Faculty, Staff — Update, In Memoriam, Welcome


Two new members have joined FDU’s board of trustees. Alumnus Lester Owens, MBA’91 (Ruth), is senior executive vice president and head of operations of Wells Fargo & Company. Micheline Nader is a serial health care entrepreneur; bestselling author of The Dolphin’s Dance: Discover Your True Self Through a Powerful 5-step Journey Into Conscious Awareness; and CEO, Jesra Foundation. To read more go to “Two New Members Join Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Board of Trustees.”

A Modernist Fantasy: Modernism, Anarchism and the Radical Fantastic, a book by James Gifford, English and director, University Core, and director of editorial committee, FDU Press (Van), was granted the 2020 Scholarship Award in Myth and Fantasy Studies by the Mythopoeic Society. The awards began in 1971 for scholarship on the Inklings (J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams, among others) before expanding to fantasy literature in general. Gifford is teaching HUMN/PHIL3305 Philosophy of Middle-earth this semester and edits the American Literature chapter for The Year’s Work in English Studies, the same journal from Oxford University Press where J.R.R. Tolkien began his academic career writing.

President Christopher Capuano was among those in the ROI Influencers: Power List 2021 – Higher Education. According to ROI-NJ, “The school was thrilled when it reached its goal of being one of the 50 top regional universities. Capuano, however, is happier about the number of students from underserved communities the school is attracting and educating.”

In February, Randall Westbrook, education (Flor), presented on “The Art and Politics of the Harlem Renaissance” at the East Brunswick (N.J.) Public Library as part of Black History Month. He discussed the origins and meanings of the Harlem Renaissance and looked at works of poet Langston Hughes, novelist Zora Neale Hurston and others. Westbrook also explored the social and political significance of the period, what people can learn from it and how it relates to modern-day developments.

Peter Woolley, political science and founding director, public/global affairs (Flor/Metro), wrote the op-ed “Two Americas, Two New Jerseys, Two Electorates,” which was posted on insidernj.com on March 17. He also wrote the memorandum to Republican gubernatorial candidates “Advantages and Disadvantages of Gov. Phil Murphy in 2021 Election,” which was published in New Jersey Globe on February 5.

Fairleigh Dickinson University President Christopher Capuano announced the creation of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Council to identify concerns, make recommendations and develop initiatives that will help FDU become a model community rich in inclusiveness and diversity. The council is headed by Dale Caldwell, executive director, Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Flor). Among the council members are Traci Banks, associate vice president for enrollment management; Marc DeBoer, deputy to Florham Campus executive (Flor); Ana Guerra, social work (Flor); Luz Huertas Castillo, history/Latin-American studies (Flor); Khyati Joshi, education (Metro); Marion McClary, biological sciences and chair, biological sciences (Metro); Jordan Nowotny, criminology (Flor); Martha Pitts, English and coordinator, African Studies and African-American Studies minors (Flor); David Miles, director of public safety (Metro); Linda Raffaele-Mendez, school psychology (Metro); Mark Robertson, coordinator of student outreach/career development, computer sciences/engineering (Metro); Kathryn Spence, education and director, QUEST/BA–MAT (Metro); Joseph Vitiello, director of public safety (Flor); and Alwin Wagener, counselor education (Flor). To read more about the council and who its other members are go to “FDU creates Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council.” 

Bradford Hurlbut, director of athletics (Metro), wrote an op-ed for nj.com, “FDU: We added new athletic programs in the midst of the pandemic,” which was posted on February 9.

As part of FDU’s Alumni and Friends Webinar Series, Michael Avaltroni, chemistry and dean, pharmacy/health sciences (Flor), spoke about “COVID-19 One Year In: Where Are We Now and Where Are We Going?” on February 23.

Kathleen Stein-Smith, languages (Metro), has been elected to the MLA (Modern Language Association) Delegate Assembly in the area of libraries and archives. Her term runs through January 2024. Strategic Advocacy for the French Language in the U.S., a book she coedited, was published by the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF). In addition, Stein-Smith’s most recent article, “In Celebration of French,” was published in the March issue of Language Magazine.

Mike LoPresti, head women’s bowling coach, athletics (Metro), picked up his 1,500th NCAA win with the Knights bowlers’ victory over the Wagner Seahawks. He has led the Knights to two NCAA titles and is the winningest coach in college bowling history.

Ajay Garg, administrative science and director, MAS and BA in individualized studies programs (Van), presented on “Carbon Trading,” as part of the colloquium organized by the Academic Programs and Research Subcommittee of the Sustainability Task Force. Gerard Farias, management (Flor), is a member of the task force.

