University fills 26 full-time faculty positions in areas of distinction


Students and faculty on Coleman Common at The University of Akron

Coleman Common on The University of Akron campus is a popular gathering spot.

Updated Aug. 26 and July 8 to reflect edits and additional hires not included in the original July 1 announcement.

During the 2018-2019 academic year, The University of Akron created three-year action plans to identify key areas of distinction and opportunity for strategic investment. In keeping with that goal, the University has filled 26 full-time faculty positions for the fall 2019 semester. Seventeen faculty were hired in tenure track (TT) positions and 10 in non-tenure track (NTT) positions.

UA established the three-year action plans, outlining the important decisions and actions needed to help the University be distinctive in a crowded, competitive higher education landscape. This plan was designed to: align University resources to build on notable areas of strength; increase revenue by attracting more students to those areas; prioritize areas of investment; and control expenditures throughout the University.

The new hires in each college and school are listed below.

Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences

Marc Reed, professor of music (TT) and director of both the School of Music and School of Dance, Theatre, and Arts Administration

Reed, D.M.A. (University of North Texas), chair of the music department and associate professor of trumpet at Fort Lewis College before joining UA, is an accomplished administrator, teacher and musician. He also edits the “Trumpet in the Wind Band” column for the International Trumpet Guild Journal and oversees and administers the guild’s Youth Competition at its annual conference.

David R. Flynn, assistant professor of practice (NTT), The Mary Schiller Myers School of Art*

Flynn, B.F.A. (UA), as a visiting assistant professor of practice, has been teaching courses in graphic design and portfolio presentation at UA since 2009. He has more than 38 years of professional experience, has won numerous Gold Addy awards for art direction and design, and is the owner and creative director of David Flynn Design.
*began full-time in spring 2019

Jim Johnson, assistant professor (TT), School of Music

Johnson, D.M. (Florida State University), as assistant professor of trumpet at Kansas State University, led its trumpet ensemble to the National Trumpet Competition each of the past two years, directed studio classes and ensemble rehearsals, and regularly performed with the Faculty Brass Quintet. He is the principal trumpet with the Salina Symphony, a performer in the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra, and co-founder of the Conspiratus Brass duo.

Minju Kim, assistant professor (TT), School of Music

Kim, M.M. (Cleveland Institute of Music), a doctoral candidate at Indiana University Bloomington, is co-chair of the string department at UA, where she has been teaching violin, viola and chamber music as a visiting assistant professor since 2017. She also teaches in the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Preparatory Program; has performed throughout North America, Central America and Europe; and is the second violin principal of the CityMusic Cleveland Chamber Orchestra.

Stanislav Golovin, assistant professor (TT), School of Music

Golovin, D.M.A. (University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance), has been a visiting assistant professor of practice teaching clarinet at UA since 2017. He has taught at the University of Missouri–Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, the Interlochen Center for the Arts, and the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has performed as a solo, chamber and orchestral musician throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia; and he took first place in the Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition and the Darius Milhaud Performance Prize Concert in Cleveland.

Valerie Ifill, assistant professor (TT), School of Dance, Theatre, and Arts Administration

Ifill, M.F.A. (University of Oregon), director and assistant professor of dance at Drexel University before joining UA, is a dance educator, researcher and performer focused on the intersections of dance and community. She led several community-based learning initiatives at Drexel, including classes for incarcerated citizens and students in public schools. Her research and workshops have been presented at conferences for the National Dance Education Organization and the South Carolina Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, and she performs and choreographs across the country.

Chelsea Law, assistant professor of instruction (NTT), Department of Statistics

Law, M.S. (Clemson University), has taught courses in statistics and mathematics at the University of Cincinnati, Gateway Community & Technical College and Clemson. She is an AP Statistics Reader for Educational Testing Service, responsible for grading questions on the AP Statistics test.

Rhiannon B. Kallis, assistant professor of social media (TT), School of Communication

Kallis, Ph.D. (Indiana University of Pennsylvania), has taught courses in communication at The College of New Jersey, California University of Pennsylvania, Westmoreland County Community College and the University of Delaware. Her research explores topics such as privacy and social media and the impact of Tinder and Facebook on romantic relationships.

