Twelve new faculty members are joining the College of Education this fall, including a few familiar faces.
The roster includes Melanie Walski, who has been a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and Jenn Jacobs, who has taught and served as a Research Fellow in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education while earning her NIU doctorate in Educational Psychology.
Fatih Demir and Dongho Kim, new assistant professors in the Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment, were on campus in May as keynote speakers for the LEARN-IT conference.
Dan Oest, who taught Ed.S. courses last year as an adjunct professor in the Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations, now has joined the faculty.
“A college is defined by the strength of its faculty, so I am thrilled to welcome so many amazing new faculty to the College of Education this year,” Dean Laurie Elish-Piper said.
“We were able to hire a large group of incredibly accomplished, motivated and productive faculty who will help us enhance our programs, expand our research productivity, build engaged learning opportunities and teach and mentor our students.”
Other new employees this fall include Alicia Anderson, who is administrator of Finance and Operations Analysis; Tony Calderala, academic advisor in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education; Claire Duvall, online program support specialist in the Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment; and Judy Schneider, director of Advancement.
Here is a closer look at this fall’s new members of the College of Education family.
Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education
Her primary research interests are focused on the intersections of work, mental health and meaning.
She has practiced professional counseling in higher education, community and private practice settings, and is a licensed clinical professional counselor in Illinois. She is a member of the editorial review board for the Journal of College Counseling and active in leadership for the National Career Development Association.
“Melissa has a wealth of professional experience that she will bring to the classroom: seven years of work in the Chicagoland area before she became a professor. Her research interest in the intersection of work and mental health is really a great help to our university because the clients our graduates work with in this area often are dealing with issues of underemployment or employment.” — Suzanne Degges-White, chair
She has clinical experience in the school and community settings both in the United States and internationally. She has experience in intervention development, implementation and evaluation.
Her research and presentations focus on multicultural issues in counseling, play therapy and children, especially survivors of trauma and interventions to enhance career and college readiness of students. She has experience in teaching a variety of graduate courses in school counseling, mental health counseling and play therapy and filial therapy as well as supervising graduate students.
“Dana’s area of specialty is trauma, especially refugee traumatization. This is a growing area of interest and need because of what the current political climate is doing to people who are refugees or immigrants. She also has critical counseling experience mainly working with children as well as children from very diverse backgrounds, which is a very necessary piece for our students.” — Degges-White
Xiaodan Hu obtained her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration and Policy from the University of Florida in Gainesville, where she served as a research fellow at the Institute of Higher Education. She also holds a master’s degree in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education from Texas A&M University.
She teaches courses related to community college leadership; finance and policy; and higher education administration.
Her research typically employs quantitative methods to examine the impact of state policies and institutional initiatives on colleges and universities, focusing on educational equity issues of historically underserved students and non-traditional students. She also recently has written on the impact of performance-based funding, the pathway of upward transfer, and gender differences in STEM degree attainment.
“Xiaodan brings a depth of experience in community college leadership. While she was at the University of Florida, she was the program director of the Community College Futures Assembly, an organization devoted to enhancing the professional skills of community college executives. Finding someone with community college experience, combined with her quantitative research expertise, is needle-in-a-haystack.” — Degges-White
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
She teaches courses in Elementary School Developmental Reading Programs, Emerging Literacy and Beginning Reading Instruction through Age 8 and Organizing for Effective Elementary Reading Instruction.
Her research interests focus on the intersection of literacy and policy at the elementary level. Her research centers on how literacy instructional practice is affected by policy, and what aspects of policy are most influential on teachers’ sense-making of literacy teaching and learning. She is also interested in emergent literacy curriculum development.
“The Department of Curriculum and Instruction is fortunate that Melanie Walski is joining us. As a former classroom teacher and certified reading specialist, Melanie brings both experience and valuable expertise to her role in many of our programs. Her research interests in policy and literacy will help to improve literacy education, policy and research at the local, state and national levels. Melanie also will help us offer our students superior content knowledge, methods development and theory-to-practice approach to prepare them to become outstanding educators.” — Donna Werderich, acting chair
Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment
Fatih Demir graduated in 2009 from the University of Baltimore, earning the degree of Doctor of Communications Design. In August 2015, he joined to the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies at the University of Missouri as postdoctoral fellow.
Demir teaches courses in Human-Computer Interaction and User Experience Research and Design.
He has spent years teaching and researching Human Computer Interaction; Usability; Interaction Design; Social Media Analysis; and E-government Design. He has conducted research at the Information Experience Lab using remote and mobile eye tracking systems. He also worked with Mizzou faculty, staff and graduate assistants on various projects in the realm of journalism, education, medicine and computer science.
“Fatih will enhance our curriculum and research in the area of user experience. Back in the old days, we talked about usability. Now we talk about user experience. For everything we design, we need to make sure that our users – our learners – accept it and are willing to enjoy it. It’s about understanding that designing is not just about designing something you like; it’s about designing something everyone likes while making sure that everyone can learn from it.” — Wei-Chen Hung, chair
Dongho Kim earned his Ph.D. in Learning, Design and Technology in May from the University of Georgia-Athens, where he worked with Robert Branch on research related to student engagement and online learning. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Education from Seoul National University.
Kim will continue to build his research at NIU while teaching courses in interaction design and “learning analytics.”
