Fall faculty and staff happenings

Academe welcomes news from WSU faculty and staff about research, teaching and service activities. This column recognizes grants, honors, awards, presentations and publications, new appointments, new faculty, sabbaticals, retirements and deaths of current and former colleagues.


Moriah Beck

Moriah Beck

Chemistry professor, Moriah Beck, has been awarded the 2017 Distinguished Service Award from Eastern Kentucky University. One of her deepest passions is preparing the next generation of scientists, with special attention to minorities and females. Dr. Beck’s passion for science research was ignited through her volunteer work and leadership with The Young Scientist Program at Washington University in St. Louis, where she earned her doctoral degree.
“I want to expose young women and minorities to the bright side, and work to suppress those things that stand in the way of full participation of all the best and brightest minds,” says Beck.

The College of Education was presented with the WSU Ventures President’s Award on Tuesday, October 24, for using innovative ways to increase enrollment in all departments, including the new Teacher Apprentice Program.

Kim Morrissey, a WSU physical education lecturer, received the Wayne Osness Honor Award from the Kansas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (KAHPERD) at the KAHPERD Convention. This is the highest award given to our profession in Kansas.


Gayla Lohfink

Gayla Lohfink

Gayla Lohfink presented ‘Teachers and books: mirrors of social and emotional growth’ at the 2017 International Literacy Association Conference in Orlando this past July.





Rocío del Aguila, Graduate Coordinator of the Spanish MA program, Julie Henderson, Spanish Lecturer and former MA student, Ms. Amanda Allen (Former Spanish MA student and Nickerson High School teacher), and Ms. Kristen Hock (Spanish MA student) presented the panel “En Español: Community-Based Learning, Communication Strategies, and Cultural Components in Higher Education.”
This panel aimed to demonstrate the efficient use of different pedagogical approaches to teaching languages at the higher education level. They all have studies on communicative and beyond the classroom methodologies, which originated several teaching projects. Their presentations are based on their experience and outcomes of teaching Spanish at Wichita State University.

Rick Pappas

Rick Pappas

Rick Pappas made three presentations at the KAHPERD State Convention: “You are the Future”, “Get Your Kicks on Route 66” and “KAHPERD College Bowl.”






Four professors in the College of Health Professions (CHP) at Wichita State have contributed to a new book, “Communication Disorders in Aging.” The book provides an in-depth look at communication disorders affecting older adults and their daily lives.
Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) Professor Ray Hull was the editor and wrote six chapters of the book. Several leading experts from across the U.S., including three CHP professors, contributed chapters:

  • Julie Scherz, CSD chair and associate professor – “Aphasia and Related Disorders in Older Adulthood”
  • LaDonna Hale, physician assistant professor – “Effects of Medications on Communication in Older Adulthood”
  • Tony DiLollo, CSD professor – “Counseling with Communicatively Impaired Older Adults and Their Families”
Ray Hull

Ray Hull

Hull says to-date this is the only published book that covers the important topic of older adult communication disorders. It also focuses on aspects of aging that have an impact on caring services and strategies. “Communication Disorders in Aging” was released in June and is available through Plural Publishing and Amazon.




Congratulations to Associate Professor Gayla Lohfink and Sarah Unruh on a publication in September. Their work on pre-service teachers’ reflectivity of elementary children’s stressors and resiliency in early field experiences is called “The Journal of the World Federation of Associations for Teacher Education,” and was published at http://www.worldfate.org.

Noell Birondo, associate professor of philosophy, published “Virtue’s Reasons: New Essays on Virtue, Character, and Reasons” an international collection of essays which he edited with Stewart Braun, Australian Catholic University. The project was supported in part by an URCA grant from the WSU Office of Research. Information about the book can be found at www.routledge.com/9781138231733, or at www.amazon.com. Birondo also presented his paper “Practical Wisdom and Coercive Technai” at the international conference on Virtue, Skill, and Practical Reason, at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Susan Matyeyeva of WSU Libraries collaborated with Katie Cramer, the editor of “Kansas English,” the peer reviewed journal of the Kansas Association of Teachers of English (KATE) to publish the 2017 issue of “Kansas English” fully and exclusively online through WSU’s digital publication platform, Open Journal Systems. To view the 2017 issue, go to the “Kansas English” homepage at https://www.kansasenglish.org/.