Andrea L. Meluch, assistant professor of business and organizational communication (TT), joint appointment in the School of Communication and the College of Business Administration's Department of Management

Meluch, Ph.D. (Kent State University), an assistant professor at Indiana University South Bend before joining UA, explores, in her teaching and research, the intersection of organizational, business and health communication – specifically how communication in health care organizations shapes patients’ experiences. She has taught communication courses at Kent State and UA; and, before working in academia, she was a member communication associate for Dairy Farmers of America Inc.

Christopher M. Cox, assistant professor of communication and converged media (TT), School of Communication

Cox, Ph.D. (Georgia State University), a lecturer at Christopher Newport University before joining UA, has taught courses ranging from media audiences and media aesthetics to philosophy of communication, digital media theory, superhero media and film aesthetics and analysis. He also spent ten years working as a health communication specialist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sarah St. George, assistant professor of practice (NTT), Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice

St. George, Ph.D. (Michigan State University), as an intelligence analyst for the Northeast Ohio Regional Fusion Center, has facilitated inter-agency communications, intelligence analysis and information sharing among federal, state, local and private partners to prevent terrorism and criminal activity in a five-county region. Her research focuses on criminal justice and related issues such as domestic extremism and data theft, and she has taught at Kent State and Michigan State University.

Daniela F. Jauk, assistant professor (TT), Sociology, The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Jauk, Ph.D. (UA), examines in her research and teaching the sociology of gender and sexualities, deviance, corrections, criminology, and qualitative and ethnographic methods. She has been a delegate to the United Nations for Sociologists for Women in Society; has taught at UA, Kent State and multiple universities in Austria; and has worked as a research specialist at Oriana House in Akron.

College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering

James Michael Eagan, assistant professor of chemistry/sustainability (TT), Department of Polymer Science

Eagan, Ph.D. (Columbia University in the City of New York), a lab scientist for Aramco Performance Materials and postdoctoral researcher at Cornell University before joining UA, is focused on using chemistry and catalysis to synthesize new polymeric materials for sustainable applications. He is the cofounder of Exsponge Inc., director of chemistry for Ascribe Bioscience and recipient of the 2017 Newcomb Cleveland Prize.

Chunming Liu, assistant professor of characterization (TT), joint appointment in the Department of Polymer Science and the Buchtel College of Arts and Science's Department of Chemistry

Liu, Ph.D. (Texas A&M University), is a physical and analytical chemist interested in studying polymerization reactions and polymer properties at the single-molecule level. As a postdoctoral and research associate at Cornell, he achieved the first real-time visualization of single polymer chain growth in ring-opening metathesis polymerization and built expertise on magnetic tweezers and single-molecule fluorescence microscopy.

Weinan Xu, assistant professor (TT), Department of Polymer Engineering

Xu, Ph.D. (Georgia Institute of Technology), a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University before joining UA, is focusing his research on the advanced fabrication of ultrathin 3D structures and devices based on functional polymers and 2D materials for their applications in biosensing, bioelectronics and energy conversion. He has published 20 papers in prestigious journals and has received numerous awards, including the Best Ph.D. Thesis Award from Sigma Xi and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Fardin Khabaz, assistant professor (TT), joint appointment in the Department of Polymer Engineering and the College of Engineering's Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Khabaz, Ph.D. (Texas Tech University), a postdoctoral fellow at The University of Texas at Austin before joining UA, uses his expertise in molecular- and particle-dynamic simulations to understand and design properties of various complex fluids. He is currently developing a micromechanical model for characterizing the microstructure and rheology of associative jammed suspensions, and studying the mechanics of germanium nanowire aerogels using finite element analysis.

College of Engineering

Adel Alhalawani, assistant professor of instruction (NTT), Department of Biomedical Engineering

Alhalawani, Ph.D. (Ryerson University), a postdoctoral fellow and sessional instructor at Ryerson University prior to joining UA, has focused on the development of novel medical devices for health care applications in his career. He is a professional engineer in Canada and Jordan and has more than three years of industrial experience in research and development. He currently teaches undergraduate courses in biomedical engineering at Ryerson and obtained three different teaching certificates in 2018 focused on experiential and active learning.

