity.”

Kathleen’s scholarship focuses on self-sacrifice in motherhood, children in the Biblical world, and feminist studies in religion. She has published a book, Mary, Mother of Martyrs: How Motherhood Became Self-Sacrifice in Early Christianity while maintaining a productive scholarly agenda on a number of additional pieces of work, including book chapters and publications related to pedagogy. One colleague noted that Dr. Gallagher Elikins is “among top scholars working in the field of childhood and the Bible at this stage of her career” and is “helping to shape the methodology of an emerging field in Biblical studies.”

Kathleen’s collegial work includes service on several committees, including the Academic Service Learning Advisory Committee, the Killeen Chair for Theology and Philosophy Committee, and the Norbertine Pedagogy Working Group. She has served on several search committees and as a faculty mentor.
More about Ryan King

Ryan King began teaching at St. Norbert College in 2014 and he is a faculty member in the Biology discipline. Dr. King has taught courses in general biology, developmental biology, genetics, and molecular biology.

Dr. King’s teaching philosophy focuses on student mastery of knowledge, retention of information, and the development of critical thinking skills. He describes himself as a “tough but fair professor who genuinely cares about the success of (his) students.” His discipline colleagues note that “Ryan is enthusiastic, approachable, students like his delivery, and he clearly personalized the undergraduate experience with activities such as group meetings in his office.”
Ryan’s scholarship involves using small, freshwater flatworms called planarians as a model for human kidney biology and disease. Since coming to SNC, Dr. King has published one peer-reviewed journal article and one book chapter. He is also a co-author on a manuscript that is currently under revision. Peers from beyond the College note that his research laboratory is “well known and highly regarded in the field (of planarian regenerative biology).” Another notes that the planarian regeneration protocol developed by Dr. King is now referred to as “the standard” among others in this field of science.

Ryan’s collegial work includes service on a number of College committees (Student Affairs Committee, College Community Relations Board, the Collaborative Undergraduate Research Committee) and serving on a number of search committees. Recently, Ryan accepted the responsibility of discipline coordinator for Biology. One of his colleagues notes that “Ryan has been the consummate collegial citizen in Biology, always willing to do what he can to enrich the student experience.”

More about Katie Ries

Katie Ries began teaching at St. Norbert College in 2013 and she is a faculty member in the Art discipline. Dr. Ries teaches courses in design, studio art, drawing, and printmaking.

Katie’s teaching philosophy focuses on the idea that there is room in the art “tent” for everyone and that she is present to help students succeed (assuming that is their desire). Dr. Ries is an innovative, passionate, and reflective classroom practitioner. She has a vision for incorporating civic engagement into her courses. One of her students wrote that she “has a natural ability to steer students into doing their best work, pushing (them) to do better.” One of her discipline colleagues explained: “Katie is a tremendous colleague who brings passion, creativity, and thoughtful ideas to her teaching.”

In terms of scholarship, creative and professional activities, Dr. Ries produces art that addresses modern land stewardship and social justice issues. Her scholarly work and creative artifacts have been disseminated in various ways, including public and academic presentations, publications, and exhibitions. A colleague familiar with her work notes that “in each piece, her work was clearly defined, conceptually strong, but not intimidating. Her artwork demonstrates a quality that is based on observation and understanding of one’s environment, while sophisticated and strongly executed.”

Katie’s collegial work is substantial. She has served on a number of committees, including the Faculty Advisory Committee, the Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee, and the Undergraduate Collaborative Research Committee. She has also proven herself to be a valuable member of the Art discipline. Regarding her committee service, one colleague states that Dr. Ries “is a pleasure to serve with because she is insightful with her questions and is willing to search for consensus and solutions, rather than just complain.”

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