Ohio Wesleyan welcomed eleven faculty members to the community this fall. From an award-winning music composer to highly accomplished researchers and authors, OWU’s newest professors were eager to settle into campus life and begin their OWU teaching careers.
Ellen Arnold, assistant professor of history, and a medieval historian, says it is rare for liberal arts schools the size of Ohio Wesleyan to have dedicated programs such as the Ancient Medieval Renaissance Studies (AMRS) program.
“I’m glad there are ways for students to learn about interdisciplinary studies in AMRS, and I am looking forward to the opportunities to work with students and faculty with strong interests in pre-modern studies,” says Arnold. “I’m also looking forward to participating in some of the University’s new initiatives to try to give history and AMRS students the chance to interact a bit more with the world they study.”
Arnold shares that her academic interests are largely driven by her childhood and early career goals.
“I grew up in Germany, surrounded by castles and medieval history,” she says, sharing that it didn’t occur to her then that she might study medieval Germany some day.
“I also grew up wanting to be either an astronaut or a marine ecologist,” she says, which prompted her to explore environmental history in college.
“My fascination with science and my commitment to environmental education are still important parts of my teaching, as evidenced, for example, in my class on the Black Death.” Arnold’s goal as a teacher, is to, as she says, “convey not just the history of the medieval world, but also, its texture.” She enjoys experimenting with new teaching methods and assignments.
“I believe that history is equal parts stories and skills, so my classes also are intended to practice hands-on skills that historians use in their professional lives. As an environmental historian, I also have a deep appreciation for the ways that history can draw on the methods of other disciplines, and I am always excited to have non-majors in my classes.”
Studying sociology and history in his native country of Turkey, M. Alper Yalcinkaya, assistant professor of sociology-anthropology, completed his doctorate in the United States. He is especially interested in social theory, sociology of science, sociology of religion, and sociology of culture.
“A very exciting aspect of teaching within the sociology-anthropology department at OWU is the emphasis on diversity and cross-cultural students,” says Yalcinkaya, who is teaching a course on the Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East—including the history of the Middle East and the contemporary social and cultural dynamics of this diverse region.
“This isn’t a course that all colleges offer, and I think such courses present unique opportunities for broadening our horizons.” For Yalcinkaya, teaching means arousing students’ curiosity about the course topics.
“I think a course is truly successful if the students are interested in learning about the topic, even after the semester ends,” he says. “Discussing with students the sociological reasons behind the phenomena we observe every day also is a rewarding experience, as I believe the more we learn about society, the more prepared and able we are to change it for the better.” Still interested in the 19th century Ottoman Empire, when Yalcinkaya has time, he likes to read old and obscure Ottoman newspapers and novels for fun. Travel, video games, and definitely—following the games of the Turkish soccer team—all are high on his enjoyment list of things to do.
“I hope to be a fan of the Columbus Crew soon!”
Teaching Spanish and linguistics at Ohio Wesleyan means sharing David Couselman’s love for learning and foreign languages with students. Counselman, assistant professor of modern foreign languages, completed his undergraduate studies at a college environment similar to OWU’s, and understands that students at the undergraduate level are at a stage in their lives where they are still figuring out their futures.
“The main thing I want my students to know about me is that I do love learning and teaching foreign languages, and that I expect them to want to learn and make their own efforts to learn,” says Counselman. “When they do so, I am very eager to help them achieve their goals. I also encourage them to see me outside of class if they need help or have questions.”
Ohio Wesleyan Provost David Robbins is excited about the University’s new group of faculty members.
“The beginning of each academic year is an exciting time on campus, not only because we meet our newest group of students, but also our newest faculty members,” he says. “During the recruitment process for new faculty, we continue to be thrilled with our success in attracting the very best of our candidates, and it is both rewarding and delightful to welcome them to our community as professors and colleagues. They bring enthusiasm, interesting questions and perspectives, and great ideas that stimulate the creative efforts of the entire faculty. This of course, results in delivering the best possible educational experience to our students!”
OWU also welcomes:
- Andrew Brandt, assistant professor of psychology
- Glenn Bryan, assistant professor of management
- Bridget Buchholz, assistant professor of humanities-classics
- Susan Gunasti, instructor of religion
- Michael Malone, assistant professor of music
- Clint Needham, assistant professor of music
- Leslie Rudy, assistant professor of psychology
- Ching-Hsuan Wu, assistant professor of modern Foreign languages
Visit OWU’s Office of the Provost Web site for more information about all of our new faculty members.