Nariman Mahabadi, assistant professor (TT), Department of Civil Engineering

Mahabadi, Ph.D. (Arizona State University), an assistant research professor at Arizona State University before joining UA, has been working on developing new bio-geotechnical solutions for ground improvement and addressing subsurface energy-recovery and associated geo-environmental issues. His goal is to develop bio-inspired technologies to mitigate environmental impact and improve the sustainability of the civil engineering practice.

Amir Nourhani, assistant professor of robotics (TT), joint appointment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Biomimicry Research and Innovation Center (BRIC)

Nourhani, Ph.D. (The Pennsylvania State University), a visiting research scholar at the University of California San Diego before joining UA, conducts research in the areas of theory and applied mathematical modeling of microscale fluid dynamics and soft matter with a focus on reconfigurable microrobots and autonomous microsensors for potential applications in biomedical, environmental and energy areas. For example, he is working on developing a self-propelling microrobot capable of recognizing and approaching a cancerous cell to release a therapeutic drug.

College of Business Administration

Barry S. Mulholland, assistant professor of practice and director of Financial Planning Program (NTT), Department of Finance

Mulholland, Ph.D. (Texas Tech), has been the director of the Financial Planning Program and visiting assistant professor at UA since 2016. Previously, he taught at Texas Tech and the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. He is a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®) with nearly 20 years of professional experience outside academia.

Cynthia D. Tomasch, assistant professor of practice (NTT), Department of Marketing

Tomasch, M.B.A. (Case Western Reserve University), is an accomplished executive with leadership experience in operations and corporate finance management, investor relations, sales and marketing. She has held several prominent positions within PolyOne Corp. – a global provider of polymer materials and services headquartered in Avon Lake, Ohio – including vice president of planning and investor relations, finance director, and general manager of various business units. She has also been a volunteer supporter and lecturer in UA’s Fisher Institute for Professional Selling since August 2018.

College of Applied Science and Technology

Stanley H. Smith, associate professor of practice – Emergency Management and Homeland Security (NTT), Department of Disaster Science and Emergency Services

Smith, M.P.A. (UA), has served as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Disaster Science and Emergency Services — teaching courses in cybersecurity, cybercrime, computer forensic methods and more — since 2014. He is also a high-tech forensic examiner in UA’s Department of Public Service Technology and has held several positions in the Akron Police Department, including computer forensic specialist and intelligence officer.

Dennis J. Ragins, associate professor of practice – fire protection (NTT), Department of Disaster Science and Emergency Services

Ragins, M.P.A. (UA), has been the director of UA’s Training Center for Fire and Hazardous Materials since 2016 and visiting assistant professor of fire protection technology since 2011. He has also served as the Northeast regional manager of the Ohio Department of Higher Education and as a lieutenant/paramedic and firefighter/EMT for the Akron Fire Department and firefighter/paramedic for the City of Twinsburg.

College of Health Professions

Melody A. Betts, associate professor of instruction (NTT), School of Nursing

Betts, D.N.P. (The Ohio State University), has been a staff nurse anesthetist at Summa Health System since 1998. As the clinical director of anesthesia education at Summa, she has been responsible for planning, implementing and evaluating the clinical experiences of graduate students from UA and Case Western Reserve University since 2005. She also has nearly 10 years of experience as a faculty instructor and lecturer at Case Western Reserve.

Joseph Anthony Foley, assistant professor of instruction (NTT), School of Nursing

Foley, M.S.N. (UA), a critical care nurse practitioner at Akron Children’s Hospital since 2005, has nearly four decades of professional nursing experience and has been a senior instructor teaching courses in pediatric nursing at UA’s School of Nursing.

School of Law

Michael Gentithes, assistant professor, legal writing (TT)

Gentithes, J.D. and LL.M., has taught courses in payment systems, appellate advocacy and legal writing at the Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology and the Loyola University Chicago School of Law. He also served as an assistant appellate defender and assistant corporation counsel in Chicago, Ill.

One position remains unfilled in The LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education. Deans are prioritizing position requests for the 2020–21 academic year.

Media contact: Cristine Boyd, 330-972-6476 or