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New Academic Department Chairpersons, Faculty Appointed

Released: 08/26/2010

Ten new faculty members and five academic department chairpersons have been appointed at LSU Alexandria for the 2010-11 academic year, announced Dr. Barbara Hatfield, vice chancellor for academic and student affairs. “We’re impressed with the credentials, diversity and leadership of the new faculty and department chairs,” said Hatfield. “Most importantly, we’re impressed with the commitment to quality classroom teaching.”

New department chairpersons are Dr. Arthur Rankin, Department of Arts, English and Humanities; Dr. Nathan Ponder, Department of Mathematics and Physical Sciences; Dr. Jerry Sanson, interim, Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences; Linda Hickman, interim, Department of Nursing; and Dr. Bonnie Himes, interim, Department of Library Services.

Rankin, who holds a doctorate in English from Texas Tech, replaced Dr. Richard Collins, who took a position at another university. Rankin, who has been actively involved in faculty leadership positions and committees and student-oriented activities, joined the LSUA faculty in 2002.

Ponder, whose doctorate in mathematics was earned at Tulane University, came to LSUA from Lyon College in Batesville, Ark. He also has been on the faculty at Louisiana Tech. Ponder was appointed when Dr. Thomas Awtry accepted a position at a Texas university.

Sanson, who has been on the LSUA faculty since 1982, is a former Bolton Award for Teaching Excellence winner and has held two endowed professorships. He is a member of the Company of Fellows of the Louisiana Historical Association and has written numerous articles on Louisiana political history and the state during World War II. Sanson replaced Dr. Greg Gormanous, who retired in the summer after one of the longest tenures on the LSUA faculty.

Hickman replaced Dr. Haywood Joiner, who served briefly as interim chairman of the Department of Nursing following the retirement of Dr. Dorothy Lary. Hickman, whose clinical expertise is maternal and neonatal nursing, joined the LSUA faculty in 2006. She taught at Northwestern State University prior to that and was a nurse and staff educator at CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital for 20 years.

Hines, who earned a doctorate in education from Northwestern State University, replaced the retired Jules Tate. Hines came to LSUA in 2005 following more than 30 years at Louisiana College.

The Department of Nursing has two new assistant professors, Gloria Phillips and Victoria Young. Phillips, a registered nurse since 1980 with more than a decade of experience at Rapides Regional Medical Center and the Veterans Administration Medical Center, was on the faculty of Central Louisiana Technical College before joining LSUA. She is an LSUA graduate in nursing and earned a master’s degree in health administration from Central Michigan University.

Young, who earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in nursing from Northwestern State University, was director of nursing at Rapides Primary Healthcare Center before joining the LSUA faculty. She has expertise in alternative medicine procedures.

In addition to Ponder, the Department of Mathematics and Physical Sciences, has added instructors Tanya Lueder and Carolyn Smith. Lueder, whose undergraduate degree is in chemical engineering, holds a master’s in mathematics from LSU. She has been an adjunct instructor at LSUA and supervisor of tutors at Mathnasium in Alexandria.

Smith, a mathematics education graduate from the University of New Orleans who earned a master’s in education from the University of Georgia, taught for several years at Cisco Junior College in Abilene, Texas, and has extensive experience with non-traditional students.

Dr. Cathy Denison has joined the Department of Business Administration as assistant professor of management. Dennison, whose doctorate in vocational/adult education comes from LSU, was president of her own management and consulting services company in Lake Charles before her appointment to the LSUA faculty.

The Department of Education has added Dr. Katrina Jordan as assistant professor. She has been an elementary school teacher and coordinator of the Winn Parish Gifted Program. She recently completed a doctorate in education at Louisiana Tech.

Dr. Linda Zhao has been appointed assistant professor of criminal justice in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences. She earned a doctorate in criminal justice last year from Temple University in Philadelphia and has been a visiting scholar at the Center on Race, Crime and Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

Min Wu is instructor of communication studies in the Department of Arts, English and Humanities. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from two universities in China and is nearing completion of a doctorate in international and intercultural communication from Purdue University.

Dr. Thomas Cocena has joined the Department of Biological Science as assistant professor of biology through a grant from the Rapides Foundation to develop science teachers in secondary education. He earned a doctorate in college science teaching from Syracuse University and taught for 10 years at the SUNY Institute of Technology before coming to LSUA.