Ashland University Faculty Members Receive Promotions, Tenure

2/11/11 ASHLAND, OH -- A number of Ashland University faculty members have received promotions and/or tenure following the action of the Ashland University Board of Trustees. The promotions are to take effect on July 1, the beginning of the institution's 2011-2012 academic year.

Those promoted to the rank of full professor are Dr. Sivakumar Venkataramany, international business, and Stephanie Sikora, music. Gaining promotion to associate professor are Dr. Carla Abreu-Ellis, education; Dr. Jason Ellis, education; Dr. Steve Fenster, biology; Dr. David FitzSimmons, English; Jessica Maloney, art; Priscilla Roggenkamp, art; and Dr. Debra Westerfelt, business management.

Tenure was granted to Fenster, Maloney and Roggenkamp as well as Dr. Paul Milton, sport sciences; Dr. Nate Myers, education; and Dr. David Silverberg, education.

Dr. Venkataramany joined Ashland University in 1999. He received his MBA, MS and Ph.D. from the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida. His teaching specializations involve courses in international business, international finance and emerging markets. His research focuses on foreign direct investment in developing economies, international banking and micro-finance. He received the mentor award during the 2004-05 academic year.

Sikora joined Ashland University in 1993 and serves as head of the voice area in the Department of Music where she teaches applied voice, diction for singers, opera workshop and directs the Women's Chorus. Solo performance credits include the Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Opera, Robert Page Singers, Philadelphia Singers, and the Mansfield Symphony as well as guest artist recitals in Ohio, Arizona, Maine, New York, and Paris, France. Holding degrees from The Ohio State University, The University of Akron, and the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Sikora is sought after as an adjudicator for competitions and a presenter of vocal Master Classes.

Abreu-Ellis, who holds a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Bowling Green State University, joined Ashland University in 2007 and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the Schar College of Education. Her research interests include college students with disabilities, technology and disabilities, access to education and retention of college students, universal design and diversity. She has authored or co-authored articles in a number of journals and co-authored a book chapter, "The digital divide in disability and education."

A native of Canada, Ellis joined Ashland University in 2007 as assistant professor of instructional and assistive technologies in the Schar College of Education. He received his Ph.D. in Education from the University of Windsor, his master of education in guidance and counseling from Bowling Green State University, his specialist degree in education and human growth and development from Universidade Estácio de Sá in Rio de Janeiro, and his bachelor of science in psychology from the University of Toronto. His research focuses on technology use by students with disabilities in K-16 education.

Fenster joined the faculty in the Department of Biology and Toxicology in 2006. He is a graduate of the University of California at San Diego and earned his doctorate in cell biology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His dissertation research resulted in the discovery and characterization of a novel brain protein called Piccolo now shown to be critical for nervous system development. As a post-doctoral research fellow at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, he utilized genetic mouse models to study autism and pediatric brain cancer, and his current research continues to focus on brain-specific proteins involved in neuronal signaling.

FitzSimmons, a former high school English teacher, directs the Integrated Language Arts program at Ashland University. He has a bachelor of arts degree in English from Xavier University and a master of arts and Ph.D. in English from The Ohio State University. Besides his background in language arts pedagogy, FitzSimmons specializes in narrative theory, American Literature, modernism, and the works of William Faulkner. In addition, he researches and produces visual texts, working as a freelance writer and photographer.

Maloney, who grew up in Cleveland, received a BFA in photography with a minor in digital art and an MFA in digital art, both from Bowling Green State University. She joined Ashland University as assistant professor in digital art in 2005. During 2007, she took on a three-year term as a Traveling Student Exhibition Curator for the international ACM/ Siggraph organization's Education Committee and in 2008, received an artist residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute Residency Program. Her work has been published in the book, Digital Art Revolution.

A native of Maine, Roggenkamp joined the Ashland University art department in 2005. She received her bachelor of arts degree from Heidelberg College, master of education degree from the University of Arkansas, and master of fine arts degree from Kent State University. She has been an art instructor at Mount Union College, Blue Ridge Community College and James Madison University. She exhibited an art project titled "Yitzhak" in Akko, Israel, and has various art exhibitions in Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Westerfelt joined Ashland University in the business management department in 2007. She teaches in the BBA and MBA programs and served as adviser of the SHRM student chapter for three years. Her areas of expertise include management, organizational behavior, organizational design and development, and business communications. Her scholarship achievements include presentation at prominent universities and journal publications. She received her Ph.D. and master of arts in business from The Ohio State University and her bachelor of science in education from Ashland University.

Milton is associate professor and program team leader for the graduate and undergraduate programs in Sport Management in the Department of Sport Sciences. He joined the Ashland University faculty in 2006 and teaches the business and finance of sport, sport facility management and design, sport management, ethical and social issues in sport, leadership in sport, and sport marketing and promotions. Milton earned a bachelor's degree in history from the University of California-Davis, a master's degree in intramural administration from Michigan State University, and the Ph.D. from Kent State University.

Myers, associate professor of educational foundations, came to Ashland University in 2005 and his main area of research has revolved around the intersection of faith, politics and education in American life. He has also been active in promoting internationalization efforts within the curriculum of teacher education and currently serves as interim director of international programs. Myers teaches courses in qualitative research methods and the history of education. He has a bachelor of arts degree in history from Mt. Vernon Nazarene College and a Ph.D. in Educational Policy & Evaluation from the University of Kentucky.

Silverberg, associate professor of education, joined Ashland University in 2005. He holds a doctor of education degree in educational leadership, administration and policy from Pepperdine University; a master of science degree in education leadership from Pepperdine University; and a bachelor of arts degree in English from Wesleyan University (CT). His STEPS curriculum guides, published by McDonald & Woodward, clarify state and national Standards for PreK-12 Math, English Language Arts, Science and Social Studies.

Ashland University (<>) is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.

Upcoming Events


Women's Lacrosse


Women & Men's Basketball at Home

PR Office Contact

Steve Hannan
Director of Public Relations
office: 419 289 5007
mobile: 419 651 1326