FPU's own Sweet 16

By wayne.steffen on October 3, 2013 @ 5:39am
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The dedication of these 16 new colleagues to teaching, students, scholarship and the integration of faith and learning has been inspiring, according to Provost Stephen Varvis, Ph.D. "They are already making a contribution to the intellectual and spiritual life of the university. Each new professor brings something unique to us."

Individual profiles at fresno.edu/faculty

School of Humanities, Religion and Social Science

Nathan Carson, Ph.D., is assistant professor of philosophy. He earned his doctoral and one master's degrees at Baylor University and two masters' from Regent University. His bachelor's from Whitworth University.

Jason Ekk, J.D., is assistant professor of criminology and restorative justice, based at the Bakersfield Regional Center. He earned his juris doctorate at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and his master's and bachelor's degrees at Fresno Pacific.

Peter Smith, Ph.D., is assistant professor of peacemaking and conflict studies. He earned his doctorate at the University of Wales/International Baptist Theological Seminary, Prague, Czech Republic; his master's degree from Fuller Theological Seminary; and his bachelor's from Fresno Pacific.

Annie Fujikawa, Ph.D., is assistant professor of psychology. She earned her doctoral, master's and bachelor's degrees from Biola University.

Jane Middleton, D.S.W., is professor of social work. She earned her doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania and her master's and bachelor's degrees at Temple University. Her primary assignment will be to adapt the traditional undergraduate social work major for the bachelor's degree completion format. She has been social work department chair at California State University, Fresno, and at Temple.

James Van Slyke, Ph.D., is assistant professor of psychology. He earned his doctorate and two master's degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary and his bachelor's from Missouri State University.

Arthur Wint, J.D., is professor of criminology. He earned his juris doctorate at the University of Washington School of Law and his bachelor's degree from Washington State University. He is a professor emeritus at California State University, Fresno.

School of Education

Bendta Friesen, Ed.D., is assistant professor of education. She earned her doctorate at the University of LaVerne, her master's degree at National University and her bachelor's at California State University, Fresno.

Sharon Merritt, Ph.D., is assistant professor of education and director of the master of arts in teaching program. She earned her doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley; her master's degree at San Francisco State University; and her bachelor's at the University of the Pacific.

Krista Venecia, Ph.D., is assistant professor of education, based at the Merced Regional Center. She earned her doctorate the University of California, Davis; and her bachelor's degree at Occidental College.

Dianne Young, M.A., is assistant professor of education, based at the Visalia Regional Center. She earned her master's degree from FPU and her bachelor's from the University of Tennessee.

Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary

Adam Ghali, Ph.D., is assistant professor of marriage and family therapy. He earned his doctorate and two master's at Fuller Theological Seminary and his bachelor's degree from the University of Alberta, Edmonton.

Cynthia McGrady, Ph.D., is assistant professor of marriage and family therapy. She earned her doctoral and her master's degrees at the California School of Professional Psychology and her bachelor's at California State University, Fresno.

School of Natural Sciences

Stephanie Blundell, MSN-Ed, is assistant professor of nursing. She earned her master's degree at the University of Phoenix and her bachelor's at St. Joseph's College.

Amy Brogan, Ed.D., is assistant professor of kinesiology. She earned her doctoral, master's and bachelor's degrees at California State University, Fresno.

 Ken Cheung, Ph.D., is associate professor of chemistry. He earned his doctorate at Northwestern University and his bachelor's degree at the University of Wisconsin—Madison.

Looking at the long term

Selecting a new faculty member can be a 25-, 30- or 35-year decision. The university is committed to seeking professors who bring ethnic diversity and international experience. "It is a great responsibility both for the appointed professor and for the committee recommending the appointment," Varvis said.

Candidates must meet criteria including:

  • Scholarship—Potential professors are trained in a particular discipline, and have a breadth of knowledge that brings breadth and depth to the faculty. Professors are active scholars, contributing to their professional discipline and ready to bring students into that work through collaborative research, writing or creation of some kind. Engaged scholars add a new dimension to the campus academic dialog.
  • Teaching—Teaching is an art, and professors must be able to communicate with students of all kinds and in many different ways. Many must have experience with online education and current social media. Teaching professors are dedicated to learning and to assisting students in learning. Enthusiasm for teaching and for their academic specialty is a primary quality of effective teachers, who seek the success of their students.
  • Faith—Faculty must be committed Christians spiritually mature enough to mentor and guide students. All must assent to FPU's theological orientation grounded in the Evangelical and Anabaptist traditions. FPU has professors of almost every Christian background.

Finally, Varvis said, FPU looks for those alive to the university's work and the community who will join in the adventure of being part of it. More on selecting great faculty on Varvis' blog: blogs.fresno.edu/stevevarvis/2013/07/31/faculty-appointments/