Faculty, Staff — Update, In Memoriam, Welcome


Lloyd Ultan, social sciences/history (Metro), has been recognized as one of America’s Most Influential Educators by the International Association of Who’s Who. Ultan was noted for his vast contributions as a historian and educator, particularly for his depth of knowledge of the borough of The Bronx. He has guest lectured for numerous institutions. He was appointed The Bronx borough historian in 1996. For more information go to “Lloyd Ultan Has Been Recognized as One of America’s Most Influential Educators by the International Association of Who’s Who.”

Sylvia Laudien-Meo, art history (Flor), led a virtual treasure hunt on August 31 for the New York Adventure Club. She uncovered a selection of hotel bars and lobbies throughout New York City that had museum-quality art collections and site-specific commissions. Laudien-Meo is an art historian, museum educator and New York City tour guide.

President Christopher Capuano; Dale Caldwell, executive director, Rothman Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Flor); and Krista Jenkins, political science and executive director, FDU Poll (Flor), were named to the NJBIZ Education Power 50 List for 2020. The list profiles leaders at education institutions who are “responsible for managing [education] organizations, making policies that directly affect the institutions or are themselves directly responsible for imparting knowledge to students, apprentices and the citizenry at large.”

On September 24, Jason Scorza, vice provost for international affairs and philosophy/political science (Metro); Kyle Kattelman, political science (Metro); and Ashley Ferraro, assistant director of global learning (Metro), did a virtual presentation on “Who’s Who and What’s What at the United Nations” to familiarize FDU students with the United Nations, its nongovernmental organization community and opportunities available to them.

On September 17, Chris Rasmussen, history and deputy chair, social sciences/history (Metro), gave his annual Constitution Day Lecture, “The Right to Vote,” on Zoom.

Congratulations to Madhavi Saifee, Silberman College (Flor), for being awarded @StukentApp Professor of the Month for August 2020! Saifee has more than 30 years of experience in marketing, sales and media — 25 of those years with internet companies.

Melissa Brooks, head coach, women’s basketball (Flor), was nominated for the NCAA Division III LGBTQ Coach of the Year Award. The Division III LGBTQ Administrator/Coach/Staff of the Year Award is a new award presented this year by the NCAA that honors the service, leadership and promotion of LGBTQ inclusion by an LGBTQ athletics administrator, coach or staff member in Division III. The FDU Devils Athletics department also received a nomination for the LGBTQ Division III Athletic Department of the Year award. For more information go to “Melissa Brooks Nominated for NCAA Division III LGBTQ Coach of the Year Award.” In addition, Brooks, in her role as diversity and inclusion coordinator, along with student-athletes at the Florham Campus started an initiative called Athletes for Change and Equality (ACE). To read more go to “ACE Initiative Started by Devils Student-Athletes.”

Khyati Joshi, education (Metro), spoke about her book White Christian Privilege: The Illusion of Religious Equality in America on “The Attitude with Arnie Arnesen” on WNHN 94.7 FM, Concord, N.H., and wnhnfm.org, on August 27. She also spoke at a Rutgers University September 9 event on “White Christian Privilege: The Illusion of Religious Equality in America.” For more information see “Professor Blames ‘White Christian Privilege’ for Slavery, Genocide.” She was also a keynote speaker at the New Jersey NOW 2020 Virtual State Conference on October 3. On August 10, Joshi discussed “Faith and Justice” with Sen. Cory Booker in a broadcast aired on her blog. To listen go to Khyati Y. Joshi Live with Cory Booker.

Several members of the University community were of this year’s FDU Homecoming@Home events and activities. President Christopher Capuano delivered the welcome remarks and kicked off the four-day event. Jenn Noon, athletics director (Flor), together with current Devils coaches hosted the Devils Athletics Alumni Reunion. Peter Woolley, political science and director, public/global affairs, and Daniel Cassino, political science and director of experimental research, FDU Poll (Flor), led an alumni webinar to discuss “Election Night.” René Steinke, English and director, MFA in creative writing (Flor), led a conversation with Nicole Melleby, MFA’16 (Flor), an award-winning author. George Staikos, hospitality/sports/tourism management (Metro), hosted a wine-tasting event “Exploring Sonoma County, Calif.” In addition, University trustees Marta Tellado, BA’81 (Flor), president and chief executive officer, Consumer Reports, and Brenda Blackmon, BA’01, MPA’13 (Metro), four-time Emmy Award-winning journalist, discussed “Women in Leadership.”