Dale Caldwell, executive director, Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Flor), is heading a new team of policy experts called the Entrepreneur Zone Working Group, which aims to find ways to drive employment in marginalized communities. The group is part of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. To read more go to “How to increase employment in marginalized communities?” On March 19, Caldwell spoke at the Leadership Hunterdon (N.J.) Speaker Series. In February, Caldwell was inducted into the 2021 Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame. A tennis historian, he also is founder of the Black Tennis Hall of Fame; creator and co-curator of the original Breaking the Barriers Exhibit, which is now hosted at the International Tennis Hall of Fame; and former United States Tennis Association (USTA) Eastern president and has served on the board of directors of the USTA. “Fighting Poverty with Entrepreneurship,” an article by Caldwell, was posted on groupofnations.com on February 16.

Robert DiToma, head baseball coach, athletics (Metro), led his team in the #VsCancer fundraiser, which raised more than $6,000 in a few weeks. A fundraising campaign of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, Vs. Cancer empowers athletes and communities to fund lifesaving childhood cancer efforts.

Bruce Peabody, government/politics and director, Florham Institute for Lifelong Learning (Flor), cowrote the article “A Realistic Alternative to the Electoral College,” which was posted on jurist.org in February.

Khyati Joshi, education (Metro), is leading the initiative for the Scotch Plains Fanwood Joint Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Committee (TRHT), which supports the school district’s antibias training program for administrators and educators. TRHT is made up of officials from Scotch Plains, Fanwood, the Board of Education, Scotch Plains-Fanwood Ministerium and Social Justice Matters Inc., as well as the SPF Schools Superintendent, TRHT Center at Rutgers University-Newark and members of the public. Joshi also was one of the featured lecturers in the Teaneck (N.J.) Public Library’s two-part lecture series, “Walk the Talk.” She was part of the first lecture, which covered race, culture, religion and public policy. The second lecture was about how to collectively plan and develop strategies for developing a more inclusive community.

In celebration of Read Across America, Jenn Noon, director of athletics (Flor), read to the third-grade class of Niki Ikeda, FDU alumna (BA’15, MAT’16 [Flor]) and former Devils field hockey player, at Red Bank Regional Elementary School, Thorofare, N.J. Noon chose to read Girls with Guts! The Road to Breaking Barriers and Bashing Records in honor of Women’s History Month. In addition, Noon was mentioned in the New Jersey Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women #InspirationThursday tweet. To the question “Who Inspires You?” Kristin Giotta, associate athletic director for compliance/head women’s soccer coach, athletics (Flor), answered Jenn Noon. “Her ‘adapt and overcome’ mantra is what our department needs in a time like now. She is a great AD [athletics director] and even better human being.”

Maya Sanyal, career development specialist, career development (Metro), moderated the Third Annual Professional Engineering and Technology Conference held virtually on March 5. Panelists included industry experts and FDU alumni who shared the career-success strategies and skills they learned during and after college and graduate school.

John Cahill, head cross-country coach, athletics (Flor), announced that the Devils women’s cross-country team received the award from the New Jersey Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (N.J.I.A.W.) for the highest fall cumulative grade point average (GPA) in the state of New Jersey, finishing the semester with a 3.80 GPA. The team also finished with the second highest cumulative GPA for all sports in New Jersey. This is the first time since 2011 that the women’s cross-country team has finished with this honor and the second straight fall semester (2019 and 2020) with highest female team GPA on the Florham Campus. To read more go to “Women’s XC Earns N.J.I.A.W. Highest Cumulative Fall GPA in New Jersey.”

Marion McClary, biological sciences and chair, biological sciences (Metro), has been appointed to the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation’s newly created Environmental Advisory Board. The advisory board members will serve as lead technical advisers to design and implement research and programs to address climate action based upon science.

David Landau, film/animation (Flor), wrote the article “The Importance of Writing Multi-layered Characters,” which was posted on studentfilmmakers.com in February.

Greg Herenda, men’s basketball coach, athletics (Metro), posted his 100th win as Knights coach with the team’s victory over the Mount St. Mary Mountaineers. With his achievement, Herenda is the fourth Knights head men’s basketball coaches to reach 100 wins. The others are Tom Green (407 wins), who posted 260 conference victories and led the Knights to four NCAA tournament berths; Richard “Dick” Holub (233 wins), inaugural member of the Division I Hall of Fame and first men’s basketball coach; and Al LoBalbo (128 wins), who was posthumously inducted into the Division I Hall of Fame in 2008 and whose namesake award (The Al LoBalbo Award) is given to those whose “selfless service, tireless dedication and education through sport made significant contributions that transcend competition for the betterment of athletics and all who are involved.”

With the Knights women’s basketball team’s victory over the Bryant Bulldogs on March 5, Angelika Szumilo, head women’s basketball coach, athletics (Metro), set a program record with 21 conference wins over her first two seasons. To read more about the Knights seven-game winning streak and Coach Szumilo go to “Women’s Basketball Ends Regular Season with 64-58 Win Over Bryant, Seventh Straight Victory.”

On March 31, Florham Campus faculty members Hyunah Cho, pharmaceutical science, and Patricia Melloy, biology, presented as part of the Faculty Research Showcase “FDU Women in Science.” Cho discussed ““Mini-Pharma on Your Desk: 3D Printing of Drug-delivery Systems,” and Melloy spoke about “Studying Mitochondrial Inheritance Using Budding Yeast.” The event also included a virtual screening of “Picture a Scientist,” a 2020 documentary about gender equality in science.