Published in a number of prestigious journals, he won first place for Outstanding Journal Article Award in the Distance Learning Division of the AECT 2016 conference for his most recent article in The Internet and Higher Education. He also received a two-year research fellowship grant (2016-18) from the Hewlett Foundation to continue his research.
“ ‘Learning analytics’ is one of the fields that is growing in instructional technology because it is important to make sense of data and to use that data to enhance learning and training. Technology and data are so widely available now that sometimes it is difficult to understand the data, and it is very challenging to interconnect all this data to find better solutions for learning and training. Dongho is the person who will help us address that need. He knows how to bring those different types of data together to design curriculum that improves learning.” —Hung
Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education
Clayton L. Camic earned a Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2011. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Morehead State University (2001) and a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Wyoming (2003).
Camic will teach courses in Applied Physiology of Exercise (KNPE 452), Neuromuscular Aspects of Performance (KNPE 514) and Bioenergetics (KNPE 652).
His main research interests include the evaluation of neuromuscular function and fatigue using electromyography as well as nutritional supplements as ergogenic aids.
“Clay has established a record over the last several years of becoming a leading scholar in the Exercise Physiology area, including more than 50 refereed publications in the last five years. He truly enhances the scholarship for students in our Kinesiology program.” — Chad McEvoy, chair
Jenn Jacobs, who earned her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from NIU, also holds a master’s degree in Sport Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
She has taught courses in psychological aspects of sport and exercise, measurement for evaluation, psychology of sport and exercise, psychology of coaching and the culture and society of sports.
Her research interests include sport-based youth development, transfer of life skills, sport for social change and social and emotional learning. In 2012, she received a fellowship from NIU’s Collaborative on Early Adolescence to support youth learning and development by working with Paul Wright on the Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility model.
“Jenn is someone who has been here at NIU for some time, working on her Ph.D. and collaborating on research with Paul Wright and other KNPE colleagues. She’s has begun to establish a record as a strong teacher and scholar with great potential in both of those areas.” — McEvoy
Claire Schaeperkoetter, who hails from Columbia, Mo., double-majored in Psychology and Spanish at Washington University in St. Louis. She received both her Master’s and PhD in Sport Management from the University of Kansas.
Schaeperkoetter has worked in the ticket office for the Miami Heat and the athletics compliance offices at the University of Miami and the University of Kansas. While pursuing her Ph.D., she served an instructor of record for several different Sport Management undergraduate courses at the University of Kansas.
Her research typically relies on the intersection of organizational behavior, organizational theory and sport finance to analyze decisions of sport leaders, sport employees and sport participants.
“Claire has already become nationally known for her scholarship during her doctoral studies at the University of Kansas, and she will really help to grow our Sport Management offerings. She is an excellent teacher with great research potential.” — McEvoy
Emerson Sebastião, a visiting assistant professor, earned a Ph.D. in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2015. He then received a fellowship from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to complete a post-doctoral training in Rehabilitation Sciences in the same institution.
He joined the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health of the University of Illinois as a visiting assistant professor in 2016, serving as the director of the Exercise Neuroscience Research Laboratory and teaching courses related to exercise psychology and physical activity research methods.
Sebastião studies elderly and clinical populations by exploring factors that influence physical activity as well as creative ways to promote physical activity among older adults and persons with multiple sclerosis.
“Emerson has outstanding training from the University of Illinois. His research is a great fit with our Kinesiology faculty, and he brings with him a lot of potential in terms of publication and grant activity.” — McEvoy
Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations
Oest spent 29 years in school administration, the last 21 of those as a superintendent. For 10 of his 12 years in Richmond-Burton, he also served as a shared superintendent with Nippersink.
He holds two degrees from NIU – an M.S.Ed. and Ed.D. – as well as a bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University and an Ed.D. from National Louis University.
This fall, Oest will supervise the superintendent interns and teach LEAA 710: The Superintendency.
“Dan brings a wealth of experience, having been an educator for many years and superintendent in the region for the last 12 years. He is poised to provide excellent mentorship for our students, current knowledge of school policies to the classrooms and relationships with a variety of school districts in the area. He is the perfect fit for the position of coordinator of the Ed.S. program because of his background as a practitioner and his experience teaching in higher education. Most of our students intend to follow the same job trajectory that he did, making him an excellent role model.” — Teresa A. Wasonga, Presidential Engagement Professor and Fulbright Scholar, Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations
Department of Special and Early Education
Natalie Andzik is a recent graduate of The Ohio State University, where she earned her degree in Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis. She also obtained Board Certification in Behavior Analysis in 2012.
Andzik’s passion for helping students with severe disabilities started as a special education teacher in California, where she taught for eight years.
Her current research is focused on supporting the communication independence of students with disabilities by ensuring practitioners use the most effective evidence-based practices. She has published articles related to special education and applied behavior analysis in a variety of journals, including Exceptional Children, Teaching Exceptional Children and TASH.
She will teach several sections of Collaboration for Inclusive Teaching and Learning this fall.
“Natalie brings with her experience teaching children with disabilities; experience teaching undergraduate and graduate teacher candidates in higher education; successful internal grants; and numerous publications. Teacher education candidates will appreciate her real-world experience, her positive energy and enthusiasm, her sense of humor and her collaborative nature.” — Greg Conderman, chair