Florham Campus faculty members Meghan Sacks, criminology, and Amy Shlosberg, criminology and chair, criminology/criminal justice, discussed the Melanie McGuire case on ABC’s 20/20 on September 25. Sacks and Shlosberg host the true-crime podcast “Direct Appeal,” which reexamined the McGuire case in great detail.

On October 6, Michael Avaltroni, dean, pharmacy/health sciences (Flor), moderated a virtual town hall presented by Partnership for a Drug-free New Jersey and Horizon Foundation for New Jersey in collaboration with FDU on “Knock Out Opioid Abuse.” He also wrote the article “The New Healthcare Paradigm,” which appeared in the e-book INNOVATE® New Jersey.

Martha Papson Garcia, director of veterans services (Metro), and Luke Schultheis, vice president for enrollment, planning and effectiveness, went skydiving with the U.S. Army Golden Knights as part of the Community Partners Program. 

Denise Rangel Tracy, mathematics (Flor), received the Association for Women in Mathematics’ (AWM) 2020 Service Award, which recognizes individuals for their efforts in promoting and supporting women in mathematics through exceptional voluntary service to the AWM. To read more go to AWM Service Award 2020.

Ernest “Bub” Kovacs, administrative science (Metro), was selected to provide pre-construction partnering and alternative dispute resolution for road and infrastructure projects associated with the Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton Airport. A project jointly funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Rockefeller Group in a public/private partnership, the improvements will improve the supply chain and goods movement for airport users, including a new hub to be used by Federal Express. RE Pierson, of New Jersey, is the contractor of record to perform the improvements on this project. Alumnus Shawn Harper, BS’03 (Metro), RE Pierson project manager, holds an FDU civil engineering technology degree.

Following his October 20 announcement concerning the new undergraduate tuition rate, President Christopher Capuano discussed the critical reasons for the initiative in an op-ed, “Why We Lowered Tuition at Fairleigh Dickinson,” published by The Star-Ledger and nj.com on October 22. He also discussed the University’s decision to lower tuition costs for the next school year on CBS New York’s local news. To read more go to “Coronavirus Impact: Some Colleges Acknowledge Financial Challenges, Say They’re Lowering Tuition Costs for 2021.”

Jordan Nowotny, criminology (Flor), moderated a discussion via Zoom about “La Policia y La Comunidad: A Discussion on Latinx Communities, Police Violence and Black Lives Matter” on October 26. The discussants were Marisol LeBrón, Mexican American and Latina/o studies, University of Texas at Austin, and visiting scholar, Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.; and Claudio Vera Sanchez, justice studies and programs coordinator, justice studies, San José State University, San Jose, Calif.

Nicholas Baldwin, dean, Wroxton College, hosted a virtual guided tour (via Zoom) of the college in Oxfordshire, England, on September 17.

The Independent Scholar as Change Agent: The Case of Foreign Language Advocacy,” by Kathleen Stein-Smith, languages (Metro), has been published in the September issue of Journal of Language Teaching and Research. Her article, “Why Do I Tell the Franco-American Story?: Our French-Canadian Legacy — Past, Present, and Future,” was published in the French-Canadian Legacy blog.

Among the recipients of this year’s Maddy Awards, which is spearheaded by the Florham Campus Student Government Organization, included Randall Westbrook, education (Flor), for Outstanding Teacher; and Neil Butler, campus life coordinator, residence life (Flor), for Staff Member of the Year.

Chadwin Sandifer, associate dean of student affairs and administrative operations, pharmacy/health sciences (Flor), is a finalist for NJBIZ’s Health Care Heroes Awards in the Category of Education – Individual.

Luke Schultheis, vice president for enrollment, planning and effectiveness, was one of the presenters at a September 8 webinar on “Student Success in the Era of COVID-19,” which covered the evolving field of #studentsuccess, the impact of COVID-19 and strategies for the future in terms of student engagement and retention.