Jeffrey Jarman has been named director of the Elliott School of Communication. He has served as interim director since fall 2016. Jarman's primary research interests are analyses of political deliberations within the public sphere, including the influence of political debates and fact-checking on the public. He teaches courses in strategic communication, political communication and research methods. Jarman is also the director of Wichita State's competitive debate. Since 1999, he has authored the annual overview of the new high school debate topic used by thousands of high school debaters around the nation.

Andi Bannister, professor of criminal justice, has been named the interim director of the School of Community Affairs. Bannister serves concurrently as director of the federally funded Regional Community Policing Institute at Wichita State. She has been awarded more than $8 million in federal grants during the past 10 years. She has conducted research in Europe and Asia, provided training on computer crime and community policing to the Royal Thai Police, and provided training and technical assistance to a wide range of police agencies, notably in Kansas and Nebraska. Bannister is an academic fellow with the Washington, D.C. based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and has studied terrorism issues in Israel with police, military and intelligence organizations as part of that fellowship.

Alicia Sanchez, director of Diversity and Inclusion, has been named the new board chair for the Wichita Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (WHCC). Sanchez will serve a two-year term as the board chair and is committed to growing the organization on its solid foundation. She’ll be focused on tapping into the talents of young Hispanic professionals, supporting its members, fostering entrepreneurship and ultimately making the City of Wichita a better place for all to enjoy.

Ashley Cheung has accepted the position of development officer for Kansas City, an area that is home to about 5,400 WSU alumni. Cheung is a WSU graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing. She also has a Master of Divinity. Previously, Cheung worked as a director of development for Asbury United Methodist Church and a strategic marketing researcher in the Kansas City area.

Drew Johnson was named development officer for the WSU College of Health Professions. Johnson is a WSU alumni. During his time at Wichita State, he was captain of the track and field team and vice president of the Student Athlete Advisory Council. Johnson previously worked as a producer/insurance broker for Arthur J. Gallagher in the Kansas City area.

Nathan Johnson holds the position of development officer for the WSU Foundation. He is a WSU graduate with a master’s degree in sport management. Johnson previously worked as a development and annual giving assistant for WSU Athletics.

Chad Clark is director of development for planned giving. A graduate of Wichita State with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Clark previously worked for the McPherson Healthcare Foundation and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Most recently, he ran his own consulting firm.

Pamela O'Neal

Pamela O'Neal

Pamela O’Neal has been promoted to assistant director of the Office of Adult Learning. With this change, O’Neal will help with ongoing SEM efforts for returning adult students and assist in the overall direction of the office.





Wichita State's General Counsel Office has new appointments in Misha Jacob-Warren, assistant general counsel, and Molly Gordon, associate general counsel. For more information, go to http://bit.ly/jacobwarren_gordon.

Dennis Livesay, dean of the graduate school, was recently voted onto the Board of Directors for BioKansas, an industry trade group in Kansas and the surrounding areas. Learn more about BioKansas at http://www.biokansas.org/.



Local political scientist Neal Allen will be spending his sabbatical at the University of Sussex in Brighton in spring 2018.

Quang Nguyen, communications and marketing specialist for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, was selected to be in the 2017-18 Wichita Business Journal’s Emerging Leaders Program. This year-long program will provide Emerging Leaders with valuable training and education, connect them to our community and our community leaders, connect them to each other and in the long run help keep our Emerging Leaders here in Wichita. The group will participate in round-table discussions, social events, panels and a class at the Kansas Leadership Center.