As part of Stress LESS Week, Metropolitan Campus staff members did a virtual presentation about how students can cope with academic overload. The presenters were Barbara Byrnes, director, Regional Center for Learning Disabilities; Paul Dunphy, head research and instruction librarian, Giovatto Library; Ana Fontoura, University librarian, Giovatto Library; Andrea Mosca, director, Academic Advisement Center and Enhanced Freshman Experience; and Margaret Roidi, director, Academic Resource Center. Alice Mills, codirector of counseling, student counseling/psychological services, was the moderator.

In the News …

Anthony Tasso, psychology, director of undergraduate psychology programs and deputy director, psychology/counseling (Flor), was quoted in the January nj.com article “The relief as loved ones get the COVID vaccine is the best thing about 2021 so far.”

President Christopher Capuano was quoted in the January northjersey.com article “While other schools cut sports teams, Fairleigh Dickinson University adds two programs.”

Dale Caldwell, executive director, Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Flor), was quoted in the February New Jersey Business magazine article “FDU Rothman Institute Partners with Small Business Pro University.”

Bradford Hurlbut, director of athletics; Jason Young, associate athletic director, external affairs, athletics; and Karl France, head men’s volleyball coach, athletics (all Metro), were quoted in the March article “Could adding athletic programs decrease financial woes for some schools? FDU is banking on it,” posted on espn.com. In addition, Hurlbut was quoted in the February article “FDU going against the norm by adding sports, not axing them,” which was posted on apnews.com and seattletimes.com.

Luke Schultheis, vice president for enrollment/planning/effectiveness, was quoted in the January EdTech Magazine article, “Student Success Takes on New Meaning Amid Remote Learning: From financial challenges to childcare needs, colleges find new ways to engage with and support their students.”

Daniel Cassino, government/politics and executive director, FDU Poll (Flor), was among those interviewed on My 9 NJ Now about GOP gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli’s new TV ads. He also was interviewed on the PIX11 News on Trump’s acquittal and what’s next for him and the GOP. Cassino was quoted in the following January and February articles: “N.J. governor’s race may be fought without abundance of independent polls: Quinnipiac, who once polled New Jersey every month, won’t say if they’ll play in 2021” (newjerseyglobe.com); “‘Man Up’ Against COVID? You’re More Likely to Die, Survey Suggests” (New Jersey 101.5); “‘Macho’ men are less likely to wear masks, more likely to have had COVID, poll says” (nj.com); and “FDU Poll: Macho, Man Man: Masculinity is a major risk factor for COVID-19” (insidernj.com).

Jaymee Highcock, assistant men’s soccer coach, athletics (Metro), was quoted in the March article “From Fareham and Fratton to becoming a globe trotter — the story of footballing coach and scout Jaymee Highcock” posted on portsmouth.co.uk.

Peter Woolley, political science and founding director, public/global affairs (Flor/Metro), was quoted in the March article “NJ formally legalizes recreational marijuana, setting up a new industry,” posted on pix11.com.

John Niser, hospitality/tourism management and director, International School of Hospitality, Sports, and Tourism Management, was quoted in the March Washington Post article “What kind of reception can American travelers expect post-covid?

In Memoriam

Edna Charles, emerita, English (Metro), and alumna, BA’63 (Metro), MA’67 (Ruth), died on March 19, 2021, at the age of 100. She had been a part-time member of the English faculty since September 1963 before she was appointed instructor of English. She retired from FDU in 2009.

Charles Schaefer, emeritus, psychology (Metro), died on September 19, 2020, at the age of 86. He joined FDU in 1986 as professor of psychology and retired in 2007. He also served as director of the University’s Center for Psychological Services. In 1994, he received the Distinguished Faculty Award for Research and Scholarship. He pioneered the technique of play therapy, through which children express difficult feelings and experiences in playing them out with the coaching of a supportive therapist. He is survived by his children, Karine and Eric; grandchildren, James and Allison; daughter-in-law, Irene Ma; and siblings, Lawrence Schaefer and Elizabeth Schaefer. He was preceded in death by his wife of 52 years, Anne Weldon Schaefer.


The University welcomes new full-time and part-time employees who joined FDU as of March 15, 2021.

Welcome to Karl France, head men’s volleyball coach, athletics (Metro); Lubna Irshaad, academic support services assistant, academic support services (Van); Sarah Jordan, institutional research analyst, institutional research/assessment (Metro); Allison O’Gorman, assistant athletic trainer, athletics (Metro); Iavana Parker, assistant athletic trainer, athletics (Flor); Susan Santalucia, associate professor of occupational therapy, pharmacy/health sciences (Flor); Jane Shtaynberg, assistant dean for experiential education, pharmacy/health sciences (Flor); and Alexandra Vergona, assistant softball coach, athletics (Metro).

go to what’s new