Articles by Mihaela Leonida, chemistry and coordinator, preprofessional studies in the sciences (Metro), were published: “Biocompatible Non-covalent Complexes of Chitosan and Different Polymers: Characteristics and Application in Drug Delivery,” in Arhiv za farmaciju (Archives of Pharmacy), Serbia; and “Enzyme Nanovehicles: Histaminase and Catalase Delivered in Nanoparticulate Chitosan,” in Drying Technology. A book that Leonida and Ish Kumar, chemistry (Metro), coauthored in 2016 titled Bionanomaterials for Skin Regeneration was mentioned in the May 2020 issue of the New Journal of Chemistry. Leonida and Kumar also cowrote the article “Microfluidics: From Engineering to Life Sciences,” which was cited in The Journal of Physics: Conference Series, August 2020. The article was initially published in Current Nanoscience in 2012. In 2018, Leonida and Alice Benzecry, biological sciences (Metro), cowrote the article “Antibacterial Hop Extracts Encapsulated in Nanochitosan Matrices,” which was published in the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules.

Bridget Rafter has been named the new Devils softball coach — the sixth in the program’s history. She was previously assistant softball coach at the Metropolitan Campus for three years. To read more go to “Bridget Rafter Named Head Softball Coach.”

Dale Caldwell, executive director, Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Krista Jenkins, political science and executive director, FDU Poll (both Flor), made the top of the class for the ROI-NJ Influencers — Higher Education, Deans and Directors list.

Peter Woolley, political science and director, public/global affairs, was a guest on the September 22 episode of @GSDebatePodcast, where he discussed various topics including polling dynamics and the 2016 election. To watch the podcast go to Garden State Debate Podcast.

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, Hispanic Center faculty members Robert Diaz, psychology and assistant director, Puerta al Futuro program, and Luz Helena Flores, marketing and coordinator for Avanza and Puerta al Futuro programs (both Metro), jointly moderated a panel discussion on “Latinxs Hoy: Immigration, Elections and Democracy.” Fernando Alonso, Hispanic Center (Metro), was among the panelists.

Bruce Peabody, government/politics and director, Florham Institute for Lifelong Learning, and John Schiemann, government/law (both Flor), cowrote an op-ed titled “How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Became a Cultural Icon: Americans Still Long for Public Figures with Extraordinary Intellectual, Physical and Moral Achievements,” published in The Washington Post on September 28. Peabody also wrote the article “How the Supreme Court Can Maintain Its Legitimacy Amidst Intensifying Partisanship,” which was posted on theconversation.com on October 20.

Stacie Lents, theater and director of acting (Flor), moderated a virtual roundtable, “An Evening with Laverne Cox,” with FDU students and Laverne Cox, Emmy-nominated actresa and Emmy Award-winning producer, as part of WAMFest 2020.

Dale Caldwell, executive director, Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Flor), wrote an op-ed titled “Family Unfriendly: Time to End the Bipartisan Assault on Mom-and-Pop Businesses,” published on NJBIZ on October 5.

Sandra Gilot-West, associate dean of students, and Gary Darden, history and chair, social sciences/history (both Flor), were among the panelists in a discussion on “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” a film by Aaron Sorkin on the Chicago Seven, a group of seven defendants who were charged by the federal government with conspiracy in 1969 and 1970. Several scenes from the movie, which was released on Netflix on October 16, were filmed at the Florham Campus.

Among the new books that were recently published by FDU Press were by Metropolitan Campus faculty members — Donald Trump’s New World Order: U.S. Credibility, Reputation, and Integrity by T. Hamid Al-Bayati, visiting scholar of international relations, public/global affairs; and Charles H. Thompson on Desegregation, Democracy, and Education, 1953–1963 by Louis Ray, education.

Minerva Guttman, nursing and director, nursing/allied health, was appointed editor-in-chief of the International Forum for Nursing and Healthcare, a peer-reviewed publication and international journal of the University of the Philippines International Nursing and Healthcare Forum.

Krista Jenkins, political science and executive director, FDU Poll (Flor), was the featured speaker at a WebEx discussion hosted by the Governmental Affairs Institute at Ocean County College, Toms River, N.J., earlier today, October 28. She talked about the pertinent issues leading up to the election, the platforms of President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden and the details of political polling.

