Focus on Faculty

Read news and highlights about faculty from the spring and early fall 2020 semesters.

Focus on Faculty banner image

Virtual Travel Class Includes International Dialogue

University theology and religious studies professors Christian Krokus, Ph.D., and Will Cohen, Ph.D., had planned a travel course for over a year. 

The course developed by the pair -- “Religious Diversity, Conflict, and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe” --  was a spring semester course with a travel component whose itinerary included travel to Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia. Just as they were finalizing plans for a May 21 departure, the Covid-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of all study abroad trips.

Drs. Krokus and Cohen, however, adjusted quickly to their new reality, tailoring the courses to have a virtual travel component. Using Zoom, they brought together 12 students from The University of Scranton and nine students from the University of Zagreb in Croatia and brought on various speakers throughout the semester that discussed several important topics. 

For more on classes taught by Drs. Krokus and Cohen, click here.

Faculty Member Applies Chemistry in Murder Case


Chemistry Professor David Rusak, Ph.D., applied a high-tech chemical analysis procedure to help solve a 2008 Bucks County murder investigation. The case, including an interview with Dr. Rusak, was featured in a recent "Forensic Files II" episode.

Mary Jane Fonder was convicted of first-degree murder and related crimes in the Jan. 23, 2008, murder of Rhonda Smith in Springfield Township.

A break in the case came a few months after the incident when an 8-year-old boy fishing with his father at Lake Nockamixon found a pistol. Authorities said the gun, owned by Fonder, matched a bullet found in the church office where the murder took place and bullet fragments recovered from Smith’s body.

Dr. Rusak was asked to determine the maximum length of time in which the gun could have been exposed to the water. Rusak, along with David Marx, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry, used a high-speed chemical analysis process called laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) to answer that question.

“There’s no way that gun laid in the bottom of a lake for 14 years,” said Dr. Rusak in an interview for the "Forensic Files II" broadcast, which aired nationally on HLN in early May.

The episode, titled “Church Lady," featuring Dr. Rusak is currently available to stream at any time on Hulu. To read more, click here.

Professor’s Book Wins International Award

Addiction, Attachment, Trauma, and Recovery: The Power of Connection, a book by University Professor Oliver Morgan, Ph.D., won a 2020 Independent Press Award in the category of Addiction and Recovery.

The prestigious international competition is judged by experts from different aspects of the book industry, including publishers, writers, editors, book cover designers and professional copywriters. Selected award winners and distinguished favorites are based on overall excellence.

In Addiction, Attachment, Trauma, and Recovery: The Power of Connection, the latest installment in the Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology, Dr. Morgan provides a fresh take on addiction and recovery by presenting a more inclusive framework than traditional understandings. 

In the book, Dr. Morgan calls for change in the established ways we think and behave about addiction and recovery. It reorients understanding and clinical practice for mental health and addiction counselors, psychologists, and social workers, as well as for addicts and those who love them.

For more, head here.

Faculty and Staff Weigh in on Election Topics

Several University faculty and staff have weighed in on the 2020 presidential election over the past several months. They offered their expertise in local and national news outlets about Pennsylvania as a battleground state and, in particular, the city of Scranton as a focus of national attention during the election.

Iordanis Petsas, Ph.D., chair of the Economic and Finance Department, was recently interviewed by the Philadelphia Inquirer on trade policies and agreements that have been supported by Joe Biden on their effects on Pennsylvania and specifically the city of Scranton. Read the article here.

Mike Allison, Ph.D., University political science professor, said that President Donald Trump is focused on winning Biden’s state. Read the article on ABC 27 News here. He also appeared on WNEP TV to discuss teaching political science during this election cycle, which you can read here.

A July article in The Washington Post, which details past and present candidates’ connection to Scranton, called it “the best-known small city in America” because of the national attention it has garnered during the election season. Meghan Rich, Ph.D. a professor in the Sociology and Criminal Justice Department, said that for a small city, it has “a large presence in people’s imaginations.” Read The Washington Post article here.

Julie Schumacher Cohen, assistant vice president of University Community Engagement and Government Affairs, said the NEPA region remains important in the election because there has been “movement and change as far as political party registration and in voting patterns” since 2016. Read more in Pennsylvania Capital-Star, here. She also weighed in on the city of Scranton’s “story” in another Pennsylvania Capital-Star article here.

Political science professor Jean Harris, Ph.D. said that voters are being more critical than they were four years ago. Read Harris’ comments in The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Wyoming County Press Examiner. She also commented in two CBS News articles about the election here and here.

Gretchen Van Dyke, Ph.D., a political science professor, weighed in on President Trump's economic message in 2016 at a rally in Scranton in this CBS News article.

JoyAnna Hopper, Ph.D., a political science professor, talked about the local reaction to the vice presidential debate on Fox56.

Pennsylvania Cable Network’s (PCN) Election College Panel program, recorded via Zoom at The University of Scranton, aired on Constitution Day, Sept. 17 on PCN’s cable channel and streaming services.

Read more here.

Read about faculty appointments, promotions, grants and other awards by clicking here.

Faculty Notes

George W. Krull, Jr., Ph.D., CPA, CGMA, global strategic advisor for the doctor of business administration (DBA) program, was presented a 2020 Lifetime Service Award from the American Accounting Association (AAA) at its annual meeting in September. Dr. Krull served as a Partner in the Executive Office of Grant Thornton LLP and was the firm’s chief learning officer and joined Scranton in his advisory role in 2017.

Julie A. Cerrito, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the School Counseling Program, was one of just 11 counselor educators nationwide to be selected to participate in the Counselor Educator Academy held at the National Career Development Association Global Conference in Houston, Texas. The University’s Faculty Senate Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award winner for 2020, Dr. Cerrito joined the faculty at the University in 2013.

Two articles co-authored by Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) candidates and professors of accounting were awarded prestigious Institute of Management Accountants’ Lybrand Silver and Bronze medals for 2020. The 2020 Lybrand Silver Medal was awarded for the article “SEC Whistleblower Program Continues to Expand,” co-authored by DBA candidate Daniel J. Gaydon and Douglas M. Boyle, D.B.A., chair of the Accounting Department at Scranton. The 2020 Lybrand Bronze Medal was awarded for the article “Goodwill Accounting: “The Matter of Serial Non-Impairment,” co-authored by DBA candidate Marcus Burke, Dr. Boyle, and Daniel P. Mahoney, Ph.D. professor of accounting at Scranton.

Stacy Smulowitz, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication and media, was named executive director for the Eastern Communication Association, the oldest professional communication association in the United States. Dr. Smulowitz has been at the University since 2009.

Five faculty members received Interdisciplinary Seminar Fund, or Clavius Fund, support from the University to pursue an interdisciplinary approach to a subject. They are Kelly BanyasMarleen Cloutier and Colleen Farry for “Open Revolution.” and Charles Pinches, Ph.D., and Joel Kemp, Ph.D., for “Hungering for the Library Arts: Historical African-American Perspectives.”

Ashley L. Stampone ’10, G’11, faculty specialist in the Accounting Department, was selected by the University’s Business Club as the Kania School of Management Professor of the Year in May.  Stampone joined the faculty at Scranton in 2016.

Amanda S. Marcy, assistant professor of accounting; Douglas M. Boyle, D.B.A., chair of the University’s Accounting Department; James F. Boyle, D.B.A., assistant professor of accounting; and Daniel P. Mahoney, Ph.D., professor of accounting wrote an article titled “The Value of Trust,” which was awarded the inaugural Curt Verschoor Ethics Feature of the Year from the Institute of Management Accountants’ Committee on Ethics and Strategic Finance. 

Scroll to Top