Abu Asaduzzaman

Abu Asaduzzaman

Shocker Controls developed in WSU’s Information Systems Lab led by Ali Eslami has been presented in the nationally-recognized 3i SHOW in Dodge City, Kansas. The agri-business show hosts more than 500 exhibitors representing over 1,000 companies each year featuring the latest equipment, technology and services. Shocker Controls provides an app and a control unit that allow for remote control and real-time monitoring of commercial doors on a mobile device, over the Internet. The patent-pending product attracted many visitors at the show and received great feedback. It was also featured in KBUF radio. Shocker Controls is also being presented in METALCON 2017 in Las Vegas, Oct. 18-20. Other team members include Abu Asaduzzaman, Mohammad Hossein Erjaei and Chase Weber, all from WSU’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department. More about their invention can be found at http://shockercontrols.cs.wichita.edu/.

CSD professor, Xiao-Ming Sun, and Mark Shaver, alum, recently had their research cited by Interacoustics A/S (Denmark) as the scientific evidence of effectiveness of a technique implemented in the Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs) module of their Titan system. This system is one of the most popular instruments used for screening, diagnostic and advanced clinical testing in audiology.


Mark Porcaro was quoted in an article on the website Inside Higher Ed. In the article, Porcaro talks about the success Wichita State has had with their digital marketing campaigns.

“We’re really focused on digital marketing -- it’s really been effective for us,” said Mark Porcaro, executive director of online learning at Wichita State University.

In 2013, the university offered its first fully online program -- an R.N. to B.S.N. degree. Now it has 24 fully online programs.”
To read the full article, go to http://bit.ly/InsideHigherEdPorcaro

Neal Allen

Neal Allen

Neal Allen, associate professor of political science, was interviewed as part of a story for the CBS Evening News. The story covers four high school students who are running for governor of Kansas. Some say these teens have a chance, but Allen disagrees.

“None of these teenagers has any experience in elected office, but our president didn't have any experience in elected office until he was elected, so maybe we're seeing a trend,” says Allen.

To read the full article, go to http://bit.ly/CBSallen

Ken Kriz, a professor of public finance at Wichita State, spoke as an expert on NPR’s “Here & Now” program about Kansas’ tax policy in the story, “As Trump Proposes Tax Cuts, Kansas Deals with Aftermath of Experiment.” To read the full story, go to http://bit.ly/KenKriz

James Schwartz was featured on “The Space Show,” a biweekly Internet radio talk show about space commerce and exploration. Schwartz discussed his recent publication, “Myth-Free Space Advocacy Part II-The Myth of the Space Frontier.” To listen to the podcast, go to http://bit.ly/SpaceShowJamesSchwartz


Michael Call, 62, passed away on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, at his home. He was born on Dec. 24, 1954 in Wichita, Kansas to Frank Dean and Clara Elizabeth “Gillenwaters” Call. Michael earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from WSU. He worked at many sales and customer service jobs as well as an Electronics Installer at Cessna and his favorite job as a Purchasing Agent for WSU. Survived by his brother, Glen Call and his wife, Becky and their daughter, Hillary, who he adored; and many other family and friends. Preceded in death by his parents, Frank “Dean” and Clara, and his beloved Sheltie dog Toby. Visitation took place Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, at Heritage Funeral Home, 502 W. Central Ave., Andover, Kansas. Funeral services were Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, at 2 p.m., at Andover United Methodist Church, 1429 N. Andover Rd., Andover, with Pastor Dennis Carter presiding. Interment will be at Bruno township cemetery, Andover. Memorial donations can be made in Michael’s memory to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1820 E. Douglas, Wichita, KS 67214. Online guest book may be signed at www.heritageofandover.com

Arlen Dale Boger, 65, passed away on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. He was a retired locksmith and physical plant supervisor for WSU after 35 years of service. Preceded in death by his parents, August M. and Elsie (Bender) Boger and his brother, Wayne Boger. Survived by his loving wife of 44 years Nancy; sons, Brandon M. and Shane M. (Heather) Boger; sister, Janice (Marty) Kuehn; brothers, Ronald (Mary) Boger, Darrell (Rose) Boger and Orville Boger; grand doggie, Grimlock; numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, in-laws, extended family and many dear friends. Visitation took place Thursday, Oct. 26, and a Celebration of Life Service took place Friday, Oct. 27, both at Hillside Funeral Home West.