In the News …

Christopher Capuano, president, was quoted in the following articles: “Pricey N.J. University Slashes Tuition by $10K for New Students,” on nj.com; and “FDU, in Nod to Economy, Dramatically Drops Base Tuition Price for 2021–22 School Year” and “At FDU, Record Ranking is Great — But Not as Gratifying as Helping Its Underserved Community,” on roi-nj.com.

John Niser, director, hospitality/sports/tourism management, was quoted in the article “Travel and Coronavirus: Four Destinations That Won’t Allow Tourists Until 2021,” on traveler.com.au on August 31 and in Bali won’t allow tourists until 2021. These 4 destinations will probably follow,” in The Washington Post on August 28.

Anthony Tasso, psychology/counseling (Flor), was quoted in the article, “Should You Wear a Mask When a Contractor Comes Into Your Home?” published on nj.com on August 27.

Chris Rasmussen, history and deputy chair, social sciences/history (Metro), was quoted in the October Newsweek article “Donald Trump’s Reshaping of the Judiciary is Overrated by His Critics and Supporters.”

Krista Jenkins, political science and executive director, FDU Poll (Flor), was quoted in the following October articles about recent FDU polls: “FDU Poll: Biden’s Projected Win in NJ Driven More By Distaste for Trump Than Strong Support for Democratic Candidate” (InsiderNJ); “Biden Has Huge Lead Over Trump in N.J., New Poll Shows: New Jersey Hasn’t Gone Red in a Presidential Race in 32 Years” and “New TV Ad Seeks Approval of Legal Weed” (New Jersey Globe); “New Jersey Voters Overwhelmingly Support Legalization” (Ganjapreneur.com); “Another NJ Poll Gives Murphy High Marks for State’s COVID-19 Response” (NJBIZ); and “A Biden-Harris Administration, Democratic Senate Paints Rosier Picture for Sports Betting Nationwide” (sportshandle.com). She was also quoted in the following articles on nj.com: “More GOP Voters Than Dems in N.J. Say They Will Vote in Person, Poll Says,” “N.J.’s Marijuana Ballot Question Likely to Pass, New Poll Says” and “Gov. Murphy Earns High Marks from New Jerseyans in Another Poll.” Jenkins was also quoted in the article “Sherrill vs. Becchi: Woman-to-Woman Combat in District 11 Congressional Race,” posted on morrisgreen.com on October 23.

Angelika Szumilo, head women’s basketball coach, athletics (Metro), was quoted in the October 22 article “Fairleigh Dickinson Works Toward Better Days,” on Amsterdam News.

Peter Woolley, political science and director, public/global affairs, was quoted in the following articles: “Presidential Politics Has Huge Implications in CD2’s Van Drew v. Kennedy” (InsiderNJ); “NJ to Adopt Mail-in Voting for November Election, Gov. Murphy Announces” and “Trump Campaign Sues New Jersey Over Vote-by-Mail Order” (pix11.com).

Greg Herenda, head men’s basketball coach, athletics (Metro), was quoted in the Asbury Park Press article “ESPN ‘College Game Day’ Partnering with FDU Basketball for Homecoming Special.”

In Memoriam 

Samir Elbassiouny, retired, physics (Flor), died on June 1, 2020, at the age of 85, in the German Hospital at Alexandria, Egypt. He was the physics lab coordinator and an academic computer center technician at the Florham Campus until his retirement in 2016. He served FDU for 41 years, starting in 1975. He is survived by his wife, Sawsan Elbassiouny; two daughters, Noura and Nancy Elbassiouny, BA’96 (Metro); and two sons, Nader, BS’01 (Metro), and Sheref Elbassiouny, BS’10 (Flor). “My father loved his job at FDU,” said daughter Nancy.


The University welcomes new full-time and part-time employees who joined FDU as of October 19, 2020.

Welcome to Shafiq Abdallah, lecturer, pharmacy/health sciences (Flor); Pierre Balthazard, dean, Silberman College; Tyler Edwards, lecturer, pharmacy/health sciences (Flor); Nichole Jenisch, adult nurse practitioner, Wellness Center (Flor); Adrianna Komeshok, nurse practitioner, student health services (Metro); Felella Millman, clinical assistant professor of nursing, nursing/allied health (Metro); Gina No, lecturer, pharmacy/health sciences (Flor); and David Topolewski, accounting manager for financial reporting, accounting (Metro). Also see “Faculty Status Report 2020–2021.”

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