Welcome New Faculty

Sep 22, 2022

A record number of faculty joined CEHSP for the 2022-23 academic year. 

The College of Education and Human Service Professions is pleased to introduce 11 new, tenure-track faculty members. They are highlighted here by department.

Assistant Professor Elizabeth Boileau

elizabeth boileau smiling for a photo

Current Research Focus

My research explores early childhood education for sustainability, child-animal relations, and children's empathy for the more-than-human world. 

Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy is based on a collaborative approach that promotes learning with and from each other through a variety of active learning experiences, reflection, and discussion.

Fun Fact

I have lived in 11 cities in Canada, in 5 different provinces.


Associate Professor Mary Stenson

mary stenson smiling for a photo

Current Research Focus

My main research focus is finding ways to optimize and measure recovery from exercise. I also study teaching and learning in exercise science and general health and wellness of college students.  

Teaching Philosophy

When I teach, I ask myself "what do I want my students to know about this and what do I want them to remember 5 years from now?" I put my students at the center of my teaching by creating an inclusive learning environment in the classroom and the lab. Their learning and understanding is my number one priority. 

Fun Fact

I was the first athlete at my high school to run the steeplechase race and I actually like green veggies. 

 

Assistant Professor Brent Fisher

brent fisher and a child smiling for a photo

Current Research Focus

My research area has been in cochlear implants. I’m interested in questions that relate to our ability to communicate and navigate the world around us.

Teaching Philosophy

I love teaching. I believe each student has the potential to be successful academically and in life. To me, teaching is an opportunity to support each student in unlocking the best and highest versions of themselves.

Fun Fact

I was born in the countryside of Belgium outside the city of Herentals.

 

Assistant Professor Matt Dingler

matt dingler smiling for a photo

Current Research Focus. 

My scholarly interests include peace education and pedagogies, contemplative pedagogy, and the application of these to the secondary social studies classroom to support democracy.   

Teaching Philosophy 

Philosophically Freirian, scientifically social-constructivist...I strive to create learning environments where we all learn through a dialogue-based process of connecting our experiential knowledge to course content, applying the resulting understandings to act upon reality.  

Fun Fact 

Prior to student-teaching as an undergraduate, I had planned on going to seminary to become a minister.  While in my high school internship, I found that teaching offered the perfect combination of service to community and intellectual creativity I was seeking in a vocation.  


Assistant Professor Hope Kitts


Associate Professor Jodie Riek

jodie riek smiling for a photo

Current Research Focus

My current research is focused on how early childhood teachers are using play pedagogies to deliver the standardized curriculum in elementary grades. My aim is to provide a platform for educators to have their voices heard and their stories told.

Teaching Philosophy

I believe that teaching and learning is a transactional process, which is at its optimum when grounded in personally meaningful experiences and built on respectful and meaningful relationships. It involves hands-on, minds-on, socially relevant, personally meaningful and fully engaged work.

Fun Fact

I knew all the words to America the Beautiful before I knew my own national anthem (Advance Australia Fair) and I have visited 32 of the states in the US! Another fun fact... if I wasn't an academic I would be a truck driver because I love long-haul driving 10+ hours.


Assistant Professor Ebony Sherman

Ebony Sherman smiling photos

Teaching Philosophy

I consider myself to be a warm demander. I characterize this as an educator who demonstrates passion and compassion through high standards and expectations for learning. I believe that real learning comes from failure, but I do not leave my students to fail alone. I am their partner in learning, one who leads by example and is willing to invest the time and energy it takes to ensure her students achieve their own definition of success.

Current Research Focus

My research is a comparative examination of the sociocultural factors that act as barriers of exclusion for people with diverse abilities to gain equitable access to opportunities using intersectionality as a critical framework to challenge race, gender, and dis/ability through a local, national, and international lens. 

Fun Fact

I have been a licensed nail technician for more than 25 years. I absolutely love all things nails. It is my way of expressing my artistic creativity. I am currently working to open a cutting-edge nail salon in the Twin Ports area.

 

Assistant Professor John Blanchar

Current Research Focus

My research focuses on political attitudes and behavior. I study why people are more politically liberal or conservative, the psychology of tradition and social change, and political polarization, intolerance, and the culture wars.

Teaching Philosophy

I believe good teaching aims to develop students’ tools for critical thinking and the capacity for self-directed, life-long learning. While teaching, I focus on the evidence and reasoning behind why psychologists believe certain theories and hypotheses to be true while also presenting important challenges, limitations, and inconsistencies. Additionally, I frequently use narrative structure and vivid examples in my teaching because people better comprehend and remember information in the form of stories.

Fun Fact

I am a bit of a foodie in the sense that I enjoy seeking out and trying interesting dishes and delicacies. I make food exploration a priority when I travel to new places.


Assistant Professor Madeline Harms

Madeline Harms smiling for a photo

Current Research Focus 

My lab at UMD (Learning, Emotion, and Development; LEAD) lab examines the intersection of cognitive and emotional development.  A major focus of our work is investigating how various forms of stress affect the ways in which children, adolescents, and adults learn and process information. Recently, we have also been involved in a collaborative project examining how instructors of Introductory Psychology utilize inclusive pedagogical strategies and their effects on student learning. 

Teaching Philosophy 

I aim to help students think deeply and critically; appreciate Psychology as a science; apply the material they learn about to their everyday lives, and empower students to make a positive difference in their community.

Fun Fact 

I've completed two 100-mile races, and currently hold the women's "fastest known time" for completing the 65-mile Luce Line State Trail.

 

Associate Professor Nomi Ostrander

Nomi Ostrander smiling for a photo

Current Research Focus

My research has two main components:

1) Community-led health programs addressing syringe access programs and community violence; and

2) Gender, Sexual, Erotic, and Relational Diversity (GSERD) among Queer, Transgender, and gender expansive individuals and relationships.

Teaching Philosophy

What I love about teaching emerging social workers is that I am really helping to prepare my future colleagues. As a result, my teaching approach reflects a professional mentoring relationship that expands both beyond the classroom and beyond a student's time at UMD. 

Fun Fact

When not working, I am often playing shows and touring with my band. It's been my favorite way to see the US, hang out with old friends, and make new ones along the way.


Assistant Professor Jonathan Phillips

Jonathan Phillips

Current Research Focus

My research falls into two buckets. First, I examine the drivers of disparities in access to healthcare among individuals with serious mental illness. Second, I'm part of a research team that evaluates interventions aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of individuals with serious mental illness. 

Teaching Philosophy

The best part about teaching social work courses is that you can take the course material- whether it be theory, policy, or research- and apply it to real-world scenarios that are of interest to students.

Fun Fact

I visited Nome, Alaska to watch the finish of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race.