Mary Louise Klein passed away after a brief illness on Oct. 29, 2017, at Memorial Hospital in Abilene, Kansas. Klein was born in Chapman, Kansas on Nov. 23, 1930, the daughter of Herbert E. and Dorothy (Galbreath) Book. Klein lived most of her adult life in Wichita, and worked in the English Department at Wichita State University. She had an enduring affection to her home town, and in 1999 she returned to Chapman to live, where she became a faithful volunteer at the local museum. She is survived by two sons, Thomas and Eric Klein; and sister, Verna Detrich. She was preceded in death by two sons, Steven and Dennis; sister, Ruth and brother, Herbert Book. A celebration of life service was held Nov. 11, 2017, at the Londeen Funeral Chapel in Chapman, Kansas. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her memory to the Chapman Area Preservation Society or the Chapman Public Library.

Joe Moddrell Jr., 89, passed away from complications from a brain tumor on Nov. 1, 2017. He was born March 11, 1928, at Wesley Hospital in Wichita and attended public schools in Wichita until he graduated from East High in 1945. He was a strong believer in education and was an adjunct professor at Wichita State for several years. He taught industry groups advanced courses in insurance. He was the first person in Kansas to obtain both the CPCU and the CLU professional destinations. Moddrell loved music, and was involved in various sports activities. He was also an avid pilot. He is survived by his wife Jean; and children, Kathy, Nancy and Jeff; and his grandchildren, James, Peter and Marie. He was preceded in death by his son, Randy. Moddrell’s memorial service took place Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. Tributes can be shared online at www.dlwichita.com.

Joan Gleeson Kahn, 84, passed away on Nov. 5, 2017. She was born in Seminole, Oklahoma, to John Daniel Gleeson and Hortense Hoffman Gleeson. Kahn lived a life filled with strong commitments to Wichita State University, her Catholic faith and her family. She served 31 of her 36 years at WSU as Secretary to Jim Rhatigan, Vice-President and Dean of Student Affairs. Known as “Mom” of the Student Government, its former presidents inscribed a special accolade in WSU’s Plaza of Heroines. “Joan Gleeson Kahn, a Good Friend to Students.” She extended her service to other campus organizations, including WSU Alumni Association, WSU Women’s Association and WSU Credit Union. Despite Kahn’s humility, her generosity of spirit did not go unnoticed. She was one of three staff members earning the 1994 WSU President’s Award for “Service Beyond the Expected.” Moreover, WSU honored her in 1996 as the recipient of its highly coveted LAURA CROSS AWARD FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE.
With her marriage to Mel Kahn 31 years ago, Joan acquired three adult children and welcomed them into warm mutual loving relationships. These close-knit ties passed on to her eight grandchildren whom lovingly relate to her as their Grandma Joan. Kahn was preceded in death by her brother, Daniel Gleeson; sister-in-law, Majorie Gleeson; and daughter, Miriam Sichel. Her immediate loving survivors are husband, Mel Kahn; daughter, Shari Greenberg; son, David Kahn; son-in-law, Lawrence Sichel, and grandchildren, Aaron Greenberg, Jordan Greenberg, Mara Greenberg, Hannah Kahn, Ryan Kahn, Jacob Sichel, Adam Sichel and Ethan Sichel. Rosary and Funeral Services occurred at Holy Savior Catholic Church. The family requests those who wish to honor Kahn’s life in a special way consider a contribution to Holy Savior Catholic Church or the WSU Endowment’s Joan Kahn Trio Scholarship. Condolence messages may be sent to www.dlwichita.com.