FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 22, 2016, 5:00 p.m. CDT
Contact Jason Hogue, Peru State College Marketing and Communications, 402.872.2429
Peru, Nebraska – Peru State College has brought nine new faculty members to the region this fall to meet campus academic needs. Faculty are hired through an rigorous recruitment and application process culminating in on-campus interviews with other faculty, staff and students.
Dr. Timothy Borchers, vice president of Academic Affairs, said, “We continue to attract tremendous candidates with excellent academic credentials refined by real-world experience.”
“The most important piece of the Peru State experience is connecting students to quality teaching and engaged learning opportunities.”
Dr. Jeff Alessandrelli was hired as an Assistant Professor of English. He was previously an Instructor of English at Portland Community College. He holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Master of Arts in Poetry from Portland State University. He has numerous published works and is currently working on a new play in addition to completing the editing process on his third published poetry collection.
Dr. Felicity Balluch was hired as an Assistant Professor of Education. She holds a Doctor of Education in Special Education (with a concentration in reading and behaviors), a Master of Science in Special Education, and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. For the past 11 years, she has served in various special education roles in the Manhattan, Kansas, school district including special education resource teacher, state assessment testing coordinator, Before and After School Clubs coordinator and teacher and mentor for other Special Education teachers. She has also co-taught college courses in special education and collaborated with numerous colleagues from Kansas State University and other higher education institutions across the country to conduct and publish educational research in areas of policy issues and interventions with an emphasis on at-risk students.
Dr. Jared Bartels was hired as an Assistant Professor of Psychology. He holds a Ph.D with a focus on Education Psychology from the University of Memphis, and a Master of Science in Psychology from the University of Central Missouri. He was most recently an Associate Professor of Psychology at Missouri Valley College and he has also taught at Upper Iowa University where he was active on campus serving on assessment and faculty advisory committees. Dr. Bartels has presented nationally at conferences including the Association for Psychological Science and the National Institute for the Teaching of Psychology. He has co-authored many peer review publications and has several book publications currently under review.
Candy Blecha was hired as an Instructor of Education. She holds the Master of Science degree in Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood and Special Education from Peru State College and a Bachelor of Science in Education. She holds Nebraska teaching certificates in Elementary Education (K-6), Special Education (K-12) and Early Childhood Inclusive (B-K). Ms. Blecha has been a teacher in the HTSR Public School District in Early Childhood Special Education, Special Education K-12, and serves as the Autism Coordinator for the HTRS district. She initiated the Early Childhood Program with a Nebraska grant in collaboration with Head Start and is a member of the Nebraska Sixpence Board, a group that works to help caregivers and parents provide safe, stimulating environments that spark learning through meaningful interactions.
John Paul Gardner was hired as an Assistant Professor of Art. He was previously the Executive Director of the Kirkland Art Center which is a non-profit multi-arts center in Clinton, New York. He also served as an Adjunct Lecturer for Utica College where he taught studio art and lecture courses. Mr. Gardner holds a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the University of Oregon where he had a full fellowship, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from State University of New York College of Potsdam. Additionally, he has an active and extensive exhibition record that includes national and international exhibitions.
Laura Lippman was hired as an Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts. Previously, she taught acting, directing and introduction to theater classes as a temporary lecturer at the Johnny Carson School of Theater and Film at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. She has also taught acting and directing at the University of Arizona School of Theater, Film and Television; Rollins College and Carnegie Mellon University. Laura has been involved and has a special interest in, theater for youth and community outreach activities. She received a Master of Fine Arts in directing from Carnegie Mellon University and a BA in Theater/Psychology from Bennington College. Laura also has professional directing, acting and production experience.
Dr. Amber Mahan was hired as an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice. She received her Ph.D. in Public Safety with a specialization in Criminal Justice with distinction from Capella University. Previously, she earned a Master in Forensic Science degree with specialization in Investigations from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with concentration in Criminology from Morehead State University in Kentucky. Dr. Mahan’s career path centered on working in the forensics realm as an evidence technician for the Plattsmouth Police Department (PPD) and Cass County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO). Prior to moving into law enforcement, Dr. Mahan worked for the State of Nebraska Health and Human Services performing child abuse and neglect investigations and as a youth care specialist at the Uta Halee Girls Village.
Dr. Justin Pfeifer was hired as an Assistant Professor of History. He was most recently a Visiting Instructor at Wittenburg University, with additional teaching experience at the University of Toledo and Franklin University. His specializations are in Modern Europe and East Asian History. He earned his Ph.D., MA, and BA all at the University of Toledo. He also brings experience working with Phi Alpha Theta and History Day.
Dr. Shana Walsh was hired as an Assistant Professor of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER). With a B.A. in Policy Studies, Psychology, and Spanish (triple major), Dr. Walsh began her professional career as a Spanish teacher with Teach for America, an organization dedicated to closing the achievement gap that exists between socioeconomic classes. She then earned a Master of Education in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation at Delta State University and recently completed requirements for the Ph.D. in Kinesiology, Exercise Nutrition, and Health Promotion from Baylor University. While at Baylor, Dr. Walsh taught undergraduate courses in Nutrition, Health, Exercise Physiology and Fitness (areas: theory, practice, and assessment.) Some of her research interests include physical activity and sedentary behavior, obesity, program planning/implementation/assessment and the impact of environmental and policy change on physical activity behaviors. Dr. Walsh has published several articles in these areas and presented original work at numerous professional venues. Her service to the community and profession ranges from volunteer work locally to active participation in a number of professional organizations.